American Muslim leaders express dismay at Secretary Clinton’s closed door conference with Islamic Bloc countries

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 15, 2011) – A group of American Muslim leaders have expressed disappointment with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department for giving a platform to the Saudi-Based Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) campaign to suppress freedom of thought, expression and conscience, by hosting a 3 day conference in Washington, D.C. The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) issued a statement which said:

“This conference was hosted in the name of ‘combating [religious] intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization’, but in fact is likely to encourage the opposite. The U.S. is in danger of becoming a tool in the OIC’s aggressive efforts to suppress freedom of speech for Muslims and non-Muslims alike throughout the world.”

We ask the U.S. State Department to defend the interests of the United States—and of sincere people of faith throughout the world—by vigorously defending the First Amendment values that encouraged our families to come to this country; values that we cherish, and that allow us to study, discuss and practice our faith far more freely than is permitted in most Muslim-majority nations.

We ask the State Department not to provide autocrats with a platform from which to divert attention from the systematic oppression of women, minorities and their citizens in general, which is characteristic of many OIC member states, including those at the forefront of the OIC’s “defamation of religion” campaign.