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Muslim Leaders Answer Obama’s Call To Fight Extremism, Discrimination

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

In response to the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, President Barack Obama said on Sunday that he wants Americans to unite against religious extremism and Islamophobia. The Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said that the message resonates with the work Muslim-American leaders are already doing.

Mongi Dhaouadi, Executive Director of CAIR-Connecticut, spoke with young Muslim-Americans at a mosque on Sunday. They talked about coping with Islamophobic backlash following recent attacks by religious extremists.

“Muslims in general, around the world, we’re the number one victims of these extreme ideologies and their brutal ways," Dhaouadi said. "At the same time, we find ourselves at the receiving end of backlash by people that are driven by fear, by ignorance.”

Dhaouadi said Islamophobic backlash after the terror attacks in San Bernardino is what extremist groups like the Islamic State want.

“They want to see the Muslim community alienated because that facilitates them to recruit more of these young people. And so when we see the President coming and responding very forcefully against anti-Muslim discrimination, we absolutely have to applaud him for that.”

Dhaouadi said he’s working with Muslim leaders and interfaith groups in Connecticut to speak out against extremism.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.