The Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Thursday (Sept. 21) that it will deliver $5,000 in seed money to help repair six churches in the Palestinian Territories that were damaged by Muslims who were infuriated by the pope's speech.
"We're still waiting for a detailed report from the Catholic Near East Welfare Association to find out the full cost of the damage," said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, announcing the campaign with Catholic officials in St. Petersburg, Fla. "But the response has been received well."
The Rev. Robert Gibbons, vicar general for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, is accepting the donation on behalf of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a New York church agency that offers humanitarian and pastoral support to churches in the Middle East and around the world.
"I'm very impressed that (CAIR) would make this statement to Christians that Muslims don't condone this violence," Gibbons said.
Bedier said "these churches were protected under Islam. We were upset to see them attacked."
Bedier said the idea to collect money for the restoration originated from individuals within the Tampa-area Muslim community who were concerned about increased Muslim-Christian friction. CAIR leaders said the campaign would soon go national.
Emphasis added, though otherwise presented without comment.
I do not hide the fact that I am pro-CAIR and that my assessment of the organization is that while there are several fools at the top at the national level, the state-level branches do essential and good work.
Michelle Malkin, Robert Spencer, and many others in the conservative blogsphere unfairly smear the organization as a whole as being "an Islamist front group" based on a few stupid comments from the national leadership but they cannot and never will be able to point to anything concrete that CAIR has ever done to support terror organizations. Daniel Pipes' bogus lawsuit against CAIR was a complete joke and a good example of abusing the legal system.