U.S. Muslim group planned delegation seeking ‘gesture of reconciliation’
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/11/09) A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy organization today welcomed Iran’s release of American journalist Roxana Saberi, who was freed Monday after an Iranian appeals court suspended her eight-year prison sentence on charges of espionage.
Last month, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced that it was planning to send a delegation to Iran to ask that Saberi be released as a “gesture of reconciliation” that would benefit the cause of international peace and stability.
SEE: CAIR Prepares Delegation to Iran Seeking Journalist’s Release
“We are pleased that Roxana Saberi has been released and hope this move on the part of Iran will create a political atmosphere more conducive to improved relations between our two nations,” said CAIR Board Chairman State Sen. Larry Shaw (NC).
He noted that CAIR informed President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton of its planned mission and received a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the family of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing in Iran since 2007. Shaw said that letter will now be sent to Iranian officials.
On April 9, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad sent a letter to President Ahmadinejad calling on the government of Iran to release Saberi. In his letter, Awad wrote in part:
“We recognize the serious nature of the issues that seem to hinder an improved relationship between our two nations. We ask Iran to take this opportunity to make a gesture of reconciliation that will help create an atmosphere in which those issues may be addressed in a positive manner.”
SEE: U.S. Muslim Organization Calls on Iran to Release Journalist
In 2006, Awad and CAIR Legislative Director Corey Saylor travelled to Iraq to appeal for the release of American journalist Jill Carroll.
SEE: U.S. Muslim Leaders Call for Release of Journalist in Iraq
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.