Religious Leaders Angered by Anti-Muslim Comments

August 13, 2008

Author: Susan DeMar Lafferty

Source: Southtown Star/Council on American-Islamic Relations

Religious leaders of all faiths came together Tuesday night at a Frankfort mosque to condemn anti-Muslim sentiments expressed by Frankfort Township Assessor Paul Ruff in a June e-mail to several members of the community.

"We have an elephant in this room, in this community. We need to identify the elephant and try to understand where he is coming from," said Afzal Ahmad, chairman of the board for the American Islamic Association.

"Ruff has not only crossed us but he has betrayed the Constitution of the United States. I'm offended, and my community is offended. Maybe he needs to re-read the constitution," he said.

Ruff was invited to press conference, but he has declined comment to all since the SouthtownStar last month published an article about his e-mail that suggested that America follow the sentiments of former Australian Prine Minister John Howard, who said Muslims who want to live under Sharia law should get out of the country.

"Maybe if we circulate this among ourselves, American citizens will find the back bone to start speaking and voicing the same truths. If you agree, please send this on," the e-mail urged.

"Never in my 35 years (in this community) have we had such an opinion expressed by an elected official," Ahmad said.