(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/9/09) - A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on the government of Iran to release American journalist Roxana Saberi.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) delivered a letter calling for Saberi's release to the Iranian Interests Section, located in the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C. Saberi was detained in January and has reportedly been charged with espionage.
In the letter, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in part:
"In the spirit of shared faith and international peace and stability, and with the desire to increase constructive interactions between our two nations, we respectfully request that Iran release Roxana Saberi and allow her to return to her family in the United States.
"America and Iran now have an opportunity to re-engage in a non-confrontational manner. This new approach is much more likely to achieve the desired result of dialogue based on mutual interests and mutual respect than past policies of hostility and mistrust.
"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.
"The American Muslim community again offers its support for any initiatives that may help build bridges of understanding and decrease the potential for international conflict or instability."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic 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.
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