JUNE 22, 2016

CONTACT: Tim Zink, 410-962-4436/Sue Walitsky, 202-224-4524

Cardin, Maryland Muslim Community Leaders Discuss Ways to Promote Cross-Cultural Understanding 

Roundtable at Diyanet Center of America underscores dangers of inflammatory rhetoric, isolationist proposals  

LANHAM, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, recently joined members of Maryland’s Muslim community for a roundtable discussion on ways to build trust and understanding in our communities.

“Following the tragedy in Orlando and the seemingly daily doses of inflammatory rhetoric from some Republican leaders, we need to take the time to build bridges with our Muslim brothers and sisters, rather than placing walls between us,” said Senator Cardin, who also serves as the Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly.“Leaders need to lead and set an example. The all-too-common, hate-filled rhetoric toward Muslims is not reflective of America’s bedrock principles of inclusiveness and acceptance of all people, faiths and nationalities. It must be absolutely and immediately rejected.”

PHOTO: Senator Cardin and Maryland Muslim community leaders gathered Monday at the Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Md., to exchange ideas on ways to build a community of understanding.

Senator Cardin and the three dozen Muslim community leaders gathered to discuss a wide variety of issues, including the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, ways to improve trust among Muslims and law enforcement officials, and the lack of broad public recognition of the contributions by the Muslim community to American society.

“We need to do a better job of fostering a cross-cultural exchange so that Muslims and non-Muslims alike know and fully believe that the United States is the place where all can achieve their dreams,” said Senator Cardin. “We also need to recognize that members of the Muslim community are some of our closest allies in the fight against terror, as well as friends, neighbors, co-workers and leaders in our communities.”

Senator Cardin added, “I will continue to take every opportunity possible to foster a dialogue that promotes cultural empathy and understanding. Diversity is our nation’s strength, and our American democracy is the strongest form of government. It functions best when we are highly mindful of the need to fully incorporate the voices of all people.”

Sen. Benjamin Cardin