A number of local and national Muslim organizations* yesterday delivered a joint letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a meeting in New York City calling for the release of Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, the two remaining American hikers detained in Iran. The joint letter, drafted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and signed by seven other Muslim organizations, first thanked the Iranian president for the recent release of hiker Sarah Shourd. It went on to state:
"We believe her release will help improve relations between our two nations and hope similar actions can be taken in the cases of Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal.
"As you may recall, we have on a number of past occasions requested that all three of the detained hikers be released as a goodwill gesture on the part of the government of Iran. We have also requested information about former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing in Iran since 2007...
"Today, we reiterate our past request for the release of the two hikers who remain in detention. We also repeat our past request that a delegation of American Muslim representatives be permitted to travel to Iran to meet with the remaining detained hikers and to discuss their cases, and that of Mr. Levinson, with relevant officials.
"It is hoped that any goodwill gestures on the part of Iran would be reciprocated by our own government."
*The letter was signed by CAIR, MAS Freedom, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), the Detroit-based House of Wisdom, the Islamic Information Center, American Muslims for Constructive Engagement, and the Council of Muslim Organizations -- Greater Washington Area (CMO).
"We remain hopeful that our efforts will result in the release of the remaining two hikers," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, who, along with other American Muslim leaders, met with the Iranian president in New York on Monday evening.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.