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The Council on American-Islamic Relations has hired a Jewish filmmaker and interfaith activist as executive director of the advocacy group’s Philadelphia office.
Jacob Bender is the highest ranking non-Muslim in the Washington-based organization, and the first to lead one of its chapters. “Many Muslims face daily suspicion, not unlike other immigrant groups throughout history,” said Bender, explaining that he felt people had a responsibility to confront bigotry. “When one group of Americans is attacked, it lessens the quality of democracy for all of us.”Jacob Bender is set to be the voice of Philadelphia-area Muslims, to take on discrimination they encounter in workplace and in the public sphere, and to fight expressions of hate.
The Council on American Islamic Relations’ Philadelphia branch, announced the appointment of Bender as its executive director on October 15. “The needs of the Muslim community are really the needs of any minority community in the United States,” said Iftekhar Hussein, chairman of CAIR-Philadelphia’s board of directors. “Jacob, being Jewish, understands that from his own background.”