Mayor criticized over Muslim stamp e-mail

Sept. 6, 2009 at 1:02 AM
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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The mayor of Clarksville, Tenn., is under fire for forwarding an e-mail blasting a U.S. postage stamp celebrating Muslim religious holidays.

Mayor Johnny Piper did not add any comments of his own to the e-mail, The Clarksville Leaf Chronicle reported. The e-mail calls the stamp "a slap in the face" to U.S. victims of "Muslim terrorist attacks."

The mayor forwarded the e-mail to city council members, department heads and to a city e-mail list that goes to every employee with an e-mail account.

Piper defended his actions. He said the e-mail is not anti-Muslim and he forwarded it to provide "information."

The e-mail says incorrectly that the stamp was developed under the administration of President Barack Obama. The stamp was first issued in 2001 and reissued in 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

National and local Muslim groups denounced the e-mail and Piper's decision to forward it.

"I laughed when I read it, but at the same time, I felt sorry that we still have people around us that think that way," said Ahmed Joudah, head of the Islamic Center of Clarksville.

Joudah said he was surprised to learn about Piper forwarding the e-mail because he knows him and had thought of him as a "nice, decent man."

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