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Give this man a Muslim holy book

For attempting to rally employees to boycott a postage stamp that honors a Muslim holiday, the mayor of Clarksville, Tenn., has won: A free Quran.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said on Friday it would send copies of the Muslim text to Mayor John Piper and members of the Clarksville City Council. According to media reports, Piper forwarded an e-mail to friends, colleagues and employees urging "patriotic Americans" to protest the stamp.

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"I don't see any reason why it would be inappropriate," Piper told the newspaper, and added that he thought the e-mail was neither anti-Muslim or anti-Islamic.

Snopes.com has a thorough discussion of the e-mail, which has circulated since shortly after the U.S. Postal Service first issued the stamp in 2001. According to The Leaf-Chronicle, the version forwarded by Piper claims erroneously that the stamp was created at the order of President Barack Obama.

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Snopes quotes the Postal Service: "The Eid stamp commemorates the two most important festivals — or eids — in the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. On these days, Muslims wish each other 'Eid mubarak,' the phrase featured in Islamic calligraphy on the stamp. 'Eid mubarak' translates literally as 'blessed festival,' and can be paraphrased as 'May your religious holiday be blessed.'"

CAIR said it would send the Quran to Clarksville as part of its "Share the Quran" initiative, through which it hopes to distribute the scripture to 100,000 local, state and national leaders by the end of the year.

"Mayor Piper obviously has misconceptions about Islam that are best addressed through dialogue and education," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. "We hope the mayor and the city council will accept the copies of the Quran in the spirit in which they are given and will agree to meet with representatives of the local Muslim community."

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