Ethan Allen's Indian American CEO Partners with Jewish Leaders to Fight Bigotry

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DANBURY, Conn. — The CEO of the Danbury-based Ethan Allen furniture company, a Muslim, is partnering with Jewish business leaders to fight incidents of bigotry in the run-up to and in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president.

According to NewsTimes, the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America formed the national Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council late last month, with the Indian American CEO of Ethan Allen, Farooq Kathwari, serving as co-chairman alongside Stanley Bergman, CEO of Henry Schein.

Kathwari is a Muslim who emigrated from India. His son was killed in Afghanistan in 1992, and last year he donated $1 million to Western Connecticut State University for an honors program in his memory.

Recently, he expressed concern in an appearance on CNBC about the incoming Trump administration’s rhetoric about Muslim-Americans, including a tweet by Trump’s choice for national security advisor that “fear of Muslims is rational.”

“You have to be concerned about those kinds of statements,” he said.

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Dozens of prominent Jewish and Muslim political and business leaders are on the new council Kathwari is leading, including former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, of Connecticut.

Kathwari said it is essential for these organizations to join together, especially when there are so many forces seeking to separate people.

“This is a small, tiny effort, but it’s a tiny effort to unite people, and that’s why I think it’s important,” he said. “We need more of these. Otherwise, the debate is taken by people with loud voices who want to divide people up."

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