CAIR: 51 Groups Seek Objective Hearings on Muslim 'Radicalization'
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today joined dozens of other community, interfaith and civil rights groups in calling on leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives to change the focus of planned hearings on Muslim "radicalization" so that they examine violence motivated by extremist beliefs "in all its forms, in a full, fair and objective way."
A joint letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi signed by CAIR and 50 other groups states in part: (The letter was coordinated by Muslim Advocates.)
"The undersigned community organizations and groups concerned about civil and human rights and national security strongly object to the hearings on violent extremism recently announced by the Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security, Congressman Peter King...
"Chairman King has characterized the hearings, tentatively scheduled for February 2011, as focusing exclusively on the 'radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism.' If Chairman King proceeds with these hearings, please urge him to address all forms of violence motivated by extremist beliefs and to do so in a full, fair, and objective way...
"Singling out a group of Americans for government scrutiny based on their faith is divisive and wrong. These hearings will inevitably examine activities protected by the First Amendment, an affront to fundamental freedoms upon which our country was founded. It harkens back to hearings held in the 1950s by then-U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy. That dark chapter in our history taught us that Congress has a solemn duty to wield its investigatory power responsibly...
"These hearings will almost certainly increase widespread suspicion and mistrust of the American Muslim community and stoke anti-Muslim sentiment. During 2010, we saw an increase in anti-Muslim hatred in public discourse, as well as hate crimes and violence targeting American Muslims, and those perceived to be Muslim, including vandalism and arson of mosques, physical attacks, bullying of children in schools, and attempted murder. No American should live in fear for his or her safety, and Congress should not help create a climate where it is acceptable to target a particular faith community for discrimination, harassment, and violence...
"We strongly urge you to object to the hearings in their current form. If Chairman King wishes to address violent extremism, then we hope you will ensure that he examines violence motivated by extremist beliefs, in all its forms, in a full, fair and objective way. The hearings should proceed from a clear understanding that individuals are responsible for their actions, not entire communities."
To read the entire letter, go to:
Signatories to the joint letter include:
* American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
* American Pakistan Foundation
* Amnesty International USA
* Arab American Institute
* Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services
* Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
* Center for Constitutional Rights
* Council on American-Islamic Relations
* Human Rights First
* Indian Muslim Relief & Charities
* Interfaith Alliance
* Islamic Medical Association of North America
* Islamic Networks Group
* Islamic Society of North America
* Japanese American Citizens League
* Muslim Advocates
* Muslim Public Affairs Council
* National Network for Arab American Communities
* Open Society Institute
* Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee
* Sikh Coalition
* South Asian Americans Leading Together
* Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
* Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
* Association of American Muslim Lawyers
* American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers Association
* Arab American Association of New York
* Asian Law Caucus
* Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers
* Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
* DRUM - Desis Rising Up and Moving
* Florida Muslim Bar Association
* The Freedom and Justice Foundation
* Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers
* Houston Shifa Services Foundation
* Inner-City Muslim Action Network
* Islamic Shura Council of Southern California
* Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York
* Michigan Muslim Bar Association
* Muslim Alliance of Indiana
* Muslim Bar Association of Chicago
* Muslim Bar Association of New York
* Muslim Bar Association of Southern California
* Muslim Consultative Network
* Network of Arab American Professionals - NY
* New England Muslim Bar Association
* New Jersey Muslim Bar Association
* Northern California Islamic Council
* Ohio Muslim Bar Association
* Somali Community Services - San Jose, CA
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations
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