WASHINGTON, April 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a decision by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to "monitor" a Hot Springs, Ark., shooting range that has been declared a "Muslim-free zone" by its owner.
SEE: Arkansas Gun Range Owner Declares Her Business a 'Muslim-Free Zone'
In October of last year, CAIR asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation after the owner claimed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agreed with her barring customers based on their faith.
SEE: Let's Check in with the 'Muslim-free' Gun Range in Arkansas
In its letter to Attorney General Holder, CAIR wrote in part:
"Given the recent spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric, including Islamophobic statements by government officials, community leaders and media outlets, death threats, and other bias incidents targeting Muslims, I urge you to investigate this matter soon.
"CAIR believes that systematically banning Muslims from a place of business is a violation of federal laws prohibiting racial and religious discrimination and will inevitably result in a hostile environment for ordinary Muslims in Arkansas."
SEE: CAIR's October 2014 Letter to Attorney General Holder
In January of this year, CAIR sent another letter to the DOJ after South Asian customers, who appeared "brown," were turned away from the business.
SEE: Father and Son Turned Away from "Muslim-Free" Hot Springs Gun Range for Being Brown
CAIR has now received a letter from the DOJ informing the Washington-based civil rights organization of the decision to monitor the Arkansas case.
"We welcome this positive development and hope it leads to a thorough investigation of clear violations of the civil rights of American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim by the gun range owner," said CAIR Litigation Director for Civil Rights Jenifer Wicks.
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.
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations