(Plainfield, IN: March 29, 2011)This morning, the Senate Judiciary Sub-Committee on the Constitution held their hearing on the status of Muslim civil rights in America. The hearing was led by Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). ISNA applauds the bi-partisan leadership shown by Sen. Durbin and Sen. Graham this morning to protect the moral foundation of America built by our founding fathers and the values of equality and respect that foundation was built to support.
In the last year, anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions have spiked tremendously, leading Congress to take action today and investigate this disturbing trend. ISNA urges all community members to contact Sen. Durbin and Sen. Graham to thank them for holding these hearings. Join ISNA as we thank them for their moral leadership and ability to cooperate across the party line to unite our country towards a better future.
CONTACT: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), 202-224-2152, or email here.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), 202-224-5972, or email here.
To view written testimony submitted by ISNA in this hearing, please click here. You can also view the recent work by ISNA to protect diversity and combat extremism here.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE HEARING:
In case you were unable to view the hearing, here are some excerpts from Sen. Durbin, Cardinal McCarrick, Sen. Graham, and Sen. Leahy on the importance of uniting our nation and protecting religious freedom for all.
- "American Muslims are facing discrimination; the attorney general had it right when he said 'anti-Muslim rhetoric is a civil rights issue.' It is our government's responsibility to prevent and prosecute these kinds of discrimination...and make it clear that defending the civil rights of our Muslim neighbors is as important as [defending the rights of] our Christian, Jewish, and non religious neighbors. Those of us in public life have a responsibility to choose our words carefully; we must condemn anti-Muslim bigotry," said Sen. Durbin.
- Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (Archbishop Emeritus of Washington) commended ISNA and ICNA for uniting with the faith community to protect religious freedom in America. "They [ISNA and ICNA] have stood with us [Catholic community] as trusted allies in speaking out against violence and in solidarity. Solidarity with all religions is respect for religious freedom. The common commitment to religious freedom is at the heart of American life. As other countries wrestle with how to treat religious minorities, let them look to our nation, as we ensure our Muslim sisters and brothers are treated with dignity. Let them see that here people are blessed with full religious freedom and respect for all religions.
- Sen. Graham highlighted the importance of respect for difference, stating, "What does it mean to practice religion in America? It means I have to stand up for your right to practice your religion and you will stand up for mine. It is ok to argue, but there are lines you cannot cross."
- Sen. Graham also highlighted two issues he felt the hearing should address today, protecting the civil rights of Muslim Americans and uniting with them, rather than marginalizing them, in the struggle against radical extremism. "There are some real issues to be dealt with [today]. Can we stand up for the rights of Muslim Americans? Yes, we must; if any one group suffers, we all suffer. The biggest victim of radical Islam is fellow Muslims; we are all in this together. Muslims who are trying to separate themselves from radical Islam need our help."
- "If you protect diversity, you protect democracy. We must never forget this [history of religious persecution and violence of all religions] when we consider religious freedom in America; ALL Americans deserve religious freedoms provided in the constitution. This freedom extends beyond the first amendment; it continues on to ensure due process and protections. American Muslims must be protected like all Americans," stated Sen. Patrick Leahy.