Wednesday, March 9, 2011

51 Organizations Tell Congress that Hearings are divise

51 Organizations Tell Congress that Hearings Targeting American Muslims Are Divisive

Following are the organizations that Signed up on the statement;
  1. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
  2. American Pakistan Foundation
  3. Amnesty International USA
  4. Arab American Institute
  5. Arab Community Center for Economic and Social
  6. Services
  7. Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
  8. Center for Constitutional Rights
  9. Council on American-Islamic Relations
  11. Human Rights First
  12. Indian Muslim Relief & Charities
  13. Interfaith Alliance
  14. Islamic Medical Association of North America
  15. Islamic Networks Group
  16. Islamic Society of North America
  17. Japanese American Citizens League
  18. Muslim Advocates
  19. Muslim Public Affairs Council
  20. National Network for Arab American Communities
  21. Open Society Institute
  22. Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee
  23. Sikh Coalition
  24. South Asian Americans Leading Together
  25. Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
  26. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  27. Association of American Muslim Lawyers
  28. American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers Association
  29. Arab American Association of New York
  30. Asian Law Caucus
  31. Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers
  32. Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
  33. DRUM - Desis Rising Up and Moving
  34. Florida Muslim Bar Association
  35. The Freedom and Justice Foundation
  36. Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers
  37. Houston Shifa Services Foundation
  38. Inner-City Muslim Action Network
  39. Islamic Shura Council of Southern California
  40. Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York
  41. Michigan Muslim Bar Association
  42. Muslim Alliance of Indiana
  43. Muslim Bar Association of Chicago
  44. Muslim Bar Association of New York
  45. Muslim Bar Association of Southern California
  46. Muslim Consultative Network
  47. Network of Arab American Professionals - NY
  48. New England Muslim Bar Association
  49. New Jersey Muslim Bar Association
  50. Northern California Islamic Council
  51. Ohio Muslim Bar Association
  52. Somali Community Services - San Jose, CA

Here is the Full statement:


 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.
Today, American Muslims reflect every race and ethnicity that comprise our nation’s rich
heritage. In fact, Muslims have been an integral part of America since its founding when the
first slave ships arrived on its shores. Muslims serve our nation as teachers, business owners,
factory workers, cab drivers, doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, firefighters, members of
Congress, and members of the armed forces. Their research and innovation adds to the progress
of our nation in science, business, medicine, and technology. They contribute to every aspect of
our nation’s economy and society. The essence of our country is e pluribus unum: out of many,
practicing their faith freely and contributing each in their own way, comes a strong, unified one.

The hearings planned by Chairman King, however, are inconsistent with this vision of
America. 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

1 Peter King, What’s Radicalizing Muslim Americans?, Newsday, December 17, 2010.

The Honorable John Boehner
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
February 1, 2011
Page 2 of 3
In the course of justifying the focus of the hearings, Chairman King has made broad and
unsubstantiated assertions about the American Muslim community. For example, he continues
to perpetuate the myth that 80% of mosques in America are run by extremists,2 implying that
they are hotbeds of extremism. To the contrary, experts have concluded that mosque attendance
is a significant factor in the prevention of extremism.3 In addition, during a recent interview,
Chairman King made a statement insinuating that American Muslims are not American:
“When a war begins, we’re all Americans. But in this case, this is not the
situation. And whether it’s pressure, whether it’s cultural tradition, whatever, the
fact is the Muslim community does not cooperate anywhere near to the extent that
it should. The irony is that we’re living in two different worlds.”4
If Chairman King is suggesting that American Muslims are somehow less American –
simply by virtue of their faith – then that is an affront to all Americans.
Providing a public, government platform for these erroneous and offensive views has
consequences. The American public takes cues from government officials. 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.
Furthermore, a hearing that demonizes the American Muslim community will not go
unnoticed by Muslims around the world and will contribute to perceptions of how the U.S.
government treats Muslims. Equal treatment and respect for all faiths are among our nation’s
greatest strengths and are essential to a free and just society.
Our nation faces serious threats, both foreign and domestic. Violence motivated by
extremist beliefs is not committed by members of one racial, religious, or political group. The
Committee on Homeland Security should focus on keeping us safe, rather than engaging in fearmongering
and divisive rhetoric that only weakens the fabric of our nation and distracts us from
actual threats.
2 The Laura Ingraham Show, January 24, 2011.
3 See David Schanzer, Charles Kurzman, Ebrahim Moosa, Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim Americans, Duke
University, January 6, 2010, at 28-29.
4 Secure Freedom Radio With Frank Gaffney, January 6, 2011.
The Honorable John Boehner
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
February 1, 2011
Page 3 of 3
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.
Thank you for your attention to the issues raised in this letter. We look forward to
hearing from you.

February 1, 2011
The Honorable John Boehner
Office of the Speaker
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
235 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi:

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

No comments:

Post a Comment