Today, the House Committee on Homeland Security, led by Rep. Peter King (NY), began hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response.” Please urge your representative to speak out against these alarmist and unfair hearings.
Congress has a responsibility to conduct its affairs in accordance with the Constitution and in a manner that will not create an immediate and lasting danger for a significant number of people in the United States. Not only is it inappropriate for Congress to inquire into the teachings and practices of any religion, but the frame of these hearings encourages people to think of American Muslims as dangerous radicals, putting them at increased risk of threats and violence. Muslim women, who are easily recognized by their dress, could be particularly at risk.
In fact, the majority of terrorist acts committed in this country in recent decades have been committed by people with other or no religious roots. Congress should inquire into criminal actions and plans that are detrimental to the United States, but to single out a particular religious group for this inquiry is unfair, dangerous, and in conflict with the protections of the First Amendment.
Contact your representative to let her or him know that you are opposed to the incendiary and alarmist frame of these hearings. Urge your representative to speak out against these hearings and to contribute to a positive conversation that builds bridges of understanding among the many different faiths that make up our nation.
More on FCNL’s Response
On Tuesday, FCNL sent a letter to all members of the House Committee on Homeland Security urging them to “reject the premise for the hearings” that Representative King is holding.
FCNL also signed the ACLU’s letter to Representative King expressing concern about the hearings, which “risk chilling fundamental First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, and association.”
FCNL and the Friends Meeting of Washington recently welcomed Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to Washington, where he spoke at an interfaith gathering about building bridges of understanding between different religious faiths. As FCNL’s Sandy Robson writes, “Imam Feisal spoke out of the silence, and sparked a conversation that gets to the heart of the matter—that our greatest challenge is to bridge the gaps between the peace-loving moderates of all countries and faiths, and the radicals that threaten to divide us.”