Thursday, March 10, 2011

Press Release from ISNA

Source: ISNA
(Plainfield, IN March 10, 2011) This morning at 9:30 AM, Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, called the first six witnesses in the Congressional Hearings: "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response."  The witness list can be found online. 

"While we share the Committee's commitment to ensuring the security of our nation, we strongly believe that there is a better way to ensure our national security than singling out one faith community.  The hearing as it is currently structured proposes holding a public scrutiny of one specific community on the basis of religion; such institutionalized generalizations have not been seen since the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

We will continue to do our part to prevent terrorism, and we ask that the Committee on Homeland Security continue to do its part as well.  Rather than emphasizing our differences, our safety as a nation would be better enhanced if the Committee instead united us, so that all the diverse communities of America can work together for our nation's security," said ISNA in written testimony to the hearings.

 In preparation for these hearings, and the discriminatory nature of their approach, ISNA organized with national interfaith leaders and members of the ISNA "Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign: Standing with American Muslims to Uphold American Values," to publicly denounce their format and scope.

Today, at 1PM,  ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid was joined by ISNA leadership and representatives from 23 national religious organizations (members of the "Shoulder to Shoulder" campaign) to hold a Press Conference at the Cannon Building in Washington DC, where a joint statement, entitled, "Religious Leaders Stand Shoulder-to-Shoulder Against Extremism of All Kinds in Support of American Values" was shared with the community. 

The religious leaders today made it clear that there is a better way to unite and secure our nation than by marginalizing an entire religious group in America based on the actions of a few.  An excerpt from today's statement is found below, with the full statement found online by clicking here.

As the House Committee on Homeland Security convenes hearings on the putative "radicalization" of American Muslims, our obligation takes on renewed urgency...All of our faith communities share a powerful prohibition against bearing false witness, with the understanding that destroying a person's reputation is tantamount to destroying his or her life. To assert that Muslims as a broad group are not deeply devoted to America's safety and the peaceful interaction of its entire citizenry - that is false witness. By subjecting American Muslims to such scrutiny, we weaken our more perfect union, and we harm the national vision of our common good that is a witness to the nations.  We encourage all citizens of this country to honor freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution that enable the free exercise of religion across our great land.

In addition to the press conference, members of ISNA's "Shoulder to Shoulder" campaign will meet with representarives of Congress and the White House throughout the day to introduce them to the campaign and express their direct concerns with the format of the King hearings. 

Sarah Thompson
ISNA Communications Coordinator

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