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AHA signs Interfaith Alliance Letter to Congress on Religious Liberty

(The original press release below can be found here.)

Interfaith Alliance and 34 groups write to Congress to highlight religious liberty

Contact: Ari Geller or Samantha Friedman, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, 202-265-3000, ari@rabinowitz-dorf.com or samantha@rabinowitz-dorf.com

 April 17, 2012

The Honorable Richard J. Durbin
Chairman
Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Civil Rights and Human Rights
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
    The Honorable Lindsey Graham
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Civil Rights and Human Rights
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Graham:

Thank you for holding today’s hearing, Ending Racial Profiling in America, on the different faces of racial profiling, exploring the harms of law enforcement using real or perceived race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion as a factor that creates suspicion.

As organizations that advocate for the freedom of religion and belief for all, we write to highlight our objections to religious profiling, which may sometimes also be used as a proxy for race, ethnicity, or national origin.

The freedom of religion and belief is one of our most treasured liberties, a fundamental and defining feature of our national character. Our Constitution guarantees that we are free to hold any religious belief, or none at all, and we are free to join together in communities to exercise those beliefs if we so choose. As a result, the United States is among the most religious, and religiously diverse, nations in the world. Our diversity of faiths and beliefs is a great strength.

We appreciate that most law enforcement officials discharge their duties honorably. Yet, when law enforcement profiles individuals and communities based solely on their real or perceived religion, religious appearance, religious observance, or religious practices, it undermines Americans’ trust in those sworn to protect them and our nation’s commitment to religious liberty and equal protection of the law. Furthermore, such actions not only have the effect of discriminating against religion generally and religious minorities in particular, but also fuel divisiveness by casting suspicion over an entire religious community.

Thank you again for drawing attention to this matter. We look forward to working on this issue and finding ways to protect religious freedom and civil rights for all.

Sincerely,

African American Ministers in Action
American Civil Liberties Union
American Humanist Association
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Anti-Defamation League
Arab American Institute
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
Catholics for Choice
Center for Inquiry
Council for Secular Humanism
Faith in Public Life
Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Institute for Science and Human Values
Interfaith Alliance
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Muslim Advocates
NAACP
National Council of Jewish Women
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
People For the American Way
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Sikh Council on Religion and Education
Sojourners
The Episcopal Church
The Sikh Coalition
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

# # #

The Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, the Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.

 

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