For Immediate Release
(Washington, D.C., January 6, 2009) The American Humanist Association announced its opposition to a policy change at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services. The new school policy prohibits any clothing that obscures the face.
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, said “Burqas are a deplorable symbol of female subservience, and we should work with progressive religious and secular Muslims and others to diminish their use. But that in no way means they should be forbidden in this free country. The timing and the unusual nature of the university’s policy are indicative of inappropriate religious targeting. But religiously motivated or not, broad clothing restrictions like this are limitations on liberty that are an inappropriate response to terrorist acts.”
The College introduced the ban during its annual security review and claims the ban was unrelated to the arrest of recent alumnus Tarek Mehanna. Mehanna was arrested in October and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists planning to attack civilians at a shopping mall, American soldiers abroad and two members of the executive branch of the federal government.
“We must not be in the habit of trading away our rights and liberties for supposed security. The school should consider less blunt instruments to keep their students safe,” noted Speckhardt. “Such bans are becoming too common for comfort. This is not the the best manner to address security concerns while allowing for individual liberty” he added.
The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God.