For Immediate Release
CAIR Welcomes AG Holder’s Statement on Muslim Civil Rights
Holder pledges ‘return to robust civil rights enforcement and outreach’
WASHINGTON - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed a
statement by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder committing the Justice
Department to protecting the civil rights of American Muslims.
In the statement, which was released in conjunction with President
Obama's historic address in Cairo on Thursday, Attorney General Holder
"The President's pledge for a new beginning between
the United States and the Muslim community takes root here in the
Justice Department where we are committed to using criminal and civil
rights laws to protect Muslim Americans. A top priority of this Justice
Department is a return to robust civil rights enforcement and outreach
in defending religious freedoms and other fundamental rights of all of
our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the housing market, in our
schools and in the voting booth.
"There are those who will
continue to want to divide by fear - to pit our national security
against our civil liberties - but that is a false choice. We have a
solemn responsibility to protect our people while we also protect our
"After eight years in which American Muslims saw their rights as
citizens curtailed, we welcome Attorney General Holder's pledge to
renew civil rights enforcement and outreach efforts," said CAIR National Board Chair Larry Shaw. "We agree with the attorney general that our nation can and must be both free and secure."
Shaw said American Muslims and civil libertarians are particularly concerned about Justice Department guidelines,
implemented in the last days of the Bush administration, which allow
race and ethnicity to be factors in opening an investigation.
He said other civil rights concerns include FBI agent provocateurs
sent into American mosques, citizenship delays, politicized "terror"
trials, and misuse by the Department of Justice of the "unindicted
co-conspirator" label. Many American Muslims believe these past
government actions negatively impacted the ability to exercise their
Yesterday, President Obama committed to working with American
Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill their religious obligation of
charitable giving, or zakat. Under the Bush administration, a number of
American Muslim charitable organizations had been shut down or
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy
organization, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its
mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue,
protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions
that promote justice and mutual understanding.