For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Robyn Shepherd, ACLU National, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;
Mike Cummings, NYCLU, (212) 607-3368;

Faith Leaders Call For Religious Freedom And Tolerance In New Video From ACLU And NYCLU

Video Responds To Increase In Discrimination Against Muslims And Anti-Mosque Sentiment

American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union
(NYCLU) today released a video featuring religious leaders from multiple
faiths proclaiming that freedom of religion is a fundamental right. The
video is being released in response to an alarming increase in
anti-Muslim sentiment and efforts to prevent Muslim prayer spaces from
being established across the country.

"In America, we don't play favorites
with religious liberty," said Daniel Mach, Director of the ACLU Program
on Freedom of Religion and Belief. "We cannot allow misguided biases to
chip away at our fundamental principles."

The video features various New
York-based faith leaders reading from a statement saying that while
everyone has a right to speak their mind, racial and ethnic stereotyping
is a losing proposition. The speakers demand that the government
provide equal protection to all religions, and ask for all Americans to
stand up against those who seek to trade away civil liberties and
religious freedom for political advantage.

"We reject the refrain of 'freedom of
religion, but not in my backyard,'" said Donna Lieberman, Executive
Director of the NYCLU. "To be true to the core values that make America
special, we must respect everyone's religious freedom."

Featured in the video are Imam Abdul
Baqi of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York, Rev. Dr. Donna
Schaper of Judson Memorial Church, Father Michael Perry of Our Lady of
Refuge, Rabbi Andy Bachman of Congregation Beth Elohim and Faiza Ali of
the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The video can be seen at:


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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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