For Immediate Release
Brenda Bowser Soder
O -202/370-3323, C – 301/906-4460
Human Rights First Joins Broad Coalition to Address “Divisive” King Hearings
WASHINGTON - oday, Human Rights First in coalition with 50 other civil rights and
human rights organizations urged Congressional leadership to object to
divisive hearings that House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter
King (R-NY) plans to hold later this month. The hearings, which have
sparked growing public opposition, will focus on what King believes to
be the “radicalization” of millions of American Muslims.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the 51 signing organizations asked the leaders to urge Chairman King to “address violence motivated by extremist beliefs in all its forms,
in a full, fair and objective way.” The letter noted that the hearings
should “proceed from a clear understanding that individuals are
responsible for their actions, not entire communities.”
The letter noted, “The essence of our country is e pluribus unum:
out of many, practicing their faith freely and contributing each in
their own way, comes a strong, unified one. The hearings planned by
Chairman King, however, are inconsistent with this vision of America.
Singling out a group of Americans for government scrutiny based on their
faith is divisive and wrong. These hearings will inevitably examine
activities protected by the First Amendment, an affront to fundamental
freedoms upon which our country was founded. It harkens back to hearings
held in the 1950s by then-U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy. That dark chapter
in our history taught us that Congress has a solemn duty to wield its
investigatory power responsibly.”
Among the diverse array of signatories to the letter are: Amnesty
International USA, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Baptist
Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Muslim Advocates, American Muslim
Law Enforcement Officers Association, Arab Community Center for
Economic and Social Services, and the Tanenbaum Center for
A complete list of signatory organizations follows the letter.
Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.