Sen. Durbin to Chair First-Ever Hearing on Civil Rights of American Muslims

Photo credit: CBS

The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs applauds Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) for organizing a congressional hearing on the civil rights of American Muslims. As a country committed to religious freedom and civil rights, we need to ensure that all religious groups are protected and welcomed into the rich and diverse fabric of our society. The Jewish community knows too well the dangers of bigotry and hate speech. JCUA welcomes hearings to protect the civil rights of a community increasingly under attack. [See the below news release from Sen. Durbin’s office for more information.]

Durbin to Chair First-Ever Hearing on the Civil Rights of American Muslims

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced today that he will hold the first-ever congressional hearing on the civil rights of American Muslims on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. The hearing will be the first hearing before the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. Senator Durbin is the Subcommittee’s Chairman.

“Our Constitution protects the free exercise of religion for all Americans,” Durbin said. “During the course of our history, many religions have faced intolerance. It is important for our generation to renew our founding charter’s commitment to religious diversity and to protect the liberties guaranteed by our Bill of Rights.”

The hearing is in response to the spike in anti-Muslim bigotry in the last year including Quran burnings, restrictions on mosque construction, hate crimes, hate speech, and other forms of discrimination. Next week’s hearing will consider measures to protect the civil rights of American Muslims.

A distinguished panel of witnesses will testify including Muslim civil rights leader Farhana Khera; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick; Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, the Obama Administration’s top civil rights official; and former Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta, the Bush Administration’s top civil rights official.

The Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights was formed by merging the Constitution Subcommittee and the Human Rights and the Law Subcommittee, which Durbin previously chaired. The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over all constitutional issues, and all legislation and policy related to civil rights, civil liberties and human rights. The Ranking Member of the Subcommittee is Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

The hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m. ET in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

[View a live feed of the hearing on C-SPAN]

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