(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/13/17) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is calling on Americans of all faiths and backgrounds to urge their elected representatives in Congress to "VOTE NO" on Rep. Trent Franks' (R-AZ) Amendment Number 068 to H.R. 2810, the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
[NOTE: The NDAA is an annual defense authorization act that provides valuable funding for the armed forces. Amendment No. 068 is scheduled as the 17th item during today's debate, with Congress starting debate at 2 p.m. Votes on amendments can start as early as tomorrow if one is called.]
Franks’ amendment would require the Department of Defense to conduct two strategic assessments, one to be conducted by government employees and the other by non-governmental “experts” on the “use of violent or unorthodox Islam to support extremist or terrorist messaging.”
CAIR opposes the amendment first and foremost because it unfairly targets one faith, Islam. Moreover, this amendment is counter to the fundamental American principle that the government should not have the authority to define what constitutes “unorthodox” religious practices, which could result in American Muslims being further targeted by bias.
Such bias may result in further alienation of Muslim communities throughout the U.S., many of whom have been working with the U.S. to end violence.
The amendment also mandates identification of key Islamic leaders. It is inappropriate for the United States government to create a list, based solely on religious beliefs and practices, of individuals who have violated no laws.
Finally, CAIR does not believe that the Trump administration is capable of selecting unbiased government representatives or non-governmental experts on Islam -- given that President Trump has stated that he thinks "Islam hates us," and called for a "total and complete shutdown" of the entry of Muslims to the United States.
"The prospect of Trump asking one of his notoriously Islamophobic advisors like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller or Sebastian Gorka to provide such ‘expertise’ or to identify contributors to this assessment should frighten all Americans," said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Robert McCaw.
The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization is urging Muslim parents and students to report any bias incidents to school officials, to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/report
CAIR recently launched an app to share critical 'know your rights' information and simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents and is urging Muslims to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.
For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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