Ask congress to defend religious freedom on France
CAIR is calling on American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact their representative in Congress TODAY to ask that he or she endorse a congressional sign-on letter to French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte expressing concern over that nation's proposed ban on Islamic head scarves in public schools.
SEE ALSO: U.S. Muslims Meet French Ambassador on Hijab Ban
The bipartisan letter will be introduced by Reps. Michael Honda (D-CA) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) next week. If several other representatives sign onto this letter, a congressional resolution will be introduced. The deadline to endorse the letter is Friday, February 6th. The Honda/Ehlers letter reads in part:
"Dear Ambassador Jean-David Levitte:
"As Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we are writing to express our concern about legislation pending before the French Parliament that would ban religious dress and articles of faith in the country's schools. We respectfully ask that you convey our concerns to your government in advance of this momentous vote.
"France has a proud modern tradition of isolating state institutions from religious influences in order to maintain a stable and secure government and to protect the rights of its people. However, the proposed law threatens the religious rights of French children by forcing them to choose between school and religious practices that are central to their core values.
"We are particularly concerned that this legislation appears to represent a backlash against one French minority: Muslims. Despite claims to the contrary, this legislation would disproportionately affect Muslims, especially Muslim women who often wear headscarves, known in Arabic as hijabs. However, restricting religious garb would impact individuals of all faiths. Many Sikhs, for example, wear turbans as an expression of their faith and religious identity. Compelling them to remove their turbans in school is contrary to the dictates of their faith. In essence, this law would force Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, and members of other faiths to pursue alternative forms of education, slowing their integration into French society...
"In the event that this bill passes, we would respectfully urge your government to present this bill to the Constitutional Council for consideration…We trust that the French government will do its best to protect the interests of its citizens and will provide the necessary tools to ensure that the religious norms each individual citizen wishes to exercise are honored."
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED
1. CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS TODAY to ask that he or she sign on to the "Honda/Ehlers letter" in defense of religious freedom. To contact your House member, go to: http://capwiz.com/cair/home/ and then enter your ZIP Code.
NOTE: CALLS ARE BEST, followed by faxes and then e-mails.
2. THANK Reps. Honda and Ehlers for their efforts. Call Rep. Honda's office at (202) 225-2631, e-mail through: http://www.house.gov/honda/ Rep. Ehlers may be reached at (202) 225-3831, e-mail through http://www.house.gov/ehlers/