(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/28/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today filed a formal complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee against Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott over a series of anti-Muslim social media posts.
CAIR’s complaint alleges that Northcott violated two rules of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.
The complaint alleges that Northcott violated Rule 3.8 of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct, a comment to which states that prosecutors are expected “to be impartial in the sense that charging decisions should be based upon the evidence, without discrimination or bias for or against any groups or individuals.”
It also alleges that Northcott violated rule 8.4(d), which stipulates that, “A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status” engages in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice. (Comment 3 to rule 8.4(d))
CAIR’s complaint states in part:
“As an elected official, Mr. Northcott represents a wide constituency with individuals who hold beliefs different than his own. This overt anti-Muslim racism calls into serious question his ability to fairly represent this diverse constituency. Claiming that following Islam, a peaceful religion practiced by 1.6 billion, is “no different than being part of the KKK,” a violent, racist hate group, is evidence that he cannot possibly act impartially. Mr. Northcott’s belief that all Muslims are evil precludes any hope for fairness.”
Earlier this month, CAIR called on Northcott to resign after the revelation of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam statements he posted on Facebook surfaced.
Video: CAIR Calls on Tennessee District Attorney to Resign Over Anti-Muslim Posts
In his Facebook posts, Northcott stated:
- Islam is an “evil belief system.”
- “To deny that their religion teaches hate is also a denial of the truth.”
- Practicing Muslims “must kill anyone who doesn't accept their lie.”
- Muslims “are evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system” and “are no less evil because they don't act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system.”
- To be Muslim is “no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc.”
- “I will not be cowered into pretending that their belief system is legitimate or one of peace.”
- “We are fools if we don't recognize this and protect ourselves, our families, our communities and our country from succumbing to this present and growing threat.”
- “Take a look at what is happening in Europe and see if you want that for America.”
Northcott also stated that rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution do not apply to non-Christians:
“There are no Constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the Constitution. If you don't believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect.”
In addressing the inherent conflict of interest in his ability to carry out the duties of Tennessee Coffee County District Attorney and holding Islamophobic views, Northcott posted:
“I will not be silenced by implications that I am not and can not [sic] do my job correctly if I don't agree with you. If I have to remain silent and not give a defense of the Gospel, I don't want my job. That said, clearly, I am not required to make that decision because I didn't give up my God given right to freedom of religion or speech when I took office.”
Northcott also posted a link to the anti-Muslim far right TIL Project Ministries.
In May, CAIR called on a leader of an Illinois community college located near St. Louis, Mo., to resign over a series of Islamophobic, racist and anti-immigrant messages he posted online.
SEE: CAIR-Missouri Calls for Resignation of Illinois College Board Chairman Over Islamophobic, Racist and Anti-Immigrant Posts
The Georgia chapter of CAIR also called for Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly and Councilman Jim Cleveland to resign in the wake of racist remarks made by both city officials.
SEE: CAIR-Georgia Calls for Mayor of Hoschton and City Councilman to Resign After Racist Remarks
CAIR recently released a groundbreaking report, called “Hijacked by Hate: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network,” listing the philanthropic foundations, many of them mainstream, that were used by anonymous special interest donors to funnel almost $125 million to anti-Muslim hate groups between 2014 and 2016.
The report’s authors noted that one outcome of the funding and promotion of anti-Muslim hate and conspiracy theories has been the measurable nationwide increase in often-fatal anti-Muslim hate violence, bullying of children and discrimination. The period covered by the report showed a marked increase in anti-Muslim hate violence and discrimination.
New CAIR Report: Anonymous Donors Use Mainstream Philanthropic Groups to Funnel Millions to Anti-Muslim Hate Groups
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com