(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/11/10) – A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group today said a recent statement by former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) seeming to advocate literacy tests for voting rights would “turn back the clock on the civil rights movement.”
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned Tancredo for claiming that President Obama is a “Socialist ideologue” who was elected only because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote.”
[Jim Crow-era literacy tests were once used to keep African-Americans from voting in Southern elections. In 2007, Tancredo advocated threatening to bomb the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina as part of his proposed anti-terror policy.]
Tancredo made those remarks at the recent National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn. Another convention speaker questioned whether President Obama was born in Hawaii and cast doubt on whether the president was legitimately elected.
SEE: Tea Party Convention’s Racial Brouhaha: Obama Won Because Jim Crow-Era Law Not on Books – Tancredo
“Mr. Tancredo’s offensive remarks are an insult to all those who fought, and sometimes died, to ensure that Americans of all races could exercise their right to vote,” said CAIR National Board Chairman State Senator Larry Shaw (NC). “To re-impose such discriminatory tests would turn back the clock on the civil rights movement.”
Sen. Shaw called on elected officials in both major parties to repudiate Tancredo’s remarks. He also urged National Tea Party Convention organizers to distance themselves from the racist and extremist views expressed by Tancredo and other speakers.
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.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com