(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/4/15) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced that it has joined 150 civil rights groups, advocacy organizations, bar associations, business associations, academic institutions and professionals, and student organizations in joining the Asian Americans Advancing Justiceâ€™sÂ amicus (â€œfriend of the courtâ€) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to â€œsupport the proper use of race-conscious programs.â€Â
READ: THE ENTIRE BRIEFÂ
This brief was filed in support of the University of Texas-Austinâ€™s (UT-Austin) right to consider race along with other diversity factors in admissions, because race-conscious admissions have opened the doors of higher education to many minority students.Â
NOTE: The American Muslim community is one of the most racially-diverse religious groups in the United States.
The amicus brief states in part:
â€œRace-conscious policies, like UT Austinâ€™s holistic review, are designed to increase diversity on campus by comprehensively evaluating applicants and do not consider race mechanically or only for certain groups.â€
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that universities may consider race as part of a holistic review process to increase racial diversity on campus. When instructed to look more carefully at whether UT-Austin tried other methods of achieving greater racial diversity before considering race, the 5th Circuit determined that the universityâ€™s efforts to increase racial diversity through race-neutral means did not result in the qualitative diversity that it sought, and therefore upheld theÂ use of race as a factor in its holistic admissions policy. That decision was appealed, forcing a second hearing of the case by the U.S. Supreme Court in December.
In a statement about the case, CAIR National Civil Rights Litigation Director Jenifer WicksÂ said:
â€œThe UT-Austin admissions program, like other programs sanctioned by the courts, considers race as one of many factors that may shed light on applicantsâ€™ past achievements and future potential. If this changes, it would signal that even limited and individualized consideration of race is impermissible.
â€œAs stated in the brief,Â banning the consideration of race turns a blind eye to the reality of race and racism in this country. We therefore oppose this attempt to handicap universities like UT-Austin that properly balance the need for racial diversity with a commitment to individualized review.â€
Earlier this year, CAIR filedÂ an amicus brief on inmate religious rightsÂ with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which is considering whether the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's (TDCJ) policy requiring direct supervision by a chaplain or outside volunteer of inmates who gather in groups for religious services is unconstitutional. The Court has not decided that case.
In June, in a case in which CAIR also filedÂ an amicus briefÂ with the U.S. Supreme Court, the court determined that clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch's refusal to hire a Muslim woman wearing a religious headscarf (hijab) was discriminatory.
CAIRÂ also applauded a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme CourtÂ that a Muslim inmate in Arkansas be permitted to grow a beard in accordance with his religious beliefs.
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.Â Â
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CONTACT: CAIR National Civil Rights Litigation Director Jenifer Wicks, 202-640-4934, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org;Â CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-341-4171,Â email@example.com