(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/19/11) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today urged American Muslims and other people of conscience to call members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee about proposed legislation that singles out American Muslims for additional scrutiny over the threat of violent extremism in the United States.
The Senate Committee will continue its consideration of the resolution on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.
Section 213 of the “Department of Homeland Security Reauthorization Act 2011 (S. 1546)” states.
“The Secretary [of Homeland Security] shall designate an official of the Department [of Homeland Security] to coordinate efforts to counter violent extremism in the United States, particularly the ideology that gives rise to Islamist terrorism …”
CAIR believes that the legislation, sponsored by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME), is too narrowly focused and does not go far enough to keep Americans safe from all types of violent extremism.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s own statistics show there are a variety of domestic extremist groups threatening the nation and that each deserves serious consideration and consistent attention,” said CAIR Government Affairs Coordinator Robert McCaw.
SEE: Surveying State Police Agencies about Domestic Terrorism and Far-Right Extremists
American Muslims are the most likely faith group to reject attacks on civilians in the United States, according to an August 2011 survey published by Gallup.
SEE: Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future
“Muslim-American organizations and the vast majority of individuals that we interviewed firmly reject the radical extremist ideology that justifies the use of violence to achieve political ends,” said David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.
SEE: Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-American Communities
McCaw stated: “CAIR, along with the mainstream American Muslim community, utterly rejects violent extremists. Any action that harms innocent civilians is reprehensible, regardless of ideology that drives it. Focusing solely on American Muslims to combat domestic extremism is misguided.”
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 Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org