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CAIR Seeks Boost in Civil Rights Agenda After Resignation of AG Holder

CAIR-logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/25/14) The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the White House and Department of Justice (DOJ) to move forward on the adoption of a more comprehensive civil rights agenda following the announced resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder.

CAIR responded to Holder's resignation mainly with praise for his defense of civil liberties, but offered criticism of some law enforcement practices and asked that he “issue guidelines on racial profiling that protect the rights of all Americans without any exceptions” as he makes his exit from office.

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In a statement in response to Holder's resignation, CAIR said:

“The American Muslim community will remember Holder's tenure as a period in which the civil rights of Muslims and other minorities were either defended with the greatest vigor in some arenas, or completely disregarded in others.

“Under Mr. Holder's administration, the DOJ forcefully confronted discrimination of Muslim employees in the workplace, challenged neglect or bullying of children in schools, upheld the right of communities to build mosques and cemeteries, and prosecuted perpetrators of hate crimes and acts of vandalism. Mr. Holder also oversaw the FBI's purge of hundreds of anti-Muslim training materials used in counterterrorism trainings as well as the banning of biased instructors.

“CAIR also commends Mr. Holder in his vigorous defense of the nation's immigrant community from overreaching state immigration laws and from state laws restricting ballot access. CAIR also applauds his support for the Fair Sentencing Act and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

“Unfortunately, the DOJ under Mr. Holder's watch did very little to address frequent reports of FBI harassment of Muslim communities, profiling, intimidation, warrantless surveillance, use of ex-convicts as community spies, informant driven plots of entrapment, coercion to speak without legal representation, purposeful misapplication of terrorist watch lists — including the extrajudicial exile of American citizens traveling abroad — inappropriate religious questioning at the U.S. border and ports of entry, acts of wrongful detention, and lethal use of force.

“Mr. Holder also failed to respond to the request of more than 120 civil rights, religious and community groups calling on the DOJ to investigate the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) sweeping surveillance of American Muslim institutes including houses of worship, student groups and businesses that cater to the Muslim community. While the NYPD unit that conducted the spying was disbanded in April, the city has not assured community members that it will put a permanent end to mass surveillance or other forms of biased and predatory policing.

“Seeking to make the release of the DOJ's long-awaited racial profiling guidelines a part of his lasting legacy, reports indicate that Mr. Holder's update to the guidance will still include exceptions for federal law enforcement agents to profile in cases of national security and border enforcement – an exception that will negatively impact Hispanic and Muslim communities.

“As Mr. Holder prepares to make his exit, CAIR strongly urges that he issue guidelines on racial profiling that protect the rights of all Americans without any exceptions.”

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.

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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com

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