(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/9/2013) — The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization, today submitted written testimony for a House hearing on the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings.
Today's hearing by the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), is a first in a series of expected public hearings to investigate what happened during the Boston attacks, what law enforcement and intelligence agencies knew prior to the attacks and what steps can be taken to prevent future attacks from occurring.
CAIR's testimony examines the attacks and offers a series of recommendations on how law enforcement can better organize counterterrorism programs to prevent acts of al-Qaeda-inspired violent extremism.
CAIR's recommendations include: 1) calls for stronger countering violent extremism (CVE) programs that support direct community outreach and engagement; 2) federal guidance on how to intervene with people vulnerable to violent extremism; and, 3) law enforcement investigations that pursue and prevent criminal actions, not religious beliefs.
While some members in Congress, like Rep. Peter King (R-NY), have called for increased surveillance of American Muslims, CAIR's testimony urges the committee to reject blanketed surveillance programs, such as that carried out by the New York Policy Department, which damage the trust of ethnic and religious minorities.Â
“CAIR and the American Muslim community were horrified and dismayed by the tragic events that occurred in Boston,” said CAIR Government Affair Manager Robert McCaw. “As a nation, we are obligated to examine how well federal law enforcement carried out their responsibilities prior to and after the attacks, and to determine what lessons may be learned to better protect our nation's citizens.”
McCaw added: “We appreciate Rep. McCaul's sober and objective chairing of the hearing. Such a hearing contributes to protecting all Americans from violent extremists. This responsible approach is a welcome shift from Rep. Peter King's tenure, which was characterized by unsubstantiated allegations and biased attacks on the Muslim community.”
CAIR encourages those who are unable to attend the hearing to watch it onlineÂ and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtags #BostonMarathon and #HomelandSecurityCommittee.
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, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, email@example.com