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CAIR Urges U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to Drop Appointee Who Says Constitution Does Not Protect Muslims

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/31/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to drop newly-appointed commissioner Tony Perkins because of his past statements denying constitutional protections to American Muslims.

Perkins was appointed to the commission, which is dedicated to defending the “universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad,” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

In the past, Perkins has claimed that “those who practice Islam in its entirety” should not be afforded the same constitutional protections as other Americans because Islam is “incompatible with the Constitution.” He also claims that “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion.” His organization, the Family Research Council, has called for a ban on mosques.

In 2014, Perkins said: We are a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, that’s the foundation of our nation, not Islam, but the Judeo-Christian God.” (Washington Watch radio show, September 2014)

In a 2015 email, he wrote: “What most people either don’t realize or willfully ignore is that only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic, and political system. . .Sharia is not a religion in the context of the First Amendment.” (Family Research Council Email, December 2015)

SEE: New ”˜Religious Freedom’ Appointee Claims Islam ”˜is Incompatible with the Constitution’

Perkins: ”˜Only 16 Percent of Islam Is a Religion’ So Immigration Ban Not a ”˜Religious Test on Muslims’

Southern Poverty Law Center: Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins: Islam ‘Is Incompatible with the Constitution’                                    

“Mr. Perkins’ bigoted, un-American statements contradict the mission of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and should result in his removal,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “The commission must ensure that the religious freedoms of Muslims will be protected, not ignored or dismissed.”

Yesterday, CAIR called on the Trump administration to drop a former leader of a designated anti-Muslim hate group from its National Security Council (NSC) staff.

SEE: CAIR Calls for Removal of Anti-Muslim Hate Group Leader from White House National Security Council Staff

CAIR said it has witnessed an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president. The Washington-based civil rights organization has also repeatedly expressed concern about Islamophobic and racist Trump administration policies and appointments.

Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: 

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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