Tomorrow, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will chair a hearing on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims,” the first hearing ever held in the newly-created Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. While Sen. Durbin has said that this hearing is not a direct response to the hearing Rep. King (R-NY) held earlier this month on the “radicalization” of the American Muslim community, it will hopefully mitigate its effects and spark much-needed conversation about how well America treats minorities.
In a statement made earlier this week, Sen. Durbin said
“During the course of our history, many religions have faced intolerance. It is important for our generation to renew our founding charter’s commitment to religious diversity and to protect the liberties guaranteed by our Bill of Rights.”
He also noted that he sees this hearing as an opportunity to combat the “spike in anti-Muslim bigotry” that has gained momentum over the past year with the Park 51 controversy, the widespread introduction of anti-Shariah bills, and plans to burn the Quran (which were recently executed).
Among the witnesses tomorrow will be Farhana Khera, President and Executive Director of Muslim Advocates; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick; Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, the Obama Administration’s top civil rights official; and former Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta, the Bush Administration’s top civil rights official—overall, a significantly better qualified panel of witnesses to talk about the issues at hand than most of those at Rep. King’s hearing.
The Interfaith Alliance will submit testimony to the Subcommittee, affirming the need to ensure that the government is doing all it can to protect the civil and religious freedom rights of American Muslims and other American minorities. You can follow the Interfaith Alliance on Twitter for live updates from the hearings on Tuesday and become a fan on Facebook for lengthier updates. We’ll also post later in the week with a recap of how the hearing went.
Click here to listen to Farhana Khera, President and Executive Director of Muslim Advocates, on her organization’s work educating society about Muslims and helping Muslims understand the risks they face within that society. You’ll also hear Rev. Michael Kinnamon, Secretary General of the National Council of Churches, on what Rep. King’s hearing was like from the inside. (Please note, these are extended versions of the interviews originally broadcast nationwide.) -Ed.