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CAIR Welcomes AG Holder's Statement on Muslim Civil Rights, Return to Robust Civil Rights Enforcement, and Outreach, CAIR, June 9, 2009


The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed a statement by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder committing the Justice Department to protecting the civil rights of American Muslims.

In the statement, which was released in conjunction with President Obama’s historic address in Cairo on Thursday, Attorney General Holder said:

"The President's pledge for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim community takes root here in the Justice Department where we are committed to using criminal and civil rights laws to protect Muslim Americans. A top priority of this Justice Department is a return to robust civil rights enforcement and outreach in defending religious freedoms and other fundamental rights of all of our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the housing market, in our schools and in the voting booth.

"There are those who will continue to want to divide by fear - to pit our national security against our civil liberties - but that is a false choice. We have a solemn responsibility to protect our people while we also protect our principles."

SEE: Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder

“After eight years in which American Muslims saw their rights as citizens curtailed, we welcome Attorney General Holder’s pledge to renew civil rights enforcement and outreach efforts,” said CAIR National Board Chair Larry Shaw. “We agree with the attorney general that our nation can and must be both free and secure.”

SEE: Calif. Police Investigate Mosque Graffiti as Hate Crime SEE ALSO: Florida Muslim's Deportation Trial a Test Case for Obama

Shaw said American Muslims and civil libertarians are particularly concerned about Justice Department guidelines, implemented in the last days of the Bush administration, which allow race and ethnicity to be factors in opening an investigation.

Fact Sheet - New Attorney General Guidelines

He said other civil rights concerns include FBI agent provocateurs sent into American mosques, citizenship delays, politicized “terror” trials, and misuse by the Department of Justice of the “unindicted co-conspirator” label. Many American Muslims believe these past government actions negatively impacted the ability to exercise their constitutional rights.

Yesterday, President Obama committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill their religious obligation of charitable giving, or zakat. Under the Bush administration, a number of American Muslim charitable organizations had been shut down or prosecuted.

SEE: President Obama to American Muslims: I Will Ease the Impact of Post-9/11 Scrutiny of Charities

CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.



CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726,


CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171,


CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, E-Mail:





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