New York, NY, July 20, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on five members of Congress, who wrote a letter to various federal agencies accusing certain Muslim Americans of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, to reconsider their "unfounded" charges and to stop "trafficking in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories."
"These sweeping accusations by members of Congress against American citizens who are Muslim are unfair and misguided," said Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Absent clear evidence of direct ties between these individuals and the Muslim Brotherhood, such allegations foment fear and cast the kind of suspicion that undermines rather than advances American counterterrorism efforts."
The ADL leaders also spoke out against criticism of the Department of Justice's exemplary efforts to counter hate crime and to reach out to Muslim communities in the U.S.: "DOJ's outreach efforts, and its commitment to combat hate crimes targeting Muslims, should be applauded, not attacked. After all, the most recent FBI data on hate crimes reflects a disturbing, sustained level of violence directed against Muslims. Any suggestion that the Justice Department's critical policy to combat hate crimes was influenced or motivated by the Muslim Brotherhood is unfounded and reflects a dangerous kind of conspiratorial thinking."
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other members of the House in June wrote to inspectors general in five government agencies, complaining of potential infiltration by the Muslim Brotherhood. The letter accused prominent leaders, such as longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, of being affiliated with the organization. Those accusations could not be substantiated and have since been strongly criticized by prominent Congressional leaders across the political spectrum, including prominent GOP figures like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).
ADL wrote Friday to Rep. Bachman and the other co-signatories to the letter -- Reps. Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland – that their charges were unfounded and irresponsible.
"Members of Congress have an essential role to play in raising legitimate concerns about threats to America's security from international terrorist groups," ADL wrote. "Those efforts should not be tainted by the kind of stereotyping and prejudice that has too frequently accompanied the public debate … We strongly urge you to reconsider your allegations and to refrain from promoting or trafficking in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories in the future."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.