Federal Government Has An Important Role In Assessing and Addressing Anti-Muslim Bigotry

New York, NY, March 29, 2011 … As a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee convened hearings today on protecting the civil rights of American Muslims, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on Congress and the Obama Administration to enforce hate crime laws, promote and protect religious freedom while funding anti-bias bullying prevention and education initiatives.

In a statement submitted to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, the League expressed concerns about anti-Muslim bigotry and described its work on confronting hostility toward Muslim Americans and other forms of discrimination and bigotry.

Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, National Director, issued the following statement:

A significant level of anti-Muslim bigotry has surfaced in a variety of public forums over the past year. Much of it has focused on various plans to build or expand mosques around the country. Many of those debates have been characterized by unfair stereotyping and prejudice that have singled out the Muslim American community for special scrutiny and suspicion.

We hope these hearings will explore and gauge the level of bigotry and hostility, as well as recommend initiatives that combat discrimination and profiling and promote respect and religious liberty for all in our schools and communities.

In a letter and an accompanying Backgrounder (PDF) on Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Bigotry in the United States to Judiciary Committee members, ADL expressed concerns about anti-Muslim bigotry, outlining several different measures to gauge the level of hostility – reported hate crimes, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints, efforts to prevent mosques from being built in communities, and unwarranted legislative efforts to target a "phantom threat" – the infiltration of Shari'a law into America's judicial system.