March 8, 2011, New York – In response to the impending hearings being held by United States Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response” on March 10, 2011, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
The Center for Constitutional Rights has no doubt that Representative King’s hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response,” in singling out an entire community exclusively because of its religious and racial identity, will lead only to division, discrimination and further violations of rights. These hearings are the work of a fear-mongering legislator wrapping racism and unconstitutional attacks on freedom of religion in the rhetoric of national security. Indeed, the day after the King hearings the Center for Constitutional Rights will be in federal court to defend its longstanding religious profiling case, Turkmen v. Ashcroft. The case was brought on behalf of Muslim, Arab and South Asian men rounded up on minor immigration charges in the wake of 9-11 and held for months in detention until cleared by the FBI of any connection to terrorism. The men were arrested based only on their religion and nationality. Their prolonged detention in supermaximum security confinement and systematic abuse was documented in several government reports. For example, on arrival at the detention center, they had their faces smashed into a wall where a t-shirt emblazoned with an American flag and the words, “These colors don’t run,” had been taped. The t-shirt was spattered with the blood of the detainees who came in before them. The King hearings are different in form, but they send the same message to Muslims in the U.S. and around the world: you are suspect because of your race and religion, and your rights count less than those of white, non-Muslim, Americans.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.