Statement by the UUA for Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims
On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights has scheduled a hearing entitled “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims.” The hearing, called by subcommittee chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), featured a series of witnesses addressing the topic.
The following statement by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations was entered for submission into the Congressional Record:
March 28th, 2011
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) rejects attempts by some members of Congress to target American Muslims for particular scrutiny based on no other reason than their religious affiliation. The UUA is part of “Shoulder to Shoulder,” an interfaith coalition that stands in solidarity with Muslim Americans whom we recognize to be an integral part of our nation’s history and cultural landscape. As part of the Shoulder to Shoulder coalition, we condemned the hearing convened by Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Enforcement Rep. Peter King earlier this month. We commend Sen. Richard Durbin and allies for convening a Senate Subcommittee hearing to ensure that the rights and liberties of Muslim Americans are protected.
One of the founding principles upon which the United States was built is freedom of conscience or religious liberty for every person. From our First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion to the writings of Thomas Jefferson who explicitly stated that “the mantle of [our law’s] protection” be extended to “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination,” our shared national legacy upholds this right. Unitarian Universalism shares this founding principle. Our Unitarian predecessors, including the nation’s second and sixth presidents John and John Quincy Adams, worked tirelessly to ensure that our society treats all equally, whether based on race or religion. The fourth of our association’s “Seven Principles” affirms that everyone has the right to “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” In short, just like our nation the faith tradition of Unitarian Universalism is deeply rooted in affirming the right to profess the faith that our consciences call us to profess without fear of political reprisal.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr prophetically said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” An attack on Muslim Americans is an attack on us all; it is an attack on what it means to be American. We thank you for convening this hearing and trust that you will continue to uphold the rights of all Americans regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliation.