FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 16, 2015
CONTACT: Samantha Friedman, West End Strategy Team, (202) 776-7700, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Inter-Religious Campaign Speaks out on Bigotry against Muslim Congressman
Washington, D.C. – Following the appointment of Representative Andre Carson of Indiana to serve on the House Intelligence Committee [and ensuing backlash on social media], Shoulder to Shoulder, a national interfaith campaign of religious organizations dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment, released the following statement:
“Our nation has prided itself, since its founding, as a home for all to practice their faith without fear of prejudice or discrimination,” said Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign Director Catherine Orsborn. “Our Constitution explicitly demands that there can be no religious test for any public office, we cannot forget the tenor nor the letter of that law. We stand against the hateful rhetoric that has been directed at Representative Carson, the first Muslim-American congressman to sit on the House Intelligence Committee, on the basis of his religious identity. It is the American experiment with religious pluralism and freedom that makes this country unique. To attack an appointee based on his religious identity as such is unfounded and goes against the very values upon which this country was established.
“The purposeful mischaracterization of American Muslims is leading our country down a dangerous path of religious intolerance, one that is inconsistent with the values at the core of our national identity and at the core of our own religious beliefs. All of our faith communities share a prohibition against bearing false witness. It is false witness to assert that by virtue of religious identity, Mr. Carson is somehow unfit to serve on the House Intelligence Committee, despite his proven track record in Congress. By subjecting a Muslim Congressman to scrutiny different from that of his non-Muslim colleagues, we weaken our more perfect union.
“In these difficult times in our world, the U.S. can be an exemplar of human rights and religious liberty if we work hard to uphold these standards at home, for all communities. As we approach Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday this Monday, we would be wise to heed his words that persons, including elected officials, be judged according to the content of their character.”