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Faith leaders condemn anti-Muslim congressional hearing

March 10, 2011

The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the Task Force, denounces the congressional hearing today on the so-called “radicalization” of Muslims in the United States called by U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

With the backdrop of a rising tide of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant climate in this country, it is vital that Muslim and non-Muslim faith voices stand up against the demonization of an entire community. Here are some of those voices.

Faisal Alam and Urooj Arshad, Queer Muslim Collective:

As Rep. King’s hearings begin today on the so called “radicalization” of Muslims in America, we are deeply concerned about the resulting negative  psychological impact being experienced by the LGBT Muslim community. LGBT Muslims will once again be caught in the rising tide of Islamophobia emanating from both the mainstream U.S. society and from within the conservative elements of the gay and lesbian movement. We stand together with our allies against putting our faith our trial.

Rev. Nancy Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches:

Those of us who are LGBT people of faith know what it is like to be branded, to be brushed with a single brush, to be linked to vile stereotypes and judged before we are known. Today, the people of Metropolitan Community Churches, globally, stand together as one, denouncing, in the strongest terms, the upcoming hearings in the U.S. Congress that will only lead to more violence and misunderstanding aimed at our Muslim brothers and sisters. This is a time for people of faith to come together, to be open, to learn, to be in solidarity against all violence and prejudice, not to inflame it.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA:

The House Homeland Security Committee’s hearing this week sends a dangerous signal to our country. It is unfair and dangerous to suggest that American Muslims represent a threat to our national security. As lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, we express solidarity with Muslims who may feel further marginalized by being the focus of these hearings. We urge Congressman King and his committee to examine the question of how people are recruited to perform acts of terrorism broadly and with open minds. A strong nation will be built by strengthening bonds across diverse communities, not by suggesting that some groups pose risks to others.

Rev. Malcolm Himschoot, United Church of Christ:

Cultural pluralism, with relationship between different peoples, is a wonderful basis for a democracy based on human rights, respecting of all religions. Let us not sow seeds of distrust at this time, of all times!

Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., Co-director, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER):

In a multi-religious society, every faith tradition deserves to be treated with respect, indeed reverence for the holy to which it points. Let Muslims everywhere, especially those in the United States, feel the strong support of people from other religious communities. Together, we resist oppression and welcome diversity in the name of all that is holy.

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