President Obama Urged to Hold Summit on Religious Tolerance

San Francisco, CA: On the heels of a landmark Senate hearing on hate crimes and the threat of domestic violent extremism, nearly 100 civic, civil rights, faith, and community groups September 20 sent a letter to President Obama urging him to host a summit on religious tolerance.  Organizations including Muslim Advocates, the Anti-Defamation League, the Sikh Coalition, the NAACP, and the Interfaith Alliance, joined in asking the President to convene faith leaders, civic organizations, law enforcement, victims of hate crimes, state, local and federal officials, and other stakeholders to solve an escalating crisis that has left Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and other Americans of religious minority backgrounds vulnerable and in danger.

“In just the last several weeks, we have witnessed one of the deadliest hate crimes in our nation’s history – a gruesome attack on Sikh worshipers at their gurdwara, as well as attacks on mosques and the desecration of Muslim graves,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates.  “Religious bigotry has reached a crisis point in America, and it is time for President Obama to ensure that this climate of hate and bigotry does not continue to spiral out of control.”

The coalition letter highlights President Clinton’s year-long national initiative to address racial differences entitled, “One America in the 21st Century: The President’s Initiative on Race,” which included a conference specifically on hate crimes.  President Obama is urged to hold a summit on religious tolerance and address the new wave of religious bigotry and hate motivated crimes, which pose grave dangers to ordinary Americans who are just trying to live their daily lives, work hard and provide for their families.

In addition to the joint coalition letter, Muslim Advocates submitted a statement to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, for the hearing on hate crimes led by Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL). 

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