SAALT Joins Advocates at Meeting with Attorney General to Raise Concerns about Anti-Muslim Backlash
(Washington DC) - SAALT's Executive Director, Deepa Iyer, joined a diverse group of community and faith leaders at a meeting on September 7th with Attorney General Eric Holder to address the recent rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric and incidents around the United States.
Community leaders asked the Department of Justice to take action in a variety of ways including: a public statement from the Attorney General asserting the federal government's commitment to religious freedom and condemning violence and harassment; vigorous prosecution of hate crimes and bias incidents; and a coordinated federal inter-agency mechanism.
"During the meeting, Attorney General Holder reaffirmed the federal government's role in addressing the current backlash," noted Iyer. "He remarked that this is a defining moment for our country and urged Americans to vocally oppose the intolerant rhetoric and actions occurring around the nation."
South Asians have been affected by the spate of hate-motivated violence across the country, including a Bangladeshi cab driver who was attacked in New York City after being asked if he was Muslim, a Sikh convenience store clerk who was punched in the head after being called a terrorist, and the planned Quran burning this Saturday in Florida.
"As we approach the nine-year anniversary of September 11, the current environment in our country should be a reminder that all of us - public officials, government agencies and members of the community - must continue to be vigilant in upholding the rights of all Americans."
For further information, please refer to SAALT's statement denouncing the use of inflammatory racist, xenophobic and anti-Muslim language by public officials or media outlets including actions for community members to take to make their voices heard.