September 7th, 2010
03:56 PM ET

Attorney General to meet with faith leaders

Editor's Note: CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden filed this report today about a meeting faith leaders are having with Attorney General Eric Holder later this afternoon.

Attorney General Eric Holder late Tuesday prepared to host a brief meeting with religious leaders concerned about hate crimes against American Muslims as the upcoming 9/11 terrorist attack anniversary coincides with the Muslim Eid-al-Fitr celebration.

Holder frequently meets privately with advocacy groups, minority representatives, and others wanting the ear of the nation’s top law enforcement official. As his crammed schedule allows, Holder–like many of his predecessors–quietly engages in such outreach to listen to concerns and calls for action, even when he may disagree with the message.

In this case, Holder agrees with the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish representatives who are seeking government backing to prevent acts of violence or offensive actions which may be directed toward the Muslim community. What the government can do, however, is another matter.

Holder plans to issue a strongly worded written statement following the meeting to endorse the message of tolerance and civility, and to emphasize the Justice Department commitment to strictly enforce hate crime laws.

Angry public denunciations of the Muslim faith, however, immediately bump up against First Amendment protections, leaving government civil rights lawyers with little room for action absent the commission of crimes.

Private meetings with the Attorney General in his office are prized, and often lead to a certain amount of Washington gamesmanship by those who win such access.

Tuesday the religious leaders are expected to emerge and declare they have won the full support and backing of the federal government in the campaign to stem anti-Muslim bias. Those who meet with an Attorney General are not about to suggest their demands were not met. They also suggest they were sought out for advice from the Attorney General. Indeed Tuesday, as DOJ officials indicated the faith leaders had requested the session, members of the religious delegation said it was Holder who wanted the meeting.

Holder seldom comments on such closed sessions, but because of burning public interest fueled by a mosque controversy near ground zero, a stabbing in New York, and a fire at a Tennessee mosque, the Justice Department will formally acknowledge the meeting and thank the participants for their views.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Holidays • Interfaith issues • Islam • Leaders • Muslim • Politics • Quran • Ramadan

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Frogist

    So the majority of comments here are all about who should we hate? Have you missed the point? Hate profits us nothing as a civilization when it is aimed at your fellow man. I don't even know where to start with this comment thread. Seems like Mr Holder was right to address this overwhelming hate against muslims if these comments are any example of what is out there. Maybe he should have addressed the hatred across party lines too. I don't care if you're republican or democrat, your words are enough to tell me how hate-filled you really are.

    September 8, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  2. warble

    What a bunch pathetic nutcases. I am dealing with the fact that we have Barbara Boxer using her power to commit mass murder by starvation of farmers using water as a mechanism to save fish. Worse, we have an election where Carle F. is a mass murderer from HP that killed hundreds of her own employees via the mechanism of outsourcing. Yup. We are literally being coerced in California to vote between one of two mass murderers. The dead body count is there, but nobody cares. It is all legal.
    Then there is Michele Obama who wants to commit mass murder by starving the poor in the name of cutting food stamp funding so that the funds can be utilized to feed children healthy diets. Kill the poor and feed the children. Makes sense in a civilization where we revere “the best interest of the children.” Next, she will advocate killing our retirees because “the best interest of the children” take priority over the needs of the elderly.
    That is America folks! Cynical. I know. It is factual. It is my human experience in America. If I can find a way to escape then I will!
    Contrast that with a pathetic issue like using freedom of speech to burn the Koran. What, we must cower to threats of murder by foreign powers when we use our right to protest by burning the Koran?
    Kill me. Kill me now. Do it humanly by some other mechanism than mass starvation.
    Check your local morgues for the dead body count. I guarantee that it is going to make a major jump in the next few months as the mass murder of innocent Americans accelerates.
    Pray you don't become one of the dead bodies in the morgues. Deny it if you are so ignorant and stupid. I am only observing and stating the facts.

    September 8, 2010 at 7:52 am |
    • Frogist

      @ warble: It's language like the sort you are using that is making the divisions between people worse. How can we possibly have a fair and open discourse when you causally throw around the term "mass murder"? You have no facts at all to back up your claims that mass murder is being committed by the First lady of all people. You know, whatever gripes you might have, I would suggest, if they are real and not imagined, you work harder to communicate them clearly. Only then will anyone be willing to help you overcome them. As it is, quite frankly, if you really want to be removed from the human populace, all I can say is, God speed!

      September 8, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  3. gene

    I want to label every barbaric act by muslims as hate crimes.

    September 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      And every barbaric act by Christians are legal? And what about atheists?

      September 7, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • Peter F

      Wzrd1... what barbaric acts by Christians are you referring to?

      September 7, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • TammyB

      @ Peter F....Bombings in Northern Ireland (those were christians), bombing abortion clinics, shooting abortion doctors; I personally think burning books is a barbaric act; acts of the KKK (who always cite god), etc. Historically, how about those crusades?

      September 7, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Thanks, TammyB, dinner time and all delayed my response.
      You DID miss another one, how about the Inquisitions? Or is torture until you confess to things that didn't happen, deeds that never occurred and beliefs you do not have NOT barbaric?
      Burning someone alive is certainly civilized.
      In current events, burning Mosques, threatening , intimidating and assault and battery on people that don't share your faith?
      In slightly older events, mass riots in response to bible burnings in the 1960's.
      The religious warfare in the streets of Philadelphia in 1844, where 25 people died, 100 were injured and the Army was called in to restore order (Local protestants vs Irish immigrant Catholics).
      Religious warfare in the Bowery in NYC in 1865 that escalated into open insurrection related to the draft, but the fighting STILL remained along religious lines that required the US Army to utilize artillery and infantry with fixed bayonets to stop the violence. Hundreds dead, thousands injured.
      Yep, a LONG history of barbaric actions, in the name of the Mercy of the Lord.
      And THAT is the short history version, abridged for this forum.
      And for the record, I am a Christian.

      September 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • Reality

      How the USA citizens/taxpayers handle hate crimes:

      Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed as of 8/10/2010 mostly due the Shiite and Sunni suicide bombers.

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – Libya has become almost civil. Recently Libya agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the victims of their terrorist activities. Apparently this new reality from an Islamic country has upset OBL and his “cra-zies” as they have thre-atened Libya. OBL sure is a di-sgrace to the world especially the Moslem world!!! Or is he???

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – Bin La-d-en has been cornered under a rock in Western Pakistan since 9/11.

      – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols will follow soon.

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      – And of course the bloody terror brought about the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      September 8, 2010 at 12:23 am |
  4. Sam

    I got mugged the other day but the guy assured me that he didn't hate me, so it's all good.

    September 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.