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Senate panel schedules Muslim rights hearing
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin called the hearings.
March 23rd, 2011
07:58 PM ET

Senate panel schedules Muslim rights hearing

By Rachel Streitfeld, CNN

Washington (CNN) - For the second time this month, members of Congress will hold a hearing on American Muslims - this time with a decidedly different spin.

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee plans to consider “measures to protect the rights of American Muslims” in a March 29 hearing, just weeks after an unrelated House committee prompted a flurry of controversy and media attention by examining the “radicalization of American Muslims.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said Tuesday that he called the hearing on Muslims’ civil rights in response to “a spike in anti-Muslim bigotry” including highly-publicized protests over a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York and a Florida pastor who planned to burn copies of the Koran.

“Our Constitution protects the free exercise of religion for all Americans,” Durbin said in a statement. “During the course of our history, many religions have faced intolerance. It is important for our generation to renew our founding charter’s commitment to religious diversity and to protect the liberties guaranteed by our Bill of Rights.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) welcomed the hearing Wednesday as a “positive development.”

The advocacy group came under criticism at the Muslim radicalization hearing, during which some House members said CAIR had counseled its members against cooperating with law enforcement - a charge the group vehemently denies.

“Given the (radicalization) hearings, given the threatened Koran burning last year, given the opposition to the mosques you see across the country, our story is very much front and center of the civil liberties struggle right now,” said CAIR Legislative Director Corey Saylor.

“I think it would be very important and useful to let people see what’s going on,” he said.

Durbin’s office released a list of speakers for the hearing:

Muslim civil rights leader Farhana Khera; Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick; Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, the Obama Administration’s top civil rights official; and former Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta, the Bush Administration’s top civil rights official.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Politics

soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Jedi

    @ randommuslimguy

    Yup fucntioning democracy where those muslim are not adherent of sunni islam will be persecuted. Yup the so-called Islamic democracy.

    March 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  2. Jedi

    @ Random

    a functioning democracy where blasphemer, apostate and those break Islamic dietary law will be persecuted. a fuctioning democracy where non-muslim(Chinese and indians) were treated like second class citizen...yeah and functioning democracy where freedom of expression, assembly and press were limited.

    March 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Jedi

      @randommuslimguy

      And because Chinese and Indians are allowed to participate in Malaysian politics does it make it democracy while we have to live like second citizen with limited rights. The Coalition partner of the Malay Muslim Nationalist like Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysian Indian Congress are nothing but pawn for United Malay National Organization. A functioning democracy is nothing but a metonymy and a joke

      March 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  3. Iqbal khan

    Read the Quran...

    http://www.mlivo.com/translations/Shabbir%20Ahmed.htm

    March 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Reality

      Some examples of koranic/mosque/imam-driven acts of terror and horror:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.
      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      March 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  4. Nonimus

    This is as bad as the "radicalization" hearing. A Muslim "rights" hearing is still specifying Muslims as opposed to the rest of US citizens. Why not a hearing on the right to Freedom of Religion?

    March 24, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  5. Flora

    M-o-r-mo-n-s are almost worse because they're more sublte. They have the same agenda as izlamists. They want to turn the US into a theocracy with their (false) profit on top and other religions as second class citizens, and women on the bottom. We need tolerance, but we also need COMPLETE separation of church and state. No special privilages for ANY religion. No consideration of ANY 'holy book' in US law.

    March 24, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Walking Tall

      Yes!

      March 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  6. Ryan

    They don't care about you. They just want your vote.

    March 24, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  7. Normative

    People who don't have a rational basis for their motivations are the most dangerous.
    I'm not just talking about religion here, either.

    What is the basis for your motivations? If it is not rational then you are mentally ill and should not be allowed to spread your madness to others.

    People have rights, but their religions should not have any rights.

    Just look at all the crazy problems we have from allowing corporations to have rights. The world is in the toilet.
    And now bribery is considered "free speech".

    Religions should not be respected outside of the religion itself. To expect otherwise is to show the dangerously delusional aspects of any religion.

    You have a mental fantasy and expect us to respect it when you do evil things as a way of expressing your religion?
    Absolutely intolerable.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  8. Jonny Chepe

    Radical extremest that impose their religious philosophizes on others are not welcome in this country, regardless of their religion. Is Durbin up for reelection or something?

    March 24, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  9. Frederica

    Maybe Muslims will bring some sanity back to USA because no one listened to those nice, always-sweet Christians...

    March 24, 2011 at 2:27 am |
  10. Reality

    Saving the Senators a lot of time and at the same time saving many lost souls :

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslim souls:
    There never was and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam

    Saving 2 billion lost Christian souls:
    There was and never will be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity

    Saving the souls of 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    Added details upon request.

    March 24, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  11. jedi

    I also acknowledge that there are people who generalize all Muslim as a threat but the Islamophobia itself should be replace by Muslimphobia since not all Muslims espouse the ideas of being governed by Sharia but the Islam plus Phobia doesn't add up since Islam itself practice by Majority of Muslim world wide is not merely spiritual or just a religion but a way of life, their law and politics which is why there's a reason to be concern since this is the 21st century and the law they practice and apply is the law of the middle ages which is not compatible with freedom of expression, assembly and press and equality espouse in the modern world given that it persecute blasphemer, apostasy and those violate Islamic dietary law. In addition the Sharia Law can also be describe as tribal

    March 23, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  12. jedi

    Is really unfortunate that the term Islamophobia has gain recognition among some within the intellectual and there's no quality base on the definition itself since Islamist and Islamic apologist are trying to describe generally those who are oppose to Islamism as xenophobic or bigots and their fallacy is where they claimed people who are oppose to Islamism lump every muslim together as terrorist – I sure do not peaceful Muslim like Ahmadiyya group with reform Muslim and peter King never said all Muslims are terrorist and Representative King was supported by Muslim scholar such Stephen Schwartz and Zuhdi Jasser. And I have to acknowledge the truth not base on my opinion or merely my experience that according various polls, Majority of worldwide Muslims wants to be govern by Sharia Law – If you think this is OK, I'll let you decide.

    March 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  13. jedi

    And they called it Islamophobia given that these americans and europeans that are fighting for civil rights never live in Muslim countries and they never experience the environment persecution nor have they observe the environment of persecution under Sharia law so they called it phobia (an unfounded fear) until they see the reality. History repeat itself the same way since the wider political left are fighting for Muslim civil rights and they sure never learn from the history of Iran where the left-wing National Front used to be an ally of Islamist since they have something in common against the shah. After the Islamist took over due to the Iranian revolution the Nafional Front and other secular left of Iran were suppress by Islamic regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini.

    March 23, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  14. dan

    IF YOU WANT TO LIVE IN NORTH AMERICA LIVE BY OUR RULES , IF NOT MOVE THE HELL BACK HOME !! SIMPLE , I DON'T SEE THE CONFUSION HERE .....

    March 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • paperjihad

      Dan, nobody is arguing that, but in this case the rules have to be applied fairly. Mosque projects are being routinely protested and blocked, vandalism of established mosques is up (two fires at one mosque in Texas is now being investigated), harassment of women wearing hijab is becoming commonplace (my friend's wife has been spat at), and certain far-right elements seem to be working hard to make make Muslims and Islam a national issue in the next presidential debate. Muslims have been (willfully) immigrating to this country since 1875, and up to 40 percent of American Muslims are African American (albeit that number includes heterodox and spin-off religions such as the Nation of Islam).

      March 23, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • jedi

      @ paperjihad

      You don't know definition of unfairness until you live in Saudi Arabia or other Muslim countries where Islam is the state religion which is where non-muslim rights to freedom of religion will be limited. Talk about far right element look no further -Islamist themselves are extreme right wing religious fundamentalist. BTW if you thought i strongly supported American rights guess again – I don't support American righthist unless on other issues unless it is related to Islamic threat we're facing today.

      March 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  15. jedi

    Just like Nihad Awad the leader of CAIR said: Islam is not in America to be equal. Boumédienne, the former President of Algeria has stated: "One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory."

    March 23, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Ibrahim

      I'm sorry, but you're lying. Nihad Awad never said that. The quote is attributed to Omar Ahmad, and even he says the reporter who claimed he said those words was lying and that he said no such thing.

      March 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Jedi

      @ Ibrahim

      OK it was Omar M. Ahmad founder of CAIR said:'Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant' he said. So don't tell me I'm lying again

      http://www.islamreview.com/articles/sharia.shtml

      March 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  16. jedi

    jedi

    The Mass of the Muslim world wants to be governed by Sharia, we're allowing these people to migrate to EU, US Canada to shift the balance of religious population so they could change the system and destroy the life, liberty,equality and the right to pursue happiness that American have built. Thanks to political correctness that is getting out of control. I was and raise in a Muslim country(Malaysia) where Islam is a state religion and non-muslim like me live in a segregated system where Muslim get special privileges to education, economy, their rights to proselyte and take non-muslim women as thei wife while non-muslim don't that privileges like Muslim and we're not allowed to proselyte Muslims.

    March 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  17. jedi

    Mass of the Muslim wants to be governed by Sharia, we're allowing this people migrating to EU, US Canada to shift the balance of religious population so they could change the system and destroy the life, liberty,equality and the right to pursue happiness American have built. Thanks to political correctness getting out of control. I was and raise in a Muslim country(Malaysia) where Islam is a state religion and non-muslim like me live in a segregated system where Muslim get special privileges to education, economy, their rights to proselyte and take non-muslim women as thei wife while non-muslim don't that privileges like Muslim and we're not allowed to proselyte Muslims.

    March 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • randommuslimguy

      Malaysia? Really? You're in a country where the indigneous population fears ending up like their neighbouring country down south (where I live) and immigrants from a certain North Asian country will overwhelm them by sheer numbers/economic know-how. Dude/Lady, here we ridicule the insane amount of political nonsense Malaysia goes through but funny or otherwise, you're in a country which has a functioning democratic system unlike where I'm from (which you should probably know by now) is governed by the ever popular single-party democracy which works (I admit). Malaysian Malays don't want their country to be swept from under their feet. THey've seen it happen. They know it works. I might not agree with EVERY Bumiputera law they come up with but at least they watch their own backs and remind every other racial/religious minority that they were there first. It sucks, I know. But I won't hold it against them because in an "equal" society, there are always some who are more "equal" than others.

      As for Sharia, if 80% of Muslims are truly claiming to want Sharia, barely 5% of it know what Sharia truly espouses. Oh sure, ask the Random Muslim guy and he'll give you a gist of what he knows like marriage of 4 women, haram and halal and stuff that truly APPEALS to the individual rather than the whole deal. There are barely any real Sharia jurists left in the world and the more learned masters of the law are (unsurprisingly) non-Muslims who've taken it upon themselves to learn.

      A lot of Muslims: irreligious, moderate, pious, fanatical or otherwise aren't really sure of what Sharia, True Sharia means. Its like any other Justice System: it can be exploited as well as enforced properly. These Muslims...they follow what they like: Hadiths that agree with them (though some might not even be real) and ignore what they don't want to hear. They grow up following old racial traditions which they confuse as Islamic and don't ever want to change them not matter where they go.

      I'm...in a crisis of faith myself. I've spoken to my Uztadz and they've understood my anger at the religion. "Islam is a religion of Peace" gets olds when a guy blows him/herself up killing scores of innocent people. But that is how they perceive Martyrdom. Even Bouazizi, who burned himself alive, and act most Sunni Muslims would consider reprehensible BECAUSE its suicidal PERCEIVES it as Martyrdom. Is it? Comparing it to the laws of Sharia, most won't like the answer.

      But I'm ranting. Sucker Punch is out!

      March 24, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • Jedi

      @ RandomMuslimguy

      a functioning democracy where blasphemer, apostate and those break Islamic dietary law will be persecuted. a fuctioning democracy where non-muslim(Chinese and indians) were treated like second class citizen...yeah and functioning democracy where freedom of expression, assembly and press were limited.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Jedi

      @randommuslimguy

      Yup fucntioning democracy where those muslim are adherent of sunni islam will be persecuted. Yup the so-called Islamic democracy – What a joke.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Jedi

      @randomuslimguy

      correction
      fucntioning democracy where those muslim are adherent of sunni islam will be persecuted.

      March 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Jedi

      @randommuslimguy
      correction
      fucntioning democracy where those muslim are not adherent of sunni islam will be persecuted.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  18. Tony

    i got to got will talk manana

    March 23, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  19. Tony

    T for tuth

    March 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  20. Tony

    The Battle in Mina....

    March 23, 2011 at 10:32 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.