"50 years later, lamenting state of civil rights division" letter

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 6, 2007 

"50 years later, lamenting state of civil rights division"

The September 5th story "50 years later, lamenting state of civil rights division" made sweeping claims about the current state of the Justice Department. While the article accurately notes that "the main religious discrimination you would find these days is against Muslims", its assertion that the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is doing nothing to protect the rights of Muslims is simply incorrect. As a leading Muslim American advocacy organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council maintains a strong and effective relationship with the Department of Justice. The Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties regularly meets with MPAC, as well as Arab and Sikh groups, to address community concerns.

Defending the rights of Muslims has been a major focus of the Civil Rights Division's efforts to protect against religious discrimination and hate crimes. Since 9/11, the Civil Rights division has prosecuted several cases dealing with threats of violence against Muslims, and cases involving harassment of Muslim students make up the single largest category of religious discrimination in education cases pursued by the Division. Religious discrimination is a growing problem, and while there may be policy concerns emanating from within the Justice Department that negatively affect the Muslim community, unfairly pointing fingers at the Civil Rights Division is not the answer.

Safiya J. Ghori Government Relations Director Muslim Public Affairs Council 110 Maryland Ave, Suite 210 NE Washington, DC 20002

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