Contact: Fatima Khan, (617) 216-7089, [email protected]
American Muslims Call on Secretary of State John Kerry to Protect Their Religious Freedom
Letter sent after 2013 attack on Americans during Hajj pilgrimage
(August 26, 2014) — Today, Muslim Advocates along with a coalition of 27 American Muslim organizations called on Secretary of State John Kerry to ensure Americans are able to safely perform the annual religious Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, which starts in October this year. The Hajj pilgrimage represents one of the five pillars of Islam and is meant to be undertaken at least once in a lifetime. The groups sent a letter requesting that the government ensure the protection of American Muslims’ religious freedoms when performing the obligatory pilgrimage, just as the U.S. government protects citizens of other faiths.
The request comes a year after a group of American Muslims from Dearborn, Michigan, was attacked during the Hajj because the group belonged to the Shia denomination of Muslims. The Americans were viciously attacked, including men being strangled and women threatened with rape. When these individuals reached out to the U.S. Embassy for help, their calls were not returned.
“It is critical that our government protects all citizens and supports them when their rights are violated—both here and abroad,” said Mohamed Sabur, Muslim Advocates charities program director. “We are asking Secretary Kerry to use his diplomatic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to protect American citizens, and to ensure that if Americans are in jeopardy, they can rely on the U.S. Embassy for immediate assistance.”
To read the coalition letter, click here.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization working on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths. Through high impact lawsuits, policy advocacy, and community education, Muslim Advocates serves as a resource to empower communities and ensures that the American Muslim community is heard by the courts and leaders at the highest level of government. To learn more about action taken related to this letter or for quotes or additional background on your reporting please contact Fatima Khan or visit Muslim Advocates at www.muslimadvocates.org and follow @muslimadvocates.