Leading Civil Rights, Faith Groups Urge Political Parties to Hold Candidates Responsible for Religious Bigotry

47 groups send letter to Republican and Democratic Party Leaders in light of recent anti-Muslim remarks made by presidential candidates

Sept. 29, 2015—Today, Muslim Advocates and 46 civil rights, interfaith, community, and advocacy groups urged both Republican and Democratic party leadership to hold accountable political candidates and members of each respective party engaged in promoting religious bigotry. The letter, addressed to Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus and Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, expresses deep concern about dangerous and divisive statements made during the current election cycle, which contribute to a dangerous environment for American Muslims.

“Our politicians need to take a leadership role by bringing Americans together, not pulling us apart with bigoted rhetoric based on faith,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. “We are experiencing a period of vicious hate crimes targeting American Muslims and other religious groups across the country. These crimes and acts of discrimination are not taking place in a vacuum. Those who are creating this toxic environment need to be held accountable.”

The coalition letter comes on the heels of a number of bigoted statements about Islam and directed at American Muslims by candidates in the Presidential election.

“In just the last few days one candidate has suggested that he would be ‘looking at’ getting rid of Muslims, while another has said that a Muslim should never be President of the United States and that Islam is incompatible with the Constitution,” the letter states. “These ideas contradict the very essence of America—that a group of people from all walks of life, diverse in every imaginable way can form a lasting bond based on the shared belief in the principles of liberty, freedom, and justice.”

“The commander-in-chief must also be the example-in-chief,” said Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance. “The next president will swear to uphold the Constitution – the First Amendment included – every candidate should show us today that they plan to keep that oath by standing up for the rights of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs and all Americans regardless of faith and belief.”

The letter was signed by 47 groups, including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, ColorofChange.org, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Human Rights Campaign, NAACP, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the ACLU, and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

To read the entire 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. Visit Muslim Advocates at www.muslimadvocates.org and follow @muslimadvocates.