January 10, 2017
Issue: Fighting Bigotry
Muslim Advocates Reacts to Sen. Sessions’ First Day of Confirmation Hearings
After the first day of confirmation hearings, Muslim Advocates continues to oppose Sen. Sessions’ nomination to serve as Attorney General. During the hearings, Sessions stated that many people have religious views that threaten public safety, left the door open to detaining Americans without granting them their legal rights, and defended David Horowitz, the founder of a hate group, even after hearing bigoted statements made by him.
“After today’s hearing, minority communities continue to remain unsettled about Senator Sessions’ ability to protect the civil rights of all Americans as Attorney General of the United States,” said Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates staff attorney and lead for the Program to Counter Anti-Muslim Hate. “Senator Sessions declined to disavow the dangerous views of prominent anti-Muslim proponents, and we believe that his record should disqualify him from serving as our nation’s top law enforcement officer.”
During the hearing, when Sen. Leahy asked why Sessions did not support a resolution that in part stated, “the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion,” Sessions defended his decision by explaining that the resolution made clear that the government “could not seriously consider a person’s religious views,” and that he believed “many people do have religious views that are inimical to the public safety of the United States.”
Furthermore, during the hearing, Sessions agreed with the position that Americans could be detained without being granted their legal rights, and when directly asked about his opinion on internment camps, had a very difficult time verbalizing a definitive position, leaving the possibility to repeat an embarrassing period in our nation’s history.
Sessions also refused to disavow or separate himself from hate groups and leaders that have promoted bigoted sentiments against American Muslims. At one point in the hearing, Sen. Blumenthal read quotes from David Horowitz, one of the founders of an organization Sessions has accepted an award from. Quotes included, “all the major Muslim organizations in America are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood,” and “80% of the mosques are filled with hate against Jews and Americans.” Instead of unequivocally condemning these comments, Sessions stated, “I don’t believe David Horowitz is a racist or a person that would treat anybody improperly.”
Muslim Advocates led a coalition of civil rights leaders earlier this week to send a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee questioning Sessions’ qualification to serve as the next Attorney General. To read the coalition letter, click here.