WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Muslim Advocates Public Advocacy Director Scott Simpson released the following statement in response to the appointments of Tony Perkins as chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Ken Cuccinelli as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as the planned appointment of Katharine Gorka as press secretary of U.S. Customs and Border Protection:
“With these appointments, President Trump further entrenches his bureaucracy of bigotry. This administration continues to appoint individuals who have made entire careers out of denying basic dignity to countless Americans because of how they look, pray or love. This bigotry feeds into the policies of this administration, which continue to dehumanize people and roll back the constitutional rights of countless Americans.
Tony Perkins is set to lead our nation’s work on religious freedom for all abroad, yet he has advanced the absurd notion that Islam is not a religion and has claimed that Muslims and pro-LGBTQ Christians aren’t entitled to protection by the Constitution. His record of hostility and extreme views regarding the rights of non-Christians, women and the LGBTQ community shows his clear contempt for the promise of religious freedom for all people and makes him unfit to lead a federal commission on international religious freedom.
Katharine Gorka is an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who thinks the Muslim Brotherhood was dictating U.S. counterterrorism policies and tried to paper over the threat of white nationalist violence that has inspired many attacks on American houses of worship. She too is unfit for a government agency that must protect and secure our borders fairly and justly.
Ken Cuccinelli’s consistent record of hostility towards immigrants, LGBTQ people and Muslims should disqualify him from leading an agency charged with overseeing immigration and citizenship services.
The elevation of these individuals to positions of public trust will only lead to a further erosion of the rights and dignity of countless Americans and the role of the U.S. as a beacon for freedom and justice around the world.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.