WASHINGTON – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, announced today that a coalition of 82 civil liberties, human rights, immigrant rights, faith, and cultural organizations (see list of signatories below) sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to investigate the growing phenomena of so-called “Muslim-free zone” businesses nationwide.
[MEDIA ADVISORY: At 2 p.m. today, there will be a media availability at CAIR’s Capitol Hill headquarters to discuss the release of the coalition’s letter, 453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E. CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org]
The coalition, which includes prominent national organizations such as the ACLU, NAACP and the YWCA USA, requested that the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section conduct a full federal investigation into all businesses that have declared themselves as “Muslim-Free Zones” and “bring civil enforcement proceedings against business owners who have violated the law.”
“The broad range of groups calling for government action on the ‘Muslim-free zone’ issue clearly indicates that the U.S. Department of Justice should speak out and take concrete action to protect the constitutional rights of American Muslims,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Businesses in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire have publicly declared themselves “Muslim-Free.” Despite these reports, the DOJ has remained silent, with the exception of a pledge to “monitor” the Arkansas “Muslim-free zone” business.
The coalition requested a meeting with the DOJ to further discuss “the civil rights impact of these bans and how we can best engage with the DOJ to address current and future discriminatory exclusions by public accommodations.”
CAIR recently questioned why, despite repeated requests for action, the DOJ has remained silent on the “clearly illegal” religious ban, which the Washington-based group compared to “whites only” businesses excluding African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Movement.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.