69 Leading Civil Rights, Advocacy, And Faith Organizations Call Out Hateful Rhetoric In Wake Of Belgium,Turkey Tragedies
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Media Matters joins 68 civil rights, advocacy and faith organizations to denounce anti-Muslim and anti-refugee hate from public figures in the wake of terrorist attacks in Belgium and Turkey.
In the aftermath of the Brussels attack, right-wing media figures exploited the tragedy to promulgate anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment. Conservative media scapegoated the entire Muslim community by calling for increased profiling of Muslims and by endorsing Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz's plan to patrol and surveil Muslim neighborhoods. Pundits also smeared refugees as "radicals and wannabe Islamists," while baselessly stoking fears about the U.S. refugee screening process.
Signatories of the letter call on media at-large to continue to "condemn and marginalize hate and division" with the understanding that, "Now, more than ever, it is imperative that Americans receive fair and fact-based information from both our leaders and the media":
An Open Call For Unity Following Belgium and Turkey Tragedies:
We, the undersigned advocates and leaders, stand in solidarity with the people of Belgium and Turkey in the wake of recent attacks in Brussels, Ankara and Istanbul. We also express our deep concern regarding the divisive and dangerous attempts by public figures to misrepresent Muslims, propose discriminatory and unlawful practices, such as "patrolling" of Muslim neighborhoods, and attack refugees during this difficult time.
After the Brussels attacks, like clockwork, many media figures and politicians immediately cast Muslims globally as the problem and called for increased targeting and surveillance of Muslim communities throughout the U.S. Others chose to politicize the tragedy by suggesting an expansion on the use of torture and a ban on all Muslims and refugees from entering the country.
This inflammatory rhetoric and bigotry do not make our country and our communities safer -- in fact, they expose us to more violence and division. Attacks against American Muslims spike when the media and leaders bow to hate by branding the faith of 1.6 billion people with the criminal actions of a few.
Just as many civic leaders, reporters, network hosts, and pundits have called out the biggest purveyors of hate in recent months, it's important that they continue to condemn and marginalize hate and division in the wake of the attacks in Brussels.
Hate is hate. It does not cease to be hate, nor does it become any less harmful, in moments of tragedy. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that Americans receive fair and fact-based information from both our leaders and the media, and most importantly, that we stand united.
There's too much at stake for our leaders and the media to use religion to drive a wedge between us. Now is the time for people of all faiths, here in the U.S. and throughout the world, to come together in the spirit of freedom and justice, and refuse to allow tragic attacks of violence to divide us along faith lines.
The entire letter can be found here. It has been signed by the American Center for Outreach (ACO), the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC), America's Voice, the Anti-Defamation League, the Arab American Institute, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Asian Pacific American Leadership and Advancement, the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), the Center for Asian American Media, the Center for Asian Pacific American Women, the Center for Employment Training, the Center for Media and Democracy, the Center for New Community, the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, Church World Service, ColorOfChange, CREDO, Desis Rising Up & Moving, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, the Foundation for Middle East Peace, the Franciscan Action Network, Global Alliance Interfaith Networks, the Interfaith Alliance, the Islamic Networks Group (ING), the Japanese American Citizens League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Long Island Wins, MAIZ Movimiento de Accion Inspirando Servicio, Media Matters for America, the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue, MoveOn.org Political Action, MPower Change, Muslim Advocates, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the NAACP, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse, the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, the National Council of Jewish Women, the National Network for Arab American Communities, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, OneAmerica, Peace Catalyst International, People For the American Way, Progressive Congress, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN), Shoulder to Shoulder, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Institute Justice Team, Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community Justice Team, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY), the South Asian Bar Association of North America, the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Interfaith Center of New York, The Sikh Coalition, T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Universal Muslim Association of America, the Unitarian Universalist Association and Voto Latino: