Religious Rights Are Human Rights

Yesterday, Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program, presented a statement at the annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE) in Warsaw, Poland. The OSCE is an intergovernmental organization consisting of 56 "participating states," including the United States, Canada, European countries, and Central Asia.

The HDIM is Europe's largest human rights conference, and the most significant OSCE event addressing human rights and democracy in Europe, North America and Central Asia. For two weeks, more than 1,000 government representatives, human rights defenders, scholars, members of civil society and journalists examined the processes and extent to which OSCE member countries have implemented their commitments to human rights and democracy.

Jamil presented a written statement on "Charitable Giving and Religious Freedom in the U.S." during yesterday's session on fundamental freedoms, which focused on freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.

As you may know, the ACLU has recently documented the consequence of U.S. government actions on American Muslims' exercise of their right to profess and practice their religion through charitable giving. The ACLU's research shows that post-9/11 terrorism financing policies and practices are seriously undermining American Muslims' protected constitutional liberties and violating their fundamental human rights to freedom of religion, freedom of association and freedom from discrimination. President Obama just signaled his commitment to working with American Muslims to ensure they can fulfill zakat (zakat is one of the core "five pillars" of Islam and a religious obligation for all observant Muslims) and highlighted the importance of this issue in a recent statement to mark the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid-ul-Fitr, stating: "As I said in Cairo, my Administration is working to ensure that Muslims are able to fulfill their charitable obligations not just during Ramadan, but throughout the year."

In his statement, Jamil noted:

Despite the often weak nature of its evidence, the Bush Administration publicly trumpeted its actions as successes and made inflammatory and unfounded or exaggerated allegations when it designated Muslim charities as terrorist, indicted them criminally, or raided them. These government actions have created a general climate in which law-abiding American Muslims fear making charitable donations in accordance with their religious beliefs.

While Obama's recent statements signal a step forward towards upholding the religious freedom of Americans — as this is a change in policy from the Bush administration — the Obama administration now must act.


We call on the Obama administration to work with Congress to reform our terrorism financing laws and policies in order to bring these laws and policies into compliance with international standards, and meet our country's human rights commitments to better protect and promote religious freedoms of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The ACLU is joined by other groups who stand ready to work with the administration to make this happen. Stand with the ACLU today and demand religious freedom for everyone in America.

Learn more about the issue at: /muslimcharities.

— By Jennifer Turner and Nahal Zamani

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Dee Miller

It seems to me the federal government does everything half assed. They really are unconcerned with the justice for all part of the promise of this country's core standards. They just make laws according to who pays them the most lobbying money or what will get them the most power and the hell with the rest of us and what ever difficulties their lackluster performance might cause us everyday people. Most of the divisiveness in this country over race, religion or any other area of our diversity would disappear if congress were just even a little sincerely concerned about justice for all instead of just giving it lip service.


I do believe in regilious rights for EVERYONE. My concern is that I caught the end of a broadcast that stated in California the public schools are working on a 2 week curriculum on How to be a Muslim?? Is this true and if so What is the ACLU going to do about it? Hopefully I recieved the wrong information. But if not What is the ACLU going to do about it????

Liberal Hater

The American CRIMINAL Liberties Union will do nothing about Islam. They only go after the Christian faith. WHY? Because it is the white man religion and because they are afraid of muslims. You see muslims will cut your head off if you challenge their false religion while Christians will not act so barbaric. The ACLU is a national disgrace.


Maggie, can you provide some additional guidance so that we can learn more?

Is it Eklund vs. Byron Union School District? Which was "won" by the school board when the SCOTUS rejected the appeal of the decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


Maggie...If this is true, I would hope the ACLU would go after it with the same vigour and agressiveness as if the course were titled " How to be a Christian". But of course this organization is very selective in what does and doesn't violate the establishment clause. I hope someone with a youngster in the California public school system would contact the ACLU regarding this constitutional violation, and if this organization refuses to accept the case, I would hope the said plaintiffs would be quite vocal regarding the ACLU's double-standard


Steve, there is a fine line between teaching comparative culture or religion and promoting a religion. Personally, if this was Eklund vs. Byron Union School District, the teaching went over the line when the children had to recite lines from the Qur'an.


I honestly don't know. Like I said it was at the end of a radio broadcast and it was not on a conservative channel. Perhaps it could be the case you are talking about. Sorry I don't have any more information.


Islam On Capitol Hill 2009!
While I am not one who condemns all of Islam, fully realizing it was radical Jihadists and not every day Muslims responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks, the following website disturbs me greatly.


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The objective of this gathering is to invite the Muslim Communities and friends of Islam to express and illustrate the wonderful diversity of Islam. We intend to manifest Islam's majestic spiritual principals as revealed by Allah to our beloved prophet

Muhammad (PEACE BE UPON HIM) of Arabia. Likewise; we intend to inspire a new generation of Muslim to work for the greater good of all people. We shall serve all people, regardless of race, religion or national origin.


- The Athan will be chanted on Capitol Hill, echoing off of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other great edifices that surround Capitol Hill
- Thousands of Muslims from all races, creeds, colors and ethnicities will gather for the sole purpose of prayer
- Bonds of friendship will be formed between those in attendance, both Muslims and Non-Muslims
- Muslim youth will experience tours of the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court.
- The peace, beauty and solidarity of Islam will shine through America's capitol.


Would this announcement slip silently by if Christians descended upon Capitol Hill "for the sole purpose of prayer?"

Would we not hear cries of "Separation of Church and State" from all corners?

The bottom of the page says "OUR TIME HAS COME."

Islam On Capitol Hill 2009

Maybe it is time we began hearing more cries of "Separation of Mosque and State."

I see no reason Islam should not be held to the same standard as is Christianity in America.

Where is the ACLU now?

American Patriot

I beleive what Islams say, beleive and do maybe two diferent meanings. This is chilling and scarey to me and many others.


I too believe in Religious Freedom, but I believe that should include Christianity, which doesn't appear to be included in the freedom the ACLU supports. You may argue all you want, but this country was truly founded on Christian principles, and as it is pushed out, the country will crumble, as did every other heathen empire in the past.


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