Protecting the Religious Freedom of Muslims

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...

- First Amendment, United States Constitution

Religious freedom is one of America's most fundamental liberties, and a central principle upon which our nation was founded. Unfortunately, though, throughout America's history, almost every religious group has been the target of discrimination at one point or another. Tolerance and fairness have generally prevailed, but only after principled voices have transcended prejudice and hatred.

Most recently, Muslim communities in the U.S. have faced a disturbing wave of bigotry and outright hostility. From religiously motivated discrimination and attacks on existing and proposed Islamic centers to vicious rhetoric from presidential candidates, Muslims in America are being unfairly targeted simply for exercising their basic constitutional right to religious liberty.

We must always — especially in times of controversy — vigilantly uphold our core values. When we violate one group's freedom, everyone's liberty is at stake. And the ACLU will continue to defend the civil rights of everyone in our country.

Some of the issues we've specifically focused on include:

  • Bans on Sharia and International law (more)
  • Mosques and community centers
    • Ongoing vandalism and resistance to new mosques (more)
  • Discrimination based on appearance
    • Discrimination against Muslim women (more)
    • Discrimination against prisoners (more and more)
    • Discrimination against Muslims in the Armed Forces (more, and more)
  • Infiltration and surveillance of Mosques and Muslim communities
    • Suit against the New York Police Department for discriminatory surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers (more)
    • Suit against the FBI for illegal surveillance in Southern California's Muslim community (more)
  • Congressional hearings on the so-called "radicalization" of the American Muslim community (more)
  • Unconstitutional administration of the “No Fly List” (lawsuit on behalf of 15 U.S. citizens and lawful residents, all of whom are Muslim) (more)
  • FBI mapping of local communities and businesses based on race and ethnicity (more)
  • Anti-terrorism financing laws (more)
  • Invasive questioning at U.S. borders (more)
  • Government discrimination against Muslims (more, and more)
  • Discrimination against Muslims in public schools (more, more, and more)

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