Religious freedom is one of America’s most fundamental liberties and a central principle upon which our nation was founded. Unfortunately, though, throughout this country’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.

Even as the ACLU vigorously defends the rights of Christians, we are mindful of the often severely disproportionate threat to the rights and well-being of religious minorities. In recent years, for example, Muslim and Sikh communities in the United States have faced a disturbing wave of bigotry and outright hostility. From religiously motivated discrimination and attacks on existing and proposed religious centers to misguided congressional hearings, minorities 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 religious freedom, everyone’s liberty is at stake.

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