On September 14, 2012, I wrote a letter in support of a Philadelphia man awaiting execution here in Pennsylvania in my capacity as Civil Rights Director and Staff Attorney of CAIR-Philadelphia. However, my letter is not an example of legal advocacy. Instead, my letter is based entirely upon religious argument – something I have never done in my entire legal career.
People keep asking me to respond to this event in my capacity as an 'American Muslim,' but, in truth, I'm not responding to this event as either an American, or as a Muslim. I’m simply responding to these events as a human being who is mourning a tragic and unnecessary loss of life.
Right now, the Pennsylvania legislature is considering a bill which is part of a national effort to vilify, stigmatize, and demonize Islam and Muslims. Fortunately, CAIR-Philadelphia is working to make sure that this bill never becomes law. On its face, House Bill 2029, introduced by Rep. RoseMarie Swanger (R-Lebanon) and titled “American and Pennsylvania Laws for Pennsylvania Courts,” is a bill which prohibits Pennsylvania courts from considering applying any “foreign law” which would limit an individual’s constitutional rights. Unfortunately, the plain language of this bill hides a much more sinister purpose – to demonize Islam and Muslims.
Did you know that the United States Government has an official policy which indicates that federal employees can be denied promotions, and other opportunities for job advancement, simply because they have a friend, relative, or acquaintance in a Muslim-majority country? It’s true. For federal employees, promotions, and other opportunities for job advancement, are highly dependent upon the ability to obtain a requisite security clearance, and such clearances can be denied due to concerns over “foreign influence.”