In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights.
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The move comes a few years after the administration became the first in history to dispatch a U.S. Attorney General to personally reassure Muslims that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is dedicated to protecting them. In the unprecedented event, Attorney General Eric Holder assured a San Francisco-based organization (Muslim Advocates) that urges members not to cooperate in federal terrorism investigations that the “us versus them” environment created by the U.S. government, law enforcement agents and fellow citizens is unacceptable and inconsistent with what America is all about.
“Muslims and Arab Americans have helped build and strengthen our nation,” Holder said after expressing that he is “grateful” to have Muslims as a partner in promoting tolerance, ensuring public safety and protecting civil rights. He also vowed to strengthen “crucial dialogue” between Muslim and Arab-American communities and law enforcement.
Evidently that was a precursor of sorts for an upcoming Tennessee event (“Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society”) that will feature the region’s top DOJ official, who serves as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and an FBI representative. The goal is to increase awareness and understanding that American Muslims are not the terrorists some have made them out to be in social media and other circles, according to a local newspaper report. The June 4 powwow is sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee.
The area’s top federal prosecutor, Bill Killian, will address a topic that most Americans are likely unfamiliar with, even those well versed on the Constitution; that federal civil rights laws can actually be violated by those who post inflammatory documents aimed at Muslims on social media. “This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian says in the local news story. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”