Today a group of Muslim and interfaith leaders, under the auspices of the Islamic Society of North America and the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, sent a letter to the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee urging them to take a stand against anti-Muslim bigotry in their party platforms. Speaking at the press conference where this letter was announced, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, said the following:
“Yesterday was the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, a man who genuinely needs no introduction. Among the remarkable statements attributed to him were the watchwords of generations: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Lots of people misunderstand that phrase to be about national security, but I have to remind you that, in that sense, eternal vigilance is also the price of totalitarianism. What Jefferson meant was that we must be vigilant about the human rights that secure the blessings of liberty.
“So I won’t suggest to you some version of ‘they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.’ My advocacy, Interfaith Alliance’s advocacy on behalf of Muslim Americans is not self-serving. Muslim American enfranchisement is not a privilege, something bestowed through the power and good will of those who can give and take away.
“It is a right – the same right as every citizen, every voter, every Democrat, every Republican. It is part of those unalienable rights that Mr. Jefferson affirmed as the bedrock of American society. And we, as people of faith, faith in God, faith in the goodness of government, faith in our better angels, and faith in the Constitution as the law that binds us all, stand with our sisters and brothers today to declare that we will protect the faith and freedom of every American as fiercely as we protect our own faith and freedom.
“Because it is right. Because it is our right. Because it is their right.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.