Muslim civil rights group questions ‘problematic’ grand jury process
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/25/2014) – The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for a “national action” to address issues of racism in the aftermath of a Missouri grand jury’s decision to not indict a police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was shot to death in August.
CAIR also questioned the “problematic” grand jury process that resulted in a failure to indict the officer.
In a statement, CAIR said:
“The tragedy in Ferguson makes it imperative that Americans of all races and backgrounds initiate national action to address the issues of systemic racism and police profiling that the shooting brought to the surface.
“We question the problematic conduct of the prosecutor’s office in the grand jury process as demonstrated by showing unprecedented deference to the officer, a potential criminal defendant.
“We urge all Americans to contact their elected officials to urge passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) and any similar legislation that addresses unconstitutional actions by American law enforcement. We once again call on the Department of Justice to complete its independent investigation of the killing of Michael Brown in a transparent and thorough manner. CAIR is also concerned about any militarized response of law enforcement to peaceful protesters in Ferguson or in other cities nationwide.
“If any good is to come of this heartbreaking incident, it will be in the recognition that many Americans still feel the impact of institutional racism and that there is still much work to do to create a society in which people ‘will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’
“CAIR and the Muslim community join all Americans of conscience in reaffirming our commitment to fighting for racial and social justice. We must work together to seek an end to racial profiling and the injustices perpetrated against racial, ethnic or religious minorities. We must also address the fact that there is a growing concern in our nation about the mistreatment of minorities by law enforcement personnel.
“As a core principle, CAIR is an ally of groups – religious or secular – that advocate justice and human rights in America.
Following Brown’s death, CAIR joined the NAACP and other civil rights groups in calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting. CAIR representatives also took part in a national American Muslim call-in discussion of the shooting and joined almost 100 national civil rights groups, coordinated by The Leadership Conference and Civil and Human Rights, in calling for federal action to prevent discriminatory profiling.
Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director attended Brown’s funeral in August.
CAIR’s St. Louis chapter joined the call for a federal probe of the shooting and CAIR called on Muslim prayer leaders nationwide to devote their Friday sermons to the issues of racial equality and social justice.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-St. Louis Executive Director Faizan Syed, 636-207-8882, 314-330-2946, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org