April 17, 2012

The Honorable Richard J. Durbin
Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Civil Rights and Human Rights
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Lindsey Graham
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Civil Rights and Human Rights
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Graham:

Thank you for holding today’s hearing, Ending Racial Profiling in America, on the different faces of racial profiling, exploring the harms of law enforcement using real or perceived race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion as a factor that creates suspicion.

As organizations that advocate for the freedom of religion and belief for all, we write to highlight our objections to religious profiling, which may sometimes also be used as a proxy for race, ethnicity, or national origin.

The freedom of religion and belief is one of our most treasured liberties, a fundamental and defining feature of our national character. Our Constitution guarantees that we are free to hold any religious belief, or none at all, and we are free to join together in communities to exercise those beliefs if we so choose. As a result, the United States is among the most religious, and religiously diverse, nations in the world. Our diversity of faiths and beliefs is a great strength.

We appreciate that most law enforcement officials discharge their duties honorably. Yet, when law enforcement profiles individuals and communities based solely on their real or perceived religion, religious appearance, religious observance, or religious practices, it undermines Americans’ trust in those sworn to protect them and our nation’s commitment to religious liberty and equal protection of the law. Furthermore, such actions not only have the effect of discriminating against religion generally and religious minorities in particular, but also fuel divisiveness by casting suspicion over an entire religious community.

Thank you again for drawing attention to this matter. We look forward to working on this issue and finding ways to protect religious freedom and civil rights for all.


African American Ministers in Action
American Civil Liberties Union
American Humanist Association
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Anti-Defamation League
Arab American Institute
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
Catholics for Choice
Center for Inquiry
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Council for Secular Humanism
Faith in Public Life
Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Institute for Science and Human Values
Interfaith Alliance
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Muslim Advocates
National Council of Jewish Women
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
People For the American Way
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Sikh Council on Religion and Education
The Episcopal Church
The Sikh Coalition
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.