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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2010


WASHINGTON - In the wake of the public debate over a locally-approved proposal to build a Muslim cultural center and mosque in New York City near the site of Ground Zero, U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) today released a slideshow shining a light on discrimination against Muslims and issued the following statement. (View slide show here:


“The hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric from opponents of the Cordoba House, especially political leaders, is inexcusable.  


"In a country founded on the principles of religious freedom we should not be in the business of picking and choosing when to apply those principles. It is unfortunate that so many national leaders have said they would deny Muslims or persons of any faith the right to build a place of worship.  


"Such efforts are part of a disturbing trend of denying rights held by all others to Muslims in the 56-country OSCE region. Whether it's the right to wear a burqa in Belgium, build a mosque with a minaret in Switzerland, or a cultural center in the United States, we must be ever vigilant in upholding the right to profess and practice one’s religion as one sees fit lest we risk eroding our own rights.” 


As chairmen of the human rights monitoring Helsinki Commission, Cardin and Hastings have consistently spoken out against burqa bans in France, bans on minarets in Switzerland and other acts of discrimination against ethnic, racial, and religious minorities throughout the 56-country OSCE region.

Media Contact: Neil Simon
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