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Shia Muslim Foundation Attends Critical Meeting with Department of Justice Civil Rights Division

Washington, DC, June 6, 2024 – The Shia Muslim Foundation (SMF) participated in an important meeting with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, focusing on addressing recent hate crimes, discrimination, and civil rights violations impacting the Muslim community and other marginalized groups. The meeting brought together representatives from various federal agencies and community organizations to discuss ongoing efforts and strategies to combat these pressing issues.

Commitment to Combat Hate Crimes

During the meeting, the Department of Justice (DOJ) highlighted its recent actions in partnership with the FBI to address hate crimes targeting the Muslim community. These actions include charging individuals for breaking into a center for Islamic life, threatening a Palestinian rights organization, and assaulting a Muslim woman. The DOJ reaffirmed its strong commitment to standing up against any form of violence or threats aimed at the Muslim community.

Public Accommodation and Discrimination

The DOJ also addressed the issue of discrimination in public accommodations, emphasizing the protections afforded by Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. New public resources have been disseminated to educate communities about these protections. The DOJ welcomes complaints from those who have experienced discrimination, including having conferences, events, or convenings canceled by hotels.

Police Response to College Protests

The meeting also covered the Department’s statutory authority to review law enforcement agencies' practices that may involve systemic civil rights violations. The DOJ has investigated and continues to investigate numerous agencies for conduct that includes harassment, racial slurs, discriminatory threats, and violations of First Amendment protected activity.

Concerns from Community Representatives

Representatives from Muslim Advocates and the Muslim Legal Fund of America raised concerns about the targeting and criminalization of student protesters, the violence and trauma experienced by these students, and retaliation against students advocating for human rights. The DOJ and the Department of Education acknowledged these concerns and committed to addressing such cases.

Support for Students and Educators

The Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships discussed resources developed to support students, educators, and education leaders in navigating these challenging times. The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights reiterated efforts to ensure schools understand their obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, including addressing harassment without solely relying on police intervention.

Discrimination and Profiling Policies

The Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties discussed policies prohibiting discrimination and profiling based on First Amendment activity. Collaborative efforts with the Department of Education aim to track investigations related to shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics at colleges and universities receiving DHS grants.

Ongoing Efforts and Future Collaboration

The meeting concluded with a strong emphasis on the complementary nature of the work being done by various federal agencies and the importance of continued partnership and communication. The DOJ and other federal representatives expressed their gratitude for the leadership and advocacy of the participating organizations, assuring them of ongoing support and commitment to addressing these critical issues.

The Shia Muslim Foundation remains dedicated to advocating for the rights and welfare of the Shia Muslim community and all marginalized groups. We look forward to continued collaboration with federal agencies and community partners to ensure justice, equality, and protection for all.


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