Rabbi David Saperstein — one of the religious leaders meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder this afternoon to discuss anti-Muslim incidents — told TPM in an interview that he is satisfied with the government’s reaction to hate crimes, but said he wants the administration to speak out against the wave of anti-Islamic furor.
Saperstein, of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said that it is very important for a top government official like Holder or President Barack Obama need to speak out against the anti-Muslim rhetoric that has flared up in recent months.
“This is a moment where we need a very clear statement from the Attorney General, from the President, from leaders of each branch of the relevant divisions of the administration about their unwillingness to accept for a moment the kind of intolerance, the kind of hate crimes, the kind of victimization of the Muslim community that we’ve seen,” Saperstein said. “We think it can help turn the tide in America of what is heard, in other words we know the vast majority of Americans find what this anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes repugnant. But we need the leaders of the country to speak out.”
Holder has previously spoken before a Muslim organization and said that it is “intolerable” that Arab- and Muslim-Americans feel uncomfortable with law enforcement and has called them strong partners against terrorism. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division hosts Muslim-American organizations at regular meetings that include government officials from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies.
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