‘US to ensure rights of American Muslims are protected’

US official says country has a zero tolerance policy against abuse directed towards American Muslims

Abu Dhabi: The American Muslim community is an integral part of the US whose rights will continue to be defended said an American official during the International Conference on Muslim Minorities in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

“Protecting and promoting religious minorities is a foundational tenet of the US, it’s established in our constitution domestically and it’s part of our international obligations,” said Dr Knox Thomas, special advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia at the US Department of State.

“Inside the US our Muslim community is an integral and historic part [of the country]. My colleagues at the domestic agencies work to ensure that American Muslims like all Americans have their civil rights protected and that they’re part of national conversations,” he added.

“We’re not a perfect country either, and so the Department of Justice (DoJ) when necessary aggressively prosecutes acts of violence, threats, assaults and vandalism targeting American Muslims and other religious minorities,” he said.

Dr Thomas added that the DoJ would ensure that American Muslims are treated equally by law to practice their religion freely.

“The DoJ and Homeland Security make sure that everyone is treated equally regardless of their faith, and the DoJ has taken actions to ensure that American Muslims have a right to wear distinctive religious dress such as hijabs.”

Dr Ali Al Nuami, member of the UAE Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, spoke on the importance of Muslim minorities integrating within their societies.

“We hope this conference will be the beginning of a new inception of serving Muslims across the globe in a way that will create a brighter future for their children.

“The presence of the Muslim community in the western world has become a real basic component within these societies and so therefore we need to move towards discussing issues of identity and nationality,” he added.

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