In 1988, as Founding Chairman of People For the American Way, Norman Lear was among the cosigners of the Williamsburg Charter, “written and published expressly to address the dilemmas, challenges, and opportunities posed by religious liberty in American public life.”
Lear and others, including Presidents Carter and Ford and Chief Justices Rehnquist and Burger, agreed that “a right for one is a right for another and a responsibility for all.”
That is the spirit in which faith leaders and religious liberty advocates, including PFAW Foundation and the African American Ministers Leadership Council, led by the First Amendment Center and Interfaith Alliance, have come together in 2012 to answer the question, “What is the truth about American Muslims?”
October 11 marked the release of their document, addressing such topics as the law of religious freedom; American Muslims in the United States; misunderstood terms and practices; and Sharia.
Our aim is to provide the public with balanced and accurate information about religious freedom and American Muslims in order to counter the dangerous and often vicious propaganda that has helped fuel the dramatic rise of anti-Muslim bigotry in America.
In producing and disseminating this resource, we seek to uphold our shared commitment to religious freedom and contribute to a climate of understanding and mutual respect among Americans of all faiths and none.
Richard Cizik, President of the New Evangelical Project for the Common Good:
Religious liberty is not just a gift from God but a duty to God . . . Let’s together create a new heroic culture. People who stand up to bigotry are heroes.
Dr. Hussein Rashid, Adjunct Professor, Hofstra University, and Associate Editor, Religion Dispatches:
This isn’t about one religious community. We need to be better together.