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Schneiderman: My Office Stands Ready To Enforce All Laws Protecting The Liberty And Equality Of People Of All Religions

In Light Of Recent Comments And Proposals Aimed At Muslim Americans, AG Schneiderman Sends Letter To Civil Rights And Muslim Groups Urging Them To Report Potential Violations Of Federal Or State Laws That Protect Free Exercise Of Religion

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN SENDS LETTER TO LEADING CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS REINFORCING HIS COMMITMENT TO ENFORCE LAWS PROTECTING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today sent a letter to leading civil rights and Muslim advocacy groups reiterating his commitment to enforce all laws protecting religious liberty and equality. As New York State’s chief law enforcement officer, Schneiderman wrote that he has a duty to safeguard the state’s tradition of “openness and tolerance of people from all parts of the world, from all walks of life, and from all religions.”

“Our nation was founded on a single, aspirational principle: ‘equal justice under law.’  That is equal justice for everyone, regardless of religion,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “While some have chosen to exploit fear and anger by targeting certain religious minorities, I want to emphasize in the strongest possible terms that my office stands ready to enforce all state and federal civil rights laws protecting the liberty and equality of people of all religions.”

The Attorney General’s office has been proactive in protecting New Yorkers from religious discrimination. In 2011, the office launched the Religious Rights Initiative, which is dedicated to addressing religious discrimination claims and ensuring that anti-discrimination laws are aggressively enforced. In 2012, the office secured an agreement with the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country to safeguard all employees’ rights to religious accommodations.

In February 2015, the office joined a coalition of states in filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the US Supreme Court in support of a Muslim woman who had been denied employment at an Abercrombie & Fitch store because she wore a hijab.

The letter urges groups or individuals who are aware of potential violations of laws protecting New Yorkers from discrimination to contact the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau to make a complaint. To make a report, please call (212) 416-8250 or send an email to Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov.

Read the full letter here

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