U.S. Attorney Invited to Attend White House Briefing on "Combating Religious Discrimination Today" Initiative
DALLAS — A White House briefing was held today on “Combating Religious Discrimination Today,” a federal interagency community engagement initiative designed to promote religious freedom, challenge religious discrimination, and enhance enforcement of religion-based hate crimes. The initiative was launched earlier this year by the Department of Justice.
The White House briefing, as well as the Justice Department’s release today of its final report on the “Combating Religious Discrimination Today” initiative, follow an April 2016 community roundtable held in Dallas as a major part of that initiative. Hosted by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in partnership with other federal agencies, the Dallas roundtable focused on religiously-motivated hate violence and hate crimes, protecting places of worship, and exploring ideas for the federal government to improve its efforts in those areas. Approximately 35 leaders from the Dallas - Fort Worth area faith-based community, civil rights organizations, and government agencies participated in April’s roundtable that was facilitated by U.S. Attorney Parker. Enthusiastic dialogue during the roundtable guided stakeholders in identifying next steps and formulating short and long-term goals.
In addition to the roundtable in Dallas, other roundtables were held throughout the U.S., and they focused on related topics, such as combatting religious discrimination, including bullying, in education and employment, and addressing unlawful barriers that interfere with the construction of places of worship. The final report issued today by the Justice Department provides an overview of what was heard at these roundtables.
“The diversity and tolerance of the north Texas area can be seen reflected in our many and varied faith-based communities,” said U.S. Attorney Parker. “The one thing we cannot, must not, tolerate, however, is hate directed at someone solely because they are different. It is particularly repugnant to our core values as Americans to victimize a person or group because of their faith. In fact, it is our shared duty to ensure that everyone, not just those who think like us, is free to worship as they choose and do so in peace.”
The “Combating Religious Discrimination Today” initiative supplements the Department’s continuing, long-standing criminal and civil enforcement efforts to prevent religious discrimination and religion-motivated hate crimes.
For more information, please refer to this White House blog post that discusses the report as well as other federal agencies’ efforts to address and combat religious discrimination.
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