ALBUQUEQUE – U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez will join Abbas Akhil, President of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, the Albuquerque Muslim Community, and representatives of other faiths tomorrow evening to celebrate the last four days of the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting from dawn to dusk to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. The breaking of the fast for the day will take place at the Islamic Center of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., beginning at 8:30 p.m. on July 2, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Martinez joins the Muslim Community for this observation as part of the Department of Justice’s continuing efforts to address backlash against Muslim, Arab and Sikh Americans following the horrific terrorist attacks in recent months and to combat religious discrimination throughout the country.
“All Americans should be free from violence and protected from hatred no matter who they are,” said U.S. Attorney Martinez. “The Justice Department is committed to safeguarding the civil rights of every American – including Muslim, Arab and Sikh Americans, who are often the targets of threats on the basis of their appearance or religion. There is no place for such intolerance here in New Mexico and throughout our country, and we are committed to working with our law enforcement partners and community leaders to defend the safety and the dignity of all our people.”
“The Albuquerque Muslim community once again welcomes U.S. Attorney Martinez to our Center to share the breaking of the fast with us. This symbolic sharing signifies his commitment to defend the civil rights of all Americans,” said ICNM President Akhil. “This is particularly important at a time when Muslims are targeted by those who misrepresent our faith and are determined to undermine the contributions of American Muslims to the fabric of our great country. The U.S. Attorney’s participation in breaking the fast with us tomorrow reassures my community that we are equal partners in our shared Citizenship.”
“The FBI is committed to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans, no matter their religion or background,” said Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division. “We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the Islamic Center of New Mexico as we work together to secure a safe, peaceful future for all Muslim-Americans.”
The Department of Justice has a long-standing commitment to protecting Muslim, Arab and Sikh Americans from threats and violence directed at them because of their religion or ethnicity, and to prevent acts of discrimination against them in the workplace, schools or elsewhere. Nationwide, the Department of Justice has prosecuted more than 60 defendants in such cases, with 58 convictions to date. One of the convictions was obtained in United States v. Payne, a case filed in New Mexico by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The defendant, a North Carolina man, pleaded guilty in that case in May 2016, to using force or threat of force to intentionally obstruct a Muslim woman in the free exercise of her religious beliefs.