Under the banner of civil rights enforcement, the U.S. Justice Department plans to “promote religious freedom” in the nation’s public schools by cracking down on discrimination and bullying, especially as it may affect Muslims.
The new enforcement effort announced on Tuesday will “expand” DOJ’s ability to investigate and prosecute complaints; lead community outreach; and develop guidance for federal prosecutors.
Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said one goal of the new initiative is to promote religious pluralism and create safe, supportive and inclusive schools for all children.
Following acts of terrorism, including 9-11 and San Bernardino, “too many Muslim Americans and those perceived as Muslim suffer a backlash of violence and discrimination,” Gupta said. “We see criminal threats against mosques; harassment in schools; and even reports of violence targeting Muslim Americans, people of Arab or South Asian descent, and people perceived to be members of these groups.”
Gupta said the new initiative, dubbed “Combating Religious Discrimination,” will help DOJ fight the backlash against Muslim students and students perceived as Muslim. The initiative also will “benefit children of every background and every religion,” she added. (Read more from “Obama Admin’s Religious Freedom Initiative Designed to Protect Islam in the Schools” HERE)