WASHINGTON -- Forty-two religious and secular organizations united on Thursday in condemning conservative lawmakers' allegations that Muslim-American individuals connected to the U.S. government may be trying to spread the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
They directed their criticisms at Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), who recently wrote to various government agencies and asked them to investigate the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. In their letters, the lawmakers targeted top State Department official Huma Abedin and several advisers to the Department of Homeland Security.
"[W]e write to raise our voices in protest of your recent letters regarding prominent American Muslim individuals and organizations," the 42 organizations wrote in a letter to the lawmakers on Thursday. "These letters question the loyalty of faithful Americans based on nothing more than their religious affiliations and what is at best tenuous evidence of their associations. As such, your actions have serious implications for religious freedom and the health of our democracy."
The signatories include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which often sides with Republicans on social issues, along with the Interfaith Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union, American Baptist Churches USA, NAACP and United Church of Christ.
"Far from supporting the safety of our country, these accusations distract us from examining legitimate threats using proven, evidence-based security strategies," the groups wrote. "Moreover, we know all too well the danger of casting suspicion on loyal and innocent Americans simply because they hold particular beliefs. We will not stand idly by and allow our country to revive federal investigations into innocent individuals based on their religious adherence."
The Anti-Defamation League has already condemned the lawmakers, calling their allegations "anti-Muslim conspiracy theories."
The accusations stem from a report by the Center for Security Policy, a group run by Frank Gaffney, who has been crusading against the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia law for years.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have condemned their colleagues' accusations.
Read the letter: