Islamic Society speaks out against RFRA


The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Wednesday expressed concern about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"ISNA welcomes the protection of an individual's right to free exercise of religion being given the legal 'strict scrutiny' standard, but has serious concerns about the extension of those rights to corporations as well as the protections against civil liability for discrimination by protected corporations against individuals.

"For example, if a corporation refused to hire a person because they were a Muslim and their religious beliefs did not permit them to hire Muslims, then the prospective employee could not succeed in a lawsuit alleging discrimination against the corporation, because the law is a defense to liability. Similarly, the state government could not levy fines or other punishments against a corporation for discrimination."

"Freedom to practice one's religion has always been among the core constitutional rights of our country. However, this should not be at the expense of other people's civil rights," added ISNA President Azhar Azeez. "We urge Governor Pence and the Indiana Legislature to either repeal this law or add sufficient anti-discrimination protections to insure no one's rights are undermined in the name of religious freedom."

The ISNA is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. Its mission is to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement and better understanding of Islam.