Press release from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee; April 25, 2011:
On Tuesday, 4/26/11, the Senate and House Judiciary committees will vote on a bill that was originally designed to attack Islam under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Last week hundreds of Muslims from across the state traveled to the capitol to tell their legislators that this bill leaves them feeling targeted and harassed for simply practicing their religion.
“This bill is being pushed by groups outside of Tennessee who are more interested in demonizing Muslims than providing security for Tennesseans,” Sabina Mohyuddin, youth coordinator at the Islamic Center of Nashville, testified.
Even with amendments that remove specific references to Islam, SB 1028/HB 1353’s original wording casts a pall over any claim that it is not intended to target a specific group of Tennesseans.
Furthermore, the amended bill still raises serious First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment concerns with its vague definitions and its lack of due process for designated organizations. The bill defines terrorism so broadly that even peaceful groups engaging in non-violent demonstrations could potentially be branded as terrorists without a meaningful opportunity to defend themselves.
The federal government already has ample authority to identify and designate terrorist groups, freeze their assets, and prohibit individuals from providing support to those groups.