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As an organization that has long included scholars addressing U.S. traditions of freedom to practice, or not, religion, and as an organization opposed to both state-enacted and other forms of bigotry, the American Studies Association (the ASA) strongly reproves the recent wave of attacks on synagogues, mosques, and religious community centers in North America and on the Jewish and Muslim people using those institutions. These incidents are heinous in and of themselves, but also indicate the vulnerability of all religious minorities to such hatred, including practitioners of Indigenous traditions and traditions like Sikhism that do not conform to western conventions.

American studies scholars have studied the toll taken by nativist religious campaigns, and have shown that at their best U.S. responses to religion and religious differences have actively exceeded mere toleration. They have included mutual defense of the right to hold and act on minority beliefs and to limit the actions of those claiming to express majority opinion, or national character, where religion is concerned. The ASA therefore deplores these contemporary efforts to determine the religious character of the nation, whether by individuals and groups or by the U.S. state.  In its efforts to favor the entry of Christian refugees over that of those practicing other religions or no religion, and its attempts to prohibit migration from seven Muslim-majority countries, the U.S. state not only abrogates the principle of freedom of religion, but also authorizes the current resurgence of violence against Jewish and Muslim people.  The ASA stands firmly alongside those groups and individuals who are the targets of religion-based hatred and is committed to working with all groups and individuals seeking to ensure the hospitability of our communities and institutions regardless of religious affiliation.

Press Contact: John F. Stephens, asamedia@theasa.net

The American Studies Association promotes the development and dissemination of interdisciplinary research on U.S. culture and history in a global context. Its purpose is to support scholars and scholarship committed to original research, critical thinking, and public dialogue. We are researchers, teachers, students, writers, curators, community organizers, and activists from around the world committed to the study and teaching of U.S. history and culture from multiple perspectives.

Posted for ASA Office in Press Releases
Post date: February 22, 2017