After the hard work of numerous organizations and coalitions, bipartisan support in Sacramento and tremendous movement in the grassroots, there is a possibility that Gov. Brown is wavering about signing the Religious Freedom Act. As a Californian, American and Muslim, I hope he will stand boldly and proudly sign this legislation.
Senate Bill 31 prohibits “state or local agency or a public employee acting under color of law providing or disclosing to federal government personal information regarding a person’s religious beliefs, practices, or affiliation... when the information is sought for compiling database of individuals based on religious belief...”
With threats of a Muslim registry, this hits close to home. Additionally, it rings too true of a terrible history. It was but seven decades ago that Nazis forced Jews to register their religiosity and we all know what followed. And just a year ago, the evil of Japanese internment in the U.S. was cited as a precedent for a Muslim registry.
I am a proud Muslim. I live, work and profess my faith loudly on a daily basis – but no one will force me to metaphorically wear a yellow star. My right to worship is mine – protected by our Constitution.
Reza Nekumanesh, executive director, Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno