Following Britain First retweet, National Institute for Civil Discourse Board calls on President Trump to protect religion freedom

Mon, 2017-12-04

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alex Bloom
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Following Britain First retweet, National Institute for Civil Discourse Board calls on President Trump to protect religion freedom

Bipartisan group that includes former Secretary of State Albright, U.S. Senators Daschle, Simpson, and Snowe urges President Trump to reject anti-Muslim rhetoric

December 4, 2017 – After tweets earlier this week that advance anti-Muslim propaganda, the esteemed board of the National Institute for Civil Discourse is calling on President Donald Trump to protect religious freedom.

Headquartered at the University of Arizona, the nonpartisan National Institute for Civil Discourse was established in the wake of the 2011 shooting at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson. The organization, led by Executive Director Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, works to build civility among federal, state and local leaders nationwide.

In a statement signed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, U.S. Senators Tom Daschle, Alan Simpson, and Olympia Snowe, among others, 17 members of the board reminded President Trump of his oath of office to protect the Constitution and called on him to reject anti-Muslim rhetoric:

“The United States was founded by those in search of the freedom to practice their religion, and our Founding Fathers wrote into the documents creating our country the precious right to be free to practice one’s religion. The fact that any elected official, let alone the President of the United States, would retweet the videos of a far-right British political group seeking to invoke hatred against the Muslim faith and those who practice it, is abhorrent. It is an action we might expect – though not accept – from a fringe group, but not from the man elected to represent all Americans. The president, in the oath of office he took on the steps of the United States Capitol in January promised “to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Spreading hatred by retweeting the Britain First anti-Muslim videos is a direct contradiction to that oath. The American people expect and deserve better.”

Board members signing the statement were: 
• Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
• Former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile
• Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle
• Former Congressman Mickey Edwards
• Kirk Emerson, Founding Director of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution of the Udall Foundation
• Joe Goldman, President of the Democracy Fund
• Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson
• Former Congressman Lee Hamilton
• Joe Kalt, Professor of International Political Economy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
• Former Congressman Jim Kolbe
• H. Brinton Milward, Director of the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona
• Jim Pitofsky, Managing Director, Strategic Alliances for the John Templeton Foundation
• Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
• Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
• Former Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Alice Rivlin
• Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson
• Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe
• Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse

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About the National Institute for Civil Discourse:

The National Institute for Civil Discourse, is a non-profit, non-partisan institute based at the University of Arizona dedicated to addressing incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy by promoting structural and behavioral change. Informed by research, NICD’s programs are designed to create opportunities for elected officials, the media, and the public to engage different voices respectfully and take responsibility for the quality of our public discourse and effectiveness of our democratic institutions.