September 8, 2010
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Planned Quran Burning and Other Anti-Muslim Bigotry
WASHINGTON—As educators and believers in democracy and the free exercise of religion, the American Federation of Teachers strongly condemns the growing and disturbing anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic rhetoric and bigotry coming from some quarters in the United States. Attacking an entire religion and those who practice it is wrong. It threatens our democracy, perpetuates stereotypes, and is contrary to our values of freedom of association and freedom of religion.
Perhaps the most appalling recent instance of anti-Muslim bigotry is the planned Sept. 11 burning of the Quran by a Florida minister. If carried out, this shameful act by a group of bigots and political opportunists is a threat to our military personnel abroad and an assault on the values that we hold dear at home.
The start of a new school year, as well as the Jewish New Year, is an apt moment to reaffirm the value of democracy, diversity and inclusion, and to reject this movement founded in fear, bigotry and ignorance.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.