2013 June » ADL Blogs
June 28, 2013

One Giant Step Forward Towards Full Equality for the LGBT Community – What’s Next?

There is much to celebrate in the Supreme Court marriage equality decisions. The Anti-Defamation League filed amicus briefs in both U.S. v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry on behalf of a broad, diverse group of religious organizations, emphasizing that there are many different religious views on marriage and that no one religious understanding should be used to define marriage recognition and rights under civil law.

Your rights should not depend on your ZIP code.

Your rights should not depend on your ZIP code.

ADL’s brief in the Windsor case began with the assertion that religious definitions of marriage vary, including perspectives over whether or not gay and lesbian couples may marry. Our brief then set out two arguments: (1) the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violated the establishment clause because it was enacted with a religious purpose, based on a particular religious understanding of marriage; and (2) DOMA violated equal protection under the Fifth Amendment because it was motivated by moral disapproval of gay and lesbian people without any legitimate government purpose.

Our Perry brief urged the Court to reject the religious and moral justifications expressed by Proposition 8 proponents.  It demonstrated how, over the past quarter century, the Supreme Court has rejected laws disfavoring minority groups based on moral or religious disapproval alone – with one, now discredited, exception, Bowers v. Hardwick. The brief looked back over time and showed how laws like slavery, segregation, prohibitions on interracial marriage, and laws discriminating against women – laws that were justified on moral and religious grounds – had ultimately been rejected by the Court.

ADL hailed the Court’s two decisions, while recognizing that much work remains to be done to promote LGBT equality.  Now that DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional, legal analysts – and government officials – will be sorting out the range of federal benefits that can now be accorded to legally-married same-sex couples.  Same-sex couples in California can prepare for full recognition and rights in their state. It is clear, however, that, for now, the full range of benefits, privileges, and responsibilities of marriage will continue to be denied couples in 37 other states.

Moreover, at a time when it is still legal to fire employees solely because they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual in 29 states – and in 33 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender — it is necessary to complement this week’s forward progress with workplace discrimination protections, initiatives to prevent bias-motivated violence, and programs to promote safe learning environments for LGBT students.

To these ends, ADL supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would expand existing federal employment discrimination coverage to include protection for those who are discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  ADL is a national leader in confronting hate violence, having played a lead role in coalition work to enact and implement the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA). And the League has also been in the forefront of efforts to ensure safe school environments for all students, regardless of their religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, through the development of education and training programs  and bullying prevention initiatives.

While we celebrate the great step forward in marriage equality, we must not lose sight of the fact that   our nation has suffered a major setback to civil rights when the Supreme Court struck down a critical part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, In this, ADL’s  100th anniversary year, we rededicate ourselves to securing, in the words of our founding Charter, “justice and fair treatment for all.”

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June 27, 2013

Accusations of Jewish Affiliation Precede a Lynching in Egypt

Anti-Semitic posters Egypt

A poster in Egypt deriding Shia Muslims as “stooges of the Jews.”

Earlier this week, an angry mob in a small village near Cairo attacked and lynched a group of Shia Muslims, a horrific episode that resulted in the murders of four men. The incident came two weeks after posters were widely displayed in the village accusing Shia of being “stooges of the Jews.”

Members of Al-Nour Party, an Islamist party and a member of Egypt’s governing coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood, reportedly displayed these posters on the walls of the village’s homes. One poster, circulated on Twitter, has the logo of Al-Nour Party on the top right corner of the poster.

The posters included images of outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is perceived as a symbol of the Iranian-led Shia expansion in the Sunni Muslim world, shaking hands with members of Neturei Karta, an extreme anti-Israel group. The photos represent an absurd attempt to demonstrate a “Jewish-Shia’a alliance” that is allegedly plotting to gain control over the Sunni Muslim world.

Two weeks after the posters first appeared, a hostile group of villagers attacked the house of a Shia family who lived in the village. Members of the small Shia community had gathered in the house to attend a religious ceremony led by Hassan Shahata, a prominent Egyptian Shia cleric. Four men were killed during the brutal attack, including Shahata himself.

Graphic images of the violence showed the mob dragging the bodies of the victims through the streets of the village while police officers watched from a distance.

A young daughter of one of the victims who witnessed the assault told a reporter from an Egyptian news agency, “Is this the form of religion they want to implement and they speak about? Even if we were Jews they shouldn’t have done this to us.”

Last week, a large billboard in Tripoli showed Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah with a Star of David on his turban and blood dripping from his mouth. The poster, the work of a rival Sunni group, was intended to demonize Nasrallah in the worst possible way: by characterizing him as a Jew. Indeed, linking one’s enemy to Jews is a theme of the rising sectarian tension in the Muslim world. The recent lynching incident is a reminder of the potentially brutal consequences of such accusations.

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June 27, 2013

ADL’s Terrorism Update Highlights New Inspire Magazine Resource

The June edi­tion of Ter­ror­ism Update, ADL’s newslet­ter pro­vid­ing news and analy­sis on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their fol­low­ers in the U.S., is now available to our subscribers.

The feature article focuses on the increasing numbers of foreigners, including Americans, whTU for blogo have traveled to Syria to join with terrorist-linked groups fighting against the Assad regime. To date, there have been three publicly disclosed cases of Americans involved in fighting alongside rebel forces, each of whom have been linked to Jabhat al-Nusrah, a State Department-designated alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Inspire, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language terrorist magazine, is also featured in our June newsletter, which can be subscribed to on our website. ADL has created a new microsite focusing on Inspire, which has influenced numerous international and domestic terrorists since its inaugural issue in 2010.  The issue also contains articles on an AQAP propagandist facing extradition to the United States for providing “expert advice and assis­tance in pho­tog­ra­phy and graphic design of media” and disseminating AQAP materials, as well as an analysis of how the latest issue of Inspire celebrated the Boston Marathon bombings.

The newsletter includes an analysis of how the thwarted 1993 plot targeting New York City landmarks foreshadowed the escalating domestic terrorism threat, articles on terrorism-related arrests in Idaho and New York, and an update on an Iran-linked assassination plot.  The issue also has analyses of Anwar al-Awlaki’s influence on domestic terror plots, including the Tsarnaev Brothers, and on Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV, which was the focus of intense media scrutiny recently after two its journalists were supposed to be honored by the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

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