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Victory! SB 31, Religious Freedom Act, Signed Into Law

Victory! SB 31, Religious Freedom Act, Signed Into Law

Press release republished with permission from PICO California

As a statewide faith-based organization dedicated to creating a California where no person lives in fear because of her or his religion or skin color, we applaud Governor Jerry Brown and the California State Legislature for displaying moral leadership by passing and signing SB 31 into law.

SB 31 protects the safe and free exercise of religion of all Californians by prohibiting a state or local agency from participating in a federal program to create a database based on a person’s religious beliefs, national origin, or ethnicity for law enforcement or immigration purposes.

SB 31 has been strongly supported by faith leaders and clergy across California, as it prevents state and local law enforcement agencies from collecting information on the religious beliefs, practices, or affiliations of an individual except under limited circumstances.

SB 31’s passage sends an important message to our Muslim sisters and brothers about our love and care for them during a time of increasing vulnerability. People of faith across the state do not stand for the dehumanization represented by the federal administration’s attempts to create a Muslim registry or Muslim ban.

As Pope Francis said this past February at the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Modesto: ‘No people is criminal and no religion is terrorist. Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist. No people is criminal or drug- trafficking or violent.’ SB 31’s passage ensures that California is leading the country against the politics of fear and scapegoating, and instead towards a vision of a state that celebrates and honors our immense religious diversity.”

“We’re grateful that the Governor chose to stand bold and proudly sign a strong SB31 ensuring all Californians a right to religious practice and affiliation without having to fear that our lives and names become fair game for political play,” said Reza Nekumanesh, Director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno and Board Member, Faith in the Valley. “No good has ever come of a government tracking and registering the religiosity and affiliation of its citizens.”

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