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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776
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Jewish Groups Say Michele Bachmann Endangers Religious Freedom

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Jewish groups were among the 42 religious and secular organizations that told five members of Congress that their recent allegations of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government were endangering religious freedom.

Last month, five Republican lawmakers wrote to various government agencies and asserted that among others, Huma Abedin, a deputy chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and wife of the disgraced former House member from New York Anthony Weiner, was connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cosigning the letters were Reps. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert, (R-Texas), Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.).

“It appears that there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Bachmann told the St. Cloud Times, a Minnesota newspaper. “It appears that there are individuals who are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have positions, very sensitive positions, in our Department of Justice, our Department of Homeland Security, potentially even in the National Intelligence Agency.”

The letter sent Thursday in response to the allegations was organized by the Interfaith Alliance.

“Those you accuse … have long-standing histories of positive and committed work to strengthen the United States of America. Furthermore, we take offense to the implications of your actions for the American Muslim community as a whole, as you give momentum to `guilt by association’ accusations and betray our foundational religious freedoms,” the letter read.

The response letter was signed by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Society for Humanistic Judaism. They joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the American Civil Liberties Union, American Baptist Churches USA and others.

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, said that the groups signing this letter have very different ideas about faith and belief, but were united by their commitment to religious freedom.

“I hope that Rep. Bachmann and her colleagues take the time to look at the diverse coalition that has come together to challenge their actions,” Gaddy said in a statement.

JTA

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