The Massachusetts Supreme Court chief justice has issued a powerful and encouraging reminder to Muslims amid a wave of Islamaphobic sentiment: The U.S. Constitution is on your side.
Chief Justice Ralph Gants spoke at the state's largest mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, following afternoon prayer on Friday. Gants acknowledged it was a "difficult time" for Muslims in America, with the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, igniting a fresh wave of discrimination, hate and even violence.
"And I am here to assure you that you do not stand alone," Gants said. "You have a Constitution and laws to protect your right to practice your religion, to protect you from discrimination and the denial of your equal rights, and to protect you from acts of violence that might be committed because of your religion or your nation of origin."
Gants reassured worshippers they also were protected by the Massachusetts Constitution and its Declaration of Rights -- both drafted by John Adams, a founding father of the U.S., he noted.
"The purpose of a Declaration of Rights is to protect the rights of the minority, of those who are unpopular, even perhaps despised because of who they are, or where they came from, or what they believe, or what they have done," Gants said. "The popular majority does not much need a Declaration of Rights; They have the Legislature to protect them."
"In short, you have a Constitution (two Constitutions) and, if the need were to arise, you should not be afraid to use them," Gants said.
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