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Protect Religious Organizations from Unfair Profiling

What SB 1028/HB 1353 does:  This bill would give the Attorney General and the governor extraordinary discretion to designate organizations as “terrorist” without notice, probable cause, or a meaningful opportunity to defend themselves.  The bill uses a definition of terrorism so broad that even peaceful groups engaging in non-violent demonstrations could potentially be branded as terrorists.

ACLU-TN opposes this bill because: The original intent of this bill was an egregious, un-American form of cultural profiling against an entire faith, Islam.  An amended version that strips any language that targets Muslims specifically still remains problematic.

  • This bill chills the religious freedom of Tennessee Muslims.  Even amended, the clear original intent of this bill will cause lingering fears in the Muslim community that the government will harass and target them for practicing their faith, a constitutionally-protected right.
  • There is absolutely no need for Tennessee to pass this law in the name of national security or public safety.  This law is unnecessary because the federal government already has ample authority, through law enforcement, to identify and designate terrorist groups, to freeze their assets, and to prohibit individuals from providing virtually any kind of support to those groups.
  • Even amended, this bill still raises serious First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment concerns.    The bill is unconstitutionally vague in its definition of “act of terrorism” and “material support” for terrorism; lacks notice and due process for designated organizations; and potentially violates free speech, free association and free exercise rights.

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