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Press ReleaseDiscrimination / Racism / Bigotry
Congress Should Oversee Implementation of Recommendations In Air Force Report on Religious Intolerance

New York, NY, June 28, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is urging members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee to act in an oversight capacity to ensure that the recommendations of a recent Air Force task force investigation into religious intolerance will be implemented.

In written testimony submitted today before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, ADL said that Congress should oversee the implementation of reforms proposed in the report of the Headquarters Review Group, which wrapped up its investigation on June 22 by acknowledging that religious intolerance is a persistent problem at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"Now that we have an acknowledgement of the problem of religious intolerance by the chain of command, who called for the Air Force Academy to establish clear guidelines on what is and is not acceptable, Congress should ensure that the guidelines are followed," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "Congress has a responsibility to ensure that the young men and women they recommend for admission into the military's elite training schools are getting the best education possible in a climate free of religious intimidation."

ADL, which took lead role in urging the investigation into the religious climate at the Air Force Academy, recently has also raised questions about the formal practice of requiring cadets to stand for an organized prayer before lunch at the Naval Academy.  In meetings last week with members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and top Pentagon officials, ADL urged a wider investigation into practices throughout the military to see if similar problems exist elsewhere in the armed services.

In its written testimony, ADL said that, "Congress should play a supportive role for the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Air Force and the other service branches to help ensure that their policies and procedures promote religious liberty and foster a climate of respect for religious diversity."

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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