Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson spoke on Monday in Sterling, Virginia at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society—or the ADAMS Center.
In his formal remarks, Johnson explained:
My message today is this: In responding to this new environment, we must not vilify American Muslims. We must not throw a net of suspicion over American Muslims and an entire religion. We must not force American Muslims to run and hide, and retreat to the shadows. This would be counter to our homeland security efforts, and it is un-American.
During his remarks, Johnson turned beyond just the audience in the room to address “all Muslims across this country.” Johnson likened the discrimination they face to the McCarthy-era:
Do not become bitter. Do not lose faith. Have faith in this country. Over and over again, in the life of this Nation, there have been classes of people who, by virtue of their race, religion or nationality, exist on the margins of society, who are the object of prejudice, scorn and suspicion, and seek to win acceptance. It is also the tradition of this great Nation that, ultimately, those who once existed on the margins of society become part of the fabric of our society.In 1949, during the McCarthy era, my own grandfather was called upon to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, to deny he was a member of the Communist Party and defend the patriotism of African Americans. Today his grandson is responsible for the homeland security of this entire Nation.
Events like this. That’s why I wanted as many cameras, as much press as we can round up for this event. Because [during the press conference] I’m going to say… the overwhelming, overwhelming majority of Muslims want to live in peace. And those who think otherwise do not understand Islam. That’s what I’m going to say… That’s the reason why I’m here. To amplify that exact message.