Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez refused to say Thursday whether the Justice Department would ever "entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion."
During a House subcommittee hearing examining fairness in voting rights enforcement, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, referenced an article detailing a meeting between top Justice Department officials and Islamist advocates, where the advocates reportedly lobbied officials for "a legal declaration that U.S. citizens' criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination."
"We must continue to have the open and honest and critical dialogue that you saw in the robust debate," Perez was quoted as saying. "I sat here the entire time, taking notes," he said. "I have some very concrete thoughts … in the aftermath of this."