“Our Constitution protects the free exercise of religion for all Americans", Senator Durbin said, in a statement released by his office. "During the course of our history, many religions have faced intolerance. It is important for our generation to renew our founding charter’s commitment to religious diversity and to protect the liberties guaranteed by our Bill of Rights.”
Durbin also said that the hearings are not meant to counter Rep. Pete King's hearings on radicalization. Instead, they are meant "in response to the spike in anti-Muslim bigotry in the last year including Quran burnings, restrictions on mosque construction, hate crimes, hate speech and other forms of discrimination".