WASHINGTON (AFP) – A US Senate committee said Tuesday it will hold a hearing next week on protecting the civil rights of American Muslims, two weeks after another panel hotly debated the threat posed by homegrown Islamists.

The US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights session on March 29 follows a hugely controversial March 11 hearing by the House Homeland Security Committee on domestic terror threats.

Democratic Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin announced he would lead next week's session in response to what his office, in a statement, called "the spike in anti-Muslim bigotry in the last year."

"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 said.

His office cited "Koran burnings, restrictions on mosque construction, hate crimes, hate speech, and other forms of discrimination" and said the session would focus on "measures to protect the civil rights of American Muslims."

Witnesses will include a Muslim civil rights leader, US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the top civil rights official in the US Justice Department, and that official's predecessor under former president George W. Bush.