Ask Senate to Drop Israel Visa Waiver Exemption Making U.S. Muslims 'Second-Class Citizens'

legislation-stock-image(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/15/13) -- The nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today urged Americans who are concerned about equality under the law to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to drop a provision from the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 that would make American Muslims and Arab-Americans "second class citizens" who could legally be subject to Israel's policy of ethnic and religious profiling.

Taking a few minutes to contact Congress is worth your time. Build local civil rights and interfaith coalitions on this issue. This is a major test for our legal and democratic system.

To contact Congress on this issue, go here.
For more information on the bill, go to S.462 - United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the bill, introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), would allow Israel the unique privilege of continuing its "practice of routinely refusing to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country or the occupied territories it controls." As the U.S. Department of State notes in its official travel advisory: "US citizens ... of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank."

The bill, which has 17 Senate co-sponsors, grants Israel entry into the 37-nation visa waiver program provided only that Israel "has made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all United States citizens." No other nation has been granted a similar exemption to the equal treatment of American citizens regardless of faith or ethnicity.

SEE: Barbara Boxer, AIPAC Seek to codify Israel's Right to Discriminate Against Americans (The Guardian)

In a statement, CAIR said:

"If this bill becomes the law of the land, American Muslims and Arab-Americans would be turned into second-class citizens who could be legally subjected to Israel's well-documented ethnic and religious profiling. It is unprecedented that any nation would diminish the rights of its own citizens in order to facilitate the discriminatory practices of a foreign government.

"We urge Americans of all faiths and backgrounds to contact their congressional representatives and demand that they drop this attempt at creating a two-tiered system of legal protection for American citizens."

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, [email protected]; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, [email protected]; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, [email protected]

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