Jawad Al-Gazawi sat in his cramped living room at the Alice Griffith housing project in San Francisco, where one of the few windows in his apartment that hasn't been broken bears an American flag sticker.
"We came from war," said Al-Gazawi, a devout Muslim who moved to the United States after fleeing his native Iraq. "And now, we are at war."
His family, he said, has been under siege at the housing project in Bayview-Hunters Point since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. And his landlord -- the city's Housing Authority -- has moved sluggishly to help,
Al-Gazawi said. Now, the U.S. Justice Department and FBI are looking into whether the 52-year-old Al-Gazawi, his wife and their four children were victims of racially charged violence and whether the Housing Authority -- an agency already under court scrutiny for its lax response to past discrimination and hate crimes -- did enough to protect them...
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, along with other civil liberties advocates and experts, today testified before members of the House of Representatives about the impact racial and religious profiling has had on
the American Muslim community since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The forum was sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.
In his prepared remarks, Awad stated in part:
First I would like to thank Congressman Conyers and other members of the Judiciary Committee for inviting me to speak before you today. I am honored to present you with information CAIR has compiled about the status of American Muslim civil rights since the tragic events of September 11.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is one of the largest grassroots advocacy and civil rights organizations for Muslims in the United States. CAIR was founded in 1994 to defend Muslim civil liberties
and to provide accurate and balanced information about Islam to the media, policy-makers and to the general public.
CAIR also undertakes proactive steps such as sensitivity training and the publication of guides for religious accommodation of Muslims in the workplace, correctional facilities, schools, and in the field of health
care. Our organization has worked, and will continue to work, with local, state and federal officials in building a bridge of understanding to the Muslim and Arab American communities.
Like all Americans, our community was horrified by the terrorist attacks against America. We again repeat our condemnation of these attacks and of all terrorist activities. The Muslim community was doubly pained by these attacks, as they not only struck at our nation, but they also harmed the image of our faith.
As difficult as these times are, our hope is not diminished that a day will come when all Americans will understand that the Islamic religion has nothing to do with these crimes. We are encouraged by the warmth,
generosity and openness offered by so many of our neighbors, friends and colleagues of other faiths.
Muslim physicians, fire fighters and counselors rushed to the scene of the attacks in New York and Washington to help bring relief to the victims and their families. Many American Muslims were also victims of these crimes.
Since September 11, CAIR has registered 1658 cases of discrimination, harassment, profiling, physical assault, and inappropriate law enforcement behavior. This compares with 640 total cases from the previous year…
In his conclusion, Awad stated:
Every American has the right to legal counsel, the right to face one's accusers, the right to protection against unwarranted search and seizure, and the right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty.
CAIR shares the desire for increased security against terrorism. Security will only come through time-tested investigative work, not by scapegoating and profiling vulnerable minorities. Racial and religious profiling,
anti-immigration measures, indefinite detention, and political persecution will not make Americans safe, but provide instead a false sense of security while reinforcing racial prejudice and stereotypes.
To address these civil rights concerns, without prejudicing legitimate steps to safeguard the security of our nation, I urge Congress to take the following steps:
1. Hold quarterly civil liberties oversight hearings on the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act.
2. Enact legislation to combat the use of racial and religious profiling.
3. Repeal the use of secret evidence.
4. Assure that the most troublesome new laws or regulations issued in connection with the events of September 11 are narrowly tailored to true terrorism activity and are rescinded when they are no longer needed.
We believe that security does not have to come at the expense of civil liberties and of the long history of tolerance and multiculturalism that defines the American experience…
TO VIEW AWAD'S ENTIRE TESTIMONY, CLICK HERE.
The Muslim Students Association and the Coalition of Progressive Student Organizations joined forces Wednesday to march in protest of the much-publicized firing of professor Sami Al-Arian.
The protesters called for the reinstatement of Al-Arian and questioned the decisions of the Board of Trustees and university President Judy Genshaft...