Federal queries worry Muslims

The U.S. Justice Department's plans to interview 160 mostly Middle Eastern men in South Florida as part of a far-reaching terrorism investigation has stirred fear among local Arab-Americans and drawn protests from civil libertarians.

Armed with a set of questions handed down from Washington, investigators from the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force are fanning out across the area in search of the men who made the list based on their ages, country of origin and length of time in the United States. One question asks how each man felt when he heard the news of Sept. 11.

Islamic leaders and civil rights groups say the move is akin to racial profiling. "It's a type of investigation that carries a great potential to create the impression that interviewees are being singled out because of
their race, ethnicity or religion," said Altaf Ali, director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "This can have a ripple effect on the community at large, especially the Muslim community..."


CAIR-DFW joins FBI on radio call-in program

On Saturday, December 1st, CAIR-DFW Director Mohamed Elmougy and FBI Special Agent in Charge Danny Daffenbaugh will answer call-in questions on radio station AM 1150 from 3-4 p.m. Please fax or call-in with your comments or questions. The fax number and call-in number will be made available at the start of the show.


Terror bill gets go-ahead

A sweeping anti-terror bill that has been under attack from both the left and right won approval in the House of Commons last night.

It now heads to the Senate where opponents vow to continue their fight. However, the Senate is expected to approve the bill.

The proposed law easily passed third reading by a vote of 190 to 47. Of the backbench Liberals who had voiced concern about the sweeping anti-terrorism measures, only one in the end, Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener-Waterloo) voted against it…

government would be rushing through a second anti-terrorism measure - a requirement that Canadian air carriers share passenger information with U.S. authorities.

Transport Minister David Collenette said that measure must pass before Christmas because the United States is insisting on receiving the information about airline passengers arriving there starting in mid-January.

The bill passed yesterday creates new criminal offences, expands police powers to investigate, wiretap and prosecute suspects, and allows the federal government sweeping powers to invoke secrecy over information…

and 26 lawyers and academics also released an open letter to the Prime Minister, pleading for anti-terrorism measures to be completely re-drafted.

The coalition, which includes many Muslim and Arab groups who testified during parliamentary hearings on Bill C-36, called the government's offered amendments "minor and cosmetic changes" that will not prevent wrongful arrests and the destruction of lives and reputations.

"Many rights that we now take for granted - due process, full answer and defence and fundamental justice - are all threatened by Bill C-36," said Hadeel Al-Shalchi of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Canada, who read portions of the letter to reporters.

"While it is necessary to implement measures to ensure the safety of Canadians in these uncertain times, we are concerned that Bill C-36 - The Anti-Terrorism Act - is itself a threat to the legal and civil rights that
Canadians now enjoy..."