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CAIR-SFBA: Civil Rights, Privacy Coalition Says Berkeley City Council Should Approve Groundbreaking Surveillance Ordinance

(BERKELEY, CA, 3/12/2018) -- A coalition of civil rights and privacy organizations today called on the Berkeley City Council to approve a powerful new law aimed at protecting privacy rights. The Ordinance would create a thorough legally enforceable use policy with built in safeguards to ensure protection of civil liberties and the security of data. 

It would require that all surveillance technology proposals first undergo a public discussion to determine the potential benefits, costs, and concerns of such an acquisition and its use in the community. Accountability and ongoing oversight would be maintained with annual reporting requirements that will provide the community with information about how the equipment is being used.  

If adopted, Berkeley would be the first city in the nation to enact this type of ordinance. The County of Santa Clara unanimously passed a similar ordinance in 2016, becoming the first entity in the nation to take such an approach.

WHAT: Berkeley City Council Hearing on “Surveillance Technology Use and Community Safety Ordinance”

WHEN: Tuesday, March 13th, 6 PM, Action Calendar, Items #27a-c

WHERE: 2134 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94704  

“We applaud the City of Berkeley for being proactive in addressing the concerns around invasive surveillance equipment, and also the fear that the Trump administration may use local law enforcement data for illegitimate purposes, such as the targeting of non-criminal immigrants,” said Brian Hofer, a member of the Berkeley Police Review Commission subcommittee that helped draft the ordinance.  

“Law enforcement shouldn’t be able to acquire surveillance technology in secret, yet it happens every day. Our local elected leaders must be empowered to intervene,” said Tessa D’Arcangelew, of the ACLU of Northern California. “The people of Berkeley have the right to reject dangerous surveillance technologies before law enforcement agencies can acquire them.”  

“Given the President’s rhetoric of increased surveillance of mosques, the Muslim community is particularly concerned with the unfettered use of surveillance technology and how it’s being shared,” said Sameena Usman, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ San Francisco Bay Area Office (CAIR-SFBA). “A strong use policy would ensure that our civil liberties and privacy will be protected.”  

CONTACT: Brian Hofer, Berkeley Police Review Commission: (510) 303-2871, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;  Tessa D’Arcangelew, ACLU of Northern California: (415) 293-6355, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;  Sameena Usman, Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area Office: (707) 412-0786, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   - END –

CAIR-Massachusetts Asks American Legion to Deny Venue for Hate Group’s Anti-Islam Speaker

(BOSTON, MA, 3/9/2018) - The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MA) is calling on an American Legion post in that state to deny the use of its facility for an event Sunday featuring an anti-Muslim speaker and promoted by an Islamophobic hate group.

Anni Cyrus, who purports to be an educator about the threat of “sharia” to the United States, is scheduled to speak at American Legion Nonantum Post 440 in Newton, Mass.

SEE: Anni Cyrus - The US Constitution and Sharia. Can they co-exist?

Cyrus has in the past made inaccurate, defamatory and inflammatory claims about Islam and Muslims, including:

  • “Rape is part of Islam.”
  • “When there is a mosque built in any area. . .it’s a sign of conquest.”
  • Mosques in America represent “1,200 areas lost to Sharia.”
  • “Islam is definitely at war against humanity.”
  • “The reason for the existence of a woman in Islam is that she’s the seducer.”
  • “It would be a brilliant idea if we put an end to all Islamic teachings in our schools.”
  • Titles to her online videos include “To Be Raped Under Islam,” “Islam’s Rape Game in Europe” and “The Solution to Stop Islam.”

“While every American has the right to free speech – even the kind of bigoted and misinformed speech offered by Ms. Cyrus – credible organizations like the American Legion should not provide platforms that imply approval or offer credibility to hate-filled views,” said CAIR-MA Executive Director John Robbins.

The event is being organized by Dianna Ploss, who notes at the bottom of the registration page that she is the president of the Boston chapter of ACT for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as the largest anti-Muslim hate group in America:

Last year, CAIR released two short videos exposing ACT for America’s bigotry and its links to White supremacist organizations.

CAIR’s videos show ACT for America being allied with many of the same white supremacist groups and exhibiting the same bigoted themes as seen at the deadly Charlottesville “Unite the Right” racist rally.

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CAIR Files Lawsuit Seeking Return of Michigan Muslim Barred from U.S. by Unconstitutional ‘No-Fly List’

(WASHINGTON D.C., 3/9/2018) – The CAIR Legal Defense Fund of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and CAIR’s Michigan chapter today announced the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of an American Muslim permanent resident, Kamran Majeed, from Michigan who is being prevented from boarding a flight back to his home in the United States from Pakistan.

Since being placed on the so-called “no-fly list,” Majeed has not seen his U.S. citizen wife and child in five months, has lost his job and is at risk of losing his legal permanent resident status for not maintaining his residency requirements in the United States.

CAIR's lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, seeks to secure Majeed’s return to his home.  The lawsuit also challenges the methods used to place law-abiding American citizens and permanent residents on the no-fly list.


CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, who is representing the plaintiff, said: "The U.S. government's policy of using the unconstitutional no-fly list as a tool to prevent innocent, law-abiding American Muslims from returning to their homes is harmful and illegal. We will fight to reunite the plaintiff with his family in Michigan. No one deserves to be separated from loved ones without constitutionally-adequate due process."

Amy Doukoure, CAIR-MI staff attorney added: “The federal government continuously denies the civil liberties of innocent Muslims by unconstitutionally placing them on the no-fly list after they have traveled out of the country. Not only did this cruel act violate our client’s rights, but it has unnecessarily cost him his job and effectively separated him from his wife and young child for almost five months."

CAIR previously filed a broad legal challenge to the watchlist in 2015 on behalf of 25 American Muslims, many of whom reside in Michigan. 

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