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Fingerprinting proposal is discriminatory say Muslims

Fingerprinting proposal is discriminatory say Muslims

A national Islamic advocacy group said today that new Justice Department guidelines requiring Muslim and Middle Eastern visa holders to register with the government and be fingerprinted are discriminatory and counterproductive.


More than 100,000 students, workers, researchers, and tourists from designated Muslim and Arab countries already in the United States would be covered by the proposal. New arrivals will be fingerprinted at points of entry.


SEE: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/05/national/05CND-IMMI.html


In a statement released today at a Capitol Hill news conference, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad said:


"In the post-9-11 world, we all understand the need for increased security. American Muslims, like all other citizens, want to prevent another terrorist attack in the United States. Unfortunately, policies that single out particular religious and ethnic groups create a false sense of security and end up further damaging America's image and reputation around the world.


"Recent policies targeting Muslims and Arabs, including the interviewing of 8,000 legal visa holders, the detention without due process of some 1,200 individuals, the targeting of Muslim and Arab 'absconders,' the use of secret evidence, the raids on Muslim homes and institutions, and the new FBI guidelines allowing surveillance of mosques engaged in legal activities, all failed to result in a single terrorism-related arrest. Law-abiding residents in this country should not be made the scapegoats for past intelligence failures.


"The United States was founded on the ideal of equality and nondiscrimination on the basis of ethnic origin or religion. These latest steps are nothing but the imposition of guilt by association. They show that the Department of Justice cannot distinguish between people planning or engaged in criminal activity and law-abiding residents. If these new procedures are to be introduced, they must be applied across the board, or not at all.


"Finally, we call on people of conscience to contact their elected officials to challenge the continuing erosion of civil liberties in America."


Representatives from the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Muslim American Society, and the ACLU also spoke at today's news conference.


There are an estimated seven million Muslims in America and some 1.2 billion worldwide. For background, see CAIR's "The Mosque in America: A National Portrait," at http://www.cair-net.org/mosquereport/, and "Stereotypes and Civil Liberties," at http://www.cair-net.org/civilrights2002/


A recent national poll indicated that "nearly 75 percent of Muslim Americans either know someone who has or have themselves experienced an act of anti-Muslim discrimination, harassment, verbal abuse or physical attack since September 1l." SEE: "Accounts of Anti-Muslim Discrimination Not Exaggerated," at http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/first/0530-124.html

 

New FBI guidelines may lead to abuses say Muslims

New FBI guidelines may lead to abuses say Muslims

A national Islamic advocacy group said today that new Justice Department guidelines giving FBI agents wide latitude in monitoring the Internet, libraries and religious institutions could lead to abuses similar to those experienced by minority groups in the past. The new guidelines allow opening investigations without first having to offer evidence of potential criminal activity.


SEE: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/30/politics/30SPY.html


The Washington Post paraphrased a senior Justice Department official who said "the impact of the changes will be dramatic in allowing the FBI to open a window on extremist activity in mosques."


SEE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30427-2002May29.html


In a statement reacting to the new guidelines released today, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Governmental Affairs Director Jason Erb said:


"All Americans support the investigation of terrorists or those who are suspected of engaging in or planning terrorist acts, and anyone having information about such attacks should immediately contact the FBI. But America must not respond to past intelligence failures by adopting a 'round up the usual suspects' approach to counterterrorism.


"It is one thing to allow FBI agents the reasonable ability to surf the Internet for criminal activity or do research on issues not related to specific criminal cases, and quite another to have agents entering mosques claiming to be Muslims or people of other faiths seeking spiritual guidance.


"Mosques, along with other religious institutions, are open to all Americans and have nothing to hide, but that openness should not be abused by using tactics of deception to spy on a religious minority engaged in lawful activities. We cannot win the war on terrorism by turning the clock back to the days when the FBI infiltrated groups and harassed individuals engaged in Constitutionally-protected political dissent."


Erb added that CAIR has organized public meetings between FBI officials and Muslim communities across the country since the September 11 attacks and would facilitate future direct communication with mosque officials. He said CAIR works regularly with the Justice Department on individual bias-related incidents and on broader issues of anti-Muslim discrimination.


CAIR thanked Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, who commented on the new guidelines by saying:


"Threatening the private practice of religion constitutes a war on freedom, not a war on terror. I hope it is clear to all that taking it upon himself to institute new rules to wiretap religious organizations, including places of worship, the Attorney General will do little to help us battle terrorism. Instead, it will simply further alienate the American Muslim community, a crucial ally in our efforts."


There are an estimated seven million Muslims in America and some 1.2 billion worldwide. For background, see CAIR's "The Mosque in America: A National Portrait," at http://www.cair-net.org/mosquereport/, and "Stereotypes and Civil Liberties," at http://www.cair-net.org/civilrights2002/


A national poll released today indicates that "nearly 75 percent of Muslim Americans either know someone who has or have themselves experienced an act of anti-Muslim discrimination, harassment, verbal abuse or physical attack since September 1l." See: "Accounts of Anti-Muslim Discrimination Not Exaggerated," at http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/first/0530-124.html

 

Muslims demand suspension of California cops who arrest 11 year old girl

Muslims demand suspension of California cops who arrest 11 year old girl

A prominent national Islamic advocacy organization is calling for the suspension of California Highway Patrol
(CHP) officers who the group says assaulted an 11-year-old Muslim girl during a anti-war, pro-Palestinian rally Saturday in San Francisco. (The girl turned 11 in February of this year. She was charged with "battery" of a police officer.)


The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says photos and video shot at the protest show that police acted improperly in arresting the girl. SEE: http://www.indybay.org/ (The girl's father is available for media interviews. Contact CAIR's Northern California office at the numbers listed below.)


The 11-year-old was arrested Saturday when police blocked a march across the Golden Gate Bridge, despite the fact that event organizers had a valid permit to cross the bridge. Media reports quoted witnesses who said police over-reacted to a relatively small number of protestors. One passerby told the San Francisco Chronicle: "I don't think these demonstrators presented any threat to anyone. The police are the ones who shut everything down. I would rather see all of these officers looking for terrorists in airports." Witnesses also say police manhandled journalists during the march.


A statement issued today by CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad read in part: "It is unconscionable that police clad in riot gear would pull an 11-year-old child out of a group of peaceful protestors, throw her to the ground, handcuff her, haul her away like a common criminal, and then keep her shackled for hours at a police station. From all accounts, this girl did nothing to provoke arrest. The officers involved in this incident
should be suspended pending an immediate and thorough investigation."


Just last week, a Georgetown University Campus Police officer was suspended after allegedly assaulting a Muslim man, his wife and their 4-month-old child as they were leaving their space in a Washington, D.C., parking garage.

 

Georgetown University cop allegedly assaults Muslim family

Georgetown University cop allegedly assaults Muslim family

A prominent American Muslim advocacy group is calling on Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., to investigate an incident yesterday in which a Muslim family says they were assaulted by a campus police officer.


According to the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the incident took place in the Georgetown University Hospital Parking Garage. According to the complaint, a Muslim man, his wife and
their 4-month-old child were leaving their space in the parking garage (their child had just been seen at the hospital) when the car driven by the officer, who was in uniform, blocked them.


When the Muslim driver motioned to the officer to move so that he could exit the space, the officer allegedly exited his car, ran to the Muslim driver's car, and began slamming the car door on the driver who was
partially out of the door. (The officer apparently did not want to move his car forward so as not to lose access to the space that the Muslim driver was exiting.)


When the Muslim driver demanded to know what the officer was doing and why, he allegedly said: "I know you Muslims. You hate us and you hate Jesus." (Muslims revere Jesus as a Prophet of God.) Referring to the Muslim driver's wife, who was wearing an Islamic head scarf, he said: "You're Muslim, he's Muslim, you hate [derogatory term for African-Americans]."


At that point, the Muslim driver called 911 and Washington, D.C., police arrived. Fearing retaliation from the officer, and despite receiving scratches and muscle strains during the assault, the Muslim driver did not file charges at that time.


CAIR is demanding an immediate investigation of the incident and disciplinary action against the officer, up to and including termination. The Islamic advocacy group says the officer may be open to federal hate crimes charges.

 

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