CAIR Submits Written Testimony for Senate Guantanamo Hearing

Guantanamo-protest-CapitolAnti-Muslim extremist Frank Gaffney to testify as Republican witness

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/24/2013) -- The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization, today submitted written testimony for a Senate hearing on the implications of closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Today's hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), will focus on the national security, fiscal, and human rights implications of closing the detention center.

Hearing witnesses include

  • Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
  • Major General Paul D. Eaton, United States Army (Ret.)
  • Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D., United States Army (Ret.)
  • Lieutenant Joshua M. Fryday, Judge Advocate General's Corps
  • Elisa Massimino, President and Chief Executive Officer of Human Rights First
  • Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy.

SEE: CAIR's Written Testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on 'Closing Guantanamo'
Hearing: Closing Guantanamo: The National Security, Fiscal, and Human Rights implications

CAIR's testimony reiterates the organization's longstanding opposition to indefinite detention of Guantanamo detainees without charge or trial and outlines why lack of due process is a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution and damages American moral authority and international relations.

Some of CAIR's recommendations include:

  1. the immediate release or civilian trial of all remaining detainees at Guantanamo;
  2. the immediate release and resettlement of the 86 prisoners already cleared for release; and,
  3. the immediate stop to the force-feeding of Guantanamo prisoners on hunger-strike, in conjunction with an independent medical professional review and monitor of all hunger-striking prisoners.

"The indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo bay without trial or charge violates the Constitution and disregards long-standing American traditions of respect for due process and the rule of law," said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. "In the president's own words, Guantanamo has become a 'symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.'"

McCaw added: "We are grateful for Chairman Durbin's sober and objective chairing of the hearing. The chair's balanced choice of witnesses, including decorated Army and Navy personal with years of military service and first-hand experience at Guantanamo, is in stark contrast to Ranking Member Ted Cruz's choice of anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney as the Republican minority witness."

Gaffney has in the past testified against construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and has been banned from a national conservative conference because of his bizarre claim that it had been infiltrated by Muslim extremists. He compares Islamic principles (sharia) to a "lethal virus" (Washington Times, 9/29/09) and is allegedly the source of the discredited claim by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) that Muslim radicals have infiltrated the highest levels of government.

SEE: CPAC Banned Frank Gaffney Over Baseless Anti-Muslim Charges
Southern Poverty Law Center Profile: Frank Gaffney Jr.

CAIR also expressed concern about the Islamophobic views of another witness, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who has falsely alleged that American Muslim leaders have failed to speak out against terror attacks.

SEE: CAIR Asks Kansas Rep. Pompeo to Correct 'False and Irresponsible' Attack on Muslims

CAIR encourages those who are unable to attend the hearing to watch it online and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtags #Senate #CloseGitmo and the Twitter handles for Senate subcommittee Democrats: @SenatorDurbin, @alfranken, @ChrisCoons, @SenBlumenthal, @maziehirono, and Republicans: @tedcruz, @LindseyGrahamSC, @JohnCornyn, @OrrinHatch.

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 Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, [email protected]; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, [email protected]; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, [email protected]