INS roundup targets Muslims, says Islamic advocacy group

INS roundup targets Muslims, says Islamic advocacy group

A prominent national Islamic civil rights organization today expressed “shock and dismay” at what appear to be actions by the Justice Department targeting the American Muslim community with the recent arrests, detentions, and treatment of Muslims in Texas and California.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, is calling on people of conscience nationwide to contact elected officials to express concerns over the detention of hundreds of Muslims and Arab Americans by the INS. CAIR has received numerous reports Muslim immigrants being arrested as they voluntarily attempted to comply with a federal order to register with local INS offices. The overwhelming majority were held in detention centers despite the fact that they had pending applications for lawful permanent resident status.

Throughout the country immigration lawyers are reporting that their clients are being asked questions about mosque attendance, their political views and other personal information. Media reports indicate that some are being strip-searched, shackled and given inadequate clothing.

CAIR also questioned the manner of the arrests of four well-known, respected members of the Dallas, Texas community. Ghassan, Bayan, Basman, and Hazim Elashi were arrested in pre-dawn raids on their homes in front of their wives and children. As in past raids in northern Virginia, media had prior knowledge of the raids and filmed the pre-dawn actions as they were happening.

In both cases the government employed totally unnecessary and sensational measures to arrest people who are well-known to the government and who have been very cooperative in past government inquiries. Relatives of the Elashi brothers said that just a few months ago they appeared for fingerprinting without incident, and there is nothing to indicate that they would not have reported again if they were asked to come in.

“While the American Muslim community supports all actions that will safeguard our country’s security, there is now a sense among many that the Justice Department considers Muslims guilty until proven innocent. The country needs to have a critical assessment of whether or not Justice Department policies are really increasing the security of the country or are just publicity stunts,” said Executive Director Nihad Awad.


1. (As always, be POLITE.) Contact President Bush to ask that he stop John Ashcroft and the Justice Department from infringing on the human and civil rights of the American Muslim community.

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500
COMMENT LINE: 202-456-1111 FAX: 202-456-2461

2. Contact your representatives and ask that they contact the President to review the way in which the Department of Justice is treating Muslims and Arabs in America.