(CHICAGO, IL, 8/17/05) On Tuesday 8/16, The Chicago chapter of the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), in conjunction with the Civil Liberties Coalition of Illinois (CLCI) and Representative Danny K. Davis held a press conference to discuss the new threat to civil liberties due to the recent passage of the Patriot Act's sunset provisions in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Speaking at the event were Congressman Danny K. Davis; Yaser Tabbara & Ahmed Rehab from CAIR-Chicago; Maaria Mozaffar from the CLCI, Mehrdad Azemun from ICIRR, and Jane Ramsey from JCUA.
The following CAIR-Chicago statement was read by Yaser Tabbara:
"As the most intensely affected group by some of the unconstitutional provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act, Muslim Americans in general and Illinois Muslims in particular have repeatedly affirmed their support for balanced legislation that makes our country safer yet does not jeopardize our American civil liberties. As the local chapter of the largest national civil rights organization representing Muslim Americans, CAIR-Chicago has been documenting a number of incidents that range in severity that were the direct result of Section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act and other sections. Furthermore, the secretive nature of the application of Sections 213, 215 and others makes it conducive to profiling the most "suspect" minority in today's America: Muslims and Arabs. The need for judicial and congressional oversight is absolutely necessary in order to quell the fears of this affected minority and in order to not further alienate a community that is crucial in the fight against terror that often is committed in its name.
"We hope that the Congressional Conference Committee fulfills its awesome responsibility by combining the House and Senate modifications of the Patriot Act in a way that strikes the intricate balance between constitutional protections and enhancing national security.
"We call on the Congressional representatives of the citizens of the state of Illinois to engage their Muslim constituents and communicate their constituents' opinions to the Congressional Conference Committee."