ANAHEIM – Muslims and people of Arab heritage remain the targets of the
most extensive campaign of ethnic profiling to occur in the United States
since 110,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans were interned during World
War II, a Georgetown University law professor said Saturday.
“Sept. 11 changed everything for people in this room more than for others
outside,” David Cole told more than 2,000 California Muslims, politicians,
law enforcement officials and a rainbow of religious leaders. The American
Bar Association named Cole a Human Rights Hero earlier this year.
The event was a banquet celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations Southern California chapter at the Anaheim
Convention Center. The Patriot Act, which Congress passed in October 2001,
has been especially devastating because Attorney General John Ashcroft has
used it to advance a policy of “preventive detention,” Cole said. More than
5,000 immigrants, all of them Arabs or Muslims, have been detained, he
said. None has been convicted.
“John Ashcroft is zero for 5,000,” Cole said. “Many people have been picked
up and held without charges. Arrests were made in secret and remain secret
to this day. Hundreds were tried in secret immigration hearings. Yet not
one was found to be involved in terrorist activity. These kinds of figures
would not be sustainable politically if they targeted mainstream, white
“On Sept. 12 we had the world’s sympathy,” Cole said. “Three years later we
have the world’s antipathy. Never in the history of our country has
anti-Americanism been so high. It is rooted in the belief that America can
employ a double standard and not treat people with dignity. That’s what
fuels anti-American sentiment and makes us less safe today.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is one of many organizations
challenging that double standard, Cole said.
Earlier in the evening, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer told the
crowded convention hall that mosques and synagogues are protected places
under new state hate-crime legislation. He vowed to protect Muslims and
their places of worship from hate crimes.
“As California’s top cop I will not allow it,” he said.
The celebration of the Southern California chapter’s 10th anniversary came
days after a survey commissioned by the Council on American-Islamic
Relations found that one out of four Americans holds anti-Muslim sentiments”¦
CONTACT: Sabiha F. Khan, CAIR-LA Communications Director, 714-776-1847,