The Manhattan borough president, C. Virginia Fields, told Muslim leaders yesterday afternoon that she opposes the Patriot Act and as mayor would create a more inclusive New York City, in which Muslims would have more of a voice. She told the American Muslim Taskforce that she does not support the Patriot Act because it “violates civil rights.” “Coming out of the segregated South, I know what segregation is about. I know what racism is about,” Ms. Fields, one of four Democratic candidates for mayor, said. “Discrimination, pre-9/11, post-9/11, is unacceptable. All of us have an obligation to make sure that policies are in place to make sure it doesn’t happen.” As mayor, she said, she would reach out to the Muslim community, making it easier for its members to build new schools, get awarded city contracts, and expand small businesses.
Although the Taskforce, an umbrella group for Muslim organizations, invited all of the mayoral candidates, only Ms. Fields, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, and Mayor Bloomberg said they would come. As the event drew to a close, the moderator, Debbie Al-Muntasir, said Messrs. Miller and Bloomberg were tied up at City Hall. The general secretary of the Arab Muslim American Federation, Wael Mousfar, said it was “disappointing” that only one candidate attended. “We’d like to see them again,” he said. “We’ve been trying to do this for a long time, and it takes time for people to recognize us and pay attention.” The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations New York, Wissam Nasr, said he didn’t feel “slighted” by the turnout. He said the Islamic community should continue to forge bonds internally and talk to the leaders of the city about their concerns, including hate crimes and discrimination”¦