Earlier today, CAIR and other civil rights groups, along with members of Congress, took part in a Capitol Hill news conference welcoming theintroduction of legislation, the "Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act," designed to correct some of the most contentious provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. Participants included Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; Ron Paul, Republican; and Gregory Nojeim, ACLU Washington Legislative Office.
At the press conference, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak out in support of Congressman Kucinich's Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act.
"In the days following the horrific attack on our country on September 11, 2001, CAIR was inundated with reports of civil rights abuses. It was a frightening time to be a Muslim. Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act in hopes of providing the Department of Justice with the appropriate tools to track down the perpetrators of the attack on our country.
"Unfortunately, the Patriot Act went too far in that it abridged many of the freedoms we as Americans should never take for granted. Under the auspices of the Patriot Act, Muslims, Arabs-Americans and others were detained without meaningful judicial review.
"The frenzied days following 9/11 are now over and it is time for Congress to act sensibly by repealing the provisions of the Patriot Act that have infringed on our civil liberties. As a civil rights organization, we have always spoken out in support of legislation that promotes democratic ideals. The Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act is important and timely. It should be supported by all those who love freedom.
"We urge Muslims and all Americans to call their elected representatives and ask them to cosponsor this bill."