(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/3/2008) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today termed “unconstitutional and un-American” a proposed Justice Department policy change that would allow the FBI to investigate Americans without evidence of wrongdoing and could permit religious and ethnic profiling.
Under the new guidelines, which are expected to be implemented later this summer, the FBI would be permitted to consider race and ethnicity when opening an investigation. Agents would also be allowed to ask open-ended questions about the activities of American Muslims and Arab-Americans, and could initiate an investigation if a person’s employment or background is labeled as “suspect” by government analysts looking at public records and other information.
The FBI currently needs specific evidence or allegations of wrongdoing before it can investigate a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
SEE: Terrorist Profile Could Single Out Muslims, Arabs (AP)
“Any new Justice Department guidelines must preserve the presumption of innocence that is the basis of our entire legal system,” said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. “Initiating criminal investigations based on racial or religious profiling is both unconstitutional and un-American.”
He noted that top administration officials, including President Bush, have in the past denounced such profiling.
Saylor urged Americans of all faiths and backgrounds to contact the White House and their elected representatives to speak out in favor of the protection of civil liberties.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding
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CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey P. Saylor, 202-384-8857, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org