(OTTAWA, CANADA – 13/06/05) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) and the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) will call for a reform of the Anti-Terrorism Act and security certificates during their testimony before the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-Terrorism Act today. The committee is also examining the issue of security certificates. Both CAIR-CAN executive director Riad Saloojee and CAF Chairperson Omar Alghabra will be focusing their testimony on the impact of the Anti-Terrorism Act and security certificates on the Muslim and Arab communities. CAIR-CAN will also be speaking to its recent report, Presumption of Guilt: A National Survey on Security Visitations of Canadian Muslims, which documents some of the alarming tactics national security investigators use during interviews of Canadian Muslims.
Joint recommendations by the organizations before the committee will include measures to increase trust and real security; a mechanism to ensure oversight and accountability; a proposal to study the extent of racial profiling; and suggestions for legal reform. For CAIR-CAN’s submission, see: http://www.caircan.ca/downloads/SS-ATA-06132005.pdf; for CAF’s submission, see: www.caf.ca
In a joint statement released today, CAIR-CAN and CAF wrote: “The Anti-terrorism Act and security certificates offend the most basic principles of the rule of law and make a mockery of the basic constitutional guarantee of a fair trial. “Both laws have invigorated and legitimized the targeting of Canadian Muslims and Arabs. Those provisions that offend the rule of law must be changed and our government must also institute measures to ensure effective oversight and accountability of our security agencies.” Last week, CAIR-CAN called for Ministers Anne McLellan and Irwin Cotler to open an independent investigation of the tactics used by national security investigators during questioning. For more information, contact: CAIR-CAN: Halima Mautbur at cell: 613-795-2012 or 613-254-9704. CAF: Mohamed Boudjenane at office (416) 493-8635 #23 or cell (416) 294-3071.