(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/13/2006) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will review the treatment of a Spanish Muslim woman who was allegedly interrogated for more than six hours, strip-searched and jailed following her arrival at Tampa International Airport on Tuesday. She was also forced to remove her religiously-mandated head scarf, or hijab, while in detention.
The woman, a Spanish citizen of Iraqi descent, planned to visit her teenage son who lives with his father in Pinellas County. Her ex-husband once spent time in an Iraqi prison for speaking out against Saddam Hussein and has been recognized by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as a symbol of progress in Iraq.
SEE: Surprise Turns Sour for Iraqi-Born Woman (St. Petersburg Times)
In a letter to CAIR, an official with the DHS civil rights office wrote: “Senior officials from DHS are aware of the situation. . .and are monitoring it to ensure that the actions taken are appropriate.”
The letter also states: “We will continue to work closely with our colleagues at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection on this matter to ensure that allegations of ‘strip searching’ and detention in poor conditions are investigated.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-FL Tampa Director Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com