(CLEVELAND, OH, 5/2/07) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations recently joined a national civil rights coalition in hosting a forum on the terror watch lists and the detention of American Citizens at the US/Canada border.
The forum was part of the “Liberty and Justice for All Campaign” led by the Rights Working Group. A similar forum was recently held in Toledo; others are planned for Detroit and Buffalo.
Six detainees from Michigan and Ohio, all law-abiding US citizens who have been detained at the US border, joined the forum. They described treatment they endured by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, including separation from their children, fingerprinting, handcuffing, strip searching, interrogation, questioning about their political writings, and the seizure of their personal items such as cell phones, credit cards, computers and documents. All were held for hours and released with no explanation.
“The watch lists are not accurate,” said CAIR-Cleveland President Isam Zaiem. “Innocent Americans are being punished for these inaccuracies at the border. This does not make us safe, nor does it make us free.”
SEE: Borders Spell Trouble for Arab American Muslims http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/us/29border.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
SEE ALSO: Americans Detained at Border, Forum Told http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/117792187264010.xml&coll=2
SEE ALSO: Do Guards at the Border Cross a Line? http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1176021540311540.xml&coll=2
Forum sponsors included: the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services, AACCESS-Ohio; the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, ACCESS-Michigan; the Arab American Institute; the ACLU of Illinois and Ohio; the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); the National Network of Arab American Communities; and the Rights Working Group’s Liberty and Justice for All Campaign.
CONTACT: CAIR-Cleveland Director Julia Shearson, 216-830-2247 or 216-440-2247, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communication Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org