(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/15/16) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today asked the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to investigate an incident in which an Australian Muslim woman who is a member of that nationâ€™s parliament was detained, interrogated and fingerprinted after arrival at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for a fact-finding trip on drug law reform.Â
In a letter to DHS about the case of Dr. Mehreen Faruqiâ€™s detention, CAIR Civil rights Department Litigation Director Jenifer Wicks wrote in part:
â€œMedia reports indicate that both she and her husband were grilled about why they were in the United States, their links to Pakistan and how they got Australian passports. They were even asked for additional identification after providing their passports. Dr. Faruqi migrated to Australian in 1992 and has been a citizen of Australia for 22 years. She is a Muslim member of parliament in Australia, in New South Wales, and a member of The Greens party.
â€œMs. Faruqi said, â€˜I have lived in Australia for 24 years and having raised my family here, it is a real kick in the guts when people treat you like that.Â Unfortunately this racism and Islamophobia is only going to get worse with the declining level of political debate around Muslims both here in Australia and the United States.â€™
â€œThese concerns, as well as others raised concerning the denial of visas to a number of British Muslim families, reflect a real and growing perception in the Muslim community that it is being increasingly targeted by DHS officials and that racial profiling of Muslims is being implemented informally.Â We respectfully request that your office investigate these most recent incidents and ensure that DHS officials do not religiously profile those seeking to enter the United States.â€
A copy of CAIRâ€™s letter was sent to the Australian ambassador in Washington, D.C.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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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