In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IMAMS REMOVED FROM US AIRWAYS FLIGHT RETAIN CAIR AS LEGAL COUNSEL
Muslim leaders concerned about false claims resulting from incident
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/6/06) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that five of the six American Muslim imams recently removed from a US Airways flight in Minnesota have retained the Washington-based civil rights group as their legal counsel.
Airline and law enforcement officials say the imams were taken off the flight November 20th for alleged “suspicious activity.” They were handcuffed and questioned for several hours by authorities before being released. CAIR, along with other civil rights organizations, has called for congressional hearings on religious and ethnic profiling at airports in response to the incident.
Since their removal from the flight, a number of charges have circulated in the media and on the Internet that the imams say are false, distorted or a misrepresentation of actual events.
“Unfortunately, the false claims and smears used against these religious leaders only serve to cloud the real issue involved, that of how national security can be maintained while preserving constitutionally-protected freedoms and respect for religious diversity,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Awad, a past member of the civil liberties advisory panel for the Clinton-administration White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, said CAIR has requested a meeting with US Airways to seek a mutually-agreeable resolution to the incident.
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.
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