ADC Calls for the Removal of U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner
Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today called for the removal of Peter Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission after he raised the possibility of internment camps for the mass detention of Arab Americans. Kirsanow told a Commission hearing in Detroit on July 19 that if there was another terrorist attack on the United States “and they come from the same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center, you can forget about civil rights.” He said “not too many people will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops, more profiling, there will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights.”
Kirsanow’s remarks, and additional hostile comments by another Commissioner, Jennifer Braceras, occurred during the Commission’s monthly meeting which was held at the Omni Hotel in Detroit. Commissioners heard testimony from community leaders, including ADC’s Michigan Director Imad Hamad, about civil liberties challenges since the Sept. 11 attacks. ADC commends the Commission for holding its meeting in Detroit specifically to allow the Arab American community to relate its experiences following the Sept. 11 attacks to the Commission. ADC has the highest regard for the Commission and most of the commissioners, and looks forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue with the Commission.
ADC President Ziad Asali said “we call on the Commission and the President to remove Mr. Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission immediately. These remarks are among the most dangerous and irresponsible, not to mention intolerant, comments uttered by any noted public figure since the Sept. 11 attacks. He appears to be condoning collective guilt and seems open to the idea of the mass internment of an entire community. No individual with such views has any place on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. It is a disgrace, and makes a mockery of the Commission’s vitally important role, which should be to defend and not attack civil rights.”