ADC Presses Secret Service on Fundraiser Discrimination, Lawmakers Express Outrage
Washington, DC, Dec. 10 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) continued to press the Secret Service for an explanation of the exclusion of an Arab-American hotel employee during a Bush campaign fundraiser in Baltimore. In addition, a “dear colleague” letter expressing outrage at the incident has been circulated in Congress by several House members.
ADC President Mary Rose Oakar yesterday wrote to Secret Service Director W. Ralph Basham reiterating that ADC expects an explanation and/or apology from the Service for the incident. Former Congresswoman Oakar wrote,”On Friday, December 5, 2003 . a member of ADC, reported to our attorneys that he was asked to leave his work for the day as a waiter at the hotel after being asked whether his first name was Mohamed.” “Upon confirming his first name,” her letter continues, “his direct manager advised him to leave by orders of the Unites States Secret Service.” The Secret Service was accompanying President George W. Bush during a fundraising event at the hotel. The letter, “reiterates extreme concern at the apparent discrimination” in this incident. It concludes, “ADC is again asking for an explanation,” since it “is our understanding that the decision to remove this individual from his place of work was that of the Secret Service.” Today, several members of Congress – Betty McCollum, John Conyers, John Dingell and John Lewis – circulated a “dear colleague” letter in the House of Representatives calling for an apology from President Bush for the incident. The letter denounces what it calls, a “monstrous form of discrimination” and “a gross violation of his civil liberties.” The letter begins with the following formulation:
“Price of Admission to Bush fundraiser in Baltimore: $2,000; Money Raised at Bush fundraiser in Baltimore: $1,000,000; Cost to an American citizen and seven year hotel employee scheduled to work at the Bush fundraiser, but sent home because his name was ‘Mohamad’: Humiliation, Discrimination and Prejudice.”