ADC Raises Concerns with Attorney General
Washington, DC, January 30, 2006–Today the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) participated in a meeting with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales which addressed post-9/11 policies and their impact on the Arab-American and Muslim communities. Representatives from the Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh communities also attended.
At today’s meeting, Hon. Mary Rose Oakar, ADC President, urged the Attorney General to advocate for the complete termination of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program and to address its residual effects.
At the meeting Oakar noted, “At ADC’s 2004 Convention, Asa Hutchinson, then Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, told us ‘it is our hope to completely end this special program because our long term goal is to treat everybody the same way and not based upon where you came from.'” After the meeting, she said, “Attorney General Gonzales acknowledged that mistakes were made with NSSERS and indicated that he would raise this issue with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.”
ADC Legal Director Kareem Shora discussed the FBI’s monitoring of radiation levels of Muslim sites. Shora said, “Besides the obvious legal objections we have to the monitoring program itself, ADC requests to be informed of and included in issues that affect our communities. The Administration needs to take proactive steps to address the damage this issue has caused with the community.” Shora also discussed the ramifications of the NSA surveillance program and the apprehension it has instilled in the community.
Other issues raised at the meeting include: reappointing and establishing the Special Counsel for Post 9-11 National Origin Discrimination in the Civil Rights Division as a permanent, full time position; comprehensive immigration reform and a review of the immigration court system, the inclusion of a Sikh category into the hate crime section of the FBI Annual Hate Crimes Report; the PATRIOT Act and racial profiling; and the negative impact some regulations have had on the Muslim-American community‘s ability to fulfill ‘Zakat,‘ religious almsgiving / charitable giving.