June 11th, 2008 17:41 EST
Civil Rights Challenge That Muslims Face
Assalamu Alaikum: (Peace be to you)
During the last three years, we have seen a significant shift in the civil rights complaints received by CAIR. Three years ago, the vast majority of the cases were related to workplace discrimination. More recently, complaints related to government agencies are accounting for a significant part of our case load. Due process, airport and border profiling, citizenship delays, watch lists, and immigration related cases far outnumber all other categories.
These statistics are sobering. America`s commitment to preserve liberty and justice for all is at risk.
In the past, our primary focus was education of our fellow citizens. We launched and sustained a number of campaigns such as Explore the Quran ? and Explore the Life of Prophet Muhammad ? (peace be upon him). Through these campaigns we were able to educate the wider populace about Islamic practices. These efforts continue and are meeting success.
However, we now have a new challenge. Our fellow American Muslims, and to a certain degree, other ethnic minorities are now facing increased profiling and citizenship delays. Many of us are facing this ourselves, or know of others who do. We cannot sit idly by while our civil liberties continue to erode. How can we counter this? How must we rise to this challenge?
Focus on Advocacy
Recently, CAIR facilitated and helped fellow American Muslims meet with 100 congressional offices to discuss ending religious profiling, ending citizenship delays and ending hunger. During these meetings, American Muslims from across the country met with their elected officials on Capitol Hill. CAIR provided detailed legislative fact sheets that gave an overview of the issues, the current laws, recent House and Senate hearings, and the various bills making their way in the congress.
Today, more than ever, we need your help in highlighting these key issues to your elected officials.
- Citizenship Delays: Over 300,000 citizenship applications are backlogged, some as long as 6 years after passing the citizenship examination. In the last few months, both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committees have held hearings in this matter and FBI Director Mueller testified that the agency expects most of its backlog to be cleared by July 2008. CAIR has launched a national campaign to highlight the delays. Various local CAIR chapters have helped file lawsuits on behalf of individuals to bring relief. View Legislative Fact Sheet.
- Border Profiling: Border profiling and harassment has become a major trend in civil rights complaints received by CAIR. Customs delays, detentions, cavity searches, shackles, and selective deportation have become commonplace. The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. In addition, the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution requires that all US citizens be treated equally under the law. CAIR supports the reintroduction and passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) or similar legislation. The End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) of 2005 (S. 2138 in the 109th Congress) was originally co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). View Legislative Fact Sheet.
We Need Your Help
These issues are more than just American Muslim issues. They are fundamental to the values and the constitution of our country.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ? -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Here is how you can help:
- Call on your elected officials. Your local CAIR chapter can provide you detailed overview about the key issues, current legislation and talking points.
- Get involved. With 35 offices across the country, we can benefit from your ideas, your time and your efforts to help America continue on its path of justice for all.
- Donate. Our employees across the country and hundreds of active volunteers need your help to meet the new civil rights challenges facing all of us.
We cannot do it without your active support.
This is our cause and this is our time to step up and step forward.
Sincerely and proud to be at your service,
P.S. Donations to CAIR are tax-deductible and zakat eligible. CAIR is a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).