(WASHINGTON, D.C., 01/11/06) – Leaders of the American Muslim and Arab-American communities met today with FBI officials in Washington, D.C., to discuss concerns about the secret monitoring of radiation levels at Muslim homes, businesses and mosques nationwide.
The meeting with FBI Deputy Director John Pistole, coordinated by the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), included representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim American Society (MAS), Arab American Institute (AAI), the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and several other groups.
“Today’s meeting, while not resolving all underlying issues of concern, offered an opportunity to improve lines of communication and to increase mutual cooperation on issues related to national security and the prevention of hate crimes,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, who took part in the meeting. Awad said any security measures that create the perception that the entire American Islamic community is targeted can create difficulties in communication between Muslims and law enforcement authorities. He said such perceptions can also lead to increased Islamophobia and even anti-Muslim hate crimes. (CAIR Government Affairs Director Corey Saylor also took part in the meeting.)
Immediately following the revelation of the radiation monitoring program, CAIR held a news conference at its Capitol Hill headquarters to offer the reaction of Muslim and interfaith leaders. CAIR later announced the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all government records relating to the secret government program.
In that request, CAIR asked for: 1) “&Records concerning the ‘authority’ of President Bush to delegate or personally authorize surveillance without obtaining a court order as required by FISA,” and 2) “&Comprehensive lists and addresses of the ‘over a hundred Muslim sites’ (including mosques, organizations, businesses, warehouses and homes) in Washington D.C., Chicago, Detroit, New York, Las Vegas and Seattle which have been targeted for radiological surveillance by this top secret program.”
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 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.
CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Corey Saylor, 202-646-6039 or 571-278-4658, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.