For Immediate Release
CAIR Asks DHS to Explain 2004 ‘Profiling’ of Muslims
New data shows some 2,000 immigrants from Muslim nations were singled out for questioning
WASHINGTON - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today
called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to explain why more
than 2,000 immigrants from Muslim-majority nations were singled out for
questioning in 2004, despite statements at the time denying the use of
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
cited newly-released government data on more than 2,500 foreigners
interviewed in the fall of 2004 as possible national security threats.
After being questioned about their views on the United States and what
was preached in their mosques, none of those interrogated were charged
with national security offenses.
In 2004, government officials responded to concerns about the
interrogations by saying they were engaged in an effort to disrupt
terror plots and rejected accusations of profiling. The new data shows
however that "79 percent of the suspects were from Muslim-majority
SEE: Inquiry Targeted 2,000 Foreign Muslims in 2004 (NY Times)
"Government agencies seeking to partner with American Muslims make
that partnership harder to achieve when they appear to engage in
racial, ethnic or religious profiling," said CAIR Legislative Director
Corey Saylor. "American Muslims support strong and effective law
enforcement measures that respect the Constitution and protect the
civil and religious rights that we all cherish."
Saylor added that these "disturbing revelations" are of particular
concern because of new Justice Department guidelines that may allow
religious and ethnic profiling without evidence of wrongdoing on the
part of those being investigated.
In July of 2004, CAIR issued a community advisory outlining the
rights and responsibilities of individual Muslims who were approached
by law enforcement authorities during the round of interviews announced
in May of that year by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI
Director Robert Mueller. CAIR said it had received a number of
complaints from American Muslims who felt intimidated or coerced by
officials seeking interviews and wanted to know more about their legal
CAIR's 2004 community advisory stated: "American Muslims must do
their part to ensure the safety and security of our nation. If you are
aware of suspicious persons or activities in your community, you should
report it immediately to the local Field Office of the FBI."
The advisory also outlined a potential interviewee's legal right to
refuse an interview, to have an attorney present during the interview
and to request to see any search warrant. It also cautioned
interviewees never to lie or provide false information to the FBI.
In September, CAIR released its annual report on the status of
American Muslim civil rights. That report, called "Without Fear of
Discrimination," outlined 2,652 incidents and experiences of
anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2007.
To view the entire report, click here.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35
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.