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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bet this is picked up in everyone's newspaper tomorrow:


American Muslims Fingerprinted By U.S. at Canadian Border; CAIR Calls for 'Profiling' Probe, Says Incident Chills Religious Freedom

12/29/2004 12:40:00 PM


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To: National Desk, Legal Reporter

Contact: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, or [email protected]; or Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, or [email protected], both of Council on American-Islamic Relations

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for a formal investigation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into an incident at the Canadian border in which American Muslim citizens were apparently singled out for special security checks based on their attendance at an Islamic conference and then held until they agreed to be fingerprinted.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the incident was a disturbing example of religious profiling that would have a chilling effect on the constitutional rights of American Muslims, particularly the right to the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and the right to be "secure in their personsagainst unreasonable searches."

A number of the up to 40 Muslims who were singled out for questioning and fingerprinting told CAIR that they were returning from a weekend Islamic conference of more than 10,000 in Toronto when they were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the Lewiston Bridge crossing near Niagara Falls, N.Y. (CBP is part of the Department of Homeland Security. For conference details, see: http://www.revivingtheislamicspirit.com/)

Several of the Muslim citizens held at the border for up to six hours on Sunday night and Monday morning told CAIR they objected strenuously to being fingerprinted, but were informed by CBP representatives that "you have no rights" and that they would be held until they agreed to the fingerprinting procedure. One person was allegedly threatened with arrest if she attempted to leave the detention area without being fingerprinted.

CBP officials on the scene cited "orders from above" to justify their actions. One CBP official reportedly agreed with a Muslim traveler that "it would not look good" if the news media saw the detention area filled exclusively with Muslims in Islamic attire. CAIR is investigating similar reports of demands for fingerprinting of conference attendees at other border crossings.

When contacted by CAIR, a CBP spokesman in Washington, D.C., initially said fingerprinting of American citizens would be a "violation of policy." He later said fingerprinting would be allowed "if there was a law enforcement reason for doing so," but would not state what that reason might be.

Media reports on the incident quote CBP officials as saying some of the Muslim citizens who were fingerprinted had names similar to those on watch lists. But that claim does not explain why everyone in the group of conference attendees, even Muslim converts, were fingerprinted.

SEE: "Muslim-Americans Say Border Inspections Were Unwarranted" http://www.wkbw.com/morenews/morenews.asp#8

Local DHS officials now say they will hold a community meeting next week to address the concerns of those who were forced to be fingerprinted.

"The image of a room full of American Muslim citizens apparently being held solely because of their faith and the fact that they attended an Islamic conference is one that should be disturbing to all Americans who value religious freedom," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "This incident must be investigated to determine what the policy on fingerprinting Muslim citizens is and who is behind it."

Awad also urged anyone treated in a similar manner to contact CAIR's Civil Rights Department by calling 202-488-8787 or e- mailing [email protected].

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CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 30 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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When I first read it, first thing I thought of was a practicality: How does one spot a Muslim? How would they know who to fingerprint?

Spare you the details, but this was a problem the Third Reich faced when it embarked upon the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem: There was much squabbling over just how to define and just how to identify a Jew.

Anyway, in the article I saw this, and I came away thinking that there's a problem here, but it's a slightly different one: They're not fingerprinting Muslims at the border - they're fingerprinting folks who attended a conference.

So I don't see this so much as a religious issue. But I do think it is very frightening. One sure-fire way to put a lid on intellectual freedom is to fingerprint those who attend conferences on topics the government doesn't approve of. If you were to attend a Right to Life conference, would you be OK with the FBI then detaining you and fingerprinting you?

Don't forget: If they can do it to the other guy, they can do it to you.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They are crossing the border back into the US.

Not the same as crossing the street within the US when leaving a meeting.
 

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Considering Canada is about as permeable as air when it comes to letting terrorists in, I think it is prudent to double check muslims trying to get into or back into this country from there.

Now of course there are questions as to exactly how do you tell is a muslim, but lets face it, sometimes you can tell quite easily. If you have a group of "middle eastern" looking people with the wome dressed in black with veils over their faces, and the men have long beards and those funky hats, well then bingo. Pull 'em to the side and check them more thoroughly. I have no problem with that.

Lets face it, the people who want to kill us ARE muslims, easy pick. I don't see christians, budhists, hare krishnas, devil worshippers, jehovahs witnesses, etc whose general teaching is the destruction of the non believers and Americans in particular. So, I say profile away!
 

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pzjgr, amazingly enough, I am OK with profiling. I think that young men from Middle Eastern countries entering this country should be scrutinized just a bit more closely than elderly female midgets from Lichtenstein.

It gets very sticky when we get into profiling purely on the basis of religion, raises both constitutional issues and practical issues that don't arise when scrutinizing young men from Middle Eastern countries. Anyway, as I said, I don't think this case really about profiling on the basis of religion, anyway.

So, Custer, you'd be OK with a US citizen who attends a conference abroad, a conference of any sort the government chooses to scrutinize, being fingerprinted upon trying to re-enter the US? If you were to attend a Right to Life conference in Toronto, you'd have no problem being fingerprinted upon your return? I can see where perhaps you wouldn't - but I would.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I suppose if I fit a terror profile I am going to have a problem when I am moving about the world.

Same thing as a Mexican looking and sounding guy when he applies at my company for a job.
 

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Smegs, I see your analogy, but it is a bit flawed in my opinion. Right to lifers don't have the destruction of the United States as one of their goals. Right to life groups are not out there trying to come up with bigger and better ways to kill many Americans.

However, fundamentalist muslims are. And usually those attending a muslim conference are devout muslims, which tend to be the ones you have to worry about when it comes to blowing stuff up. I am sure there are many "twice a year" muslims (or however many times a year, but you know what I am saying) out there who are no threat what-so-ever.

As far as your right to life question, I guess if it were a conference of the very militant (ie blowing up clinics, assassinating doctor types) and there may be a criminal amongst them, then I think they should be fingerprinted when they come back across, I'd have no problem with that.

And just out of curiousity, why do you think profiling on the basis of religion is sticky? In this case the group of people we are worried about all belong to a certain religion. Whats the difference between that, and say, we were attacked by Lichtenstein (to use your example), and certain elements within Lichtenstein decreed they were dedicated to the destruction of America. Well, then I would say profiling Lichtenstinians would be the order of the day, whether they were from Lichtenstein, or they were Lichtenstinians living here in this country. Hell, I'd be more worried about the Lichtenstinians living and blending amongst us than the ones over in Lichtenstein.

I am not saying to open up Manzana again, but a little closer observation of Lichtenstinians here is warranted. I see no difference in that and profiling muslims....
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The daily CAIR whine:



Muslims decry '24' depiction

By RICHARD HUFF
DAILY NEWS TV EDITOR



The first new episode this season of Fox's "24" has yet to hit the screen and already the network has offended a Muslim group.

After viewing a portion of the first episode included on a DVD in Entertainment Weekly, officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed dismay at the depiction of a Muslim family.

"At first I was shocked," organization spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed told the Daily News. "In this particular case, they show an American-Muslim family and they portray them as terrorists."

Ahmed was alerted to the 24-minute promotional DVD earlier this week.

At issue is a scene in which a teenager helps his parents plot to kill Americans.

"What we will accomplish today will change the world," the father tells the son over breakfast. "We are fortunate that our family has been chosen to do this."

Ahmed said the scene "casts a cloud of suspicion over every American-Muslim family out there."

A Fox spokesman said the company had no comment.

Ahmed acknowledged the possibility that in the remaining half of the first episode - which was not on the promotional DVD - the story line could have indicated this was not a typical family.

In fact, based on preview episodes sent to critics for the start of the "24" season, while the family appears traditional on the surface, they turn out to be a sleeper terrorist cell.

Such a story line is not unusual for "24," which centers on Kiefer Sutherland, as Jack Bauer, an counterterrorism agent who works for the secretary of defense.
 

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Uhhhh.....Ahmed....I got news for you. I didn't take an episode of "24" to cast an air of suspicion over every American Muslim family out there. At least not for this hombre!

The four planes crashing, and muslims dancing in the street did it for me....

Never Forget, Never Forgive....
 

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pzjgr said:
Smegs, I see your analogy, but it is a bit flawed in my opinion. Right to lifers don't have the destruction of the United States as one of their goals...
And just out of curiousity, why do you think profiling on the basis of religion is sticky? ....
Point taken. Perhaps it would have been better had I chosen a conference on the Russian weapons design with an emphasis upon the work of Mr. Kalashnikov and Mr. Siminov, or an international symposium on individual gun rights. Those are two subjects that could be rather creatively construed by some folks in government as attracting enemies of the state.

And the reason why I think profiling on the basis of religion is sticky is because I think it's too complicated an issue to just come out and say that it's OK or say that it's not - that I haven't yet quite figured it out. But once you begin doing it, for whatever reason, no matter how justifiable, you may find that you have opened Pandora's box.

It also has some practical problems, as the Nazis found when they began exterminating Jews and found that there were many many difficulties in defining and identifying just who is a member of the Jewish faith. Seems to me that during the Middle Ages the standard test to determine whether someone was a Christian was whether they would step on the cross under pain of death if they refused; don't know what litmus test we'd use for identifying Muslims.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I doubt they were profiling on religion.

I suspect it was on appearance.
 

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Is it profiling or is it history? What is the problem with saying Muslims attacked the US on 9/11? They did it. Doesn't mean that all Muslims are killers though. Should I consider it a personal attack on my rights and beliefs when the Lincoln assassination is mentioned? It must be on this logic. Because my wife's great, great, great, great, great grandmother was Hannah Booth, the sister of John Wilkes Booth.

The 9/11 attacks are personal to me. One of my uncles was scheduled for a business flight. He was in Boston and needed to fly to LA. He was at the airport and realized that he had forgotten his briefcase back at the hotel. It had everything he needed for his meeting, so he re-scheduled his trip for a later flight. His meeting was for the afternoon of September 11, 2001. His original flight, was Flight 175.

A cousin of mine was working in the Pentagon when Flight 77 hit it's mark. Luckily she was on the opposite side of the building.
 

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Cephus said:
I don't know about other states but here we have to give a thumb print if we want to drive a car so I think it's ok to have a fingerprint if you want to enter the country. I know we have alot of VETS out there and they are fingerprinted when they go in so what's the problem ?
Not that I necessarily entirely disagree with you, Cephus, but something for you to think about, part of the way the government incrementally erodes our liberties over time: This is how our Fourth Amendment protections have become to be eroded over time. In court that protection is generally defined by a "reasonable expectation of privacy". As a consequence, as folks expect less and less privacy, they are accorded less and less protection under the Fourth Amendment.

I see it most obviously with drug testing.

When most folks are told that they have to submit to random urine testing in order to have a job, they say, "OK".

What do you think a Continental soldier would say, coming home after having secured our liberties from the British, if he was told that he now could have a job so long as he submitted to random drug testing?
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Our personal liberties are greatly eroded over time by big government operating as our nanny but I don't hear the left bleating about that.

The amount of freedom lost due to criminal law enforcment is a drop in the bucket compared to that. In fact, I would say criminal rights and protections have expanded in my lifetime.
 

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Custer said:
Our personal liberties are greatly eroded over time by big government operating as our nanny but I don't hear the left bleating about that...
Need I bleat louder?
 
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