Washington, DC, July 20 -- The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee (ADC) today called for the removal of Peter Kirsanow from the
U.S. Civil Rights Commission after he raised the possibility of
internment camps for the mass detention of Arab Americans. Kirsanow
told a Commission hearing in Detroit on July 19 that if there was
another terrorist attack on the United States "and they come from the
same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center, you can forget
about civil rights." He said "not too many people will be crying in
their beer if there are more detentions, more stops, more profiling,
there will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights."
Kirsanow's remarks, and additional hostile comments by another
Commissioner, Jennifer Braceras, occurred during the Commission's
monthly meeting which was held at the Omni Hotel in Detroit.
Commissioners heard testimony from community leaders, including ADC's
Michigan Director Imad Hamad, about civil liberties challenges since the
Sept. 11 attacks. ADC commends the Commission for holding its meeting
in Detroit specifically to allow the Arab American community to relate
its experiences following the Sept. 11 attacks to the Commission. ADC
has the highest regard for the Commission and most of the commissioners,
and looks forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue with the
ADC President Ziad Asali said "we call on the Commission and the
President to remove Mr. Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission
immediately. These remarks are among the most dangerous and
irresponsible, not to mention intolerant, comments uttered by any noted
public figure since the Sept. 11 attacks. He appears to be condoning
collective guilt and seems open to the idea of the mass internment of an
entire community. No individual with such views has any place on the
U.S. Civil Rights Commission. It is a disgrace, and makes a mockery of
the Commission's vitally important role, which should be to defend and
not attack civil rights."
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
4201 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20008, U.S.A.
Tel: (202) 244-2990, Fax: (202) 244-3196
Web : www.adc.org
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