America’s Orwellian Conundrum

Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Blog

“Fomenting fear stifles serious debate and constructive solutions … this nation deserves more than that,” stated Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) after the USA FREEDOM Act was voted down 58 to 42 in the Senate on November 18, 2014. The vote revealed a rare display of bipartisanship in what has typically been a partisan Congress. Unfortunately, this bipartisan apparition resulted in a significant setback for civil rights and liberties activists as well as opponents of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance practices.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued that under the USA FREEDOM Act...

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Lost In Translation

Posted on October 24, 2014 in Countdown
Last weekend, the Supreme Court denied a request to stop a Texas voting requirement that necessitates all voters to show specific forms of ID before they cast their ballot. The law would disenfranchise an estimated 600,000 people – primarily African Americans and Hispanics – in the State.
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Ready or Not

Posted on October 16, 2014 in Countdown

Ebola Spreads to the Midterms

For some politicians, the first question that comes to mind as the nation attempts to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from spreading isn’t how to go about doing so, but how can I use this to my advantage? That’s right – the global Ebola outbreak now qualifies as election material. Michigan Republican Senatorial candidate Terri Lynn Land used the outbreak to reflect on President Obama’s management skills, saying that both the president and her Democratic challenger Rep. Gary Peters need “to lead and come up with a...

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Know Your Audience

Posted on October 03, 2014 in Countdown
We haven’t even finished with the 2014 elections and candidates are already posturing on foreign policy as Middle East issues take the spotlight. You’ve probably heard of Ted Cruz’s controversial comments to Middle East Christians last month. Well, we are surprised to see Rick Santorum’s lengthy and strong statement against Ted Cruz’s actions at the summit.
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American Muslims 13 years after 9/11

Posted by OpEdNews on September 27, 2014 in News Clips

The seven-million strong Muslim American community remain under pressure, 13 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Alarmingly, mainstream American opinion of Muslims is getting worse. According to the July survey of Arab American Institute (AAI) there has been a continued erosion in the favorable ratings Americans have of both Arabs and Muslims. For example, in 2010 favorable ratings for Arabs were 43 percent. They have now declined to 32 percent. For Muslims, the ratings dropped from 36 percent in 2010, to 27 percent in the 2014 survey.

Not surprisingly, a direct consequence of this disturbing downward slide can be seen...

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AAI Virtual Brownbag: “Civil Liberties in Jeopardy: Profiling, Surveillance and the Way Forward”

Posted by on September 02, 2014 in Blog
Since President Obama’s January speech on government surveillance and despite numerous incidents of discrimination by law enforcement and other agencies, the Arab American community in particular continues to be dealt numerous blows when it comes to surveillance and profiling. Whether online or on-the-ground, these threats and infringements seriously undermine faith in our government and leaders.
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On And On

Posted on August 22, 2014 in Countdown
As Arab Americans, we understand the real life impact of profiling and discriminatory law enforcement practices. We know how it can range from “minor” inconveniences while traveling to destroying someone’s professional career. But the death of yet another young African American teenager demonstrates how truly grave the consequences of profiling can be. We stand in solidarity with all victims of profiling and against the militarization of police forces. We stand with those seeking justice in last week’s shooting of Michael Brown, in which we saw the most extreme impact of profiling. There is so much work to be done.
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Few Steps Forward, Few Steps Back

Posted on August 13, 2014 in Countdown
The Arab American Institute hosted an important emergency leadership summit in DC last Thursday on U.S. foreign policy and the ongoing crises in Gaza, Iraq and Syria. We heard from National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who spoke to members of our community just as news alerts were coming in about the United States air drop in Iraq and the military strikes against ISIS. With that, our community’s discussions over the troubling U.S. policies on Gaza also turned to the U.S. actions and strategy in Iraq, where important communities, including Iraq’s minorities, are being targeted, excluded and expelled by an “Islamic State.”
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We All Need A Break

Posted on August 01, 2014 in Countdown
The line between liberty and security continues to blur, as news such as Greenwald’s revelations in the Intercept about NSA surveillance and the FBI’s counterterrorism practices emerge every few weeks. We only need to look at the latest AAI Poll on American Attitudes Toward Arabs and Muslims to understand why these practices continue without much outcry.
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Free at Last? Anti-Surveillance Legislation Appears Before the Senate

Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Blog
By Jad Ireifej Summer Intern, 2014 AAI was a signee on a letter that encouraged top members of the Senate to swiftly pass the unadulterated form of the USA Freedom Act that was presented Tuesday. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), the Senate Judiciary Chair, unveiled the Freedom Act and the bill will lead to stricter surveillance restrictions, if passed.
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