Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Blog
In the past few months, we have witnessed a disturbing number of revelations of Islamophobic, racist, and unconstitutional profiling by our preeminent law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD and the FBI.
AAI has been involved in discussions with the FBI to remedy the situation, and momentum has been building within the community and on Capitol Hill. Last week, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) submitted an amendment to an appropriations bill that would strip federal funding from departments that use ethnic or racial profiling. Though the amendment was voted down, he has submitted a resolution (H. Res. 651) reproaching “the illicit ethnic and religious profiling and surveillance of Muslim American communities by the New York Police Department.”
In addition, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) is currently circulating a letter to the Inspector General, condemning the use of racial profiling by the FBI’s civilian surveillance program, which has wrongfully targeted the Arab American and American Muslim communities and engendered fear and mistrust without producing any tangible benefit:
When law enforcement officials blur the line between community outreach and intelligence gathering, it damages valuable relationships… Any FBI practice of taking information collected during community outreach efforts for the purpose of utilizing it as intelligence threatens to erode crucial trust between federal law enforcement and American communities. It is also contrary to basic constitutional principles of free speech and freedom of religion.
The letter calls on the Department of Justice to “conduct a nationwide audit to determine whether the FBI is improperly targeting and collecting intelligence about specific communities based on their First Amendment-protected activities.”
The tide is finally turning against racial profiling and Islamophobia, but it won’t happen without your help. Please take two minutes to contact your representative now and make sure they co-sponsor H. Res. 651, and sign on to Rep. Stark’s letter immediately; the deadline for signatures is May 17.comments powered by Disqus