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CAF condemns security measures announced by Ashcroft as racist, dangerous

Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) - 06 June 2002

The Canadian Arab Federation today condemned new U.S. Justice Department regulations announced yesterday by Attorney General John Ashcroft as a form of institutionalized discrimination and racial profiling taken to a new extreme.  The new measures will require as many as 100,000 Arab male visitors to the U.S. a year to be fingerprinted, photographed and registered in an anti-terrorism effort. 

CAF national president Raja Khouri said “…the first thought that came to my mind was: What next, a number stamped on our foreheads, a crescent sawn to our shirts?  Hasn’t the world learned a thing from past internment, ghettoization and marginalization of groups?” 

CAF believes that institutionalized discrimination, aside from being humiliating and unjust, is also dangerous as it leads to fear and hate.  Mr. Khouri asked: “Isn’t it clear that having a state agency target every Arab or Muslim as a suspect becomes an open invitation to all Americans (and, by extension, Canadians) to discriminate against Arabs on the basis of their culture or religion?  That this plays to the worst racial stereotypes, reinforces public xenophobia and mongers hate and fear of, and among entire communities?”   CAF believes there are better ways to catch criminals than treating everyone who might look like them as a criminal.  That’s just too broad of a net that catches mostly innocent people and makes victims of them.

CAF calls on the Canadian government to ensure that none of its Arab and Muslim citizens and landed immigrants are subjected to such treatment at either U.S. or Canadian entry points.  “I call on Deputy PM Manley and Minister Coderre to ensure that such measures are not at all contemplated for visitors to this country or any of its citizens,” Mr. Khouri concluded.

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