MPAC Raises Concerns
over Increased Islamophobia to Attorney General
Monday, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) joined
other prominent Muslim and Arab American groups in a meeting
with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in which they shared
community concerns over post-9/11 federal law enforcement
policies and practices.
MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati and leaders from
the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Arab
American Institute, the Islamic Society of North America
(ISNA) and the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML)
also called on Gonzales to publicly acknowledge the positive
contributions of their communities in working to preserve
national security and expand efforts to promote engagement
with all levels of government and law enforcement engagement.
"We seek national security preservation that ensures
the openness and cherished pluralism that my parents came
to this country for," said Al-Marayati. The group re-emphasized
the need to publicize the working relationship they have
with the various federal agencies in protecting our country.
While Gonzales acknowledged that more outreach is necessary
to the Muslim and Arab American communities, Al-Marayati
stressed the need for the Department of Justice to take
a leadership role in promoting integration by speaking against
Islamophobia, especially when anti-Muslim statements are
associated with law enforcement officials.
Al-Marayati also urged the Attorney General to follow the
model established by the Department of Homeland Security
to solidify an incident management strategy in the event
of another catastrophic attack on the nation. Gonzales and
other law enforcement officials must be prepared to stem
the tide of public hysteria and hate in such a scenario,
and announce and amplify the commitment of the Arab and
Muslim communities in protecting our country.
Other issues raised at the meeting included termination
of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System
(NSEERS) program, comprehensive immigration reform and a
review of the immigration court system, community outreach
efforts by the Department of Justice, ethnic and racial
profiling, and the negative impact some regulations have
had on Arab and Muslim-American charities. The Attorney
General listened to the concerns and remained firm that
all policies of the Department of Justice are compliant
with current law.
Founded in 1988, MPAC is a public service agency working
for the civil rights of American Muslims, for the integration
of Islam into American pluralism, and for a positive, constructive
relationship between American Muslims and their representatives.