MPAC Raises Concerns over Increased Islamophobia to Attorney General

On 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.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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