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Anti-Muslim Injustices in US

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    Rights Report Details Anti-Muslim Injustices in US Muslim men were arrested for little more than attending the same mosque as a September 11 hijacker or
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2005
      Rights Report Details Anti-Muslim Injustices in US

      "Muslim men were arrested for little more than attending the same
      mosque as a September 11 hijacker or owning a box-cutter," said Malhotra.

      NEW YORK, June 27, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – Scores of
      US-based Muslim men were locked up by the US government without charge
      after the September 11, 2001 attacks, US human rights groups said in a
      report published Monday, June 27.

      "The Justice Department relied on false, flimsy or irrelevant evidence
      to secure arrest warrants for the men," almost all of whom had
      cooperated with authorities prior to their detention, said the report
      compiled by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the American Civil Liberties
      Union (ACLU), reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

      "Muslim men were arrested for little more than attending the same
      mosque as a September 11 hijacker or owning a box-cutter," said Anjana
      Malhotra, a researcher at HRW and ACLU.

      Although the US Justice Department has declined to reveal how many
      Muslims it jailed in its counterterrorism investigations, the HRW and
      the ACLU confirmed 70 such detentions after a year of research.

      The men were held behind a veil of secrecy under a US law permitting
      the arrest and detention of so-called "material witnesses" thought to
      have important information about a crime and considered likely to
      flee, both groups said.

      The 101-page report said "a handful" of the Muslim men were later
      charged with crimes related to terrorism.

      About half were never brought to testify, and the US government
      apologized to 13 of the men for wrongfully detaining them, it added.

      Sixty-four of the detained men were of Middle Eastern or South Asian
      descent, 17 were US citizens, and all but one were Muslims, a
      statement accompanying the report said.

      Amnesty International said in a report, on the third anniversary of
      the 9/11 attacks, that racial profiling by US law enforcement agencies
      has grown to cover one in nine Americans, mostly targeting Muslims.

      Twist of Law

      Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney, said the Justice Department's "unlawful
      use of the material witness statute is perhaps the most extreme but
      least well-known of the government's post-September 11 abuses."

      He went on: "The material witness abuses are a prime example of what
      happens when there is no public scrutiny of the government's actions."

      Jamie Fellner, director of HRW's US Program, told Pakistan's The Dawn
      daily that these men "were victims of a Justice Department that was
      willing to do an end run around the law".

      He complained that "criminal suspects are treated better than these
      material witnesses were."

      The men were typically taken at gunpoint, held in solitary
      confinement, harassed and in some cases physically abused, said the
      rights watchdogs.

      Court documents were sealed, court proceedings were held behind closed
      doors, and the men were largely denied legal protection guaranteed by
      US law, they charged.

      One-third were held at least two months, some were held six months and
      one man spent more than a year behind bars, said the groups.

      "Many were not informed of the reason for their arrest, allowed
      immediate access to a lawyer, nor permitted to see the evidence used
      against them."

      A May 2004 report by the US Senate Office Of Research concluded that
      Arab Americans and the Muslim community in the US have taken the brunt
      of the Patriot Act and other federal powers applied in the aftermath
      of the 9/11 attacks.


      The report documents testimony from several Muslim men who were
      arrested, questioned and released by US federal authorities without
      apologies or explanation for their protracted detention.

      "They treated us like professional terrorists. They put us in cars and
      had big guns - as if they were going to shoot people, as if we were
      Osama bin Laden," one detainee told ACLU and HRW officials.

      Ayub Ali Khan, an Indian national, was arrested on September 12, 2001
      in San Antonio, Texas, and held in solitary confinement for two months
      in Brooklyn, New York.

      "I didn't sleep for one or two months. The guards would bang on the
      door all night. They would say, 'This is the guy, the Taliban guy,' or
      call me 'Khan Taliban,'" the report quoted Khan as saying.

      "The guards said so many bad things. They told me: 'You won't ever see
      your family. You're going to die here. Do you smell the WTC (World
      Trade Center) smoke? You're gone. How would you like to die? With the
      electric chair?'"

      Khan recalled that when taken to interrogations, "my feet were
      shackled and guards would step on chains. I got a deep cut on my feet".

      He went on: "I was stripped too many times to remember and hit on the
      back. I would be pushed against the wall".

      After release, the men were shunned by employers, customers and
      neighbors, even those who received apologies from the US government
      and exculpatory write-ups by media in their communities, said the ACLU
      and HRW.



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