ADC Calls for the Removal of U.S.
Civil Rights Commissioner
Washington, DC, July 20, 2002 -
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today called for the
removal of Peter Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission after he
raised the possibility of internment camps for the mass detention of Arab
Americans. Kirsanow told a Commission hearing in Detroit on July 19
that if there was another terrorist attack on the United States "and
they come from the same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center,
you can forget about civil rights." He said "not too many people
will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops,
more profiling, there will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish
remarks, and additional hostile comments by another Commissioner, Jennifer
Braceras, occurred during the Commission's monthly meeting, which was held
at the Omni Hotel in Detroit. Commissioners heard testimony from
community leaders, including ADC's Michigan Director Imad Hamad, about
civil liberties challenges since the Sept. 11 attacks. ADC commends
the Commission for holding its meeting in Detroit specifically to allow
the Arab American community to relate its experiences following the Sept.
11 attacks to the Commission. ADC has the highest regard for the
Commission and most of the commissioners, and looks forward to maintaining
a constructive dialogue with the Commission.
President Ziad Asali said "we call on the Commission and the
President to remove Mr. Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission
immediately. These remarks are among the most dangerous and
irresponsible, not to mention intolerant, comments uttered by any noted
public figure since the Sept. 11 attacks. He appears to be condoning
collective guilt and seems open to the idea of the mass internment of an
entire community. No individual with such views has any place on the
U.S. Civil Rights Commission. It is a disgrace, and makes a mockery
of the Commission's vitally important role, which should be to defend and
not attack civil rights."
For more information, contact: Rana Abbas at (313) 581-1201