Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 18, 2002
Muslims say U.S. not safe for them
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The Canadian Islamic Congress is warning all Muslims that the United States is not safe for them and that they should avoid travel to the U.S.
"Once again, we Muslims are being targeted because of our religion and humiliated through biased racial profiling," said CIC vice-president, Wahida Valiante. "Our rights and freedoms have been eroded and our own government seems willing to let this happen.
Valiante said the problem couldn't come at a worse time than during Ramadan, "when so many Muslims look forward to visiting with their families."
In issuing an "urgent travel advisory" Nov. 10, the CIC said landed immigrants, Commonwealth passport-holders and those holding international student visas are particularly vulnerable to delay, detention and possible expulsion under the National Security Entry and Exit Registration System (American NSEERS).
The CIC's advisory also applies to Muslims planning to travel to Canada via the U.S. to join friends and families in Canada during Ramadan, which began Nov. 6, and the Islamic Eid holidays, which start during the first week of December.
The NSEERS program requires individuals who are, or suspected of being nationals or citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria, to be interviewed, fingerprinted and photographed both on entry to the U.S. and on leaving the country.
"The U.S. is not safe for Muslims right now," said Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, national president of the CIC. "Muslims are being humiliated, intimidated, and treated as criminals at American border crossings - and this is all because of their religion, appearance, dress, names or where they were born."
He said Muslims who do not yet hold passports in Canada, "can expect no help if they are challenged, harassed, scrutinized or otherwise inconvenienced while attempting legitimate travel to the U.S."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.