Islamic Society of North America Meets with Attorney General Gonzales: Discusses American Muslim Concerns

January 10, 2007

Source: Islamic Society of North America Release

Washington, DC - Jan. 9, 2007 - On Monday, January 8, 2007, ISNA President Dr. Ingrid Mattson, ISNA Communications Director Mohamed Elsanousi and other Muslim-American and Arab-American organizations met with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. ISNA and leaders from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Muslim Advocates, Arab America Institute (AAI) and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), sought clarification and action on policies concerning racial profiling, suspension of habeas corpus, oversight of watch lists, charitable giving and other civil rights issues.

Among specific recommendations offered, the groups urged the Attorney General to support the termination of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) or "special registration," a program that began as an initiative of the Justice Department. While presented to the public as a counter-terrorism measure, the program has instead compromised the relationship between law enforcement and the Arab and Muslim immigrant communities and tarnished the U.S. image abroad while failing to contribute significantly to national security.

ISNA president Dr. Ingrid Mattson asked the Attorney General to clarify government policies so that Muslims and Arab Americans are able to discharge their religious and moral obligation to give charity to the poor and needy in other countries without becoming open to liability retroactively or accidentally.

Dr. Mattson expressed appreciation for the efforts of the department's Civil Rights Division to protect Muslim Americans and asked that it be given further resources to fulfill its mission.

The meeting concluded with an appeal to the Attorney General to publicly acknowledge the many contributions of Muslim and Arab Americans towards ensuring national security.