Muslims in Rhode Island React to Security Proposals

February 19, 2004

Source: The Providence Journal

On February 19, 2004 The Providence Journal published an article in response to proposed legislation by Governor Carcieri that many experts believe would limit freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendent. The article notes, "Freedom of religion -- one of the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment -- is a valuable right for all Americans but especially for Muslims, who have faced suspicion and, in some cases, harassment after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks... Nasser Zawia, a board member of the Rhode Island Council for Muslim Advancement and a University of Rhode Island professor, said... he sees no need for Governor Carcieri's proposed homeland security act. 'I'm not aware of any problems specific to Rhode Island that would prompt this," he said. "I think it's an overreaction.' Zawia emphasized that the United States should protect itself, but he said there should be a 'healthy balance' between security and citizens' rights. While Carcieri's bill does not infringe on religious liberties, Zawia said he fears Rhode Island will end up on a 'slippery slope that forgets about the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights.'"