CAIR-WA Meets with DHS, CBP on Border Profiling
Local Muslims testify to mistreatment when returning to U.S.
(SEATTLE, WA, 8/20/09) - A representative of the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) met yesterday with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to discuss allegations of racial and religious profiling at border checkpoints.
To file a report of alleged border profiling, go to:
During Wednesday's meeting, CAIR's representative outlined the Muslim community's concerns and five local Muslims told of being handcuffed, pinned to the ground, having guns pointed at them, hearing alarms sound when approaching a checkpoint, and reported anti-Muslim slurs from CBP agents.
"Numerous local Muslims who are U.S. citizens, professionals and active volunteers in their communities have reported disturbing treatment at the border when returning home," said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari.
Bukhari says reported treatment included being detained for up to eight hours, being handcuffed and kept in holding cells, having the contents of their wallets and purses photocopied, and having data from their electronic devices downloaded and retained by border officers.
"It is unconscionable that government officials treat upstanding citizens as if they are criminals," said Bukhari.
The officials taking part in the Wednesday meeting offered to continue the dialogue about community concerns relating to claims of racial and religious profiling by border security personnel.
Those taking part in the meeting also included representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), several congressional offices, the San Juan County Council, the Friday Harbor City Council, Colville Tribes, One America, Community to Community, and Jefferson County Democrats.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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