WASHINGTON – Tuesday, January 26—Executives of the Arab American Institute (AAI), American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), met with Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday (January 25) to discuss issues of concern to the Arab American and Muslim communities.
Leaders spoke with Attorney General Holder about several controversial policies developed under the 2003 Department of Justice Guidance on Profiling, which include several loopholes allowing for widespread profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion and national origin. Among the topics discussed were the 2008 Investigative Operational Guidelines (DIOGs), disclosures in the 2010 Inspector General Report on FBI data collection of identified “communities of interest”, the use of informants in terrorism cases, and the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), and PATRIOT Act reauthorization.
Representatives from the Arab American Institute (AAI), the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) stressed the importance of continued dialogue and additional efforts to promote partnerships between local communities and law enforcement.
James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute (AAI) said: “It is the national security loophole in the 2003 Attorney General guidelines on profiling that has provided the legal cover for many of the policies put in place during the previous Administration, including the round ups of thousands of Arab and Muslim immigrants targeted for ‘special registration’ and the 2008 Mukasey guidelines for the FBI. As has been repeatedly demonstrated, profiling is ineffective, wastes precious law enforcement resources, and alienates American communities eager to assist in keeping our country safe and secure.”
Mary Rose Oakar, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), said: “We urged the Attorney General to repeal the 2008 Department of Justice FBIGuidelines that were put into effect in the last month of the Bush Administration and asked him to assist in repealing the NSEERS program, which targets young men from Arab and Muslim countries.”
Salam Al-Marayati, Executive Director of MPAC, said: “Problematic polices over the past 8 years have lead to a chilling effect in our community. We encourage the DOJ to address some of these very pertinent issues to ensure respect for the rule of law and security policies that work”
AAI, ADC, and MPAC appreciate the opportunity to address these concerns with Attorney General Holder and look forward to working with the Department of Justice on substantive policy reform.