(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 7/9/2014) – According to new revelations by journalists Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain, the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, was among the victims of the federal government’s domestic spying program. CAIR-Philadelphia calls upon the Obama Administration to provide a full public accounting of surveillance practices of American Muslim leaders so that we may redress the violation of their rights and those of countless others improperly targeted by the government.
The prejudicial motives behind the targeting of Muslim leaders are laid bare by the document template used by intelligence officials in obtaining this surveillance: it uses the placeholder name ‘Mohammad Raghead’ for the surveillance target, a clear indication of the bias behind this outrageous targeting of civil rights activists and lawyers.
Addressing the apparent discriminatory targeting, CAIR-Philadelphia staff attorney Ryan Tack-Hooper said: “Improper government surveillance of civil rights leaders is not new. The FBI spied on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Unfortunately, this current round of spying has the tacit approval of Congress through our nation’s overbroad and underprotective surveillance laws. This is one of the reasons that CAIR-Philadelphia has sent staff to Washington D.C. to support legislation reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and reigning in the ability of government agents to engage in this kind of discriminatory spying. We also urgently need fuller disclosure of the abuses committed in this program so that appropriate reforms can be made to prevent them from recurring. Hopefully Americans of all creeds and backgrounds will recognize the need for change and support CAIR and the other groups working to make it happen.”
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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CONTACT: CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 202-742-6410, 720-251-0425, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org