Civil rights groups delegation meets
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
A delegation of civil rights groups met with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren on August 14, 2003 in San Jose. The meeting was initiated by the Silicon Valley for Civil Rights (SVCR ) and American Muslim Voice. Mr. Albert Lee of the SVCR introduced the group.Ms. Samina Faheem, Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice and the Media Committee of Silicon Valley for Civil Rights, expressed concern about protection of civil liberties and constitutional rights since the passage of the Patriot Act. In particular, Ms. Faheem brought the issue of how the Patriot Act is affecting the Arabs and Muslims. Ms. Samina Faheem also shared her concern about the inhuman treatment of Dr. Sami Al-Arian (held on terrorism charges), and FBI roundups. She also made a proposal how we can make our country safe and secure for everyone.She urged the congresswoman to help us achieve a fair trial in an open court for Dr. Al Arian. Ms. Samina Faheem informed the congresswoman that she has been the coordinator of a nationwide the Hotline for the last nine months to help those affected by the INS Special resigtration. She added that this program was introduce to catch terrorists, rather it has created a havoc in the Muslim community. People are frustrated of the treatment they receive like common criminals and almost everybody is of the view that no terrorist is going to walk through INS Special Registration line.This program is wasting our country’s resources and it is totally ineffective. Please help us in suspending this program until further study.
Mr. Dave Vunch gave a presentation about the Patriot Act and how it is affecting every American. He urged the congresswoman that she should vote against Patriot Act II, if it is presented before the house.
Ms. Michelle Richardson presented a memorandum, specifying areas in which the group wants from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. “We are very concerned about protecting civil liberties and constitutional rights, please sponsor or co-sponsor some of the bills.”
Ms. Annette thanked the congresswoman for giving the delegation time and listening to their concerns about the civil liberties and agreeing to support us in our efforts.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren thanked the group for bringing all this to her attention. She said that she was impressed with the presentations and the wider representation of the group that includes various communities.
The AMV and other civil rights groups are planning similar meetings with other Congressmen/women to express concern with the Patriot Act and other threats to civil liberties. At the same time they are highlighting the impact of the INS Special Registration on the Muslim American community. The AMV is building bridges with other communities and groups in its drive to protect civil rights of the Muslim community.