Wednesday, September 01, 2010

ADC Requests Clarification on Detention of U.S. Resident Travelers

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ADC Requests Clarification on Detention of U.S. Resident Travelers
Washington, DC | | September 1, 2010 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expresses concern over the handling of a matter involving two United States residents of Yemeni descent who were detained in the Netherlands. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers alerted Dutch authorities of the travelers after finding “suspicious objects” in the luggage of one of the passengers, which led to the detention.   The United States Government found no reasons to charge either individual with any crime, and the Dutch authorities have now released the travelers. 
ADC recognizes the importance of National Security; however, the protection of our Nation must not come at the expense of basic freedoms.  Government law enforcement officers must not use ethnic or racial profiling.  Further, the National media also must avoid using profiling, and must exercise restraint and responsible professionalism in their work.  Many news agencies made false assumptions and jumped to conclusions about the two travelers, including labeling them as “terrorists” and “terror suspects.”  ADC Michigan Regional Director, Mr. Imad Hamad, stated, “This type of language, especially  when not true, has a negative effect on an individual, his friends and his family, along with the Arab and Muslim American communities as a whole.”
ADC requests a clarification and explanation from DHS as to whether the national origin of these two passengers played a role in notifying Dutch authorities and in the subsequent detentions.  ADC further requests an explanation of the “flight pattern” criteria, adopted this past April as part of the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines, that may have been applied under these circumstances.  It is readily apparent from this and other incidents that such guidelines are having a disparate impact on the Arab and Muslim American communities; and it appears, without question, that the final destination of these two individuals played a role in their detention. 

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