(SANTA CLARA, CA, 6/7/07) - The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) and the Asian Law Caucus (ALC) yesterday held a training session for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staff supervisors focused on travel-related issues faced by American Muslims.
At the training session, CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Safaa Ibrahim offered a brief overview of Islamic beliefs and practices, including topics such as typical Muslim attire, social etiquette and gender relations, prayer rituals, handling of the Quran, physical searches, and travel during the Hajj pilgrimage season.
"This training session is a step forward in building mutual cooperation between government officials and the American Muslim community," said Ibrahim. "We must all work together to ensure our nation's security while preserving American values of equality and justice."
CAIR-SFBA Civil Rights Coordinator Azima Subedar presented statistics and sample cases to highlight American Muslim civil rights concerns in California and nationwide.
ALC Staff Attorney Shirin Sinnar noted that for travelers, challenges primarily involve repeated detentions, length of detention, questioning on political beliefs and religious practices, invasive searches of personal property, and the attitude and demeanor of officials. She added that border detentions challenge core American values of equality, freedom and citizenship.
The training session concluded with an open discussion with CBP officials.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to promote justice, enhance the understanding of Islam, and empower American Muslims.
Friday, June 8, 2007
CAIR press release
Posted by Audrey Hudson at Friday, June 08, 2007