July 31, 2002
Dear Chapter President:
As you are probably aware, in recent days ADC has called for the removal of Presidential appointee Peter Kirsanow from his position as a Commissioner on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission (USCCR). On July 19, Kirsanow raised the possibility of internment camps for the mass detention of Arab Americans at a Commission hearing in Detroit, Michigan. Upon hearing Kirsanow‘s comments, ADC took immediate action by co-authoring a letter with the Leadership Council on Civil Rights (LCCR), asking President Bush to acknowledge that no one with such views has any place on the USCCR and therefore should remove Kirsanow from the USCCR. While ADC has the highest regard for the Commission and looks forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue with the Commission, it is important that comments supporting such drastic civil rights restrictions do not go unopposed.
At this time, we ask that you, as a representative of your local Arab-American community, actively participate in the call for Kirsanow‘s removal. Contact chapter members and community supporters, as well as other Arab-American and civil rights organizations, and ask that they too voice their concern to President Bush. Please feel free to forward the following information, in addition to the numerous press releases and action alerts from our website https://www.adc.org
As the premiere Arab-American civil rights organization, ADC has taken the lead in calling for the resignation of Mr. Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. In a letter to President Bush, dated July 22, 2002, ADC joined forces with the Leadership Council on Civil Rights (LCCR) and asked President Bush to remove Mr. Kirsanow from the USCCR. Since that time, ADC‘s call has been supported and reiterated by:
Senator Debbie Stabenow
The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC)
The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
The National Federation of Filipino American Associations
The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
Minami, Lew, and Tamaki, LLP-The Legal Team Representing Fred Korematsu
Also, please note that the United States Congress is in recess during the month of August. You can use this opportunity to contact your Senator and Congressman and urge them to take action and write to President Bush, calling for Kirsanow‘s removal. Feel free to use all ADC resources, letters and press releases as a source and model for these communications, but original letters always carry more weight. Please cc your emails to mailto:email@example.com and contact the ADC National Office with the names of any organizations, Senators or Congressmen that sign onto this action alert.
I look forward to hearing a positive response from the local ADC chapters, as well as from your local Congressional representatives.
Ziad J. Asali, M.D.
PLEASE CONTACT PRESIDENT BUSH:
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111
YOU CAN ALSO CC YOUR CONCERNS TO THE CHAIR OF THE USCCR:
Mary Frances Berry, Chairperson
US Commission on Civil Rights
624 9th Street, NW, Suite 730
Washington, DC 20425
Fax: (202) 376-8315
ADC PRESS RELEASE:
ADC Calls for the Removal of U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner
Washington, DC, July 20
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today called for the removal of Peter Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission after he raised the possibility of internment camps for the mass detention of Arab Americans. Kirsanow told a Commission hearing in Detroit on July 19 that if there was another terrorist attack on the United States “and they come from the same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center, you can forget about civil rights.” He said “not too many people will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops, more profiling, there will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights.”
Kirsanow’s remarks, and additional hostile comments by another Commissioner, Jennifer Braceras, occurred during the Commission’s monthly meeting which was held at the Omni Hotel in Detroit. Commissioners heard testimony from community leaders, including ADC’s Michigan Director Imad Hamad, about civil liberties challenges since the Sept. 11 attacks. ADC commends the Commission for holding its meeting in Detroit specifically to allow the Arab American community to relate its experiences following the Sept. 11 attacks to the Commission. ADC has the highest regard for the Commission and most of the commissioners, and looks forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue with the Commission.
ADC President Ziad Asali said, “We call on the Commission and the President to remove Mr. Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission immediately. These remarks are among the most dangerous and irresponsible, not to mention intolerant, comments uttered by any noted public figure since the Sept. 11 attacks. He appears to be condoning collective guilt and seems open to the idea of the mass internment of an entire community. No individual with such views has any place on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. It is a disgrace, and makes a mockery of the Commission’s vitally important role, which should be to defend and not attack civil rights.”