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Some of you might want to know about this Canadian site, devoted to Islamic relationships in North America, how Muslims are faring there, and human rights. The article below is about erosion of civil rights in Canada. --------- Begin forwarded message ---------- From: CAIR-CAN <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: GOOD NEWS ALERT: CAIR-CAN PUBLISHES OP-ED IN THE TORONTO STAR Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003 10:29:28 -0400 Message-ID: <002f01c35838$5211ffb0$8becfea9@df6p3221> CAIR-CAN Council on American-Islamic Relations CANADA P.O. Box 13219, Ottawa, ONT, K2K 1X4 Tel: 1-866-524-0004 Fax: 613-254-9810 URL: www.caircan.ca ---- In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful GOOD NEWS ALERT # 110 CAIR-CAN PUBLISHES OP-ED ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE TORONTO STAR Piece is twenty seventh op-ed published to date=20 (Ottawa, Canada - 1/8/2003) - Alhamdulillah (All praise is due to God), CAIR-CAN today published an op-ed entitled, "Canadian civil rights under siege," (reproduced at the end of the alert) in the Toronto Star. CAIR-CAN has now published twenty seven commentaries in papers such as the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette and the Calgary Herald. Topics include multiculturalism, the misinterpretation of the Qur'an, racial profiling, the Islamic headscarf and the merit principle in the marketplace, the recent deportation of Maher Arar, numerous pieces on Iraq, Islam and science, and children and war. All CAIR-CAN's comment pieces are now available online at their website: http://www.caircan.ca/op_ed.php=20 ---- CANADIAN CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER SIEGE Toronto Star, 1/8/2003 Riad Saloojee See: http://www.caircan.ca/oped_more.php?id=3D476_0_10_0_M=20 (Riad Saloojee is the Executive Director of CAIR-CAN) Solicitor General Wayne Easter recently admitted that he is unable to discount the possibility that elements in the RCMP passed on information to the Americans that led to the deportation of Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria and the corresponding deprivation of many of his legal rights. We are learning the hard way that state power is not benign.=20 Modern political thought has seen an evolution from Hobbes' leviathan-state, where individuals give over their liberties for social order, to a constitutional state, where certain rights and freedoms are not on the table or up for grabs.=20 The great balancing act is to keep the state robust enough to protect and serve, but also to keep it from infringing on the rights of its citizens - to feed it, but not surrender to its gluttony. The state is a greedy beast: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will."=20 And so we are finding out. The RCMP's civilian watchdog, Shirley Heafey, says she has no way of knowing whether the RCMP is misusing its new anti-terrorism powers. Recall that after Sept. 11, 2001, Parliament approved sweeping new powers for the RCMP, allowing officers to search homes without warrants, arrest suspects without charges and gain access to a wider range of personal information.=20 In the haze of political haste, we were told that there were oversight measures. Ottawa, for example, would produce a report on how it is using its new powers. Justice Canada's tardy report, tabled in early May, provides little discussion of the new law and has the imprimatur of "all is well." But all's not well. Heafey claims that her office has received five formal complaints about the RCMP's anti-terrorism activities and that many other Canadians have told her they have been harassed but fear the attention of public complaint.=20 "We can't (investigate) unless there's a complaint, and even if there is a complaint ... we can't see the information," she said. "So for all practical purposes, there's no civilian oversight." Heafey's certainly correct about reporting problems. Experts in hate crimes, for example, estimate that the incidence of non-reporting - called the dark figures - can run as high as 90 per cent. It stands to reason that complaints made against the muscular agents of the state would be similarly under-reported. For a variety of reasons, including issues of confidentiality, safe space, and a previous political culture of non-reporting, individuals will not come forward.=20 Most of our incidents have come from grassroots reporting at community events or workshops on legal rights. And the tenor of the reports, especially when they concern the RCMP or CSIS, tend to demonstrate a rather troublesome pattern. Some tactics are violations of the Charter of Rights: individuals told that there are a number of unanswered questions about them and that they "ought to come in" but that officers won't speak to them if they bring a lawyer.=20 Some tactics are sly and subtle: individuals visited by plainclothes (though clearly perceived by co-workers to be security officers) at work. One individual, for example, was visited at his school; another senior government engineer was visited at his place of work. Yet other tactics are misrepresentations of the law: Individuals hesitant about answering questions are told they can be "hauled in" without a reason or that they can be "forced to speak" under the new legislation. In all cases, however, the perception, especially among the Canadian Arab and Muslim community, is the existence of a consciously applied double standard of racial profiling. Much that occurs in the shade of the law takes advantage of legal illiteracy, the anxiety of being stigmatized after such a security visitation, or plain old fear. And the fear factor is very real.=20 Immigrants and refugees are usually petrified that when CSIS gives them a call, it is to become informants or suffer the consequences of an all-too-slow application process or a threat of a contrived problem with their security status. The warning that sounds is not only that liberties taken are liberties lost, but that such misuse of the law is starting to generate a gnawing civic cynicism among Canadian Arabs and Muslims.=20 Networks of trust, so intimately constructed by day-to-day dealings, can be easily frayed and irreparably damaged. And, in an environment where security and safety have become basic public goods, trust between the citizenry and those sworn to protect them, is - and this is our new security/liberty paradox - becoming more and more essential to good policing. ---- The Council on American-Islamic Relations CANADA is a federally incorporated, non-profit organization working to empower Canadian Muslims in the fields of the media, human rights, and political activism. CAIR-CAN is the only official Canadian office of CAIR. Its board members include Dr. Jamal Badawi, Shahina Siddiqui, Dr. Sheema Khan, Khadija Haffajee, Dr. Mustafa Fahmy, Dr. Wael Haddara, Latif Ahmed, Abdul-Basit Khan LLB and Faisal Kutty LLB. ---- CAIR-CAN NEEDS YOUR HELP TO CONTINUE THIS WORK. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY. YES! I want to invest in the future of Islam by helping CAIR-CAN serve Muslims in the areas of the media, human rights and political advocacy. I would like to make a monthly donation through CAIR-CAN's pre-authorized payment plan of: ___ $20.00 ___ $30.00 ___ $40.00 ___$50.00 ___$60.00 ___Other Please include a VOID CHEQUE and fill out the information form below. For lump sum donations, simply enclose the cheque and fill out the information form below. Name: Address: City: Province: Postal Code: Tel: Fax: E-mail: - Clip and mail, fax or e-mail to the following address - Council on American-Islamic Relations CANADA (CAIR-CAN) P.O. Box 13219, Ottawa, ONT, K2K 1X4 E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 1-866-524-0004 Fax: (613) 254-9810 URL: www.caircan.ca CAIR-CAN is the only official Canadian office of CAIR. ---- To SUBSCRIBE, go to: http://caircan.biglist.com/sub/caircan-list/ ---- --------- End forwarded message ---------- ________________________________________________________________ The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand! Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER! Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today! _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk