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7/22/05

Iranian American Know Your Rights Resolution Introduced in the House

By: Tara Ebrahimi, IAPAC
 
Washington, DC - At the urging of the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), Congressman Marty Meehan (D-5th/MA) and Congressman Christopher Shays (R-4th/CT) introduced resolution, H.Res.367, condemning discrimination and bigotry against Iranian Americans. The resolution is a response to documented reports of discrimination targeting the Iranian American community, which, according to civil rights and liberties organizations, has increased over the past six months. Cosponsors include, Congressman Tom Feeney (R-24th/FL), Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-14th/NY), Congressman John Mica (R-7th/FL) and Congressman Henry Waxman (D-30th/CA).

The resolution acknowledges the diversity of the Iranian American community and their contributions to the social and economic fabric of American society. It outlines serious concerns over increasing reports of discrimination against Americans of Middle Eastern descent, including Iranian Americans. These include findings in the Inspector General's Report of discriminatory enforcement of immigration laws, arrests followed by detentions for extended periods of time without charges, denials of access to counsel and abuse by prison guards of nationals of Iranian origin.

It encourages Iranian Americans to "share their experiences with local, state and federal elected officials as well as others in their community to end stereotypes, correct misconceptions and convey instances of abuse against the Iranian American community." The resolution also, "calls upon local and Federal law enforcement authorities to investigate and vigorously prosecute crimes committed against all Americans, including Iranian Americans, that are based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin or ethnicity."

The introduction of H.Res.367 is a component of the recently launched
Iranian American Know Your Rights Campaign, which strives to educate Iranian Americans of their civil rights and liberties as well as educate mainstream America on the Iranian American community. Spearheaded by the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA), the Iranian American Know Your Rights Campaign comprises a coalition of national organizations, which include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International USA, Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) and IAPAC, with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) as a collaborator. The purpose of the resolution is to resonate symbolically to alleviate fear and encourage Iranian Americans to step forward and share their stories.

Ms. Dalia Hashad, of the ACLU's Campaign Against Racial Profiling has emphasized the necessity for the Iranian American Know Your Rights Campaign and H.Res.367. "Iranian Americans are an integral part of the American community, just as important and committed to this country as any other group and yet, increasingly, we are seeing policies and practices that negatively target them. As with any form of discrimination, criminalizing Iranian Americans, simply because of their ethnic heritage, only hurts America," said Ms. Hashad.

To complement the coalition's work, Congressman Meehan and Congressman Shays have introduced this resolution as a means of protecting the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, including Iranian Americans. Congressman Meehan, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has expressed his concern over the growing reports of discrimination against Iranian Americans saying, "civil liberties violations contradict the principles upon which this country was founded and compromise our ability to establish an effective counterterrorism policy."
 
Text of the resolution follows.

Condemning bigotry, violence, and discrimination against Iranian-Americans. (Introduced in House)

HRES 367 IH

109th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 367

Condemning bigotry, violence, and discrimination against Iranian-Americans.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 19, 2005

Mr. MEEHAN (for himself, Mr. SHAYS, Mr. MICA, and Mr. FEENEY) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


RESOLUTION

Condemning bigotry, violence, and discrimination against Iranian-Americans.

Whereas Iranian-Americans serve as government officials, in the military and law enforcement, working to uphold the constitution of the United States and to protect all Americans;

Whereas Iranian-Americans are vibrant, peaceful, and law-abiding citizens of the Baha'i, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Zoroastrian faiths, or are non-religious;

Whereas Iranian-Americans have greatly contributed to the social and economic fabric of American society;

Whereas the United States condemns acts of bigotry, violence, and discrimination;

Whereas the House of Representatives is seriously concerned regarding the findings, in the report of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, of arrests followed by detentions for extended periods of time without charges, denials of access to counsel, and abuse by prison guards of nationals of Iranian origin following September 11, 2001;

Whereas the House of Representatives is seriously concerned regarding the findings in that report of discriminatory enforcement of the immigration laws, leading to arbitrary detentions and deportations of nationals of Iranian origin; and

Whereas the House of Representatives is seriously concerned by the alarming number of reports of incidents of discrimination and bias-motivated crime against Americans of Middle Eastern descent, including Iranian-Americans, all across the Nation in the wake of the tragic events that unfolded on September 11, 2001: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

      (1) declares that government leaders and law enforcement personnel should ensure that the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Iranian-Americans, are fully protected;

      (2) condemns bigotry and any acts of violence or discrimination against any American, including Iranian-Americans;

      (3) encourages Iranian-Americans to share their experiences with local, State, and Federal elected officials as well as others in their community to end stereotypes, correct misconceptions, and convey instances of abuse against the Iranian-American community; and

      (4) calls upon local, State, and Federal law enforcement authorities to investigate and vigorously prosecute crimes committed against all Americans, including Iranian-Americans, that are based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, or ethnicity.

    ... Payvand News - 7/22/05 ... --



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