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American Muslim

Dawn June 16, 2003

Demo held in US against deportation of Muslims

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

SAN FRANCISCO, June 15: Civil rights and immigrant advocacy groups staged a rally outside the local immigration office to protest the pending deportation of more than 13,000 Muslims, many of them Pakistanis , found to be living illegally in the United States during special INS registration programme.

In about 82,000 people went for registration more than 13,000 were found in violation of their visas and placed in deportation proceedings, according to a government document issued last week, an official report said.

"The targeting of immigrants and Muslims has created a culture of fear and helplessness," said Samina Faheem, coordinator of Pakistan American Democratic Forum."As Muslims, we're not asking for special favours," said Ms Faheem, adding that "there are 7 million illegal immigrants here in this country, but we are the ones being singled out".

"What the government is doing is targeting immigrants instead of targeting terrorists," said Jayashri Srikantiah, an attorney with the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The protest rally was sponsored by Pakistan American Democratic Forum, American Muslim Alliance, Amnesty International, American Civil Liberties of Northern California, National Lawyers Guild and the Blue Triangle Network.