Pakistan Link – May 30, 2003
Palo Alto Police Chief Assures Justice for All
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Palo Alto: The Patriot Group of Palo Alto, California held a meeting with Palo Alto Police Chief Lynne Johnson. Twelve representatives from the PA Group attended the meeting. Ms. Samina Faheem, National Coordinator of the American Muslim Alliance, represented the AMA. Captain Brad Zook and Officer Fisher also joined the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to seek assurance from the Police Chief that the police will protect the civil liberties and constitutional rights of all its residents.
Chief Johnson stated that they went on record last year about protecting everyone’s constitutional rights and they will continue to do the same because they are protected by the Constitution.
Several members of the group shared their views on the 9/11 tragedy and the war with Iraq. Samina Faheem said that since 9/11, no other group has suffered as much as the Muslims have, having lost almost all their civil liberties. “Muslims cannot utter a single word against the President or the Attorney General because it would be considered a threat to homeland security, under the Patriot Act. We will be thrown in jail for as long as they wanted, without showing any evidence. We will be tried under secret evidence. I am so thankful that so many fellow Americans are fighting for protecting civil liberties for all.”
Ms. Faheem’s comments stunned everyone, as they had not realized the full impact of 9/11 and the Patriotic Act on Muslims in the US.
She said so far 89 US cities have passed resolutions against the Patriot Act. “However, most of us are only fighting a concept. I know of a Muslim leader, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who is in jail as we speak and will be tried under secret evidence. Dr. Al-Arian, a professor at the University of South Florida, is a husband, a father and a community leader. I am afraid that Dr. Al-Arian, for whom we are asking for a fair trial with open evidence, may be kept in jail indefinitely.”
Police Chief Johnson assured Ms. Samina Faheem that the Palo Alto Police Department will treat all of its residents equally. There will be no profiling in the city.