February 23, 2004

MECA Commemorates

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Last Friday, the Muslim Educational and Cultural Association commemorated the National Day of Solidarity with Arab, Muslim and South Asian Immigrants.

A tabling event was held on Ho Plaza and volunteers braved the cold to talk and disperse flyers. According to the volunteers, Muslim, Arab, and South American immigrants have faced detention and deportation as a result of the U.S. Governments response to terrorist threats since Sept. 11.

The National Day of Solidarity is in its third year and was originally launched by the Blue Triangle Network, an organization working to protect the rights of Muslim, Arab, and South Asians. “Their doing concerts, speakers, rallies, art exhibits, and marches all across the country” said volunteer Mark Mcguire grad.

“We felt that we need to commemorate this day at Cornell as well, because not many people were aware of the kind of issues that some members from these communities are living through” said Shada El-Sharif ’05, a member of MECA.

Also working at the table were members of Sigma Lambda Upsilon / Senoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc., Cornell Arab Association. One flyer handed out by the volunteers claimed that the government has detained 765 and deported 478 American and Muslim immigrants. Further, the flyer claimed that the government is arbitrarily and indiscriminately arresting immigrants with no connection to terrorism or crime.

“Many of these individuals are being detained and deported without formal charges, access to attorneys and often their families don’t know where they are being held” Mcguire said.

The second flyer was a blue triangle which listed the name of a person who has “disappeared in the USA.” The blue triangle is meant to mirror the different color triangles Nazi Germany used to categorize and divide people during World War II.

According to bluetriangle.org, “We will not allow the same kind of profiling to happen here. We wear a blue triangle affirmatively to demonstrate our solidarity with those being targeted today.”

From his experiences with talking to people, Travis Workman, grad, commented, “People seem to know something about the Patriot Act or detentions but many do not know where to find more detailed information … people who have the info seem very concerned.”

Included in the Patriot Act are enhanced border protection and immigration procedures. The White House claims that under the bill, those who contribute to or otherwise support terrorist organizations and terrorist activities would be denied admission to or deported from this country, and the Attorney General would be authorized to detain deportable persons who are suspected of terrorist activities pending their removal from the United States.

“I hope the Patriot Act isn’t renewed” Workman said. The Patriot Act is set to expire in 2005.

Next week, MECA will be holding a series of events for their Islam Awareness Week. Wednesday, a panel discussions of five Muslim students will be held in the Noyes Community Center Multi-purpose room from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday, guest speaker Alex Kronemer, the producer of a documentary called “Muhammad: Life of a Prophet, will talk at Goldwin Smith’s Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Professor Asma Barlas from Ithaca college will talk on “Women’s Rights in Islam” at 106 White Hall from 7 to 9 p.m.

Archived article by Casey Holmes

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