internment camps for Arab-Americans ??

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Mon Jul 22 22:48:58 MDT 2002

AP. 22 July 2002. Civil Rights Groups Ask Bush to Remove Appointee After
Comments on Arab-Americans.

WASHINGTON -- Two civil rights groups asked President Bush Monday to
remove Peter Kirsanow from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights after he
said people might demand internment camps for Arab-Americans if Arab
terrorists strike the United States again.

Officials with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee wrote Bush to complain about
the Cleveland attorney's comments during a commission meeting Friday in

Kirsanow made the comments after hearing testimony from Arab-American
leaders who said the government violated civil rights following Sept.

Kirsanow, who was appointed by Bush and finally took his seat in May
after a heated legal fight with the commission chairwoman, said if there
was another attack by Arabs on U.S. soil, "not too many people will be
crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops and more

"There will be a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights,"
Kirsanow added.

The civil rights' groups said in their letter to Bush, "You have
reminded people on a number of occasions that we are engaged in a war
against terrorism, not a war against Arabs or Islam, and certainly not
against Arab Americans."

The letter asked the president "to repudiate and disavow these remarks"
and remove Kirsanow from the Civil Rights Commission.

"Unlike you, Mr. President, Mr. Kirsanow appears to be condoning
collective guilt and seems open to the idea of the mass internment of an
entire community," the letter said.

White House spokeswoman Anne Womack said: "Peter Kirsanow has assured
the White House that he was discussing the important role that security
plays in guaranteeing civil rights of all Americans."

Kirsanow aides said his comments came after some made comparisons
between current practices in the war on terror and the practice during
World War II of confining Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

Macdonald Stainsby
In the contradiction lies the hope.
                                     --Bertholt Brecht

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