January 15, 2010
(Austin, TX) 15 people have the chance to ensure public school students in Texas learn about Sikhs and Sikhism. 15 people have the opportunity to severely decrease the number of bias based bullying incidents against our Sikh children. 15 people have the ability to pioneer efforts to reflect the diversity of this country in our public school curriculum.
Who are these chosen 15? They constitute the 15 members of the Texas Board of Education. Read the rest of this entry »
January 14, 2010
In this National Public Radio piece, Rafi Ron, the former chief for security at Ben Gurion airport argues that racial profiling is not effective. Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv is Israel’s largest airport and has a generally excellent reputation for security.
In the piece, Ron squarely addresses the effectiveness of racial profiling:
“One of the problems with racial profiling is that there is this tendency to believe that this is the silver bullet to solve the problem. In other terms if you are a Middle Easterner or if you are a Muslim you must be bad. If you are a European and Christian, you must be good.
But back in 1972, Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv was supposed to be attacked by a Palestinian. It was never attacked by one. It was attacked by a Japanese terrorist killing 24 people and it was attacked in the mid-80s by a German terrorist with blue eyes and blonde hair answering to the name Miller.” Read the rest of this entry »
January 13, 2010
On January 6, 2010, Sikhs made an appearance on Stephen’s Colbert’s popular daily news spoof, the Colbert Report. Unfortunately, it was not in a good light. In fact, the segment showed a man wearing a beard and full patka while the voiceover describes him as a “terrorist midget.”
Yes, some may consider this funny, but at the same time, it doesn’t do our community any favors. Read the rest of this entry »
January 12, 2010
In any nation, the promise of equal opportunity is measured by the extent to which minorities can pursue careers in public service. As evidenced by the post-9/11 Sikh experience, this promise is not always kept. Read the rest of this entry »
January 12, 2010
The Arab American Institute organized an excellent briefing yesterday morning on profiling post-Christmas 2009.
Here’s a news article on the briefing: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0110/011110cdpm1.htm.
During the briefing, the Coalition came out squarely against the new TSA policy singling out nationals of 14 select countries for extra scrutiny regardless of individual criminal culpability:
“Profiling is now the policy of our country. Let’s not mince words,” said Amardeep Singh
The TSA wrongly denied that it was engaging in profiling, stating:
“TSA does not profile,” the spokesman added. “As is always the case, TSA security measures are based on threat, not ethnic or religious background.”
Its policy however would indicate that it is profiling. The Coalition will continue to press the TSA on the issue of whether it is engaging in profiling or not. Stay tuned.
(Note my title in the article is incorrect).
January 9, 2010
The past 24 hours has seen a flurry of letters from social justice organizations to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the subject of profiling.
In all, the Coalition has authored or joined in submitting three letters or statements directed at Secretary Napolitano over the last day:
1) National Sikh Organizations Letter- The Sikh Coalition authored and asked SALDEF and United Sikhs to join it in submitting a letter the Secretary Napolitano yesterday focused on the concerns of Sikh air travelers;
2) National South Asian Organizations Letter – The Coalition signed on to a statement initiated by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) as part of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations, also sent yesterday; and
3) Muslim, South Asian, Arab, Sikh Organizations Letter – The Coalition finally signed a letter to Secretary Napolitano from a large group of Muslim, South Asian, Arab, and Sikh organizations.
Over the coming days and weeks, we will continue to engage the Obama administration on the issue of profling in the nation’s airports.
January 8, 2010
*Western Union Foundation’s Family Scholarship Program http://foundation.westernunion.com/ourProgramsScholarships.html is designed to help immigrant families improve their economic condition in the United States through education. Eligible families can receive up to $5,000 to finance college or university courses or ESL classes for two family members at once. The deadline is February 5, 2010. *
Read the rest of this entry »
January 8, 2010
If you live in the DC Metro Area, you are encouraged to attend the following briefing on profiling. The Sikh Coalition will be participating:
Targeting Needles or Adding More Hay?:
Airport Profiling, ‘Countries of Interest’, and American Security
Monday, January 11, 2010
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room 1334 Longworth HOB
Perspectives and recommendations from experts on national security, civil liberties, and the ethnic American experience, featuring:
- Michael German, Policy Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- Jumana Musa, Policy Director, Rights Working Group (RWG)
- Amardeep Singh, Director of Programs, Sikh Coalition
Moderated by Dr. James Zogby, President, Arab American Institute
To RSVP for this event, please contact Samia Makhlouf, AAI Government Relations and Policy Analyst, at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 8, 2010
As the debate over profiling post-Christmas 2009 rages on, could technology be the solution?
The Washington Post today issued an editorial yesterday endorsing the use of full- body scanners as a means of airport screening. In fact, some countries plan to increase their use of full-body imaging as a method of screening in the future.
What impact will these machines have on the profiling debate? Well it depends… Read the rest of this entry »
January 5, 2010
The federal government has announced that it will now require nationals of 14 countries to undergo enhanced screening when flying into the United States.
The announcement effectively means that was once a de facto policy of profiling has now become an official policy of profiling.
Despite TSA pronouncements that is does not engage in profiling, Sikhs knew that a de facto policy of profiling existed because at certain airports around the country, Sikhs experienced a 100% rate of secondary screening. However the announcement that certain nationals will always be subjected to extra law enforcement scrutiny based solely on their nationality, turns what was once a de facto policy of profiling into the official policy of the TSA. Read the rest of this entry »