AAANY Stands with Communities United for Police Reform

The Arab American Association of New continues to work towards greater police accountability and endorsed a conference on September 6th with Communities United for Police Reform. CUPR works to push for legislation to reduce the number of police encounters between police and residents that are based on profiling and discrimination. On Tuesday, a conference was spearheaded by the mother of Eric Garner, Gwen Carr, members of the City Council, and Communities United for Police reform. AAANY endorses this movement because we believe this effort that will ensure more transparency of police practices on communities of color and provide a mechanism for communities to evaluate police disciplinary systems in order to create a healthy relationship of critique and reform between community organizations and the police department.

Two years after the death of Eric Garner, office Daniel Pantaleo continues to be employed by the NYPD after clearly choking a man on video. The de Blasio administration has been fighting the release of Officer Daniel Pantaleo's Civilian Complaint Review Board history, against a challenge by the Legal Aid Society under the Freedom of Information Law.

AAANY supports the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for a summary of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) substantiated complaints against NYPD Officer Pantaleo.  We stand by the call to fire Pantaleo immediately. 

"If there is going to be justice then there must be transparency." - Brad Landor, Head of Progressive Caucus of the City Council

"If there is going to be justice then there must be transparency." - Brad Landor, Head of Progressive Caucus of the City Council

AAANY SENDS OUR CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF NAZMA KHANAM

The Arab American Association of New York is deeply saddened by the murder of Nazma Khanam, who was fatally stabbed last night in Queens, New York. Nazma, a Muslim woman who was 60 years-old was only two blocks away from her house in Jamaica Hills, Queens. This is the second attack against a Muslim in Queens within three weeks

As an organization that serves a largely Muslim population, our hearts are heavy each time there is another attack on the Muslim community in New York City. We send our heartfelt condolences to the family of Nazma Khaman and we offer ourselves up for community support at this time. 

The Arab American Association of New York Welcomes the Settlement of Lawsuit over NYPD Surveillance

----FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE----

January 7, 2016 

Landmark settlement reached in NYPD lawsuits to protect all New Yorkers including Muslims from discriminatory surveillance practices that have had detrimental impact on our communities

(New York, NY) – Today, the Arab American Association of New York welcomes the settlement reached by the NYPD and plaintiffs in the Raza v. City of New York lawsuit.  The Arab American Association of New York has been at the forefront of the campaign to end unwarranted surveillance of American Muslims by engaging in direct action, legislative advocacy, and grassroots organizing.  

The lawsuit, filed in 2013 by attorneys from CUNY CLEAR, NYCLU, and the ACLU, came in response to widespread community concerns after reports surfaced detailing broad NYPD surveillance of Muslim communities in New York and beyond. Secret documents revealed that the Arab American Association of New York was a direct target of NYPD’s discriminatory surveillance practices. The settlement codifies protections against investigations based on race, religion, or ethnicity and appoints an independent civilian monitor to serve as a check on potential future police abuses.

“We welcome this settlement announcement and think it's a significant step forward in protecting all New Yorkers against discriminatory policing." Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York

The Arab American Association of New York sees this settlement as a platform for future reforms within the New York Police Department and will continue to work diligently to ensure that all New Yorkers are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

****Arab American Association of New York is a non-profit social service and advocacy organization serving the Arab American, Arab immigrant, and Muslim communities citywide.****

***For additional information please contact the Executive Director:  Linda Sarsour lindasarsour@gmail.com

AAANY Statement on Syrian Refugees in Conjunction With the New York Immigration Coalition

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New Yorkers Welcome Syrian Refugees: Backlash Against Refugees is Un-American
As proud New Yorkers, we write to express our support for the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and call on you to resist the fear and hysteria around refugees and immigrants following the violent, tragic attacks in Paris and Beirut last week.

The world is witnessing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. More than four million Syrians have fled from their home country fleeing conflict and violence, and 12 million are displaced internally. At a time when the world needs humanitarian leadership, some are now calling for the suspension, restrictions and delays of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. We oppose all these proposals and believe they would jeopardize the United States' moral leadership in the world.

Syrian refugees are fleeing exactly the kind of terror that unfolded on the streets of Paris. They have suffered untold violence for almost five years. Most have lost loved ones to persecution and violence, in addition to having had their country and communities destroyed.

Refugees are the most thoroughly-vetted group of people who come to the United States, and there is absolutely no need for Congress to pass any additional security measures. Security screenings are rigorous and involve multiple Federal agencies, including a series of interviews, biometric and investigatory background checks. The entire process typically takes more than two years - and often much more - before the refugee arrives in the U.S. In addition the Administration is already taking steps to increase the capacity of its security and screening procedures for refugees. There is no need for Congress to impose additional restrictions or security measures.

Moreover, these efforts are misguided attempts to score political points by attacking refugees and immigrants. To turn our back on refugees would be to betray our nation's core values, and our long history of welcoming refugees - to the great benefit of our country. It would send a dangerous message to the world that the United States makes judgments about people based on the country they come from and their religion. The United States has been a welcoming country, and our resettlement program must continue to reflect this.

We call upon Congress to demonstrate leadership by speaking out against the scapegoating of any group during this time of crisis and to ensure that our nation’s humanitarian efforts are robust.

We urge Senators and Representatives to demonstrate leadership by resisting any change to the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and instead paving the way for the United States to play its moral leadership role by expanding its resettlement efforts in a global time of need.

MACLC Welcomes Ruling Allowing New Jersey Legal Challenge to NYPD Surveillance Program to Proceed

--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 (New York, NY).                                  

 The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC)commends the recent ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit allowing New Jersey Muslims to proceed with their lawsuit challenging the New York City Police Department’s surveillance program. American Muslim communities in the greater New York City area who bear the brunt of the NYPD’s suspicionless surveillance have maintained for years that the police program is both harmful and unlawful. Those communities organized and responded in many ways, including with MACLC’s report, Mapping Muslims, detailing the harms of NYPD surveillance, and through Raza v. City of New York, a lawsuit challenging the spying program’s constitutionality here in New York. With its ruling, the federal appeals court echoes and vindicates the concerns of those targeted communities.

 It was not lost on the court that the struggle of American Muslims today mirrors other shameful episodes in our country’s history and prior abuses by law enforcement against marginalized groups.“What occurs here in one guise is not new. We have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during World War II are examples that readily spring to mind. We are left to wonder why we cannot see with foresight what we see so clearly with hindsight...”

Now, as a result of this ruling, the New Jersey plaintiffs will hopefully have their day in court. “Communities here in New York City have heard disappointingly little on NYPD surveillance from Mayor Bill de Blasio since he took office,” noted Naz Ahmad, Staff Attorney at the CLEAR project (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) at CUNY School of Law. “This victory for our allies in New Jersey opens up an important avenue for transparency and accountability over NYPD surveillance.”MACLC calls on Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to exercise their oversight and control prerogatives in order to finally rein in the NYPD’s suspicionless surveillance program. “It’s just sad that New Jersey is now ahead of our city when it comes to checking NYPD surveillance,” said Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York. “Our own elected Mayor and City Council members should be at the forefront, denouncing NYPD spying practices that single out a community on the basis of religion.”

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The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) is a New York-based coalition of citizens, community and faith leaders, organizers, advocates, attorneys, and organizations. MACLC aims to give voice to absent perspectives on issues of national security, counterterrorism, law enforcement, and civil rights, especially as they impact Muslim communities in post-9/11 New York City. 

Press Contacts: Linda Sarsour, (917) 306-3323, lsarsour@accesscommunity.org; Naz Ahmad (718) 340-4630, naz.ahmad@mail.law.cuny.edu.