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www.amperspective.com Online Magazine

Executive Editor:  Abdus Sattar Ghazali

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Chronology of Islam in America ( 2000-2002)

2000

Muslims launch voter registration campaign
August 30:  American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC), declares September and October to be the official Hesham Reda Voter Registration Campaign period. The voter registration campaign was to honor Mr. Hesham Reda who died in April 2000. He was nationally renowned for his efforts to mobilize American Muslims to get involved in the political process.

AMPCC endorses Bush for presidency
Oct 23: four Muslim organizations joined forces to found the American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC), to rally an Islamic vote behind one of the presidential candidates. AMPCC endorsed George W. Bush, who had met with American Muslim representatives early in the campaign and had also spoken out against so-called "secret evidence" provisions of recent immigration laws that allow for the detention of non-citizens without full disclosure of the evidence against them. AMPCC consists of  American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations,  and Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Muslim Americans vote en bloc for Bush
Nov 5:  For the first time in US history Muslims voted en bloc in the general elections that helped George Bush to secure victory. A study, released by the American Muslim Alliance on the 2000 election, showed that 72 percent of Muslims voted for Bush, 8 percent for Democrat Al Gore and 19 percent for Ralph Nader, a Lebanese-American. According to former Congressman Paul Findley about 3.2 million Muslims voted in November 2000 election since 70 percent Muslims were eligible to vote and 65 percent of those eligible actually voted.

2001

9/11 terrorist attacks
Sept 11: Terrorists attack World Trade Center in New York  and the Pentagon in Washington DC. Two hijacked jetliners slam into the WTC and one into the Pentagon. A fourth airliner crashes in a field in Pennsylvania. American Muslim organizations joined the nation in denouncing this tragic and heinous crime. The leaders of nine Muslim American groups said in a joint letter to President Bush September 11, "American Muslims, who unequivocally condemned today terrorist attacks on our nation, call on you to alert fellow citizens to the fact that now is a time for all of us to stand together in the face of this heinous crime. We hope that the perpetrators of these crimes will be apprehended immediately and swiftly brought to justice. Muslims stand with all other Americans who, on this sad day, feel a sense of tremendous grief and loss. The letter was signed by the leaders of the American Muslim Alliance, the American Muslim Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim Alliance in North America, and American Muslims for Jerusalem.

Justice Department names 19 suspects in 9/11 attacks
Sept 14: U.S. Justice Department names 19 suspects in attacks that include 15 nationals from Saudi Arabia, two from United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt and one from Lebanon.

House resolution denounces bigotry against Arabs, Muslims, South Asians
Sept. 15: In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks the House of Representatives passed a resolution September 15 condemning bigotry and violence against Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from South Asia. House Concurrent Resolution 227 (H. Con. Res. 227) declared "in the quest to identify, bring to justice, and punish the perpetrators and sponsors of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, that the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from South Asia, should be protected." The resolution went on to condemn "any acts of violence or discrimination against any Americans, including Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from South Asia."

President Bush visits mosque
Sept 17: President George W. Bush visited a mosque to urge that Muslim Americans be treated with respect after the terrorist attacks against U.S. targets, saying, "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam." Slipping off his shoes to respect Islamic custom, Bush sought to quell a surge of anti-Muslim incidents following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith and it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that," Bush said at the Islamic Center of Washington. The visit was part of a broad government effort to crack down on what the FBI said were dozens of "retaliatory hate crimes" aimed at Muslim and Arab Americans, including assaults, threats, arson and two possibly ethnically motivated murders.

Assets of 27 groups and individuals frozen
Sept 24 : Bush orders U.S. financial institutions to freeze assets of 27 groups and individuals suspected of supporting terrorists.

Bush meets Muslim leaders
Sept 26: President George W. Bush held a meeting at the White House with Muslim leaders during which he said that ‘the teachings of Islam are the teachings of peace and good." The President denounced the hate crimes against Arab and Muslim Americans as ‘bigotry’ and urged the media not to identify the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks in New York and Washington as “Islamic” or “Muslim” terrorists. Instead, they should be identified with their organization or country. The President once again stated  that “this is not a war against Islam, but against a bunch of criminals”. The organizations represented at the meeting included the American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC), American Arab Institute (AAI), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Institute (II),American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and American Lebanese Heritage Club.

USA Patriot Act enacted
Oct 26: the President signed the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, better known by its acronym, the USA PATRIOT Act. The law, which hurriedly passed   with little public debate, has been criticized by constitutional law experts saying it eroded civil liberties Americans take for granted. In particular, critics have charged that the Act gives the executive branch the power to detain immigrant suspects for lengthy periods of time, sometimes indefinitely. Critics have also pointed out that the Act allows the executive branch to circumvent the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of probable cause when conducting wiretaps and searches.

FBI raids Muslim businesses
Nov 7: Federal agents raid Muslim businesses suspected of helping funnel millions of dollars to bin Laden's network. President Bush asks at least nine countries to freeze assets that aid bin Laden and al-Qaida.

5,000 young men from Middle East called for questioning
Nov 9: Attorney General John Ashcroft announces a plan to target some 5,000 young men of Middle Eastern and South Asian heritage who entered the country in the last two years on non-immigrant visas but who are not suspected of any criminal activity for questioning by the federal government.

The Holy Land Foundation banned
Dec 4: The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, headquartered in Richardson, Texas,is banned for raising money for Hamas, a Palestinian organization declared by US as a terrorist group.

Assets of Global Relief and Benevolence International Foundation bloced
Dec 14: The Treasury Department bloced the assets of Global Relief and another group, the Benevolence International Foundation, on the grounds that the groups were providing financial assistance to terrorists. Government agents raided Global Relief's offices in Bridgeview and Illinois.

Muslim Americans poll on war on terrorism
Dec 19: A systematic poll of Muslim Americans has found that two-thirds agree with the Bush Administration's assertion that America is fighting a war on terrorism, not Islam. The poll results were released by Project MAPS: Muslims in the American Public Square, a project sponsored by the Center for Muslim - Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The poll was conducted by Zogby International.

2002

Muslim offices and homes raided in Virginia and Georgia
March 20:  Federal agents raided a number of Muslim offices and homes in Virginia and Georgia. The raids were launched as part of Operation Green Quest, a task force created to track and disrupt the sources of terrorist finances.

Another 3,000 individuals from Middle East under questioning
- Attorney General John Aschroft announces second FBI dragnet plan to question an additional 3,000 individuals of Middle Eastern and South Asian heritage. In San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, police departments have refused to participate in the interviews because the plan violates state laws or local policies against profiling based on race or national origin.

Plan announced to register non-immigrants from Muslim countries
June 5: The Justice Department announces a plan that would require hundreds of thousands of lawful visitors-- including those already in the country-- from mostly Muslim nations to provide fingerprints to authorities upon arrival and register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service after 30 days in the country.

Lawsuit against reading of  “The Quran an Early Revelation” at the University of North Carolina
Jul 22: A Fundamentalist Christian organization, the American Family Association Center for Law and Policy and three anonymous students file a law suit against the University of North Carolina, Church Hall, because it required new students to read a book – the Quran an Early Revelation by Prof. Michael A. Sells. In their complaint, the plaintiffs claimed that UNC indoctrinates students with deceptive claims about the peaceful nature of Islam, violating the separation of church and state. A committee of the state legislature voted on Aug. 7 to terminate funding for the course. However, the lawsuit fizzled at on Aug.15, U.S. District Court judge Carlton Tilley, Jr., refused to grant a temporary restraining order.

Operation TIPS Scaled Back
August 9:   Amidst public outcry, the Department of Justice announces that, "given the concerns raised during the program development phase about safeguarding against all possibilities of invasion of individual privacy, the [Operation TIPS] hotline number will not be shared with any workers, including postal and utility workers, whose work puts them in contact with homes and private property." However, the program will still seek to enlist workers involved in "transportation, trucking, shipping, maritime, and mass transit industries."

Fingerprinting non-immigrants from Muslim Nations
August 12: The Department of Justice finalizes a plan that required thousands of lawful visitors-- from 24 Muslim nations--to provide fingerprints to authorities upon arrival and register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service after 30 days in the country. Visitors who fail to do either of these things face fines or even deportation.

High Court allows closed door hearing
Oct 8: The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in New Jersey rules that immigration hearings involving people detained after September 11 may be closed by the government without the input of the court.

INS Special Registration Program launched
November:  The Justice Department launches the INS Special Registration Program for male nationals of 24 Muslim countries. The INS Special Registration came in four stages: (Group 1 Dec.) Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria; (Group 2 Dec.) Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen; (Group 3 Jan.) Pakistan or Saudi Arabia; (Group 4 Feb.) Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan or Kuwait. All 15/16 years old or older male citizens or nationals of these countries were required to register. Registrants were told to re-register again before their registration anniversary date.

President Bush distances from Christian right attacks against Islam
Nov 13: In a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, president Bush said: "Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans. Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others." He also said: "By far, the vast majority of American citizens respect the Islamic people and the Muslim faith…Ours is a country based upon tolerance...And we're not going to let the war on terror or terrorists cause us to change our values." Media reports quoted White House officials as saying that the president's remarks were prompted by recent attacks on Islam, particularly those of Pat Robertson, who said that Muslims are "worse than the Nazis." "He (Bush) wanted (to make) a clear statement," a senior White House official told Reuters.

Hate crimes against Muslims
Nov 18: Hate crimes and other acts of vengeance skyrocketed nationwide against Muslims and other immigrants from the Middle East after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a long-awaited FBI report released today. The FBI found that while attacks against Muslims had previously been the least common hate crime against a religious group--just 28 in 2000--the number of incidents surged to 481 in 2001, an increase of 1,600%. The huge rise is "presumably as a result of the heinous incidents that occurred on Sept. 11" of 2001, the FBI said.

Hundreds held for minor visa violations
-  Hundreds of people from the Middle Eastern countries were arrested by the federal immigration officials in Southern California when they complied with orders to appear at the INS offices for a special registration program, according to Los Angeles Times.

Congress Releases Final Report on 9/11 Intelligence Failure
December 10: The joint House-Senate panel probing the intelligence breakdown leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001 released its final report to the public. While the general conclusion of the panel's findings is the same as was highlighted in the preliminary reports which were released earlier this year, the details of the intelligence failures are more specific in the final report and leave little doubt that US intelligence community was not doing its job. For almost a full year, members of the House-Senate intelligence panel investigating 9/11 have interviewed hundreds of witnesses and poured over literally tens of thousands of documents, many of which remain classified.