(Chicago, IL, 11/22/05) – More than two weeks have passed since Congressman Mark Kirk made the troubling statements that bring us here today. We want Congressman Kirk to know that we are not OK with discrimination on the basis of national origin or religion, just as we are not on the basis of race or gender. We abhor the fact that a publicly elected representative would sanction the practice of discrimination under the pretense of a viable national security measure. Racial Profiling does not work. As the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, we see on a daily basis examples of how this type of profiling is counterproductive. Hard intelligence, coupled with attention to suspicious activity and not random shots in the dark are the surest way to thwart terror.
Congressman Kirk’s irresponsible remarks implicate individuals simply based on where and when they were born. This ludicrous mass incrimination of a people if goes unchallenged will continue to give off a carte blanche to bigots that discrimination is deserved by its victims. Congressman Kirk’s language encourages an atmosphere whereby Arabs, Muslims, and Middle-Easterners are under suspicion due only to who they are. It renders them vulnerable targets for the paranoid and the bigoted. Furthermore, it does not make us any more secure.
We are further disturbed at Congressman Kirk’s irresponsiveness to the concerns his comments have generated. We, other organizations, and constituents of his 10th district have repeatedly called on him to retract his comments and apologize or to meet with us; he has yet to respond. We regret this affront to the democratic process and demand that Congressman Kirk do what he was elected to do: engage the constituents he represents and their organizations