Statement on Arab and Muslim Civil Rights Abuses

July 21, 2003

For the second time in recent weeks, the Justice Department Inspector General will be reporting serious abuses of the civil rights of Arabs and Muslims in the war on terror. These abuses are wrong and must stop immediately.

I am appalled by allegations which the Inspector General has deemed credible that Department of Justice employees have, among other things, beaten Muslim and Arab detainees.

This should not happen in America.

The Inspector General's report confirms my fear that we have unnecessarily compromised constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism. The ongoing abuses alienate the community whose cooperation we need most and diminish our moral credibility in the eyes of the world. The rule of law and due process must continue to be the hallmarks of our judicial system.

I urge Congress to reconsider aspects of the Patriot Act and other anti-terror tactics that lead to such abuses.

The government must protect Americans against terrorism while protecting basic civil liberties every step of the way.

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