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Dr. Al-Arian's speech in D.C.
‘WE MUST RESIST’

Keynote Address by Dr. Sami A. Al-Arian

at the Rally of the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom:

With Liberty And Justice For All
at the Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, September 1st, 2002.

Let me start by quoting the great anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

My fellow Americans of all stripes and colors,

European, African, Asian, Latino, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans.

Citizens and Immigrants.

Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists and Others.

I speak to you today, as all of us, precious human beings endowed by the Creator as free people with dignity and honor and respect.

No power, not even the government, should undermine your freedoms or dignity, your rights or privileges under the constitution.

Let me begin by saying how sorry I am for the horrible tragedy of Sept. 11th. As a Muslim, I’m ashamed that those who committed this crime thought of themselves as Muslims. On behalf of the Muslim community, not just in the US, but the world over, we’re sorry. But this was not Islam, and definitely not the teachings of the Qur’an. We condemn these attacks with the strongest possible words and call for justice to the fullest extent of the law.

Since Sept. 11th our nation has been at war, not just with the ugly face of terrorism, but also with the ugly face of intolerance and bigotry.

We should not sacrifice our freedoms and civil liberties to feel safe. Yet, this is what many politicians and powerful groups want us to submit to. And we must say NO.

We should not surrender to intimidation or fear so we may feel secure. Yet, this is what many politicians and powerful groups want us to bow to. And we must say NO.
We should not allow fake policies and the ENRON code of ethics to rule our society in the name of security. Yet, this is what many politicians and powerful groups want us to give in to. And we must say NO.
We must fight evil at all levels. And we must resist.
We must replace the forces of hatred with the army of love.
We must change the tone of bigotry with the language of embrace.
We must end the threat of exclusion with the promise of inclusion.
We must fight oppression and injustice, so justice can roll down and fill our streams and rivers.

Since 9/11 we’ve seen racism rearing its ugly head against the weakest and most vulnerable among us. And we must resist the temptation of scoring political points against such groups.

We must equally reject the double standards, which are being employed today by the politicians and the media. During the height of the Anthrax scare last year, during which five people died and all people became scared to open their mail, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee said: “We are not sure if the anthrax is a case of terrorism.” What he was saying in code was: we’re not sure if the perpetrators were Arabs or Muslims.

Mr. Ashcroft was announcing, half way around the world via a satellite uplink, the arrest of the Muslim convert Mr. Jose Padilla. But he was nowhere to be seen when Mr. Goldstein was arrested with a small army arsenal ready to destroy 50 Islamic centers in Florida. Even Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called Mr. Goldstein “mentally disturbed,” while the media referred to him as a “podiatrist,” not a terrorist. We would like to know how many “mentally disturbed” individuals or “podiatrists” there are who have 40 machine guns, rocket launchers, bombs, C4 explosives, napalm, timers and wires, and ready to strike with detailed plans against houses of worship and education centers.

Since I’ve been punished for exercising my free speech and academic freedom, so many people have been telling me get out of MY country. My question to them is very simple: which Indian tribes do you come from?

Today, the nation is being challenged. Our democratic principles are being challenged. The constitution and the bill of rights are being challenged. The irony is that the challenge is being called the “USA PATRIOT Act.”

We must not confuse patriotism with zealotry. We must not mistake patriotism with nationalism.
To be patriotic is to be able to question government policy at times of crisis.
To be patriotic is to stand up for the bill of rights and the constitution at times of uncertainty and insecurity.
To be patriotic is to speak up against the powerful in defense of the weak and the voiceless.
To be patriotic is to be willing to pay the price to preserve our freedoms, our dignity, and our rights.
To be patriotic is to challenge the abuses of the PATRIOT Act.

We must ask: why should America put aside the guarantees of constitutional justice?

My fellow Americans, citizens and immigrants, human beings.

I’ll pose some questions to you and please answer Yes or No.

Do you want to repeal the 1st Amendment and the right of free speech?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.


Do you want to repeal the 4th Amendment and the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.

Do you want to repeal the 5th Amendment nullifying due process and allowing indefinite detentions without trial?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.

Do you want to repeal the 6th Amendment and the right to prompt and public trial?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.

Do you want to repeal the 8th Amendment, which protects against cruel and unusual punishment, where someone is put in solitary confinement for over nine months without ever being charged with a crime?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.

Do you want widespread wiretaps and Internet surveillance without judicial supervision?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.

Do you want the Attorney General to designate domestic groups as terrorist groups without hearings?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.

Do you want to give the FBI total access to any data, which may exist in any system including your medical and financial records?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.

Do you want the CIA to spy on people in this country?
Do you know what allows that? The PATRIOT ACT does.

My friends, I also pose these questions to you as well and to all Americans.

Do you condemn efforts by the government to target people because of their race, religion or ethnic background?

Do you condemn selective enforcement of the immigration or other laws based on race, religion or ethnic background?

Do you condemn secret arrests and secret detentions as unconstitutional and undemocratic?

Do you condemn the use of secret evidence to deprive individuals of their liberty?

Do you condemn arbitrary and extended pretrial detentions of individuals who have been charged with no crime?

Do you condemn the confinement of individuals under abusive conditions, including solitary confinement?

Do you condemn the interference with the attorney-client privilege where detainees can’t even talk with their lawyers freely?

Do you condemn the use of military tribunals to try civilians arrested in the US?

Do you condemn spying on houses of worship such as mosques, churches, and synagogues?

Do you condemn the use of governmental powers to disrupt lawful political or religious activities?

Do you condemn secret searches and seizures based on secret information?

Do you condemn the closure or wholesale seizure of the assets of charitable or religious organizations without providing fundamental due process protections?

My friends,

- We need a call to arms, arms to educate our fellow citizens, that our constitutional rights and freedoms are the most important in the world, and for maintaining what’s unique about our society.

- We need to unite against the forces of darkness and injustice, of bigotry and exclusion, of hatred and fear.

- We need to build coalitions for civil rights; to speak up and contact our elected officials and tell them with one unified voice:

That America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, not the land of fear, and the home of the illegally detained.
That America is the beacon of freedom, not insecurity.
That Lady Liberty must continue to open her arms because that’s what defines America and what makes it unique in the world.

Let’s keep the spirit of Freedom alive. Let’s keep the spirit of Freedom alive.

Let’s remember that dissent and criticism are the lifeblood of freedom in a democracy.

There are two enemies of freedom. And we must resist both with the same determination and vigor.

Those who are undermining our freedoms and liberty through terrorism. And we must resist.

And those who are undermining our freedoms and rights in the name of fighting terrorism. And we must resist.

Let’s remember the words of the great Benjamin Franklin: “those who sacrifice liberty in the name of security deserve neither liberty nor security.”

Thank you very much and may God bless you all.
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