Neighbors or Enemies? > Living with Hate

Los Angeles

Omar Zaki

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Board member , CAIR–Southern California

The Patriot Act has been the biggest punch in the face to the Muslim community. It takes away due process and attorney-client privilege. It allows the government to wiretap on suspicion alone, without probable cause.

The concern for national security is legitimate – but it has to be in a way that preserves civil and constitutional rights. The Constitution is always tested in wartime, and we’ve failed such tests many times in the past. If we suspend people’s rights, we’re doomed to fail once again.

Eric Rudolph, the Atlanta bomber, who was  involved with the Christian Identity movement, was not called a religious fanatic or terrorist. Of course, he’s a white guy – suppose he were named Mohamed bin Rudolph? The same goes for the Florida doctor arrested for conspiring to bomb a mosque [Robert Jay Goldstein], who was also not charged as a terrorist.

Is the Patriot Act applicable only to Muslims? Or is it a piece of law that applies to all parts of the community?