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SABA voices concern over racial profiling of Asian-Americans

PTI | Last Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014 - 14:25

Washington: The South Asian Bar Association has expressed concern about allegations of racial profiling by US spy agencies alleging that for far too long South Asian Americans in particular Muslim-Americans have been unfairly targeted as a result of ethnic and religious profiling.

"For far too long South Asian Americans, and particularly Muslim Americans have been unfairly targeted by government agencies as a result of ethnic and religious profiling," South Asian Bar Association (SABA) said in a statement.

As an organisation, SABA North America is deeply concerned by these allegations, the statement said, which was issued days after allegations surfaced in this regard.
SABA said federal law requires the US Department of Justice to establish probable cause that a US citizen is or may be engaged in certain criminal activity in order to obtain a warrant under Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"Since these proceedings are closed to the public, the federal government has an even greater responsibility to ensure that decisions to obtain warrants and conduct surveillance are made free from bias or prejudices about particular groups in our society - including Muslim and South Asian Americans," SABA said.

SABA statement came after the Sikh Coalition filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting two federal agencies, NSA and FBI, on alleged use of ethnic slurs in surveillance programs targeting their community.

"As Americans, we expect law enforcement officials to behave like adults," said Amardeep Singh, program director of the Sikh Coalition.
Such a move follows after recent news reports that NSA and FBI officials may have used the ethnic slur "raghead" in surveillance programs targeting American Muslims.

"The Sikh Coalition will not tolerate the use of racial or religious slurs by people who are supposed to protect us.? We therefore demand a full accounting of NSA and FBI e-mails to determine the extent to which agency employees are combating bigotry, not promoting it," Singh said.

Sikh Coalition alleged since the 9/11 attacks, Sikh Americans have repeatedly endured violence and bigotry because of their religiously-mandated turbans.

In August 2012, a gunman with known ties to neo-Nazi groups attacked a Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six worshippers and injuring several others.

In the months after the massacre, a Sikh businessman was shot and injured in Port Orange, Florida; a Sikh octogenarian was beaten with a steel rod in Fresno, California; and a Sikh professor was assaulted in New York.

First Published: Friday, July 18, 2014 - 14:25
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