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[Fwd: WASHINGTON POST blasts surveillance of Muslim immigrants]
by Saima Alvi
28 March 2002 19:35 UTC
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28 March 2002  Thursday  

US paper blasts surveillance of Muslim immigrants 

By Our Staff Correspondent 

WASHINGTON, March 27: The Washington Post came down heavily in an
editorial  on Wednesday on the Bush administration's surveillance of
immigrants , saying it almost appeared as if the administration believed 
that the US was better off without the immigrants. 

Dwelling particularly on the case of a Pakistani, Ansar Mahmood, detained
 and now facing the prospect of deportation, the paper said in a second 
leader: "The government should not tolerate lawbreakers. But by rounding
up  aliens from Muslim-majority countries, and then finding something, 
anything, to pin on them, the government seems to be saying: Terrorist or
 not, we are better off without you." 

>From what was known about Ansar Mahmood's case, the paper said, "it
seem to us that America is better off without Mr Mahmood" and asked for
his  release. 

Mr Mahmood was detained shortly after the Sept 11 attacks when he went to
a  picturesque hilltop in the small New York state town where he lived
and  worked and asked a security guard to take a snapshot of him
(Mahmood) to  send to his family in Pakistan. The hill overlooked a
waterworks, and that  was a time when the anthrax scare had led to fears
that terrorists might  try to poison water supplies. 

During questioning, it transpired that Mr Mahmood had signed rental
papers  on behalf of a Pakistani family that was not properly documented
and he was  immediately detained. 

He has been in jail in New York since October and faces the possibility
of  having his green card, legitimately earned through a visa lottery,

Mr Mahmood's plight was highlighted by The Washington Post in a news
story  on Sunday which had pointed out that while most of the 1,200
immigrants  detained since Sept 11 had been cleared of any connection to
terrorist,  most were being deported anyhow. 

Mr Mahmood was in the US legally and worked hard as a pizza delivery man.
 His only crime was that he had helped a Pakistani family find an
apartment,  and he was charged with harbouring an illegal immigrant - a
charge that  before Sept 11 was rarely invoked, and that too in cases
concerning shelter  given to smugglers. 

Cleared of any charges related to terrorism, Mr Mahmood has now appealed 
against his deportation orders, but doesn't know whether he will be able
to  raise the money to fight his case. 

His case is among several highlighted in the US media in recent days. 
Muslim organizations have been protesting against the singling out of 
immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia for questioning and 

They have also protested against raids carried out last week on some 
Islamic groups as part of an investigation of financial links with Al 
Qaeda. Several hundred Muslims attended a meeting in the greater
Washington  area on Monday to criticize raids on houses and businesses of
Muslims and  what they perceive as a pattern of discrimination against

Saima Alvi
Research Assistant
Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)
Opposite Sector U, DHA, Lahore-54792
Tel.: 5722670-79; Ext.: 2165

Saima Alvi
Research Assistant
Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)
Opposite Sector U, DHA, Lahore-54792
Tel.: 5722670-79; Ext.: 2165

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