At the Muslim Public Affairs Council convention,speakers charged the USA Patriot Act constitutes thebiggest threat to democracy in the United States.
Speakers called on the American public to challengethe Patriot Act, which they called an unconstitutionallaw that violates basic civil liberties. They alsourged the roughly 1,500 people in attendance at theMuslim Public Affairs Council convention to demand themedia provide diverse perspectives on the potentialwar with Iraq to complement the official governmentstand.
Art Torres, chairman of the California, DemocraticParty, compared the recent detention of immigrants inLos Angeles to the Japanese internment camps duringWorld War II.
"Japan American citizens were detained because of whothey were not because of what they had done in Americawe are repeating that same example," said Torres.
Torres, who was the first Latino to receive theDemocratic Party’s nomination for statewide officewhen he ran for Insurance Commissioner in 1994, calledfor Muslim immigrants to be fully accepted into thesociety.
Torres said, "Just as the Irish assimilated intoAmerican society and retained their culture heritageand faith, just as Italian Americans were ridiculedand yet embraced and inserted themselves into thefabric of the American culture while still retainingtheir culture and faith. Just as Mexican Americanscross that border to come to the America to search fora better life maintain their culture and faith. So tomust Muslim American be allowed to integrate into theAmerican society without having to sacrifice theyidentity, their culture or their faith."
Torres went on to quote a recent editorial in the LosAngeles Times titled "INS Detentions Are A Bust."
- Art Torres, chairman of the CaliforniaDemocratic Party