WASHINGTON, Jan 8: A prominent Muslim advocacy group has urged the Bush administration to cooperate with American-Muslims and clarify whether people participating in this year's Haj will be fingerprinted or singled out for special security measures.
Usually, non-Saudi Muslims wanting to visit Saudi Arabia are fingerprinted and have to go through strict security searches. But the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations pointed out that the Haj-going Muslims should be treated as pilgrims and not suspects.
An estimated 10,000 American-Muslims go on Haj each year.
The CAIR also has created a 'Haji Hotline' (1-800-784-7526) in Washington and a downloadable incident report form (cair-net.org/downloads/Haji.pdf) for those who believe their constitutional rights were being violated by US Customs and Border Protection officials.
CAIR's actions follow reports that dozens of American-Muslims had recently been singled out for security checks and fingerprinting for attending an Islamic conference in Canada. Several detainees told CAIR they objected strenuously to being fingerprinted, but were informed by CBP representatives that 'you have no rights' and that they would be held until they agreed to the procedure.
A CBP spokesperson later admitted that the Muslim citizens were fingerprinted because of their participation in the Canadian conference.