SARASOTA, FL – The Sarasota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida continues its monthly discussion series, “Ask the ACLU,” with “Muslim Registries and Surveillance in America.” The forum, which takes place on Thursday, February 2, 2017, 6:30-7:30pm at Selby Library (1331 1st St., Sarasota), is free and open to the community; light refreshments will be served.
The right to freedom of religion is at the core of American democracy. Enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is protection from religious persecution. The panel of experts will discuss why creating registries and unwarranted surveillance of American citizens is morally and strategically wrong.
Panelists are: Muaaz Hassan, who serves as the Islamophobia and Communications Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida. Hassan, the son of South African immigrants who fought against the injustices and racism of an apartheid regime, was inspired from a young age to fight for freedom, justice and equality for all. Michael Barfield is the Vice President of the ACLU of Florida and an expert on government surveillance systems, equipment and methods. Keith Fitzgerald is a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, and a professor of political science at the New College of Florida since 1994. He is an expert on immigration policies and the role of surveillance.
The Sarasota chapter of the ACLU of Florida launched the “Ask the ACLU” discussion series in response to concerns over a slate of policies proposed by President-elect Trump during the presidential campaign, which the ACLU has stated would, if enacted, violate the constitutional rights of many people in America.
“Our first two programs have both been standing-room only – we are gratified for this community’s concern for civil liberties as a new administration prepares to take power in the U.S.,” said Pete Tannen, president of the Sarasota chapter of the ACLU of Florida. “The President-elect’s statements about ‘a total and complete’ ban on Muslims entering the country, creating a Muslim database, and surveilling American Muslims and their houses of worship show a complete lack of regard for the inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution, potentially violating the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. We feel it’s crucial for community members to understand what our rights are and how we can ensure those rights are protected for all Americans.”
Future programs are: “Protecting and Defending Abortion Rights” (April 6); “Protecting and Defending LGBT Rights” (May 4); and “Police, Community Relations, and Race-based Policing” (June 1). All programs are non-partisan; the goal is to inform and empower.
For more information about the Sarasota chapter of the ACLU of Florida and these programs, call Pete Tannen at (941) 306-1937 or go to sarasota.aclufl.org.
About the Sarasota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union:
The Sarasota Chapter of the ACLU of Florida serves Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. With almost 1,200 members, we are the fastest-growing ACLU chapter in all of Florida. The ACLU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization — we welcome everyone to join us in our constant fight to protect your constitutional rights. Our only mission is to keep the promise of the Bill of Rights alive for every American. For more information, visit Sarasota.aclufl.org, the website of the Florida ACLU (ACLUFL.org) or the national ACLU (ACLU.org), or call (941) 306-1937.