Pasadena, California; August 16, 2011—In observing the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, which quickly spawned the repressive Patriot Act and Homeland Security Department, we might recall that affronts to First Amendment rights to free speech in response to threats from enemies, real and imagined, have a long history in America. If you’re concerned about the growing governmental scrutiny of our private lives and communications in the name of the vaunted “War on Terror,” please participate in the discussion “From McCarthyism to the Patriot Act to Islamophobia,” on Tuesday, September 13, 7 p.m. at Neighborhood Church in Pasadena.
Today’s attempts to deny Muslim-Americans the right to live freely in America, to worship and speak as they choose, trace directly back to the anti-communist hysteria that gripped in country 60 years ago.
“Back then, to call someone a communist was to threaten that person’s career, family, freedom, and, sometimes, life itself,” says Scott Martelle, author of “The Fear Within” and speaker at our ACLU forum. “Hysteria about the “red menace” mushroomed as the Soviet Union tightened its grip on Eastern Europe, Mao Zedong rose to power in China, and the atomic arms race accelerated. Spy scandals fanned the flames, and headlines warned of sleeper cells in the nation’s midst–just as it does today with the ‘War on Terror.’”
Joining Martelle will be Adel Syed, Government Relations Coordinator for the Council on Islamic-American Relations, who will bring our examination full circle by reporting on anti-Muslim attacks generated far more for religious or political advantage than for any legitimate security fear.
“John F. Kennedy once said, ‘Ultimately America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired,” Syed has written, in collaboration with Lana Daoud. “Ensuring that America continues to be a model of inclusiveness can only occur when Muslim Americans are seen as fellow neighbors to engage with, not outsiders to be shouted at, or altogether avoided.”
Founded in 1923, the American Civil Liberties Union-Southern California has been fighting to preserve and expand the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Its Pasadena/Foothills Chapter serves the communities of Altadena, Arcadia, Glendale, La Canada, La Crescenta, LA (Glassell Park, Mt. Washington, Highland Park, Eagle Rock), Monrovia, Montrose, Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, and Sierra Madre.
What: From McCarthyism to the Patriot Act to Islamophobia
When: Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena
The event is free and open to the public. For more info, see http://www.aclu-sc.org/pasadena, or contact Sharon Kyle, Communications Chair, ACLU-SC Pasadena/Foothills Chapter,aclupasadena@yahoo.