CAIR Action Alert:

Ask Senate to Reject Detaining U.S. Citizens Without Charge or Trial

(WASHINGTON D.C., 12/1/2011) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today urged American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact their senators to request the removal of problematic language in the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1867), which authorizes the president to indefinitely hold American citizens suspected of terrorism without charge or trial.

SEE: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Sections 1031 and 1032)

In a provision sponsored by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the respective chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Sections 1031 and 1032 of the bill authorize the president to order the military to indefinitely hold American citizens, inside or outside of the United States, suspected of being members of al-Qaida, the Taliban or their affiliates.

President Obama, citing serious legal and policy concerns, has threatened to veto the bill if the two provisions are not removed. In a recent memo to the Senate, the administration asserted that, "applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets."

SEE: White House Memorandum Denouncing Indefinite Detention of American Citizens

FBI Director Mueller and leading senators have spoken out against the unconstitutional provisions of this bill.

SEE: FBI Director Criticizes Bill Requiring Suspected Terrorists to Be Held By Military

"The discussion now to suspend certain rights to due process is especially worrisome given that we are engaged in a war that appears to have no end. Rights given up now cannot be expected to be returned. So, we do well to contemplate the diminishment of due process, knowing that the rights we lose now may never be restored," said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).

SEE: Senator Rand Paul Defends American Citizens Against Indefinite Detention

"I fear the detention provisions in this bill forget the lessons we learned from the mistakes we made when we interned thousands of innocent Japanese, Germans, and Italians, or when we destroyed the lives of supposed communist sympathizers with nary a shred of evidence of guilt," said Senator Al Franken (D-MN).

SEE: Senator Franken in Opposition to Indefinite Detention of American Citizens

"In addition to allowing the government to hold American citizens without trial or charge, this amendment would invite the military to perform domestic law enforcement functions," said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas. "The first duty of Congress is to protect the rights of American citizens."


1. CONTACT your state's elected Senators by clicking here.

On the right-hand side of the page, enter your ZIP Code. On the resulting page, click the names of your state's elected senators. Click the "contact" tab on the resulting page for your officials' phone numbers.

You may also contact the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (have your ZIP Code ready).


* As your constituent, I urge you to oppose any legislation that authorizes the president to order the military to indefinitely hold American citizens, at home or abroad, without charge or trial.

* I also want you to ensure that if the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 comes to a vote, that Sections 1031 and 1032 are amended to remove all problematic language that targets American citizens.

* I believe that it is not the military's responsibility to police or indefinitely hold American citizens suspected of terrorism, stripping them of their constitutional rights to a fair and speedy trial and hearing the charges brought against them.

3. INFORM YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY by forwarding this alert to at least five other people. Tell them you took action and ask them to do the same.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Coordinator Robert McCaw, Tel: 202-742-6448, E-Mail:

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