Stop a Florida Bill Aimed at Blocking Aid to Muslim Students
CAIR Action Alert #FL025
(MIAMI, 4/1/2003) - Florida's office of the Washington-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL), along with other rights groups such as Center for Advancement of Human Rights (CAHR) at Florida State University (FSU), Florida Immigration Advocacy Center (FIAC) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at FSU today called for the withdrawal of proposed legislation that would prohibit state funds from being used to provide financial aid to students from mainly Muslim countries.
Florida House Bill 31 and Senate Bill 1760 target students from Iran, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria, while specifically granting an exemption to students from Cuba, which is also on the State Department's list of terrorism sponsors. The Cuba exemption was granted on March 24, 2003, in a meeting of the Higher Education subcommittee.
To view the proposed bills, go to:
"This legislation discriminates against Muslim students based solely on their national origin. It is a form of racial stereotyping and guilt by association," said CAIR-FL Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed.
"As President Bush stated, America is not at war with the people of any country. If this presumably well-intentioned bill were to be enacted in its current form, the people of these nations would in effect become scapegoats for the regimes that they have been fortunate to temporarily leave behind." added Mark Schlakman, Program Director of CAHR.
Hadia Mubarak President of the Muslim Student Association at Florida State University added, "This bill punishes the innocent students who come from these countries looking to better their lives and take back to their home countries the liberal values learned in America's finest institutions."
Cheryl Little, Executive Director, FIAC said, "This bill creates a false sense of security and is seriously at odds with core American and international human rights principles."
On April 7, 2003 will be heard by the K-20 Committee.
Send an email to members of the K-20 Committee from your area. Copy your email to H31 bill sponsor Dick Kravitz E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
and CAIR-FL at email@example.com
To find if your representative is on the K-20 committee go to: http://www.cair-florida.org/FL_HR_Ed...m_Contacts.htm
1. H31 discriminates against students solely baaed on their national origin. This bill is thus discriminatory.
2. H31 contradicts US foreign policy. President Bush has consistently iterated that the war against terrorism and the war on Iraq are not against the Muslim, Arab or Iraqi people, but rather specifically against those regimes that harbor or support terrorists. HB 31 doesn't punish those political regimes nor terrorists, but only innocent students who come to this country to pursue their higher education.
3. One of the best ways to root out extremist/fundamentalist thought is through education in western academic institutions of higher learning.
4. While the U.S. continues its war against terrorism, it seeks to build allies with the people of those countries and especially dissidents of those regimes. By punishing the people, this bill will counteract U.S. objectives in those countries.