Hortefeux Publicly Apologizes to French Muslim Community

While he has not apologized for what he said (see: http://www.euro-islam.info/2009/09/11/france%e2%80%99s-interior-minister-accused-of-derogatory-comment-to-arab-man/), the French minister of the interior Brice Hortefeux explained at a breaking of fast with the CFCM (the French Council of the Muslim Faith or the Conseil français du culte musulman) that he regrets the unfair polemic that ensued following his comments last week. He noted that “Islamophobia cannot be accepted in our country” and that the French Republic must be “more than ever, a school of tolerance and dignity. It’s a daily combat that I will take up.”

Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the CFCM commented that Hortefeux is “an interlocuteur who has always been respectful of our community.”

Senators seek rights protections in FBI probes

Three Democratic senators are seeking “bare-minimum” civil rights protection for those Americans who might be targeted in FBI security investigations, even without evidence of wrongdoing. Senators Dick Durban, Russ Feingold, and Edward Kennedy made demands on the measures in a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, saying that the new policies could allow surveillance of innocent Muslim or Arab-Americans based in part on just their religion or nationality. “The Justice Department’s actions over the last eight years have alienated many Americans, especially Arab and Muslim Americans. We are concerned that issuing new attorney general guidelines without a more transparent process will actually make the FBI’s job more, not less, difficult by exacerbating mistrust in communities whose cooperation the FBI needs,” the letter is quoted as saying.

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Associated Press

International Herald Tribune

Barack Obama Holds Lead Among Arab American Vote

Democratic US presidential candidate Barack Obama holds a substantial 21-point lead over Republican candidate John McCain among Arab American voters. Obama’s lead is one of the findings of a recent poll taken in the second week of September of Arab American voters, by Zogby International. The poll also found that Obama’s 54% to 33% lead over McCain was related to important issues – from jobs/economy, Iraq/peace/foreign affairs, and health care – in this particular order.

Zogby poll page available here.