U.S. to fingerprint, photograph visitors from five Muslim countries
The U.S. Justice Department has announced that it will require thousands of students, workers and other men from five Muslim countries who are temporarily residing in the United States to be fingerprinted and photographed, The Washington Post reported Thursday. This move is to be taken as part of the "overall program to register visitors from countries linked to terrorism."
Authorities launched the registration program less than two months ago at airports, where they started gathering extensive information from arriving citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria.
According to the newspaper, the program will be expanded to include male citizens of those states who entered the United States before Sept. 11, 2002, and plan to stay until at least mid-December, officials disclosed.
Under the new measure, which takes effect Nov. 15, men ages 16 and older from the five nations must register with a U.S. immigration officer by Dec. 16. They must present travel documents and proof of residence, such as school registrations, and be interviewed, fingerprinted and photographed.
U.S. organizations representing Muslims and Arab Americans have denounced the plan as ethnic profiling. Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, stressed that none of the Sept. 11 hijackers came from the five Muslim countries included in the new initiative, and said that only Sudan had much of a relationship with the al Qaeda network.
"This just looks like a list drawn out of political convenience," he said, according to The Washington Post. (Albawaba.com)
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