Lecture looks into post-9/11 freedoms

In an attempt to analyze the freedoms in the United States post Sept. 11, 2001, the Arab-American Student Alliance and Leadership organization is hosting a lecture called “Freedom at Stake: The U.S. Post-9/11.”

The lecture will focus specifically on the freedoms of Arab- and Muslim-Americans after the terrorist attacks.

“Arab-Americans have had tight restrictions placed on their visas, and (have) been arrested for minor immigration violations, all beginning after Sept. 11,” said Hamazah Mubarak, treasurer of the AASAL.

Mubarak said one portion of the lecture will discuss immigration from a legal standpoint and how it affects Arab-Americans. In addition, several speakers will appear. They include Mayra Calo, an immigration lawyer with American Civil Liberties; Barbara Petersen, a First Amendment Scholar and professor of mass communications law and society at USF; Sandra Chance, a lawyer and journalism professor at the University of Florida and Ahmed Bedbir, a Coalition of Arab-Islamic Relations representative.

Joumana Saad, vice president of the AASAL, said the lecture will spotlight the Patriot Act, a new act that in part requires all Arab- and Muslim-American men to register annually with the federal government.

Saad said if the government is suspicious of an individual and finds him or her a threat to national security, he or she faces incarceration without substantial evidence.

“It’s an infringement on the freedoms of Arab and Muslim men and women,” Saad said.

The Patriot Act will be read aloud and then discussed at the lecture, Saad said.

“Not only Arabs and Muslims should attend,” he said. “While it is important that they should be aware of a law that infringes on their rights, all Americans should go to this lecture. The law is called the Patriot Act, but are we really being patriotic by denying Americans their civil rights?”

The lecture will begin tonight at 6 in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Ballroom.