September 14, 2008

DETROIT - The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan grieves with the rest of the nation, and world, over the devastating loss of life resulting from the joint attacks against the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the crash of the airplane outside of Pittsburgh.

We strongly applaud the words of our national leaders who, in reaction to this unparalleled tragedy, have promised to preserve the free and open society that has made this nation great.

As we face the future and begin to heal, there will understandably be a willingness by many to surrender all freedoms in order to attain a sense of security.  We must recognize, however, the importance of upholding the principles of liberty this nation holds dear as we begin to take necessary security measures.

Eliminating our freedoms and civil liberties could result in a false sense of security and do irreparable damage to innocent citizens.  We must act cautiously and carefully as events unfold.

We have heard of reports of several incidents of retaliation against innocent Arab Americans here in the Detroit community. These reports, as well as reports across the country, are of great concern to the ACLU of Michigan.  I have been speaking to leaders in that community, as well as law enforcement agencies, to be sure that lines of communication are open, especially in the coming weeks.  We will continue to work diligently to protect the freedom of all people in our state, especially for our friends in the Arab community, the largest outside of the Middle East.

Just as New Yorkers remain strong in the face of such adversity, Detroit and our surrounding communities must remain united and remember that we are all equally horrified and disbelieving that such an event could take place on our soil.