"About 50 people assembled for a forum at the University at Buffalo to hear a top adviser on civil rights with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security address their concerns about that incident and to clarify U.S. policies. Daniel W. Sutherland, officer for civil rights and civil liberties, spoke at length on the government's good intentions but said he was unprepared to address specifics of the incident. 'There are multiple pieces to that puzzle,' Sutherland said. 'If you're looking to me to give you the answers from A to Z on that, you're going to be disappointed.' Indeed, Dr. Sawsan Tabbaa, a Syrian-born dentist and UB instructor who was among those stopped and fingerprinted when returning from the Toronto conference, was not mollified. 'After four months, I was expecting an answer to the main question: Why?' Tabbaa said after the 90-minute forum. 'I thought he should be more prepared, I guess.' "If Mr. Sutherland had been more informed, he would have given away state secrets, Dr. Tabbaa. The detention of people based on their religion or attendance at a conference in Canada isn't based on anything resembling probable cause or reasonable suspicion. I know the rules are different at the border, but I don't think those rules permit the government to trample upon the freedoms of speech and assembly, as occurred here. Hopefully, the government will get smart and give these people the answers they're looking for. I hope they've retained counsel.
I commented on it some months ago: back in January, a group of Americans of the Muslim faith traveled to Toronto for a conference entitled "Renewing the Islamic Spirit." To our government, that conference was a suspected terrorist recruitment drive. But instead of sending some undercover officers to attend the conference, they merely detained any and all Muslim-looking people who crossed the Q-L bridge that day, as well as people who declared to US Customs that they had attended the conference in Toronto. Law-abiding American Citizens who had done nothing remotely wrong were detained at the border for hours, and fingerprinted. They want answers, and rightfully so. The feds sent some poor prick up to Buffalo to calm the restless. He didn't do shit.