Panel tackles civil right, civil liberties
Law scholars from various universities talked about post-9/11 views toward Muslims
September 29, 2010, 6:36 am·
Nine years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the effects of that day are still being debated by scholars.
To anticipate the creation of a new interdisciplinary program, Penn’s Asian American Studies Program and South Asia Center hosted “Nine Years Later: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Post-9/11 America.” The discussion focused on changing perspectives toward Muslims and featured various law professors who are at the intellectual forefront of the civil liberties movement.
The panelists represented Seton Hall University School of Law, Yale Law School, Penn Law and the American University Washington College of Law. They presented ideas, political theories and personal experiences that deal with the intersection between civil rights and civil liberties.
Each panelist discussed the post-9/11 political framework and stressed the importance of combating discrimination and questioning the values of national security including privacy and detainee treatment.
The panelists also said they feel optimistic that American attitudes can still be changed. “The take-home message here is that you can make a difference,” Yale Law professor Hope Metcalf said.
The panelists also addressed the impact that informing the American people on these injustices can have on hopefully changing the prejudiced ideas. “This is an important, interesting issue that isn’t often discussed. The discussion could have had a more balanced opinion and there was no mentioning of national security,” College sophomore Logan Bayroff said.
This was the inaugural event for the new program, titled the Civil Rights Project. The founder of the program, Dave Sadhi, a Penn alumnus, became interested in Muslim rights after 9/11 which occurred during his first year of law school. He hopes to include more public forums and an awards program for undergraduate- and graduate-student researchers in the field.
He explained that these researchers are not often brought together from interdisciplinary programs, so the program will bring together professors from law, philosophy, political science, anthropology and sociology to provide a unique perspective on creating new initiatives to quell ignorance.