Post 9/11 Surveillance and Profiling of Arab, African, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asians (AAMEMSA) Communities

Design for cover of HRC report, "Living in An Unfinished America"

Since 9/11, AAMEMSA (Arab, African, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian) communities have raised concerns of overbroad national security policies which result in profiling, and suspicionless surveillance of individuals, mosques, and political organizations. The purpose of this initiative is to address overbroad national security policies, promote fair and equal treatment of AAMEMSA communities and lessen inappropriate questioning and searching based on race, religion or national origin, and other protected categories. Below is a snapshot of recent events and developments:

  • September 2002: The HRC and the Board of Supervisors Economic Vitality, Small Business and Social Policy Committee held a joiny public hearing to enure that all those who live, visit or have business dealings in San Francico are treated with dignity, faireness and due porcess of law regardless of national origin or background. Read the report from that hearing here.
  • July 10, 2008: the full Human Rights Commission unanimously approved the Employment Advisory Committee's motion to hold a public hearing on continuing employment discrimination against groups affected by the 9/11 backlashs. The official HRC public hearing, Combating Employment Discrimination after 9/11, was held on October 7, 2008, in the Milton Marks Conference Center at the California State Building in San Francisco.
  • September 23, 2010: Working with the Coalition for a Safe San Francisco, a grassroots alliance dedicated to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties challenged by overbroad national security policies, HRC held a hearing to address concerns of surveillance and profiling. Approximately 150 people attended and 40 testified. Click here to view a clip from this hearing.
  • February 24, 2011: HRC published its findings and recommendations from the September 23, 2010 hearing. The report, entitled "Community Concerns of Surveillance, Racial and Religious Profiling of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities and Potential Reactivation of SFPD Intelligence Gathering", was unanimously endorsed  by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on April 5, 2010.
  • May 18, 2011: HRC and the Police Commission held a joint hearing to investigate San Francisco Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Joint Terrorism Task Force compliance with local policies which prohibit suspicionless investigations involving First Amendment activities. Click here to view the hearing.
  • May 8, 2012: Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance.
  • May 9, 2012: Mayor Edwin Lee signed the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance for which San Francisco received national recognition.




Relevant Publications


For more information on HRC's work around surveillance and profiling, contact Sneh Rao, Director of Policy, at