Mass Arrests of Muslims in L.A. Spark Protests

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Between 500 and 700 Iranian and other Muslim men were detained by immigration officials Thursday in Los Angeles after complying with an order to register with the U.S. government, reports the BBC. The arrests sparked massive protests by the families of the detainees and civil liberties groups.

INS officials said the detainees were being held for visa violations and other offenses and would not confirm the number of men detained. But local Islamic activists said that many of the detainees had been working and paying taxes in the U.S. for a decade.

Ramona Ripston, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the move ?shocking? and reminiscent of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. ?We are getting a lot of telephone calls from people,? she said. ?We are hearing that people went down wanting to cooperate and then they were detained.?

New immigration rules require all male immigrants aged 16 and over from suspected terrorist countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria, to register with immigration authorities by Monday, December 2316.
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