Despite the scrapping of a controversial registration system, discriminatory practices still target many families Arabs and Muslims in the US remain fearful of discrimination related to the war on terrorism despite conciliatory gestures by Washington. The government this week announced the scrapping of a controversial programme requiring men and boys from countries linked to terrorism to register with authorities. President George W. Bush and other senior officials also announced the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan last week and participated in celebratory feasting. But the efforts hide discriminatory practices which continue to target tens of thousands of Arabs and Muslims living in the US, commentators say. Between 13,000 and 15,000 people still face deportation as a result of the just-cancelled scheme and 83,000 others are still subject to other registration. The families of those who remain under detention are afraid to visit relatives in prison for fear of also being targeted. The vice-president of the Arab-American Action Network, Ali Abunimah, described the US more than two years after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, as 'a country full of contradictions'. 'There's a conscious effort to recognise Islam as an increasingly mainstream part of American culture at an official level and in the media,' he said from his Chicago office. 'At the same time, though, Arabs and Muslims are being marginalised in many other ways.' Mr Abunimah said the lifting of the registration requirement was a positive step which meant a 'great deal' to the communities it had affected. They had faced a dilemma - they had faced deportation on a technicality if they registered and the same fate if they did not. 'It made life terrible for a lot of people,' he said. 'Thousands simply disappeared and left for Canada to claim asylum. They were fleeing in the middle of the night from the so-called 'Land of the Free'.' Correcting the perceived injustices could be effected by dropping deportation proceedings against those found in violation of the now-defunct programme, Mr Abunimah suggested. 'This should happen because the programme has been abandoned,' he said. 'It didn't result in any arrest or detection of a single terrorist. Yet, it created an enormous upheaval for thousands of people and violated some of the basic principles of this country.' The rule was part of a programme known as the National Security Entry Exit Registration System and established a national registry for foreign visitors from 25 mainly Middle Eastern countries. A total of 83,519 people already in the US who complied with the order were fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed. They had to re-register with the government after being in the country for 30 days and again after a year. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee spokesman Hussein Ibish said serious questions remained unanswered by Mr Bush's administration. 'Of course, it's good to see the government rethinking a policy that needed to be rethought - at least there's a willingness to do that,' he said. 'But it doesn't solve the problem with special registration and what's going to happen to those who didn't register.'