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UPDATED! December 17 Hearing in New York: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

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Innalhamdolillah. Bismillah hir Rahman nir Raheem. Indeed, all praise is for Allah. In the Name of Allah, Whose Mercy transcends every comparison, Who is Always Merciful.

[posted by abu abdAllah] Update: Fahad Hashmi’s case has been rescheduled for January 8, 2009, but Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s case will still take place Wednesday, December 17, 2008, at 9:30 am, in New York City. Please attend the hearing to show your support for justice to this woman who has suffered so much during her pre-trial captivity that she may now be unfit to stand trial!

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[Video courtesy of FreeFahad.com. Transcript at the end of this post.]

Have you ever stayed at the home of a friend while you were traveling? And your friend did not go through each and every piece of your luggage? He did not interrogate your travel agent?

What has happened to Fahad Hashmi could happen to anyone. He has suffered for years now essentially for not vetting a house guest’s luggage — containing waterproof socks and similar rain gear — nor his guest’s travel plans.

click to enlarge posterStand up against oppression. Stand up for justice. Stand up for Muslims in their time of need.

According to the Muslim Justice Initiative, a hearing for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui will be held on December 17, 2008, at the United States District Court, 500 Pearl St., Manhattan, New York. Update: Fahad Hashmi’s hearing has been postponed until January 8, 2009.

Please make every effort to be present for these hearings!!!

Contribute your time, your speech, your blogs, your expertise: Muslim Justice Initiative Volunteer Application.

Join over 800 conscientious persons, sign the petition.

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

As Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah

I would first like to thank you for taking the time out to read this important message. My brother Fahad Hashmi is currently in solitary confinement and has been for over a year. Our brother has been falsely accused, and with the help of Allah (the most high) then yours we can an exonerate him. Our Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick and free the prisoner.”

Our brother Fahad is not the first and sadly we do not believe him to be the last. So we must present a unified front, and stand firm in the face of oppression. What we need you to do is ask Allah for sincerity, guidance, and strength. We then need you to help promote our effort in your community. We will provide material, man power, content, speakers, etc. as needed. All you have to do is help create an opportunity. If you have any type of outlet (website, radio, television, newspaper, etc) through which we can better inform the community of their rights, and raise awareness regarding the cases of our brothers and sisters like Fahad Hashmi, Aafia Siddiqui, and others then please contact us at Freefahad@gmail.com or Info@Muslimsforjustice.org.

Our lawyers have always mentioned how helpful it is to show up to court. So we thank you all and ask you to keep supporting with whatever you are capable of. Help the community by fund raising, raising awareness, attending court hearings, and creating opportunities so this message can reach the masses. I ask Allah to reward our brothers and sisters of Muslimmatters.org, and its readers.

As Salaamu Alaikum

Faisal Hashmi

Transcript of Video:
[Michael Ratner, Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights]
Our society should not have ideological prisoners. We should not have prisoners who have no — even in their indictments — no overt connection with any kind of terrorist act. We should not have those people in prisons, and we should have not have them in prisons that are essentially secret, incommunicado practically prisons without any access to genuine representation.

[Narrator]
Fahad Hashmi was born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1980. He immigrated with his family to America when he was 3 years old.

[Anwar Hashmi, Fahad’s Father]
So we came to this country [mumbled] basically, for our kids to have a good education and the opportunity here in United States. As they say it’s the American Dream; that was the dream for us, and, and I gave good education — I tried to give a good education to my both kids. And that’s, that’s the reason we came in this country.

[Narrator]
Fahad’s family settled in Flushing, Queens. He became a United States citizen in 1991, when he was 11 years old.

[Anwar Hashmi, Fahad’s Father]
He’s a very lovable person. And he, basically, he dared among his peers to help others. He was very friendly; he was very friendly. You know I mean it is in our blood. It’s in our blood, that to help others. That’s why we are — that’s how Fahad is.

[Narrator]
Fahad earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brooklyn College in 2003. And a Masters Degree in International Relations from Metropolitan University in London, in 2006.

[Professor Corey Robin, Political Science, Brooklyn College]
What was interesting to me about Fahad as a student was that he had very strong views of his own. But unlike many other students who have their own points of view, who tend to segregate themselves with, with their own groups, what I always saw Fahad doing — particularly after class when there was a very heated discussion about some question of constitutional law or American foreign policy — what I always saw Fahad doing was reaching out to other students.

I always saw him speaking with students of other faiths, of other ethnic backgrounds, and certainly other polictical beliefs.

One of the sad things about this is that it is precisely these qualities that are now bringing Fahad under suspicion, and that’s something that I think educators in particular ought to be concerned about.

[Newscaster, “Terror Trail Arrest” in inset]
Officials say an American student who was arrested in London as he prepared to board a flight to Pakistan has been indicted in New York on terrorism charges. 26 year old Syed Hashmi is accused of providing military gear to Al Qaeda to be used against US forces in Afghanistan.

[Newscaster, “Web of Terror” in inset]
The arrest of an American, picked up by police in London — he is accused of helping an Al Qaeda plot to stage a series of spectacular attacks.

[Anwar Hashmi, Fahad’s Father]
You know, that the 6th of June, 2006, my American Dream… became a… American Nightmare. It was just the worst day in my life. Everything is shattered.

[Arifa Hashmi, Fahad’s mother]
(In English:) It is a very bad feeling. I have no words. (In Urdu:) There are no words. Even now I have the same feeling… what I felt the first day, until now, even now this feeling has not left me.

[Sean Maher, Fahad’s attorney]
What we’ve been able to discern from the government’s case, so far, is that back in 2004 Fahad was living in London; he was a graduate student at the time. And around February or March of 2004, someone who Fahad knew was in the town, in London, and stayed in Fahad’s apartment for about two weeks. That person left after two weeks.

Two years later, in 2006, Fahad was at the airport, Heathrow Airport, going to Pakistan when he was arrested, and essentially charged with being a terrorist in the United States.

The charges, though, go back to that, that trip, that person that he knew took back in 2004 and stayed in Fahad’s apartment. Supposedly this person kept a suitcase or luggage containing raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks. That person then, the government alleges, took those waterproof socks and ponchos to the number three leader in Al Qaeda, who is at that point, supposedly, based in South Waziristan, Pakistan, and leading the insurgency in Afghanistan.

So the charges are not that Fahad is a member of Al Qaeda, not that Fahad gave any money to Al Qaeda, not that Fahad gave any military weapons to Al Qaeda.

The charge is that he knowingly allowed a person to keep ponchos and waterproof socks in his apartment that then were going to go to Al Qaeda. All told, Fahad faces 70 years in a federal prison.

[Michael Ratner, Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights]
When you actually read what the government is trying to claim in the case, how do you call this a terrorism case?

He’s not accused of any act of terrorism. Even what he supposedly did has no relationship to any act of terrorism. It had a relationship of supposedly holding something, something innocuous like a raincoat that might or might not have been given to an organization that the United States designates as a terrorist organization.

[Narrator]
There is no allegation that Fahad is a member of Al Qaeda. Or that he ever personally gave or helped to give anything to any member of Al Qaeda.

[Michael Ratner, Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights]
So you have to ask yourself what’s going on here? Is this the best they can do, and call this a terrorist case? And it makes you question the entire motives of the prosecution and whether or not there isn’t something else going on here, and something else going on in Fahad’s case.

Fahad is a strong spokesperson. He’s an activist on Islamic issues. And so what it makes you think, the first thing is, are they targeting this guy because he’s a Muslim? Because he’s a strong spokesperson? Because he wasn’t actually born in the United States as a US citizen? Because of who his friends are?

But what you can almost for sure say is they are not targeting him because he was in any way involved in an act of terrorism, or aiding and abetting terrorism, or knowingly having anything to do with terrorism.

[Narrator]
Fahad is an integral part of the Flushing Muslim community. After September 11, Fahad was active in protecting the rights of Muslims. He was also an open critic of US foreign policy and the decision to go to war.

[Michael Ratner, Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights]
Fahad was a well known activist, a well known spokesperson on, with regard to Muslim ideas, radical ideas according to some, but ideas. And… And the problem is when a government goes after ideas, um, is that, that’s clearly contrary to the first amendment.

[Imam Siraj Wahaj]
In this country we almost, um, idolize our ability as Americans to have free, freedom of speech. It’s in our Constitution. And it seems as if Fahad is yet another Muslim that’s being prosecuted only because of his articulation of his belief.

[Professor Corey Robin, Political Science, Brooklyn College]
Everybody — I can’t think of a person in this country who ought not to be concerned when, um, those kinds of beliefs, statements, and activities that are ordinarily protected and constitutional become evidence in the mind of a government of some of kind a criminal sensibility or inclination.

We fought long and hard in this country to get to the point where the Supreme Court and the judicial system understood that just because you say something, and just because you believe something doesn’t mean you’re going to commit an act of violence.

[Michael Ratner, Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights]
If you’re a Muslim citizen in this country, and you come out on the line and say “stop this war, oppose this war” — speak at a demonstration on a platform, you’re going to have FBI all over you. And that’s a pretty sad comment about the First Amendment.

[Imam Siraj Wahaj]
When I look at Fahad: young, intelligent, young man; Fahad had never been arrested, never been in trouble in his life with the law, and that this man is facing all these years in prison… What? What are you talking about? Do you know this man?

[Narrator]
Fahad has been vilified in the media. And his political beliefs have been treated as evidence of a crime.

[Professor Corey Robin, Political Science, Brooklyn College]
I think that, in the minds of many people, just by virtue of being Muslim and male, you are — if not a terrorist now — fast on your way to becoming a terrorist. So I think the… the presumption of guilt is automatic in that case.

And I think all of us, and I mean all of us in our, in our own hearts and minds, have to work very carefully to make sure that we are not making that leap.

[Narrator]
After being held for a year as a “Category A” prisoner in Britain’s notorious Belmarsh Prison, Fahad became the first United States citizen to be extradited from Britain to the US on terrorism-related charges.

In the United States, Fahad was placed in solitary confinement in the special housing units of the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan, where he has been since June 2007.

[Sean Maher, Fahad’s attorney]
Right now, Fahad is under what are called Special Administrative Measures. These are extraordainary measures meant to cut off a person in federal detention from basically any contact with the outside world.

[Michael Ratner, Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights]
It’s essentially a barbaric way of keeping human beings. And to think that we’re keeping people in a barbaric way right now, with all of what goes along with it, in breaking down the human personality is something that should not be stood for.

The fact that he has been in custody for almost two years is something that should be unacceptable for any caring human being. It’s certainly unacceptable from a legal and moral and political point of view.

Fahad is 27 years old. I mean, he’s a smart, interesting person. And he’s being kept in a situation to break a personality.

[Professor Corey Robin, Political Science, Brooklyn College]
The concern I have with this case against Fahad is that it, if it goes forward, in the manner in which I fear it may go forward, we will be undoing the 20th century. And I think that’s something that, all of us who care about civil rights and civil liberties in this country ought to be concerned about.

[Michael Ratner, Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights]
Well, Fahad’s case, as I said, is a very, very sympathetic case for anyone who chooses to examine it.

So the first thing I would do, I would tell anybody go to web sites, put in his name, examine what you see here.

[Imam Siraj Wahaj]
Become familiar with the facts of the case. I think that’s important. Number two, we should come to the court hearings when they begin. Number three, financially.

[Arifa Hashmi, Fahad’s mother]
(In Urdu) People can help us in this way, they can come to court. They can raise their voices. He needs help with money, they can help with money. Prayers for him, our faith is based on prayer. Make prayers for him, as much as can be done. And most important, come to the court and raise your voices.

[Anwar Hashmi, Fahad’s Father]
In whatever capacity they want to help us, they come forward and they… I request them to come and to help us.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Bismillah walhamdolillah. May Allah accept my repentance and yours. I am an attorney, a stepfather, a husband, a son, and a Muslim. Studying Islam is a means, reflecting what I have learned is a must, and to Allah is the inevitable return. If you would like my help, know that Allah is the source of all aid. If you would like to contact me, try tariqnisarahmed at Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, or add me as a friend on Facebook.

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. anonymous

    December 14, 2008 at 7:40 PM

    Allahul Musta’an

  2. MM Associates

    December 15, 2008 at 12:13 AM

    bismillah. [dugg by abu abdAllah]

    if you are in the NY area, please attend both hearings! alhamdolillah, with both hearings scheduled for Dec. 17, you can make an all day-trip out of it.

    if you know anyone in the NY area, consider sending them an e-mail like (or exactly like) this text:

    Subject: What is scary is imagining how many times this has happened

    Have you ever visited another city and stayed at the home of a friend? Did your friend inspect the contents of your luggage? Did he interrogate your travel agent or airline about your travel plans? According to the US government, your friend was criminally liable for anything you had with you, and anything you planned on doing.

    link:
    http://muslimmatters.org/2008/12/14/what-has-happened-to-him-could-happen-to-anyone-fahad-hashmi-update/

    How many Fahad’s are there? How many other people have faced the same treatment as him for as little reason?

    Make the intention to be there for the court hearings on December 17 (information in the article). And spread the word!

    please digg this article: http://digg.com/politics/Muslim_Justice_Initiative_Fahad_Hashmi_Dr_Aafia_Siddiqui

  3. Farhan

    December 15, 2008 at 5:04 PM

    Sometimes, I wish I lived in NY and not DC.

  4. MM Associates

    December 16, 2008 at 7:52 AM

    bismillah. attend these hearings, NY! attend these hearings, NJ! attend these hearings, CT! attend these hearings any of you who can do so, and may Allah reward you many times over for each step and mile you travel, in this lifetime and in the next.

    may Allah bring justice, compassion, and liberty to Fahad and Dr. Aafia and to the case of every Muslim who has faced similar treatment for similar lack-of-cause.

    [bump by abu abdAllah]

  5. Hidaya

    December 16, 2008 at 7:28 PM

    Ill be attending inshaAllah

  6. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    December 16, 2008 at 9:21 PM

    Hidaya said:

    Ill be attending inshaAllah

    bismillah. jazak Allah khayr, Hidaya! may Allah accept from you. okay, people, let’s pack that courthouse.

  7. Free Fahad

    December 16, 2008 at 10:29 PM

    Salam Walakum,
    Fahads court date has been postponed to January 8, 2009. Dr. Aafia’s court date is still happening at 9:30 AM. I appreciate the support that Muslim Matters has shown. Please check the website http://www.freefahad.com for the latest news and updates. We will be holding events in the New York area in the upcoming months.

    Jazakalllah
    Faisal Hashmi

  8. Kaltham

    December 16, 2008 at 10:54 PM

    May Allah grant Fahad and his family patience. Let’s not forget that our dua’s are the most powerful weapon used that will be used in these cases.

    Fi Amaani’Laah

  9. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    December 16, 2008 at 11:28 PM

    bismillah.

    Free Fahad said:

    Salam Walakum,
    Fahads court date has been postponed to January 8, 2009. Dr. Aafia’s court date is still happening at 9:30 AM. I appreciate the support that Muslim Matters has shown. Please check the website http://www.freefahad.com for the latest news and updates. We will be holding events in the New York area in the upcoming months.

    Jazakalllah
    Faisal Hashmi

    jazak Allah khayr, Faisal, for the update. inshaAllah, i hope the delay only works to the advantage of Fahad and your family. it gives us 22 more nights of tahajjud prayers and dua on his behalf and yours.

    maybe MJI should start a listserv or similar subscription-alert that sends e-mails and SMS messages to subscribers updating them only when a new hearing is scheduled or a scheduled-hearing is postponed. if there were one place to subscribe for all the US hearings about which MJI is aware, then people would know to update MJI as information became available. and any messages to the list would originate only from MJI.

    okay, people, we still need a strong presence at 9:30 am for Dr. Aafia’s hearing!

  10. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    December 17, 2008 at 8:06 AM

    bismillah. bump!

  11. conused!

    December 17, 2008 at 4:22 PM

    Please post update from the courtroom as soon as you can. Thanks and JazakAllah.

  12. Hidaya

    December 17, 2008 at 6:08 PM

    Alhamdulillah I was able to attend the hearing and basically Govt chose two psychiatrists and Defense chose their own two , all four of them will evaluate Afiya Siddiqui until next hearing (which is I believe on Feb 26th) and then they will conclude, whether she is fit to stand for a trial. Judge mentioned that he is more interested in hearing from psychiatrist about ”where should they go from here?”

    Defense attorney mentioned that she was in a much better condition now, since its medical facility and she has a roommate. In addition, the staff in the present facility is much more professional and much more cooperative then the previous one. However, Afiya’ condition didn’t improve, as she is still refusing to meet her attorney or her brother. Afiya’ only concern is her missing kids…

    We spoke to defense attorney after the hearing, she was very grateful to everyone who shows up at hearings and she mentioned that it helps alot. In addition, she advised us to send her post cards, letters with words of encouragement (she said if you are Muslim then do it anonymously because you don’t want FBI come knocking on your door (I thought it was very brave of her to say that in public hehe))…oh and she also mentioned that her assistant attorney will go to Pakistan in January to meet Afiya’ family and get their side of story (they communicate with family on phone but everything is being taped so they want some privacy ;-))

  13. Hidaya

    December 17, 2008 at 6:14 PM

    BTW, after the hearing, I heard some white ladies complaining about how Media is ignoring this trial (there were only two reporters, one from Newsweek and another from some newspaper based in France)…

    After the trial, this man tried talking to us and was asking us, how do we know her, etc. However, we thought it was better if we dont speak to him so we didnt say anything. I mean, he was like ‘i am not a journalist’ but then he was very inquisitive about our names and affiliation, etc.

    I mean talking to journalists is catch 22, you do want to talk to them to express your thoughts, but if you do talk to them, then they twist your words around…so I am not sure what is the best thing to do. So far, all the sisters who attend the hearings are playing very safe and refuse to talk to anyone.

  14. Hidaya

    December 17, 2008 at 6:19 PM

    Oh a journalist asked the defense attorney whether Afiya is faking her present condition, but attorney mentioned that she has over 35 years of experience dealing with such cases and she has never seen anyone more depressed, angry, upset, scared then Afiya. She said, she wont use any medical terms to describe her conditions, as thats not her area of expertise, but she mentioned she was willing to bet on her life that Afiya is not faking…

  15. conused!

    December 17, 2008 at 6:21 PM

    Thanks Hiday! I believe you did the right thing for not talking to the reporter, they and their editors do twist the words as you said. Maybe, I would just tell them my concern that why I don’t want to speak. JazakAllah. I feel bad for Aafia, she would be there for two more months.

  16. MM Associates

    December 17, 2008 at 7:33 PM

    bismillah [post by abu abdAllah]

    mashaAllah, sister Hidaya! jazak Allah khayran katheeran for taking time to attend the hearing and then to post those updates. may Allah reward you immensely in this life and in the next, inshaAllah.

    Writing to Dr. Aafia: “Her sister advised sending postcards as they are subject to less scrutiny and Aafia specifically has requested pictures of nature, flowers, mountains, animals and children.” (from comment)

    AAFIA SIDDIQUI #90279-054
    FMC CARSWELL
    FEDERAL MEDICAL CENTER
    P.O. BOX 27137
    FORT WORTH, TX 76127

    Donations:
    Checks & Money Orders payable to “Siddiqui Family Support”
    Ref: “Siddiqui Family Support”
    P.O. Box 18731
    Sugar Land, TX 77496
    Contact info@muslimsforjustice.org
    For more information, please visit:
    http://www.muslimsforjustice.org

  17. Amad

    December 17, 2008 at 9:22 PM

    jazakillahkhair sr. Hidaya, you are OUR voice and ears everytime there is a hearing in NY…. you don’t know how many people appreciate your updates, including me :)

    PLEASE, I urge everyone… all those who feel they can’t do anything for our sister, well here is something you CAN do.

    Send her an Eid Card with your best wishes (a little late but everyone knows it takes time)

    OR send another card.

    OR a letter.

    Especially the mothers out there…and when you write, write words of encouragement, patience and hope… not what has happened.

    Whoever writes, please add a comment here, so we can encourage each other inshallah.

    HOW MANY CAN OUR READERS SEND? ARE WE READY TO WALK THE TALK??

  18. UmmOsman

    December 18, 2008 at 10:57 AM

    Assalamo elikuim
    Jazak Allah khairun Sister Hidaya. May Allah swt bless you for all your efforts and also for keeping us updated.
    Our duas are with Sr.Aafia, Br.Fahad and all the Muslim who are wrongfully in the jai. May Allah swt have mercy on them and their family.

    Wasalam
    UmmOsman

  19. Hidaya

    December 18, 2008 at 11:09 AM

    Oh attorney said, if you send something in an envelop then they will definitely open and read it so best would be so send a postcard.

    I am planning to send a card and will only write couple of eman-rush ayahs or I might write the story in Suirah Burooj..

    Any Ideas?

  20. Umm Reem

    December 19, 2008 at 1:56 AM

    JazakAllah khair Hidaya for the details…(remember me?! :) )

  21. MM Associates

    December 19, 2008 at 8:55 AM

    bismillah. [by abu abdAllah]

    i agree that those who write to the prisoners — may Allah reward the writers in this life and in the next, and may He free the prisoners from unjust captivity — should do so anonymously, via postcards, and without mentioning it here.

    in fahad hashmi’s case and probably in tariq mehanna’s case, too, among many others — Muslims who stood up publicly for other Muslims have apparently been targeted by the government. there is no real anonymity for any of us who post on-line. but if you write to any of the prisoners and include your own address, you will almost certainly invite scrutiny to yourselves.

    so be a good brother or sister to the ones imprisoned, and do write to them, as often as you can, inshaAllah. and be safe, do so anonymously. postcards, for example, should not need any return-address information, especially if the card is filled with well-wishes and dhikr.

  22. Hidaya

    December 19, 2008 at 12:44 PM

    LOL, of course I remember you =) How is the studying going for TB? (WE are a little behind on PPN as everyone was busy with their finals, but If you need regular notes then i can email you those..let me know where to email u?)

  23. Miako

    December 19, 2008 at 1:43 PM

    Hidaya,
    Journalists always get something wrong! Best if you get their agreement beforehand to see the article before it is printed, so that you can let them know BEFORE they publish it if it is wrong (give an e-mail address). This assumes that you will give them the assumption of good faith, of course — and only you can decide that!
    But if you are mischaracterized, write a letter to the editor, and it’s almost certain to get published! Editors love to show all the sides, and need to print when their reporters are wrong.

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