Supporters Observe Tenth Anniversary Of
With Rally, March, And Staged Reading
Monday, August 4, 2014
RALLY: 4:30 pm Washington Ave. Armory,
corner of Lark & Washington
MARCH: 5:00 pm to the Masjid As-Salam Mosque,
280 Central Avenue, Albany
READING: 5:30 pm at Masjid As-Salam Mosque,
280 Central Avenue, Albany
For information, contact Kathy Manley• firstname.lastname@example.org • 518-596-3851
On Monday, August 4, the Muslim Solidarity Committee, founded in 2006 to advocate for Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, two local Muslims entrapped in an FBI sting operation, will mark the tenth anniversary of their arrests with a rally, march, and staged reading of a short play. Media and supporters are invited to attend.
At 4:30 p.m., supporters will rally at the Washington Avenue Armory, corner of Lark Street and Washington Avenue, then march at 5 p.m. up Central Avenue to the Masjid As-Salam (280 Central Avenue), which was raided on August 4, 2004 as part of the sting that ultimately convicted the two men in 2006. Yassin Aref was imam of the mosque and Mohammed Hossain was a senior member.
At 5:30 p.m. at the mosque, the Muslim Solidarity Players will perform a staged reading of a short play, “To Catch a Muslim,” written by area attorney and Aref defense lawyer Stephen Downs. The play dramatizes, with some dark humor, the entrapment scheme scripted by the FBI that targeted Hossain, a pizzeria owner, and Aref, the government’s main focus.
Dinner will be served at the Masjid As-Salam after the reading.
The Muslim Solidarity Committee has held a commemoration event each year since 2006 to remember the men and show support for their families, and will continue to mark the anniversary of their arrests annually until Aref and Hossain are released, in 2018 and 2020 respectively.
Area peace and justice groups co-sponsoring the August 4 events are Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Dr. Dhafir Support Committee, Masjid As-Salam, NYCLU – CRC, Project SALAM, Save the Pine Bush, Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, Upper Hudson Peace Action, Veterans for Peace/Thomas Paine and Saratoga Chapters, and Women Against War.
The Aref-Hossain case is one of hundreds of preemptive prosecutions, mostly against Muslims, throughout the country. In June and July, two studies and two documentaries were released that focus on other such cases (and on Aref-Hossain) and sharply criticize the FBI and the government for these prosecutions.
In June, Albany-based Project SALAM and Washington, D.C.-based National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms jointly published a study, Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution, the first study to examine, define, and analyze 399 terrorism cases prosecuted since 2001. A lengthier study, Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in U.S. Terror Prosecutions, was issued this week by Human Rights Watch through the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University.
The Newburgh Sting, a 90-minute documentary about the 2009 sting operation that convicted four men from Newburgh, New York and that used the same informant as Aref-Hossain, premiered on HBO last week and at selected New York theaters.
This week, Al Jazeera English debuted a 50-minute TV documentary by Trevor Aaronson, Informants, which examines the FBI’s questionable use of informants in counterterrorism tactics. The attention brought to the cases and government tactics through these efforts reflects a growing awareness in the U.S. that the government has twisted and often ignored the law in terror prosecutions and is creating “terrorists” where none exist.
Staged Reading at the Masjid As-Salam: