Monday, June 25, 2007

Victory for Muslim Family caught in the US War on Terror

Subhanallah, Walhamdulillah, Wa Laa ilaaha ilallahu Wallahu Akbar

it is with great praises to the Most Merciful, with thanks to all those who supported, and with great joy that i share this news...

The Siraj Family, members of DRUM-Desis Rising Up and Moving celebrate....


Another chapter in a nightmare that has torn up a loving Muslim family caught up in the U.S. "War on Terror" brings a VICTORY. With their entire family detained by the US government in various facilities, the father of the Siraj family was released last week. The entire Siraj family was arrested in January---just hours after their 24 year old son, Matin, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for false terrorism charges (based on an NYPD-paid informant), Matin's mother, father and sister were violently arrested in their homes by more than a dozen ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers of the Dept. of Homeland Security. The arrest and detention of the entire family was a clear intimidation tactic to silence a family speaking out against the US War on Terror's criminalization of South Asian, Muslim and Arab communities.

2 weeks after the family's detention, buoyed by community organizing by DRUM and countless supporters in solidarity with the family (including hundreds of letters of support to ICE!), the mother and sister were released, albeit on $35,000 bond. The community has continued to support and organize in support of the family and last week, the father was finally released, after languishing in jail for 6 months.

Mr. Siraj, an elderly man with several medical conditions including a hearing impairment, was released under an intensive governmental supervision unofficially known as the ankle bracelet program (involving electronic surveillance); curfew/nighttime house arrest; and parole-style regular check-ins . While Mr. Siraj will continue to live under close watch though he poses no threat, the family continues to face an uphill legal battle, both for their own immigration cases as well as in their son's appeal.

We know that Siraj's release, while a victory for the family and a testament to the power of organizing, also opens up a detention bed for one more and leaves behind over 20,000 of our immigrant brothers or sisters to languish in private detention centers and county jails around the country. Our work must continue...as Congress continues to propose bills that will most likely deepen the crisis for communities, particularly through increasing detention and deportation--we must keep up the fight for legalization without compromising away raids, surveillance, due process, detention and deportation.

SUPPORT THE FAMILY: The family is facing over $50,000 in legal fees; bond debt as well as trying to send their daughter to community college--financial support is desperately needed. Make checks out to: "Shaheena Parveen Siraj". Mail donations to DRUM at: P.O. Box 720187, Jackson Heights, NY 11372

Again, thank you for your incredible support as we continue fighting for this family's freedom and the larger political attack on our communities.

In Solidarity,

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