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Arab Festival Inspires Pride


SAN FRANCISCO - Mohamed Elsherbini knows what it's like to be eyed suspiciously at the airport ticket counter.

Jamal Dajani says he is sure the Patriot Act, and other initiatives providing law enforcement with greater investigative latitude, will be focused on Arab-Americans like himself.

Neema Ejaz says she is sometimes scorned by other American women who find the traditional Muslim head covering she wears distastefully subservient.

They and other Arab Americans attending the ninth annual Arab Cultural Festival in Golden Gate Park on Sunday said they often feel the sting of misunderstanding toward their heritage.

But they said the cold, shunning glances and even the outright hostility won't prevent them from celebrating the tight-knit, fun-loving community they have helped create as Arab-Americans living in the Bay Area.

"We can't be held hostage by the misunderstanding that continues to be focused on us," said Dajani, president of the Arab Cultural and Community Center, which sponsored the festival…

 

Muslim Clerics Say Ottowa Couldn't Help Them


TORONTO - Two moderate Muslim clerics from Toronto say they will complain to the Department of Foreign Affairs about the department's inability to help them when they were seized in the United States last Thursday.

Abdul Hamid and Ahmad Kutty were interrogated for 16 hours and kept in jail in Florida Thursday, before being sent back to Canada Friday.

They were going to Florida to lead prayers on the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

The Canadian consulate was unable to discover what had happened to the men, despite repeated phone calls.

Canadian Muslim spokespeople have suggested the two were detained because they were Muslims.

 

Demand Protection of the Rights of Canadian Muslims and Arabs


(Toronto, Canada - Sept. 15 2003) - CMCLA is today calling on all Canadians to demand that the rights of Canadian Muslims and Arabs are protected when travelling to the US.

This follows the detention and harassment of two prominent Imams at the hands of American authorities on Friday.

Imam Ahmad Kutty and Imam Abdool Hameed were arrested and interrogated for 16 hours in Fort Lauderdale while on their way to Orlando to attend seminars. The Canadian government has been unable to obtain any reason for their detention, but one US official told Imam Abdool Hameed that they had chosen "a bad day for travel".

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED (Be polite, but firm):

1) CONTACT Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham to demand they act to ensure that the rights of Canadian Muslims and Arabs are protected. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Tel: 613-992-4211, Fax: 613-941-6900, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bill Graham, Tel: 613-992 5234, Fax: 613-996-960, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ask Mr. Graham to bring up the issue with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the head of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge.

2) CONTACT your local MP and demand that they take up this issue urgently in the House of Commons. The most effective way to communicate with your MP is to meet in person at his/her constituency office. The next best method is to call the office of your MP and register your concerns. You can also email your concerns to your MP. Obtain the name and full contact information of your Member of Parliament by calling (613) 992-4793, or by typing your postal code at: www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/PostalCode.asp?Source=SM

3) WRITE a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to express your concerns over the unjust detention and harassment of Imams Kutty and Abdool Hameed citizen by US authorities. Newspapers and TV stations have given extensive coverage to their ordeal.

Toronto Star: See www.torontostar.com and search for "Kutty"
Send letters to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Ottawa Citizen: Send letters to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Montreal Gazette: Send letters to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Calgary Herald: Send letters to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Globe and Mail: See www.globeandmail.com and search for "Kutty"
Send letters to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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