A prominent national Islamic civil rights and
advocacy group today applauded a ruling by the highest U.N. court that
Israel's wall in the occupied West Bank violates international law and
should be torn down.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also criticized the Bush
administration for dismissing the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
ruling. (An administration spokesman said today that the issue of the wall
should be addressed through the Middle East peace process.)
In its ruling, the ICJ stated: "The court is of the view that the United
Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council,
should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the
illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall."
The court dismissed Israeli arguments that the barrier was essential for
its security and said the wall infringed on Palestinian freedom. It also
ordered Israel to pay reparations to Palestinians directly impacted by the
wall and to return land seized for its construction.
Even the lone dissenting judge on the 15-member panel, American Thomas
Buergenthal, acknowledged that Israel's wall might violate international
law. (The other judges were from China, Madagascar, France, Sierra Leone,
Russia, Britain, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Brazil, Jordan, Egypt, Japan,
Germany, and Slovakia.)
In its statement, CAIR said:
"Today's ruling is a historic victory for international law and justice.
Unfortunately, we once again see our own government swimming against the
tide of world public and legal opinion to defend Israel's neo-Apartheid
policies. How long will America's international image and interests be held
hostage by a powerful domestic lobby for a foreign government? And when
will the Palestinian people deserve inclusion in America's drive for
freedom and justice worldwide?"
The Washington-based group's statement reflected similar comments in
response to the ruling from world leaders. European Union foreign policy
chief Javier Solana said today: "The wall not only results in confiscation
of Palestinian land and causes untold humanitarian and economic hardship,
but also could prejudge future negotiations and hinder a just political
solution to the conflict."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
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CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:
NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist's window to
the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called
ISLAM-INFONET, receive news releases and other materials dealing with
American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society.
The Houston office of Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR-Houston) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU-TX)
met with representatives of the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on
Tuesday to discuss issues of mutual concern, including protection against
anti-Muslim hate crimes, the FBI's counterterrorism efforts and ways of
improving cooperation between law enforcement and the American Muslim
The meeting included three top officials of the Houston District Office of
the FBI, Special Agent in Charge Roderick l. Beverly, Supervisory Special
Agent Norman Williams of the Hate Crimes unit and Supervisory Special Agent
Steve Gentry. The meeting was also attended by Justo Garcia, Outreach
Coordinator of the Department of Justice, who offered insights on
encouraging community support for law enforcement.
The meeting was one of many CAIR-Houston is conducting with various law
enforcement agencies to build constructive relationships and to voice the
Muslim community's concerns.
CONTACT: CAIR-Houston, 713-838-2247, 832-814-5554, 832-656-0449
Let me begin by saying that like you, I am very disturbed by the images
from Abu Ghraib. This is a serious issue, and we must act quickly to
First and foremost, a swift and thorough investigation is needed, and
needed now. For those responsible, justice must be swift and strong, as
their conduct directly contradicts and undermines our mission in Iraq.
As to how this investigation is carried out, at this time I am monitoring
the internal military process that is being conducted pursuant to the
Uniform Code of Military Justice. I am hopeful that it will be carried out
in a professional, methodical fashion, and that those who are guilty of
crimes will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. If, however, I
see that this process is biased or flawed, I will not hesitate to invoke my
congressional oversight authority as Chairman of the Committee on
Government Reform. In addition, I am intently watching the hearings that
have been called by my colleague and friend, Senator John Warner, Chairman
of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to see where there was a breakdown
in the chain of command and what we in Congress can do to ensure that it
does not occur again in the future.
From a geopolitical perspective, we must do everything possible to
reassure the world community that all those things we take as self-evident
- the honor of our military, our intentions in Iraq, our respect for human
rights - remain as strong as ever. The vast majority of our troops, who
perform heroically every day, are the best evidence of these tenets.
Finally, please let me close by saying that in the wake of this crisis, we
must also remember that there are 138,000 Americans in uniform who uphold
the highest standards of professionalism every day. They do so in the face
of extreme danger and hardship, and we should not let the egregious acts of
a very small group overshadow the integrity of our soldiers nor deter our
nation from its overall objective of developing a democratic Iraq.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. Should you have any
questions or further concerns, please let me know.
On Sunday, July 11, CAIR's North Georgia office
(CAIR-NGA) and the Muslim Professional Network will host a Muslim Vote 2004
Political Seminar at Atlanta's Holiday Inn Select Perimeter (4386 Chamblee
Dunwoody Road at I-285) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Some 20 candidates representing both federal and state elections have
confirmed their attendance. The event is free and open to the public. It is
an excellent opportunity to become more active in the political process and
to make the candidates aware of what issues are important to the local
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: 770-220-0082 or 404-216-7929