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CAIR: Groups Ask AG Holder to Release Acquitted Fla. Muslim

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/15/09) – The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) today joined other civil rights and religious organizations in asking Attorney General Eric Holder for the immediate release of Youssef Megahed, a Florida Muslim arrested by immigration officials on charges apparently identical to those he was acquitted of in federal court three days earlier.

SEE: Five Megahed Jurors Upset by Immigration Charges (St. Petersburg Times)
SEE ALSO: Megahed Arrest Looks Vindictive (The St. Petersburg Times)
VIDEO: CAIR Seeks Release of Fla. Muslim Arrested After Acquittal
A letter to Holder signed by CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kiliç, Melva Underbakke of Friends of Human Rights, and Chuck Leigh, president of the Florida Council of Churches, stated in part:

“The American Muslim community is convinced that Megahed’s arrest, just after he was exonerated in Federal Court, sends the message that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cannot afford the American Muslim community with the same freedoms and justice it does to other Americans. American Muslims perceive this as an obvious pursuit of an individual, based upon his religious affiliation, ethnic and/or national origins. The DOJ and DHS must remain consistent in treating individuals fairly…You must intervene on Megahed’s behalf personally, in order to end the continued alienation of our community as well as the American Muslim community.
“You recently made a commitment to this very issue stating, ‘Under my leadership, the Civil Rights Division will fight discrimination and inequality just as fiercely as the Criminal Division fights crime. Under my leadership, in all that it does, the Civil Rights Division will reflect the spirit of the movement that inspired its creation. That won’t happen unless we relentlessly pursue an end to the scourge of racial profiling of African-Americans, Muslims and other Americans that alienates citizens from their own communities.’”

The letter noted that hundreds of individuals have already signed an online and hard-copy petition calling for Megahed’s release.
SEE: Free Youssef Megahed

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kilic, Tel: 813-514-1414 or 813-486-2529, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin,
202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


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