May 9, 2005

Amer Jubran speaking at a demonstration in San Francisco, California protesting the occupations of Palestine and Iraq, October 2003
© SocialistViewpoint

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While living as a foreigner in the United States of America was never easy, particularly as an Arab or Muslim, the situation has become infinitely worse since the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. Sweeping changes in the law have given greater powers to American authorities to detain and interrogate those suspected of anti-government activities. The word “terrorism” gives carte blanche to those within the system who wish to harass Arabs and Muslims. Sadly, this is not only the situation in the US Department of Homeland Security, but also internationally (click here for more information on the US War on Terror).

Amer Jubran—Palestinian Rights Activist Left With No Option but to Leave

On the morning of November 4, 2002, Palestinian rights activist Amer Jubran was arrested at his home in Boston, Massachusetts. Campaigners believe he was silenced for speaking out about Palestine.

Two days before his arrest, Jubran had helped lead a march for Palestinian rights in Boston, the first demonstration organized by the New England Committee to Defend Palestine, of which he was a founder member.

Human rights activists believe Jubran was deliberately targeted in order to silence his political views. This was a joint operation by agents of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the FBI. When the FBI attempted to question him about his legal political activities, they threatened him with indefinite INS detention if he refused to “cooperate.” He was only arrested after he insisted to have a lawyer present at this attempted interrogation. The INS held Jubran for 17 days without bail, but they refused to cite any charges or violations of INS regulations to warrant such a detention.

At the time of the bond hearing, the US government made clear its intention to seek deportation based on false claims that Jubran’s permanent residency status, granted three years earlier, had been fraudulently obtained. At the pre-trial hearing in February 2003, the immigration judge expressed surprise at the lack of evidence and witnesses to support government claims. The INS nevertheless affirmed its intention to proceed with the deportation order.

A year later, November 6, 2003, at the final hearing of the government’s deportation case, which was conducted without attention to even minimal process in the proceedings, Jubran felt impelled to request “voluntary departure.” He left the US for Jordan on January 4, 2004, feeling that he had no other option because of the unfair case against him.

Riad Hamad of the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund


Click here to view Riad Hamad’s photos


Read the following account of the harassment in 2003 of another Palestinian activist in his own words in his letter to George Bush.

Please go to Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund to find out more about the important work of the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund. Click to buy Palestinian goods online or sponsor a child. This is the kind of work that “anti-terrorism” laws are trying to stop.

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To: George Bush,

President of the United States of America

Washington, DC

I was very amused last week when I was trying to get into my car in the morning on my way to work, when my neighbor across the street came out and asked me if we could talk. Although I was in a hurry since I was late, I listened to him since he said that the topic was important. My neighbor told me that he was approached by the FBI and was asked many questions about me and was asked to put a camera in his house to watch me. The request was denied, as my neighbor, who happened to be a Libertarian, did not trust the motives of the FBI. Also, my neighbor told him that, “Riad is my friend and I would not spy on him.” Apparently, the agent did not give up and told my neighbor that he would call on him again.

Although I knew and expected such activities by the FBI, I was surprised about their lack of professionalism and the absence of decency. I carry my Iraqi flags to every rally and I am always the loudest and the most obvious. Hundreds of people come and ask me about the flags as they do not know which countries the flags stand for, and I have to say, “These are the flags of the countries that your tax money is paying to occupy, kill and maim,” since not many of them knew the colors of the flags of Palestine or Iraq. For the FBI to have to go and knock on my neighbor’s doors is very unprofessional and illegal. Besides, the FBI has been harassing members of the International Solidarity Movement and monitoring their phone calls, e-mails and movements around the nation. I assume this is an effort to harass them, intimidate them, and scare them from going around the United States to expose your lies, and that of your administration, about the real situation in occupied Palestine.

I have lived, went to college, and worked in the United States for over 30 years. I have no criminal record and not even a suspicion of committing a crime, such as your cocaine addiction, drunk driving, and going AWAL during your National Guard duty in Texas. Also, I have never sold shares of a bankrupt company to the pension fund of Bahrain National Oil Company like you did, which is nothing but fraud and insider trading.

I work with a group of individuals around the globe called the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund in association with the Holy Land Trust out of Bethlehem, Palestine. We bring olive wood and embroidery from Palestine and raise money in the United States for the women and the children of the refugee camps. We are non-political and non-religious, and our donors and supporters are Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others who know better than to believe your message of hatred and aggression. Every penny we receive is accounted for and every penny we spend is accounted for on our Web site that I am sure that you have monitored and observed. Also, we sponsor only civilians who are either orphans or not affiliated with any political or religious groups and their only crime is that they are Palestinians.

As a patriotic citizen of this country, and to make sure that I give you a hand in combating “terrorism,” I have posted a sign near in our neighborhood letting people know that we are under surveillance. And asking our neighbors and the passers by to inform the FBI of any suspicious activities and the sign and the pictures of the house with the sign is on the Web page link.

Over the past weekend, several of our neighbors came by and apologized for your stupidity and that of the FBI and other officials. One of them told me that, “I am ashamed to say that I am an American since George Bush became president.” Others tried to apologize, and I had to remind that I am also ashamed of you and your actions and that of your administration. I have not been outside the United States since you became president, to avoid showing my passport and avoid associating with you and your administration. Besides helping you monitor me by posting the sign near our home, I will help you find some terrorists that I know and I believe that they are threat to the safety and the security of the United States. You do not have to look far to find them and apprehend them, and if you do not soon, WE THE PEOPLE will some day soon. These terrorists are now in Washington and you see them every time you have a cabinet meeting and I am afraid you are one of them.

George,

Get the hell out of my life and take your FBI thugs from our neighborhood because they are not wanted.

Riad Hamad
Austin, Texas

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