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Official Request For The Release Of Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman

03 June 2011

By El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan

Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):

The following "Action Alert" has come to my attention via "New Trend" (www.NewTrendMag.org), and with it comes a reminder of a very unfortunate, yet typical, censorship experience that I had with a NPR affiliated radio station recently.

A few weeks ago, on the program "Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane," an often repeated UNTRUTH, regarding Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, was once again authoritatively [mis]stated by one of the guests. David Shanker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told the listening audience that Sheikh Omar was imprisoned after being convicted for the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. That was an outright lie!

I called into the program, in an attempt to set the record straight, but it ended up being a waste of time. After speaking with a "screener" who wanted to know what question or comment I had, I ended up being on my mobile (I was on an out of town trip) on hold for about 20 minutes when - five minutes short of the show's conclusion - the screener came back to the telephone to apologize for having to inform me that "you will not be able to go on the air with your comment or question."

While I was more than a little irritated, I was not surprised. During the "screening" process, the young man questioned me in a way that I felt was inappropriate (and I politely let him know it). And so, again, I wasn't surprised that I didn't get on.

For the record, Sheikh Omar was tried and convicted for something called "Seditious Conspiracy" -NOT the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center! And while the WTC connection is often made by a host of print and broadcast journalists (for example, Dina Temple-Rastin also made the same error in her recent NPR series on Muslim Radicalization in America), my gut tells me that this error is not always attributable to sloppy journalism; but that it sometimes results from intentional disinformation.

Also, for the record, it is a well known FACT (within certain quarters) that a government-paid agent provocateur, an Egyptian national by the name of Emad Salem, was present and involved in the 1993 attack on the WTC. (He ended up having to go to the hospital to be treated for an inner ear attack following the 93 bombing.)

* Pacifica Radio -WBAI in New York - has a revealing copy of the taped telephone conversation between Salem and his FBI handler, "John," following the attack on the WTC in 93. This is something that we rarely hear anything about these days; it's never mentioned in mainstream media!

But getting back to Radio Times: the other guest for that particular interview (which focused upon unfolding events in the Muslim world) was Khalid el-Gindy. I couldn't help but wonder if he was aware of Shanker's misstatement of fact concerning Sheikh Omar? And if so, why he didn't make the necessary correction!

At any rate, I encourage our readers and supporters to please respond to the call being made below. The treatment of this blind, diabetic political prisoner, constitutes one of the gravest violations of U.S. and international law that I've personally witnessed over the past two-plus decades. It also constituted the first major political prisoner-related litmus test for Muslims in America. (The second was Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, and the third is Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, in my humble opinion.)

In the struggle for peace thru justice,

Arabic speakers can also see the concluding report (re: Sheikh Omar) that came my way a few weeks ago.
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Action Alert
Egyptian authorities urge US to return Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman to Egypt

From the Islamic Human Rights Commission

12 May 2011

On 3rd May, 2011, the Egyptian authorities have made an official request to the US administration for them to return Sheikh Abdulrahman to his native Egypt. Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman has been imprisoned in solitary confinement in the US prisons for 18 years. He has repeatedly requested to be returned to Egypt so
that he can spend the rest of his life there.

IHRC requests that its campaigners send letters to the UN High Commissioner, the UN Special Rapporteur on Heath, and the Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention.

Background

Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman, a 73 year old religious scholar from the prestigious al-Azhar institute in Egypt, was convicted in 1995 for the 1993 New York World Trade Centre bombing and other New York attack plans. He was tried under Sedition Laws, last used during the American Civil War, two centuries ago. There is a high chance that he may die soon, and his family have requested for him to be able to spend his last moments with them in Egypt.

The Egyptian authorities have made an official request to the US administration for them to return Sheikh Abdulrahman to his native Egypt.

The Grand Imam of al-Azhar institute Dr Ahmed al-Tayeb has written a statement to the US Ambassador in Cairo, Margaret Scobey, in which he called for the return of the Sheikh.

The family of Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman has last week submitted a request to the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. His case has prompted demonstrations in Egypt, UK, Denmark and other countries around the world.

The US Administration has not responded to the request of the family or to the official request of the Egyptian government. We therefore urge you to write to the UN to take action for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman and impose pressure on the US to provide him compensation for the long years he spent in
solitary confinement.

Action required

IHRC urges all of its campaigners to help ensure that Sheikh Abdulrahman is returned safely to Egypt. Write to the UN High Commissioner, UN Special Rapporteur on Heath and Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention; urging them to investigate his case and call upon the US to return him to Egypt.


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Sample letter

A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.



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Ms. Navanethem Pillay is UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, an email can be sent to: InfoDesk@ohchr.org

[Your name]
[Your address]

Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des P?quis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Telephone: +41 22 917 9220

[Date]

Dear Ms. Pillay

Re: Call for the safe return of Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman to Egypt

I am deeply concerned about the health and detention of Sheikh Omar Abdulrhman, a blind 73 year-old religious scholar that has been imprisoned under solitary confinement for 18 years, and denied his visitation rights.

The Egyptian Authorities have recently addressed the US Administration, calling for his immediate return to his native Egypt, where he would serve the rest of his sentence. His family have also submitted requests to the US Ambassador to Egypt, which urges the US administration to fulfil this request.

Sheikh Omar Abdulrhman was arrested in 1995 for the 1993 New York World Trade Centre bombing and other New York attack plans. He was tried under Sedition Laws, last used during the Civil War, two centuries ago. The status of his health has deteriorated considerably over the years, and the Sheikh now requires extensive special care. There is a significant chance that he may die soon, and his family have requested for him to be able to spend his last moments with them in Egypt.

Sheikh Abdulrahman has protested about the conditions he has been forced to endure during his time at the Butner Federal Correctional Institution, North Carolina. His family have spoken out against the way in which he has been denied the basic rights that other prisoners enjoy, such as visitation, correspondence
and even being able to communicate with other prisoners.

I urge you to investigate the case of Sheikh Abdulrahman, and call for his transferral to Egypt. His treatment at the Butner Federal Correctional Institution, North Carolina, should also be further investigated and he should be compensated for the long years he spent in solitary confinement.

I look forward to your reply regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

 

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