Write to US Prisoners this Ramadan

004-0210094604-prisonbars
[photo:www.freedomsphoenix.com]

This Ramadan as the Muslim Ummah witnesses the immense struggle of our brothers and sisters around the world. The following prisoners send a strong message through the trial of their lives – stand up for what you believe in, hold onto patience and do not despair – for this life is a test and true victory is for the one who believes in the afterlife. Please write letters of support and encouragement to them, and pray for their release and for justice for all oppressed peoples.  The following prisoners are all victims of US state oppression.  They hail from different backgrounds from those who were vocal in their criticism of the US colonial enterprise, to those who worked within a system they thought just to provide humanitarian aid to those accused to be supporting causes once supported by the US itself. 

They are examples, but their treatment is also something that Muslims and all oppressed peoples need to take heed of. 

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required

1. Summary

This Ramadan IHRC encourages all campaigners to write letters of support and encouragement to prisoners of faith and political prisoners mentioned below. Campaigners can also send them cards on Eid to raise their spirits and to show them that we remember them.

2. Background

IHRC encourages all campaigners to write letters of support and encouragement to prisoners of faith and political prisoners mentioned below, especially during Ramadan. Many of them have been languishing behind bars for more than five years, in deplorable conditions and treated in the most inhumane manner. We need to raise their spirits and offer them warm words of support so that they know that we have not forgotten them and that we remember them in our prayers.

Ramadan is an ideal time to write to these prisoners of faith and remind them that Allah’s mercy encompasses all and that they should never lose hope of His mercy for His servants and we should not underestimate the worth of the words we write to uplift and cheer up those in low spirits. 

Campaigners can also send Eid cards to these prisoners to raise their spirits. You can visit the IHRC website for a range of IHRC Eid cards: 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

If you wish, please let us know if you receive a reply to your letter or send us a copy of your letter and/or the reply you received.

3. Action required

Write to the following prisoners of faith:

a) Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman / The Blind Sheikh

Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman was not afraid. He spoke out against the wrong he witnessed in society, and he stood up for the rights of the oppressed – he fulfilled the most important obligation of Islam: enjoining good and forbidding from evil. And hence, he is a living example of courage and unshakable faith for the Muslim Ummah today.

His life reveals his immense love for the truth regardless of the challenges in his life. His determination and strong personality did not let him drown in self-pity. He became blind in infancy yet learnt Braille and achieved hifz of the Quran at a tender age of 11. He continued to fuel his thirst for Islamic knowledge and graduated from Al-Azhar in Cairo with the highest honours. Thereafter, he went on to complete a PhD on the Muslim duty of Jihad, a controversial topic which could have led many to fear persecution. In his mosque sermons he would openly criticise the evil practices of the Egyptian leaders of his time and encouraged people to stand up against them.

He was arrested and tortured on more than one occasion in Egypt during the times of Jamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat. In October 1995 he was arrested in New York while he was serving as imam of a mosque in Brooklyn and, it is argued, wrongly accused of conspiracy against the US state, conspiracy to murder Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, conspiracy to bomb and solicitation to bomb a US military installation. What ensued was a long trial which ended in a lifelong detention after being found guilty on false charges.

Currently, the Sheikh suffers from severe heart problems and diabetes and is bound to a wheel chair. He is only allowed 15-minute telephone calls to his family every 5 to 10 days. He is detained at the Federal Medical Centre in Butner, North Carolina.

For more information on his trial please visit here: (https://www.ihrc.org.uk/activities/campaigns/5355-Prisoner-of-Faith-Campaign-Pack-Sheikh-Omar-Abdel-Rahman-USA)

Please write to him at:

Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman 34892-054
FMC Butner
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 1600
Butner, NC 27509

Sample letter

Dear Sheikh,

Assalam alykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

You are in my thoughts and prayers. Your life is such an inspiration to me – how you battled the challenges in your life to continue to struggle for what you believed in. Your love for knowledge and your desire to spread the truth never fails to amaze me. You don’t know how much Allah values you, for he tests his best slaves with the strongest trials.

I pray to Allah that this Ramadan and Eid your health returns and that you are freed from the unjust confinement. I pray that Allah gives you peace and serenity in your confinement and makes it shine with the light of Quran in your heart.

Please make dua for me Oh Sheikh that I serve Islam and support the truth as fearlessly as you do. Ameen

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

b) Imam Jamil

Imam Jamil proved himself to be an exemplary Islamic leader in Atlanta, Georgia since he reverted to Islam in 1971. He established Atlanta’s first mosque, made efforts to eliminate drug trafficking and gang violence and organized annual Hajj tours from the area.

He was an open critic against the discrimination of the black community in America before Islam and after conversion he continued to speak against the oppression and terrorism they faced from extremist groups.

However, in March 2000, he was wrongly found guilty after shootings outside his grocery store resulted in a deputy being killed and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Many contradictory findings regarding the killings were documented after the crime, all pointing to the Imam’s innocence, yet he remains confined. The Imam is of the opinion that there is a ‘government conspiracy’ against him.

He is currently held in Colorado’s ADMAX Federal facility and was under 23 hour lockdown. In Feb 2009, as reported by his son Kairi Al-Amin, Imam Jamil was strip searched, his Quran and personal belongings were seized and he was placed even further underground, in a cell with no bed, no shower and no control on the lights.

Currently, petitions are being signed and efforts are underway by his supporters to get the Imam transferred back to Georgia state prison so that he may continue to fight his case for his freedom.

For more information on his trial please click here: (https://www.ihrc.org.uk/activities/campaigns/5220-Prisoners-of-Faith-Campaign-Pack-USA-Imam-Jamil-Al-Amin-Under-23-hour-Lockdown)

Please write to Imam Jamil this Ramadan and express words of encouragement at

Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin 
99974555 
U.S. Penitentiary 
P.O. Box 8500 
Florence CO, 81226 
USA

Sample letter

Dear Imam Jamil

Assalam alykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

I am very inspired by your life of purpose and your courage to speak up against the tyranny and oppression of racism.

After reverting to Islam, you not only had the strength to change yourself for the sake of Allah but you also had the strength to impact the community around you positively.

You are an exemplary Islamic leader and a blessing to the Muslim Ummah.

I sincerely pray for your release this Ramadan. May Allah exonerate you from the false charges put upon you. Ameen

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

c) Aafia Siddiqui

Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, along with her three children, disappeared in Karachi in March 2003. Their whereabouts were unknown for the next five years. Throughout this time, Aafia was held without charge and abused whilst in secret detention. Former Bagram prisoners testified to the presence of a female prisoner with the number ‘650’, whose horrific screams they would hear.

Following demands for her recovery by human rights organisations and the Pakistani public, Aafia resurfaced in Afghanistan in August 2008, framed with the attempted murder of US personnel. Transferred to the US, Aafia was convicted in a shocking miscarriage of justice, despite the conflicting testimony of the soldiers and lack of evidence – no gun residue from the rifle, no trace of fingerprints on the rifle, no bullet shells in the room or bullet holes on the walls. Despite the prosecution admitting Aafia was not a member of al-Qaeda or linked to any terrorist group, she was for all intents and purposes, tried as such. In early 2010 she was tried and convicted and sentenced to 86 years in prison.

Since her conviction, she has been denied access to phone calls, mail, and any visits, in the interests of ‘national security’. Whilst the two elder children were released in 2008 and 2010 respectively, the whereabouts of her youngest child, Suleman – only six months old at the time of the abduction – remain unknown, although it is believed that he may have been killed in US custody.

For more information on her trial please visit here: 

Please write to Aafia Siddiqui at the address below; you may use the following sample letter:

Aafia Siddiqui # 90279-054
MDC Brooklyn
Metropolitan Detention Center
PO Box 329002
Brooklyn, NY 11232
USA

Sample letter

Dear Sister Aafia,

Assalam alykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

You are in my thoughts and prayers. You are a great symbol of strength and courage for the  Muslim Ummah.

Know that Allah loves you for He tests only His most beloved slaves with the most difficult tests. May Allah protect you with His special protection and grant you the highest levels of Jannah for your patience in captivity.

I pray that this Ramadan Allah grants you release from the unjust confinement and reunites you with your children. Ameen

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

d) Ghassan Elashi from the Holy Land 5

Ghassan Elashi, a Palestinian-American and chairman of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), 
formerly the largest Muslim charity in the US, was sentenced to 65 years in prison in May 2009, following a mistrial from 2007.

In the trial, federal prosecutors used secret evidence and secret witnesses to establish a connection between HLF and Hamas. The Texas jury was convinced that the HLF materially supported Hamas by giving humanitarian aid to Palestinian charities, amongst which included charities that the United Nations and USAID sent money to.

Elashi is currently housed in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) in Terre Haute, Indiana. CMUs were designed to restrict inmates contact and communication with their families and the outside world. CMUs have been condemned by human rights groups, like the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), on the basis of lack of due process within CMUs, overrepresentation of Muslim and political prisoners at CMUss, the destructive effect of CMUs on families, and the conditions at CMUs which are regarded as amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.

For more information on his case please click here or here

Please write to Ghassan Elashi and express your support at

Ghassan Elashi 29687-177
USP Marion
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. BOX 1000
Marion, IL 62959
USA

Sample letter

Dear Brother Ghassan Elashi,

Assalam alykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

I am amazed at your efforts for the sake of the Palestinian people. I am inspired by the life of purpose you lead.

I sincerely pray to Allah that may He give you strength and courage to be patient through your unjust confinement. May He grant you release this Ramadan and reunite you with your family. Ameen

Yours sincerely

[Your Name]

e) Mumia Abu Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African-American writer and journalist, author of six books and hundreds of columns and articles, was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer, Daniel Faulkner on 9 December 1981. Following the October 2011 US Supreme court ruling, his death sentence was vacated and he was later placed into the general prison population by January 2012. His demand for a new trial and freedom is supported by many politicians, human rights advocates and religious leaders.

For more information on his trial please visit: freemumia

Please write to Mumia Abu Jamal and express your support.

Mumia Abu-Jamal
#AM 8335
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932

USA

Sample letter

Dear Brother Mumia Abu Jamal,

Assalam alykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

You are a very inspiring human being, given the trials and challenges of your life, and your determination to continue to fight your case through your writing.

I pray to Allah to grant you release this Ramadan and reunite you with your family and loved ones.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]