CAMPAIGN UPDATE: PRISONERS OF FAITH – Anniversary of kidnap of Sheikh Abdulkareem Obaid

CAMPAIGN UPDATE: PRISONERS OF FAITH – Anniversary of kidnap of Sheikh Abdulkareem Obaid

Islamic Human Rights Commission

11th July 2003

CAMPAIGN UPDATE: PRISONERS OF FAITH – Anniversary of kidnap of Sheikh Abdulkareem Obaid

1. Free Sheikh Obaid Campaign
2. Background to Prisoners of Faith project
3. Prisoner of Faith campaign packs, reports and archives available on-line
4. How else you can help
5. List of on-line resources on Muslim victims of anti-terrorist legislation and policies

1. Free Sheikh Obaid Campaign

28th July 2003 sees the 14th anniversary of the kidnap of Sheikh Abdulkareem Obaid by the Israeli Defence Force. IHRC is asking campaigners to renew their call for his release.

Sheikh Obaid was a vocal opponent to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Palestine. He is being held, according to the IDF as a pawn in exchange for information about the missing Israeli airforce navigator Ron Arad who was shot down over Lebanon in 1986.

For more information about his case please read ‘Lebanon’s Forgotten Hostage’ at:

For information on how to campaign, including letter writing and emailing with sample letters, please download our campaign pack from:

If you have difficulty downloading this pack, please email us and we will send you an electronic copy by email or a hard copy by regular post.

2. Background to Prisoners of Faith project

The Prisoners of Faith project was on of the original projects that joined together to form the Islamic Human Rights Commission in 1997. Its aim was to highlight the persecution of believers – often tortured as well as detained, simply for their Islamic beliefs and ideas. It did this at a time when the discourse of human rights was almost exclusively secular and those detained particularly for their Islamic beliefs deemed different or inferior to so-called ‘Prisoners of Conscience,’ not only in general circles but also in the Muslim psyche.

Last year IHRC organised an international conference on this topic. A list of papers available are listed below. M.S. Bahmanpour’s paper ‘The Persecution of the Believers’ is the next paper to be launched soon. The paper looks specifically at Qur’anic narrations regarding the persecution of the faithful, and provides a poignant reminder to activists, of the concurrent and arguably necessary difficulties and struggles that characterise the search for truth and justice. Other papers from the conference to be released in the near future include an analysis of the persecution of political opposition in Turkey and a paper on Islamic legal theory with regard to imprisonment and trial.

The Prisoners of Faith project has been successful in changing both Muslim and non-Muslim perceptions in this regard, and its reports and campaigns have been taken on and supported by individuals, groups, organisations and even occasionally international governmental organisations.

The project’s methods are diverse. They include report writing and submission, mass letter-writing, faxing and emailing, holding vigils and demonstrations, sending legal and situation observers and resourcing the media about cases.

The project has, by the grace of Allah, succeeded in securing the release of many prisoners e.g. Mu’allim Al-Zakzaky and about a thousand of his followers in Nigeria, journalists Gul Aslan and Huda Kaya and the Malatya 75 in Turkey. Recent campaigns include the campaign for Cehel Meeah in Mauritius and the long standing campaign to free Sheikh Abdul Kareem Obaid and other detainees held by the Israeli Defence Force. Other countries we have worked on include Bahrain, China, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Iraq, USA and Sudan.

For more details about these and other Prisoner of Faith campaigns please visit our campaigns page at:

We also have worked extensively on the issue of the Muslims held in Guantanamo Bay, as well as those detained under anti-terrorist legislation both pre and post 9/11. Please see section (5) below for more details.

3. Prisoner of Faith campaign packs, reports and archives available on-line

As with all of IHRC’s projects the Prisoners of Faith campaigns are dynamic and anyone can get involved. If you want to campaign you can help in whatever way you feel you can. Most campaigners assist in letter-writing and emailing. Below are a list of current campaign packs that you can use. If you wan to help with research, fund-raising or have other ideas please see section 4 below.

Papers from last year’s international Prisoners of Faith conference already available on-line are:

Democracy in Question – the Persecution of the Believers Or
The Reverse Processing of Power and Powerlessness by Dr. Saied Ameli examines democracy and Islam. A must read for activists.

Sultana Tafadar outlines the implications for civil and political rights of new anti-terrorist legislation and measures in the UK and USA. Paper presented at IHRC\’s international Prisoners of Faith Conference.

Prisoners of Conscience and the Terror of Anti-Terrorism
Imam Achmad Cassiem views the history and contribution of Muslim prisoners of faith to the anti-apartheid struggle, and draws lessons for Muslims today combating injustice.

Shades of Injustice: Travails of Muslim Activists in Nigeria
Dr. Shu\’aibu Musa recounts the history of the Muslim struggle against Sani Abacha\’s regime in Nigeria.

Bosnia: Revisiting Genocide (Audio)
Lecture by Demir Mahmutcehajic,
President of the Bosnian Community in Britain,
A lecture from IHRC\’s Prisoners of Faith Conference by Demir Mahmutcehajic, President of the Bosnian community in the UK and a founder member of the IHRC.

Current campaign packs for the Prisoners of Faith project include:

PRISONERS OF FAITH CAMPAIGN PACK: Huda Kaya and the Hijab Ban, Turkey
This campaign pack gives details of the escalating human rights violations in Turkey, in particular against women who choose to wear the hijab. It also details the case of Huda Kaya and her three daughters. If you have difficulty accessing this file, please contact the office ( for a copy to be sent to you.

Prisoners of Faith: Sheikh Abdulkareem Obaid and Mustafa Dirani, prisoners of the IDF
Further details on the two Lebanese national kidnapped by the Israeli Defence Force and held incommunicado for 13 and 8 years respectively.

Prisoner of Faith: Imam Jamil Al-Amin, USA
Imam Jamil, the well-known and outspoker cleric was sentenced to life imprisonment without the chance of parole this year despiteserious flaws in his trial and the evidence against him.

Prisoner of Faith: Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, USA
More details on how to campaign for the Sheikh imprisoned under laws not used since the American civil war.

Prisoners of Faith: New Campaigns 2002
Details of case and country-wide campaigns including Saudi Arabia, China, Sudan, \’Israel\’ and Palestine, Uzbekistan and Iraq.

Prisoners Faith: Nureddin Sirin, Mehmet Ali Tekin and Tamar Aslan, Turkey
Updated details on the cases of Muslim activists in Turkey, including the recent Selam-Tevhid trials.

Prisoner of Faith: Sheikh Ali Ben Hadj, Algeria
01 November 2002

Details on the FIS leader\’s detention.

There are a variety of articles also available in our articles section:

Our archives are being added to the website so material on old campaigns will soon be available.

4. How else you can help

(i) Research
IHRC is blessed with a dedicated set of volunteers the world over. If you think you can help in collecting or compiling research for this project please email the office on

(ii) Supporting prisoners
In certain cases we encourage campaigners to write letters of support directly to prisoners. Please contact us if you want to do this.

(iii) Supporting prisoner families and the Prisoners of Faith Project
IHRC receives requests for financial assistance from families of prisoners of faith who have often been left destitute. If you would like to donate to this specific fund, please send your cheque (made payable to Islamic Human Rights Commission) or postal order to IHRC, PO Box 598, Wembley, HA9 7XH, United Kingdom.

If you would like to donate specifically towards the project or IHRC generally please follow the above procedure. If you are donating specifically for the project or prisoner families, please state on the back of the cheque / order.

5. List of on-line resources on Muslim victims of anti-terrorist legislation and policies

The audio of IHRC’s conference ‘The Hidden Victims of 9/11’ is available on-line at:

Other resources, including reports and briefings are listed below. Again there are also many articles on these topic that can be accessed from our website’s articles page.

A Report to the IHRC on Detentions under the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001
08 September 2002
Natalia Garcia of Tyndallwoods Solicitors looks at the infringement of human rights and civil liberties by the detentions under the UK\’s latest anti-terrorist legislation.

The Hidden Victims of September 11: Prisoners of UK Law
08 September 2002
Sultana Tafadar overviews the use of anti-terrorist and other legislation against British Muslims in the last year.

BRIEFING: Language, media and the public mind – A case study of reporting of the ‘ricin’ incident
09 April 2003
An analysis by Romana Majid and Sabbia Hanif of how overt and covert racist and Islamophobic stereotyping in the media works, with specific reference to the \’ricin incident\’ in the UK earlier this year.

BRIEFING: Derogation from A Non-Derogable Right? Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Immigration and the British Government.
02 March 2003
In an increasingly globalised world, where law is seen as the principal carrier of the few values still shared by diverse nations, it is ironic that the UK Government is undermining its commitment…

BRIEFING: Emergency Legislation Violates Human Rights Standards
01 January 2002
Home Secretary David Blunkett is taking steps to introduce emergency legislation as a result of the atrocities of September 11. The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill includes measures to detain terrorist suspects indefinitely without trial.

17 November 2001
IHRC is deeply concerned at the Executive Order on the Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism issued by President George W. Bush on 13th November 2001.

Emergency Legislation Violates Human Rights Standards, Briefing Update number 2
26 November 2001
IHRC has a number of further concerns regarding the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill currently being pushed through parliament in an unprecedented attempt to curtail civil liberties in the UK.

Legislating Against Terror or Breaking Dissent? National Anti-Terrorism Laws 1998 – 2001
24 August 2001
Faisal Bodi provides an overview and analysis of anti-terrorism laws either enacted or proposed in the UK, USA, Canada and South Africa, and assesses their impact on civil liberties.

For more information please contact us

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Tel: +44-20-8902-0888
Fax: +44-20-8902-0889

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