Free Rabih Haddad

By Nicole Colson | April 5, 2002 | Page 10

STOP THE attacks on Rabih Haddad and the Global Relief Foundation (GRF)!

Rabih Haddad, a Muslim cleric from Ann Arbor, Mich., and GRF co-founder, was arrested in December--one of the thousands of immigrants in the U.S. who has been caught up in George W. Bush's "war on terror." On the same day he was arrested, GRF offices were raided and its assets frozen.

Since then, the Justice Department has provided no credible evidence that either Haddad or GRF are connected to "terrorists." But that isn't stopping them from trying.

On March 26, Justice Department lawyers argued in a Chicago court that, under the USA PATRIOT Act, they should be allowed to present "secret evidence" in order to keep GRF shut down. Activists from the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism gathered for a press conference to demand that the witch-hunt be halted.

Inside, prosecutors used smear tactics--claiming, for example, that in 1997, FBI agents found pictures of books that "glorify martyrdom through jihad" and pictures of the kind of hand-held radios that terrorists "commonly use" in GRF's trash.

If the Justice Department gets its way, lawyers won't have the opportunity to defend the foundation against these ridiculous charges. A judge is expected to rule on the admissibility of the secret evidence April 5.

Three days before the Chicago event, protesters gathered in Ann Arbor to demand that upcoming hearings for Rabih Haddad be open to the public. But again, government prosecutors are arguing that they should remain closed and are trying to use secret evidence against Haddad. A judge is expected to rule April 10 on whether to open Haddad's hearings to the public.

In the meantime, we have to organize against these witch-hunts!