Recently detained Palestinian activist dies
By Elizabeth Schulte | August 6, 2004 | Page 2
FAROUK ABDEL-MUHTI--a Palestinian freedom fighter who fought his own struggle against the U.S. government's post-September anti-Arab hysteria--died July 21 of a heart attack after giving a speech in Philadelphia. The 57-year-old Palestinian activist's death came three months after he was released from a U.S. jail. Another victim of the Bush-Ashcroft witch-hunt, Abdel-Muhti spent two years in detention without being charged.
Farouk was born in 1947 in Ramallah in the West Bank. He came to New York in the 1970s, where he became known as a political activist, especially around the issues of Palestinian rights and immigration.
In March 2002, he began hosting a radio show--"Wake-Up Call" on Pacifica Radio's WBAI in New York--featuring Palestinian activists from the Occupied Territories. Within two months, authorities detained him--shuttling him to various facilities around the country for next two years.
Farouk was subjected to extensive interrogation, often denied food and held in solitary confinement--23 hours a day. The case shined a light on the hidden stories of more than 1,000 200 Arabs, Muslims and others incarcerated as part of the Bush administration's racist attack on civil liberties after September 11.
Thanks to activists who worked hard to draw attention to this injustice, Farouk was finally released on April 12, 2004. But supporters say Farouk's health deteriorated in prison, contributing to his death.
Socialist Worker publicized Farouk's case, and when we celebrated our 500th issue, he sent a message of solidarity. "I won my freedom," Farouk wrote. "But still the war continues against injustice, oppression, discrimination, brutality and wholesale deportation, not only for the Arab, Muslim and Southeast Asian people, but against all the immigrant working classes, which are becoming scapegoats in the hands of this imperialist regime." Activists will remember Farouk and take inspiration from his struggle.
Contributions are needed to help cover Farouk's funeral expenses. Send donations to: Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants, 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012. Make checks out to "CHRI" with "Farouk" on the memo line.