Stop scapegoating Noor Salman

March 29, 2018

A statement circulated online and endorsed by numerous progressive organizations stands in solidarity with Noor Salman, the wife of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen and a domestic violence survivor, who is being railroaded by the FBI as part of an Islamophobic witch hunt.

NOOR SALMAN is currently standing trial in Orlando, Florida, in a case related to the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub by her deceased husband, Omar Mateen. On Monday, January 15, 2017, Ms. Salman, a 31-year-old Muslim mother of a 3-year-old and a domestic violence survivor, was arrested on two charges, which include aiding and abetting Mateen in providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice for providing conflicting statements to the FBI. If convicted of the charges against her, Ms. Salman faces life in prison.

Our organizations work for gender and reproductive justice, LGBTQ justice, racial and economic justice, disability justice, civil rights and human rights in different communities across the United States. We share the grief and pain for those whose lives were lost, those who survived and their loved ones and communities. And we oppose this prosecution, which scapegoats Ms. Salman in the quest to ensure that someone pasy the price for Mateen's actions. We stand with Noor Salman, a mother and survivor of domestic violence.

Noor Salman
Noor Salman

The prosecution of Ms. Salman is rooted in gendered Islamophobia and patriarchy. She is being prosecuted under the guise of guilt by association as a Muslim woman married to a Muslim man who committed mass violence. As noted in the Intercept, there are numerous weaknesses in the prosecution's case against Salman, which essentially serves as a test case to prosecute partners of accused terrorists on the grounds of complicity. The FBI has aimed to hold girlfriends and wives accountable for their partners' actions for some time, especially when the couple is Muslim. Furthermore, Ms. Salman's religious identity has been used by the FBI to threaten her. During the initial interrogation by the FBI which took place over 17 hours in which she was detained and questioned, including hours in which her infant child was present and no legal counsel was present, FBI officials threatened to take her son away from her and place him in a Christian home. She is a victim of the domestic "war on terror," through which the government has used racial and religious profiling tactics to subject Arabs, South Asians and Muslims to investigations, interrogations, deportations and prosecutions simply because of their faith, relationships, and guilt by association.

Ms. Salman is also a domestic violence survivor. The government's charges against Ms. Salman disregard the history of domestic abuse, rape, and threats that Ms. Salman endured during her marriage to Mateen and the impact of intimate partner violence on her and her child's life. This abuse has been documented, for example, in a recent New York Times article that reported that "Ms. Salman has said her husband punched her, choked her, threatened to kill her, and coerced her into sex and left her isolated in their home." Ms. Salman publicly disclosed the abuse she endured within six months of being married, which included physical abuse during her pregnancy and threats to take sole custody of their child. Ms. Salman's cousin, Susan Adieh, also affirmed that Mateen mistreated his wife. Upon seeing the news about the mass shooting, Ms. Adieh worried that "[Mateen] had killed [Ms. Salman] at the house before he went [to Orlando]." Accusations of abuse against Mateen were not only made by Ms. Salman, but by his first wife, Sitora Yusify. Domestic violence expert Jacquelyn Campbell evaluated Ms. Salman's case and asserted that based on the dynamics of violence in the relationship, Ms. Salman could not have been aware of Mateen's plans.

This prosecution punishes Ms. Salman for the actions of Omar Mateen and the violence he inflicted upon those around him, including her. This criminalization of Ms. Salman continues the cycle of dehumanization and terror that she experienced in her marriage to Mateen, and does not allow her to heal and re-build her life. The prosecution of Ms. Salman in today's climate of Islamophobia and the war on terror has alarming repercussions for Muslim women and for all survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who are criminalized for the actions of their abusive partners.

We stand with Noor Salman and demand an end to the prosecution against her.


Signatories

Justice For Muslims Collective
DRUM--Desis Rising Up & Moving
INCITE! Women & Trans People of Color Against Violence
Black and Pink, Inc.
Transgender Law Center
Apna Ghar, Inc. (Our Home)
Defending Rights & Dissent
Turning Point for Women and Families
Mijente
Community Acupuncture Project
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Community Responders Network
HEART Women & Girls
Jahajee Sisters
[email protected]
Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY)
Creative Interventions
Mirror Memoirs
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Gender Violence Clinic, University of Maryland Carey School of Law
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Equality Labs
Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc
Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign
Survived & Punished
Futures Without Violence
Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
Kankakee County Coalition Against Domestic Violence / Harbor House
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
Ohio Domestic Violence Network
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Naree-O-Shonghothok; Bangladeshi Feminist Collective
End Domestic Abuse WI
Partnership For The Advancement of New Americans
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Jewish Voice For Peace
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
IMI Corona, Queens
Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS)
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Ujima Inc: The National Resource Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community
International Muslim Women's Initiative For Self-Empowerment
The Aafia Foundation, Inc.
Middle Way House, Inc.
DIVAS: Discussing Intimate Violence & Accessing Support ~ A Program for Incarcerated Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence
Dove, Inc.
Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project
Feminist Islamic Troublemakers of North America
Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Muslim Womxn at Ryerson
Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Witness Against Torture
CodePink
Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
WA State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Sugarlimb Consulting, LLC
Korean American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse
Asian Women's Shelter
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin
NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault
War Resisters League
South Asian Youth Action
Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)
Community United Against Violence (CUAV)
About Face: Veterans Against the War
Georgetown University
Muslim Women Kreate
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
APIENC (API Equaity - Northern California)
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
BYP100 DC Chapter
Domestic Harmony Foundation
KhushDC
Facing Abuse in Community Environments (FACE)
Asian Women's Shelter
Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
MPower Change
Muslim Women For

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