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The War On Civil Rights
Public Statement From The Dec. 10th Coalition For Human Rights
Shortly after the September 11th bombings of the Pentagon and World Trade Center, the INS and FBI have recently detained 1,017 people of Muslim religion in circumstances that were overt violations of their civil rights. An undetermined number of them are being held in New Jersey, the majority being held in Hudson and Passaic county prisons. The identities of those arrested, where they are being held, why they are being held, and what they are being charged with have not been released to the public.
The INS and FBI are claiming that they are being held in conjunction with investigations into the September 11th bombings. However, many are residents of New Jersey who have been living in America for a long period of time, like one man who was arrested when law enforcement broke into his house in Clifton, NJ. He has been in the United States for over a decade and has a 2 year old son that was born here. It has been made public that these prisoners are being offered a “voluntary departure order” in exchange for their freedom. Essentially, this is an agreement to leave the country. When imprisonment is your only other option, the word “voluntary” hardly seems applicable.
The situation’s urgency has reached a high point with the death of Mohammed Rafiq Butt. Mohammed died of an apparent heart attack in Hudson county prison, however the autopsy revealed bruise marks and signs of physical abuse.
The coalition sees this as a government move towards unaccountability and racist policy by singling out citizens within its own borders based upon religion and cultural background. The manner of the imprisonment is exceptionally troubling within a country that claims to be striving for democracy. If the “war on terrorism” is to be one that will be waged by governments upon its own citizens, questions arise about who the actual “terrorist” is and what “terrorism” actually means in America.
We believe that within a democratic society, the responsibility of journalism is to act as a watchdog on unaccountable authority. The irresponsibility of the corporate media is evident in their clear omission of this situation from their reporting. Because of this, the detainees still remain in prison and are preparing for a hunger strike. As Americans, we believe it is our primary duty to confront and expose this illegal detainment to the American public. Therefore we are calling for a day of action in New Jersey to call attention to this problem. We encourage organizations and individuals to autonomously organize actions around this issue. We also encourage as many organizations as possible to endorse this public statement of principle and action.
Much like the detainment of Japanese Americans during World War II, history appears to be repeating itself. We will not sit idly by as the mistakes of the past reappear. We demand the release of information. We demand an end to civil rights violations. We demand full accountability. We demand an end to racist government policies.
List of endorsers:
Ever Reviled Records Workers’ Collective
Hopewell, NJ-ARA (Anti-Racist Action)
Reverend Bookburn of Radio Volta (Philly-IMC)
Please endorse this public statement and call to action. Email email@example.com to have you or your organization added to the list of endorsers.