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Vol. VII-Issue No. 542
Friday, July 21, 2017

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.

Shukri Abu Baker


Upcoming Events

A Farewell to Rasmea Odeh, Saturday, August 12, 7:00 pm. International Union of Operating Engineers hall, 2260 S. Grove Street, Chicago. An evening of music, culture, and struggle to honor Palestinian icon Rasmea Odeh. Keynote address by former political prisoner Angela Davis.


Action Items

Prisology. The U.S. Sentencing Commission is currently seeking public comment on what its priorities should be for the 2018 Guideline amendment cycle. Prisology has crafted a new idea that, if implemented, would further reduce overly harsh federal sentences. If you support sentencing reform, please go to this site and fill out the form before July 31.


Website of the Week

Interfaith Action for Human Rights (IAHR)
Interfaith Action for Human Rights is a mid-Atlantic coalition of faith communities. We seek to change the culture, policy or practices that cause torture or violate human dignity. Our guide is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the wisdom of our respective faith.


Portraits of Injustice/Voices of Victims of Repression

Notes from Shukri (7/9): Lucid Thoughts
Shukri Abu Baker of the Holy Land Foundation is serving a 65-year-sentence for helping women and children in Palestine. An excerpt from his recent Blog post follows. Please click the link to read more. 
“It’s humbling to sit in my cell, stare at the A/C vent in the wall, and count the number of holes that allow the chilled air to experience my face firsthand. Passing through 319 tiny circular openings, that steady flow inspires me to reconsider my chances at riding the wings of Liberty. Each opening representing an opportunity of sorts, perhaps freedom is not far-fetched after all.”

CNN (7/18): Teen behind new hijab emoji: ‘I just wanted an emoji of me’ [Video: 2 min. 15 sec.]

News Digest

Pre-Crime Reports/Pre-emptive Prosecutions/Thought Crimes/Entrapment/Material Support

Reuters (7/13): Lawyer for U.S. Army sergeant accused of terrorism suggests entrapment
The lawyer for a U.S. Army sergeant charged in Hawaii with trying to provide material support to Islamic State extremists said on Thursday his client suffers from mental illness that FBI agents exploited in a “sting” operation leading to his arrest. Questions about Ikaika Erik Kang’s state of mind and the possibility of entrapment were raised by defense lawyer Birney Bervar in remarks to reporters after his client was ordered to remain in jail without bond.

The Washington Post (7/14): He talked about committing a terrorist attack. He’ll go to prison for 10 years. 
It is a punishment far harsher than Yusuf  Wehelie’s actual crime — possession of firearms by a felon — would garner and the maximum allowed by law. Federal guidelines called for a sentence of about three years, and prosecutors initially asked for a punishment within those parameters. There was audible shock in the courtroom when Lee read his sentence and tears from Wehelie’s large family. Defense attorney Nina Ginsberg argued that there was overwhelming evidence that her client posed no real threat.

Islamophobia and Civil Rights

Star Tribune (7/15): Congress narrowly rejects proposal for military to conduct a ‘strategic assessment’ of Islam
The Pentagon won’t be conducting a threat assessment of Islam after all.Tucked into a massive military spending bill was a provision that would have required the Department of Defense to study “the use of violent or unorthodox Islamic religious doctrine to support extremist or terrorist messaging.” A narrow majority of the U.S. House of Representatives — including all but one of the members from Minnesota — stripped that proposal out of the bill on Friday. Ellison questioned why a study of religious extremism would focus on just a single faith.

Boston Glove (7/17): Boston will put up 50 posters on how to address Islamophobia
Seeking to bolster its reputation of being inclusive, the city of Boston will post 50 signs aimed at diffusing Islamophobia. Starting Monday, the posters will be placed throughout Boston on public furniture — such as bus stops — over the next two weeks.

Mic (7/18): Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked 91% within first half of 2017, new report says
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, 2016 was the worst year recorded for anti-Muslim hate crimes since it began documenting incidents in 2013. The new report also found that anti-Muslim bias incidents rose 24% compared to that same time period in 2016.

Government Policies Under Scrutiny
The Washington Post (7/19): Supreme Court allows Trump refugee ban but backs broader exemptions for relatives
The Supreme Court’s action on Wednesday had two parts. In one, the justices said they will not disturb the lower court’s decision that expanded the definition of close family ties. But in another, the justices granted the government’s request to put on hold a part of the lower court’s order that would have made it easier for more refugees to enter the country. That order could have granted entry to about 24,000 refugees who were already working with resettlement agencies.

See also: Washington Post (7/14): Judge in Hawaii rules grandparents are exempt from Trump travel ban; and
Time (7/15): Trump Administration Appeals Latest Travel Ban Ruling to the Supreme Court


The Globe and Mail (7/18): Rejected Muslim cemetery: Even in death, we find no peace
If I were a bigot, the only Muslim I’d love is a dead one. So supporting a Muslim cemetery should have been a no-brainer. But like all things associated with Islam these days, dead Muslims are as controversial as live ones.

Buzz Flash (7/18): Trump Won’t Give Up on His Travel Ban as Anti-Muslim Violence Rages On
Today, the president of the United States claims he can differentiate between the Ku Klux Klan and white nationalist groups, but cannot differentiate between law abiding Muslims and terrorist organizations. Even though there is no real threat to US national security from my community, the government has successfully reenergized centuries old stereotypes, asserting that, in my case, Muslim Asian Americans can never assimilate to the “American way” of life. Outwardly, the US prides itself on moral progress over time. To hear news and political rhetoric today, we’re a different, much better country now than we used to be. The dark days of discrimination are behind us. Yet today, Muslims are being banned from entering the US, we are facing unprecedented threats and violence, and the threat of having to sign onto a registry on the basis of our faith looms above us all. The US government is openly discriminating against ethnic, religious and sexual minorities — including women.

Common Dreams (7/19):  Amnesty Slams Latest Supreme Court Ruling on ‘Cruel and Discriminatory’ Muslim Ban
The decision from the Supreme Court, said Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, “jeopardizes the safety of thousands of people across the world including vulnerable families fleeing war and violence.” “On top of that,” she continued, “this prolonged legal battle is creating further distress and confusion for ordinary people who need to visit the U.S. to get medical attention, reunite with family, or get an education. No part of this cruel and discriminatory ban is reasonable. Congress must intervene and end the ban once and for all.”


NCPCF Mission
Established in October 2010, the NCPCF is a coalition of national and local organizations as well as prominent individuals, whose mission is: To educate the public about the erosion of civil liberties and political freedoms in society; to provide legal advocacy and support for prisoners within the U.S. criminal justice system and their families targeted after 9/11; and to defend and preserve the rights of all people according to the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Geneva Conventions.
Member Organizations
Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) – Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) – Desis, Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) – Friends of Human Rights (FHR) – International Action Center (IAC) – Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice (ICNA-CSJ) – Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) – National Lawyers Guild (NLG)  – The Aafia Foundation  – Project Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims (Project SALAM) – United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

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Copyright © 2015, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
P.O. Box 66301
Washington, D.C. 20035



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