For Immediate Release

October 4, 2017

Wake-up Call for Civil Liberties ~ Prisons, Profiling and Preemptive Prosecution


Washington, DC, October 4, 2017. The U.S. government’s “war” on terror has led to numerous abuses and infringements on the civil liberties of Americans, particularly those who are Muslim. Hundreds of innocent people have been preemptively prosecuted and imprisoned under very harsh conditions for what can best be described as “thought crimes”.

As part of an on-going effort to raise awareness about these abuses, NCPCF is inviting the public to an informative session featuring keynote speaker Sheik Omar Suleiman, and moderated by Dr. Jonathan Brown of Georgetown University. Two family members of unjustly incarcerated political prisoners will also speak, Mariam Abu Ali and Ikraan Abdurahman. Dr. Mel Underbakke will speak about the work of NCPCF to support these prisoners and their families.

The event will be held at the Diyanet Center of America, 9610 Good Luck Rd., Lanham, Maryland in the Cultural Center Auditorium on Friday 27, 2017 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Free parking is provided in the underground garage, with an elevator to the first floor. The event is free and open to all.

About the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF)

NCPCF was founded in 2010 with the following mission: “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.”

The Speakers:

  1. OMAR SULEIMAN: Sh. Omar Suleiman is the Founder and President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, and an Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at SMU (Southern Methodist University). He is also the Resident Scholar at Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square. He holds a Bachelors in Accounting, a Bachelors in Islamic Law, a Masters in Islamic Finance, a Masters in Political History, and is currently pursuing a PhD. in Islamic Thought and Civilization from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. MEL UNDERBAKKE, PHD: Mel Underbakke is a co-founder and the Executive Director of NCPCF. She holds a doctorate degree in Interdisciplinary Education, and is an educator and researcher, formerly at the University of South Florida. She also founded Friends of Human Rights shortly after the arrest of Dr. Sami Al-Arian on terrorism charges in 2003. In 2008 and 2009, after the release of the documentary “USA vs Al-Arian”, she and Fred Bryant toured the U.S. screening it more than 60 times on college campuses, and in churches, mosques, libraries and community centers. During this time, she learned of the many other cases of innocent Muslims who were being targeted by the U.S. government in its ongoing “war on terror,” and has focused on calling attention to the current wave of preemptive prosecutions of these innocent people, as well as the erosion of civil freedom that has affected all Americans since the events of 9/11/2001.  MARIAM ABU ALI: Mariam Abu Ali is the Program Director of NCPCF. Born and raised in Northern VA, she graduated from Georgetown University with a major in Government and a minor in Arabic. Mariam’s involvement in civil and human rights is very personal. She has been advocating on behalf of her brother Ahmed Abu Ali, a victim of torture and extraordinary rendition and a U.S. political prisoner for over a decade, sentenced to life in a solitary cell.

    IKRAAN ABDURAHMĀN: Ikraan Abdurahmān is an activist, poet, and a junior in college double-majoring in English Literature and Ethnic Studies. Based in Minneapolis, MN, she also works as a behavioral therapist. She has been passionately advocating on behalf of her brother, Zacharia, an entrapment victim who was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2016, and speaks about the detrimental effect of CVE policies on the Somali community in Minnesota.

    JONATHAN AC BROWN, PHD: Jonathan Brown is the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and he is the Director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding. He received his BA in History from Georgetown University in 2000 and his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2006. His book publications include The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim: The Formation and Function of the Sunni Hadith Canon (Brill, 2007), Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oneworld, 2009) and Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011), which was selected for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. His most recent book, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy (Oneworld, 2014), was named one of the top books on religion in 2014 by the Independent.


Contact: Dr. Mel Underbakke, Executive Director
Facebook Event
(813) 215-3403 (cell)



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