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Messages on the occasion of AMV Convention 2004

= Blue Triangle: AMV exposed the calculated attacks on Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities
= MCRC: No other Islamic group in the North America has realized the importance of building alliances as much as AMV
= NLSCA: AMV Executive Director committed to improving Mideastern, Muslim, South Asian communities
= October 22nd Salutes AMV
= Refuse & Resist: AMV plays key role against INS Special Registration
= War Resisters League West: AMV works for the benefit of the entire society

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Blue Triangle: AMV exposed the calculated attacks on Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities

The Blue Triangle Network, formed in May of 2002, has for the past more than 2 years worked to build a broad resistance to the unjustified attacks on and demonization of the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities in the U.S.  We have carried out our work, guided in part, by the historical perspective provided by Pastor Neimoeller of Germany when, in summing up his years as a prisoner and later defender of civil liberties, he said, to fight effectively against tyranny you must first come to the support of those first attacked:

First they came for the Communists,
but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing.
Then they came for the Social Democrats,
but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing.
Then came the trade unionists,
but I was not a trade unionist.
And then they came for the Jews,
but I was not a Jew, so I did little.
Then they came for the Catholics,
but I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then when they came for me,
there was no one left to stand up for me.  (By Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945)

 During our era, the era of the so-called 'war on terror' it is the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities that have been the first targeted.  We have seen how the rulers of this country have used this fictional 'war on terror' and the specter of the 'enemy within' to justify empire building abroad and repression at home, including most recently the attacks on the protests of the Republican National Convention in New York.

 During the last several years Blue Triangle has worked closely with Samina Faheem Sundas the founder and Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice (AMV).   Samina has been a member of the Blue Triangle Network steering committee and contributed directly to the work of BTN.  At the same time Samina and the AMV have, for more than a year, been a consistent and tireless voice for the Muslim and South Asian community.   While many have been fearful to stand up and risk being singled out, Samina has stood up, time and again to defend the Muslim and South Asian communities and reach out for unity with other communities.  She has crossed the barriers of race, class and religion to stand together with other communities also facing discrimination or oppression.  She has denounced the vilification of her community and the targeting, arrest, detention and deportation of people simply because of their religion or ethnic background.   She has been one of the few to speak out on behalf of Sami Al Arian, the Palestinian American professor in Florida, who is suffering persecution at the hands of a government.  Through its persecution of Professor Al Arian the government seeks to create a climate of fear and intimidation.  

This has been a difficult time.  It seems more lies and deceptions of the present administration are exposed, the more stubbornly they scapegoat and persecute immigrants in general and the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities in particular.

 While resistance to their attacks by BTN, AMV and other organizations and individuals has forced them to alter their plans at times, as when the government stopped insisting that men and boys from Muslim countries had to go through special registration at immigration offices, arrests on flimsy grounds, detentions, deportations, spurious attacks in the media and other forms of harassment and threats continue.

 At the same time, Samina and the American Muslim Voice has spoken out for understanding and solidarity among all people and called all people to tear down the barriers that divide community from community and provide fuel for the hate mongering of the government and its allies. 

 Without the voice of AMV, the movement to expose and oppose the unjustified and calculated attacks on the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities, would be weaker and less articulate. 

 At this first convention of the AMV we salute that organization and its work with confidence that it will continue to stand up against the repression faced by people,  denounce the lies that justify this repression and stand with the people in all the measures that the people may take to both combat that repression and work to finally put an end to injustice.   

From Ben Allen of the Blue Triangle Network of SF
September 9, 2004

MCRC: No other Islamic group in the North America has realized the importance of building alliances as much as AMV

On behalf of the Muslim Civil Rights Center (MCRC), I am writing this letter to acknowledge the wonderful work of the American Muslim Voice (AMV) for the community, which has directly or indirectly supported our mission.

Since September 11, 2001, the Muslim community has faced an unprecedented amount of injustice. The changing immigration laws and hostile political climate intimidated even our most outspoken community leaders. Your organization’s work in providing assistance to the victims of changed government policies and especially those affected by the special registration requirements, is truly commendable.

I am thankful to the AMV for providing assistance to those individuals who faced violation of their rights and were referred to you by the MCRC. We have received a very positive feedback from those individuals regarding the services of your organization.

I also appreciate your efforts in bringing diverse communities together and creating the much needed links between communities of all faiths. I believe no other Islamic group in the North America has realized the importance of building alliances as much as AMV.

Thank you again for working with us and supporting our activities. I look forward to continuing our relationship in the future.

Rasheed Ahmed, President, Muslim Civil Rights Center
September 23, 2004

NLSCA: AMV Executive Director committed to improving  Mideastern, Muslim, South Asian communities

I am delighted to act as a reference for Samina Faheem, Founder and Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice. I commend Ms. Faheem’s commitment to improving the well-being of those within the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian community who have been victimized. She has truly been a consistent and trustworthy supporter of our targeted community in this Post 9-11 Era.

In my opinion, Ms. Faheem’s motivation has one overarching theme in that she approaches our community’s needs from a humanistic perspective. As she works diligently to promote human welfare and social reform for the Muslim community both nationally and internationally, it is in this humanitarian spirit that Ms. Faheem has consistently offered her services in support of Akhlaghi & Associate’s individual clients.

As Samina Faheem has been a generous and reliable supporter of Akhlaghi & Associates, I am confident that she will continue to support our mission as we transition into a new non-profit organization: the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA). NLSCA is the first organization dedicated to providing legal advocacy solely in support of the civil rights of the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian community. Furthermore, as Founder and President of this new organization, I look forward to partnering with Ms. Faheem in the future to ensure protection of the civil and human rights of those from our community who are targeted post 9-11.

Banafsheh Akhlaghi, President & Founder,The National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA)
September 17, 2004

October 22nd Salutes AMV

On behalf of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, I would like to send a warm salute to Samina Faheem and American Muslim Voice on the occasion of their first annual convention.

 The October 22nd Coalition, which began in the mid 1990s, grew out of a resistance movement to the widening epidemic of police brutality and murder across the country and a recognition that police brutality and murder are aimed directly and consciously at oppressed people in this country, particularly the youth and immigrants.   Whole communities have been targetted by the powers that be that act like an occupying army in many of these communities, including right here in the Bay Area. 

After 9-11 2001, police brutality and murder continued and intensified along with the growing repression aimed at the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities. The October 22nd Coalition recognized that this growing climate of repression and attacks on civil liberties, including the police repression of demonstrators and the attacks on the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities represents the beginning a new, even more dangerous era of repression that requires a new level of struggle and resistance. 

 October 22nd Coalition has been fortunate to have been able to work with Samina Faheem and the American Muslim Voice organization over the past year and more. They have helped bring an understanding of how racial profiling, particularly since 9-11 have greatly damaged the Muslim, Arab and South Asian community and they have brought their deep compassion and  a sense of solidarity to the people rising against the murders of Idriss Stelly, Cau Bich Tran and others.  Samina Faheem spoke at the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and Criminalization of a Generation which took place in San Francisco on October 22, 2003 as well as other events in oppressed communities where families have lost loved ones.  Her concern for people in all the communities victimized by police brutality, murder and harrassment and political repression has helped bridge the divide between peoples and increased the understanding of the common potential for struggle among the people as a whole.   

 We look forward to continuing this important relationship with Samina and American Muslim Voice, standing shoulder to shoulder in the struggle to oppose the unjust and brutal policies and actions of this government.  

Rita Akayama for October 22nd Coalition, S.F. Bay Area
September 9, 2004

Refuse & Resist: AMV plays key role against INS Special Registration

The story of American Muslim Voice begins on the day world changed when the attack on the Pentagon and destruction of the World Trade Center resulted in the unprecedented racist social upheaval, crackdown and repression of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians….

Samina and American Muslim Voice are a part of the Muslim community which has an aspect of male hierarchy.  I assume it must be a hard thing to confront without being aggressive and Samina seems to do it with grace and patience. Given the current extreme climate of war and repression of Muslims in this country, in which resistance itself is under attack, Samina’s refusal to remain silent is a source of extraordinary inspiration for the groups, and communities that engage in remarkable acts of resistance. Courageous Resisters put their reputations, their jobs and even their lives on the line.

Samina Faheem-Sundas has been on the Executive committee of the Blue Triangle Network since the first year sequence of protests every 6-8 weeks against “Special Registration”

At the beginning of the second year of aggressive protests with the new twist of annual “Special Registration”, Samina helped form a plan with representatives from at least 20 national organizations to raise the level of activism and “street-heat” so high that no one in the country would fail to hear our cry.  The day after our press conference held simultaneously the “INS” offices in New York, Detroit and San Francisco announcing the bold plans for the upcoming year, the department of Homeland Security announced that Special Registration might be cancelled...and it was the next month if in name only...we did make them back down.

…..Samina has been an active participant in the most prolific anti-Patriot Act groups in Northern California.

Don Spark, Refuse & Resist - Bay Area Chapter
September 13, 2004

War Resisters League West: AMV works for the benefit of the entire society

War Resisters League West thanks American Muslim Voice and Samina Faheem for your work on behalf of Muslims and South Asians. You truly work for the benefit of the entire society. Your consistent compassion and strength will prevail.

Since 1923 the War Resisters League has affirmed that war is a crime against humanity. We therefore are determined not to support any kind of war, international or civil, and to strive nonviolently for the removal of all the causes of war.

www.warresisters.org
wrlwest@riseup.net
Sept. 22, 2004