October 4, 2010

Dear friends,

Please join us for a public forum concerning the case of Fahad Hashmi, with Professor Jeanne Theoharis, Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College. Free to the public, it will be held on Friday, October 8th, at 7:45 pm, at the Catholic Worker, 55 East 3rd Street in Manhattan. (Take the F-Train to 2nd Avenue stop and walk up three blocks to 3rd Street.)

Fahad was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, after a grueling three-year stretch in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and then was transferred to the very high security penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. If the special administrative measures (SAM's) under which he was held continue, he may continue to be denied basic rights such as the right to send and receive mail. His address is below:

Syed Mehmood Hashmi
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. BOX 7000
Florence, CO 81226

At his sentencing hearing on June 9th before US District Judge Loretta Preska, Fahad (known to the government as Syed Hashmi), delivered a lengthy statement about all aspects of the case, taking personal responsibility, elucidating his Muslim faith perspective, asking forgiveness for mistakes, thanking his supporters, and condemning the US policies of torture and rendition.

What did he actually do to receive such cruel and unusual treatment from the US government? Are some of us entitled to speak freely against the so-called war-on-terror, while others are not? What does it do to a human being, to be encased in an electronic concrete-and-steel dungeon like M.C.C. for months or years on end, without meaningful contact with friends and family? What inspired such a diverse group of activists and performers to maintain a regular vigil outside the prison while Fahad was held there? And is there anything we can do to address the extraordinary conditions of confinement that have been imposed on Fahad and others?

Please come to the Catholic Worker this Friday and help us take up these pressing issues.

Felton Davis
(212) 777-9617

[Note to readers: "Insha'Allah" is a Muslim phrase
similar to "God willing."]
Excerpts from the Sentencing Statement
Of Fahad Hashmi, June 9, 2010
United States District Court, Manhattan


To the Muslims, the slaves of Allah, I say: Jazakullah Khair - May Allah reward you all, and that I love you all for the sake of Allah. The message of Allah -- may Allah's peace and blessings be upon you -- said in a blessed hadith: "He who removes from a believer one of his difficulties of this world, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the day of resurrection. And he who finds relief for a hard pressed person, Allah will make things easy for him on the day of resurrection.
May Allah bless you all and shower you with his mercy in this worldly life and in the hereafter. May Allah remove difficulties from you on the day of judgment, as you were kind enough to help remove some of my difficulties. I pray Insha'Allah that I will return to you in a better state than I'm leaving you, to carry on struggling to make Allah's word the highest. I also hope Insha'Allah that you continue on his noble path of helping Muslim prisoners, and by the permission of the most merciful, you will always be in our prayers.


I would also like to take this opportunity to thank both the Muslims and non-Muslims who have been kind enough to support me throughout this whole ordeal.
To the non-Muslims, above all, some of my former professors to whom I say: I sincerely thank you for all of your support and help. I hope Insha'Allah that Allah gives me the opportunity to me to repay you your kindness.
Clearly, you saw the injustices of the cruel and unusual conditions that the government put me under, and you stood up to protest against the government's tyranny. For that I am truly grateful to you, and I hope Insha'Allah that the bridges of dialogue and debate that were built around this case remain so.


I take from that: Yes, I was raised here amongst you since I was a young child. And, yes, I did dwell many years of my life with you. And, yes, I made many, many, many mistakes because of my ignorance of the message of my Lord, Allah the Exalted and Honored. And I left this country in a quest to seek knowledge in order to better strive for my religion. And admittedly, I did make a mistake in the course of that journey, for which I have begged my Lord for forgiveness and repentance for, and I have hope in a blessed hadith in which the messenger of Allah said: "If Allah wishes good for his servant, he sends him his punishment in the worldly life."


Allah knows that I never believed that I can live between you and help the Noble Mujahideen carry out operations against you. And for the sake of Allah, I say I'm free from much of what they do, especially after more knowledge has come to me. And in all reality my mistake was done whilst I was away from you in a different country, and it had nothing at all to do with civilians. I always believed in the concept of the covenant of security which is founded on the understanding that so long as a host non-Muslim country guarantees the security of its Muslim minority inhabitants, allowing them to freely practice their religion, those Muslims cannot help other Muslims wage war against their non-Muslim host country.
The youth of Islam, including and especially myself, over-simplify very complicated issues such as the Jihad, which according to a blessed hadith is Islam's "highest peak". That oversimplification caused us to commit many mistakes and Allah's forgiveness and guidance is sought by me. The scholars of Islam such as Shaykh Abdul Qadir and Abdul Azeez have said that having citizenships and visas to non-Muslim countries constitutes having covenants with them. After this knowledge has come to me, and a near punishment of four years of imprisonment, three being in solitary confinement, I see clearly that I violated the covenant. Again, as the Noble Prophet and Messenger of Islam said: "I did it then when I was ignorant" and "my Lord has granted me wisdom." And Insha'Allah I will continue to beg my Lord for guidance and forgiveness.


The reality of what occurred is more detailed than what the government and what the selfish evil man, whose name is not even worth mentioning, as he has lied and has exaggerated about many things, because he, as Allah the Exalted and Honored describes the hypocrites in the Noble Qur'an: "...love to be praised for what they have not done."
I was studying for my masters and this selfish man came to me and begged me for a place to say. I told him I could not have guests and that I had to move out in order to save money. But he imposed on me by saying untruthfully he had nowhere else to go. I was in a strange land, namely Britain, and he was a familiar face. Furthermore, the Messenger of Allah said in a blessed hadith: "Whoever believes in Allah and the last day should be courteous and generous to his traveling visitor."
I kept on telling him to leave, but he kept on imposing on me, so I kept on entertaining him as my guest. And part of my intentions in lending him the money was because of the fact that his daughter was sick. In the documentary evidences in my discovery it shows an e-mail highlighting so, and all the incoming and outgoing phone calls to Pakistan on my cell phone was to and from his wife to update him on the medical status of his daughter. The very small loan was very spontaneous and it was just a few small clothing items, never the amount which he claimed.
In all reality, this hypocrite was stealing the money of the people and of the Jihad for years, and when he was about to get caught for his ongoing long-term theft, which included borrowing thousands of dollars without any real intention of repaying his debtors, he ran back to America and sold his religion for a miserable price in order to live the American dream, because he was incapable of living it by his own merit.
However, saying that, I take full responsibility for my actions. It was the first and only time that I ever had the opportunity to give direct support to the Noble Mujahideen against the enemies of Islam, and I availed it wholeheartedly under the false impression that it was something that I was Islamically allowed to do. Clearly, I was wrong because as a citizen of the United States I was not Islamically allowed to give that material support to those who waged war against America.


Further to which the SAMs was unjustly imposed on me after five months of my initial arrival, which does not allow me to socialize, pray or even talk to my fellow believers, along with the fact that we are savagely denied a sufficient amount of roaming space, hence treating us worse than animals. So is the SAMs your favor on me? The history of this country shows that they imposed similar unjust conditions on slaves, and now without any sense of shame or decency, because of the enemies of Islam's hatred for Muslims, they have imposed these cruel and unusual conditions on us Muslims.


And is this your past favor with which you reproach me with - that you have kept some of my brothers in Cuba, and in other black sites, in worser conditions than mines, even torturing many of them? Is your rendition and torture programs, including on American Muslims, your past favor with which you reproach me with? Is your entrapment of sincere but naive Muslims the past favor with which you reproach me with even the use of mafia tactics of arresting some of their family members in order to extract cooperation? Is your domestic spy program on the believers the past favor which you reproach me with, violating the privacy of tens of thousands of American Muslims?
Allah the Exalted and Honored spoke the truth when he stated in the Noble Qur'an: "With regard to a believer, they respect not ties, either of kingship or covenant! It is they who are transgressors."
And is this the past favor which you reproach me with, your foreign policy which causes the deaths of millions of innocent Muslims?