This letter was sent to the Syracuse Post Standard and the New Times on 1/17/07 (Published by the Post Standard 1/19/07. Published by the New Times 2/21/07.)

Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a local oncologist, was convicted of white-collar crime but the government touts his case as a success in the War on Terror. Thus he is now serving 22 years in prison for a crime that he was never charged with in a court of law. From the outset the government’s goal was a terrorist conviction and it intentionally misled the judge, the jury, the media and the public.

Dhafir was recently moved to Indiana and in a December 18th letter wrote: “There are 16 of us from all over the country (predominantly Muslim/Arabs) and we are told to expect up to 75. It is an experiment ordered by the Attorney General personally. I will send you a separate letter about what happened in the last 7 days.” Since then we have heard nothing.

Bankrupting Dhafir was just one of the many tools the government employed to make it impossible for him to defend himself. They also held him without bail for 31 months and denied him access to his counsel and his own records.

Writing during the McCarthy era, Judge Irving R. Kaufman warned, “Once we embark on shortcuts by creating a category of ‘obviously guilty’ whose rights are denied, we run the risk that the circle of the unprotected will grow.” It is incumbent upon each of us to defend civil liberties for all, not least because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”*

More information:

Katherine Hughes
Dr. Dhafir Support Committee

* Martin Luther King

For a complete picture of the government strategy in Dr. Dhafir’s case in the context of what has happened to other Muslim charity cases see: Fellowship (Fellowship of Reconciliation) magazine, Nov/Dec 2006.

See also McGill University professor Thomas Naylor’s book, “Satanic Purses: Money, Myth, And Misinformation in the War on Terror.” McGill-Queen’s University Press (August 3, 2006). Dr. Dhafir and the Help the Needy case are covered in Chapter 14: “Neither to Give nor to Receive — Requiem for Islamic Charity in the US?” The chapter is available on this website.