Fellowship: a magazine of peacemaking published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Dear Editor:

The Muslim American Society sends sincere thanks to Fellowship magazine for publicizing the article by Katherine Hughes (Fall 2006) and supporting the national campaign demanding justice, and freedom, for Dr. Rafil A. Dhafir.

We, like Dr. Dhafir, FOR, Voices in the Wilderness, and so many partners in the faith-based justice movement, also took action against the crippling and inhumane international sanctions that targeted the people of Iraq. The case of Dr. Dhafir is one that we support, not only because he is innocent, but because, as a Muslim, he represents the best of our religious tradition.

Rafil A. Dhafir is a man of peace. But the truly guilty parties in this matter are the architects of the sanctions that took the lives of more than one million innocent Iraqi women, men, and children.

Thank you again for making Dr. Dhafir’s plight, and our struggle on his behalf, more widely known among the community of nonviolent activists for peace and justice.

As Salaam Aleikum,

Imam Mahdi Bray
Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation

Ibrahim M. Abdil-Mu’id Ramey
Director, Human and Civil Rights Division, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
Washington, D.C.
Dear Editor:

On this International Prisoners for Peace Day (December 1, 2006), we want to express our appreciation to you for featuring Katherine Hughes’ story in the current issue of Fellowship. She cites the case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir, who today is honored as one of the prisoners for peace recognized by the 2006 Prisoners for Peace program of War Resisters International.

The injustice of his prosecution and sentence is particularly extreme. The publication of this article in Fellowship will help us to inform the American public as to the facts of his case, and thereby provide practical support for Dr. Dhafir through his imprisonment and appeal. We hope Fellowship will continue to inform its readers of any developments in Dr. Dhafir’s case.

With our sincere appreciation,
Jack & Felice Cohen-Joppa
Editors & publishers, The Nuclear Resister
Tucson, Arizona
Dear Editor:

Thank you so much for publishing Katherine Hughes’s “Criminalizing Compassion in the War on Terror.” The government’s legally convoluted and confusing strategy against Muslim charities seems designed to make those of us outside its net simply throw up our hands in incomprehension and move on to something we can grasp more securely. “This is too complicated for us to deal with,” we say, and walk away, leaving the good people running the charities to the government’s mercy, leaving those they have helped, not to mention their own families, bereft, leaving ourselves vulnerable in our ignorance. I appreciate your making the commitment to feature Katherine Hughes’s presentation of the Dhafir case in all its complexity, in the context of the U.S. devastation of Iraq during and after the first Gulf War, and in its implications for other Muslim charities and for civil liberties in general. She brings clarity and moral vision to an issue that the mainstream media, taking its cues from the government, has irresponsibly obfuscated.

Thanks also for the wonderful photographs accompanying the article. It brought hope to see the spirited interfaith group supporting Dr. Dhafir during his trial, and it was impressive and heartwarming to see the farm animals Help the Needy had provided to people living on the edge. It was also sad and infuriating to realize that the government has a policy of stopping such aid, not only in Iraq but also in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Finally, I’d like to encourage other Fellowship readers to write to Dr. Dhafir. He will support your spirits as much as you support his. You can reach him at Rafil Dhafir, 11921-052, FCI Fairton, P.O. Box 420, Fairton NY 08320.

Jeanie Shaterian
Berkeley, California
Dear Editor:

I was pleased that Fellowship published Katherine Hughes’ useful and well-documented article about the grotesque miscarriage of justice in the case of Iraqi-born and Syracuse-based oncologist, Dr. Rafil Dhafir.

Though not charged with “terrorism” and although no evidence of “terrorism” was presented at his 2005 trial, Dr. Dhafir is now serving 22 years in prison on dubious white collar charges. Dr. Dhafir, thanks to his work with Help the Needy, a Middle Eastern philanthropy, has become a scapegoat in the so-called “war on terrorism.”

When a humanist and community activist who happens to be Iraqi and Muslim receives such a draconian and politically-motiviated sentence, we all must shudder at what our nation has become.

And let’s not kid ourselves, friends. Under Bush Inc., what we let happen to Iraqi-Americans today may well happen to non-hyphenated Americans tomorrow.

Ed Kinane
Syracuse, New York

[In 2003 Kinane, who is neither Middle Eastern nor Islamic, spent five months in Baghdad with Voices in the Wilderness — an act of protracted yet unprosecuted civil disobedience.]

Read Katherine’s article: Criminalizing Compassion in the War on Terror: Muslim Charities and the Case of Dr. Rafil A. Dhafir