CONTACT:    Shamshad Ahmad:  cell (518) 331-3310 [for interviews]
Steve Downs:  (518) 767-0102 [for interviews]
Jeanne Finley:  (518) 438-8728, or [for information and for book reviews]

Albany, New York ——  Media and supporters are invited to a press
conference to mark the publication of a new book, Rounded Up:
Artificial Terrorists and Muslim Entrapment After 9/11
, about the
Aref-Hossain sting case. Its author is Dr. Shamshad Ahmad, president
of the Masjid As-Salam mosque in Albany. The press conference will be
held at the Masjid As-Salam, 278 Central Avenue, on Friday, October 2
at 2:30 p.m.
Rounded Up, written from a Muslim-American’s perspective, is a
thoroughly researched, well-documented, inside view of the Albany
case from its beginning in 2003, to the FBI raid of the mosque and
the men’s arrests in 2004, through the 2006 trial, to its tragic end

in 2007 with the sentencing of Imam Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, the two Muslims convicted of aiding terrorism who are now each
serving 15 years in federal prison.

In Rounded Up, Ahmad and Aref’s volunteer attorney, Steve Downs, who
wrote the book’s foreword, leave no doubt that the case was a frame-
up designed to advance the post-9/11 “war on terror” and intimidate
the Muslim community. To support this conclusion, Ahmad offers inside
information about the evidence that has never before been made
public. In addition, direct transcriptions of many of the sting tapes
used to prosecute the men appear at the end of the book. Most of
these conversations were never entered as evidence in court or
released to the public, and they allow the reader to “hear” the
defendants interacting with the government informant as the deception
evolved over a year.

While Yassin Aref’s 2008 memoir, Son of Mountains, details his own
experiences both before and after the trial, it is not about the case
per se. Rounded Up is the only comprehensive account of the Albany
case available to date, and there is only one other book on the
market about a domestic terrorism case itself. Thus Rounded Up is an
important contribution to the new body of literature about the
government’s preemptive prosecution of Muslims in America. An ironic
twist is that the same government informant used in the Aref-Hossain
case was also used in the May 2009 arrests of four men in Newburgh,
New York on charges of plotting a terrorist missile attack——a “plot”
very similar to Albany’s sting. That case has not yet gone to trial.

Ahmad has taught physics at the University at Albany for nearly 30
years, and is the 2007 recipient of the Jim Perry Progressive
Leadership Award from Citizen Action of the Capital District.  He has
dedicated Rounded Up to the Muslim Solidarity Committee, the citizen
advocacy group formed in 2006 after the convictions, which continues
to support the two defendants and their families and keep the case
alive in the community. In the closing chapters of Rounded Up, Ahmad
contends that this activism played a significant role in the men’s
sentencing by convincing the judge to halve their recommended prison
terms, and in establishing “watchdog” status for other such Muslim
“terror” cases nationwide.

Rounded Up will be available for sale in local bookstores and online
at both and the Troy Book Makers. All proceeds from the
sale of the book will go to the Aref Education Fund, established by
the author for the educational needs of Yassin Aref’s four children.
Shamshad Ahmad and Steve Downs are available for interviews. Book
reviews are also requested.
Quotes from Rounded Up:

“I invite you to think: there are more than six million Muslims in
this country, and eight years have gone by since 9/11, yet not a
single Muslim terrorist has ever been found here. We are not
terrorists. We are part of this society, we share its concerns, and
we want to share in its success and prosperity.”
About the sting tape of November 20, 2003: “The FBI has provided a
transcript that contains only the first one-third of the discussion
in this meeting. Perhaps their mission was completed when the camera
recorded the picture of Malik [informant] holding the SAM on his
shoulder, with Hossain looking at it. Very few will bother to
investigate what actually went on during the rest of this meeting.
Any honest soul will feel sorry for a person who expressed his views
as Hossain did, and who was subsequently entrapped and convicted for
promoting terrorism.”

“In his testimony, Agent Coll said, ‘On numerous times, he [Aref]
said, “I understand you want to legalize your money and it is good
for you and good for him, you should both have the benefit, it is
part of the faith.”’ But in the entire fifty hours of tape
recordings, I found a discussion about legalizing money only once…
[Aref] had the impression that Malik [informant] was claiming some
kind of business tax credit by such transactions——the same way people
giving to charities get tax deductions. ‘I had no clue of any illegality of the loan arrangement,’ Aref told us. ‘How can I say money laundering is a part of our faith? Our faith forbids even interest.’”