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In the Name of God the Most Beneficient the Most Merciful,

It has been a tough few days in Chicago for everyone but especially for the Muslim community. We have felt the pain and tragedy of the loss of one of our own being gunned down in a senseless act of cowardly murder.  Dr. Amadou Cisse was a brilliant young man full of compassion and embodying the virtues of his faith while having an openness to all he met.  From the comments of those who knew him we see that he was unselfish and ready to sacrifice for a better world.  Chicago’s streets are unforgiving like its cold winters, murders that occur every day barely get a mention. Innocent lives snuffed out and families left with the wounds and sorrow.  I pray for the family of Dr. Amadou Cisse and ask all those to remember him in a special prayer. May Allah forgive him and enter him into the highest of heavens, Jannat-ul-Firdaus, and may He reunite us with him in the HereAfter.

You came from the East

To the real heart of darkness

To spread your Nur amongst your hosts,

A guest whose soul rests now

In the soil of his fathers – near his Lord.

Dr.Abdel Haleem Ashqar

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Also today at the Dirksen Federal Building our dear brother Dr. Abdel Haleem Ashqar was sentenced to 11 years for criminal contempt and obstruction of justice charges. The lengthiest sentence ever delivered in such a case.  All terrorism charges by the government witch hunt related to the case were dropped. The prosecution still sought a life term. Please remember him and his family in your prayers as well.

Here a statement by CAIR that highlights the hypocrisy and excessiveness of this sentence:

CAIR-CHICAGO DISMAYED BY ‘EXCESSIVE’ ASHQAR SENTENCE

(CHICAGO, IL, 11/21/07) – The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today expressed dismay at what it termed the “excessive” eleven-year, three-month sentence given to Dr. Abdelhaleem Ashqar for the non-violent charges of criminal contempt and obstruction of justice.

Although a jury acquitted Ashqar, 49, of all terrorism related charges, the federal prosecution sought a life term, a sentence that would not normally be imposed unless he had been convicted of the most serious charge against him. The government also sought a similarly excessive sentence in the trial of co-defendant Mohammad Salah after failing to convict him on terrorism charges.

Dr. Ashqar is a stateless Palestinian professor who struggled against occupation and indignity. The judge herself admitted that Dr. Ashqar never participated, nor intended to participate, in any violent acts,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. “Americans should be concerned that our justice system would hand him such an excessive sentence.”

The government has faced a series of setbacks in its most prominent cases on alleged terrorism. There have been no convictions related to terrorism in the trials of the Holy Land Foundation, Sami Al-Arian, Muhammad Salah and Dr. Abdelhaleem Ashqar.

The continued push for excessive punishments in these cases shows the extent to which the trials are politically-motivated,” said CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Coordinator Christina Abraham.

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.– END – CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director (847) 971-3963 or (312) 212-1520 director@cairchicago.org or Christina Abraham, Civil Rights Coordinator (312) 212-1520 civilrights@cairchicago.org

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