Islamic Relief Fundraising Dinner
April 1, 2007 Islamic Relief Worldwide held a fund-raising dinner for Darfur at the Sheraton Colonial Hotel in Wakefield, Massachusetts.  Imam Zaid Shakir ( http://www.zaidshakir.com/) of the Zaytuna Institute (http://www.zaytuna.org/ ) was the guest speaker.
The speakers described their experiences at refugee camps in Darfur and showed slides, less gruesome than those provided by Gloria White-Hammond or Mia Farrow. Imam Shakir emphasized the Islamic piety of the population of Darfur.
The Islamic Relief speaker pointed out that janjaweed (standard Arabic jund jawaâ€™id) is simply a generic term for cavalry or militia. A janjaweed may be allied with the government, fighting for the rebellion or simply engaging in brigandage.
Because Darfur and Chad are so resource poor, refugee women that ventured outside the camps to collect firewood threatened the livelihood of local people, who sometimes became angry and attacked the refugees. This sort of violence is a consequence of the civilian population displacement caused by the civil war but is separate from the fighting between the rebels and the government. Once Islamic Relief workers acquired more efficient stoves so that the refugees gathered far less wood for fuel, a major source of friction between refugees and local people diminished tremendously.
One attendee pledged $10,000 to aid the refugees while two other guests pledged $5,000, and practically everyone pledged something.
Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch addresses Kennedy School of Government
On Friday April 27, 2007, the Carr Center for Human Rights presented a talk by Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth on â€œHuman Rights at Homeâ€ at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Carr Center Director Sarah Sewall introduced Roth as someone deeply devoted to issues of justice and accountability.
In his address, Roth argued that the framework of criminal law provides a much more effective approach to combating terrorism than the Bush administrationâ€™s panicked war response, which consists of detentions, prosecutions, placing people in the category of enemy, and torture.
The enemy combatant category arises from the lack of ability to prosecute detainees for crimes, he said.
The Bush administration, he said, appears afraid that legal criminal prosecution would lead to the release of suspects that have been tortured.
He noted that the Bush administration is still transferring prisoners from secret facilities to Guantanamo even though the secret facilities were supposed to have closed months ago.
Roth claimed that CIA interrogators are worried about future prosecutions and the Army rewrote their manual to get out of the torture business. Criticism of organizations like HRW seems to have had some effect.
As he explained, an effective counterterrorism policy would prevent, punish, incapacitate, and deter terrorists. He argued that the Bush policy has ruined the US legal system and enraged people throughout the world. Useful information cannot be obtained via torture, as there is no way to know whether the information obtained is valid. Statistics on preventing terrorism show that only 10% of terrorism is prevented by interrogations, while 90% is prevented by walk-in voluntary testimony, but nowadays, no one is willing to report anything for fear of being detained themselves.
Roth, who served as a federal prosecutor for the Iran-Contra investigation, believes that a criminal law framework would make it possible to build non-testimonial prosecutions that would not depend on torture testimony. Britain prosecutes terrorism suspects via standard criminal deterrence techniques. This approach would rebuild respect for the US as a source of justice. At present, other nations are circumventing the US to create their own international legal regime to deal with terrorism that does not depend on the US.
One audience member mentioned the insanity of US discourse over Israel. Roth agreed and mentioned Dershowitzâ€™s irrational attacks on HRW, but he avoided giving further details because he felt it was a topic for a lecture in itself.
Islamic Society of Boston Releases Evidence of Conspiracy Against Mosque
Boston–May 7–This week, the Islamic Society of Boston publicly released discovery materials from their conspiracy lawsuit, which reveal that in 2004, Israel advocates met with real estate investors, attorneys, and politicians at their office in Boston to discuss coordinating efforts â€œto present a legal challengeâ€ to the Roxbury Mosque project. The executive director of the Israel advocacy organization congratulated the group.
â€œDiscussion of issues and individuals involved in the Mosque led to some preliminary steps as we continue to gather information and develop an action planâ€ to unravel the land deal between the City and the ISB.
â€œâ€¦Given that they may not have parking, [IDF fundraising real estate developer] suggested we might thwart them through the building permit process for the intended parking.â€
The real estate investors recruited a Jewish law student from Harvard to assist their attorney, who is a Republican Party activist.
The most aggressive of the real estate developers told the executive producer of the Investigative Reporting unit at Fox News in Boston how to use the Freedom of Information act to obtain records from the Boston Redevelopment Authority about the Cityâ€™s sale of land to the Muslim community. He specifically instructed the TV news reporter to use language associating the mosque with terrorism.
â€œAside from our 1st Amendment claims and the various other strategies to attack the mosque, ultimately our interest is based on the premise that some of the senior people in the ISB are supporters of terrorism and sworn enemies of America and Jews, and that the construction of the mosque may be funded by Wahhabis.â€
The executive director collaborated with the ADL and some discredited terrorism â€œexpertsâ€ to fabricate something she called a â€œcomprehensive document regarding the individuals/organizations/history etc. of the Mosque, which will be the backbone of the media campaignâ€¦Filing the lawsuit would be the initial lead/newsworthy component of the media angles.â€
â€œMosque Characters.docâ€ lists over twenty Muslim leaders including various ISB directors with bogus and bizarre connections to â€œthe Moslem Brotherhood,â€ Hamas, Hezbollah and Taibah.
The Israel advocacy groupâ€™s co-founder had made plans for â€œenlisting support of the Black Church community in the suit as a possible plaintiff,â€ but commendably, no one in the Black community would participate. The group made do with an Italian American who lives nowhere near the mosque. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2007 as being â€œwithout merit.â€