About Me

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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Monday, August 27, 2007

Prisoner 345

Who is prisoner 345? And why should you and I care about him?

Prisoner 345 is Sami Al-Haj. Sami Al-Haj is prisoner 345 at the United States Detainment Camp in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. Sami has been on hunger strike since 7th January, 2007.
Sami was arrested in Pakistan in December 2001 while travelling with a legitimate visa to work in Afghanistan as a cameraman for Al Jazeera. But he is being held as an ‘enemy combatant’. Al Jazeera, its offices, and its reporters have regularly come under attack (political as well as physical) by the Bush administration. Its crime is not becoming a cheer leader (like many other media outlets that we shall not mention) for the Bush administration's numerous endless wars.

The Bush administration and the Pentagon have not charged Sami with any crime. Who gives us the right to take the freedom of people and separate them from their families without charging them with crimes? How would we feel if an American is subjected to such immoral and illegal practice?
Mr. Al-Haj must be freed and compensated for all the harm we have caused to him and his family. Mr. Al-Haj deserves an apology. But again, we owe this apology to the millions of innocent Iraqis and Afghans that we have ruined their livelihoods for the terrorist crime of 9/11 which they had no responsibility for.

I never met Sami Al-Haj. I never worked for Al-Jazeera. So why do I care? This position is basically for three groups of people. The first, it is for me personally. I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that one who sees injustice and remains silent about it is a mute devil, ie a silent partner in that injustice. I do not want to be an accomplice in this major injustice.

The second group is my children. I have always stressed to my children the Qur'anic teaching of speaking against injustice, especially when it is committed by one's own. Presently, my country is engaging in unjust practices. Remaining silent is not an option. My children need to know that when I had the chance to speak out, I did not cower. The Guantanamo Bay Gulag must be shut down. Those responsible for any crimes should have their day in an independent court and if not found guilty, they should be freed. The indefinite detention without charges is in itself a form of terrorism (called kidnapping), let alone the torture our government (sanctioned by our Attorney General Alberto Gonzales) has applied in the process. This is not what America stands for. As Americans, we have a duty to oppose those whose actions taint our country's history, image, and credibility. Of course, our first duty is to defend the dignity and humanity of every human being.

The third group is Sami’s family: his parents, his wife, and his son Mohammad who was born after Sami was illegally detained by our forces. They need to know that many Americans are ashamed and appalled by the actions of our government. We feel your pain. We pray for the day Sami will be free and will finally get to meet his son for the first time. As a father, I know that there is nothing that we can do to make up for the days Sami was deprived from seeing his son grow or the days Mohammad needed his father’s love, hugs, and comfort.

For more information on Sami Al-Haj, please read:
Shutdown the Gitmo Gulag
The Road to Guantanamo

Sami must be freed.

This poem below is an excerpt from an article which appeared in the leading British newspaper The Independent on June 21, 2007.

Humiliated In The Shackles
By Sami al Hajj

When I heard pigeons cooing in the trees,

Hot tears covered my face.

When the lark chirped, my thoughts composed

A message for my son.

Mohammad, I am afflicted.

In my despair, I have no one but Allah for comfort.

The oppressors are playing with me,

As they move freely around the world.

They ask me to spy on my countrymen,

Claiming it would be a good deed.

They offer me money and land,

And freedom to go where I please.

Their temptations seize

My attention like lightning in the sky.

But their gift is an empty snake,

Carrying hypocrisy in its mouth like venom,

They have monuments to liberty

And freedom of opinion, which is well and good.

But I explained to them that

Architecture is not justice.

America, you ride on the backs of orphans,

And terrorize them daily.

Bush, beware.

The world recognizes an arrogant liar.

To Allah I direct my grievance and my tears.

I am homesick and oppressed.

Mohammad, do not forget me.

Support the cause of your father, a God-fearing man.

I was humiliated in the shackles.

How can I now compose verses? How can I now write?

After the shackles and the nights and the suffering and the tears,

How can I write poetry?

My soul is like a roiling sea, stirred by anguish,

Violent with passion.

I am a captive, but the crimes are my captors'.

I am overwhelmed with apprehension.

Lord, unite me with my son Mohammad.

Lord, grant success to the righteous.


Anonymous said...

What can we do to help free Sami?

Karin Friedemann said...

I really would like to work to free Sami Al Hajj. Amnesty Internationa has succeeded in some cases. We must try!

WBIPI said...

What can we do to keep "Sami" in prison were he belongs.

"Bush Beware" I take this as a threat to the President of the USA by someone who supports the Taliban.

"Sami" should never see the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Yes yes. Let's release him. In fact, maybe he's come to LA and blow up the airport. Hopefully, just dogs and infidels will be there, and not any CAIR members. Because, after all, how could a victim allegedly kill a victim? Just doesn't make sense. Praise to unto cartoons.

Anonymous said...

Keep the terrorist scumbags locked up. Lock up CAIR officials with them, or deport them.

Anonymous said...

Things will be much better when we start torching muslims and razing mosques to be uses as public urinals.

Anonymous said...

As an enemy combatant he should of been shot and killed immediately instead of being tranasferred to Gitmo and not lived to write flowery poems. Btw... If he;s been on a hunger strike since January shouldn't the scum have long ago ceased to exist. Typical muslim liars.....

Anonymous said...

CAIR has been named as an unidicted co-conspirator in a terrorism trial in Dallas, TX. Sami Al Hajj has been convicted by a jury of his peers, following a trial, per the Constitution of the United States of America for giving material support to terrorists and terrorist organizations.

Mr. Al Hajj, thus, should serve fully the sentence for which he was convicted and then, be deported to his place of origin, again, per the laws of this country.

The same should be done with the leaders of CAIR...with the same punished meted out if they are duly convicted.

The individual who wrote this letter, however, is being treated far better than he would be by ANY Muslim country, where torture (real torture, not "waterboarding") are a routine occurence. He's very lucky on that respect. The Saudi's have executed several of the internees from Gitmo, when they were turned over their jurisdiction. I do NOT agree that he should be shot, unless of course he is found and duly convicted crimes against this country that merit the death penalty.

Rich V.
Baltimore, MD USA

Anonymous said...

Freedom will come to "Sami" when he dies. CAIR has now openly taken the side of the enemy.

I assume you know that under the treaties of the Hague, illegal enemy combatants taken on the field of battle can be shot immediately.

Sami is lucky we're not Muslim.

James said...

Wow! A CAIR leader supporting terrorist. How surprising. NOT

Arthur said...

LOL. Can those who wrote the comments read and understand English? Where is the threat to the President? It is true that bigots are stupid too. LOL

Anonymous said...

"Bush, beware."

Perhaps, to Arthur, that is a term of endearment. And by the way, Arthur, only one person made a bigoted remark in this blog, and it certainly wasn't the person brought up the obvious threat.

American Crusader said...

Moderated comments? Big surprise...
He should at best be deported to Afghanistan where a death sentence awaits him.
Give him a bacon sandwich.

Anonymous said...

Imagine an uncensored blog in any Arab country!

Bill said...

Wow. I love this blog. Keep writing; I will keep reading!

Helen said...

This guy, like all of those jihadists at Guantanamo, should be summarily executed once we've got information from them. They want war? It's high time the U.S. took off the gloves and brought the Crusade to the jihadists. If jihad is the question, Crusade is the answer.

Dianne said...

What a shame. We used to be a country that prides itself on due process and fair treatment. I just can't imagine what I would do if another country detains my son for so many years without trial.
Thank you Mr. Ayloush for standing for what America used to stand for.

Brian M. said...

Hi Hassam,
I never heard of CAIR before, but based on what I am reading, I am very impressed. Thanks to a forwarded message from some website called Atlas Shrugs, I got introduced to your blog and to your organization. I am a college assistant professor and I will offer your blog as a suggested reading for my political science class. Can you write on the Muslim political activism in the US?

Amanda Elend said...


I'm working over at MobLogic, and we have a show up today about Sami al-Haj, an Al Jazeera journalist who's been in Guantanamo for five years without being charged. Our host, Lindsay Campbell went out on the streets to ask about the prisoner, Al Jazeera's possible ties to Al Qaeda, and the lack of due process at Guantanamo. (http://www.moblogic.tv/video/2008/03/21/i-say-al-jazeera-you-say-al-qaeda/)

Come check it out if you're interested. We also have al-Haj's story up on our blog post today. (http://www.moblogic.tv/blog/2008/03/21/prisoner-345/)

We really think this is a story that hasn't been told in American media, and we want to hear your opinion on it.

Thanks so much for your time,
Amanda Elend