AMA Spotlights Lodi Arrests & Aftermath
By Hazem Kira

Sacramento, CA: The American Muslim Alliance (AMA), a national organization with 101 chapters, has set up an emergency town hall meeting to help local Muslim communities come to grips with the socio-political consequences of alleged terror-related arrests in Lodi.
The AMA town hall meeting titled “Standing Up For Our Civil Rights: How Not To Be A Victim of Guilt By Association” will be held at the Islamic Center of Greater Sacramento located at 411 V Street (5th and V St.) in Sacramento on Tuesday, June 14 at 7: 00PM.
Confirmed speakers include independent vice presidential candidate Peter Camejo, Libertarian party leader Mark Hinkle, and Green Party Co-Chair Jo Chamberlain. Representatives of ACLU and NAACP as well as several religious organizations are also expected to speak at this event.
“The main purpose of this meeting is to make sure that upstanding and law-abiding Muslim Americans are not victimized through guilt by association,” AMA National Chair, Dr. Agha Saeed said. “We want to ensure due process and equal justice for all”.
Four individuals, including a Pakistani-born father and his US-born son, were arrested in Lodi, California a few days ago. The father and the son, both US citizens, were initially accused of plotting terrorist activities in the United States. However, in the last few days many of the more serious charges against Umer Hayat, the father, and Hamid Hayat, the son have been dropped. The other two individuals were arrested for alleged visa violations.
Many civil libertarians have expressed grave misgiving about variance in the two affidavits circulated by the FBI. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, “The first version of the affidavit released to media organizations Tuesday by the Department of Justice in Washington said potential terrorist targets included hospitals and stores and contained names of key individuals and statements about the international origins of ‘hundreds’ of participants in alleged Al Qaeda terrorist training camps inside Pakistan.”
The LA Times also reported that that “those details — among the most alarming in the case — were widely reported in the press but then deleted in the final version filed with the federal court in Sacramento on Tuesday.”
Although the Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra attributed this serious lapse to an “unfortunate oversight due to miscommunication, “the defense attorney Johnny L. Griffin III, who represents the father, 47-year-old Lodi ice cream truck driver Umer Hayat, accused the government of "releasing information it knew it could not authenticate”."
Legal experts are already on record having said that due to these changes in affidavit “the perception of the defendants in the minds of potential jurors may have been irrevocably affected." Such a negative perception could make it virtually impossible for the accused to receive a fair trial.
Many members of the California Civil Rights Alliance (CCRA), a mainstream coalition of 23 organizations including the Catholic, Episcopalian and Unitarian Churches, are expected to attend the town hall meeting. The Green Party of Alameda County is also sending a group of lawyers and activists to work with Muslim communities in Northern California.

 

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