AMA-MAPA Caravan Rally Highlights Immigration & Civil Rights Issues
By Hazem Kira

Stockton, CA: It was a sight worth seeing. A bus decked out with larger-than-life size motto “Restoring Ethics to Congress’ and followed by a caravan of about forty cars, including a limousine and a Hummer, drove through four cities - Tracy, Manteca, Lodi and Stockton – to highlight opposition to controversial immigration bill HR 4437, demand restoration of civil liberties, and support Pete McCloskey’s campaign for congress. Each car had an American flag and a McCloskey poster.
Jointly organized by the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), the caravan was met with enthusiastic response from fellow Americans. Streets were abuzz with back and forth honking by people in the caravan and people in other cars.
“Regardless of the outcome, Muslims and Latinos have made their mark on this election”, Mr. Tashie Zaheer said.
The three-hour caravan – a visual narrative for good government – ended with a rally in the Atherton Park, which was attended by about 100 activists, roughly equal numbers coming from Latino and Muslim communities.
Mr. Saif Khawja, a Stockton resident, welcomed the participants to the AMA-MAPA rally and urged them to remain active till the last vote is cast on Tuesday.
Taj Khan, a former candidate for Lodi city council, denounced “those who are trying to inject their own sleaze into the 11th District Congressional politics by trying to vilify Mr. McCloskey.” The sleaze politics, he said, is bound to fail.
Luis Magaña, a local community leader, informed the audience, “We will be going from door to door to remind all voters to go to the polls Tuesday and vote for our friend McCloskey. Pombo has sent a message against our community and we are going to respond with the full power of our votes.”
Labor leader Angel Picon, who had organized massive rallies in the last few weeks in Stockton and elsewhere, said: “This is a historic meeting because we have laid the foundations of a long-term Latino-Muslim coalition. Today my family has been extended by millions because millions of American Muslims have joined us.”
Nativo Lopez, National President of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), said: “We will not allow any one to divide us. Let them know that I am a Muslim and a Christian. No human being is illegal. Richard Pombo will fail because his politics has already failed. Those practicing politics of hatred and racism are living in the dead past; they are historically obsolete.”
Pointing out four members of Congressman Richard Pombo’s campaign staff, who had spent entire afternoon following and photographing the AMA-MAPA caravan and rally, Dr. Agha Saeed, National Chairman American Muslim Alliance, said: “Here is one directly observable difference between Mr. Pombo and Mr. McCloskey: Mr. Pombo spies on fellow-Americans, Mr. McCloskey doesn’t. But do you know why Mr. Pombo has sent these spies? Because he has run out of vision, ideas, and programs. Mr. McCloskey has brought here labor leaders, community organizers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, thinkers, writers and poets. Mr. Pombo has brought these spies. The record speaks for itself.”
Former Congressman Pete McCloskey, who is challenging Richard Pombo for the 11th District Congressional seat, said this is time for change. “I have come back from retirement because I want to save my party. I want to help restore ethics in Congress. My opponent is running away from issues and from public debate. Our campaign will not end with this election. It will continue till we get rid of corruption in government.”
Mr. McCloskey’s honesty, integrity and steadfastness have won endorsements at the eve of the primary elections, including one from San Jose Mercury, whose editors have written: “Finally, for California’s 11th Congressional District (among our readers, that’s mainly Morgan Hill), don’t miss the chance to unseat Rep. Richard Pombo, the 13-year congressman whose ties to the Abramoff scandal and record of radical anti-environmentalism make him unfit to represent California. Former Rep. Pete McCloskey, a moderate with impeccable credentials and the drive to clean up corruption in Washington, is the best choice in the Republican primary.”
AMA and MAPA have planned a full-fledged voter turn drive on the election-day.

 

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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