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IMAM FOAD FARAHI: Journey to Asylum

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April 16, 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder United States Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001 FACSIMILE: (202) 307-6777 IN RE: U.S. Court of Appeal Case No.: 09-10465-EE Case Style: Foad Karim Farahi vs. U.S. Attorney General Dear Attorney General Holder: In my capacity as Executive Director of MAS Freedom (MASF), the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS), together with the undersigned signators of this petition, write today on behalf of Foad Karim Farahi, a North Miami Beach Florida, community leader and Imam for the Shamsuddin Islamic Center. However, before going into additional detail, I would be remiss in failing to inform you that this is a matter of extreme urgency in that, new counsel for Mr. Farahi will soon file a Brief on behalf of Imam Farahi's in the U.S. Court of Appeals, therefore, in order for our collaborative efforts to be maximized, we must move swiftly. We request your support of Imam Foad Farahi, a North Miami Beach Florida, community leader and Imam for the Shamsuddin Islamic Center in his quest for a rehearing on his petition for asylum in the United States. Mr. Farahi, although born and raised in Kuwait, is a citizen of Iran who first entered the United States as a student and subsequently applied for asylum in August 2002. After encountering numerous procedural delays over the next several years, on October 23, 2007, while dutifully appearing for another scheduled hearing, Mr. Farahi was confronted by handcuff-bearing immigration officials pressuring him into withdrawing his petition for asylum in exchange for being granted 30-days to voluntarily leave the country or face arrest on charges of allegedly supporting terrorist groups. On the advice of his original counsel, and under an obvious state of duress, Mr. Farahi withdrew his petition for asylum. Even if Mr. Farahi wanted to leave the country within the designated 30-days it would not have been possible. Mr. Farahi's Iranian passport had expired on March 11, 2007, thereby also leaving insufficient time to secure a visa to Kuwait; to which he also has no right to return. Although born in Kuwait, he does not hold Kuwaiti citizenship. Subsequent to withdrawing his petition for asylum, Mr. Farahi was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on November 26, 2007 and detained at Krome Detention Center. New counsel for Mr. Farahi filed an Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunctive Relief that was granted in December 2007 by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke. The Judge's order provided for Mr. Farahi's release from detention and further prohibited the continuation of deportation proceedings pending exhaustion of all legal remedies afforded to Mr. Farahi pursuant to the U.N. Geneva Convention under 'Withholding of Removal and Convention Against Torture' (CAT) and U.S. law. MAS Freedom, as the civil and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society, implores you, in the interest of fairness and justice, to support the right of Mr. Farahi to have a hearing on his original asylum application. Mr. Farahi's service to the Muslim community of Florida, and his work in building interfaith understanding and cooperation, as set forth in a March 28, 2007 Miami Herald news article, is highly respected within the Muslim community, throughout the interfaith community and the Miami community at-large as well. US law allows authorities to deny refugee protection to persons believed to have associated with or provided "material support" to certain armed groups, as ICE officials are attempting to allege against Mr. Farahi. The broad terms of the law have led authorities to bar persons who qualify as refugees under international law, despite the fact that in January 2008 Congress passed legislation that granted governmental power to waive these bars in deserving cases,however, the exercise of this discretion has been painstakingly slow as seen in the case of Imam Foad Farahi. The United States has a proud tradition of welcoming immigrants. It is a country founded on notions of human rights and equal treatment, however, current U.S. deportation policies are returning refugees to places where they are likely to be persecuted; as is the case with Mr. Farahi. As Attorney General, you hold the power to remand Foad Farahi's case back to an immigration magistrate for a final determination. We respectfully request your assistance in securing Mr. Farahi's right to a rehearing on his application for asylum in the United States by helping to insure that his case is remanded back to an immigration magistrate. Thanking you in advance for your time and attention to this urgent matter, we are, Sincerely, Imam Mahdi Bray Executive Director MAS Freedom 1325 G Street NW, Suite 500 Washington DC 20005 Phone: (202) 552-7414 Fax: (703) 998-6526 and THE UNDERSIGNED,


MAS Freedom (MASF) the civic and human rights advocacy entity and sister organization of the Muslim American Society (MAS), the largest Muslim, grassroots, charitable, religious, social, cultural, civic and educational organization in America - with 55 chapters in 35 states. SUPPORT MAS FREEDOM - DONATE TODAY! NOTE: Advertisements on this petition are not to be construed as endorsements by MAS/MAS Freedom.


ABOUT THE CASE: Preliminary Victory for MAS Freedom Legal Fund as S. Miami District Court Judge Orders No Arrest or Deportation for Farahi MAS Freedom Concerned About Gov't Targeting of Immigrant Muslim Activists and Clergy for Voluntary Departure IN THE NEWS: BREAKING NEWS! Iran Jails Journalist as US Spy IMMIGRATION: Cleric, Foad Farahi, Claims he was Pressured to Leave (originally published in the Miami Herald 12/07) IN THE COMMUNITY: Imam Foad Farahi Explains Faith to Christian and Jewish Seniors Local Students Lessons of Understanding at First Annual Interfaith Children's Peace Conference RELATED: How Ahmad Batebi Survived Torture In Iran CBS News Online Clinton Calls for Iran to Release American Reporter Charged With Spying
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