August 4 Events Will Mark 14thAnniversary of Arrests of Albany Muslims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Lynne Jackson, (518) 366-7324, lynnejackson@mac.com

August 4 Events Will Mark 14thAnniversary of Arrests of Albany Muslims

On Saturday, August 4, the Muslim Solidarity Committee will sponsor events to mark the 14thanniversary of the arrests in 2004 of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, two Albany Muslims later convicted in 2006 on spurious terrorism charges in a shameful “sting” trial. The events are free and open to all.

Starting at 5:30 p.m. on August 4, supporters will gather outside the Masjid As-Salam, 280 Central Ave., for a rally. Aref was the imam there at the time of his arrest; Hossain was a co-founder of the mosque. Supporters will then march a few blocks to the First Unitarian Universalist Society, 405 Washington Ave., where dinner will be served at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., the Project SALAM Players will perform a short play written by Steve Downs, “To Catch a Muslim,” which treats the sting, the informant, and the Aref-Hossain trial and aftermath with irony and a little humor and takes some potshots at the government’s legal scheming to convict innocent men. After the play, supporters can write postcards to Yassin Aref to wish him well upon his upcoming release, and to Mohammed Hossain, who still has over two years before release.

Following the performance, a special guest, Tarik Shah, will speak about his own case. Shah, who was ensnared in a similar sting operation in New York City in 2005, was released from prison in March after serving thirteen years. An internationally acclaimed jazz bassist, Shah now lives in Albany, and his case was featured as part of the 2015 documentary film (T)ERROR, the first time that filmmakers had access to an active FBI informant in a domestic counterterrorism investigation. (T)ERRORwon an Emmy award in 2016, and is available on Netflix.

These events are co-sponsored by Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia, Capital Region Chapter of Coalition for Civil Freedoms, Center for Law and Justice, Masjid As-Salam, New York Civil Liberties Union Capital Region Chapter, Project SALAM, Save the Pine Bush, Social Responsibilities Council of First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, and Veterans for Peace/Tom Paine Chapter.

Media:

– “Central Ave. Imam Wrapped Up In 2004 FBI Sting Nears Release, Deportation” by Dave Lucas, WAMC-FM, August 2:

http://www.wamc.org/post/central-ave-imam-wrapped-2004-fbi-sting-nears-release-deportation

– “After 14 years behind bars, Albany imam will return to Kurdistan” by Paul Grondahl, Albany Times Union, August 1:

https://www.timesunion.com/local/article/After-14-years-behind-bars-Albany-imam-will-13119668.php

– Waiting for Mercy, documentary film about Aref-Hossain case by Ellie Bernstein, 2009: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj280zNEGnM

– Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/628771610841514/