Tuesday, April 29, 2014

26 June, International Day against Islamophobia and Indefinite Detention of Immigrants: Free Mohammad Mahjoub Now!

On Sunday, April 27, 2014, People's Commission <commissionpopulaire@gmail.com> wrote:

26 June, International Day against Islamophobia and Indefinite Detention of Immigrants: Free Mohammad Mahjoub Now!



Egyptian refugee and torture survivor Mohammad Mahjoub has been jailed and detained for 14 years in Canada because he is profiled as a Muslim. His supporters are calling for an international day of solidarity on June 26, 2014, marking 14 years of administrative detention. See background below. 

::Ideas for local actions::

On June 26th 2014, we are coordinating creative actions across Canada and in cities around the world to denounce Islamophobia and indefinite detention of all immigrants. We are calling for actions that highlight the amount of time Mohammad Mahjoub has been fighting to clear himself from this horrible Security Certificate ordeal. 

Here are some suggestions for actions and numbers you can play with, to create your own local action:

# of years = 14 ------------> a 14-hour fast outside a Canadian embassy 
# of months = 168 ----------> 168-person flash mob action in a Canadian immigration office (!) or 14 people freeze for 12 minutes outside a Canadian Border Services Office
# of days = 5110 -----------> a 5110-link chain wound around a symbol of Canada 
# of hours = 122,640 -------> 122,640 pieces of confetti, flyers or symbolic objects to be released/dropped/shared
# of minutes = 7,358,400 ---> *yikes* if you can think of something, let us know!

**For the larger numbers - try dividing the time up equally among a number of people - see example in the # of months above.

Note: these are just examples! Use your creativity! Posters around the city, dropping or releasing objects, signs, vigils, other actions: all welcome!

INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING? GET IN TOUCH WITH US justiceformahjoub@gmail.com. We can send posters, flyers, images, press release, and background documents.


Many view Canada as a welcoming and accepting country. The reality is not so pretty. Here administrative detention and deportations of immigrants are a daily reality. In immigration processes, profiling, use of evidence tainted by torture, and collusion with abusive spy agencies around the world is routine.

Mohammad Mahjoub is a 14-year victim and survivor of Canada's racist and islamophobic border laws. Arrested on June 26th, 2000, he spent almost 8 years in prison, including several years in solitary confinement. His imprisonment was justified as a question of "security" but no specific charges were ever laid and the alleged evidence remains secret. Over the years, Mr. Mahjoub went on hunger-strike over and over again, just to get basic medical services and rights.

In 2007, under pressure of a widespread public campaign, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the "security certificate" legislation under which Mr. Mahjoub was detained. However, the Court failed to release Mr. Mahjoub and the other Muslim detainees; instead inviting the government to introduce revised legislation before the men tasted freedom. The right-wing Canadian Conservative party took advantage of its new governing position to do so the following year.

Released on house arrest, Mr. Mahjoub's conditions were harsh and at first included camera surveillance of his home, two-way video inside the home, sensor which showed when windows were open, 24-hour physical accompaniment, draconian limitations on movement outside his home, and a GPS device permanently attached to his body. However, Mr. Mahjoub continued his campaign for justice and dignity. As his release conditions were progressively lessened, he embarked on a national speaking tour supporting immigrant rights and speaking out against racism and islamophobia in Canada.

When the Egyptian uprising finally overthrew Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Mahjoub was able to obtain new evidence disproving allegations made against him and linking Canadian officials to the detention and torture of his brothers in Egypt.

Nevertheless, in 2013, a Canadian court upheld the 'Security Certificate' issued almost four years earlier, even as it acknowledged that the process it used to make the ruling did not meet standards of fairness. Mr. Mahjoub is now on his way to the Supreme Court for a second time.

Mr. Mahjoub's story is not extraordinary. In almost every western country, Muslim men are jailed on 'security grounds', while anti-immigrant and racist hysteria is fomented by politicians. In this latest wave of surveillance, incarceration and attack on freedoms, particularly of whistle-blowers and environmentalists, we have to remember that first they came for the Muslims. Now is the time to connect our struggles.

Resist Racism! Resist Islamophobia! Forge Global Chains of Solidarity!

Justice for Mahjoub