Last Friday, September 24th, the FBI raided the homes of, and served Grand Jury subpoenas to, Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), and several other anti-war activists in Chicago, Michigan, and Minneapolis, and questioned others in North Carolina and California—essentially attempting to criminalize their strong and tireless advocacy against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and support for the rights of the peoples of Palestine and Colombia.
For many years, Hatem Abudayyeh has led the social services, cultural outreach, adult education, and youth development programming of the AAAN; and has advocated for the civil and human rights of Arabs and other immigrants in the U.S., as well as Palestinians and oppressed peoples across the world. The Arab American Action Network denounces the raids on the homes of, and the serving of Grand Jury subpoenas to, these anti war activists in Chicago and across the country. The FBI has overstepped its boundaries and targeted individuals based on their commitment to peacefully challenge U.S. policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Colombia.
The raids are unfounded and have violated these activists’ constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of assembly, rights that are supposed to be guaranteed without intimidation in the United States. Furthermore, the raids are a waste of taxpayer dollars and are direct attempts to intimidate, as well as silence, these activists, their communities, and any voice of dissent.
We, as members of the Board of Directors of the Arab American Action Network, condemn this attack on our Executive Director, which is another in a long list of attacks on our community. We stand in support of him and the other activists fighting for peace, justice, and an end to unjust U.S. policies across the world.
And we encourage participation in the national day of action on Monday, October 4th—call Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General (202-353-1555), and demand that the Department of Justice end its harassment of anti-war and international solidarity activists, return all materials seized in the raids, and stop the Grand Jury subpoenas.