Tribute to Farouk this Tuesday on WBAI
This coming Tuesday (April 12th) will mark the one year anniversary since the
release of our brother and comrade in struggle, Farouk Abdel-Muhti, from custody in the immigration jails of the United States Immigration authorities, on an alleged visa violation. As many in the progressive community know, Farouk passed away tragically just one hundred years after his release, having fallen victim to a fatal heart attack, undoubtedly brought on by conditions he endured while in custody in the gulags of the US Immigration authorities, much to the shock and dismay of his family, friends, and supporters. The details of his incarceration are outlined below.
We are planning a tribute in Farouk?s honor on WBAI?s Wake-Up Call (99.5 FM in
New York, www.wbai.org) this Tuesday, April 12th, at 6:15 am. This will be an extended segment where we will discuss his life and WBAI will re-broadcast some of his interviews with them, both before and after his release. We send out thanks to the Wake-Up Call staff at WBAI?s Radio Pacifica in New York for hosting this event, and hope you will be listening.
Additionally, in the near future we will host a commemorative trip out to the
cemetery where Farouk is buried (Forest Green Cemetery, plot J-26 in the Islamic Section) in Marlboro, New Jersey, for those who are interested. We have a tentative date of April 30 set for this occasion, but will let you know for
certain, once the event is planned.
Below please find a statement detailing Farouk?s struggles for social justice, and commemorating his life.
Sharin Chiorazzo and Tarek Abdel-Muhti
Statement Honoring the Life and Work of Farouk Abdel-Muhti
Farouk Abdel Muhti was a political prisoner, a freedom fighter, a
revolutionary, and a political activist who dedicated his life to the question of
Palestine and to the attainment of legitimate political rights and independent
statehood for the Palestinian People. Farouk was at an Anti-War Forum at the
Philadelphia Ethical Society, hosted by an assortment of human rights groups
gathered together in their opposition to political detentions in the United States
and on the repercussions of the post-September 11th government policies on
immigrants, on the night he died, July 21, 2004. He had just finished delivering
an inspirational speech and message to the progressive community, whom he credited with his release from immigration detention, when his fatal heart attack struck him. Farouk was pronounced dead less than two hours later at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, around 10 pm, to the shock and dismay of his friends, supporters and loved ones.
Farouk was a stateless Palestinian, who came to the attention of Immigration
authorities earlier in his life, but more intensely after September 11th, 2001,
when he began speaking out fervently for the rights of Arabs and Muslims in the United States and for the rights of his people, the Palestinians, who came under severe attack in Israel after the so called ?War on Terror? had begun in the United States, and the Bush Administration turned a blind eye to Ariel Sharon?s brutal policies against the Palestinian People, which were intensified during this period.
Farouk was picked up by the Absconder Task Force in New York at his home, on
April 26th, 2002, about one month after he began broadcasts on WBAI?s Wake-Up Call, a progressive Pacifica radio station based in New York City, (99.5 fm,
www.wbai.org) in a program which exposed the plight of the Palestinian People and the brutality being waged against them by the Sharon Government in Israel. He spent the next two years being shuttled between nine different jails throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including eight months and ten days in solitary confinement in York, PA, as punishment for his political activism, under the pretext of an immigration violation. It was during this period that Farouk?s health deteriorated, mainly due to the stress put upon his body by the constant moves, mistreatment, beatings and withholding of thyroid and hypertension medication from him by prison officials and guards.
Farouk was never charged with a crime. He was finally ordered released on
April 9th, 2004 by Federal District Judge Yvette Kane of Pennsylvania, who ruled that the government?s holding of Farouk was unconstitutional. Farouk mainly fought for social justice and rights for all oppressed peoples, including African Americans in the United States, and indigenous peoples all over the world, throughout much of his life. He embraced the struggles of people in Latin America, Cuba, Puerto Rico (around the issue of Vieques), Palestine, and those of all others deprived of their fundamental economic, social, civil, political, and human rights. He was especially vocal on the issue of workers? rights, and supportive of the struggle of workers around the world from a class-conscious, socialist perspective. Farouk voiced his commitment to socialism and social justice, and officially became a member of the USA Socialist Party in 2004.
Farouk believed in the extension of rights and justice to all peoples. He
brought many progressive groups in the United States together around the ideas of human rights, workers? rights and social justice, linking all of these to the struggle for legitimate political rights and independent statehood in Palestine.
Farouk was a true revolutionary, who believed in legitimate resistance to
occupation and political repression, wherever it is found, but who at the same
time, condemned terrorism, including the state terrorism waged by states such as Israel against the Palestinian People, and the current American occupation against the Iraqi people. Farouk always reiterated that he and his people were victims of terrorism at the hands of the current Israeli administration and previous administrations, who had occupied his land and denied him and other Palestinians the right to return to their country, in spite of United Nations Security Council Resolution 194, and other resolutions signed onto by the United States, which are recognized as legally binding by the international community. Farouk condemned terrorism against civilian populations in all forms, both in the United States and abroad.
Farouk was fervently anti-imperialist, but not anti-American, even though
the current US Administration under George W. Bush denied him his freedom and his rights, and even tried to deny him his dignity by imprisoning him without
charges, by withholding medication from him, and by holding him in solitary confinement for more than eight months at York County Prison in 2003.. But this did not stop Farouk's dedication to his work and to the just causes he embraced, namely justice and rights for Palestinians and foe oppressed peoples all over the world.
Farouk considered America to be his home and New York to be his city. He
considered himself and his Palestinian community to be integral members of
American society, and as such, a part of the fabric of immigrants that make up
Farouk was Anti-Zionist, but not Anti-Jewish. He worked with progressive
Jewish groups in the New York City area on the question of Palestine, and
encouraged all groups to work together on this and other pertinent issues of
social justice and equality everywhere. He was against racism and oppression in
all its forms, including in the Jewish case.
Farouk brought many diverse groups, peoples and struggles together, from the
left, including workers, socialists, liberals, anarchists, those embracing
African-American struggles, Latin American struggles, and the struggles of
indigenous peoples, in addition to the struggles of his own people for political,
social and human rights, justice, and equality. He was exemplary for exposing the true situation of the Palestinian People to an oftentimes uninformed North
American public. He never attempted to gain recognition for himself, but utilized
his growing popularity as a platform to speak about and expose the plight of his
people, the Palestinians.
Farouk did amazing work and accomplished a great deal in his life, even
while imprisoned. He mobilized many immigrant detainees together during this time, and took up their concerns and legal problems as his own. His selfless and tireless commitment to human rights should be held up as a model to all of us. We were all honored to have known this great man.
His passing is a great loss to the New York City progressive community, and
to all those who believe in social justice, human rights, and equality for all
peoples. He will be missed immensely however, we must carry on his work to the best of our abilities, in order to adequately honor the life and work of this great man, who will not be forgotten.
Sharin Chiorazzo (Farouk?s fianc?e and comrade in struggle)
November 18, 2012
October 20, 2012
July 28, 2012
July 9, 2012