Editorial Note: The
following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may
also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology.
Comments are in parentheses.
Humanitarian Mission to Iran
By Mahmoud El-Yousseph
ccun.org, May 7, 2009
The current relations between the
U.S. and Iran are not a pretty picture; in fact it is like a
roller-coaster ride. This is a bad news for Muslims in America and
Iran is bitter over its billions of dollars in
frozen assets still in U.S. banks for the last three decades,
following the takeover of our embassy in Tehran. Secondly, the U.S.
government maintains a hostile attitude and insistance to quash Iran's
ambitions to build a peaceful nuclear program. There are nine other
nations on this planet earth who have a nuclear program, but no one
gives a hoot!
Iran also has faults of its own. Its human rights
records are not flattering, especially when it comes to U.S. citizens
living in Iran. That by itself does not help reduce tensions between the
two nations, either.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR) is not sitting on the sideline as spectator, but rather wants to
do some thing to narrow the gap. CAIR, which is a leading
Muslim-American civil liberities group has assembled a delegation to fly
to Iran on short notice to resolve some of the outstanding issues. The
group as of this writing is awaiting visas and entry permits.
Among the items the group will discuss with Iranian officials are:
the status of Roxana Saberi, Esha Momeni, and Robert Levinson.
Roxana Saberi: a journalist who was sentenced recently to eight years in
jail on espionage charges. The Fargo, North Dakota native was born to an
Iranian father and Japanese mother. She was elected as Miss North Dakota
in 1997. Iran claimed first that she was working without press
credentials, then she purchased a bottle of wine. She just celebrated
her 33rd birthday in jail.
Esha Momeni: a graduate student
at California State University. Like Miss Saberi, she is also a
U.S.-born citizen. Her parents are Iranians and she is a dual national.
Miss Momeni was arrested in Iran in October 2008 after she
allegedly passed another car illegally. She was released later, but her
research materials were confiscated and she was banned from leaving Iran
to continue her study.
Robert Levinson is a former FBI agent who
was mysteriously disappeared two years ago on the Iranian island of
Kish. The CAIR delegation is carrying a letter from Mr. Levinson's
family to be delivered to Iranian officals, with the hope that the
letter might crack the case. The Swiss govenment, who acts on behalf of
U.S. interests in Iran, did not have much luck solving this case.
Contrary to its critics, CAIR does care about America and wants America
to be a better and a safer place not only for Muslims, but for all of
CAIR's mission is an attempt to use coltural and religious
similarities with Iran inorder to open a door that otherwise would have
been closed. So credit is where credit is due Here are examples of
CAIR's actions during the last nine years:
* Took out a full
page ad in The New York Times to condemn the 9/11 attacks, in which
it urged all American Muslims to contribute money, donate blood and help
with the medical relief operation. [ The N.Y. Times 16 September, 2001]
* Came to the defense of a Jewish reporter who worked for a Kansas
City newspaper, who was fired from her job one day after she married a
Palestinian. [April 9, 2003 U.S. News Wire]
* When four members
of the Christian Peacemaker Team were taken hostage in Iraq in 2005,
CAIR demanded their immediate and unconditional release, stating
that harming them would not advance the cause of innocent Iraqi
prisoners held by U.S. forces.
* After American journalist Jill
Carrol was taken hosage in Iraq in 2006, CAIR risked the life of its own
members by sending a delegtion to Iraq to plea for her
release. Eventually she won her freedom.
CAIR, who has a solid
patriotic record, should be commended for its humanitarian mission. This
was also done in compliance of the Islamic teaching which calls on
Muslims to "forgive those who oppressed you, give to whomever deprived
you, and reach out to the one who ignored you."
Make no mistake,
when CAIR was preparing for this "mission of mercy", the group was
speaking for seven million American Muslims who want nothing more than
normal and better relations between their country and the Islamic
Republic of Iran.
Retired USAF Veteran
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