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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 27, 2003
2:31 PM
CONTACT:  National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Subhash Kateel 212.898.4121
Kiran Prasad 914.643.2994
Sam Quiah 212.966.5932 x 215

A Special Registrant's Bon Voyage - He Leaves for JFK Hugging Loved Ones, and Reprimanding the Bush Administration
 

NEW YORK - October 27 - WHAT:

Harun Ur Rasheed, a Bangladeshi New Yorker, is among the 13,000 men placed in deportation proceedings after they complied with the federal government’s Special Registration program. Before his departure for Bangladesh from John F. Kennedy Airport tomorrow, he will hold a press conference at his Brooklyn mosque to wish his friends farewell, and condemn the government’s discriminatory policies. Members of the media are welcome to accompany Mr. Rasheed up to his departure gate at JFK Airport.

WHO:

* Harun Ur Rasheed, 44-year-old Bangladeshi New Yorker, placed in deportation proceedings after complying with the Special Registration Program * Aarti Shahani, Organizer, Families for Freedom

* Kiran Prasad, Advocate, Solidarity & Action for Human Rights

* Saurav Sarkar, Organizer, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

* Other Advocates and Concerned Community Members

WHEN:

Tuesday, October 28, 2003 – 3.30 p.m.

WHERE:

Bangladeshi Muslim Center @ the corner of McDonald & Cortelyou (Brooklyn, NY)

BACKGROUND: When Harun Ur Rasheed voluntarily went to Federal Plaza last February to give the government details about himself, he did not anticipate that this journey would lead to his expulsion from New York. He is among the 13,000 men and boys from 25 predominantly Muslim countries in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa placed in deportation proceedings as a result of Special Registration.

“I have no other option, but I will not leave quietly,” Rasheed explains, “I honored your law, Mr. Ashcroft, and you gave me deportation. You say this is a human rights country? You should have given me a way to fix my immigration status.” Mr. Rasheed came to New York from Bangladesh in 1997, seeking medical care for advanced glaucoma. After spending thousands on unsuccessful treatments, he decided to remain here. Like millions of immigrants, Mr. Rasheed sent money to support his wife and child backhome.

The Special Registration Program required certain men and boys over 16 from 25 predominantly Muslim countries in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa to report to immigration offices for fingerprinting, photographing, interrogation under oath, on pain of arrest, detention, or deportation between November 2002 and April 2003. Over 80,000 men registered, and the government has tried to deport 13,000 of them so far, with others required to reregister every year and report changes of address, employment, or school.

Community supporters and the media members will accompany Mr. Rasheed to John F. Kennedy Airport after he prays and breaks his fast in observance of Ramadan. “It’s a somber procession,” says advocate Kiran Prasad of anti-detention organization Solidarity & Action for Human Rights (SAHR), “but one that Americans ought to see. He is the face, he is the target, of the government’s domestic War on Terror.”

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