Letters in Support of
Aref and Hossain
from the Inmates at the
Rensselaer County Jail,
Troy, New York, March 2007
These letters and statements of support were given by one of the inmates at the Rensselaer County Jail to one of Yassin’s lawyers, Kathy Manley, during a legal visit in March 2007. The letters were generated spontaneously, and the whole packet bore this title. Transcribed by Kathy Manley.
We are inmates from the Rensselaer County Jail. Some are in the same unit with Aref and Hossain. Some of us know them [from the] TV and newspapers. Some of us [have] known Aref and Hossain from outside for a long time. We are there 24 hours [a day] with them. We now spend 15 hours [a day] with them on the tier since we [have been] allowed to come out [of] our cells. [Recently the jail instituted a new policy of allowing inmates in PC (“protective custody”) to be together on the PC Tier instead of locked in their cells all day.] We are here for a few months in this unit, so-called PC, and they were here for 18 months without doing anything [Yassin since his bail was revoked in September 2005, and Mohammed Hossain since the verdict on October 10, 2006]. As we see, they are very kind and friendly people.
We strongly believe these two men [are] accused wrongly, mistakenly, they don’t belong here or in any jail. [What] our government did [to] them is so unfair. 15 years for just simple FBI mistakes. We believe these men don’t have to pay just because of the FBI’s mistakes. Aref and Hossain we believe don’t deserve what they are getting. We believe these two men deserve to go back to their homes and their families.
Every day some of us go to the court for our cases. We always get justice, most of us. [We] get some charges dropped or [get lower] sentences. However we are surprised for Aref and Hossain. How come there is no justice for these two innocent men. We believe [it is] just because they are Muslims. Some of us have read their Qur’an. Some of us [are] very familiar with the Muslim religion and their cultures and their customs. There are not such things [as] so-called terrorists or terrorism in their religion. It is so obvious, any family man who has 4 or 6 young children could [not] be [a] terrorist. They came to our country for [a] better life, better future [for] their children, they want to live their lives [in] peace, freedom, and they brought [the] American dream with themselves.
They didn’t come to be separate from their wives and children. They didn’t come for prison. It is unfair. It is very unfair. It is totally unfair. Aref and Hossain both are family men. They have very young children who are very innocent. They need their fathers back. We all have read Aref’s son’s letter to the judge [in the ] Times Union. What [are we] going to answer to Dilnia about justice in the U.S. when she is 18? She is an American citizen [and the] younger daughter of Aref. In [the] Muslim religion, a father has to take care of his children and wife. In their culture they never let their children to work, even [when] their children are over 21 years of age. That’s their father’s job to take care of their family unless their children get ready to be settled down. We know these people believe in families [being together.] [A] family [is] never complete without [the] father.
These two men are very well cultured and very religious. [The] Muslim religion is against terrorism. These two innocent men need to go back to their families. These two men are nothing but just symbolic of their religion, cultures and humanity. [The] United States is one of the best countries, where we can be proud of freedom [for] human beings, and [of] justice.
If these two innocent men couldn’t get back their freedom, respect, justice, and famil[ies]––it would be very shameful for all Americans.
J.M.G.: I am an inmate in RCJ who has had the privilege of getting to know Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain. I have spent the past 6 weeks with them in Rensselaer County Jail and have gotten to know them fairly well. I don’t believe these two men have the heart to harm anyone or anything. I remember when I first came to RCJ I had nothing to eat, no health care products and no writing materials. I had only my jail uniform. Yassin’s cell is next to mine and Mohammed’s cell is two cells over on the other side. Yassin gave me anything and everything that I needed and wanted. On a daily basis I’ve seen Yassin give all of his good food away to others so they may be full, as he eats the other food that no one else wants. This Godly act is only done out of love and never out of fear.
As for Mohammed, I don’t believe this man would ever think of hurting anyone. This man spends a great part of his day, every day just about, helping others find their way in life and faith. He is always helping me to better my spirit and get closer to God. Several times I thought I had pushed him to the breaking point but he only spoke to me in a loud voice for a minute or two and calmed his voice as he continued to talk with me. He would never speak with bad words or insult anyone. He only speaks out of the kindness of his heart.
I think of both of these men as my brothers and I would do what I can for them within the truth and laws of God and my country. After getting to know these two men I can say that I would never fear them in any situation. I am not defending these two men based on lies or to stabilize my position in life or my position with God, but because they are great men who are true to heart. I believe they were wrongfully convicted and they did not receive a fair trial. These two men came to the U.S.A. in search of freedom and democracy. They had great faith in the American way. They would die for the U.S.A., and they would die to protect their children, their families, their friends, and their communities. We should be honored to have such wonderful people in our country. Instead we destroy their lives and their families by sending them to a life of hell! For the record I say “we,” meaning we as a country. I do strongly disagree with the way our government has treated these men, their families and their community, but as Americans we’re all responsible for the aftermath. Now as Americans, we must rebuild what we’ve destroyed and send these fine people back home to their families even if it kills us! To everyone who has suffered or will suffer because of this huge mistake I would like to say: I’m very sorry!!
I pray to God that everything gets back to normal for all of you. May God bless all of you. Please keep us in your prayers, as you will be in ours.
Z.: The injustice with them remind[s] us [of] “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
D.M.: I am glad to have known these men.
J.Z.: These men taught me the way of my faith. “Thank God!”
R.J.P.: These are men of peace & love, not hate and murder.
J.M.G.: I don’t believe that these two men have the heart to harm anyone or anything. All of you will remain in my prayers. God bless you!
E.R.: I learned a lot from these two wonderful men, also they gave me lots of tips on life. I hope they get out real soon so they can be with their families where they belong, they are innocent, YES INNOCENT.
K.W.: Aref and Hossain have taught me how to live right and I appreciate them [for] doing that even when they was facing their situation at hand. SO I hope that God will be with them wherever they go.
R.P.: I believe they didn’t get Justice. And they should be back with their families.
A.J.R.: It is a shame that two good men can be entrapped, targeted and persecuted to help the government save face in the face of the media. The case against imam Yassin and preacher Mohammed is a blatant showing of the severe miscarriage of justice the government is capable of inflicting upon unknowing beings which have been used as a scapegoat. It’s disgusting to know Liberty and Justice can be stripped from an individual for such purposes. In shah Allah, all’s well that ends well. God bless these men.
M.W.: Since following the media, I’ve noticed that the media itself has chosen to “take sides” which is totally AGAINST honest journalism. Due to their actions, countless American citizens have been swayed to believe in the guilt of two targeted men. Is this the beginning of [the] future that my children are now facing?
D.W.: I believe these men are being persecuted because of their nationality and did not receive the fairness given [in] the United States laws and statutes of this country. Their rights [to] fairness have been violated and they should be reconsidered for fairness given by our Constitution. Thank you.
A.C.: I believe that if they really think these two men was a part of terrorist [plot], they should give them the lie detector test to find the truth––they use the test for everything else, why not this situation? They just doing that because they Muslim and it’s not fair.
J.R.: I think y’all should let the two Muslim brothers go home to they family, and let them have they freedom. Thank you.
J.R.J.: I am in RCJ with both of these men and they are my brothers and I believe they’re not guilty.
M.D.: I have been blessed to know these two men for almost a year now. I too am Muslim and know for a fact that any act or terror is against everything we believe in. This plot by our government to entrap these men is a disgrace. They are peaceful law abiding citizens and deserve to be treated as such!!