RNA - “Law enforcement officials must clarify why they are holding Ms. Hashemi without formal charges and why they have allegedly denied her religious rights while in custody,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad on Friday in reaction to the move by US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice to detain the Press TV news presenter.
“There can be no justification for denying an American citizen, or any other person, their basic civil and religious rights,” Awad stressed.
He went on to say that CAIR had earlier been successful in defending Muslims' religious rights.
The US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has taken Muslim journalist Marzieh Hashemi from St. Louis Lambert International Airport to a detention center in Washington DC without placing any charges against her, forcing her to eat pork and remove her Islamic hijab.
Hashemi, a journalist and anchor working for Iran’s English-language Press TV television, has been imprisoned in the US for unspecified reasons.
American born Hashemi was detained upon arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday, her family and friends said.
She was transferred by the FBI to a detention facility in Washington DC while neither she nor her family members have been given any reason for the apprehension.
Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin, had just reached the US to visit her ill brother and other family members.
Her relatives had been unable to contact her, and she was allowed to call her daughter only two days after her arrest.
Hashemi, a Muslim convert, has told her daughter that she has been forced into manacles at the detention facility.
She has been prevented from observing the Islamic dress code, Hashemi said. The journalist had her hijab forcibly removed, and pictures were taken of her without the headgear upon arrival at the facility, she added.
Hashemi has only been allowed to wear a T-shirt, and is using another one to cover her head, while her forearms are still bare against the Islamic dress code, which she would invariably commit to.
Furthermore, she was allowed only pork as meal, and even denied bread after refusing to consume the meat, which the Islamic law forbids.
Hashemi told her daughter that the only food she has had over the past two days has been a “packet of crackers”.
Also on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the detention of Ms. Hashemi as an illegal move, and called for the immediate and unconditional release of the journalist.
“We strongly condemn the illegal move of the US government to arrest and inhumanely treat Ms. Marzieh Hashemi (Melanie Franklin),” read the statement issued by Qassemi.
The spokesman said that arresting a Muslim American citizen by the American government’s agents who treated her inhumanely and condescendingly with no reason amounts to typical behavior of an apartheid regime against its non-white citizens.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran officially calls for Ms. Hashemi to be entitled of her basic human rights,” he said adding that Tehran is demanding the journalist’s immediate and unconditional release.
He also voiced his deep sense of regret over the inhuman behavior of American agents in treating the Press TV journalist, adding, “It is a pity that she was not allowed to have any contact with outside worlds for 2 days, while she had travelled to the US to pay a visit to her family.”
“Unfortunately, the way the American government agents have treated her is a blatant violation of human and citizen rights and also infringes the basic rights for a Muslim woman. These kinds of behaviors show that the American government hold no respect for the principles it abuses for censuring its critics.”
He underlined that “unfortunately the US has turned into a dangerous land for journalists”.
The US police mistreatment of Muslims has many precedents, as in November it was announced that the Imam of Masjid al-Islam in Washington, who's a strong critic of US policies and its support for Israel, continues to receive death threats with the US police department ignoring the danger to his life.
On November 4, two gunmen attacked Imam Abdul Alim Musa in California and violently assaulted him.
The Imam said the attack was a coordinated attempt by the US administration.
He said that the two gunmen ran into the mosque's yard while screaming, first threatened him with their guns and then started beating and injuring his head until he started bleeding.
Imam Musa has filed a complaint against the two assailants at the city police department and informed the law enforcement of the assailants' identity, but his case has not yet been seriously pursued after two months.
Imam Musa said that he had visited the police station twice since November 4 but without any results, adding that he would pursue his lawsuit again.
According to Fars News Agancy, he believed that the two assailants are the US government's agents and have close cooperation with the police and that's why the case is ignored.
In a relevant incident in 2014, a group of gunmen had also attacked Imam Musa in Oakland, California, and violently assaulted him.
The imam is the director and founder of As-Sabiqun with branches in Oakland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento. He is also founder and director of the Islamic Institute of Counter-Zionist American Psychological Warfare, and is a member of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought.
In his remarks in 2016, the imam — an African American convert to Islam — had accused Zionists of creating “a Hitlerian” environment “exactly like the one that existed in Germany before World War II”.
Zionists brought Donald Trump to the White House, and did so in order to “maintain their global power,” he said at the time.
“They (the Zionists) will bring a fool to power any time they can to do their bidding,” the Imam added.