It was a scorching hot day on July 29th of 2009! One cannot distinguish the mist in the air if it came from tears that had been evaporated or from the many lakes and the distant ocean in Raleigh, NC.
Ziyad, my son was such a wonderful young man, all American kid with goals but who sometimes acted silly and goofy and at times was unserious about his future like many young men his age!
He was looking ahead to go to college when that day he decided to surprise me, his mother, by cleaning the kitchen floor then marinating the chicken, then afterwards go for a swim in the neighborhood pool!
Of course, who would have even imagined that a swat team will come to arrest an unarmed young man of 21! A young man who had not done anything wrong or illegal, who did not even break any law but happened to be a somewhat dedicated Muslim!
An American with Arab background and dual citizenship was accused of conspiracy and material support based on two trips he took abroad to his own homeland! A young man who wanted to do the right thing and get married so he won't do anything immoral at a time where women offered themselves cheaply to him!
Ziyad was basically punished for visiting his homeland when he was 19! Punished because he knew a guy named Daniel Patrick Boyd, an American Muslim who spoke against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and even though Ziyad's association with Boyd was very very limited the FBI wanted something from Ziyad that was very immoral, to lie against Boyd and say whatever pleases the FBI so they can say, "we caught a terrorist".
When Ziyad and his friend Omar who also accompanied him on one of his trips, where they both went to Israel but were denied entry then went on to Jordan and then to Egypt (Omar's family are from there), refused to lie, the FBI struck back with vengeance! They kept after Ziyad and Omar trying everything possible to get them in trouble but these young men were typical teen agers and were still growing up and just wanted to have some fun, play basket ball, swim, wrestle and so on! They did not care about anything else and were not taking life very seriously or even the FBI following them and harassing them!
Yet because they are Muslims, everything they did was interpreted by the FBI to their likes! Wrestling and kick boxing became training for Jihad! The word marriage was a code word for Jihad and so was the beach, but yet Ziyad and Omar have gone to the beach in Egypt because Omar's family is from Alexandria and they stayed most of their time there! Had Ziyad and Omar not been Muslims, their trip would have not been construed as anything abnormal! How fair is the justice system in America! Talk about double standards!
For three years Ziyad and his friend Omar have been in jail for visiting their own homeland, the homeland of their fathers and their grandfathers! For three years these young men have been punished just because they are Muslims! For three years their families have been suffering! Two young men's lives have been interrupted! Jailed and imprisoned based on two trips they have taken over seas! Ziyad was charged and convicted of conspiracy and material support yet the indictment says noting about what and which "terrorist organization" the conspiracy and material support is for!
The trial was set in a town two hours and a half away from us to make it hard on people to come and support us! The jury consisted of mostly senior citizens who dosed off during the trial! Most of the Jury, had family members in the military and were not highly educated, handpicked by the judge! Everything was done deliberately to convict these young men! Hate for our religion is growing tremendously in the US! To top it all, they tried to single us out as Un-American based on our religion!
So of course, we lost the trial when everything biased was allowed at the trial! Video tapes of men, who were supposed to be Muslim men killing other men while dressed in black head and face covers only showing their eyes, were allowed at the trial! How did this have anything to do with Ziyad and his codefendants?! They brought a so called "expert" man named Evan Kohlmann, who portrayed Muslim men as violent and that certain Muslims tend to think in a certain way and eventually turn violent and commit an act of terrorism in the future! How on earth can he even say that and how on earth can his juvenile testimony be even taken into consideration at court?! Imagine if it were a reversed situation, this would have had not been allowed in court! It would have been a laughing matter and all over the news! Is it not then that this whole thing is about being biased against Muslims! How can a random person who is a bigot decide the fate of my son and his co-defendants just because of their religion?!
Yet statistically speaking, white men have a tendency to commit an act of violence many times more than any Muslim person! Most of the heinous murders here in the US are done by white, Christian men and not by Muslims! The Columbine shooting, the Wisconsin shooting, and many more were all done by white non-Muslim men! Yet where were the FBI to stop them at that time?! Talk about double standards!!
Now Ziyad is serving 31.5 years in prison and Omar 15 years! Fortunately, Omar was luckier because his parents had money and one of his charges got dropped, but Ziyad got convicted of both charges and is treated as if he were an animal! This is how they treat the Muslim inmates in America as if they were less than animals, subhuman! They have Ziyad in what is called the SHU, Special Housing Unit, a cell underground like a grave designed to make one lose his/her mind! A cell as small as your bathroom where Ziyad is alone in it and only allowed out of his cell an hour every two days! A country that tries to portray itself as democratic, as a first world country, treats its Muslim citizens with so much unfairness and in such an inhumane way that any reader or observer will be shocked!
We are trying for an appeal now! We got a private lawyer who is demanding money that we don't have! I am a single mother who has been trying my best to appeal to the American public to stop this injustice that is going on to my son and to Muslim people at large! I travel cross country with a limited income to talk about my son.
I am accepting donations, words of encouragement and prayers are greatly needed.