About 150 people demonstrated outside the bail hearing of Sheik Kariye, who has been imprisoned for several weeks for allegations of social security fraud. The Kariye was originally arrested at the PDX airport, where the FBI said that his luggage showed traces of TNT. Showing no respect for human decency or the facts, the Oregonian splashed these unsubstantiated claims across their front page, throwing fuel on the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment, and helping Portland brownshirts Mayor Katz and Police Chief Kroeker renew the civil liberty-busting Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force. The FBI crime lab eventually reported that further tests showed no traces of TNT and that the airport test had been a false positive, which is apparently fairly common. |
Nonetheless, Kariye was kept in prison, with now only allegations of social security fraud. At today's hearing, a judge set his bail at $250,000, a ridiculously high amount for the accusations. It is doubtful that any white person would receive such a penalty. This is a clearcut case of the type of racism and xenophobia that when left unchecked in Germany in the 1930's led to forced detentions, the murder of millions, and a world war. Taking cues from pResident Bush and his fascist administration, Kroeker and Katz have set their feet down that same road.
This legal lynching is an affront to justice and liberty for everyone. In recognition of these facts, over a hundred members of Portland's Muslim community, joined by about 40 other activists, demonstrated in front of the Federal Courthouse today during the bail hearing. For many, it was the first step toward building solidarity between different groups in town who are all recieving harassment from the PJTTF. This type of bridge building will be vital if we are to staunch the flow of fascism in this city and the country.