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NCC Celebrates a Victory in Campaign to Prevent Hasan Family's Deportation

July 8, 2004, Washington, D.C. -- A national effort supported by the National Council of Churches USA and other faith groups to fight the deportation of the late Waqar Hasan's family won a major victory this week when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a private relief bill (H.R. 867) that would give Mr. Hasan's wife, Duri, and four daughters -- Nida, Iqra, Asna and Anum Hasan -- permanent residency in the United States.

Waqar Hasan, who was from Pakistan but lived in Milltown, New Jersey, was killed in a hate crime four days after 9/11 simply because he was Muslim and looked Middle Eastern. Since his death, Mr. Hasan's family has been faced with deportation because their visas and green card applications were dependent upon his visa. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ) introduced the private relief bill, which will now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration and then to President Bush.

According to Rep. Holt, "I believe that there is no more crucial time to demonstrate to Muslims in America and around the world that we are a tolerant and sympathetic people. We must seize opportunities to showcase America's commitment to the democratic values that we are making great sacrifices to promote overseas."

Mr. Hasan came to the U.S. 1993 and settled in New Jersey where he ran some gas stations in the area. He had already filed a petition with the INS for green cards for himself and his family when he was shot in Dallas, Texas, while trying to establish a convenience store. Mark Anthony Stroman said that he killed Mr. Hasan to "retaliate on local Arab Americans or whatever you want to call them." Prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders including NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar, United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert, and Thomas Jeavons, General Secretary of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, joined together, along with other individuals and groups, to support the effort to stop the deportation of the Hasan family.

"We are delighted that the House of Representatives recognizes that deportation of the Hasan family would be a grave injustice," said Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, NCC's Associate General Secretary of International Affairs and Peace. "We look forward to the Senate and President Bush responding in similar fashion to make sure this family's tragedy isn't compounded by their dreams of a new life being cut short."


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