How does the competition work? Two simple steps.
A. Write a letter to one of the following three addressees:
1. President Obama on increase in hijab airport issues
2. Judge Richard Berman on Aafia Siddiqui’s strip search
3. Congress or Senate elected official on Patriot Reform Act
B. Email a copy to ILIA
Top 10 letter authors receive a voucher for a free ILIA workshop in 2010 ($69 value)
Deadline: Jan 17th 2010, 11:55 pm EST
Letters should convey your opinion on the topic being addressed.
1. President Obama on increase in hijab airport issues:
Increased profiling of sisters wearing hijab has been taking place since the recent incident on December 25th, 2009. As Nihad Awad mentions in a recent "Profiling
sends the message to millions of Muslim travelers that it is their
faith, not terrorism, that is the problem. This is precisely the
talking point put forward by the religious extremists of Al-Qaeda who
say the West is at war with Islam and all Muslims, and that everyone
had better choose sides".
For more information about profiling Muslims refer to the following:
2. Judge Richard Berman on Aafia Siddiqui's Strip Search Issue
As described by Mauri’ Saalakhan, Aafia Siddiqui is a " a 37 year old Pakistani national who did her
graduate and post-graduate work in the United States, graduating from MIT and
Brandeis University, where she received her PhD. Those who knew her in Boston
(who this writer has spoken to) have had nothing but glowing things to say about
her. Quiet, soft-spoken, focused; a devoted mother, excellent student, and
committed muslimah who was known for her charitable work in the Boston
community, is how she is invariably described".
Aaafia has been abducted from a taxicab in
Karachi Pakistan. No one would know of their whereabouts for the next five
years. As time passed, however, and tales began to spread about a mysterious
woman being held at Bagram (Afghanistan), identified only as Prisoner 650,
pressure began to build toward indentifying who that mysterious woman was.
Today she sits behind bars on American soil awaiting trial. On December 21, Judge Richard Berman
summoned Dr. Aafia Siddiqui into court and reversed his earlier
decision that would have allowed Aafia to attend the trial via video
conference to avoid routine strip and cavity searches. Aafia’s family
and supporters were not notified of the hearing, which was supposed to
be an administrative hearing regarding trial procedure. The hearing was
such a surprise that even Aafia’s legal counsel was unable to make it.
The judge decided that Aafia needs to come to court every day of the
trial to affirm whether she wants to come to court or not. By doing so,
Aafia will be required to undergo strip and cavity searches, which is
the reason she wants to avoid court in the first place. Family and
supporters are concerned about the emotional and psychological impact
these continued strip and cavity searches are having on Aafia.
Please write to Judge Berman and ask him to help stop the unnecessary
strip searches, cavity searches and other abusive treatment while Aafia
is under his jurisdiction.
Hon. Judge Richard Berman
United States District Court
500 Pearl St.
New York, NY 10007
For reference information:
3. Congress or Senate Elected Officials on Patriot Act Reform
sections of the Patriot Act will sunset, or expire, at the end of the
year, allowing an opportunity to revisit the law in its entirety. Hearings examining the Patriot Act were held in both the House and Senate.
ACLU Policy Counsel and former FBI
agent Michael German stated, “Put very simply, under the Patriot Act the government now has
the right to know what you’re doing, but you have no right to know what
For more information on this issue you can check:
http://www.house.gov (Type S 1686 into the search field and select “bill number.”)
You can watch the video of the Senate hearing here and the House hearing here, and read Michael German’s full written testimony here.
Entries will be by a panel of judges appointed by Islamic Leadership Institute of America. The panel will evaluate submissions on adherence to the
topic; originality; and quality of writing, using the following
- Content, structure and development
- Mechanics and adherence to grammatical conventions
- Intellectual engagement
Rubrics are available upon registration.
There are two levels for competing, please enter your age at registration time to be included into the relevant group.
Level Y: For ages (14-18)
Level A: For ages (18+)
Competition is open to all individuals regardless of educational background, race, religious beliefs. Competitors must be residing in the US.
All submissions should be in MS-Word 2000 format, or PDF, and should be sent to "firstname.lastname@example.org"