Dr Fai was addressing a gathering of American Muslim leadership and well-wishers organised by American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Council for Social Justice at Chandni Restaurant in Newark, San Francisco. He said that a solution to the 65-year old Kashmir dispute can only be made durable by taking the people of Kashmir on board like the people of East Timor, who were consulted through a referendum on its independence from Indonesia.
He told the participants that there is no restriction on him to continue his work for the cause of Kashmir. He pointed out that the prosecution had withdrawn charges initially leveled against him to be an agent of a foreign government.
For too long, Fai pointed out, India’s persecution of people of Kashmir has been buried under the rubric of “the world’s largest democracy.” “There is no democracy in Kashmir; only military rule and the law of the gun. In fact the presence of more than 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces have made Kashmir the largest army concentration anywhere in the world,” he added.
Prominent among the speakers were Imam Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California; Dr Imtiaz Khan, Vice-President of the Kashmiri American Council, Dr Hatem Bazian, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley; Dr Agha Saeed, Chairman of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA); Dr Mohammad Ahmadullah Siqqidui, Professor of Journalism and Public Relations at Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois; Naeem Beg, Chairman, ICNA Council for Social Justice; Mark Hinkle, former Chairman of the US Libertarian Party and Edward Hasbrouck, author and freelance journalist. Naeem Beg, the Chairman, American Muslim Task Force was MC of function held to support Dr Fai and the right of self-determination for Kashmiri people.
The Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Muhammad Yasin Malik, in his address to the seminar via Skype link from Srinagar spoke about the atrocities caused by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir. He said that the basic reason of unrest in the territory was the usurpation of Kashmiris’ freedom and prolonging of resolution to the Kashmir dispute. He said that there would be peace once the Kashmir dispute was resolved in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiri people. Yasin Malik said that at present the struggle of the Kashmiri people was a non-violent movement and if the global community did not give attention, this may be turned into a violent movement.
Mrs. Qadr Chang Fai made a very moving speech. She thanked everybody for supporting her husband at this critical moment and said life is a journey and each and every day or year is just like you peel an onion, it doesn’t matter how careful you are, it sometimes causes tears. She went on to say that “sometimes obstacles and difficulties let us know what is our weakness and it gives us a chance and opportunity to make us strong.”
“I am sure when my husband returns, after two years vacation, he will come up fresh, strong and we will again work for the cause of Kashmir,” she said adding, “This chapter is over and together we flip the page and start a fresh new chapter of Kashmir’s history. We will make sure that we achieve the goal and the goal is that liberty bell rings at every corner of Kashmir which is the paradise on the earth.”
Dr Hatem Bazian, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, was of the view that sometime it is suggested that we should have non-violent movement, I say that we are non-violent. Occupations are the most violent manifestations of the structure of violence. “Population always acts as non-violent, while the states which occupy set up violent structure.” He said that Kashmir is on the global chessboard. “The United States wants India to balance China, because if there is a conflict with China, we always like that the darker people fight our war and the more these people die is better for the officers because racism can be manifested across many sectors,” he added.
Alluding to Dr Fai’s case, Dr. Bazian said that “in the post-9/11 era there is strategic and systematic process of targeting the Muslim leadership of organizational structures by eliminating the existing leadership that has developed over the last 40 years studying together, graduating together, you disrupt the civic political engagement in the country and second you allow infiltrators those who are on the pay role of government to just cause disruption.”
He went on to say that Dr Fai is targeted because he is successful. “It is because of his ability to transcend from this small area of his work and to reach out beyond the confines and be very effective in advocacy.”
Imam Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, in his speech spoke about the imprisonment of Dr Fai and said, “they can imprison his body but cannot imprison his soul.”
Former Chairman of the US Libertarian Party, Mark Hinkle, said that his party supported the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people.
Author and freelance journalist, Edward Hasbrouck, said, “I’m disappointed to see so few people like me here, who are neither South Asian nor Muslim. They need to know that what is happening to Dr Fai and other Muslims could happen to them too. So as we work to build awareness of the situation in Kashmir, let us also redouble our outreach to activists for human rights, opponents of political injustice, and supporters of political prisoners from all communities in the USA. “I look forward to continuing to work with Dr Fai, the Kashmiri American Council, all of you here, and many others for self-determination for the Kashmiri people,” he added.
Dr Agha Seed, the American Muslim Alliance Chairman, the strategist behind the Muslim leadership gathering was unable to speak because of his sickness. His message in support of Dr Fai was read by his assistant, Hazem Kaira.
Dr Imtiaz Khan, Vice-President of the Kashmiri American Council, in his speech said that more than 100,000 Kashmiris had been killed by Indian military and paramilitary personnel over the last two decades. He deplored the silence of the international community because of India’s nuclear and economic strength. He said that the United Nations with a moral obligation to intervene on behalf of the people of Kashmir; and, that the United Nations should strengthen its monitoring force along the cease-fire line.