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    <Message Length: 148 lines>
    Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah

    [Please forward and distribute to all your lists, keep the copyright and "To
    subscribe" information intact, thanks to Sister Edina and the staff of the
    Minaret we can distribute this important article. Under the article I added
    where to send the money and the special note from CAIR Southern California]


    by Edina Lekovic
    Copyright Minaret Nov. 2000
    To subscribe: email [email protected] or call 213.384.4570

    While hate crimes legislation has become a buzz word in the presidential
    race due to violent actions committed against minorities, it’s hitting
    closer to home for one family.

    Ahmed Chaudhry, an international student from Pakistan, is currently
    embroiled in a trial in which his life is literally on the line.
    Chaudhry, who traveled to San Bernardino, CA to earn an MBA from California
    State University at San Bernardino, is being accused of attempted murder,
    assault with a deadly weapon and intent to commit mayhem after defending
    himself from physical attacks launched by two roommates.

    Chaudhry shared an apartment with three other men, two of whom were also
    international students. While they were not friends, the roommates got along

    Held in prison on bail since Nov. 30, 1999, Chaudhry is now preparing to go
    on trial and desperately seeking the assistance of the Muslim community.

    Chaudhry’s ex-roommates, two international students from Kenya, charge that
    he attacked them because they insulted Prophet Muhammad and that he was
    waging a personal jihad (armed struggle) against them because they were
    non-Muslim. They point to wounds they received that evening as evidence to
    their claims.

    However, Chaudhry tells a different story one, his lawyer says, the evidence
    clearly supports. David Call, an attorney of 32 years, accepted Chaudhry’s
    case when he realized that Chaudhry was being unfairly targeted because of
    his race and religious beliefs.

    “I got curious because I began to study Islam,” Call explains. “I was
    surprised why there’s so much fuss over believing in the same God we all do.
    The evidence in this case seems to be that these people have an image of
    Islam and Muslims that is perpetrated by the public which are just flat

    The prosecutor, District Attorney Michael O’Connell, who is supporting the
    claims made by Chaudhry’s roommates, will try to show that he was compelled
    by his religious beliefs to inflict harm on his non-Muslim roommates.

    But Call says the testimony of the two roommates, Peter Aganza and Evans
    Kahutu, is not only inconsistent but unconceivable considering the nature o
    the wounds.

    The dispute which led to the attack began when Chaudhry entered the kitchen
    and found Kahutu cooking pork. Kahutu offered some to Chaudhry, who
    explained that Muslims don’t eat pork because they believe it is unclean and
    bad for one’s health. According to Chaudhry, Aganza responded by saying,
    “What you eat is clean and what we eat is unclean?”

    Meanwhile, Kahutu began repeatedly jabbing his plating towards Chaudhry’s
    chest saying “Eat, eat, eat.”

    During the ensuing conversation, Aganza made a defamatory comment about
    Prophet Muhammad, a fact which the prosecutor will claim incited Chaudhry’s

    However, Chaudhry says he answered by saying, “You shouldn’t say that about
    someone’s religion.”

    After Aganza and Kahutu used their experiences during the embassy bombing in
    Kenya to explain their outrage against Muslims, the fourth roommate, David
    Wei, arrived home and changed the subject in order to diffuse the situation.
    Kahutu and Aganza left the kitchen and Chaudhry continued to prepare his
    meal. Continuing to prepare his chicken, Chaudhry turned on the stove in
    order to heat and cleanse the knife over the flame.

    Leaving the stove on to heat, he went to make a phone call. When Aganza
    received a call, Chaudhry returned to the kitchen and found that the plastic
    on his knife was burnt. He picked up the other knife, quickly heated it,
    cleaned it and set it aside to be used on his chicken.

    When Kahutu walked by demanding to know what he was doing, Chaudhry
    explained that he was cleaning the knife, at which point Aganza stormed in,
    upset that Chaudhry had taken so long on the phone since he was waiting for
    a call. After Chaudhry apologized, Kahutu returned to the kitchen and said
    you Muslims are so stubborn. Confused, Chaudhry tried to leave the kitchen
    as he had in similar situations.
    Aganza said you disrespected me and then hit Chaudhry on the back of the
    head and grabbed his hair and pushed him toward the stove, burning his face.
    Trying to protect his eyes, the stove’s flames instead burned his hand.
    According to Chaudhry, Aganza seemed to be doing all the burning while
    Kahutu punched him in the ribs.

    The prosecutor’s case will claim that Chaudhry “was seeking his own private
    punishment for someone who had spoken poorly about and blasphemed the
    Prophet Muhammad,” Call said, explaining that this theory is based on
    statements made by the Aganza and Kahutu.

    While calling for Wei’s help, Chaudhry waved the knife behind him in 4-5
    directions without seeing what he was hitting. This is what the majority of
    the trial will focus on – the nature of the wounds received and inflicted by
    the three men.

    “The evidence will illustrate that Aganza attacked the defendant,” says
    Call. “While he was being burnt on the stove, he defended himself with a
    knife that was laying by. The (prosecutor) claims that he was heating the
    knives in order to attack them, but he was doing this to cleanse them from
    the pork that someone had used them on.”
    After they attacked him, Aganza and Kahutu left the apartment and called the
    police, charging Chaudhry had attacked them. When the police arrived, they
    asked few questions of Chaudhry and told him he should talk to his lawyer.

    Call is confident that he can prove Chaudhry’s innocence given adequate
    expert testimony. However, Chaudhry’s family is unable to pay the entire sum
    of the nearly $25,000 in fees related to launching a solid defense case.

    Jury selection will begin Nov. 20, with the trial expected to begin after
    Thanksgiving. Chaudhry needs the help of justice seekers. Chaudhry’s brother
    Imran can be reached at (909) 268-6325.
    Donate $20 [or any other amount] to Ahmad's Legal Defense please make a
    check out "Chaudhry Legal Defense" and send it to:

    Islamic Center of Inland Empire
    9212 Base Line Road
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91701

    Please forward this message and send it to as many people as you know, and
    encourage them to donate $20. Zakat funds are acceptable for this purpose.

    Special Note from CAIR:
    CAIR has reviewed this case and attests to its authenticity. There is enough
    evidence to indicate that Br. Ahmad Chaudhry is unjustly accused on the
    basis of his religion. Br. Ahmad's defense team has assured CAIR that he
    has a good chance of winning the case, if the proper resources are made
    available. In order to ensure a fair trial to combat a possibly biased
    prosecution, CAIR urges members of the community to support Br. Ahmad and
    contribute to his defense.

    Please call Imran Chaudhry, Ahmad's brother at 909-944-1836. For
    verification of the validity of this case, please call CAIR at 714-776-1847