From Sara and Tom Spencer (CEO of Austin Area Interreligious Ministries) on Behalf of Safdar Razi
Many of you will remember that I am on the Board of Directors for one of the most amazing groups I have ever had the privilege of which to truly serve. AAIM (Austin Area Interreligious Ministries) seeks to bring understanding and peace among diverse religious groups. I am deeply honored to serve with people of Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Baha’i, Muslim and many other amazing faiths. As I posted yesterday, one of our board members alerted us to the fact that Safdar Razi, a Muslim, is being held in detention by U.S. officials with no apparent cause.
Following you will find a letter from our new CEO, Tom Spencer, explaining what he has discovered about Mr. Razi, and Tom’s letter to senators Hutchinson and Cornyn and represenative McCaul.
I will do my best to continue to update you as to Mr. Razi’s whereabouts and the actions being taken to reinstate his liberties.
Below you will find a copy of an email I have sent to Senators Kaye Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn. Likewise, I have shared it with U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul. Earlier today, I spoke with Barbara Budde, a top assistant to Austin ’s Catholic Bishop Gregory Aymond and asked her to request the Bishop’s intervention she said that she would do so.
Just a short while ago I spoke with a representative of The Institute of Islamic Learning in Dallas and they told me that the hearing tomorrow will leave Safdar Razi with three possible choices if it is decided that he is to be deported:
– Accepting his deportation.
– Appealing his deportation (but being held in detention until a new hearing is scheduled – possibly for months.)
– Being released after bail is posted.
Apparently, he has been transferred to a detention facility in Haskell , Texas . My contact at the Institute of Islamic Learning said that Safdar Razi is being held for being “Out of Status” regarding his R Visa – specifically, he was not allowed to travel out of the country, but did. I cannot confirm this report, I am only passing it along for you information.
I promise to keep you posted.
Dear Senator Hutchison,
I am writing today on a matter of grave concern. A much-valued former member of the Austin community, Safdar Razi is being held by the INS at the Haskell detention facility and is facing possible deportation. In fact, a hearing on his case is scheduled for tomorrow morning. When he resided in Austin Safdar Razi established a reputation as being a leading voice among local Muslim religious leaders who preached tolerance and built relationships across religious divides. He was instrumental in facilitating Post 9-11 discussions between the Austin Muslim community and area Christian and Jewish congregations. Just a few moments ago I received a strongly worded letter of support for Safdar from leaders of the Austin Jewish Community. Likewise, my phone has been ringing all day long with calls of concern from many Christian congregations. While we have received no official news of the reason for his detention, we ask that you look into this matter with haste and diligence.
With deep respect and appreciation,
CEO, Austin Area Interreligious Ministries