Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) challenges the surprising arrest of Rasmea Odeh, a leader in Chicago’s Palestinian community. She was arrested on October 22 by agents of the Department of Homeland Security for alleged immigration fraud. This 65-year-old woman has dedicated her life to the struggle of the Palestinian people, survived torture and a decade of imprisonment by Israeli authorities, before migrating to the U.S. in 1995.
Rasmea Odeh is the assistant director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago. She is responsible for the management of day-to-day operations and the coordination of their Arab Women’s Committee, with a membership of 600, leading work in the areas of civil liberties and immigrant rights.
It appears that the case against Odeh is not about immigration, but an attempt to silence her and subdue her good work in the community on behalf of justice for Palestinian people living under ever-increasing oppression by Israeli military rule in the West Bank and Gaza. She has said, “War and occupation in our home countries leads to political and legislative attacks on us here. So we must advocate and organize within our community to affect change and make our voices heard.”
Odeh’s work is aligned with WAMM’s vision for a world with peace and justice. It seems that Odeh’s arrest may be linked to the 2010 FBI raids and ongoing grand jury investigation of Midwest anti-war activists, including members of WAMM – another sign of continued government intimidation and attempted silencing of those who are effective advocates for Arab-American communities, and who speak out for the rights of people in Palestine.
WAMM members are encouraged to call on US Attorney Barbara McQuade to drop charges against Rasmea Odeh! Telephone: (313) 226-9100 or Fax (313) 226-2311 and to sign the Committee to Stop FBI Repression’s petition at http://www.iacenter.org/rasmeaodehpetition/.