President George W . Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Tel (202) 456-1 111
Fax (202) 456-2461
Dear President Bush:
My name is Osama Fawzi, American citizen of Jordanian origin. I
am an advisor to Arab Times, the largest Arab-American newspaper in
the United States, based in Houston, Texas.
Recently, I was elected the spokesman for Jordanian Human
Rights Committee in the United States. Our goal is to bring to
everyoneís attention the violations of human rights that take place
everyday in the dictatorship regime of Jordanís King Abdallah .
King Abdallah and his Royal Hashemite Family have ruled Jordan
as their private property for the last several decades. They are
prospering from the work of the Jordanian people, who are suffering
from financial strain as well as political persecution.
I am writing to you regarding the trial and resulting prison
sentence that have been handed down by a military court to the
former Parliament Minister Toujan Al Faisal in Jordan. The crime
that this well-respected former Parliament member and well-known
media person committed was to write a column in the form of an open
letter to King Abdullah criticizing the recent corrupt practices of
the Prime Minister of the government, Ali Abu Ragheb. Ragheb seized
the opportunity of the Parliament not being in session to
drastically increase the mandatory liability insurance rates.
Although this may seem innocent enough, this act takes on a new
angle when considered with the fact that Ragheb owns a substantial
interest in one of the main car insurance agencies in the country.
Furthermore it was later discovered that Ragheb had transferred, in
name, ownership of this company to his daughter a short while before
imposing this new order.
The victim in this case, Toujan Al Faisal, is a well-known
media personality in Jordan whose importance in her country is no
less than the importance of Barbara Walters in the United States.
Her popularity with the people of Jordan led to her nomination and
election to the Jordanian Parliament some years back.
With all that said, if Barbara Walters were to criticize one of
your decisions or actions, or that of one of the officials in your
government, would you order her detainment, torture, and prosecution
by a military court? Would you in fact subject any of the citizens
of this country to such treatment?
The Jordanian government exists in a schizophrenic state. The
King, Princes, and the rest of the Royal Court live extremely
westernized lives in their palaces and estates in Jordan and
elsewhere. They spout endless rhetoric about democracy and human
rights to the Western media, while the citizens living in their
country are treated not like animals, but worse. My pets in the
United States have more rights than the typical Jordanian citizen
living in that farce of a democratic country. Human rights and civil
liberties are in such a sorry state, that if King Abdullah and
Toujan Al Faisal were to run against each other in a free,
democratic election, Faisal would claim victory by a landslide.
At this point allow me to refer you to the State Departmentís
report on Human Rights in Jordan. I am also including documents from
various Human Rights organizations from the Middle East and the
world (including a recently published press release by the Committee
to Protect Journalists from New York) that go into more detail about
the deteriorating conditions in Jordan. These documents will serve
to explain part of the reason why many members of Al Qaeda are
Jordanian. Jordanians hold the United States accountable for their
suffering of this corrupt regime which strikes them down with the
American club of financial aid that goes towards the renovation or
acquisition of new royal estates for members of the Royal Court and
top government officials.
None of the government corruption comes as a surprise to
anyone, seeing as the King himself was involved in the largest theft
in Jordanís history when his personal friend Majd Al-shamayla conned
multiple Jordanian banks out of upwards of $100 million dollars.
This took place with the help of several former top government
officials, all of whom are now enjoying comfortable lives in Jordan
while the courts are busy prosecuting a prominent figure in the
Jordanian community and former Parliament member for publishing an
article in Arab Times about the corrupt practices taking place in
Just last week King Abdallah stopped by Houston and visited
Rice University where he delivered a lecture revolving around the
Middle East situation, which strikes me as funny coming from the
King of a country that suffers from multiple personality disorder
when it comes to civil rights and human rights in general. Upon
receiving my invitation to this event from the Jordanian consul in
Houston, I thought of all the innocent people, women and men,
professionals and blue collar workers, executives and farmers, young
and old, that are incarcerated and interrogated in Jordanian prisons
for little to no reason at all, and certainly with no formal
accusation or any pretense of a trial. Of course I had no choice but
to decline this invitation.
The King may be able to manipulate the American public that is
ignorant of his regime and his tactics. He may even coerce those who
do know the truth, but are too afraid to speak out. You Mr.
President, and others in the United States, have the opportunity and
the obligation to take a stand and put pressure on this government
to start acting like the democracy it claims to be.
We, as Arab-Americans, feel that the United States needs to be
informed about King Abdalla,s oppressive regime and cease to support
it. He is a man who stands for the very antithesis of what the
United States symbolizes.
Dr. Osama Fawzi