Supporters of anti-torture legislation gathered together Sunday at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ for a call to formally investigate and end the use of torture in war.
Co-sponsored by CAIR-Chicago, the event brought by Amnesty International, “Human Dignity Under Assault: The Use of Torture in the War on Terror,” featured keynote speaker Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a strong proponent of social justice and human rights.
“Torture cells violate [our] Americans values,” Schakowsky said, speaking extensively on the use of “extraordinary rendition” by the U.S. government, or the practice of exporting detainees to other countries to carry out torture.
Ahmed Rehab, Director of Communications at CAIR-Chicago, spoke on a panel of members of the Christian and Jewish faith in a joint interfaith response. Rehab spoke specifically addressing the stance of Islam on torture.
“The teachings of Islam are completely anti-torture and completely against afflicting harm on human beings,” Rehab said Sunday. “We must engage in spreading awareness [of torture] whether it is through press conferences, workshops, action alerts, or lobbying politicians.”
To date, the number of torture victims around the world remains unclear to do lack of investigation and records. Amnesty has recorded reports of torture in more than 150 countries from 1997 to mid-2000.
“The lack of response to torture is a failure [of] imagination,” Rosalind Wright, Amnesty International member and event moderator, said.
The event called for action by holding teach-ins on the issue, and writing letters to the media and to Representatives and Senators to support an independent commission to investigate torture by the U.S. government around the world.
For more information or to get involved, go to http://www.amnestyusa.org/stoptorture/campaign.html.
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