Two beautiful, perfectly wrinkled women in flowered dresses with straw hats and fiery eyes, part of a group known as the Raging Grannies, were among about 50 people who turned out Monday to protest the deportation of Salma Al-Rushaid, who was put on a plane with her four children that day and sent to her native Kuwait. After that they will head for Lebanon, where Al-Rushaid’s husband, Rabih Haddad, awaits.
Haddad was accused of helping funnel money to terrorists through an Islamic charity he co-founded, but the government never brought charges against him. Instead, they imprisoned him for 19 months because he had overstayed his visa, then deported him earlier this month.
The protest took place at the Detroit offices of the newly created Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of the Office of Homeland Security. (Why is it News Hits can’t hear those bureau titles without picturing George Orwell rising up from his grave?)
Branden O’Grady of Ann Arbor, an animated fellow with a red Mohawk, sported a pin reading “Bush is a Dumbass,” and held a sign stating, “Stop the repression against Muslims, Arabs and South Asians.” His buddy carried a sign saying, “Ashcroft: Dirty Bastard Nazi.”
“We’re going to spend all our time delegitimizing their regime,” O’Grady says. “This is our country. We’re going to take it back.”
Miriam Abouzahr, 16, who’s set to attend Eastern Michigan University, says the government is “using people’s fears against us to steal our rights and gain more power so they can further their agenda.”
At least some of the construction workers across the street were less than sympathetic. Their hand-painted message, which went up during the protest: “Remember 9-11.”Send comments to [email protected]