Neighborhood dinner and a performance of “To Catch a Muslim”

February 2, 2019 | 6:00 PM

Neighborhood dinner and a performance of “To Catch a Muslim”

The play dramatizes the sting operation that put a local imam from Central Avenue in federal prison. The play is based on court transcripts and the dialogue is amazing, written by local attorneys. There will be a discussion after the short play. These are our neighbors, and all are encouraged to attend and learn the details of the sting, and the impact on the families. Sponsored by the Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia. 6 PM for the free dinner, 7 PM for the play, at Albany UU


More info from press release:


“Anti-Islamophobia Group Will Sponsor Dinner, Play, Panel Discussion

On Saturday, February 2, the Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia will present a staged reading of an original play based on the 2004–2006 Aref-Hossain “sting” case, followed by a panel discussion. The play, “To Catch a Muslim (The Sting’s the Thing),” written by Steve Downs, treats the Aref-Hossain case, the sting, the informant, and the trial’s aftermath with irony and a little humor, and takes some potshots at the government’s legal scheming to convict innocent men. The play will be performed at 7 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, 405 Washington Ave.

Preceding the play, dinner will be served at 6 p.m.

A panel discussion will follow the play at 8 p.m. Featured speakers are Tarik Shah and Dr. Shamshad Ahmad; the moderator is Kathy Manley, Esq. Discussion will focus on the impact of Islamophobia on families and community as shown through the Aref-Hossain case. Tarik Shah was ensnared in a similar sting operation in New York City. An internationally acclaimed jazz bassist, he now lives in Albany, and his case was featured as part of the 2015 documentary film (T)ERROR, which won an Emmy Award in 2017 for Outstanding Investigative Documentary. Dr. Shamshad Ahmad is a professor at the University at Albany and the president of Masjid As-Salam on Central Avenue, which was raided when Aref and Hossain were arrested. He is the author of Rounded Up: Artificial Terrorists and Muslim Entrapment After 9/11, the definitive account of the Aref-Hossain case. Kathy Manley is a criminal defense attorney who worked on Yassin Aref’s appeals.

All events are free.

The Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia seeks to counter anti-Muslim hate speech, violence, and hostility. Founded in November 2015, the group includes members of several grassroots local groups that were already working to increase interfaith understanding and to end wars and military violence, racism, homophobia, economic injustice, mass incarceration, hate speech, racial and ethnic profiling, Islamophobia, and abuse of the law enforcement and judicial systems.”