Salma Al-Rushaid, the wife of arrested local Muslim leader Rabih Haddad, received a small victory yesterday, when she testified regarding the detrimental effects of her husband”s incarceration on her family to members of the House Judiciary Committee in Washington.

Haddad is being detained on a visa violation. He was taken into custody on Dec. 14 and is currently being held in Chicago”s Metropolitan Correctional Center. He is expected to testify before a grand jury about the charges brought against him. Haddad may also be questioned about the Global Relief Foundation, an Islamic charity organization that he co-founded 10 years ago. The charity is suspected by the government of having connections to terrorist activities.

In her testimony, Al-Rushaid talked about the void created in her family”s life and the effects that her husband”s detainment has had on herself and her three children, who now rarely see their father.

“The story of Rabih Haddad kind of brings life to these cold statistics and dry policy issues,” said Jason Erb, a lobbyist with the Council of Islam-American Relations.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) was among the members of Congress present at Al-Rushaid”s testimony. Conyers has been one of the Haddad family”s strongest supporters since his arrest, and invited Al-Rushaid to testify yesterday. He said that he believed her testimony could give a true account of the type of treatment that the government has inflicted on her family and many others like her since Sept. 11, a member of his staff who wished to remain anonymous said.

“The Administration and Attorney General have taken a series of constitutionally dubious actions that place the Executive branch in the untenable role of legislator, prosecutor, judge, and jury,” Conyers said in a written statement.

Other panel topics included airport security and racial profiling, both topics that have emerged since Sept. 11. Al-Rushaid, however, was the main focus of the informal hearing because it put many of the other issues into perspective, Erb said.

“It had a great impact on them on bringing it home to them and that this is about human beings and lives,” he said.

Before Al-Rushaid testified, Haddad”s attorney, Ashraf Nubani, read a statement to the committee. He spoke about his confusion of the case due to the secrecy of the government and the lack of evidence provided.

“It seems that government is concocting a case as it moves along. This is like Alice in Wonderland. First the sentence, then maybe a trial,” Nubani said.

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