Children's crusade

Legal wrangling stalls a Muslim couple's battle for their children

Unfortunately, for the Krasniqis, there are no guarantees. The bill of review is a long shot--at best. Noble says that after recent disagreements with the Krasniqis, he is not even sure he is still representing them.

Meanwhile, Khalid Hamideh, an attorney for the Islamic Association of North Texas, is also working on a bill of review on both the state and federal level, arguing ineffective assistance of counsel and that the state did not do what is in the best interest of the children. He says he sent a copy of his work to Noble for comment, but never heard back.

Hamideh is also considering filing suit against Judge Gaither for libel, for a letter Gaither wrote to The Dallas Morning News which repeatedly refers to Sam Krasniqi as a child molester, although he was cleared of criminal charges.

As the lawyers continue wrangling, Sahar Ayad tries to figure out where she can help. She recently contacted the popular singer once known as Cat Stevens, who since converting to Islam often champions Muslim causes. A representative of the singer put Ayad in touch with a third-year Harvard law student--head of the Harvard Islamic Law Center--who has requested to see all of the legal documents in the case.

Ayad also helped collect more than 6,000 signatures on a petition asking Governor George Bush to have the Krasniqi case reopened. She planned to deliver the petition to the governor in early November. But the governor recently replied to a letter she wrote on the Krasniqis' behalf, saying there was nothing he could do, the case was closed. In the letter was a copy of the Gaither letter published in the Morning News. Gaither advised Bush on juvenile justice issues during his campaign for governor. "Bush is obviously on Gaither's side," Ayad says. "I wish I could be more optimistic. So many have let the Krasniqis down. I don't want to be the last person to turn my back."

Support for the Krasniqis came from an unexpected quarter last week when Scott Fisher, communications director for the Texas Christian Coalition, joined with Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, to write an opinion piece for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram condemning Gaither's actions and calling for "a review of the case by state and federal authorities."

In desperation, Khalid Hamideh has tried a new tack: He recently wrote a heartfelt letter to the Krasniqi children in care of their adoptive parents. "My only intention in writing these words to you is for you, Tim and Lima, to know the truth," he wrote.

The letter goes on to outline the case, underscoring several points: The leading child abuse expert in the state found no medical evidence of abuse of Tim and Lima, that Sam was found innocent of criminal charges, and how hard the Krasniqis have continued to fight for their children.

Hamideh also included some of the supportive letters the Krasniqis have received, including one from Tim's second grade teacher. "You are victims of a system that used incorrect facts to make a decision to take Tim and Lima," the teacher wrote. "...The wrong done to Tim and Lima under the guise of protection is the crime..."

In closing, Hamideh asked the adoptive parents if they would be willing to meet with Sam and Kathy and discuss allowing the children to learn "the truth"; to have their minister meet with other religious leaders to discuss "the most beneficial and least stressful way to reunite the children with their culture, heritage and religion."

Hamideh asked CPS director Mark Hoffman to forward the letter to the adoptive parents, which he claims he did. Hamideh is still awaiting a reply.

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