- FCN Editorial: Anti-Islam rhetoric: Moving from the unjust to the absurd (06-29-2004)
- The Real Fifth Column in America (FCN, 08-14-2002)
NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – Muslim and human rights activist Jafar Siddiqui, of Lynwood, Washington, believes that Muslims are targets of a “paranoid” United States government. That, he said, is the only logical explanation for locking up two 16-year-old New York City teenagers because they allegedly intended to become suicide bombers.
Mr. Siddiqui, a member of the American Muslims of Puget Sound, told The Final Call that, “one must be excused for being confused over the identity of the real terrorists in such scenarios.” He said it was akin to the theory that a rape becomes the “fault” of the victim.
It is a story not widely known. On Mar. 24, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested two high school students, one from East Harlem, the other from Queens, because, according a report by The New York Times, the girls are “an imminent threat to the security of the United States.”
At Final Call presstime, one of the teens, Adama Bah, a Guinean immigrant, had been released without any comment from the government on why she was detained in the first place.
“They are being held under secret evidence that some FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials admit is baseless,” the New York office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stated in a prepared release.
To date, no evidence has been cited by officials. According to reports, both girls are in the U.S. illegally. But, Adama Bah, according to school records, has been here since the age of two.
The other girl, an immigrant from Bangladesh lives in Queens with her parents and siblings ages 14, 11 and four months. Her father is a seller of cheap wholesale watches.
“I always thought that this country is better for my children,” the girl’s mother told The New York Times.
According to observers, it seems that the only connection to suicide bombing was an essay written by the young Bangladeshi girl, stating that suicide is forbidden in Islam.
“This whole thing is coming full-circle. It is now coming to the Black Muslim community here in the United States,” observed Samia Halaby, a New York-based Palestinian activist. The government is becoming more ridiculous in its ongoing campaign to create an atmosphere of fear, she added. “They want to do something to expand the terror level in the U.S.A.,” she charged, “and nothing breeds fear better than the term ‘suicide bomber.’”
“Let me tell you, my Brother, I did not understand the problems faced by Blacks in this country until 9/11,” Mr. Siddiqui shared. “And now, I am beginning to get an idea of how the law works against Blacks here.”
Muslims are increasingly the targets of a “shoot first, ask questions later” policy by our government, Mr. Siddiqui explained.
Ms. Halaby said that activists believe that as many as 14,000 Arab and East Asian immigrants have been rounded up since 9/11. “Unfortunately, we still do not know how many are here in jail,” she said.
Cyrus Mehta, an immigration law expert, said that the government’s method of arresting people on suspicion, then deciding how, or whether ,to charge them, “stands the Constitution on its head.”
“Despite the continuing protests by the immigrant and civil rights communities following 9/11, the federal government’s implementation of ethnic and religious profiling and its use of immigration proceedings to circumvent the constitutional protections of the criminal justice system persist,” CAIR said in their statement.
The statement also noted that, to date, all the arrests have not resulted in any successful terrorism prosecutions.
“And there is no evidence that these methods have made America safer,” CAIR said. “It appears that the profiling of Muslim men has grown to include Muslim women and children,” CAIR added. “This is an incident which has galvanized community organizations.”
Protests and vigils are planned for May 11, when the Bangladeshi teen is scheduled to appear for a hearing in Leesport, which is located in southeastern Pennsylvania. Buses are scheduled to leave NYC at 8:00 a.m. To make a reservation, contact Dulani of DRUM at [email protected] or call (718) 205-3036. For information on the vigil in Philadelphia, contact CAIR-Phila. (215) 592-0509. For information on activities in the Bay Area, contact Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) at (415) 274-6760 ext. 310, or (650) 387-1994.