Wednesday, May 01, 2002
The Council on American-Islamic Relations released its real report [Adobe Acrobat required] on Muslim civil rights in America on Tuesday. One interesting theme that appears to run throughout the report is that CAIR believes, either naively or stupidly, that the events of Sept. 11 would result in no backlash against Arabs or Muslims. Well, in theory it shouldn't result in a backlash, but things are going to change.
[Really, you don't have to read anymore of this post, because you've heard it all before, repeatedly, on newspaper editorial pages, television news shows and talk radio. But it is a nice and concise summary of every lame and discredited accusation against the United States government and its citizens.]
CAIR screams bloody murder that Arabs and Muslims are being given closer scrutiny at border crossings and airports, ignoring the fact that the ever-fair Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is also making sure that four-year-old black kids, Medal of Honor winners and Barbara Walters are also getting patted down.
Persons with Muslim or Arab appearance were not just pulled out of passenger lines; they were rudely treated. A few examples can illustrate the point: A Muslim woman from Lincoln, Nebraska was ordered to remove her hijab before boarding an American Airlines flight. She was frightened by the guards with guns, so she complied. Muslims take offense in such instances because they appear to stem from a desire to lash out against persons on account of their ethnic and religious background.
Yeah, and a U.S. Congressman, John Dingell was forced to strip for airport security because they didn't believe his claim to have a metal hip. It happens to everyone, Muslims aren't really meriting any special scrutiny -- though they should. One Pakistani-born U.S. citizen complained in the San Diego Union-Tribune that, in the weeks following Sept. 11, he'd gone through airport security 11 times and had been pulled aside for special scrutiny 9 times. The question on my mind was: "Why wasn't he pulled aside all 11 times?"
CAIR also complains that Arabs and Muslims were the focus of immigration enforcement actions following Sept. 11.
Seven months after the September 11 attacks, a significant number of non-U.S. nationals originally from Arab and Muslim countries still remain in detention. Most of these people are believed to have overstayed their immigration visas, although they have not been charged with any criminal offenses. Media reports indicated that there are some 300,000 absconders in the U.S. These are immigrants who entered the country legally but overstayed their visa. American Muslims view the selective enforcement of immigration law on absconders from Muslim majority countries as a form of bias.
Let me think here for a minute, maybe the reason they were focusing on Arabs and Muslims is because the 19 terrorists who crashed passenger jets into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania countryside were Arabs and Muslims? Thousands of Americans haven't been killed by any Canadian, Mexican or Guatemalan terrorists last I checked. CAIR wants everyone to totally ignore the fact that the terrorists were Arab and Muslim. You'll have to excuse the American people if we find that a little difficult to do.
Next CAIR goes onto complain about the closure of various Muslim charities that have been tied to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
These closures have had a wide impact; roughly 50,000 donors were affected by the closures. These foundations had established a track record of effective relief work. They carried out several development projects in high-need areas and served refugees and victims of natural disasters. Donors view such organizations as essential to the ability of Muslims to practice the religious duty of zakat (alms giving), a pillar of their faith. Many Muslims believe shutting religious charities because of suspicion that some of its associates or recipients have extreme political views is a form of profiling that is discriminatory by nature.
Let me explain what discrimination is really going on here. According the the United States government, Muslim charities have been discriminating against organizations who do not plan to kill Israeli civilians by blowing them up. CAIR also had pretty poor timing, with this report coming out on the same day that Ashcroft shut down another Islamic charity and arrested its director for allegedly having ties to Usama bin Laden. If Muslims want to give charitable contributions, try the United Way or the Boy Scouts for the time being. The pro-American, patriotic reaction to the revelations that these charities were apparently fronts for terrorist organizations is dismay and outrage. "We are shocked and troubled that money meant for the poor in the Middle East was instead used to purchase guns, bombs and munitions" should have been the statement made by Muslim leaders. It wasn't. Maybe it's because they are neither shocked nor troubled by the revelation.
Another thing to note about each of these points made by CAIR. At the end of each category (Muslim charities, profiling, detentions), CAIR likes to quote the Constitution, implying that each of these perceived slights is an extra-constitutional infringement on their rights. They may have a point when they refer to the USA Patriot Act, passed in the wake of Sept. 11, because many of it's provisions have not been upheld by the courts -- yet. Just about everything the government has done, however, has been constitutional.
As an earlier draft of this report was being completed, federal agents, on March 20, 2002, raided a number of Muslim offices and homes in Virginia and Georgia. A U.S. magistrate judge signed a search warrant indicating that a U.S. senior special agent had reason to believe that the raided homes and businesses concealed unnamed evidence of "the provision of material support for foreign terrorist organizations?." Targets of the raids included respected leaders and organizations in the American Muslim community such as the International Institute of Islamic Thought, which conducts research on Islamic reform issues, and the Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences, which has trained chaplains serving in the U.S. military. Those whose homes were targeted said frightened mothers and daughters were handcuffed for hours and, in the case of a woman and her teenage daughter, were refused a request to wear their headscarves. Affidavits that led to the raids were sealed and thus the targeted individuals and organizations do not know what led the government to suspect they had any connection to terrorism. Again, no criminal charges were filed and no evidence was produced to back up the government's actions.
Well, no criminal charges have been filed -- yet. A search warrant, signed by a judge, was issued. The law was followed. Happens all of the time in all sorts of cases, from terrorism cases to drug and fraud cases. Muslims should be happy that, in this case, they are being treated the same as all other Americans.
In November 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that the government would conduct "voluntary" interviews with 5,000 legal Muslim foreign nationals. When this was completed earlier this year, Mr. Ashcroft announced that an additional 3,000 people of the same category of individuals would next be sought. The attorney general said the government learned a great deal from the initial interviews, but little was known as to how that information related to the investigation of the September 11 attacks or any suspected terrorists. News reports suggested that fewer than 20 of the initial interviewees were arrested, all on charges unrelated to terrorism.
It seems like this would be good news. They voluntarily interviewed 5,000 people and only arrested 20 -- on charges unrelated to terrorism. Maybe this means that very few Arab or Muslim foreigners are hostile to the people and the government of the United States. For some reason CAIR believes that Muslims would even be questioned -- even in the wake of Sept. 11. Just a little reality disconnect here.
Unlike any other past crisis, the post-September 11 anti-Muslim backlash has been the most violent, as it included several murders....Qualitatively, (post-Sept. 11) has been much more violent (than after the Oklahoma City bombing)?perhaps reflecting the fact that the suspected terrorists of September 11, unlike those of April 19, were Muslim. The attacks included murders of individuals, particularly attendants of high-traffic gas stations and convenience stores. American Muslims, however, have pointed out that the group and its suspected hijackers have never been viewed as members of the community of Muslims in America that have built their institutional life within America's legal structures and have become a part of America's pluralistic civic life. They also cited that there is no history of sectarian strife involving Muslims in America that could warrant such large-scale ethnic and religious violence.
Did you catch that? The "suspected terrorists of September 11...were Muslim." CAIR is regressing. According to Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and an expert on Islam: "In 2001, CAIR denied (Usama bin Laden's) culpability for the Sept. 11 massacre, saying only that 'if [note the "if"] Osama bin Laden was behind it, we condemn him by name.' (Only in December was CAIR finally embarrassed into acknowledging his role.)"
CAIR also claims that several Arabs were killed here in the United States as a result of anti-Arab hatred.
In another case involving a hate crime, a Dallas, Texas jury convicted Mark Stroman for the murder of Vasudev Patel last October. Storman thought the Hindu man looked Middle Eastern and killed him to avenge the attacks on New York and Washington.
In other words, the system worked. This case was widely covered by the mainstream media and decried by commentators and politicians of every stripe -- as it should have been. But what of the other murders? Well, when you get down to the specifics contained in the report, CAIR has managed to come up with ONE more instance.
An Arab American was closing up his store and was leaving when he was shot in the back four times. He died on his way to the hospital. Nothing was stolen and police believe it may be a hate crime.
So much for several. CAIR, of course, ignores the fact that many Arab Americans and immigrants from the Middle East work in convenience stores and gas stations -- relatively dangerous places to work. The case mentioned above certainly has the marks of a hate crime. But CAIR doesn't specify any other murders. Likely because the other murders are of the common variety -- done during the commission of a robbery. CAIR also manages to come up with FIVE other incidents of attacks on Muslims in the aftermath of Sept. 11. That's it. Five. In a country of 270 million people, between 2 and 7 million of them are Muslim (depending on whose numbers you trust), and yet CAIR can only come up with a total of seven attacks on Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslim, resulting in two deaths. And CAIR is complaining about this? In any other country a terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of 3,000 people would have been met with the wholesale slaughter of those who shared the same attributes as the terrorists -- especially if they were physically different than the majority. Only in America can the vast majority of people behave in a humane and responsible way and still be vilified for it.
A quick overview of the "Profiled by Government" section reveals some very weak civil rights arguments. A sample:
9/13/2001 FBI Springfield IL FBI agents showed up at the house of a Muslim man and interrogated him.
9/14/2001 FBI Herndon VA A Muslim security officer at Dulles International Airport was arrested by the FBI.
9/15/2001 INS Fairfax VA A Muslim man who worked at Dulles International Airport is held by the INS
9/24/2001 FBI Birmingham AL A Muslim man reported unwarranted interrogation by the FBI.
But, perhaps the most classic of the complaints made by CAIR are regarding hate e-mail.
11/16/2001 Email user Washington DC CAIR received hate mail that asked Muslims to "get out."
11/20/2001 Email user Washington DC CAIR received hate mail bashing Islam and Prophet Muhammad.
11/26/2001 Email user Washington DC CAIR received an email wishing that Muslims could be hunted like "deer season."
12/20/2001 Internet user Washington DC CAIR received several emails calling Islam "a religion of evil" and telling members of the group to "go back home!"
12/28/2001 Internet user Washington DC CAIR received several hate emails calling Muslims hypocrites and Islam an evil religion.
For comparison, see how Muslims respond when they're offended. From Pipes:
A flavor of what CAIR and its network of letter writers were capable of producing on this occasion may be gleaned from the pages of the New Republic, where a similar statement had been made by Yehoshua Porath, an eminent professor of Middle East history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This statement ("Muhammad broke the [Hudaybiya] agreement eighteen months after its conclusion") elicited, according to the magazine's editors, "hundreds of abusive phone calls, letters, and e-mail accusing us of defamation of the Prophet and worse." Among the letters published by the editors, all in their original grammar and spelling, one read:
You guys had better watch out, ok? Because this is not going to go on further anymore, ok? You'd better watch out that f*ing Jew . . . tell him where he is coming from, ok? Because you know mother-f*er bastard, mother - his mom is a bastard. ok? He can't talk about Muslim shit and you get your act together . . . all of you. We don't want to hear anymore about this problem, ok? You got that right?
Another was more threatening:
The jews from back in history were the ugly decievers and BLOOD SUCKERS. . . . It is importatn that an apology is issued to calm down the MUSLIM all over the world. WE DO NO WANT TO SEE ANOTHER 19 AMERICANS GO A WSAY IN THA LAND OF THE PROPHET ,,, DO WE ??????? !!!!!! I am saying this because the Muslims will never tolerate the actions of the jews agains their religion. And articels like these contribute in the future loss of life of Anmericans all over the Islamic world. . . . We are fed up of filthy jews robbing our lands, and defaming all HOLY concepts we have. Please, save the lives of few Americans by issuing your apology.
National Review online also got a taste when Editor Rich Lowry was responding to a suggestion that, if radical Islamists used a weapon of mass destruction on America, the United States government should consider retaliating by nuking Mecca.
Fuck all of you son of bitchs , mother fucker's
Try Son of bitch to Shot "Makaa" , Pigs like your fuckin magazine could end the world.
Blind people also see Jewish , don't see the Palestine but i have a good news for you
Both of you " People like you " & the " Jewish " will be together in the End.
In The Hell , Enjoy , Fuckin Magazine
Hell be upon you & your magazine
Sometimes you're the victim and sometimes you're the perp.
CAIR's report is meant to be critical of civil rights in the United States, but it appears to be more of an overblown list of petty gripes. If this is the best that CAIR has to offer, maybe they should just call it quits. Despite the litany of complaints, Muslims have more civil rights in America than they would have in any Muslim-ruled country. And Christians, Jews, agnostics and atheists would have far fewer.