Seated, left to right: Steve Downs, Abayomi Azikiwe, Dawud Walid. Behind podium: Moderator Debbie Johnson
Detroit–July 17–There are several problems facing the Muslim community in the United States. One problem is that Muslims are sometimes targeted by the FBI and other law enforcement bureaus, framed for plots they are not even intelligent enough to hatch themselves, and then arrested and prosecuted for conspiracy to commit crimes they never understood–sometimes they are goaded by troublemakers, wolves in sheepsâ€™ clothing, paid by the FBI in proportion to the crimes they are able to get Muslims to commit.
Another, much worse problem, is that inside the Muslim community we give excuses and podiums to the apologists for Muslim terrorists and troublemakers–who are inherently dangerous to the Muslim community by virtue of their commitment to goals antithetical to the teachings of Islam.
And so this past weekend in Detroit about 100 people gathered at The Shrine of the Black Madonna to complain about government â€œpreemptive prosecution.â€ However, there was the problem that the meeting supported some Muslims who had suffered prosecution for very real offenses.
Not least among those is Tarek Mehanna, a pharmacy graduate who apparently travelled around the world (to Yemen) to seek training to fight against Americans, and who planned to kill numerous innocent civilians at a local mall, and went so far as to conspire to commit this attack. You may say â€œinnocent until proven guiltyâ€ but first read the complaint, 32 pages of damning evidence, with countless detailed samples of Mehannaâ€™s assiduous efforts to commit terrorism, complete with evidence from two of his coconspirators who backed out of his plot and turned statesâ€™ evidence, and also audio-taped conversations in which Mehanna planned terrorist acts.
Tarekâ€™s brother Tamer spoke in support of him this weekend in Detroit, however Tamerâ€™s speech almost amounted to further evidence against his brother, as he spoke for about 15 minutes, railing against the existence in the Muslim community of â€œsnitches.â€ The use of the term â€œsnitchâ€ already implies that his brother is guilty–as usually a snitch is someone who reveals what was intended to be a secret. The implication is that Tarek had committed conspiracy, wanted to keep it secret, and Tamer is angry because the â€œsnitchesâ€ revealed the secret.
But thank God they did. Better for Tarek to rot in jail, frustrated in his intention to blot out the lives of innocent civilians.
If all Tamer Mehanna can say for 15 minutes is that snitches are bad, he begs the question whether his brother is fully guilty, and also whether he himself is supportive of his brotherâ€™s alleged crimes. But most of the people discussed at the meeting Saturday appeared far more innocent than Tarek Mehanna. Behind the speakers was a board on which were posted the names of about 100 people termed victims of preemptive prosecution.
Present at the meeting were many activists on behalf of many of those â€œpreemptively prosecuted,â€ and the most effective presentation was a video about Sami Al-Arian, which advocated his innocence, and expressed the capricious nature of the US prosecution of his case–where when Al-Arian was acquitted of all charges they rearrested him and continued to detain him.
This event was slightly misguided in the ways mentioned above, but the point still stands that the US government has overplayed its hand in the war on terror, by brutally pursuing many who are in fact innocent, and by deliberately detaining them beyond the point at which it becomes obvious that they are innocent.