A series of "what ifs"


After Executive order 9066, posters order
 all  Americans with Japanese ancestry out
of their homes.

Tensions across the Strait of Taiwan grew more tense in late November. Wang Zaixi, vice minister of the Chinese Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, told the English-language daily China Daily "If the Taiwan authorities collude with all splittist forces to openly engage in pro-independence activities and challenge the mainland and the one-China principle, the use of force may become unavoidable." In response, a spokesman for Taiwan's cabinet said, "Taiwan is a democratic country. Only its 23 million people have the right to decide its future and what is best for them. We can't tolerate interference with our internal affairs by any undemocratic country." 

Although this is not the first time China has threatened Taiwan with force, Wang did temper his remarks by saying, "The people of Taiwan are our brothers and sisters. We are not willing to meet at the battleground." Nevertheless, this latest news did set off a series of "what ifs" in my mind. What if the Taiwanese people vote to declare independence from China? What if China invades in response? What if the United States intervenes on Taiwan's behalf? A dreadful thought, no doubt, but plausible nonetheless. 

What if, in response to a war in China, the United States government decides to detain all those of Chinese descent in America? When I first thought of this ugly possibility, I hate to admit, a brief sense of relief overtook me. Finally, the pressure will be off us Muslims for a change. Finally, there will be a new enemy, I thought. But then that sense of relief quickly became a sense of deep concern, almost horror. What if all persons of Chinese descent were herded into camps? What would we Muslims do? 

Technically speaking, the act of detaining an entire ethnic minority in internment camps has never been declared unconstitutional. Korematsu v. United States--the famous Supreme Court case that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans--has not, to my knowledge, been overturned by the Supreme Court. Although many in America have said "never again," what if it did happen again? Some believe that it already has happened again after the attacks of September 11, when over 1000 overwhelmingly Arab and Muslim men were detained, not in concentration camps, but in America's jails and prisons. 

Still, the question continues to dog and haunt me: what would Muslims do in such a situation? Would we stand idly by and watch as another horrific injustice is done in the name of "military necessity"? Would we remain silent in order to show our loyalty and patriotism? Would we turn in our fellow Chinese Americans? Would the tremendous pressure that the American Muslim community is currently under lead it to acquiesce to an act wholly antithetical to both Islamic and American values? 

I hope and pray not. If, God forbid, such a situation were to occur, we Muslims must be the loudest of all Americans in protest. We must never sit by and watch such a horrible injustice be committed in the name of "military necessity" and "national security." We must stand up for justice, as the Quran commanded us. An injustice against anyone anywhere is and must be an affront to every Muslim everywhere.

I was blessed recently with the opportunity to meet two Americans who were victims of Executive Order #9066, the order to place all of Japanese descent in internment camps. One was a senior in high school at the time, and the other was born while in internment. I sat in sheer awe as the two spoke, and I felt a deep admiration for them. They were speaking out against the actions of the U.S. government in the wake of the September 11 attacks, using their experiences in the camps to forever remind Americans what can happen when the citizenry remains silent in the face of injustice. They are my heroes. My only hope and prayer is that if, God forbid, a similar situation occurs in America, Muslims finally live up to the demands of their faith and stand up for justice, regardless of the victim. Failing to do so would be nothing less than barbaric.

 

Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago physician and columnist for the Independent Writers Syndicate. He is author of "Why I Love the Ten Commandments," published in the Book Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (Rodale).


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  19 Comments   Comment

  1. To H.A. from H.A. from ......istan

    Why H.A. is so annoying to John Norman?

    ans: Why ask why? Try Bud Dry.

    Chances of getting this message posted is 1/3 * 100 = 33%, which is less than the percentage of AMERIANS (45%) who think that ISLAM is inherently violent.

  2. To John Norman from H.A. from .................istan

    Wow...everybody....a MIRACLE...Yeah...a MIRACLE has taken place ON THIS SITE!!!!

    MY DEAR BROTHER JOHN NORMAN WOULD NOT ENGAGE IN TRADING INSULTS WITH NO ONE ANYMORE. I had a dream and the dream has come true.

    Wow... Let me phone Mother Eve convectionally or radiationally... to send this important News.

    PLEASE POST THIS.

  3. Zorro from UK

    Ignore what you will AskheNAZI john. I frankly dont care what a dime-a-dozen zionist charlatan thinks. Your responce confirms that when faced with facts, you.. will cut and run.

    As far as being far this or far that, its inconsequental when examing the plethora of jewish neurosis and propaganda.

  4. john from uk

    Zorro, I see that you are something of a swashbuckler - and somewhere on the far-right or the far-left. I am certainly not going to engage in trading insults with you. This site is too valuable for losing time with po=eople like you.Don't waste your time answering this, I'll certainly ignore it.

  5. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Assalaamu'Alaiykum,

    LOL CHARLES THAT'S A GREAT SCALE...Thank you for that I enjoyed that very much hahaha....

    Wassalaam.

  6. Zorro from UK

    Nice try AshkeNAZI john, but no cigar.

    Claiming never to have heard about those Israeli "art students" celebrating the 9/11 attacks is just pathetic. I'm not going to do your research for you, if you're not feeling up to it, call your local FBI office and ask them why 300 Israelis are in lock down. USS liberty an accident? what chutzpa ! Yes all those acts of terror were accidents, just like Israeli agents using Canadian and American passports are accidents. I'm sure Pollard was being loyal to the US when he handed over thousands of pages of classified intelligence to the Israelis. It must have been an accident, as are all false flag operations carried out by Jewish terrorists.

    Your attempt to gloss over Israeli criminal activity is standard jewish behavior. The talmud does promote lying to goyim after all. Unfortunetly for you history isnt kosher like that.

  7. Inty from UK

    I strongly agree with the comments made by Abdul Mumin (Islamicity ref: 19490). The fascination with the word Arab must stop!

    Prominent Middle East leaders such as Qadhafi, Mubarak, Saddam Hussain refer to themselves as Arabs before Muslims. This whole notion plays in the hands of the Western powers ideology of "Divide and conquer."

    This is how the Caliphate was destroyed. By Arab nationalism. Nationalism whether be it Arab, Pakistani, Iranian, Turkish etc. is gows against the core Islamic theme of oneness and unity.

    The steps towards progress must start by calling ourselves Muslims before, Arab, Iranian, pakistani or Sunni, Shia etc..

    I remain optimistic

  8. Joshua from Canada

    I am not a Muslim, but I do feel for what Mulsims across America have gone through. Due to the ignorance on the part of many, this noble and peaceful faith has been made out to be one of war-mongering and insidiousness. Many have slanderized this true faith due to the horrible events of 9/11 - and many do not know better. They associate Islam with terrorist-extremists and warfare. This is a blatant injustice towards Islam. All faiths -at one time or another, have witnesses extremist acts commissioned by extremist individuals. Christianity for example. The Crusades of the middle ages were carried out in the name of God, yet they had killed thousands of innocent muslims - who worship the same mutual God. All faiths have their darker history. It just so happens that Islam is now subject to scrutinization by many, and even defamation. We need to end this now. Knowledge will end this perception among many. Television programs about Islam and information about the faith should be more frequenbt. Internet sites like this are very helpful at alleviating the ingnorance among many people across America. Although I am not a muslim (I'm a Protestant Christian)I have now been able to read a lot more about hate faith and I have also been able to tell others about Islam - ending misconceptions which inevitably lead to hate and war. Ignorance and lies are what Satan uses to blind those who are feeble minded.

    God bless you all, salaam.

    JR

  9. Charles Jacks from USA

    Very good Akbar Khan: "The most patriotic thing you can do is to question the actions of your own government." One can classify patriots into one of three classes. The largest are the faade patriots. These are the people that put on patriotism like a faade to wave the flag when they see someone else doing so. They add no real patriotism but lend strength to those that do so as not to be seen as unpatriotic.

    The next largest group are the positive feedback patriots. They cheer on their country what ever it does, right or wrong. They act as positive feedback to the country. Positive feedback is used by engineers when they want to create something that is runaway, out of control or generally self destructive like the chain reaction of a nuclear bomb. A country under the spell of positive feedback patriots is best described as Nazi (read "nationalist party" when translated to English) It is a country so enamored with itself that reason does not control.

    The smallest group of patriots are the negative feedback patriots. These are the people brave enough to question their countrie's actions when it is not acting rightly. They are the people that pull the car back onto the road and get it moving straight. They rail against the lemmings that follow each other over the cliff. They act as the nation's conscience and attempt to keep it from the path of self-destruction.

    It is an act of patriotism fraught with danger and restricted to the brave. Many are the people attacked by their own country for speaking out for what is right. That country that attempts to silence negative feedback patriots is a country deep into tyranny and self delusion.

    Such is the condition today in which not only are the negative feedback patriots attacked as un-American but positive feedback patriotism is pandered to as vices are pandered to.

    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to remain silent. It is the first and most profound corruption of individuals.

  10. john from uk

    Zorro: who were the Israeli students celebrating 9/11? Names, dates, newspaper articles and reports, please.

    Jonathan Pollard can't wait to be deported to Israel. No doubt that he will thank you profusely if you are instrumental in securing his deportation. The Lavon affair: wasn't that something that happened in Egypt or Syria? Don't see what it has to do with Uncle Sam. USS Liberty: the US accepted that it was a horrendous accident. US Forces too have horrendous accidents. Remember those Canadians killed in Iraq thru "friendly fire"? as well as the Brits and the Kurds?

  11. Abdul Mumin from USA

    This is a reminder for all small minded nationalist and the love of mentioning their race ARAB, did not in the Qur'an Allah(SWT)call us Muslims first. the trick of nationalism was injected before in Turkey by the Europeans, then to Saudi family that Arabs should not ruled by Turks so as to divide and conquer. I promise myself two things #1 if I continue to see website like Islamicity not making it a policy to correct writers not to stop saying Arab, I will start a campaign to boycott as you are helping the enemy to divide us MUSLIM #2 I promise that the next muslim who says he is ARAB first will get the worst punish in this life from me until he shouts " I am a MUSLIM then I will shake hands with the islamic greeting and kiss him.

  12. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Usman what does "white people" really mean? In realistic terms, they are anglo-saxon, what is white, take a tissue and that's white. PPL are not white first of all, and likewise this "white supremacy" has hit such a landmark for anglo-saxon people in such a hidden way that people of other ehtnicities are indoctrinated into the cultural identity of the Anglo-saxon people of the USA and Canada. How far will it go? Before the last 50 yrs or so, MANY openly expressed their racism and bigotry against people of other ethnicities...it was better than what they do NOW. Now they secretely harbour it in their hearts, that they feel they are superior and when they sometiems get the feeling of being lesser, they project their inferiority complex by trying to be holier than thou. They muscle their way through, under the guise of "conservate" and "liberal," controlling both ends of the spectrum of opposing views. It's time to expose this embedded racism among anglo-saxon peoples...you think i'm all talk, that's fine, but it exists in every facet of life and it needs to be talked about and discussed so that this sort of hidden racism STOPS for good....whether it is agaisnt Chinese, Arab, South Asian, African, or anyone else who is mixed or anyone who does not fit the title of being "white" as many put it, or one who is good enough to be considered an oreo cookie....black on the outside, and white on the inside, so to speak...CALL ME RACIST IF YOU WANT, BUT THAT'S WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID AGAINST A RACIST AUTHORITY.

    CSIS and the RCMP are perfect examples of hidden racism in Canada, secretly conspiring with American govt. officials handing over the deed to Maher Arar's house to US customs authorities, trying to cover this incident up. He was deported to Syrian Jail, imprisoned and tortured for over a year. This is called "WHITE SUPREMACY".

    The most patriotic thing you can do is to question the actions of your own government.

    -ME

  13. TO USMAN from USA

    Your name sound like you are a MUSLIM!!! Let me give a word of advice... STOP BEING AN APOLOGIST!!!

    ...You need to take trip to Palestine, IRAQ, and Chechnya... and see the sufferings of MUSLIMS...9/11 was NOT an attack on AMERICAN CIVILIANS but on AMERICAN GOV'T FOR ITS STUPIDITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST...Yeah!!! ITS SAD, many civilians died!!! Didn't your DEAR COWBOY killed thousands of IRQIS just to get SADDAM, who is still walking around and smoking cigar and WHO HAS BEEN NOURISHED AND CLOTHED BY U.S. GOV'T FOR DECADES!!! IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO GROW UP!!!

    IF YOUR A MUSLIM, ENJOY YOUR HALAL TURKEY!!! IF NOT, be my guest.. eat whatever you want!!! Your type of turkey is yours, my type of turkey is MINE!!! AND you are welcome to criticize Muslilms, but once in while you will hear from me...

  14. H.A. from USA

    John Norman is a MASTER of creating bias toward Muslims. Just read every comment he posts. He will never say anything positive about Muslims.

    He is an Islamophobic, Arabophobic, and now ,all of a sudden, CAIROPHOBIC. The CAIR is just a website, not a Madrasa Student!!!

    I wonder how BROTHER NORMAN is going to defend himself... Let me disappoint him...the Chinese-American who has been spying for China (although initially jailed by Chineese gov't for spying for USA) just got caught for SPYING FOR CHINA a few days ago... SHE WILL FACE 13 yrs in jail if convicted.

    Isn't she undermining the U.S.'s national security?

    American values???? Hmmm....My stomach is full of American values....having hard time walking w/ it!!! Very SILLY!!! Let me list a few American values: LIES & ILLEGAL WAR, OPPRESSION, SPONSORING TERRORIST-STATES (EXPLICITLY ISRAEL), NUDE WOMEN, BOOZE, SUPPORTING DICTATORS (SADDAM), CHEATING ONE's spouse, EXPOSING ONESELF in streets AS ANIMALS WOULD IN DENSE JUNGLE SIMPLY TO ATTRACT MATES; NAUGTY MUSICS, CATWALKING W/ NO CLOTHES ON etc...I am getting tired of importing values from terrorististans every single day. Thinking about leaving...but WHO WILL NURTURE individual like brother NORMAN??? Mother Eve would not be happy w/ me at all if i decide to leave.

    Some values of AMERICANS... THEY (MOSTLY WOMEN) SMILE AT STRANGERS and me!!! VERY UNIQUE!!! NO ONE CAN DENY THAT!!!

    Anyways, Let us all pray for brother Norman so that his phobia and hatred toward Muslims and also toward Muslim websites decreases exponentially in the days to come....

    J.N---WHAT A CHILD OF MOTHER EVE?????

    PEACE!!! SALAM!!! PEACE!!! DEAR BROTHER JOHN NORMAN.

    ME IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE RUDE TOWARD ANYONE!!! I Learned that in MADRASA!!! BUT BOTHER JOHN NORMAN left me no choice...

    Anyways...brother Norman!!!...Thanks for Killing Native Americans and putting them in concentration camps all across the AMERICAS.

    JUST ENJOY YOUR TURKEY!!! Thanks a l

  15. Zorro from UK

    I agree with John. Those who spy on the US, those who commit terror against America yet want its sympathy should be dealt with. Hence it makes perfect sense to profile and deport and Askhenazi jewish traitors and terrorists who pretend to be Uncle Sam's allies.

    Jonathan Pollard anyone ? How about those innocent Israeli "art students" celebrating the 9/11 attacks ? How many Lavon affairs and USS Libertys do you Americans need before you get a clue ?

  16. Zorro from UK

    I agree with John. Those who spy on the US, those who commit terror against America yet want its sympathy should be dealt with. Hence it makes perfect sense to profile and deport and Askhenazi jewish traitors and terrorists who pretend to be Uncle Sam's allies.

    How many Lavon affairs and USS Libertys do you need before you get a clue ?

  17. Usman from USA

    After experiencing Sept 11th, I can only hope that muslims will be as impartial as christian and white people have been against the war in iraq. We don't really have a good track record in keeping up with the politics and don't really care what happens to the other as long as it doesn't happen to us. But now we have learned our lesson or atleast hope that we have which is to stand up for justice!

  18. john

    The writer leaves out the information that Chinese-Americans have never threatened their own Governement or american values. There are many Muslim-Americans who do. Look atCAIR's website.

  19. Inty from UK

    China vs US

    A very likely conflict of the future! At present the Chinease cannot match the US military might. But as Chinease economy grows and more funds are available for defence, China will match the US one day.

    Regarding the Muslim reaction. There will be no reaction! How can you expect anything from a "nation" that could not provide a united voice against the invasion of Iraq.

    The major anti war rallies in the West are supported by non Muslims.

    The Muslim reaction will be like that of a rabbit being stuck in the headlights.

    Don't expect anything too positive too soon!