An article published on April 8 in New York's Times by Nina Bernstein says "A Bangladeshi 16-year and another Guinean 16-year-old girl are now described by the government as would-be suicide bombers and are being held in a detention center for illegal immigrants in Pennsylvania.
Little is known about the second 16-year-old. The mother of the Bangladeshi girl, said the two girls met for the first time at 26 Federal Plaza after her daughter's arrest. But when the other girl, a Guinean who was facing deportation with her family, noticed her daughter's veil, she gave her a traditional Muslim greeting, and federal agents seemed to think they were friends. The second girl ended up in the Pennsylvania detention center, too.
Neither girl's name is being published because they are minors who have not been charged with any crime. There are no firm time limits on immigration detention, so the burden is on the girls to prove that they are not potential suicide bombers, rather than on the government to prove they are. Indeed, the evidence is withheld from the girls and anyone who represents them under a "protective order" that F.B.I. investigator obtained from the immigration court.
The girls have no right to a court-appointed lawyer, and according to the government document that described the Guinean girl; her family had not retained one.
In an interview at the Islamic Center of North America in Queens, the Bangladeshi girl's mother said the girl came home crying from school because of upsetting remarks, some directed at her Islamic dress.
The parent coordinator at the school, Karen Hundley, said "A lot of things other kids did offended her sense of religion," Ms. Hundley said, citing jokes about movies and an ethics class that mentioned condoms. But she said that nothing about the girl's behavior or comments was threatening.
A 17-year-old girl who was "very close" to the Bangladeshi girl called the notion that her friend could be recruited as a suicide bomber a terrible mistake. Their three-year friendship, she said, revolved around Islam, prompting both to learn Arabic and to teach classes on Islam to young women at two mosques. "We talked about what was going on in Palestine, suicide bombings, and I know she's completely against it," she said.
The Bangladeshi girl's mother said her daughter told her that during a brief detention visit the F.B.I. interrogators had threatened her that unless she confessed to terrorist ties, her two youngest siblings, who are American citizens, would be placed in foster care and her parents sent back to Bangladesh without them."
Two law enforcement officials, both speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the case is pending, confirmed a government document, that says the girls are "an imminent threat to the security of the United States based on evidence that they plan to be suicide bombers.", but suggested that it may have exaggerated the threat.
"Investigators were concerned that girls might be recruited sometime in the future for a suicide mission by a suspect in an ongoing terrorism investigation, one of the officials said. They decided to detain the pair before they could become involved", the official added.
Is this a Joke or a Nightmare? This could happen to any practicing Muslim! I wear the Islamic dress, and use the traditional Islamic greeting; " Salaam Alaykum" meaning " Peace Be Upon You"; to Muslims I see, even a strangers. Does that make me a would-be suicide bomber?
Are we going back to the Dark Ages of religious persecution? And this is happening in the land of Democracy, human rights, and justice. It is not happening in a third world country that is ruled by a dictator. Is this an intimidation tactic to scare the 8 million American Muslims living in this country?
We call upon all people of conscience to stand up and do all that can be done against this injustice. Remember injustice anywhere leads to injustice everywhere!
Soon the preemptive persecution based on imaginary allegation will expand to every practicing Muslim, since Islam is perceived as the real enemy.
Dr. Salwa Rashad is an Egyptian writer based in Madison, USA. She holds a PhD in engineering and a master's degree in computer science. A freelance writer for Aljumah magazine, Rashad also presents Islamic views at schools, colleges, and churches. She is a peace activist with Beyond Terrorism group and Madison Area Peace Coalition (MAPC). You can reach her at [email protected]
I find this the case even for those who have totally differing natures.
Practicing Islam with prayers, zakat, fasting, truth, respect for parents just to mention a few is what would be the common ground, not individualism and personality traits.
So it is our choice how we want to live our lives.
The conservative myth that due process does not apply to non US citizens in America or to non citizens outside the United States must either be confronted or cause colapse into the inevitable near fascism that is bound to follow.
The Constitution, as I said applies to the government no matter where it is and we need to remind the government that vocally with a loud and resounding "No"
A Khalid, with all due respect your comparison,"it would be inappropriate for a Westerner to walk around in a Muslim country wearing her ordinary "garb." is out of line. Just to add to it, you cannot be in the White House or in Buckingham Palace dressed like a hooker! Why? Because you have to show due respect for the inhabitants of those places. The same when you travel to Muslim countries, put the garb of modesty and respect for the land. To be veiled is not nakedness and it can't be offensive as a dressing code.
However, practically speaking it is much easier to attempt to blend in the crowd while maintaining modesty ie. without overtly donning the hijab.
Ofcourse the hijab is a beautiful garment, however, one has to align his character with the spirit of Islam before donning the hijab which is a lot deal more than just the dress code.
Just to quote, it would be inappropriate for a Westerner to walk around in a Muslim country wearing her ordinary "garb."
It would be more prudent to blend in and be "modest." At least in appearance. We are no-one to judge morality in others. That is God's job.
A. Khan, you are mischievious in promoting Muslims in a bad light. We Muslims do not believe that we are superior, if you were Muslim you would already know that. We believe that we are not more than others and others are not more than us. The Islamic veil is a symbol besides being a pre-requisite of faith. It is a symbol of the Islamic presence and is extremely sore in the eyes of the kafiroon.
May Allah/God strengthen our iman/faith and make our passage through these times of tribulations as easy as possible, amin!
However, one distinguishing characteristic that does lead to strength is the ability to carry on positive goals without stepping on anyone or hurting anyone.
A person who acquires power may be perceived as strong but in reality most have used others to get there, so there is no strength in that.
In summary, one's ability to deflect criticm and stand firm for his/her belief would I think be necessar, whether one chooses to wear the Islamic Dress or not.
that will get you deported very quickly. Our country has been too lax about this issue for a long time.
be ashamed of itself for falling into these
dumbo rumor traps, unless you're looking to
be the Tom DeLay of the Islamic world. Why
would 2 schoolgirls be detained rather than 2
grown men if it there was no credible reason?
Don't you think the gov't would be risking a
tremendous backlash by accusing 2
underage girls? If they needed a scapegoat,
there are plenty of grown men who could be
used who could be perceived as creating
more of a threat. Has the U.S. deported all
Muslim residents since 9/11? Sorry -- I think
not. You are just fanning the flames of hatred
and bigotry by doing this. Would you be so
outraged if 2 16 year Jewish girls were
detained? No way -- you' d be heaping the the
praises on. Don't play at the truth like this -- it
damages your credibility and labels you as
bigoted as our 'friends' in the current
administration. You don't want to become the
"Fox News" of the Muslim world.
This news was first publish in the New York Times as noted in the first paragraph..
"An article published on April 8 in New York's Times by Nina Bernstein says "A Bangladeshi 16-year and another Guinean 16-year-old girl are now described ..."
Of the Millions of Muslims living in the U.S., only a very small minority become a threat, not because of the way they dress or salute each other but for what they say or even contacts that they keep. In the U.S., one needs to be careful of what one says to others. There are many instances where students (white) have threaten to blow up their schools and within hours they are in jail, sometimes they stay there for years.
The conclusion in this article states; "I wear the Islamic dress, and use the traditional Islamic greeting; .... Does that make me a would-be suicide bomber?" Uh??? Yeah, this statement might make you angry, I know that if it were true it would make me upset, BUT IT'S NOT TRUE. If his conclusion were true, then there would be millions of Muslims in Jail for acting Muslim here in the U.S. The Fact is that if the girls are a threat they will be prosecuted, or if they are here illegally then they will be detained and if found not to be threat then they will be deported. Let's all pray to GOD that justice is serve to them and to the U.S.
Detaining a 16 year old girl without a trial and threating her to 'fess up or face deportation of parents and sending her siblings to foster care! SHAME ON THOSE OFFICIALS!
...such actions shows that the criminals are weak and they are in the final stages of their "death" process...
This is how he evil empires/nations behave in the last stages of their existence...
Soln: Stop committing evil all around the world. Then and only then you would not have to pick on 16 yrs old....
may Allah help these muslims as they are trying to follow their religion. Government should first investigate before arresting any body.
The Islamic way of life is a good way of life if one does not have to compete with the western world; but one does.
So what am I saying? Articles like this should unite Muslims and open our eyes to certain facts. We here in the US must engage the political system as Americans and not just potential terrorist (which we know is a relative term with no world conscience). I don't mean drop the Islamic way of life; but engage the political system as though life, limb and liberty depend upon it-- because it does.
I know many of you may not agree but Hezbollah has been successful in Lebanon not just because of their military might but they also engaged the Lebanon political system.
A fight from within.
There are more ways to achieve a goal then the use of C-4.
Wearing or not wearing an Islamic Dress is your own perogative and you cannot force anyone to think you are superior because of wearing one. Everyone thinks and lives the way they wish to and what they believe to be right, whatever their personal beliefs may be.
Thank you for such a great post. I totally agree with you. I wear my cultural, Islamic dress and i am proud of it. This incident that happened to the Bangladeshi girl could happen to any muslim. I always say Assalaam, even to strangers who have their heads covered or are wearing dresss similar to mine, and i think it is a beautiful thing. It is in our religion to say Greeting to those who are muslims like us. We Muslims call it manners! By saying Assalaam we are actually are being friendly and sending peace to each other. I think non-muslims especially Americans need to understand the reality that not every muslim is a terrorist! Thank you for a great article!