Creating Terrorism Hysteria

Four individuals were arrested in Lodi, California on Tuesday, two Muslim Americans and two Muslim religious leaders. The religious leaders were arrested on immigration violation charges and the other two were charged with lying to federal agents. However, an FBI agent proudly informed the community that a link between the Lodi Muslim community and al-Qaeda may have been found. 

Just recently in January 2005 the FBI concluded in a 32-page report that, "US Government efforts to date also have not revealed evidence of concealed cells or networks acting in the homeland as sleepers."

This supposed new revelation was made based on the interrogation FBI conducted with one Umar Hayat, a 22 year old US citizens who was returning from Pakistan after allegedly attending the camp. Interestingly, the arrests came after the senate issued a serious criticism of FBI and its functioning.

If the arrests really lead to the busting of a sleeper cell, then we all must express our gratitude to our law enforcement agencies and demand severe punishment from our courts. Additionally, as Muslims we must make it clear that there is no place in our mosques and Islamic Centers of those people who nurture ideas of committing acts of violence and terror against others. 

Even though the arrest of two religious leaders was not related with the arrest of the other two US citizens, the FBI as well as the media presented that as part of a terror plot cleverly unearthed by the law enforcement agencies. CNN, Fox and other news channels jumped on the story and started raising all sort of possibilities. Fox reported that the plot to bomb super market was foiled. CNN asked "terrorism experts", how peaceful were mosques in the US? Others questioned the character of Muslim religious leaders etc. No one even tried to clarify that the arrests of two religious leaders had nothing to do with the so called terror related arrests. Even the FBI officials failed to make a distinction between immigration related arrests and other arrests.

It would not be far fetched to assume that law enforcement agencies have a strong undercover presence in mosques and Islamic centers, most sermons in US mosques are wire taped and a number of Muslim leaders are kept under surveillance. Additionally, law enforcement officials have found several Muslim organizations who are their willing partners in their hunt for terrorists. Yet, during the last four years, no one has produced any shred of evidence linking any mosque with any groups identified by the state department as terrorists. Yet, the image that the media and many in law enforcement agencies have often given specially in relation to the Lodi arrests is that mosques are not safe and Muslim American religious clerics are involved in plots to harm Americans and their institutions. This raises questions questions about their real motives. By issuing such generalized statements, these groups are not only spreading fear among citizens but are also making Muslims and mosques targets of suspicion, hatred, arson and violence. Since September 11, 2001 more than 50 mosques have been harmed one way or the other and thousands of Muslims including children and women have been terrorized by groups or individuals who have developed a hostility against Islam and Muslims.

What is also ironic is that law enforcement agencies have already given their verdict in these arrests and indicted the religious leaders as well as the other two suspects before they were even put before a magistrate for a trail.

Regardless of the outcome of the case, this is unconstitutional as it deprives people of their rights to remain innocent until proven guilty. Apparently, in the name of national security and campaign to fight terrorism, everything seems to be legitimized. A few months ago, the law enforcement agencies proudly announced the arrests of two would be suicide bombers in New York, only to release them later and drop all charges. However, the damage their announcement caused to Muslims was unspeakable.

Muslim Americans have categorically affirmed their commitment to the process of justice. Their organizations have also continued to denounce terrorism even before September 11. Yet, they are still seen suspects and fifth columnists by many religious and political groups as well as many in law enforcement agencies. Muslim Americans have never interfered in judicial process. They have even demanded fair and open trials in all cases. Bring all the evidence and convict the criminal if he or she has committed the crime, they have always argued.

Yet, their voices have not been taken seriously. Most of them are still viewed as suspects or intelligence assets and they have remained outside the framework of efforts being launched to fight terrorism. They were not considered worthy of giving their opinions on September 11 terror act even by the commission that was created to investigate it. Not many Muslims have been invited to participate in any congressional hearing on the subject. Even in media reports on such cases, Muslim voices are rarely heard. None of the news channel asked any Muslim religious or political leaders to comment on the developing story in Lodi even though they probably are the best people to talk about mosques, Islamic centers and the culture that prevails there.

It is apparent that in order to sensationalize an event and drive political mileage, the life of an entire community is being jeopardized. Those in law enforcement agencies are indirectly encouraging people to hate Muslims by making irresponsible statements and those in media are playing on the fear complex of people. They are creating an anti-Muslim hysteria in the country and are doing a great a disservice to the founding principals of this nation.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is Editor of the Muslim Observer and director of the Islamic Society of Nevada as well as the Muslim Electorates Council of America.

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Older Comments:
Our two guys are totally right. I am back home for 2 weeks and already I am having an anxiety attack over going back. I never joind up for this. I just wanted to get my education and maybe travel a bit before settling down to a regular job. I never meant to be dragged out to to some desert and wipe out innocent men, women and children for no friggin reason but oil. It is pretty bad what I have seen and witnessed but what is worse than that is that we are under threat not to reveal the truth of what goes on daily in Iraq and what we have done there and in Afghanistan. Our officers told us that all Muslims were terrorists and if we don't kill them all they will come back and kill our families. what made me sick was that even the clergy assigned to our unit was giving us the pep talk to go out there and kill. I thought then hey what happened to Christ? What about love for all mankind etc..all bull. I have no faith or respect for this guy who pretends to be our president, or any of the senators or the congress, or our governor or the church or our media. If I could say one thing to any felow Americans reading this, you got made April fool in a big way. Go out there and organize and throw the real terrorists out of the oval office and the senate and congress. If they don't leave drag them out kicking and screaming. And one more thing, take your TV sets and radios and dump them in the garbage and stop wasting your money on our newspapers. we don't have an independent media and if you think you do, you would be pretty stupid. we have been sent here by suits who are in the pockets of oil companies and Israel. All this has nothing to do with democracy or with fighting terrorism. Thats all a big load of crap. It is oil and security for Israel that we are here. Nothing else. Israel is not going to get me no job and Israel and jews won't give a damn if a thousand of us bite the dust and neither does our government. And I'll be damned if I am ready to die for either.

Yes, Bravo Pvte. Williams and Duke.

How I wish yours will be publish in the NewYork Times or the W Post or.. but I guess 'm day dreaming right? Right.

Peace to you.

BNAK said:
Bravo! Pvte. Williams. Peace to you!

I am returning to Iraq next week and the thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. I can fully understand what Williams is saying because I have lived through this crap for 16 months. These guys are fighting back. Hell I would too if I were them. Besides the constant fear of being bombed or shot at, what makes my stomach turn the most is the look of absolute hate I get from common Iraqis. A Brit told me its because we hassle them the way we do. I agree but I think its more than that. Many Iraqis initially were thrilled because we got rid of Saddam who with his sons was feared and hated. But I have people now tell me on my face to bring Saddam back. They say at least then they had running water, electricity, food and jobs. Now all they see morning are burnt corpses and blown up cars each day. I was on a raid on a house where my buddies roughed up this old guy pretty good, stole his money, bust his tv, trashed his whole house looking for more money and valuables - turns out the guy was a Dr Mohsen Abdul Hamid, some political big shot and member of the Iraqi govt. Kinda embarassing but hey just as our captain promised we did not get into any trouble. To sum it up I don't know why we are there but to rob the people of their personal posessions and oil. Hey if some guys came over to my farm in Ohio with guns blazing, hey I can guarantee you me, my brothers and my pa would not roll over. And here were have invaded an entire country for no damn reason. If I don't come back this time, I want people to know that I had some honesty and I want to say this. Our reason for being there is totally bogus. I am surprised there is not a soul in our Congress who has even talked about impeaching Bush for sending us here to die on a lie. There is a whole lot more GIs killed than we report. There are also many innocent civilians we kill each day that we don't report. Most of the guys getting killed are blacks and latinos. I am no longer proud - I hate it and this is just a damn job.

As a US Marine living, fighting in Iraq I wake up each day knowing that we are hated and despised by the people we occupy, and I don't blame them. The word "Terrorism" used so loosely and freely by our media to describe retaliation against our uninvited presence in their country, be it Iraq or Afghanistan, is pretty ridiculous when considering that a violent reactionary movement would be only natural and obviously expected. Has our media ever branded Jewish underground resistance to the British occupation of the then Palestinian territories as terrorism? Or have they ever labelled Moshe Dyan who was directly involved in bombing, murdering and torturing British citizens then as a terrorist? Why bother going that far back in history, Ariel Sharon was implicated by Israel's own courts as being directly and criminally responsible for the slaughter of Palestinian refugees; women, children and old men in the camps of Arba and Shattila. Yet our media and this creature we call our "President", meet Sharon with respect that should be only reserved for a NON-Criminal. Worst from what I have seen with my own eyes repeated many times is the behavior of our troops in Iraq. I have seen our guys take off wrist watches and rings off the dead and living, made no difference whether they were insurgents or innocent civilians. In one of the most recent campaigns near the Syrian border, I saw our guys barging into homes only with the intent to steal. In most cases we busted down doors of homes that looked like there were rich people living there. We stole between 6 to 8 million in assorted currency. Besides money we even ripped off jewelry that were family heirlooms. In one case we took money and wedding jewelry off this family whose daughter had just been married and when her husband and father protested we slapped them around in front of the family. The definition of terrorism simply does not apply to the actions of those fighting us, but it does apply to us - to us Americans.

This is indeed a good article but it makes me want to want to contribute in dispelling these wong facts too. I am sure if an article such as this was tried to be published in my local media or news channel, it would simply not make the cut. I constantly see my muslim community trying to reach out and I hope that one day, inshallah, things get better than worse. We must each, on an individual level, keep striving to portray the reality about muslims and speaking out on a grassroots level.

Assalam Alaikum, the article is very good.

This is a very good article in which the ignored and neglected facts have been brought to light. This is a growing issue and problem that needs to be stopped because it has already grown out of proportion. It is important that others, Muslims and non-Muslims read this article or are at least aware of the brainwashing that is taking place before our watchfull/less eyes.

I generally agree with this article - but some Muslim organizations need to also be strongly crticized in the way they are allowing the FBI/CIA to set the agenda. Instead of being very clear in not being part of any witchunt of Muslims - these organizations allow the FBI/CIA highly unconstitutional access to the masajids, and expose the community to dangerous surveliances. Hatem Bazian had discussed some of this in his talk on the "new" COINTELPRO - that you can view here:

It seems that some of this organizations want to go overboard in being accepted by the homeland "security" people. The reality is that all this is done to stifle any kind of political dissent.

Then you have the Rand Robots the Progressive Muslims Unionists who create even more of a media anti-Muslim hysteria against anyone who does not does not fit their elitist definition of "progressive."

The article states:

"They are creating an anti-Muslim hysteria in the country and are doing a great a disservice to the founding principals of this nation"

But this is nothing new, and this is also not at all contrary to the "founding principals" --- The founding principals included mass slaughter of Native Americans, it included slavery, and it included - "if you are not one of us - you are an enemy" - All of this is contained in the founding principals --- a reading of American history will help clarify what the United States was founded on... Howard Zinn does an OK job - but much more relevant are historical works by Native Americans who experienced much of the same hysteria that Muslims are now experiencing. Much of this is just a continuation of the same old conquest/manifest destiny principals that the United States was founded upon.

It is Muslims that are creating and promulgating the 'terrorism hysteria' by NOT speaking out strongly enough against those who wage jihad and kill innocents.

As an example, think back to the hysteria about the Koran being disrespected at Guantanamo. This alleged story spurned riots in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the Islamic world. Several days later there was a bombing at a mosque in Pakistan that killed 40 and injured 100. In the process many Korans were burned and desecrated. There were no protests and no condemnations.

This duality of condemnation is noticed by the people of the West and this is the reason there is mistrust of Muslims. It's just that simple and organizations such as CAIR are NOT improving anything in the West. CAIR did not even post a comment about the bombing of the mosque in Pakistan during Friday prayers.