As a Muslim American, I am much distressed by the constant barrage of accusations hurled against us. Some suggest our profiling based on ethnic and religious backgrounds: even that we are issued mandatory identification cards.
We are often asked to account for any criminal activity, occurring anywhere, by any of the 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide. At every incident we pray that it might not be a Muslim. As a backlash, hate crimes against us are at record high levels, as shown in a recent report of the Council of American-Islamic Relations.
In the wake of 9/11, the US Justice Department and its associated agencies have often announced, with the greatest fanfare, incidents such as finding of a terrorist cell in a non-descript locality like Lodi, CA, or an Al-Qaeda-associated Muslim group (none of whom turned out Muslim) somewhere in the Florida panhandle, or a Middle Eastern looking fellow buying massive quantities of prepaid cell phones in the Arizona deserts in Tucson.
What the American public is never told is that not a single of these or other incidents turned out as claimed, and no Muslim American has ever been involved in a terrorist act.
Muslim Americans are also vindicated by a 2005 secret FBI report noting that despite the widespread dragnet and arrest of some here and there, not a single true al Qaeda sleeper cell exists anywhere in the United States.
Furthermore, as is now well-known, thousands of our overseas communications have been monitored under a controversial secret surveillance system without any warrant. Despite this, fewer than ten U.S. citizens or residents per year aroused enough suspicion of the spying agencies to seek warrants authorizing further surveillance of domestic communications. Those arrested, however, turned out to have minor immigration violations: No Muslim American has been indicted.
Also every year, in response to some 30,000 "national security letters" issued without judicial review, businesses and other institutions provide confidential information about their customers, without them knowing. It has led nowhere.
A major reason, yet to be fully acknowledged by the administration officials, its agencies, or relevant media is that our law-abiding community, which is serving the nation in various capacities, is well educated, and well integrated into the American society.
And that we are very alert to all incidents of terrorism, extend timely help and cooperation to the relevant agencies, and do not allow our manipulation by any extremist group.
It is important that the mainstream media take due note of this, and rather than succumbing to the agenda of certain interest groups, help our understanding and appreciation by the larger American public.
It is time to realize that we have become the unfortunate targets in this war on terror- gone on now for very long five years. As citizens of this great country we are entitled to due respect. We ask our compatriots to voice their support for the protection of our constitutionally guaranteed rights, as the duty and responsibility of all Americans.
Siraj Mufti, Ph.D. is a freelance journalist involved in the interfaith affairs.