PANIC and FEAR AMONG MUSLIM IMMIGRANTS in U.S. WHOSE LEADERSHIP DID NOT PREPARE THEM to Face It [Also, a "Muslim" Helped to Get Lackawanna Yemeni Youths Arrested]
[This report, typical of many others, is from the southern United States. Name Withheld on Request.]
There is a Muslim
community here, but in a rather frustrating state of
panic. Say anything against the "war on terror" and
so forth and they respond "are you trying to get us
Everybody knows there are FBI informants and spies,
and frankly with the way so many people are scared,
I'm sure many are willing to inform just to try to
keep themselves "safe". So you never know whom you
can talk to.
You even see "support our troops" bumper stickers on
the cars in front of you when you drive out of the
mosque on Friday! (I've even seen a few of those
Christian fish symbols on cars leaving after Jum'ah
prayer - I guess those are Muslims who are really
trying to keep a "low profile."!!)
A couple years ago, maybe two or three months after
the various imams from the towns around here had
a meeting with the head of the FBI office and offered
their help and cooperation. They wanted to assist the
FBI in explaining and interpreting what the FBI was
learning. They wanted to be more "in the loop."
That FBI guy became enraged and lectured them sternly
on how they all were under the law and that it's a
criminal offense to interfere with investigations, for
which you can be imprisoned, etc. He was standing
there lecturing all those bearded imams and virtually
This was on TV news! So humiliating! They went to try
to help and were treated like suspects.
Unfortunately, instead of making people openly mad it
seems to have intimidated the community.
In fact it all made me wonder if those few shootings
and fire bombs at mosques that followed 9-11 were
really done by nutty Americans or if they were an
attempt by the authorities to scare Muslims in to
asking for police protection, police surveillance,
etc. For months there were cop cars openly watching
mosques all the time, observing who came and went.
Now I suppose it's done more covertly.
Well, but I guess that's how it is throughout the
Did you see the TV special last week on
about the Lackawana prisoners? It was pretty good,
considering the mood of the US. Basically it showed
the FBI investigators admitting that they don't
personally think those guys aren't a threat, but
"potentially it is possible that they could become
one" so they were arrested because "it couldn't be
ruled out that at some point they might be a threat."
And they were arrested because
was pushing for some "action" to prevent "terrorist acts."
So in addition to preventive war, we now have
preventive arrest, and even the investigators know
those guys aren't a threat. But unfortunately, there
are now "crimes" that can be pinned on people when you
want to imprison them preventively, and in their case
it was "aiding a terrorist group" because they spent a
few days in one of the al-Qa'idah camps before they
decided that this wasn't for them.
But the most disgusting part was that it all began
when the FBI received an "anonymous" letter apparently
from some Muslim giving them names of these guys. If
it hadn't been for that informer, the FBI wouldn't
have even investigated them or known that they went to visit
Now those Muslims who didn't do
anything have long prison sentences thanks to that "good citizen."
2004-02-21 Sat 15:37ct