Recently media and legal circles within the United States have been showing signs of paranoia and deliberate misunderstandings of the Muslim communities throughout the United States. There has always been something like an in-built bias against Muslims and Arabs and Palestinians in American culture. One of the best barometers of this American skewed vision of Muslims is Hollywood and the entertainment industry. The average American has been fed a continuous staple of Arabs and Muslims who are centered around their lusts or who can never catch up with the “real world.” To this end the motion picture industry has produced the “camel-jockey,” “Ahab the Arab,” and the seductive “haram.” All these years and generations of anti-Arab stereotypes have yielded a more sinister and a more lethal Arab: the “terrorist.” And now the Arab terrorist is no longer a Hollywood pass-time. Now the Arab terrorist is the “business” of the highest governmental departments in the country: the executive, the judiciary, and the legislative. But how did all this distaste and aversion for the comical and vulgar Arab turn into raw hatred and military hostilities recently? Why has the official American policy of war against terrorism become in fact and in practice something like an all-out war against Muslims and peoples of the Islamic faith?
To answer this question we would have to go back to the nature of the “Israeli-Arab” conflict. Nothing so defines the image and the status of Muslims and Arabs in the United States and in the West for that matter more than the ups and downs of the Israeli-Arab dispute. This is demonstrated by the case of Egypt. When Egypt, under the leadership of president Jamal ‘Abd al-Nasir, was in a belligerent position vis-é-vis Israel Egypt itself was perceived by the American public as a country unworthy of respect or equal treatment. But when Egypt entered into a capitulation position with Israel during the time of president Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, all of a sudden, Egypt became a country worthy of diplomatic status and of Middle-Eastern fame! On a larger scale, this is what is happening to the Arab and Muslim populations in the West. But the question is still around: why are Muslims, by and large, considered nowadays by the media outlets as well as official personages to be “terrorists” or “would-be terrorists” or “latent terrorists” or “potential terrorists”?
1st To answer this question we would have to go back to the feud in the Middle East between Israelis who come from a Jewish current of history and Arabs who come from an Islamic current of history. As much as there are secular minds that want to isolate the incidents between Arabs and Israelis away from their religious context, the fact of the matter is that the more we proceed into the future with an increasing and intensifying magnitude of clashes and violence, the more we realize that these bloody exchanges between the two opposing blocs (Israelis and Arabs) are extracted from the respective context of each one’s religious depths. This should not be hailed as a scientific discovery that has been the undisclosed enigma of the Middle Eastern problem. The fact of the matter is that the veneer of secularism that has shrouded the discourse on Middle Eastern politics for the past century or so has stupefied and confused this core and parallel element on both sides of the issue. And no one can deny that in the last twenty to thirty years there has been an exponential growth and expansion of Islamic self-assertion throughout the whole Middle East. This Islamic re-affirmation includes within its many expressions the political and ideological as well as the military articulation of the majority Muslim people living in that Holy part of the world, and beyond. Obvious the first to feel the effects of this Islamic revival of collective will and social-self are the Israelis who are surrounded from all directions by a sea of Islamic populations. For this reason — and not for this reason alone — we notice that the first Western comments on this Islamic self-determination comes from Israeli pundits, commentators, and government officials. And because of the intimate relationship between the United States and Israel the internal Israeli concern for security quickly becomes an internal American concern for security. It need not be that way; but the osmosis of Zionism into Imperialism has rendered many an observer of the American and Israeli societies confused as to whom wags the other: is it the American government that wags the Israeli tail or is it the Israeli government that wags the American tail? But this is another subject to be deferred to the future where the level of events will finally expose the true nature of the deadly political embrace between the Zionist officials in Tel Aviv and their counterparts in Washington.
The Zionist Conspiracy and Its Matrix of Events
The on-again off-again war between Israelis and Arabs is bound to have its unruly and refractory effect within the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. and throughout the West; but particularly in America. And the symptoms could not be more pronounced. Leading the battle against the Muslims in the United States are hard core Zionist Americans. The Zionist American infrastructure is well established and well organized. AIPAC is a seven hundred pound gorilla that swings its weight between the White House and Capitol Hill. It does not miss a branch or a bough around the Capitol Mall between these two positions. This American Jewish lobby has not had a word of sympathy expressed towards Islamic causes anywhere in the world. This American-Jewish lobby is reinforced by a network of American Jewish civic and religious activities ranging from affiliates of the ACLU to members of Christian evangelical churches throughout the land. With this background it is no surprise to note that the first verbal shots against American civic activity coming from American Muslims was fired by a Yossef Bodansky, an naturalized American who was/is an Israeli citizen. [Yossef Bodansky is described by a Swedish expert on terrorism, Mr. Magnus Rhunstorp, as being unreliable and should be considered the equivalent of an isolated iceman living in the middle of nowhere. About Bodansky’s information, this Swedish expert added that it is drivel and lacks credibility — source: Sidsfinka newspaper, 2-2-2002] Mr. Bodansky wrote a book entitled: Target America: Terrorism in the U.S. Today. What may have given his book a guise or respectability was the fact that Mr. Bodansky was the director of the House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. In this book of fixation and mania Islamic organizations and associations such as the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) among other Islamic religious and social organizations were suspect and even fronts in an Islamic Internationale that is out to get Israel. While McCarthy was seeing red behind every shady object, Bodansky was seeing green. Annual conferences and occasional meetings held by these Islamic organizations at which distinguished scholars and speakers were discussing religious, cultural, and social issues — these conferences in the eyes of Bodansky and his likes were conspiratorial, subversive, and of course anti-Israel! To add octane to Bodansky’s alarmist presentations the chairman of the House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, Bill McCollum of Florida, continued to support Bodansky and even wrote an introduction to his book.
As a sequel to Bodansky’s Target America: Terrorism in the U.S. Today and a couple of years afterwards another panicky figure comes along and produces an American prime-time presentation: Jihad in America. [Frontline, 1994]. This new alarmist is Steven Emerson. Emerson’s bottom line is that there are Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists who are already settled and situated in the United States with their families and their professional jobs, who are waiting for the signal to go on behalf of the Islamic Internationale and bomb and kill where-ever and when-ever the call of duty arises! In the glow of his TV special Jihad in America and in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing Emerson was approached by the media for his professional opinion as an expert on terrorism about this horrible explosion; and he said that it had the print of Islamic or Middle Eastern terrorism all over it! Of course it turned out that it was Timothy McVeigh who was behind this terrible event, and Mr. Emerson withdrew into his Investigative Project shell and wait for the propitious moment when he would re-emerge with a bang.
In the mean time a profile was readied and an argument was stitched together to convince the American public that the “Muslims are coming.” In January 1993, Mir Aimal Kansi shot five employees of the CIA in Langley, Va. Killing two of them. Chalk that up as the first suggestion that Muslims do have an impulse to kill American officials, or something along these lines.
In February of the same year, an explosion goes off at the World Trade Center in New York city in which six people were killed and scores of others were injured. Four Muslims were held responsible for this atrocious act while 118 others were marked as potential un–indicted co-conspirators. Mark this as another incremental implication that Muslims are out to get the United States! In June 1993, the Muslim scholar Sheikh ‘Umar ‘Abd al-Rahman and nine others from within his “inner circle” were arrested. They were charged with a plot to bomb the United Nations, the George Washington Bridge, the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels as well as a federal office building. Add this plot to the “grand Islamic strategy” of terrorizing the US. In March 1994, some Lebanese opens fire on a bus carrying fifteen Hasidic Jews on the Brooklyn Bridge, and this too is tagged to the “Islamic profile.” In February 1997 opens fire at the Empire State building. One tourist is killed and six others wounded before he turns the pistol and kills himself. This, too, helps makes the case that Muslims are methodically targeting Americans! In July 1997, an Arab was arrested by New York City police. They said that he was planning to bomb the subway system. And once again anything that combines an Arab with criminal activity or potential criminal activity is added to the list to make the case that the Muslims are terrorists. Then came proof positive: on September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the plane that crashed in rural Pennsylvania, these were all strung together to build a solid case for the Israeli argument that the Muslims are at war with the United States. Nearly three thousand Americans died on this villainous day. And Steven Emerson and his ilk were reborn and re-positioned in front of the world-wide TV and media broadcasts to make their claims that there is an Islamic Terroristic Internationale. Bodansky, Emerson, and company were resurrected from the ashes of ground zero. The media cannot get enough of them. Many times Emerson and his tutors and counselors are filling the air-waves. With a touch of magic Emerson may appear on three different and separate TV programs at the same time.
And now Mr. Emerson comes out with his new book American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us. Recent information from Steven Emerson also indicates that he is pushing for another TV special to further alienate the American Muslims. The title of this new Emerson project is What Went Wrong? (The Birth of Jihad and the War to Destroy America and the West.) What goes unnoticed in this sequence of events is that the effort to demonize Muslims in the United States and the West is proportionately related to the mounting military and psychological pressure exerted by Islamic freedom-fighter movements such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hizbullah. When these Islamic militias turn the pressure up on the Israeli officials in occupied Palestine, the surrogates of these Israeli officials throughout the Western world and in particular within the United States begin to try to pressure Muslims by such things as movies, books, “documentaries,” tampering with the US legal system, and federal and law enforcement raids into Muslim owned businesses and institutions, as well as into Muslim homes! It would seem like the strategy of Emerson and his equivalents is to whip up an air of Islamophobia by which they hope to de-humanize Muslims as a means to discrediting Muslims from any significant or noteworthy participation in the American political process.
Emerson is no Archimedes who happened to stumble across “Islamic Fundamentalism” while he was bored one day in Oklahoma City, as he asserts in his book American Jihad. Emerson did not shout “Eureka” when he began hearing in Muslim conferences the depth of Israeli injustice that is reflected in the lectures and words of Muslim scholars. It is no secret that Muslims the world over feel a deep sense of obligation to liberate the Holy Land from political Zionism and its racist Israeli nation-state. Rather, Mr. Emerson stumbled upon the time-coordinates of the intensification of the anti-Israeli Islamic Jihad on one side of the world and the Zionist felt necessity to recruit the United States of America into an Israeli military campaign against this Islamic anti-Zionist drive.
The Israeli Connection: The Beginnings
All of this dovetails very well with the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s declared war on international Islamic terrorism. After the first Palestinian Intifadah (1987- early 90’s) and a wave of what the Israelis call “suicide bombings” and the Muslims call “martyrdom operations” the high ranking Israeli officials were convinced that they could not take the steam out of this Palestinian military opposition except by tracking down and eliminating the operational masterminds of what they have been systematically calling the “Islamic terror web.” While Rabin and company were encircling the military leaders of the Palestinian people and targeting them with assassination operations and booby-trap detonations, Emerson and company were busy spinning their stories about an international Islamic support system for this Islamic terror.
We should point out that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in militarily occupied Palestine and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith (ADL) in politically occupied America were working hand in hand. The grand scheme comes from the Zionist minds of the Israeli establishment: a four pronged approach: 1) demanding increased cooperation from Yasser ‘Arafat’s Palestinian Authority; 2) planning an erection of a massive security fence in the West Bank to keep Palestinians and Israelis apart; 3) boosting intelligence gathering efforts inside Gaza and the West Bank, with extra funds and manpower allocated; and 4) cracking down on known activists and on Hamas and Islamic Jihad-linked institutions…
In this grand Israeli strategy of taking on the Islamic “enemy” every effort had to be exhausted to have the United States on the Israeli military side. It was not enough for the Israelis to have the United States protect them with their vetoes at the United Nations; it was not enough for the Israelis to have the US government locked into a strategic military pact with the government in Tel Aviv; and it was not enough to have the US routinely unload its sophisticated military hardware at Israeli military and civilian airports in occupied Palestine. The Israeli leadership of Rabin, Perez, Netanyahu, Barak, and now Sharon, they all require the United States government to be in the Israeli front line locking up, taking out, and knocking off every Muslim who may eventually become an active opponent of Zionist Israel. Noteworthy in this regard is the continuous feedback that American intelligence (especially the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)) receives from Israeli intelligence. Israeli Intelligence services are reported to have been streamlining classified information to the FBI about Islamic organizations in the United States that gives these organizations a terrorist twist. Mossad, Shin Beth, and Shabak channel their information to the American intelligence agencies to have the latter believe that Islamic organizations operating within the US are either an extension of or support groups for Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank and Gaza. It was along these “intelligence feed” (American intelligence agencies and federal government departments being baited by Israeli intelligence) that the United States government began to turn its legal and official wrath against American Islamic organizations. To this end, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development among many other Islamic charity organizations were virtually raided and shut down by the Federal Authorities. Its assets were frozen; and in effect it was rendered inoperable.
With Yossef Bodansky, Judith Miller, and Steven Emerson leading the charge against the Muslims in the media, and with Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer, and Bernard Lewis concocting and thinking up anti-Semitic (or anti-Arab) ideas in academia, and with the likes of Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz strategizing a “war on terrorism” the Israeli jigsaw puzzle is coming together.
September 11th : The Trigger Mechanism
With this backdrop and setting and these long years of Zionist demonization of almost anything that hints at Islamic self-determination the inevitable was about to happen. And it did. On March 20, 2002 the inhumane and the un-American came to pass: a contingent of American law enforcement agencies swooped down on friendly Islamic organizations in what may be called a dragnet. The Customs, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and maybe a couple of other law enforcement agencies entered into Muslim educational institutes, charity offices, and private homes and in an operation that continued for hours took whatever they suspected of having information to incriminate these Islamic organizations and individuals! They even took baby pictures, passports, drivers licenses, computers, and – listen to this – a wedding card of a Muslim young lady who got married the previous week! These searches were conducted by an estimated 150 law enforcement officers. The Customs Service said 14 search warrants were executed in Northern Virginia and one was used in Georgia, but that no arrests were made.
The American Muslim community today is like the American Jewish community during the McCarthy era. Many Jews in the fifties were suspected of being communists or communist sympathizers — and many Muslims today are suspected of being terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.
In the weeks and months leading to these raids, the two major newspapers in the Washington, D.C. area (the Washington Post and the Washington Times) ran articles about Islamic Schools in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. And in these articles it was said that the curriculum at these schools promote anti-Jewish sentiments. Muslim children at these schools are taught to “hate.”
Solidarity International – USA listed the organizations and homes that were raided on Wednesday March 20, 2002:
Muslim World League, International Relief Organization (IRO), International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), Success Foundation, American Muslim Foundation (AMF), International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Fiqh Council of North America, Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences, SAAR Foundation, SAAR International, Safa Trust, Mar-Jac Holdings, Inc., Mar-Jac Investments, Inc., Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc., Mena Cooperation, Sterling Charitable Gift Fund, York Foundation, York International, African Muslim Agency, Aradi, Inc., American Muslim Foundation, Heritage Education Trust, Humana Charitable Trust, Grove Corporate Inc., Reston Investment Inc., Sterling Management Group, Inc., The homes of Dr. Jamal al-Barzinji, Dr. Ahmad Totunji, Dr. Yaqub Mirza, Dr. Mohammad Jaghlit, Dr. Taha Jabir al-‘Alwani, Dr. Iqbal Yunus, Tarik Hamdi, Muhammad Ashraf, and home of M. ‘Omar Ashraf.
This grand operation by the Fed’s is called “Green Quest,” and it amounts to a full-scale violation of American Muslims whose only crime appears to be guilt by association – religious association. Nowadays, it seems like (from the federal perspective) anyone who is a Muslim may be a “terrorist.” President Bush seemed to be assuring when he told the Muslim Americans that this war is against terrorism and not against Islam. But day after day and event after event the American Muslims cannot avoid the distinct impression that this is proclaimed war against terrorism is turning into a war against Muslims. Operation Green Quest is said to be carrying out more than 300 probes into “terrorist” finances. Since it began about four months ago it says it has seized about $10.3 million in smuggled US currency and $4.3 in other assets. The whole operation so far has resulted in 21 searches, 12 arrests, and four indictments.
American Muslims and the Absence of Due Process
As the Muslim Americans have become more and more familiar with buzz-words like “national security” and “secret evidence” and “profiling” their civil liberties as well as their human rights are becoming cliffhanger affairs. The fall into the abyss of discrimination and the absence of due process is haunting law-abiding and decent American Muslim citizens.
In the run-up to these Federal raids Muslim intellectuals and professionals were rounded up and detained on the flimsy information provided to American courts of law as “secret evidence” and for purposes of “national security.” Dr. Sami al-‘Arian, Dr. Mazen al-Najjar, Dr. Anwar Haddam, and many others have been threatened with legal procedures and law-suits or hauled out to prison on the unconstitutional basis of “secret evidence” in which the accused do not know what they are charged with and because of that cannot even defend themselves in a court of law.
If the United States government wants to approach the issue of terrorism without showing favoritism to American Jews then it should also lock up suspected Jews on the same basis of “secret evidence” and “national security” unless of course there is no longer any difference between American national security and Israeli national security. Even by the standards of the American Department of State there are two or three Israeli Terrorist Organization: Kach, Kahane Chai, and The Jewish Defense League (JDL). And if this is the case why haven’t we heard of the FBI, the IRS, the INS, the Secret Service, and other federal law enforcement agencies looking into the finances of these Israeli Zionist terrorist organizations? These pro-Israel Zionist organizations also have a list of committing or attempting to commit crimes on US soil against Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims most of whom are Americans? Are there American Jewish equivalents of the Muslim World League, the Fiqh Council of North America, the Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences, the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and others that may be considered by reasonable people to be a support system or an “infrastructure” for terrorists who support the racist policies of the apartheid regime in Tel Aviv?
Why doesn’t the Justice Department seek to conduct voluntary interviews with 5,000 predominantly Jewish, foreign nationals who are conceivably violent supporters of the Zionist officials in Tel Aviv?
Singling out American Muslims without considering their American Jewish counterparts in the extended Arab-Israeli conflict is unmistakably prejudicial and damaging to the civic fabric of American society.
For starters, may the American Muslims respectfully ask Secretary of Justice Ashcroft to find out which Yeshivas, Synagogues, and Jewish philanthropic organizations have any links to Jewish fundamentalists and “terrorists” and raid their offices and homes? Or would Mr. Ashcroft and the whole American Republican administration of Mr. Bush be afraid of being called “anti-Semitic?”
No thanks, but due to the Israel-firsters in high places and influential offices in subsequent American administrations the Israeli war generals and the American prosecutors have discovered that they have a common enemy: Palestinian Muslims and American Muslims and every Muslim in-between! The Israeli Zionist crowd is riding roughshod over the American legal process and the American Muslims have become the scapegoats for the political lack of progress in solving the Israeli-Arab conflict!
It appears from the sequence of events placed in their proper national and international context that the Zionist crowd and their cheer-leaders have two basic things on their mind. First, they want to equate an international war on terrorism with a particular war on Palestinians. For this reason they keep on reminding us that Yasser ‘Arafat is the Palestinians Bin Laden and Ariel Sharon is George Bush. According to this biased reasoning the war against Palestinians is necessarily a war against international terrorism; and divergently the war against international terrorism is ipso facto a war against the Palestinians. Within this reckoning the US government should have all the right in the world to harass, pursue, indict, imprison, deport, and even bring back the assassins to finish off those who are deemed outside a court of law as being with the “terrorists.” Because as president Bush said in so many words: if you are not with us, you are against us. Could the following months and years interpret that to mean that if you are not a Zionist you are a “terrorist?”
Second, the Zionist drive is on to diminish and destroy American Muslim organizations that have been working they way up on the American political ladder and making headway as far as American foreign policy is concern. The Zionist lobby was feeling the beginning of the competition with those who do not agree with it — more specifically with the pro-Palestinian grassroots and lobbying efforts so, now, they are out to get them. The Zionist have recruited the American government to their side. President Bush has been saying all along that the war against terrorism is not a war against Islam; these admirable words are contradicted by actions on the ground. The descending of law enforcement agencies and the frequent violation of legal immigrants and American Muslims’ legal rights (contrary to time-honored American values and principles) is proof that the spillover effect of the Middle East problems are beginning to inundate the lives of millions of decent and law-abiding Americans: of Muslim, Arab, Palestinian and other origins. To this end, the United States is being contaminated with the vices of the Zionist interest by virtue of its Zionist lobby. It is high time for the decision makers in Washington to realize that American interests have been hijacked by Israel; and if corrective action is not taken soon enough it will become impossible to distinguish between the American interest and the Israeli interest. Or in the words of Dr. Maher Hathout, Senior Advisor of Muslim Political Affairs Council (MPAC),: “the United States has become the most hated country in the world, competing sometimes with Israel.” (Addressing a Capitol Hill audience, April 5, 2002.)
Dr. Ahmed Yousef is Director of United Association for Studies and Research (UASR) and Editor-in-Chief, Middle East Affairs Journal.