(Following article is in response to Dante Chinni and Abraham McLaughlin’s “With the McVeigh delay, pressure rises for FBI reform”, published in the Christian Science Monitor, Monday, May 14, 2001)
As I read the article “With the McVeigh delay, pressure rises for FBI reform” (May 14) by Dante Chinni and Abraham McLaughlin that detailed a series of missteps and errors committed by the FBI in several high profile cases none more so than the deadliest domestic terrorist act in Oklahoma City, I couldn’t help but wonder how things may differ if Timothy McVeigh was a Muslim. In fact, our media, law enforcement, and government officials immediately accused Muslims after the Oklahoma bombing without any evidence.
If McVeigh was a Muslim would he have been guaranteed the full extent of our Constitutional protection, including the recent delay, during his trial?
Would 60 Minutes have spent an entire hour (May 13) interviewing him politely, patiently asking him his motives and feelings while the victims reacted to his statements, debated the death penalty and asking God to forgive him? Would so much media attention be given to America’s most lethal “Christian” terrorist? Would the FBI be so castigated and investigated for its errors and would Congress hold hearings on the FBI handling of this case?
Would his lawyers be interviewed with such respect by all the media as to their next strategy?
The answer is obviously NO. When it comes to Muslim suspects, Americans or otherwise, the FBI’s quick investigations here and abroad are never questioned, not their methods, witnesses, or lab results. The suspects would be automatically identified as “Muslim Terrorists” presumed guilty until proven innocent. The media could care less about their fate, the FBI and Immigration and Naturalization Service would even violate the Constitutional due process of law and hold these suspects for years without a trial or charge under so called “secret evidence”.
The Congress until now has not even voted to repeal this unconstitutional practice despite 112 Representatives cosponsoring the repeal. Neither the Attorney General nor the President would even be involved in such cases. In fact such suspects are usually brought to New York in front of a hostile prejudicial jury against Islam (World Trade Center bombing) and convicted and sentenced within a few days to weeks. Ironically, our own government is silent when even dozens of Arab American citizens are held in Israeli prisons without charge.
Our justice system is callous reeking with double standards when it comes to non-white religious minorities with Jews being the exception (recall the Mark Rich and Hassidic Jew pardons).
The moral of the story in our Justice system is if you’re an Arab American, Muslim American, African American, Hispanic or other minorities the system will racially profile you, your trial is a sham, forget about governmental guarantees, no 60 Minutes or media attention, or even due process. America’s dual justice system for the rich, the whites, the powerful is friendly while for the colored, poor, foreigners, and non-Christians its a disgrace.
Mr. Mohamed Khodr is an American Muslim physician and a native from the Middle East. He has worked in Academic Medicine and Public health with national and international health experience. He is a freelance writer who often writes columns on the Palestinian cause, Islam and on America’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East. He lives in the Washington DC area.