Op-Eds

  • The morning after: Minneapolis, Minnesota’s terrorism trial

    Opinions November 21, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: FHR. The three young men who went to trial and lost paid a high price for exercising their constitutional right to a jury trial. Mohamed Farah, 22, was sentenced to 30 years and lifetime supervision; Abdirahman Daud, 22, the same (30 years); while Guled Omar, 22, accused of being the “emir” of the group, received a sentenced of 35 years and lifetime supervision. Beyond these barbaric sentences which mock the principle of justice, this writer was also deeply disturbed by a number of statements this African American jurist made from the bench about many of the young men being (in his and the judicial system’s estimation) unredeemable, and the suggestion that terrorism in America was something new. While terrorism cases may be something selectively new in American courts, the fact of the matter is that this plague is as old as the “republic” itself!

     
  • Congress shows how not to respond to Donald Trump’s terrible nominees

    Opinions November 21, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Zaid Jilani in The Intercept. Donald Trump has nominated some of the worst of the worst to serve in his cabinet — a rogues gallery of apologists for torture, racial and religious discrimination, deportation, and all manner of abuses of civil and human rights. But rather than present a vigorous and united front against these nominees and demand that Trump replace them, Democrats and Republicans who in the past have been sensitive to concerns about civil liberties are instead offering to give them a chance — or actually supporting them. There has been one notable exception: the outcry from Democrats about Trump’s selection of Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. Anti-Semitism, then, would appear to be a litmus test for congressional Democrats. But not Islamophobia, or the advocacy of human rights abuses like torture.

     
  • There was a time when presidential candidates fought to earn the American Muslim vote

    Editorials November 5, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Dr. Sami Al-Arian in Alternate (11/5: There Was a Time When Presidential Candidates Fought to Earn the American Muslim Vote
    With various polls at a nail-biting dead heat, and a nation nervously awaiting the end of an election season that feels like it’s gone on for years, it’s difficult not think back to another close election. In 2000, as the national polls were similarly close, it might be hard to believe, but the two candidates were actually interested in reaching out to a little-noticed community to win their votes: American Muslims.

     
  • Counter terror smarter

    Opinions October 26, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: U.S. News. When what you’re doing isn’t working, doing more of it isn’t the solution. We can’t keep responding to attacks the same way and expecting a different result. There is a better way to counter terrorism, and a more effective model that we can adopt, but first government officials must abandon failing strategies. When what you’re doing isn’t working, doing more of it isn’t the solution. We can’t keep responding to attacks the same way and expecting a different result. There is a better way to counter terrorism, and a more effective model that we can adopt, but first government officials must abandon failing strategies.

     
  • A paranoid surveillance state is not what will keep Americans safe

    Editorials October 2, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Alternet. When civil libertarians defend their side of the liberty-security debate, they usually claim that liberties are just as important as security. Perhaps what they should be saying is that protecting our liberties means ensuring our safety; that surveilling everyone produces more but not better information and is not a national security measure; and that the informed interrogation of prisoners who have rights, including the right to a fair trial, is not only more consonant with the American way, but more effective than secret prisons and physical abuse. It’s been 15 years since 9/11 and yet few have noticed the obvious. Where the power of the national security state has been curtailed, it’s been for a simple enough reason: undeniable ineffectiveness. Put another way, the biggest lesson of 9/11 has yet to be learned. It’s a curious fact that what’s actually lawful and mindful of liberty has turned out to be what also makes us more secure against our enemies.

     
  • What Muslims need to know about CVE

    Opinions September 23, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Muslim Matters. CVE efforts are solely concerned with Muslim “radicalization” and government officials are making little effort to conceal that fact. . . . Muslim American terrorism, then, has been a very small, very low percentage of the overall violence in the United States.” . . . In spite of the abundance of available research arguing the contrary, popular notions of an ideological struggle remain the paradigm of choice from which the vast majority of CVE discussions emerge.

     
  • The reduction of Muslim Americans

    Opinions September 14, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Other Words. Both Democrats and Republicans are spreading the same Islamophobic message: you’re either with us, or you’re against us. At the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, I witnessed our leading politicians broadcast the kind of Islamophobic messages that can motivate the murder of innocent Muslims. Millions of Americans who followed the DNC heard former President Bill Clinton speak these words about American Muslims: “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win.” As a Muslim-American myself, I’m appalled by the suggestion that unless I prove I love freedom and hate terror, I may not be afforded the right to “stay.” I don’t see any other groups faced with this prerequisite.

     
  • Dear Americans: This law makes it possible to arrest and jail you indefinitely anytime

    Opinions September 2, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Steve Mariotti in The Huffington Post. In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with relatively little attention from the media―despite the freedoms it obliterated. The NDAA was enacted to empower the U.S. military to fight the war on terror. But buried in this law are two provisions (Sections 1021 and 1022) that authorize the indefinite military detention, without charge or trial, of any person labeled a “belligerent”―including an American citizen. These NDAA provisions (which have been re-approved by Congress and signed by President Obama every year since 2012) override habeas corpus―the essence of our justice system. Habeas corpus is the vital legal procedure that prevents the government from detaining you indefinitely without showing just cause. When will this bill expire?When the war on terror ends, that’s when these extraordinary military powers will end. And in all probability, the answer is never.

     
  • The FBI’s secret war

    Opinions August 31, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Jacobin. To get a sense of how little has changed, consider the FBI today. The Bureau now spends an inordinate amount of time and resources paying or otherwise bribing criminals into becoming paid informers, and using them to goad and entrap young, poor, and sometimes mentally handicapped Muslim men into carrying out terrorist attacks they would neither have the wherewithal nor intention of otherwise committing. Since 2014, at least eighty-eight people have been arrested on charges of supporting ISIS, many of which had little or no connection to the terrorist group. That doesn’t even count those arrested on more generic terrorism charges, typically in plots the FBI themselves have created. This is a continuation of methods the FBI pioneered during the COINTELPRO years, when the Bureau regularly paid provocateurs to infiltrate student protesters and urge violence.

     
  • Jonathan P. Baird: The dark night of Mohamedou Ould Slahi

    Opinions August 25, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Concord Monitor. In a little noticed story on July 14, the Periodic Review Board of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp approved the release of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen and author. What is unique about Slahi is that he is a best-selling author. In his book, Guantanamo Diary, he described his ordeal. Slahi spent nearly 14 years at Guantanamo. He was never charged with any crime. Author John le Carre described Slahi’s book as “a vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka.” Slahi’s story shows the danger in normalizing torture. Innocent people can be swept up in dragnets and get subjected to the sickest abuse. Guantanamo has done enormous damage to the moral authority of the United States. Torture leaves an indelible stain. We must never forget that torture remains a crime.