$20 photos smell like suppression

http://www.freep.com/article/20091130/BLOG2505/91130033/1322/20-photos-smell-like-suppression-

$20 photos smell like suppression

EDITORIAL BLOG: JEFF GERRITT

 

 

County Medical Examiner’s Office should send their photos out to Target or CVS. When the Council on American-Islamic Relations/Michigan submitted a freedom-of-information request for the autopsy photos of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the head of a Detroit mosque shot to death by federal agents on Oct. 28, the county told CAIR, in a Nov. 24 letter, the 75 photos would cost $1,500. That’s $20 a piece. Smells like suppression to me.

CAIR has called for an independent investigation of the shooting, as I did earlier, raising questions about how Abdullah died and events leading up to the shooting. Federal agents were going to arrest Abdullah on suspicions that he dealt with stolen goods. Without presuming anything, Mayor Dave Bing also told me recently he supported such an investigation. But that’s not the issue here. At issue is the duty of a government agency to provide public information to taxpayers at a reasonable cost.

Governments, of course, can recoup their costs for reprinting documents, paper, photos, etc. But $20 for each photo seems out-of-line when CVS or Target charges about 25 cents. Officials could fear that photos of Abdullah’s bullet-ridden corpse would end up on the internet or in mosques. If a government agency believes it has a legit reason for denying a FOIA request, it should straight-up deny it, and then make its case to a judge for doing so. But don’t back-door it. Making documents unaffordable is the wrong way for government to withhold information.

Detroit mayor calls for independent investigation into killing of Imam Abdullah


http://www.freep.com/article/20091129/OPINION01/911290423/1069/opinion01/Bing-says-rebuilding-Detroit-is-20-year-task

The Muslim community has asked for an independent investigation into the death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah (the imam killed in an FBI raid) last month. Do you support that?

I think an independent investigation is warranted. A couple of my former employees were part of that mosque. I’ve known them for a long time and they’re good, solid people. I don’t know all the details, but I don’t think we can just sweep it under the carpet.

CIA goes hiring in heart of Arab America

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091127/us_nm/us_usa_cia

By Soyoung Kim Soyoung Kim Fri Nov 27, 9:33 am ET

DEARBORN, Michigan (Reuters) – At Tuhama’s Lebanese deli in Dearborn, and at bakeries and barbershops throughout town, it’s no secret the CIA is looking for a few good spies.

“There is a lot of talk, and nobody likes it,” said Hamze Chehade, a 48-year-old Lebanese-American, taking a bite of his chicken shawarma.

In dire need of agents fluent in Arabic, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has made an unusual public show of its recruiting effort in Dearborn — a city of 100,000 with the densest Arab population in the United States.

The agency has bought full-page ads in Arabic-language newspapers and it is rolling out TV ads aimed at luring Arab-Americans and Iranian-Americans to spycraft.

But despite a weak economy and high unemployment, the CIA will find it hard to hire here, residents say. Many see U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East as misguided and anger over the perceived mistreatment of Arab-Americans runs deep.

It won’t be easy to win hearts and minds here, they say.

“If anyone goes, they would be just going for the money, not following the heart,” said Chehade, a cabinet-maker who immigrated from Lebanon 21 years ago.

CIA recruiters said the agency sorely needs speakers of Arabic and other languages due to the intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan and the continuing U.S. occupation of Iraq.

“Obviously, with the wars going on in the Middle East, that’s really on America’s radar,” said Henry Medina, who is in charge of CIA recruiting in the Midwest.

“We’re going to recruit that knowledge, that language, the linguistics, the cultural nuances that are critical to fully understand the foes and enemies,” said Medina during a briefing for reporters who were shown the agency’s new ads.

One TV spot showed a dinner party at an Arab-American home, with a narrator intoning, “Your nation, your world. They’re worth protecting. Careers in the CIA.” The camera zooms out to show the party taking place in a modern high-rise building, then a view of the United States from outer space.

A second spot introduces five Arab-American professionals in turn — an engineer, a scientist, an economist, a lawyer, and an academic — then shows them together announcing, “We work for the CIA.”

“We’re trying to de-mystify the agency. We don’t want people to only see us as being something like what you see in the movies or spy novels,” said CIA recruiter Zahra Roberts.

“DOES AMERICA LOVE US?”

The CIA declined to disclose the cost of the ad campaign or detail the number of Arab-American recruits it wants to hire.

Leaders in Dearborn’s Arab community said they welcomed efforts to make U.S. intelligence agencies more inclusive.

But they said people have grown wary of the government’s use of wiretaps and informants in the Arab-American community.

Strict enforcement of immigration laws and delays at airports and border crossings for Arab-Americans have also created a backlash, they said.

“People have been told, ‘Your name is Mohammed; your name is Ahmed; you must be a terrorist,” said Osama Siblani, Lebanese-born publisher of the Dearborn-based Arab American News. “How do you bring people into the government when they have been subjected to a great deal of discrimination?”

He added: “You have to believe that what you are doing is the right thing, otherwise you are just a gun for hire.”

Siblani, whose newspaper runs CIA recruiting ads, met CIA Director Leon Panetta during a September visit to Dearborn. “I said, treat us like Americans,” he said. “We love America but does America love us?”

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, agreed that many Arab-Americans were torn between feelings of patriotism and resentment of U.S. government policy at home and abroad.

“I think transparency will do a lot more than airing TV commercials. There’s a large amount of fear and mistrust with the government,” Walid said.

People of Middle Eastern origin make up more than one-third of Dearborn’s 100,000 residents, an influx that began a hundred years ago when Henry Ford hired Lebanese immigrants to work in the nearby River Rouge plant. More recently, many Iraqi refugees have also settled in Dearborn.

On Warren Avenue, where signs in Arabic outnumber those in English, other residents said they doubted the CIA would find many willing recruits in Dearborn.

“It’s not lack of patriotism. It’s questioning of wrong policy,” said Mohammed, a 24-year-old graduate student of Libyan descent who asked not to use his last name.

Inside Tuhama’s, Chehade said he would warn his adult sons to consider the consequences of signing on with the CIA.

“People are going to hate you,” he said.

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Sermon on Eid Al-Adha: ‘One G’d, One Community’

Today’s Jumu’ah khutbah given at the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA) in Warren, MI touched on the following:

  • Part of the symbolism of Hajj relating to One Creator and one creation, which has duality (zawjayn) as symbolized through Adam (AS) and Eve (AS).
  • Muslims being one community with one purpose and one common destiny.
  • Having concern for Muslims throughout the world, but charity starts at home.
  • Community concern regarding the shooting of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah (RH).

Click here to listen.

Prayer & remembering genocide

While we’re all eating Turkey today and watching the football games (I’m sure the Detroit Lions will get smoked), let’s remember the true importance of today, which is an American national vacation day.

Today is truly a holiday (holy-day) in the sense that it is the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of `Arafat, in which Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said it is the best day of supplication.  Some commentators say that this day i symbolic of when Adam (AS) recognized (`a – ra – fa) Eve (AS) after their separation in paradise.  The first pilgrimage was in fact the pilgrimage of Adam (AS).

The Day of `Arafat is the day of recognizing our human worth (masculine and feminine characteristics) and the recognition of the equality of the human soul under G’d.

Which brings me to this day being a day of mourning for Native Americans.  As we Americans overeat and enjoy our families, most of us will get lost in the national myth of Thanksgiving.

The fact of the matter is that the settlers who were welcomed with hospitality by the Natives shortly after arrival committed genocide and ethnic cleansing on the original inhabitants.

The first “Day of Thanksgiving” declared by the MA Bay Colony governor was a celebration of the slaughter of 700 men, women, and children of the Pequot tribe in 1637 during their annual Green Corn Festival.  This initial massacre led the way for hundreds of massacres to come, Natives being subjugated (even made to be slaves for a period of time), and bamboozled through broken treaties primarily signed by Uncle Tom Natives who didn’t truly represent their people.

During this day of supplication, pray for the repair of the Native Americans and that we can tell history how it really is instead of re-telling myths.