Conyers: Muslim queries out of line

http://www.detnews.com/article/20110326/METRO/103260357/1409/Conyers–Muslim-queries-out-of-line

Conyers: Muslim queries out of line

Congressman to initiate investigation of alleged harassment

Nathan Hurst / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington— U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, wants a federal inquiry into allegations that border control agents are unfairly targeting Muslim Americans.

Conyers, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Friday in a statement he was “contacting the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to initiate an investigation of these allegations.”

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations said Thursday it had received complaints from American Muslims who said they were detained for lengthy questioning.

“I had an American passport, and I was put in a cell for four hours,” Ann Arbor teacher Kheireddine Bouzid, who is of Algerian descent, said Thursday. “They asked me if I could give them the names of any terrorists.”

The CAIR-Michigan complaints were outlined in a letter sent to Homeland Security officials this week, and a spokesman said its Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties would investigate.

“We welcome Congressman Conyers’ concern regarding reported violations of American Muslims’ civil liberties and look forward to his leadership in addressing this issue in the Congress,” said a statement Friday from Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan.

CAIR alleged Muslims stopped at border posts in Michigan — including the Blue Water Bridge and Ambassador Bridge — were asked questions like “Do you pray five times a day?” and “What do you think of Anwar al-Awlacki?” — a Yemini-American cleric associated with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Conyers said such questioning was out of line. “The American-Islamic community should know that the federal government will protect the interest of the community, while maintaining the appropriate focus on national security,” he said.

Conyers Initiates Investigation of Religious Profiling by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in Michigan

Conyers Initiates Investigation of  Religious Profiling by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in Michigan

(Detroit)—Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement regarding allegations charging the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) with improper and inappropriate interrogations singling out American-Islamic citizens.

“The allegations of religious profiling raised by Michigan’s Council on American-Islamic Relations in Detroit yesterday should be of concern to all Americans,” said Conyers.  “CAIR has alleged that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have engaged in a pattern of invasive body searches and interrogations concerning the religious beliefs of American-Islamic citizens while returning home from Canada.”

In CAIR’s letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, CAIR described the interrogations as follows:

The passengers hand their passports to an agent.  The passengers are immediately told to turn their vehicles off.  Within seconds, their vehicles are surrounded by agents brandishing weapons in their direction, whether or not there are women and children in the car.  In some instances, there are snipers.  The men are thrown against their vehicles, handcuffed, and taken inside for questioning.  An invasive and humiliating body search is performed, which many have described as sexual harassment.  Some are left handcuffed for hours on end, in many cases standing upright.  Others are left in a cell.  At least a dozen Muslim women of Somali origin have also reported being subjected to invasive and humiliating searches at the border that they felt were inappropriate and a form of sexual harassment.

American Muslims crossing the border have reported in alarming numbers that they are being subjected to extensive inappropriate questioning pertaining to religion and religious practices.  A number of questions appear to be most common:

1.      Do you pray five times a day?

2.      Which mosque do you pray at?

3.      Do you pray your morning prayer at the mosque?

4.      Who is the Imam (religious leader) at your mosque?

5.      Who else prays at your mosque?

6.      Which Muslim charities have you donated to?

7.      Which Muslim countries have you traveled to?

8.      During your travels to these countries, have you been approached by anyone suspicious?

9.      What do you think of Anwar al-Awlacki?

10.   Which Muslim organizations are you affiliated with?

11.   Are you affiliated with any terrorist organizations?

12.   Do you know any terrorists?

13.   Are there terrorists in your mosques?

All in all, the process can take anywhere between two to ten hours.  More disconcerting is that these same individuals report being subjected to the same mistreatment and inappropriate questioning each and every time they cross the border.

“With federal hearings on radicalization and intense scrutiny by law enforcement of religious institutions, the American-Islamic community today is living in a climate that has the risk of producing a siege mentality,” said Conyers.  “I am therefore contacting the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to initiate an investigation of these allegations, and I will be consulting Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).”

“The American-Islamic community should know that the federal government will protect the interests of the community, while maintaining the appropriate focus on national security.  These allegations of racial and religious profiling at the border are not new and have been supported by previous studies of the Government Accountability Office.  For example, in 2000, the GAO found that the U.S. Customs’ patterns used to select airline passengers for more intrusive searches resulted in women and minorities being selected at rates that were not consistent with the rates of finding contraband.”

On Terry Jones’ plan to protest Muslims in Dearborn

Controversial fringe pastor Terry Jones has announced that he’s coming to Dearborn, Michigan to protest Islam outside of the Islamic Center of America on April 22.

Jones, who recently oversaw the burning of the Qur’an at this church this past Sunday, shepherds a small congregation of approximately 50  persons.  May G-d guide those souls, who follow such a leader!

The reality is that Jones, who received international media coverage prior to aborting his “Burn the Koran Day” stunt on the anniversary of 9/11, is merely seeking attention.  Hence, this is why all major Muslim organizations in America and in Florida ignored his recent stunt in which the Qur’an was burned in his church.

The irony about Jones and the Qur’an burning is that it is customary for Muslims to burn the Qur’an as a way of discarding a copy that has page(s) missing or has typographical errors.  Jones is simply discarding the book the same way that Muslims do!

Anyone, who would attack Jones or place a bounty on his head is misguided.  There is no doubt about that.  Jones, however, is himself misguided if he thinks he’s going to eradicate the spirit or practice of Islam in Metro Detroit by pulling such a stunt.  In fact, he’s bringing attention to Islam that will attract more people to learn about it, which may cause some to change their religion.

If Jones wants to have a private conversation for a day in Metro Detroit about Islam and the Qur’an away from the cameras, I’m more than welcome to engage him in such.

Kamal Saleem’s ‘Ex-terrorist’ Story Does Not Add Up

So-called "ex-terrorist" Kamal Saleem

http://www.themuslimwatch.com/2011/03/kamal-saleems-ex-terrorist-story-does.html

Kamal Saleem is one of a number of Middle Eastern faces, who is currently profiting off of the cottage industry of Islamophobia with his “ex-terrorist” turned holy roller road show.

Saleem claims to be from a Lebanese Sunni Muslim family, which is a descendant of the “Grand Wazir of Islam,” and that he was a terrorist with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).  Furthermore, Saleem states that his terrorism affiliation with the PLO inspired by Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood ended after receiving the “Holy Ghost” and accepting Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him) in his life.  Saleem’s story like his other wannabe “ex-terrorist” comrades, however, just does not add up.

For starters as author Chris Hedges points out, there is no such title as the “Grand Wazir of Islam.” Saleem’s “Grand Wazir” lineage claim is also bizarre due to the fact that the adjective “grand” would not be used in front of the term wazir (advisor) to begin with. Even the title “Grand Wazir” was not bestowed upon Aaron (Peace Be Upon Him), who was a prophet and the wazir of Moses (Peace Be Upon Him) according to the Qur’an!

It’s also very interesting that Saleem claims to have been a terrorist inspired by Islam as a member of the secular, Marxist influenced PLO, whose long time executive committee member and long time spokeswoman, Hanan Ashrawi, was a Christian.  Saleem wants us to believe that Ashrawi, George Habash and the countless others from Christian backgrounds in the secular PLO were also inspired by Islam as he claims was his “terrorist” motive in dealing with the pesky problem of illegal Israeli occupation.

Furthermore the Muslim Brotherhood, who Saleem claims he had dual affiliation with, was averse to the secular, Marxist leaning PLO during the time that he claimed to have been a member.  In fact, it is also well known that the Muslim Brotherhood inspired Hamas was supported by Israel to be an “Islamist” counter to the secular PLO/Fatah. To this day, Hamas and the PLO have been at odds with each other to the point of killing each other in the streets of Palestine in recent years.  Hence, Saleem’s claim of being an “Islamist” terrorist in the PLO while having felicity to the Muslim Brotherhood is utterly preposterous.

The reality is that Saleem has made a nice career for himself collecting honorariums, writing a book and getting exposure from the hyper-Islamophobic Aramaic Broadcasting Network (ABN) since the tragedy of 9/11. If he were indeed an “ex-terrorist,” I’m sure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would have deported him by now for fraud because people with terrorism ties cannot get entry visas much less obtain American citizenship.  And the FBI does not simply let “ex-terrorists” walk the streets because they claim to have received the “Holy Ghost” without detaining them for questioning.  Changing idelogies does not absolve persons under American law from terrorism ties that they admit to.

The unfortunate part about Saleem’s bogus career is not his snake oil peddling but that there are so many individuals who do not care about the truth and lack intellectual honest that provide him a platform.