Muslim Witch-Hunting in Israel and the West
by populistamerica, Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 10:11:28 AM EDT
Note: This is the second part of a seven-part series examining the real state of affairs in Israel and Palestine.
The current war against Muslims and Islam is now raging in the West. Witness a Muslim cleric in London, Abu Hamza al Masri, being sentenced to 7 years in prison for daring to speak out against Muslim persecution and being convicted of inciting terrorism. The U.S. also seeks his extradiction. Witness Mounir el Motassadeq's conviction in Germany of supposedly belonging to the al Queda cell that plotted the 9/11 attack. He insisted he had no involvement even though he knew some of the hijackers - to no avail. What chance could he have for "due process" in a country whose new Chancellor compares Islam with the "rise of fascism." Witness the many Western countries that now have draconian immigration laws principally aimed at people of color and Muslims behind the facade of a fraudulent "war on terror" and supposed border protection. And witness the current furor and backlash from the "cartoons" published in Denmark and other countries portraying a blasphemous image of the Prophet Mohammed. Imagine the response in the West if a similar portrayal of Christ appeared in a Muslim publication.
These images in print are just another part of the propaganda war on Islam used to justify the real thing in Iraq and Afghanistan and maybe soon in Iran and Syria. Call this episode "cartoon war." It's a glaring example of how the Western corporate media promote their governments' racist campaign to degrade Muslims, portray them as inferior, label them terrorists, hope to stir up violence to prove it, give cover to Israeli oppression, and sell wars.
Israel as well has a long history of demonizing Muslims. They likely wrote the modern book on it. And they use it to justify "removing" anyone considered a threat to their authority and dominance. Recent examples include regular targeted assassinations (and willingness to commit them in other countries including the U.S.) and the fraudulent conviction on trumped up charges of Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian leader who was imprisoned for life by the Israelis for the crime of being an influential freedom fighter. Barghouti, however, is still alive. Most often Israel prefers a sentence of elimination or targeted assassination. It's much simpler when they can say "case closed" forever. Israel does it all the time with impunity and no condemnation by the world community of nations for these continued cold-blooded murders.
Influential Muslims or even some of their key supporters or defenders seen as a threat to the West don't fare much better outside Israel. It's never been easy for them, but since 9/11 the gloves have come off and the persecution has become fearsome and relentless. In the U.S., the number of those harassed, detained, imprisoned or deported runs into the thousands. No one outside the government knows exactly how many have been affected.
Three recent headline-making cases in the U.S. illustrate what's so worrisome and disturbing. The most recent just concluded is the case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a Muslim American of Iraqi descent and practicing oncologist until his license was revoked. In a U.S. style "kangaroo court" type trial he was convicted of violating the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations (the IEEPA) because he used his own funds and what he was able to get from donors to bring desperately needed humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies, to Iraqi people unable to get them because of the U.S./UN imposed punitive sanctions. He did it through his Help the Needy charity. For his saintly work he was charged and unbelievably convicted of such claimed offenses as violating the sanctions, tax fraud, money laundering, and mail and wire fraud - a total of 60 counts and found guilty on 59 of them. The verdict - 22 years in prison. Everyone should visit Katherine Hughes' website - dhafirtrial.net - for her account of the trial and outcome in her "must read" article "Crime of Compassion." Katherine suspended her personal life to sit through the entire 17 week trial, became an advocate for justice for Dr. Dhafir and wrote and spoke out about it. What happened to Dr. Dhafir, a blessed, giving man, is a threat to us all. Katherine explained that the verdict sends a clear message to the Muslim community and everyone else - "If we can get Rafil Dhafir, we can get anyone."
A second instance thankfully had a better outcome, at least for now. It's the terrorism conspiracy case brought against Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian in which a jury exonerated him on the 8 most serious of 17 total counts against him and deadlocked on the other 9. The Justice Department trumped up the charges alleging Professor Al-Arian's legitimate organizations that included the Islamic Committee for Palestine, World Islam Studies Enterprise, and Islamic Academy of Florida were fronts for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an organization on the U.S so-called "terrorist" list. The real intent of the trial was to silence an important voice supporting justice for the beleaguered and oppressed Palestinian people. It's not known whether the persecution of Professor Al-Arian has ended as the Justice Department witch-hunters don't quit easily. It's quite likely they'll return new charges and put an innocent man through more misery and expense until they find a way either to convict, bankrupt or break him.
The third case is one I've followed since inception and have given my financial support to its victim. It's the case of Lynne Stewart, a New York City criminal defense attorney with a long career of defending "unpopular" clients because she believes, as we all should, that they, like anyone else charged, are entitled to the right of "due process" and "their day in court." Lynne was asked by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark to serve as a member of the court-appointed defense team for Sheik Abdel Rahman, convicted and now serving a life sentence in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Lynne was convicted in a gross miscarriage of justice for violating special administrative prison rules and providing material support to terrorists. In fact, she was convicted in the Justice Department's assault on the Bill of Rights. The baseless charges brought against her stemmed from communications she had with and about her client, which she had every right to do to conduct a proper defense, but which were twisted and distorted in her indictment. She was convicted of defrauding the government, conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists and making false statements. She was also disbarred and now faces a long prison term - at her age, a life sentence unless it's overturned in an upcoming appeal.
The lesson from these 3 cases is clear. Challenge state authority, in these cases in the U.S, even in the pursuit of bringing humanitarian aid to the desperately needy, speaking up publicly on their behalf, or aiding them in their pursuit of justice, and you risk being the victim of ruthless and relentless police state type persecution to put you in prison for a long time. Even if they fail to do it, they can break you financially and ruin your life. That's how the system works. Understand it and be prepared.
Coming in Part 3 on Sunday, April 16: How the Israelis Control the Palestinian Political Process