Freedom of Thought

Mr. Khan produced his blog anonymously, but was identified through the e-mail account he used in previous online discussions. Pictures posted online helped distinguish him from another, unrelated resident, about 10 years older, who has the same name.

Written by

Abul Kalam

Published on

Mr. Khan produced his blog anonymously, but was identified through the e-mail account he used in previous online discussions. Pictures posted online helped distinguish him from another, unrelated resident, about 10 years older, who has the same name.
In an interview at a local mosque, where he sat on a prayer rug wearing a traditional Arabic robe, Mr. Khan traced his increasing militancy. His blog has attracted enough notoriety that vigilante groups opposed to Jihadi sites have gotten him shut down a few times in recent months. He said he was somewhat surprised he had not been confronted by government authorities, although, he said, “I’ve never told anybody to build bombs.”
His early postings, beginning in 2003, promoted strengthening Islam in North America through nonviolent confrontations. But with the escalating war in Iraq, bloodshed became a recurrent theme. He had also been fending off citizen watchdogs who are working to knock sites likes his off the Internet. Twice in September his blog went dark when his service provider shut him down, citing complaints about the nature of his postings.
Mr. Khan moved his blog to Muslimpad, whose American operators were forced to move from Texas to Jordan. Their larger forum, Islamic Network, was the host of discussions among English-speaking Muslims. One of their former employees, Daniel Maldonado, was convicted this year in federal court of associating with terrorists at their training camps in Somalia.
“There really was nothing there for me, no concrete evidence.”
Mr. Neal, the lawyer for a Muslim charity, said the government should not retry the case – a call picked up by Holy Land’s supporters, who packed the courtroom during the trial. They carried some defendants around on their shoulders outside the courthouse chanting “Praise God.”
“The government spent 13 years and came back empty-handed,” said Khalil Meek, who is president of the Muslim Legal Fund of America and spokesman for an alliance called Hungry for Justice. “I would call that a victory – an overwhelming defeat for the government.”
Lawyers for some defendants said their clients were being prosecuted because of their family ties to Hamas leaders. One defendant, Mufid Abdulqader, is the half-brother of Khalid Mishal, a Hamas leader who has been designated as a terrorist by the United States government.
Another Hamas official and designated terrorist, Mousa Abu Marzook, is married to a cousin of Mr. Elashi, who was sentenced last year to almost seven years in prison for having financial dealings with Mr. Marzook and for violating export laws.
Mr. Elashi’s daughter Noor, who was in the courtroom every day during the trial, said she considered her father a hero. “He was singled out for feeding and clothing and educating the children of Palestine,” she said. “Giving charity to the Palestinian people has become a crime in this country.”
The United Nations has called for a “vigorous” investigation into a US air raid that killed 15 Iraqi women and children. The call comes as the first pictures emerged in the aftermath of the attack, which took place north of Baghdad. US forces expressed regret over the loss of civilian life but said they sent in helicopters after ground troops came under fire from al-Qaeda fighters.
Iraqi villagers say some of the victims were shot dead and pictures they captured at the scene of the attack shows bullet holes that appeared to be from a ground assault. The US military said senior al-Qaeda leaders were meeting in the Lake Thar Thar region, 80km north of Baghdad. The US admitted six women and nine children were killed along with 19 fighters. Villagers say they have buried 24 people but do not know what happened to the others who they said were taken away by the Americans.
Some analysts said the incident was yet another example of Iraqi civilians being indiscriminately killed as US forces pursued their enemies.
On October 11, 2007 Mr. Carter said the U.S. tortures prisoners in violation of international law, adding that President Bush made up his own definition of torture.
Former President Jimmy Carter told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the U.S. tortures prisoners captured in the war on terror. “I don’t think it. I know it,” Carter said.
“Our country for the first time in my life time has abandoned the basic principle of human rights. We’ve said that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to those people in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantánamo, and we’ve said we can torture prisoners and deprive them of an accusation of a crime.”
Bush, responding to an October 4 report by The New York Times on secret Justice Department memorandums supporting the use of “harsh interrogation techniques,” defended the techniques by proclaiming: “This government does not torture people.”
Carter said the interrogation methods cited by the Times, including “head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures,” constitute torture “if you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored – certainly in the last 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated.
“But you can make your own definition of human rights and say we don’t violate them, and you can make your own definition of torture and say we don’t violate them,” Carter said.
In an interview that aired on BBC, Carter ripped Vice President Dick Cheney as “a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military. Cheney has been “a disaster for our country. I think he’s been overly persuasive on President George Bush.”
Cheney spokeswoman declined to speak about Carter’s allegations saying: “We’re not going to engage in this kind of rhetoric.”
Carter also disparaged Republican presidential candidates. “They all seem to be outdoing each other in who wants to go to war first with Iran, who wants to keep Guantánamo open longer and expand its capacity – things of that kind.”
He said he also disagreed with positions taken by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who have declined to promise to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq over the following four years if elected president next year.
The media’s role in fuelling Islamophobia came under scrutiny at a two-day gathering organised by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It was Europe’s first major conference on intolerance against Muslims.
Since September 11, 2001 media images of Islam are often negative, said Kees Brants, a professor of communications at the University of Amsterdam. “The average Muslim, who is a good neighbour, is totally absent from the media,” he said.
“Education is a fundamental instrument in the prevention and treatment of intolerance and discrimination against Muslims,” Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos stressed. Spain currently holds the rotating presidency of the 56-nation member Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Participants stressed media’s role and education as the key to reducing Islam-bashing mania. Experts also told the conference that Europe’s roughly 15mn Muslims face discrimination in jobs, education and housing and the problem is rising. The head of research and data collection at the Vienna-based European Fundamental Rights Agency said that studies show “Muslim pupils tend to have a lower level of educational achievement.” Abdelnur Prado, the director of the International Congress of Islamic Feminism told the audience that: “the debate often focuses too much on the question of the Islamic veil and ignores the problems of access to education faced by Muslims.”
Common media stereotypes are that of the “fanatical and violent Muslim” or of “mosques transformed into places of conspiracies.” Moratinos used his closing remarks to the conference to urge that terrorism not be linked to Muslims.
Fred Thompson, Republican candidate for the US presidency, has vowed to halt “Islamic fascism” during a televised debate with his party rivals. Thompson said, “It is a global war – Islamic fascism has declared it upon us. They play by no rules and they are intent on bringing down Western civilization and the United States of America.”
Mitt Romney, a frontrunner, said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, was a “rogue and a buffoon.”
A patient came to the emergency room and a nurse gave him a preliminary evaluation. When the patient saw a Muslim name, he refused to be examined by a Muslim doctor. His primary physician was not available, and the other physician on call was also a Muslim. A physician assistant offered to complete the evaluation.
CAIR-LA and FOX Television co-hosted a studio tour to introduce aspiring Muslim writers and actors to the entertainment industry. The event, held at FOX Studios in Century City, was also designed to help promote a positive change in Hollywood’s portrayal of Muslims and Arabs.
Entry-level Muslim professionals hoping to build contacts in the film industry were given a tour of the studio lot, a presentation on FOX internships and a one-hour interactive seminar featuring five industry professionals. Nadia Afghani, a participant in the tour, said the event introduced her to the possibilities awaiting Muslim artists in the entertainment industry. “I walked away that day feeling inspired, motivated, and hopeful for the Muslim,” said Afghani.