Robert S. Mueller, III, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the leading law enforcement official in the United States, stated back on Feb. 17, 2004 that "99.9 percent of Muslim-Americans, Arab Americans, Sikh-Americans are every bit as patriotic and supportive of the United States as any others of us here in the United States." I wish his estimate were true, but I fear there is considerable evidence otherwise. One indication comes in the troubling attitudes toward Muslim-American servicemen that I have documented elsewhere. Here are some other suggestions that Mueller is overly sanguine:
The trial of Lynn Stewart, the blind sheikh's former lawyer, provides food for thought, according to a report in the New York Post about her trial:
Radical lawyer Lynne Stewart said there's a benefit to representing convicted terrorist sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman: free food from Arab street vendors. Stewart's stunning boast was intercepted in video surveillance of a prison interview she had with the blind sheik July 14, 2001, just two months before the Sept. 11 attacks. Stewart tells the sheik that an Egyptian vendor gave her free and discounted chow when she told him she's Abdel-Rahman's lawyer.
"Discounts for the whole office. And when I go, it's free," Stewart gushed. She also said an Egyptian vendor gave her free coffee when she said thanks in Arabic, "shikram [DP: shukran]." The vendor refused to charge her when she told him she represented Abdel-Rahman, a spiritual leader among some in Egypt.
Abdel-Rahman was pleased that he still had street credibility, particularly among immigrants from his homeland of Egypt. "You could live for free," Abdel-Rahman quipped. "That's right. I can just live on Sheik Omar's good name," Stewart responded.
That a New York street vendor should feel like this about Abdel-Rahman, a convicted associate of terrorism against the United States, augurs badly. (September 29, 2004)
Nov. 19, 2004 update: In June 2004, the Palestinian-born leader of the Islamic Center of Greater Cleveland was convicted for lying about his ties to terrorist groups as he applied to become a U.S. citizen, then sentenced to two months in prison and four months of home confinement. That's bad enough; what is worse is that Fawaz Damra's congregation minds so little about his conviction it assures him that his prestigious position awaits him on release. The mosque plans to rely on guest imams during Damra's imprisonment and hopes the court will allow him to leave his home to lead prayers during his domestic confinement, so that it does not need to hire a new imam.
One interesting side-note: the mosque's Palestinian membership stood by Damra, an associate of the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad, while non-Palestinians tended to want him out.