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Reader comment on item: The Guantánamo Arrests – What Do They Mean?

Submitted by Peter J. Herz (Taiwan), Oct 2, 2003 at 10:21

While I'm usually in Dr. Pipes' cheering section, I think we probably can afford to be a bit "politically correct" about the common run of Muslims in America, including in government and the military. The Taliban state notwithstanding, not one of the people involved in the 9/11 attacks was of Afghan origins--and we have Afghan-origin people here, including some with mujaheddin experience. Despite the violence that flares up in western China and Eastern Turkistan from time to time, I don't see many Uighur or Hui residents of the US (yes, even they are here) being picked up as terrorist suspects.

We didn't need official anti-Semitism or heightened scrutiny of Jews to bust Jonathan Pollard for spying for Israel. Time was when the American Communist Party had disproportionately large Eastern European Jewish, Finnish, and West Indian memberships. Yet the American Communists were marginalized and contained readily enough without an official anti-Semitism or calls to send a few hundred thousand people back to the Karelian Isthmus or the Caribbean Islands. After all, the bulk of people of Eastern European Jewish, Finnish, or West Indian heritage in the country were not even close to being Communists.

I notice John Muhammad and a handful of other Muslims with US military experience turned out bad. But John Muhammad, like H. Rap Brown (I forget what he calls himself now), was probably attracted to Islam because he started out as America's own disaffected native son. James Yusuf Yee seems to be a case similar to John Walker LIndh, although probably a more intelligent man. But such are a far cry from the run of the mill South Asian and Mideastern immigrants for whom the USA is, as it was for people of other ethnicities and creeds before them, a chance for a new life. It seems that those bad guys in Buffalo got caught because others of Muslim Yemeni heritage were shocked and contacted the authorities (as any other law-abiding American or immigrant American wannabe would do). I suspect that the people who called the authorities are more representative of Muslim immigrants and their offspring than the would-be bombers.

Dr. Pipes himself notes that most Turkish-American and American Shi'ite associations seem to keep their distance from the crazies. And, I suspect, that some of the Afghan-origin people living here, who have so far have notiicably failed to stick up for the Taliban, may themselves have mujaheedin experience.

As a Christian, I cannot believe Muhammad was a prophet, or that Muslims are anything but theologically mistaken. But Muslims, like the rest of us, should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.
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