IN LOCKDOWN

April 19, 2013

©2013 jbjd 

I am in lockdown because Suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon bombing is on the loose down the street.

Since late last night, when the headlines only read, MIT officer shot; I have been glued to the computer, following a live video feed on WCVB, the local news, and a live twitter feed on the Boston Globe. Because almost immediately, the report of the initial shooting was followed by reports describing multiple police forces had identified the getaway car, and were in active pursuit of what was overheard on Boston police scanners were ‘two men of Middle Eastern descent.’ Based on this overwhelming show of force; and the perceived appearance of the alleged perpetrators – I had seen several still images of the Suspects #1 and #2 and thought they looked Middle Eastern, too – I immediately figured the shooters had something to do with the bombing.

This post is not intended to be a news story; you can read the details on your own. And it is not going to provide a description of the atmosphere in town – before, during, and after the race – or, background information of the towns themselves –  Watertown, Boston (Copley Square), and Cambridge (aka The People’s Republic of Cambridge) – with respect to the events occurring here. (The race passes a couple of blocks from my home.) I hope to do so, when this is all over. I just want to point out what I consider to be a salient aspect of the news coverage.

There has been virtually no focus on the facts that the brothers, ethnic Chechen, are Muslims; that they identify themselves on their FB pages as good Muslims; and that, their father named them after historical Muslims who advocate the very violence subsequently perpetrated by their namesakes. Even the boys’ uncle, interviewed at his home in MD, tried to preempt any discussion that his nephews’ actions were somehow related to their being radical Islamists. Asked why he thought the men had done such a thing, he replied, “Being losers, hatred to those who were able to settle themselves – these are the only reasons I can imagine,” sternly adding, “anything else, anything else to do with religion, with Islam, is a fraud, is a fake.” (He further expressed extreme remorse for the attacks, offering to get down on his knees to beg forgiveness from the victims. None of the reporters followed up by asking whether this quest for absolution included prostrating himself to those victims of the Jewish faith.) But thus determined to insulate the Muslim faith from any scrutiny with respect to these acts which, however late in the game, even President Obama conceded constitute terrorism; he was anxious to redeem the family’s Chechen ethnicity. “You put a shame on our entire family — the Tsarnaev family — and you put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity,” Tsarni said.

Before the brothers were officially identified as both the suspects shown in the FBI videos from the Boston Marathon bombing and, the suspects in the murder of the MIT police officer; local Muslims were already hoping the perpetrators were not ‘one of them.’

Grief and dread for Boston Muslims

Like so many others this week, local imams have been praying since Monday’s bombings.

They’ve been praying for the victims. They’ve been praying that the ­fanatic who did this is caught quickly and brought to justice.

And they’ve been praying for something more: Whoever it is, please don’t let him be a Muslim.

“What will happen to us if they arrest someone and that someone turns out to be a Muslim?” Imam Talal Eid, a chaplain at Brandeis University, said Wednesday.

He recalls the backlash that followed the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He remembers being afraid to send his children to school for a few days afterward, and the way some began to view all Muslims with suspicion, even hostility. A few fringe-dwellers even spoke of internment camps like those that held Japanese-Americans during the ­Second World War.

The country has changed since 2001, Eid said. People know more about ­American Muslims now, are less afraid of them, less likely to make the many pay for the sins of the unhinged few. But we have a long way to go.

“I am still worried,” he said. “We are still labeled. Muslims may be out of the red zone, but we are still in the yellow zone, not the green zone.”

If the terrorist turns out to be a disaffected survivalist, a white supremacist, or some other flavor of domestic extremist, he will stand in a courtroom alone, with only infamy for company. If he is a Muslim, thousands will be called upon to answer, by ­association and stereotype, for his actions.

Leaders in the community will then go right into what Ibrahim Rahim, imam at the Yusuf Mosque in Brighton, calls “apologist mode.”

The attack fills him with immense grief, said Rahim, who leads a largely Arab-American congregation of several hundred. Born in New York, he has lived in Boston since he was 12, and he feels this attack as viscerally as any native. But all week, his grief has been bound with dread.

“As you process it, you think, ‘Oh boy, this looks like something from overseas, that might be affiliated to Islam, and here we go with that again,’ ” he said.

Preparing for that possibility, Rahim has been strategizing for days with another imam, William Suhaib Webb at the 1,000-member Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury.

“We have to figure out a narrative,” ­Rahim said. “We’re talking about a unity service on Friday if it turns out to be what we hope it isn’t.” He and other imams will make it clear that anyone who takes a life has no right to call himself a Muslim, that whatever brand of Islam extremists may practice, it has nothing to do with the faith lived out by their congregations.

“We do so much interfaith work, we apologize so often for many of the things that do not reflect Islam,” he said.

Still, both imams know, all the work they have put into building bridges to the wider community will be threatened.

But the past few days have made Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston, more optimistic that those bridges are strong enough to withstand an onslaught.

“I’m proud to be a Bostonian,” he said. “The way our community has bonded together has been an amazing feeling inside this tragedy.”

As he spoke, three Boston police cruisers and one state trooper sat outside the mosque, just in case. Since Monday, he has heard from officials at two local temples ­offering support: “It may be hard being a Muslim in Boston this week,” one e-mail read. “If there is anything we can do, from one congregation to another, please let me know.” A longtime Mission Hill resident, worried about a possible backlash, offered to gather neighbors who could escort Muslim women to the grocery store.

“This is what Boston is about, right?” ­Vali said.

Yes, that is what we are, or try to be.

But please, let’s not put it to the test. Again.

Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at abraham@globe.com.

“[H]ard to be a Muslim”? Well, how about, being an 8-year-old Christian boy standing at the finish line to watch his father run the Boston Marathon, standing next to the Muslim jihadist who planted the bomb which minutes later killed him? Or the man whose legs were blown off below the knees minutes after the bomber, looking him straight in the eye, placed the weapon of mass destruction on the ground right next to him? “[P]ossible backlash”? Like what? Like not trusting anyone who espouses a faith which, when it is not encouraging its adherents to commit violent jihad, is sanctioning such terrorism, with no questions asked?


DEATH in LIBYA

September 12, 2012

©2012 jbjd

It is noon here on the east coast; the news is flooding in on events in Libya and already, the propaganda is saturating the airwaves along predictable partisan lines. And, as usual, unless you take in divergent viewpoints, you will get the story all wrong.

First, especially for those of you who have only gotten your news from blogs; please, listen to Secretary Clinton’s live briefing from the U.S. State Department.

.

Secretary Clinton’s remarks can help to place in their proper perspective those reports and images found on the likes of  Drudge on the one end or The Boston Globe on the other; I was particularly struck by the clarity offered by just a few lines, not necessarily spoken in this order.

When the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post, some were wounded. Libyans carried Chris’ body to the hospital and they helped rescue and lead others to safety.

(Just because you see an image of a man being carried by crowds does not mean, they are doing him harm.)

…we must be clear-eyed in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or the government of Libya.

(According to the CIA, Libya is 97% Muslim, Thus, it is safe to say, most of the embassy attackers and murderers were Muslim. If you agree that in using the word “savage” to describe those Muslim Libyans who attacked and murdered embassy staffers, Ms. Clinton referred only to the conduct of the brutes and not to either their nationality or religion then, please, leave Pamela Geller alone.)


WHAT IT IS, WHAT IT BE

September 7, 2011

©2011 jbjd 

In the past few weeks, several blogs have posted articles critical to the campaign spearheaded by President Obama, to transform the 10th anniversary commemoration of 9/11 around the world into what I believe he and his handlers intend is a whitewash of actual horrific circumstances surrounding the event. The WH has issued 2 separate guidelines for conversation and commemoration, one to domestic public officials and government employees and one to embassy staff.  (No official has gone on record claiming responsibility for either the content or the tone of these edicts and so, I will not cite to the articles that reference these anonymous instructions.) Basically, we are told to avoid characterizations that what happened in NYC is unique – after all, al Qaeda is attacking all over the world – and, to downplay the involvement of al Qaeda, presumably lest we incite reprisals predicated on the U.S. involvement in his death.

I see these transparent attempts to re-frame the narrative as adding insult to injury.

For starters, citizens from 115 countries were among the approximately 3,000  killed on 9/11.  Thus, by definition, remembering the victims of 9/11 already is ‘international.”  As for toning down the remembrances lest we be mistakenly perceived as considering ourselves special, well, judging by the world reaction to the attack, ‘we’ are not the only ones who ‘get’ the significance of the event, or who were shocked by it.  Even those nations more accustomed to terrorism carried out on their home turf appear to have been equally traumatized.

Rather, what is being proposed here is that the survivors around the world, keep our collective mouths shut about not just the effect of those events but also the causes, in the hope that those responsible for promoting and carrying out such atrocities against humanity avoid well-earned condemnation for their ongoing crimes.  It is this artificial stifling of open honest dialogue that perpetuates such barbaric conduct.  That is, we cannot prevent such calamities in the future unless we understand what went wrong in the past.

Even if this means, ‘bad mouthing’ some Muslims.

Reading the President’s imposed ‘take’ on 9/11 triggered memories of 2 separate conversations which occurred years ago.  In one, a white woman was recounting that she was mugged by a black man at night in the parking lot of our school.  She said, she heard footsteps as he approached from behind, and became nervous.  She even turned around and saw he was following her.  I asked why at that moment, she didn’t yell for help.  She said, the stranger was black, and she set aside her fear he would mug her because she felt guilty that her feelings might evidence she was racist.

In the other, a white woman admitted she was prejudiced against blacks, supporting her feelings by ‘recounting’ an incident in which approaching young black males were accosting passersby.  What ‘saved’ her was an elderly black couple who, seeing her obvious distress, flanked her on either side and walked her down the block. She sounded genuinely grateful for their heroic act. I asked why she hated all blacks because of the marauding youths but didn’t love all blacks because of the courage of the couple. She didn’t answer.

At the risk of oversimplifying, I would say men who approach women alone in a parking lot at night are rightly feared; an elderly couple who intervene to protect a stranger from marauding youths are rightly revered; and self-identified members of the terrorist group, al Qaeda, who commandeer passenger airplanes and,  shouting Allahu Akbar in Arabic, fly them into occupied skyscrapers in NYC, killing thousands, are rightly called Muslim murderers.


%d bloggers like this: