Tag Archives: terrorism
I first learned about the incident through a tweet from Boston-based journalist Omar Sacirbey: “Did you hear we caught a terrorist last week?” And I said to myself: “Why, no, I did not.” In fact, most probably, much of the nation did not hear about the terrorist that was caught in the Houston area on March 27.
Mohammad Hassan Hamdan, a 22-year-old from Dearborn Heights, Michigan was arrested on Sunday, March 16 at Detroit Metro Airport by the FBI who said he allegedly told an undercover informant that he planned to fly to Lebanon to join the militant group Hezbollah to fight in Syrian. Hezbollah, classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, currently supports Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces against anti-government forces. In the complaint the Special Agent of the FBI, part of the Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), states that the FBI learned of his plan to travel to Syria with the help of a confidential informant who told the FBI about Hamdan’s plan.
On June 25, 2013, the newly launched Newseum Institute hosted a program entitled “NSA Surveillance Leaks: Facts and Fiction.” This was the first time officials of the National Security Agency (NSA) and government intelligence bodies joined experts in law, journalism and First Amendment rights advocacy to discuss the infamous NSA leaks and the ensuing media frenzy.
The panelists debated at length whether this media frenzy was a justified step in protecting Americans’ privacy or presented a threat to national security. Yet for a program that sought to provide an alternative to the “sound-bite constitutional analysis” of the past weeks’ news coverage, serious consequences of the reports were never discussed.
Why, when most people think of terrorists, do they assume Ahmed, Mohammed, and Nader and not Aaron, Michael, or Nathan? Not every terrorist is of Arab descent or even a Muslim, but to many people in America, if you have a foreign sounding name that could be Middle Eastern, you are automatically thought of as being a “potential terrorist.” Too many Americans continue to perceive Arabs and/or Muslims as terrorists, therefore causing severe injustice to the entire group.
U.S. counterterrorism policy is a sore that the Obama administration has allowed to continue to fester. While claiming to be a beacon of freedom and justice, the US continues to hypocritically disregard our constitutional underpinnings and international human rights law.
Legislation has codified the indefinite detention of suspects including those that are U.S. citizens. Furthermore, many innocent people have been severely tortured and detained indefinitely despite the fact that the U.S. government does not have enough evidence to charge and legitimately try them. They are sent to rot indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay. Shaker Aamer is one such detainee.
Since January, American news outlets have been flooded with stories about France’s two month campaign to oust a group of Islamic terrorists that had recently gained total control over the northern region of Mali. Reports of ghastly violations of human rights coming from these areas under rebel control, along with France’s claim to be fighting Al-Qaeda-linked extremists, may lead many of us to conclude that this is a rather black and white conflict. But a closer look into the ongoing conflict in Mali reveals a much more complex situation, which muddies the black and white rhetoric.
I started watching Homeland, knowing that the high-energy political thriller had won critical acclaim and several Emmys last month. I got hooked right away – pulled in by the fast-paced story, compelling performances, and the unrelenting tension between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” – as they are so aptly called in the show. As a viewer, I could never put my finger on what was coming next, or how the story would shift.
However, as an American Muslim and keen observer of international politics, I could not ignore the troubling and reoccurring factual errors about Islam, Muslims, and the Middle East. These manifest in the dialogue and plot, making it difficult to discuss the show without addressing its problematic narrative which required suspension of disbelief about the Muslim community.
Recent counterterrorism efforts conducted by the FBI leave many wondering about the state of our nation’s security. Within the past year, FBI officials have produced a new method for stopping terrorist attacks: picking out the “terrorists” themselves.