The headline (apart from “Dhimmitude in Ohio,” but I suppose you guessed that already) comes from Ohio’s Athens News (thanks to Ali Dashti), which has run this hand-wringing piece about how Muslims in Ohio fear they are being watched by the FBI.
There is an easy solution to all this worrying: open up the mosques. That’s right. Open the doors, invite in the guys with “strange equipment on the car with flashing indicators,” and tell them you’ll answer all their questions and show them anything they want.
That will prove that you really don’t agree with the terrorists’ agenda, that your practice of Islam really is moderate, and that you really do accept the U.S. Constitution and American secularism. It will solve so many of your problems all at once. Think it over, eh, Ziad?
Ziad Akir, who heads the Athens Islamic Center at 13 Stewart St., doesn’t have “solid evidence” the center is being watched. But no one at the center knows who owns the black SUV that frequently has been seen parked in their lot.
“(One member) claims that there is strange equipment on the car with flashing indicators. I don’t know for sure, but it may be a possibility,” said Akir speculating on whether someone may be spying on the center.
Some may scoff at Akir’s claim as a bout of paranoia during trying times for Arab Americans and those whose faith is Islam. Think again, advises another prominent Ohio Muslim, who contends he has heard of similar complaints from nearly every mosque in the state.
“We hear of mosques being spied on, being watched, quite frequently,” said Jad Humeidan, director of CAIR Ohio. CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is considered one of Muslim America’s most influential non-profits.
He said that the identity of whoever is conducting the surveillance remains a mystery. And if the mystery is nothing more than a perceived — as opposed to real — threat, it appears justified for Arab Americans during the post-9/11 era of fear.
Being watched or followed, however, is just one concern spreading through Arab- and Muslim-American communities. Many residents fear that a new McCarthyism is targeting Muslims, and not just Arabs, but others, such as Somalis and Pakistanis. A pattern of abuse is also being reported by Christian and Hindu Arabs, according to CAIR.
Amal Wahdan, publisher and editor of The Arab Gazette, puts it succinctly about what it’s like being an Arab and residing in Ohio.
“It’s a terrifying time,” she confirmed from her office in Cleveland. Her paper gives no address, but does offer a post-office box. The Arab Gazette recently published its first issue, which is being distributed throughout Ohio.
“They’re (Arabs are) afraid to speak their minds even to me,” said Wahdan. “They’re afraid of a number of agencies (FBI, local police) in this area. They don’t want to be profiled or harassed. Everyone is afraid to speak their minds. For some, it’s as if they’ve returned to their homeland.”
No, it isn’t, and that’s a crowning reason why this article is so silly and hysterical. In their homelands, they wouldn’t just be watched. They’d be summarily arrested, tortured, gassed, electrocuted, placed in morgue prisons, buried alive, beheaded, stoned. But they probably know that when credulous Americans read this, they won’t think about that.