The Jama’atu Nasril Islam is working from the same old playbook. Compare its statements to these:
“The new perception is that the United States has entered a war with Islam itself,” CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed declared at Washington’s National Press Club in July 2007….
CAIR and other Muslim groups issued a joint statement after the U.S. government froze the assets of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) in December 2001, warning that the action “could create the impression that there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an attack on Islam.” A CAIR press release issued the same month warned of “a drumbeat of anti-Muslim rhetoric from those who are taking advantage of the 9-11 tragedy to carry out their agenda of silencing our community and its leadership.”• When authorities arrested CAIR-Texas founding board member Ghassan Elashi and others charged with illegally sending computer equipment to Libya and Syria and engaging in financial transactions with a Specially Designated Terrorist, a CAIR-Dallas press release expressed concern that “these charges result from what appears to be a ‘war on Islam and Muslims’ rather than a ‘war on terror.'” The group worried, “We, as American Muslims are facing an uphill battle in defending our own government’s foreign policy, as well as the, so-called, war on terrorism, while being targeted by our own law enforcement agencies.”
Responding in June 2002 to a Department of Justice initiative to weed out suspected terrorists, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad asked, “What is next? Forcing American Muslims to wear a star and crescent as a means of identification for law enforcement authorities?”…
Also on the Islam-under-attack bandwagon was Omar Ahmad, chairman emeritus of CAIR National. Speaking at a CAIR fundraiser in October 2002, Ahmad said, “These people hated Islam…before September 11. They are using the opportunity of September 11 to detain Islam Muslims or find the problem and attack the foundations of Islam…We are under attack.”
At another fundraiser in December 2003, Ahmad said, “Many of our civil liberties have been taken away since September 11 in the name of fighting terrorism. The process of marginalizing our community…is ongoing. A lot of media outlets, especially the right-wing outlets, are having a field day attacking Islam, attacking Muslims…”
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR National, is quoted in a December 2001 Denver Post article as saying, “There has been a demonization of Islam.” In a July 2003 Chicago Tribune article, he is reported as charging the Department of Justice with pursuing a “general policy of targeting Muslims because they are Muslims.” Again, in a May 2004 New York Times article, Hooper is quoted, “I’d be surprised if there’s a mosque in the country that hasn’t come under scrutiny these days. It becomes the whole Kevin Bacon game — no Muslim is more than six degrees away from terrorism.”
When FBI Director Robert Mueller asked citizens in 2004 to be on the lookout for seven Muslim terrorism suspects, Hooper termed Mueller’s call “part of the ‘round up the usual suspects’ mentality,” adding, “When you don’t have any other leads, you gather up the Muslims.”
“Top Nigerian Islamic body accuses military over Muslim deaths,” from AFP, April 9:
Abuja: A leading Nigerian Islamic group has accused the country’s military of summarily executing Muslims in the name of counter-terrorism, prompting a swift and strongly-worded denial on Tuesday from top brass.
The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) umbrella group of Muslim organisations said followers of the faith had “become endangered species, murdered and maimed indiscriminately in the guise of fighting terrorism”.
“The dimension of extra-judicial killing of Muslims by the military on a mere whim of unsubstantiated suspicion leaves much to be desired,” it said in a statement signed by its secretary-general, Khalid Aliyu.
The JNI’s accusation, which follows claims that troops summarily executing hundreds of suspected Islamist fighters, came after a military operation in Nigeria’s central Nasarawa state last Thursday.
The state government said “scores” of Fulani tribesmen, a mainly Muslim ethnic group primarily made up of cattle herders, were killed as troops tried to disarm locals and enforce a peace deal.
The JNI said 15 died, adding that the incident was the latest example of orchestrated state violence where “innocent Muslims were mercilessly massacred”.
Tit-for-tat violence between the Fulani and farmers has been commonplace in central Nigeria, where the mainly Christian south meets the largely Muslim north.
The violence, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives since 1992, according to Human Rights Watch, has been attributed to disputes over grazing rights but ethnicity and religion have also been blamed.
Defence spokesman Chris Olukolade rejected the JNI’s claims as “spurious and inflammatory”.
“The Nigerian military and other security agencies do not have any policy, agenda or plans to perpetrate massacre or extra-judicial killing of law abiding citizens,” he said in an emailed statement.
“Contrary to the false claims, no law abiding individual, faith, ethnic group or organisation is being targeted as alleged by JNI.
“It is unfortunate that the unjust imputation is coming from respectable and responsible organisation like JNI.”
The military has previously rejected claims from Amnesty that troops had executed hundreds of suspected Boko Haram militants after a jail break in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on March 14.
The JNI, headed by the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto, also referred to the incident, describing it as “painful and unacceptable”, asking whether Nigeria had “a grand agenda” against Muslims.
Muslim leaders, including the JNI’s Aliyu, in February voiced fears about apparent religious “profiling” after a wave of mass arrests of Muslims in southern Nigeria on suspicion of Boko Haram links.
Aliyu told AFP at the time: “It (profiling) could result in a repeat of the events leading to the civil war if the north decides to go for tit-for-tat.”