History has taught us that what’s happening to Muslim Americans right now is simply a remake. In the past, the characters were Jews, Irish Catholics, Japanese Americans and gays and lesbians. But America, despite sadly succumbing to hysteria in moments past, eventually – and sometimes grudgingly – tends to regain its moral compass and strive to become a nation resilient to fear and scapegoating.
Just like the McCarthyites before them, the individuals in the Islamophobia network revealed in the report should immediately cleanse themselves of their fear-mongering and ignorance, which may appear to offer short-term political gain but comes at the price of becoming the villains in our children’s history books.
In my father’s case, he is charged with conspiring to give Material Support in the form of humanitarian aid to Palestinian distribution centers called zakat committees. Prosecutors admit the zakat committees on the indictment were not designated terrorist groups, but according to the indictment released in 2004, these zakat committees are “controlled by” or act “on behalf of” Hamas, which was designated in 1995. Their theory is that by providing charity to zakat committees, the HLF helped Hamas win the “hearts and minds” of the Palestinian people.
According to the appellate brief, there’s a major fact that undermines the prosecution’s claim that Hamas controlled the zakat committees: “The United States Agency for International Development—which had strict instructions not to deal with Hamas—provided funds over many years to zakat committees named in the indictment, including the Jenin, Nablus, and Qalqilia committees,” writes my father’s attorney, John Cline. He continues stating that in 2004, upon the release of the HLF indictment, “USAID provided $47,000 to the Qalqilia zakat committee.”
Furthermore, defense attorneys will argue that the district court:
a) Violated the right to due process by allowing a key witness to testify without providing his real name, thereby abusing my father’s right to confront his witness. They are referring to an Israeli intelligence officer who became the first person in U.S. history permitted to testify as an expert witness using a pseudonym.
b) Abused its discretion by allowing “inflammatory evidence of little or no probative value,” which included multiple scenes of suicide bombings.
c) Deviated from the sentencing guidelines when they sentenced my father to 65 years.
How soon we forget…
Die Zeit, the prominent German weekly newspaper, posted an article August 26 headlined, “A German disgrace”, in its online edition. Commenting on the events in Libya, the article declared, “The Germans have kept out militarily and left the allies in the lurch. It was all a big mistake and is a disgrace”.
Until now, the phrase “German disgrace” has always been linked with the Nazis coming to power and the craven capitulation of many intellectuals during the years of Hitlerite terror and aggression. Die Zeit now reverses the argument. For them, it is not participation in war and terror that is a disgrace, but rather “abstention”.
They point a finger at the government and foreign minister because Germany was not originally involved in the terror bombing and now has fewer opportunities in the distribution of the loot.
But Westerwelle and Chancellor Merkel took their decision not on humanitarian grounds or out of moral scruples. They were concerned about the energy supply for German industry and had no desire to jeopardize good economic relations with China and Russia. They are trapped in a foreign policy dilemma: with the decline of the US, the traditional trans-Atlantic orientation becomes increasingly problematic, while closer cooperation with China and Russia poses other problems and is threatened with being torpedoed by the American government.
The question remains why a newspaper such as Die Zeit, which sees itself as the voice of the educated middle class and proclaims its adherence to humanity and culture, suddenly becomes a warmonger and glorifies a brazen neo-colonial intervention?
The answer is not overly complicated. The international economic crisis, the fluctuation of stock prices and currencies, the breaking apart of trusted alliances, the growth of social tensions, the radicalization of large segments of the population in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt—all this fills sections of the educated petty bourgeois with anxiety and terror.
They crave stability and strength. What impresses them is a tough, consistent state and military crackdown in the national interest. The brutality with which the NATO forces have bombed the way clear for the new rulers in recent weeks has made a big impression on them.
It is this cowardice, toadying and spinelessness before the powers that be, which has resulted in disaster several times in German history. Therein lies the true “German disgrace”.