Standing for Justice

I got this as en email from Sabri Ben Kahla a longtime friend of mine. Sabri was born in Bethesda, Maryland. Lived in Falls Church, VA all his life, went to catholic elementry school and J.E.B. Stuart highschool rated the most ethnically diverse school in the country.

He graduated with honors from GMU at the age of 21. Studied abroad all over the mid east.  Got  a scholarship to University of medina.  He was working on his masters at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International relations

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem

Dear Brothers And Sisters:  As-Salem Aleikum wa rahmtu Allah

I pray this letter finds you all in good health and high imaan. I haven’t spoken to many of you for a while. But if you are receiving this email, we have met somewhere along this journey of life. Whether it be from GMU, or studies abroad in Syria or Egypt, or the University of Medina, or JHU or Hajj or a masjid, or a conference, or some type of activity; I have met you. I pray that you remember me. To give you an update on recent events of my life: In June of 2003, shortly before I was to graduate from the University of Medina with a degree in Islamic law, I was arrested in Saudi Arabia. I was held in a small concrete cell without charge or explanation and no human contact other than periodic interrogations for a month. At the end of the month I found out this was done at behest of the F.B.I.  I was taken by the F.B.I. on the tarmac of an airport, forced to strip, photographed in the nude, I was blindfolded and shackled in a very uncomfortable position within a sealed pod for approximately 17 hours. I was denied my right to a lawyer and threatened with transport to Guantanamo. I felt sad and betrayed, never having been arrested in my life and never hurting anyone, I was being treated worse than a murderer. Judge Brinkema stated:

The uncontested evidence again is the defendant had been held under conditions which would not be acceptable for a United States-based defendant in a criminal case…Even solitary people in the United States get one hour a day out. That’s 24 hours a day in this cell. The evidence is uncontested that the lights were on at all times and that he had not been told why he was being held. It’s a Kafkaesque situation where he was in Never-Never Land . I found credible his statement that when he realized he was being turned over to the FBI, as a U.S. citizen, he expected that he would be getting better treatment, but he was left in a significant limbo in that situation…it’s uncontested that Mr. Benkahla had been awake for over 24 hours, so he was sleep deprived. He’s obviously a well-educated and intelligent man, and I don’t doubt that he was probably somewhat articulate in how he interacted with the agent. Nevertheless, under these types of conditions, I find that both the requirements of Miranda that a clear explanation of the rights be communicated to the defendant and the defendant voluntarily and intelligently waived those rights; that did not happen in this case.

I was the final defendant in the “Virginia 11″ case. Because of lack of evidence those charges were dropped but the prosecution came up with new charges. On March 9, 2004 after 8 months of home confinement and a one day bench trial, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that I was not guilty on all counts. Instead of being allowed to get on with my life; after the acquittal, I was called for several “debriefings” with the F.B.I.  I was compelled to testify before two Grand Juries. My home was raided and my elderly father had to watch in horror as his sons were put into handcuff and his privacy violated. Two years later, in February of 2006, I was indicted again in what my lawyers would argue is a case of double jeopardy; this time on charges of making false statements to the Grand Juries and obstruction of justice. In July of 2006 there was a superseding indictment charging me with making false statements to the F.B.I. (the same charge that was dismissed during the first case).  In October of 2006, one week before my scheduled trial, the F.B.I. raided my father’s medical supplies business, causing my sister to be rushed to the hospital. They took boxes and boxes of our personal documents and belongings. Finally, on February 5, 2007, my trial has come to an unfavorable conclusion. I was not allowed to mention to the jury that I was acquitted, yet the prosecution brought in all the “evidence” of the previous case which has already been ruled upon to prejudice the jury. The Judge himself had to reprimand the prosecutors on several occasions. According to the guidelines I should face 1-2 years, but with the enhancements that have been used with Muslims, it could be pushed up to 15-20. We hope the judge will overrule the jury’s verdict, if not we plan to appeal. I am seeking your support. Allah says what can be translated as ” Oh you who believe! Stand our firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah…” (4:135) and the prophet Muhammed (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes till he loves for his brother what he loves for himself,” and “to not take for granted any good action (m’aroof)” no matter how small it is. We are currently gathering letters of character on my behalf; also if you have any legal connections that could help with the appeals process or any other type of advice or support that would be greatly appreciated. You can write to:

The Honorable Judge James C Cacheris,                                                          Date:
U.S. District court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Sq
Alexandria, Va 22314
 
Dear Judge Cacheris:

State:

Who you are, your background, education, employment, city of residence, where you are from, etc…….

What this letter is about.

How you know Sabri and for how long.  What is your impression of the type of person he is.  What are his values and thoughts on Islam, life and America.  Did he talk about his experiences overseas? Do you think of him as an honest human being? Why? You can give examples of his past actions that can substantiate your opinion.

You can end by asking the judge to reconsider the jury’s verdict or to have clemency in sentencing.

Type your name, address, and phone number if desired.

Sincerely, Sign your name.

This letter will go straight to the judge, so no one should be afraid. We shouldn’t be afraid anyway as Allah tells us not fear anyone but Him. Please don’t procrastinate, maybe you can write the letter when you finish reading this; we need the letters as soon as possible. You can write me at Sabri Ben Kahla, 6019 Fair View Place, Falls Church, VA 22041 and/or email me at sabribk@gmail.com. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Jazakum Allah khier, I thank you all for your help and support. May Allah bless you and keep you safe.

Your brother,

Sabri Ben Kahla

Movies and pretending like you don’t go

I have not seen the film 300, nor do I plan to. There are too many other good films out now to such as The Namesake (tale about a young American Desi in search for his identity), The Wind That Shakes The Barley (a great film about the treatment of Irish workers by the British in the early 20th Century and their response), and the German film The Lives of Others (about the east German secret police in the 1980′s) to name a few. So I can’t justify watching this.

Mujahudeen Ryder put up a review of 300, but let some Muslim phonies pressure him to take it down (who I am sure were watching TV as they were typing) I encourage him to put to back up and stop apologizing.

I really don’t like it when people who know that they go to the movies or listen to music want to expose someone else for doing it. I can’t tell you how many Muslims I have met would initially tell me that they don’t watch TV or listen to music or watch sports, but after getting to know them for a while, they do all of that. They will tell you they have never heard of Tupac while in front of friends, but then you find out that they have an encyclopedic knowledge of him. I knew Arab brothers who would sneak off to watch the world cup.

As for all those brothers blasting Mujahideen Ryder, some of them probably had two screens open…one which was a myspace page with the screen name DESI_PAPI43 and the intro says: “Man of love from the East skilled in the arts of the Kama Sutra. Looking for my blonde haired-blue eyed delight to practice my artistry upon”

And this isn’t just for the brothers. The sisters probably has one too: PAKIPRINCESS_taste_like_Candy. “Yea that’s right, it’s the Pakistani bitch you love to hate, and yep yep I represent the Punjab! People always asking me what I’m mixed with because they’ve never seen a Desi girl with a body like this. I just say hey! the golden curry hit all the right places”

My Thought, Culture Matters

Last week one night it was late and I was dropped off at the Broadway Junction Subway Station in Brooklyn and when I arrived there was a big police scene and TV news crews. The guy who dropped me off lives in the area and told me that a guy had stabbed a couple of cops a few hours earlier and that he had been killed ( which I later found at that two cops were stabbed but I think the guy is alive who did it). He was happy and said ” man people are tired of this shit…police killing people like Sean Bell who havent did anything…people aint gonna take this shit anymore.” Anyway, you get the point.

It turns out that the stabber probaby has never heard of Sean Bell and is an undocumented Central American immigrant who has already been deported once for assaulting cops, but that sentiment is out there, and at that time the city was embracing for the word on whether the police officers involved in the shooting death of Bell ( an unarmed black man) would be charged by the grand jury. There were threats that if there was no indictment that there would be a riot and the Rev. Al Sharpton had been on TV daily representing the family along with the fiance of Bell ( who was killed on his wedding day leaving a Jamaica Queens strip club).

The announcement didnt come until several days later and the officers were indicted , today in fact, although the news was leaked over the weekend and one of the officers went out and had a $4,000 meal on Saturday night I guess to celebrate his indictment ( this particular officer, Michael Oliver, fired 31 shots).

Would the city have rioted if there would have bene no indictment? I dont think so. The only way to get the young generation to riot is to cut off BET or MTV and ban cell phones or ipods and maybe white kids would riot if you would cancel American Idol.  There would have been an angry and noisy protests by maybe a few thousand people but that would have been about it. There is no organization to spark a riot, much less orchestrate one, and Sharpton cant even get his own people elected to City Council seats in Brooklyn.

There may not have been a riot, but there could have been some violence against cops, and they are vulnerable, as we saw last week when a guy from St. Louis killed two auxillary cops and a pizzeria worker before being gunned down by cops in The Village. But would it have solved anything?

As I said when this case first came out it seems like when the police make a mistake and kill someone there is always a black male at the other end of the bullet. So there is a problem with the attitude of police towards African-American males and it needs to be addressed and the police in many neighborhoods are more like an occupying force than one that is serving the community. There is also the fact that a lot of cops think they are above the law and and should not have to be accountable for their mistakes; they knew the job was tough when they took it.  The other side of the coin is that in most major cities the majority of the violent predators are black males and that is something the civil rights community doesnt want to recognize. When I lived in the Brownsville Projects almost all of the men were either in jail, had just got out, or were on their way, and if Im in a shootout with them Im gonna shoot to kill and let the  Allah and the judge decide who was right later.

We do not know a lot about Bell and his friends, but we will find out, we do know his death was a tragedy and unnecassary; although a guy going to a strip club on his wedding day and getting ready to drink and drive was no angel.

Thats what i thought about while in the train and then…..

I got to the bus stop in Williamsburgh Brooklyn ( a mixed area of Puerto Ricans, Orthodox Jews and globos) and there was like a hundred people at the bus stop and when the bus pulled up they stampeded to get on like a heard of wild Buffaloes. People were pushing and shoving and old ladies were getting bumped and all of that. Culture matters.

When I catch the bus coming from the other direction, where it is mostly Irish, Polish and even a lot of Asians and Desis they form a perfect line and get on the bus in an orderly manner.

The difference in buses reminds me of the chaos you see at airports and bus stations in Muslim countries as opposed to the relative order you will see in the West and it demonstates that if you want order in your lives and communities, and not just on the buses, then you have to start with a reformation of culture and not just anger over some manifestations of the problems that occur as a by-product of a culture that has gone astary.Muslims do not get this and would be poor and oppressed even if America and Israel ceased to exist because of culture so if you want to change the ummah be a culture warrior and not a jihadist.

On that note, after I watchd the Erin Go Brawl Boxing card on Friday Night featring Irish boxers John Duddy (Derry) and Andy Lee (Limerick) I caught the St. Paddys Day Parade on TV on Saturday. 300,000 marchers and 2 million spectators and no deaths. Drunkeness, bad behaviour and stupidity yes, but no stampedes or deaths even after a large snow storm the night before. Then I think of a gathering of about the same size, hajj, with no alcohol and snow, and the fact that if there are a hundred deaths it is considered a peaceful hajj. Culture matters.

10 Things That Just Aint Right

Tariq Nelson and Umm Zaid have commented on the piece form the New York Times about relations between immigrant and indigenous Muslims so I will just direct readers towards them. We all know that at times relations can be problematic but I do not have time to address them.

Now. on a lighter note, I am making a list of 10 things that are just aint right;

1. White people with dreadlocks ( you can add white rastas to that…the ulitmate culmination of white guilt)

2. White girls wearing a weave

3. Puerto Ricans at the St. Paddys Parade wearing a “Kiss me I’m Irish” button.

4. An Arab or Desi guy who can barely speak English telling you his name is Bob or The Bob.

5. A 100 pound woman driving an SUV

6. The imam of the masjid pulling up in a hummer

7. Rosie O’Donnell….she just aint right and for that matter the rest of the clowns such as Ellen and Tyra.

8. Hillary Clinton trying to sing at a black church ( read this while on Hillary)

9. A sister with a big fat apple bottom like Vida Guerra wearing some tight jeans and a hijab.

10. Americans running around giving each other those fake European kisses on the cheeks.

P.S.

I am very busy. At a maximum I am online an hour and a half or two hours in a day and most days I am on much less than that. Many days I am not online at all. So do not get mad if I do not respond to your email immediately or if there is an issue or a comment on the blog I cannot get to.

Dinesh D’Souza on Islam

Dinesh D’Souza, a man that I have often disagreed with on a variety of issues ( most notably on the issue of race in America), but have always found to be one of the most thoughtful voices on the American-right, recently debated Robert Spencer on C-Span and D’Souza did a better job of defending Islam than most Muslims could ( D’Souza is a Christan American Desi).

For the record I was scheduled to debate Spencer in 2005 on radio but it never happened for some reason and I debated Craig Winn instead and according to the conservative producers of the program, who were obviously on his side, I “cleaned his clock”. Having said that I could not have done what D’souza did for a variety of reasons nor do I have the credibility to the American elite that he does.

D’Souza makes the assertion that people such as Spencer are letting Usama bin Laden and the extremist element within Islam to define the entire religion and he draws on the history of Islam to illustrate that Islam is not the enemy and the enemy are those extremists within Islam who are not only enemies to the West; but enemies of ordinary Muslims trying to live their lives. He also counters the arguments made that non-Muslims will always be second-class citizens under Muslim rule by noting the historical oppression of the Church towards religious minorities and how those attitudes evolved. His arguments are worth reading and can be used as a reference when debating those at your schools and jobs who are influenced by the likes of Spencer.

To go further there are two things that D’Souza discusses and deals wit that I have seen no one else do and these are very important issues; the role that the secular-liberal media, academia, and entertainment complex has had in projecting a hedonistic image of America to the world and how this is a main source of the hostilities between Muslims and the West and the American idea as it relates to the rest of the world and immigrants in this country.

To address the first, D’Souza is spot on, in the Muslim World the image of America is that of a place of mindless sex, orgies, homosexuality, scantily-clothed women, men who are less than men, absent of family values and solid families, and the land of corporate crooks where everyone steals to get what they want and need and people have not earned their positions ( all of these are true in some situations and exist but are not the rule).

Unfortunately, many Muslims in this country, who have ideologically ghettoized themselves, even buy into this narrative, and think that Muslims are the only holders of virtue when that is far from the reality. I grew-up in an America where people worked hard, trusted in G_d, stayed away from the major sins, were loyal to their families, and were able to live a decent life even if they had problems ( which all people have in any society).

This is the America that the Muslim World does not know about because they are getting their information on America from Brokeback Mountain and Desperate Housewives and they are saying if this is what embracing the West means then let us fight until the last drop of blood to prevent this and if this were the case I would agree with them. If all America had to offer was haram and cultural and moral decay I would join the jihad; but that is not all America has to offer, nor does America have to be imperial in nature. There is another America of hard-working families whose stories normally go untold in Hollywood and if their story was told to the Muslim World the masses of Muslims can see that there is a moral America. This would not only help America in the sense that less homicidal enemies would be created; but it would help the Muslim World as those Muslims who think they have to accept everything Western would no longer feel the need to reject faith and embrace moral decadence.

The last thing I will talk about in regards to D’Souza is his idea that embracing America is embracing the ideas of the Founding Fathers. In the modern education system many are taught that these men were just a bunch of white slave masters and they held no virtue. As Muslims I do not see how we could negate the virtue of someone because they were involved in something that was common to their time. If you are going to throw the baby out with the bath water because many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves then you will have to do the same for many of the Sahabah of the Messenger of Allah ( s.a.s.) who were slave masters, but nonetheless, were loved by Allah and His Messenger ( s.a.s.).

The ideas that these men had were revolutionary and reshaped the world and on an intellectual-level give being American a powerful component. It will also give something to those Muslim immigrants, particularly Desis, who may not be culturally ( or even physically suited) to integrate into traditional American masculinity and gives them something to grab on to in their attempts to forge a new life here.

More by D’Souza here.