Friday, July 28, 2006

Muslim Leaders in America shooting themselves in the foot

Terrorism: Yet again, NYTIMES article on the lobbying effort for both Jewish/Arab groups has this bit at the end.

The Council on American Islamic Affairs has sponsored news conferences around the country in which Lebanese-Americans and others recount traumatic stories of escaping from Israeli bombardment. “People can’t believe what they’re seeing,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the council. “The United States is actively supporting the systematic destruction of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon, a friendly nation, using American weapons. Not only do they not seek to stop the destruction, they actually provide the bombs to accomplish the destruction.” The pro-Israel lobby has held sway over American policy, Mr. Hooper said, but that could be changing. “The American Muslim community has reached a point where it has a little more political maturity, a little more ability to speak out, to reach out to elected officials and to opinion leaders,’’ he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be that American politicians can get away with making speeches pledging allegiance to Israel and nobody’s going to challenge them. I think those days are over.”
I doubt those days are over because people will point out this article in the Chicago Tribune that is astonishing how tone deaf the Dearborn community has become to Hezbollah being a terrorist group.
With fighting raging in southern Lebanon between Hezbollah and Israeli ground forces, the FBI last week issued a nationwide alert for law enforcement to be vigilant in investigating and profiling Hezbollah sympathizers, according to federal sources. "The question is: Are they loyal to the U.S. or to this terrorist group Hezbollah?" asked assistant U.S. Atty. Kenneth Chadwell, one of nine federal prosecutors investigating Hezbollah ties in metro Detroit. Roots in southern Lebanon The scrutiny has deeply angered this Detroit suburb, where nearly 30,000 Lebanese-Americans live in the largest concentration of Americans with roots in southern Lebanon. Here, many people see no contradiction between being 100 percent American yet backing the guerrillas of Hezbollah against Israel. On the streets of Dearborn, Hezbollah is not seen as a terrorist group but as a heroic resistance force. Residents say the group led the "freedom fight" in Lebanon during 18 years of Israeli occupation. Without the diligence and sacrifice of Hezbollah, people here say they would not have been able to return every summer to show their children their hillside villages and share their ancestral heritage. Hezbollah also provides social services and education for their relatives in Lebanon who are too poor to afford them. Watching reports from the Middle East, many in Dearborn feel betrayed and unfairly targeted by the U.S. government. This week some 200 Hezbollah fighters engaged in fierce battles defending Bint Jbeil, a village that is a longtime Hezbollah stronghold near the Israeli border. Some 15,000 Dearborn residents have emigrated over the years from Bint Jbeil. They created a community center named after the village. When about 10,000 Arab-Americans demonstrated in Dearborn last week in support of the Lebanese cause, some held up portraits of Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. People here draw a distinction, though, between Hezbollah's strict religious theocracy and its military movement.
Consider the religious theocracy fuels the military movement this is bullshit reasoning sorry. Hezbollah funds everything from terrorist attacks including suicide bombings. Why shouldn' the FBI take a closer look after such a display.
Most Lebanese-Americans in Dearborn are Shiite Muslims who do not subscribe to Hezbollah's Islamist political ideology. They do not associate Hezbollah with its Iranian backers but see the group as Lebanese combating aggression by Israel. Community leaders estimate there are 35,000 Arab-Americans in Dearborn out of 100,000 residents. Of the Arabs, they say, up to 80 percent are Lebanese-Americans, and 90 percent of them are Shiite Muslims from southern Lebanon. The remainder are Sunni, Christian or secular, they say. "If the FBI wants to come after those who support the resistance done by Hezbollah, then they better bring a fleet of buses," said Osama Siblani, publisher of the local Arab-American News and an outspoken activist. "I for one would be willing to go to jail." Lebanese-Americans know the crush of U.S. public opinion is against them. Right-wing talk shows mock Dearborn as Hezbollah's U.S. headquarters. But community leaders say Lebanese-Americans are not supporting terrorism against the United States. Even though the U.S. government has linked Hezbollah with the deadly attack on the Marine barracks and the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in the 1980s, Hezbollah has never attacked America at home, they argue, and has shown no interest in doing so.
Are you kidding me? This sort of parsing for rationalize the support for a terrorist group that killed over 200+ marines in 1983 is disgusting. So the killing of Marines and other Americans are fine as long as it happens outside the border? This is why it is so easy to mock Muslim leaders efforts for lobbying because they don't think before they talk and ends up being a slap agaist Muslims in the public eye.
"...Still, U.S. law enforcement looks askance at those who lean pro-Hezbollah, they say, even though Dearborn-area residents are intensely proud Americans. "By making this so public, the government is on a campaign smearing the whole community," said Abed Hammoud, a Wayne County prosecutor who leads the Congress of Arab American Organizations in Michigan in his off time. "It's a way to intimidate people from demonstrating," Hammoud said. "Now people are scared to even say `I want Hezbollah to defend Lebanon.'" Federal officials say they are not harassing Lebanese-Americans but are looking for people aiding Hezbollah. It is illegal to lend support to a terrorist group, and in Michigan, several dozen people have been linked to smuggling operations, federal prosecutors say. Some are Hezbollah fighters who managed to enter the U.S., they say."
The FBI should just not look into this because it may offend someone, too bad.

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