Friday, July 15, 2005

What's happening to the Muslims in the US?

The Sentencing of Dr. Ali al-Tamimi

"One man is a non-Muslim business leader convicted of a tangible crime. He [former Worldcom CEO, Bernard Ebbers] presided over 'the largest corporate fraud in U.S. History.' His administration's actions wiped out billions of investor dollars and personal savings, resulting in untold human carnage. He received a sentence of 25 years, and doesn't have to begin his sentence until October of this year. Not only that, the federal judge in the case [Barbara Jones] has stated that she would accept written arguments from the lawyers on whether Ebbers 'should be allowed to remain free while he appeals the verdict.'

"Another man, a Muslim religious leader [Dr. Ali Tamimi] is convicted of a thought crime, in an alleged "terrorist conspiracy" - a conspiracy which, even according to the government, never achieved fruition. His was the crime of speech; and for his speech he received a sentence of Life, without the possibility of parole. This "criminal" was immediately taken into custody, and will no doubt begin serving his sentence in a federal prison far removed from his family. These are examples of 'the rule of law,' and justice American style." - Mauri' Saalakhan, Director of Operations, The Peace And Justice Foundation

Today a decision was made, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, that brings the United States of America no closer to the realization of "national security." If anything, it takes the nation further away from its illusory pursuit. Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced Dr. Ali al-Tamimi to LIFE (without the possibility of parole) for essentially saying things that the court found offensive.

The Government's decision to prosecute this case; the jury's decision (verdict) after hearing this case; and Judge Brinkema's official stamp at the conclusion of this case, are all reflective of the pro-prosecutorial bias that surrounds any Muslim accused of a "serious" criminal offense. The tragic events in London just a few days ago helped to ensure that Ali Tamimi – and any other Muslim(s) so situated – would not have a snowball's chance in hell of receiving any type of "fair and impartial" disposition.

At the end of the day, we fully agree with an observation made by Dr. Tamimi at the conclusion of his statement to the court:

"Imprisonment of any term, as this Court well knows, is a crisis for the incarcerated and his or her loved ones. I am no exception. But the real crisis brought on by my imprisonment, I sincerely believe, is America's. For if my conviction is to stand, it would mean that two hundred and thirty years of America's tradition of protecting the individual from the tyrannies and whims of the sovereign will have come to an end. And that which is exploited today to persecute a single member of a minority will most assuredly come back to haunt the majority tomorrow."

Dr. Tamimi's astute observation reminds us of the words of one of America's most distinguished "Founding Fathers." At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1789, Benjamin Franklin was asked, "What have you wrought?" His response: "A Republic, if you can keep it!"

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July 13, 2005

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