It’s been decided-Marathon Bombers were Muslim-Chechen Immigrants


bombingA terrible thing happened on Monday, 15 April at the Boston Marathon.  Three people were killed and scores maimed and injured towards the close of the Marathon by two brothers. The act was atrocious; bodies were strewn everywhere and victims were young, old, male or female and from places all over the country and the world.  To begin this post let us remember the names of the victims, who were Martin Richards, 8 years old; Krystle Campbell, 29 and Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student.  There are others who have been forever damaged by this senseless act of violence; they, corporeally, will never be whole again and neither  will the Nation; scarred beyond recognition despite the slogans of resilience and courage.  No doubt there was plenty of that which was demonstrated that day; people helping and saving the lives of strangers in ways that tested the endurance of both the helper and the victim.  Such displays are what make America great and humanity even greater, we reach across  cultural divides and help those who need it without regard to race, color or creed.

However, just as I began by mentioning the names of the victims of America’s latest tragedy without any regard to where they come from, what they believe and the color of their skin, no such consideration is given to the perpetrators of this heinous crime, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev,19 and his 26 year old brother Tamerlan who have had their ethnicity and faith dragged into the fracas of this brutal and callous act of murder in attempts to further demonize the perpetrators, their ethnicity and their faith. Indeed such identification in today’s American jargon is just as calculated and fatal meant to cut through bone and flesh and spirit as any pipe bomb or drone missile.  Taking a page from age old, proven concepts, words are the first weapon used to denigrate and ease the way towards genocide and cultural extermination and they have been used with precision and skill.

It began with President Obama’s first speech about the bombing where he was remiss in not saying the word “terrorism“.   Pundits, reporters and the general public hung on his every word at the first speech just hours after the bombing and they all made sure to point out that this one word, terrorist was missing from his vocabulary at that time, as if somehow the deaths of three innocent lives was less important without have that word uttered.  Every speech thereafter was flooded with the buzz word enough that it obscured any other point or lesson to be learned  from this latest tragedy and instead returned America to its roots of racist ideology which points to “others” as being unworthy of consideration, or the rights and privileges of citizenship.  Somehow, the purveyors of this brutal form of 21st century America punditry are able to parlay all of what’s negative about our diversity and turn tragedy into a plethora of causes it seeks to push at the expense of our civic cohesiveness.  Terrorism, immigration, radical Islam, government have become piggy back issues detractors have seized upon to push before the deceased have even been accorded their rights to an eternal rest.

Radical Islamic terrorism of course was the first cause which was promoted to an anxious audience before the last bomber was even captured.  That mantle of “radical Islam” was hung around the necks of the two brothers simply because of where they hailed from or what videos they might have added to their YouTube channels and yes it is true there are Muslims who embrace an ideology of violence to address what they consider are injustices but that is not relevant to Islamic beliefs as much as it is to their own personal demons. youth That Muslim organizations the world over denounced for the umpteenth time the brothers’ murderous rampage and the expulsions the older brother faced twice from Muslim masajid in his area because of his virulent rhetoric should speak to the legitimacy of Muslim condemnation of what took place that fateful week.  It’s impossible to find, outside of the imagination of the two suspects any rationality for their murderous impulses, among ANY community much less America’s Muslims.  That seems to go unnoticed however, as the events of the week invigorated a smoldering Islamophobic community that has been practicing its craft since 911.

No one could see that this violence so closely echoes all the other episodes of mass killing that have become sporadic constants  in our lives, borne out of rage and disenchantment with things personal and social?  How could a fan of movies kill scores of people in his object of obsession a movie theater; how could an emotionally dependent young man kill his doting, loving mother on his way to seek revenge on others who were not guilty?  The Boston suspects’ actions sprouted from a rage that began with a Ruslandysfunctional family dynamic that was no more clearly evident than during the “interview” given by Ruslan, the uncle of the suspects.  Even his act of contrition seemed filled with rage……his staccato cadence dripping with anger towards his nephews and family.  Yet the painfully obvious was ignored by most who weighed in on the side of fear and racial animus in describing what happened in Boston.  “He was a Muslim”, declared Tom Brokaw, the implication nothing else matters; to some not even the crime he committed was important absent reference to his faith.  Indeed , even being white offered the two no escape from the curse of being Muslim.  Joan Walsh in one of her pieces for Salon.com noted,

Over its long history America has regularly featured a process of sorting white from non-white, even among European immigrant groups. I’m not a huge admirer of the now-dated whiteness studies academic movement, but those scholars did help illuminate the way various groups of European immigrants, particularly the Irish, but also Jews, Italians and Eastern Europeans, “became” white over time, in a complicated process of determined assimilation, gradually lessening prejudice by existing “white” society, and most important, the arrival of newcomers to take the place of the scapegoated non-white other, alongside the definitive non-white scapegoats, African-Americans. Embracing racism and xenophobia, sadly, could be a shortcut to white status for previously non-white European immigrants.

…..or disavowing one’s faith.  America is in the firm grip of racism and xenophobia towards Muslims.  It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, American, European, Caucasian, Arab, Asian…..you are all lumped into the one category of being a terrorist and therefore the rules of civilization no longer apply to you.

Which brings me to the final point of this tragedy and that is how quickly everyone seems to talk about abandoning the rights we’re given by our Constitution and codified over the years.  The ugly specter of torture and waterboarding has resurfaced….some claiming the younger brother should have been tortured to extract information.  Mention has been made of declaring him an enemy combatant, indefinite detention, not allowing him access to a lawyer, trial by military tribunal in essence making him persona non grata effectively disappearing him from our view.  How many of us know what has happened to Jose Padilla, another American who was subjected to labyrinthine exegesis of a judicial system determined to strip him of his humanity because he is Muslim.  The fear index has produced in all of us this desire to rid ourselves of undesirables by any means necessary, including illegal and unconstitutional ones in order to feel safe.  What’s unfortunate about that is we falsely apply our fear  to groups of  people with a very large bull’s eye on their collective backs while ignoring other groups we’re not so interested in targeting at this time.  DVHonestly, we are a Nation awash in violence.  It plagues our cities and communities on a daily basis.  On the normal scheme of things killing three people is about the average for violent deaths in America.  Not even a week after the Boston bombers were corralled five people were murdered in Seattle, Washington in a domestic violence dispute that barely made the news and we don’t even know who they are or why they died. Moreover after hearing about such news one would not even suggest that we resort to the types of punishment now being mentioned in media that should apply to the lone Boston bomber suspect in custody.   No race, tribe, group of people are immune to the ravages of violence and Muslim Americans are no exceptions, but just like we don’t do in 99% of the violence we encounter as a Nation daily, ascribing a motive to that violence that centers around ethnicity or religious belief or imparting to an entire group of people the sins of some one of its wayward members is as evil an act as any perpetrator of a crime.  Fix this America!

This is what happens to Muslims in America who are in the wrong place at the wrong time


THE SAUDI MARATHON MAN

POSTED BY AMY DAVIDSON

A twenty-year-old man who had been watching the Boston Marathon had his body torn into by the force of a bomb. He wasn’t alone; a hundred and seventy-six people were injured and three were killed. But he was the only one who, while in the hospital being treated for his wounds, had his apartment searched in “a startling show of force,” as his fellow-tenantsdescribed it to the Boston Herald, with a “phalanx” of officers and agents and two K9 units. He was the one whose belongings were carried out in paper bags as his neighbors watched; whose roommate, also a student, was questioned for five hours (“I was scared”) before coming out to say that he didn’t think his friend was someone who’d plant a bomb—that he was a nice guy who liked sports. “Let me go to school, dude,” the roommate said later in the day, covering his face with his hands and almost crying, as a Fox News producer followed him and asked him, again and again, if he was sure he hadn’t been living with a killer.

Why the search, the interrogation, the dogs, the bomb squad, and the injured man’s name tweeted out, attached to the word “suspect”? After the bombs went off, people were running in every direction—so was the young man. Many, like him, were hurt badly; many of them were saved by the unflinching kindness of strangers, who carried them or stopped the bleeding with their own hands and improvised tourniquets. “Exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood,” President Obama said. “They helped one another, consoled one another,” Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, said. In the midst of that, according to a CBS News report, a bystander saw the young man running, badly hurt, rushed to him, and then “tackled” him, bringing him down. People thought he looked suspicious.

What made them suspect him? He was running—so was everyone. The police reportedly thought he smelled like explosives; his wounds might have suggested why. He said something about thinking there would be a second bomb—as there was, and often is, to target responders. If that was the reason he gave for running, it was a sensible one. He asked if anyone was dead—a question people were screaming. And he was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops. Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?

What happened next didn’t take long. “Investigators have a suspect—a Saudi Arabian national—in the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, The Post has learned.” That’s the New York Post, which went on to cite Fox News. The “Saudi suspect”—still faceless—suddenly gave anxieties a form. He was said to be in custody; or maybe his hospital bed was being guarded. The Boston police, who weren’t saying much of anything, disputed the report—sort of. “Honestly, I don’t know where they’re getting their information from, but it didn’t come from us,” a police spokesman told TPM. But were they talking to someone? Maybe. “Person of interest” became a phrase of both avoidance and insinuation. On theAtlas Shrugs Web site, there was a note that his name in Arabic meant “sword.” At an evening press conference, Ed Davis, the police commissioner, said that no suspect was in custody. But that was about when the dogs were in the apartment building in Revere—an inquiry that was seized on by some as, if not an indictment, at least a vindication of their suspicions.

“There must be enough evidence to keep him there,” Andrew Napolitano said on “Fox and Friends”—“there” being the hospital. “They must be learning information which is of a suspicious nature,” Steve Doocy interjected. “If he was clearly innocent, would they have been able to search his house?” Napolitano thought that a judge would take any reason at a moment like this, but there had to be “something”—maybe he appeared “deceitful.” As Mediaite pointed out, Megyn Kelly put a slight break on it (as she has been known to do) by asking if there might have been some “racial profiling,” but then, after a round of speculation about his visa (Napolitano: “Was he a real student, or was that a front?”), she asked, “What’s the story on his ability to lawyer up?”

By Tuesday afternoon, the fever had broken. Report after report said that he was a witness, not a suspect. “He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” a “U.S. official” told CNN. (So were a lot of people at the marathon.) Even Fox News reported that he’d been “ruled out.” At a press conference, Governor Deval Patrick spoke, not so obliquely, about being careful not to treat “categories of people in uncharitable ways.”

We don’t know yet who did this. “The range of suspects and motives remains wide open,” Richard Deslauriers of the F.B.I. said early Tuesday evening. In a minute, with a claim of responsibility, our expectations could be scrambled. The bombing could, for all we know, be the work of a Saudi man—or an American or an Icelandic or a person from any nation you can think of. It still won’t mean that this Saudi man can be treated the way he was, or that people who love him might have had to find out that a bomb had hit him when his name popped up on the Web as a suspect in custody. It is at these moments that we need to be most careful, not least.

It might be comforting to think of this as a blip, an aberration, something that will be forgotten tomorrow—if not by this young man. There are people at Guanátanmo who have also been cleared by our own government, and are still there. A new report on the legacy of torture after 9/11, released Tuesday, is a well-timed admonition. The F.B.I. said that they would “go to the ends of the earth” to get the Boston perpetrators. One wants them to be able to go with their heads held high.

“If you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil—that’s it. Selflessly. Compassionately. Unafraid,” President Obama said. That was mostly true on Monday; a terrible day, when an eight-year-old boy was killed, his sister maimed, two others dead, and many more in critical condition. And yet, when there was so much to fear that we were so brave about, there was panic about a wounded man barely out of his teens who needed help. We get so close to all that Obama described. What’s missing? Is it humility?

 

Patience…..


The two bombs that ripped through the 2013 Boston Marathon  re-opened wounds that had begun to heal since 911 and no where was this fresh scab more apparent than in the airwaves and bandwidth of Main Stream Media.  Throwing aside conventional wisdom which includes waiting for things to reveal themselves, pundits began almost immediately with speculation about whodunnit.  It didn’t help matters that a young and innocent Saudi student was tackled at the scene of the blast and scooped up by authorities who had to admit after a period of time that he was just as much a victim as everyone else who was in the vicinity of the blast, media trumpeted the interest authorities had in him as if he was the main suspect who was about to be charged with the crime.  Media didn’t bother to wipe the egg off their collective face when Boston and no doubt federal authorities admitted the young man was not a suspect or player in the events of that dreadful day….they just simply ignored their faux pas and moved on, but the tension their errant speculation caused revealed the problem with America today and the obsession too many have with placing collective blame on people and especially those who are Muslim.

Over time this has produced an opposite and equally repulsive reaction from Muslims who start condemning acts of violence as if there life depended on it.  In today’s America it probably does since the knives of Islamophobes are sharpened with the venom of  their own special brand of racism which they hope will drive America into an apocalypse whose goal is grander and broader than anything Hitler imagined in pre WWII Germany. Eric Rush’s tweets of ‘kill all Muslims’ within hours of the bombings are the most nerve racking and persistent sentiment voiced by ‘phobes and it has America’s Muslims ready to do and say anything to distance themselves from any tragedy.  Explosion at Boston marathon

About this tendency to obsequiously deny acts of violence ad nauseum, Tasbeeh Herwees had this to say

This is modus operandi for any Muslim organization in the U.S. after a terrorist attack: condemn, condemn, condemn. This is how we’re expected to respond. It doesn’t matter that no Muslim or Arab has been implicated in the attack. It is inconsequential that no other religious organizations are called on to do the same. In a post-9/11 world, Muslims and Arabs have become the default scapegoats for all terrorist plots, hence the pre-empting of the accusations.

Muslims for the present are the only group expected to make this kind of absolution; they require it from themselves as much as their non-Muslim citizens.  It has become their role in today’s America to assure people even when such assurance is not required that they are against an act of violence that may be attributed to one of them.  Muslim America has accepted the cloak of collectivism whereby any one person no matter how heinous, villainous, obnoxious the act may be, no matter how reprehensible and outlandish can be even remotely connected to the body and thus equal in guilt.  No other group in today’s America has taken or accepted that mantle.

white privilegeIn today’s news cycle we’ve heard of a prison official in Colorado gun down in his home by a white supremacist; a young mass murderer who took revenge against a school that housed people who bullied him many years before and a husband and wife team who killed Texas prosecutors for some perceived  injustice they felt murder was the appropriate punishment, yet not one white male or Christian group has volunteered to condemn the actions of this body of people who share their ethnicity.  Their silence, in the face of this news onslaught was defeaning and caused me to tweet on 14 April, ‘white males need to be profiled’  in order to bring attention to the fact that real crime does occur at the hands of people other than swarthy complexioned people with strange accents; that there are terrorist minded white people in places of close proximity to us who are just as lethal and scary and perhaps we should keep a closer eye on them than we have in the past. Of course no such thing will happen and Tim Wise in a very nice piece says why

As the nation weeps for the victims of the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, one searches for lessons amid the carnage, and finds few. That violence is unacceptable stands out as one, sure. That hatred — for humanity, for life, or whatever else might have animated the bomber or bombers — is never the source of constructive human action seems like a reasonably close second.

But I dare say there is more; a much less obvious and far more uncomfortable lesson, which many are loathe to learn, but which an event such as this makes readily apparent, and which we must acknowledge, no matter how painful.

It is a lesson about race, about whiteness, and specifically, about white privilege.

I know you don’t want to hear it. But I don’t much care. So here goes.

White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in white folks generally being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI.

White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for whites to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening, or threatened with deportation.

White privilege is knowing that if the bomber turns out to be white, he or she will be viewed as an exception to an otherwise non-white rule, an aberration, an anomaly, and that he or she will be able to join the ranks of Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols and Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph and Joe Stackand George Metesky and Byron De La Beckwith and Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton and Herman Frank Cash and Robert Chambliss and James von Brunn and Robert Mathews and David Laneand Michael F. Griffin and Paul Hill and John Salvi and James Kopp and Luke Helder and James David Adkisson and Scott Roeder and Shelley Shannon and Dennis Mahon and Wade Michael Page andByron Williams and Kevin Harpham and William Krar and Judith Bruey and Edward Feltus andRaymond Kirk Dillard and Adam Lynn Cunningham and Bonnell Hughes and Randall Garrett Cole and James Ray McElroy and Michael Gorbey and Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman and Frederick Thomas and Paul Ross Evans and Matt Goldsby and Jimmy Simmons and Kathy Simmons and Kaye Wiggins and Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe and David McMenemy and Bobby Joe Rogers andFrancis Grady and Demetrius Van Crocker and Floyd Raymond Looker, among the pantheon of white people who engage in (or have plotted) politically motivated violence meant to terrorize and kill, but whose actions result in the assumption of absolutely nothing about white people generally, or white Christians in particular.

And white privilege is being able to know nothing about the crimes committed by most of the terrorists listed above — indeed, never to have so much as heard most of their names — let alone to make assumptions about the role that their racial or ethnic identity may have played in their crimes.

White privilege is knowing that if the Boston bomber turns out to be white, we  will not be asked to denounce him or her, so as to prove our own loyalties to the common national good. It is knowing that the next time a cop sees one of us standing on the sidewalk cheering on runners in a marathon, that cop will say exactly nothing to us as a result.

White privilege is knowing that if you are a white student from Nebraska — as opposed to, say, a student from Saudi Arabia — that no one, and I mean no one would think it important to detain and question you in the wake of a bombing such as the one at the Boston Marathon.

And white privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas. And if he turns out to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Belfast. And if he’s an Italian American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican.

In short, white privilege is the thing that allows you (if you’re white) — and me — to view tragic events like this as merely horrific, and from the perspective of pure and innocent victims, rather than having to wonder, and to look over one’s shoulder, and to ask even if only in hushed tones, whether those we pass on the street might think that somehow we were involved.

It is the source of our unearned innocence and the cause of others’ unjustified oppression.

That is all. And it matters.

The next time a crime is committed that captures the public’s attention perhaps the first thing we should do is turn off the television, radio and laptop and just wait for the dust to settle.  If we can’t do that then we should demand that every group in America who has a member that has committed a violent crime in the past should take turns collectively condemning and distancing themselves from an unknown perpetrator.  We certainly cannot expect any ONE group to continue to carry this burden.  It’s not just so fix it, America!

hat tip to @ZahraBilloo

Losing my religion for equality…


Jimmy Carter  JC

I HAVE been a practicing Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices – as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy – and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place – and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence – than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

Well said, sir and thank you!