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February 07, 2003 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

OTHER VIEWS

Counterterrorism Or A Witch Hunt?

s

Philadelphia
tartling news came last week
out of the FBI: The leadership
had directed all of the bureau's
56 field offices to count
mosques in their regions as part of
waging the war on terror.
Newsweek, which broke this story,
explained that the information on
mosques would specifically help "set
numerical goals for counter terrorism
investigations and secret national-secu-
rity wiretaps in each region."
The New York Times acquired a
closed-door statement by a senior
bureau official confirming the mosque
data would be used "to help establish a
yardstick for the number of terrorism
investigations and intelligence war-
rants" expected from field offices.
Reactions on the left and among
Islamists were predictably outraged.
The American Civil Liberties Union
denounced the mosque-counting as
"tailor-made for a witch hunt." The
Religious Action Center of Reform
Judaism expressed "deep concern"
about fundamental constitutional pro-
tections being abridged.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council
deemed it going "beyond the pale of
legitimate law enforcement."

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle

East Forum and author of "Militant Islam
Reaches America" (WWI Norton). His
e-mail address is: Pipes@MEForum.org

But the most colorful response
came from the American Muslim
Council, a Washington-based mili-
tant Islamic group. AMC character-
ized mosque-counting as an act of
"political repression" by the United
States government and wrote a letter
to the United Nations pleading for
relief from this and other "shameful
and undemocratic practices."
Barraged with criticism, the FBI
dissimulated, pretending that the
purpose of mosque-counting has
nothing to do with preventing possi-
ble mosque-based terrorist actions
but is intended to learn the "vulnera-
bilities" of those structures, the better
to protect them from possible
assault.
To which I ask: Why does the
leading law-enforcement institution
in the United States hide its coun-
terterrorism efforts? It's known that
some mosques throughout the West
have been used as a base for terror,
filling a variety of roles: • Inciting
violence: Brooklyn's Al-Farooq
Mosque was where the blind sheikh
inspired the World Trade Center
bombing of 1993;
• Planning operations: Milan's
Islamic cultural center served as Al
Qaida's main European base; and
• Storing weapons: London's Finsbury
Park Mosque, in a raid last month,
yielded a stun gun, a blank-firing
replica firearm, and a gas canister.

Nor is the FBI alone in hid-
politicians and the sometimes
ing its methods. The U.S.
sordid realities of counterter-
Immigration and
rorism.
Naturalization Service last
This discrepancy has real
month began requiring "cer-
costs: • Government employ-
tain temporary foreign visi-
ees on the front lines face a
tors" from 25 countries to reg-
dilemma: to do an effective
ister in its offices. The INS
job, they run the risk of being
pretends it is unaware that
accused of running afoul of
DAN IEL
(with the exception of nearly
studiously impartial govern-
PIP ES
non-existent North Korean
ment regulations, or even of
Spe cial
visitors) all the affected per-
Comm entary breaking the law.
sons hail from Muslim-majori-
• The general population is
ty countries.
confused: policy statements
The INS does so via the time-hon-
piously reject any link between Islam
ored bureaucratic practice of hiding
and terrorism but then the actions of
behind ungrammatical obfuscation:
fighting terror implicitly make just
"Under this program," it states, "tem-
such a connection.
porary foreign visitors (non-immigrant • Militant Islamic groups exploit this
aliens) coming from certain countries
duality to argue that U.S. government
or who meet a combination of intelli-
declarations are mere puffery meant to
gence-based criteria are identified as
disguise what really is a war against
presenting elevated national security
Islam. • Ordinary Muslims are confused
concerns." Say that again?
— Do they believe their ears or their
Actually, there is a good reason for
eyes? Do they listen to hypocritical
the FBI and INS to lie or mumble
politicians or straight-talking Islamists?
about devoting special attention to
The gap between theory and prac-
Muslims: this practice contradicts
tice can only be addressed by honest
declared policy. When President
and open debate. Does the body
George W. Bush states that "Islam is
politic want law enforcement to pay
peace" and refers to "the peaceful
extra attention to Muslims? Does it
teachings of Islam," how can his law
favor Muslim visitors having to fill out
enforcement or immigration staff pos-
extra paperwork?
sibly acknowledge that Islam has any
These practices do exist at present,
bearing on their work?
but in a limbo, without sanction or
A vast disconnect, in other words,
legitimacy. They need either to be
exists between the high-flying words of ended or made official.



Kaddish For A Hero

Herzelia Pituach, Israel
wo weeks ago, I started an
article with the following
words: "I don't think that
there was a person in Israel
who didn't watch the blasting off of
the space shuttle Columbia from the
Kennedy Space Center in Florida yes-
terday."
On Feb. 1, there wasn't a person in

Solly Ganor worked as a slave laborer in

one of the outer camps of Dachau,
which, he says, looked like paradise, if
only for an instant, to the prisoners
brought there from Auschwitz, the
"Planet of Evil." He admires its survivors
who overcame the trauma, got married
and raised children. Royal Oak resident
Caroline Broida Trapp's story about him
was published in the book "Chicken
Soup for America." Ganors e-mail
address is solganor@netvision.net.il

2/ 7

2003

38

Israel who didn't watch with horror
and deep sorrow how the Columbia
made its fiery entrance into the atmos-
phere, disintegrating before our eyes as
it plunged into Col. Ilan Ramon's
"beautiful blue planet," as he described
the Earth to us from space as the first
Israeli-born astronaut.
For a while, NASA still gave us
some hope, but it was soon obvious to
all of us who were watching that the
space shuttle was doomed.
As I watched the main body of the
shuttle streaking through the sky, I saw
what seemed like a strange light, sur-
rounding it. It may have been just the
reflection of the sun rays; but for a
moment, I had an eerie feeling that the
souls of the astronauts were leaving the
shuttle in their ascent to heaven.
I am not a religious person; but in
moments like these, it is the belief that
counts.

For some reason, I felt much
been spared from going
more affected by the tragedy that
through the abyss of evil called
Auschwitz. And imagine how
Was enfolding before our eyes
than I normally would have. I
many Ilans the 6 million who
suppose I did because I wrote the
perished could have sired."
article in honor of Col. Ramon's
Perhaps, because writing the
mother 10 days earlier.
article somehow made me feel
Deep in my mind now lurks
part of the family or perhaps
the irrational feeling of guilt -for
because of the empathy I felt
SOLLY
writing the article to start with.
for
Col. Ramon's Holocaust
GANOR
surviving
parents, who are in a
Perhaps we shouldn't show so
Special
much pride. In the article, I
way,
my
family,
too — what-
Commentary
wrote that his mother, an
ever the reasons, I had one of
Auschwitz survivor, "who not
my Holocaust nightmares last
only got married and brought children
night after hearing of the shuttle
to this world, but brought up a son
explosion — something I didn't have
that anyone in the world would be
for a very long time.
proud of to call as his own."
I remember one thing clearly when I
I added: "I only have one regret, Mrs. saw the Columbia plunging to its death,
a cry of pain escaped my soul, the same
Ramon, that the State of Israel wasn't
established 10 years earlier, in 1938.
cry that echoed throughout the Jewish
Most likely the Holocaust wouldn't
communities during the Holocaust days:
"Why, Ribono Shell Olam, Why?" ❑ -
have taken place and you would have

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