Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

Ever notice how ironic these words have become, now that we are living in the Land of the Cowardly and the Home of the Terrified.

How easily we Americans have given up our basic civil rights and liberties.

It is true that the attack on the World Trade Center was a horrific act, which I know better than most because I was there, but that was just one incident. Many other countries have been under attack by terrorists for decades, and yet their normal legal systems are still allowed to function. Long before Lord Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, was assassinated by Irish Catholic extremists, England has been well aware and vigilant to the threat of terrorism, but England still has a functioning court system which operates under the rule of law. Germany too has been the target of terrorist attacks over a long period of time, but they too still have courts and legal rules.

Here in America, the constitutional right of habeas corpus is now suspended, merely upon the allegation that there is a threat of terrorism. Men who have done nothing wrong are being held incommunicado for months in secret prisons, are never produced in open court and nobody knows what happened to them. Our cities have become armed camps. In New York City where I live, every night the major subway stations feature national guardsmen carrying M-16s. One Police Plaza, the headquarters of the Police Force which is supposed to be protecting us, is surrounded by barricades and armed guards, as though somebody seriously believes that the terrorists are going to attack the heavily fortified police headquarters.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg has closed the public libraries on Sundays and has laid off thousands of school teachers aids to pay for more security. The education of our children is being neglected to pay to keep more soldiers on our streets.

You can forget about going to City Hall to complain, because it is closed to the public.

But that is only the beginning. Every e-mail and every telephone conversation can now be monitored by the police without a warrant on the pretext of the threat of terrorism. If you are arrested, they do not have to take you to court within 72 hours any more or inform you of the charges against you, because of the threat of terrorism.

What is the threat of terrorism? Why, it is simply this: When one of them kills one of us, that is an act of terrorism. When one of us kills one of them, including even a small child, that is an appropriate and necessary security response to the threat of terrorism.

Since we are a predominantly Christian country, our leaders have defined all Muslims as potential terrorists. The pretext for this is that the 9-11 hijackers were Muslims. However, there is no evidence whatever that the 9-11 hijackers were really Muslims. It is true that they came from a Muslim country, Saudi Arabia, but not all Arabs are practicing Muslims just as not all Americans are practicing Christians. However, when an actual Christian terrorist attacks, his religion is never mentioned. A prime example of this is when Olympics Bomb Suspect Eric Rudolph was arrested two weeks ago, no emphasis was placed on the fact that he is a Christian religious fanatic who was motivated to kill the men and women he killed over the past five years by his beliefs about God and Jesus. Rudolph is only the most recent of many Christian fanatics motivated entirely by religion who have committed murder in America. Why are there no calls for a crack-down on the Christian religious groups who foment such violence? Why instead are there constant calls for crack-downs on the far more peaceful, non-violent, and well behaved Muslim communities?

Nowadays, being a Muslim male is a ground to put you in jail in America. Males (not females) in America whose national origin is a Muslim country have received letters to report to the newly created by Bush "Department of Homeland Security". Those who comply and report are likely to be arrested. I have several acquaintances who went into 26 Federal Plaza, where the New York Office of the Department of Homeland Security is located, and never came out. Nobody knows what happened to them. These are men who have lived in America for 15 or 20 years, who have never had any problem with the law, who are productive job-holding members of our society, but who are from a country such as Indonesia, Bangladesh or Pakistan which happens to have a Muslim majority. Since our government knows that it cannot openly discriminate against Muslims per se, it just selects those countries which have a Muslim majority. Ironically, the country which has the world's largest population of Muslims, which is India, is not on the list, because the Hindus are in the majority there. I live in an Indian neighborhood in Queens and I am aware of many instances where Indians have been involved in crimes, but I am not aware of even once instance in which a person from Indonesia, Bangladesh or Pakistan has been arrested. Just go to the Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens any day and you will see in the prisoners dock the large number of Indians in jail or with criminal cases pending against them, or just look at the website and count all the cases pending against anybody named Singh, and you will understand what I mean. Yet, Indians are not on the list of nationalities to be detained and deported, so they get out of jail on bail and go back on with their activities.

The reason is obvious: Christians are the majority in America and Christians are worried about Muslims because many have been converted from Christianity to Islam, but Christians are not concerned about Hindus.

I have a particular reason for interest in this subject.

On October 7, 1990, my daughter, then eight years old, was kidnapped by Charles Roberts, a Christian religious fanatic.

Everybody who meets this man realizes within the first five minutes that he is a true religious fanatic and a very dangerous man, especially since in the first minute of any conversation he tells you that he has been saved and is going to heaven and that he has received orders from God.

Not only has this man never been arrested, prosecuted or even questioned by the FBI for kidnapping my daughter, but now he is working on converting one of my other daughters to his religious beliefs.

This man is a threat to every member of my family, but we can do nothing to stop him because he is protected by the right-wing Christian religious majority which controls America.

If he were a Muslim instead of a Christian and tried to do the very same things, he would be dead by now.

Sam Sloan

UPDATE: Saddam Hussein has been captured! What should we do with him?

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