Tag Archives: Civil Rights

A Story of Islamophobia: Bias, Fear, and Injustice

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Author’s note:
This is the story of someone whom I know personally, whom was a victim of malicious, immoral, unethical, and illegal, Islamophobia, just because they were Muslim, had an Arabic name, came from, ancestrally, from a part of the Muslim-World, and, because they were neither a U.S.-citizen, nor a citizen of their respective native-land.

This is what was told to me:

“I was traveling to visit one of my relatives; I really don’t like to take for granted the freedom and the respect I have been enjoying since I came to America. But this weekend, I have felt very humiliated and mistreated by authorities in both the nation in which I was in, as well as the US. When I arrived in the country my relative lives, the authorities denied entry in the country: they said that I did not have a passport. I’ve used American travel-documents, which is issued for refugees without citizenship, on more than one occasion, and had no previous issues, traveling to places outside of the U.S., prior to this incident; likewise, I had went to this particular country, last year, using these same travel-documents, without any problems.

They took seized my travel-documents, and also my green-card, after they denied me entry. I told them that if they are not going to allow me in, then at least just allow me to return to the U.S.. But, these guys weren’t trying to listen to me, at all-they really started treating me like I was nothing but piece of garbage, which disturbed me greatly. They thought I had no government that defends my rights, which is true-I do not have citizenship to any country yet. I am holding neither US passport nor any other national-passport. The authorities had told me that, if I had at least had a passport along with my U.S. travel-documents, then I could’ve been allowed to stay.

So, here I am, on a plane going directly back to where I had came from, heading back to America. However, there’s a lot more this-it does not just end, here. When I had boarded my flight back to the U.S.,  my green-card and travel-documents weren’t even returned to me, they were given, instead, to the airline & I was told that I’ll get everything back once I land in the U.S., and this is where frustration & anger started to really kick-in: I had told them that they had no right to keep my documents & property away from me and that I’m leaving this country. They said no, you can’t have it back. I felt so humiliated and realized how weak and unfortunate I am.

When I arrived back into the U.S., the airline gave me back my documents. When I checked in, a U.S. Customs & Border Protection officer took my fingerprints, and then, forwarded me to another officer who then further inspected me. He started to ask me why I went to the country I had just came from, where did I get travel-money from…he started an argument, with me, about my recent trip. He said, ‘You were re-admitted last January and now, again, you are traveling?’…’Who helps you?’. I told him I that I have jobs to support myself. He then asked how much I am paid an hour…he then took away my wallet and checked everything it, asking me about how I got my credit cards. He asked me to open my suitcase and to take everything I had out of it. He then took away my backpack and opened my iPad, a binder, and some letters in it, this was a blatant invasion of my privacy. When I asked why is this even necessary, he told me I am not a US citizen, so I am subjected inspection.

After that, then in the checking area, two guys took me away to a room, after I was fully checked with an x-ray machine. They did a full pat-down on me, touching every part of my body. Then, another guy took my backpacks and coat for further inspection, itt was so stressful. I just wish that I did not have to undergo all of these troubles simply that I have a name which starts ‘Abu’ or that I am an immigrant, or tourist from a country that’s viewed negatively, by the U.S., and her allies. This year, I had about 4 trips on my schedule, but I am going to call off all of them. I just don’t want to undergo what I have went through this weekend.”

Anonymous

So, upon learning of this, I had immediately, told the person who told me their story, to inform CAIR/Council on American Islamic Relations, and I specifically gave them the contact-info. of the CAIR-NY Director, Muneer Awad. Sadly, this person was just too afraid to come forward & share their story. I even assured this person that the details of their story would be honored as anonymous, that they wouldn’t be required to give their name, rather, just their statement. But, alas, they even refused that, because they were so shaken-up & fearful that if they were to say anything that they wouldn’t be able to stay/live here (in the U.S.), any longer, that they’d lose their financial-aid status & may even get kicked-out of school, get deported to their respective land of origin (even though they either never grew-up there, never been there & were only born there), detained, tortured, killed, etc.

All of this is so deeply disturbing, how our government, as well as governments like ours deems it okay to intimidate persons, just because they’re Muslims, immigrants, residents/illegals, as opposed to full-fledged citizens, etc. But, at the end of the day, these are still the lives of Human beings, and as such we all, regardless of subjective national, state, or local, religious or secular, laws, are entitled to basic Human-Rights of the following: life, dignity, property. And, unfortunately, at least two out of these three were severely violated, to the extent that this person was made to feel as though their status as a Human being had absolutely no value.

This is not how things are supposed to be: I should never have to walk the streets in fear (of being detained, deported, arrested, beaten-up/having to beat someone up, being killed/having to kill someone, etc.), just because I’m a Muslim, or an undocumented-immigrant, a resident, a Non-English speaker, Non-European/White person. This story really affected my heart, mainly because I know how it feels to be harassed by authorities; but, also because at least with me (someone who was born here/a U.S.-citizen), I know certain important elements of the law, which can protect me from most things, pretty much; but, with people like this person, by virtue of the fact that they are not at least citizens, they’re made to be “easy-pickin’s”, or “fair-game”, of predatorial Islamophobes & Xenophobes, whether they’re as micro as a Dunkin’ Donuts employee/Manager, refusing to serve you, or as macro as the President of the United States of America, who orders/co-signs drone-strikes, or religious/ethnic round-ups against its own citizenry.

Gareth Bryant/2013

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Aside

Mustapha Ndanusa pic

Author’s note:

Mustapha Ndanusa, Esq. is an Attorney, practicing in NYC, where he grew-up. He’s very well-versed in social-issues plaguing the Muslim, minority, and immigrant communities, all across the United States. As a result of 9/11, there have been multiple cases of individuals, both Muslim & Non-Muslim alike, whom have been killed, deported, detained, etc. & all based upon baseless pretences, exclusively conjured by the whimsical policies/agendas of the U.S. government, with the direct assistance of local, state and Federal Law-Enforcement agencies & departments. What Mustapha has written about is how to look for potential governmental red-flag, entrapping tactics, which we all need to be intelligently aware of.

Not long ago, before President Obama had him killed, Anwar Al-Awlaki was the darling of fear-mongers. Videos of him defiant against the US and US interest were played often at the height of the Awlaki hysteria. I waited anxiously for the elephant in the room to ultimately be discussed by Fox News and other even more supposedly liberal news outlets. But it never happened. The elephant went undiscussed, and now I think it was because the world simply did not know, is that Anwar Awlaki was very very popular in the Muslim households with his series on the Lives of the Prophets, the Life of the Prophets and many others.

It is unlikely, even today, that you can ask three Muslims about Awlaki’s audio classes and not find one that possesses a copy in his/her home – or at least did so at one point. I still have cassettes of his series. I mentioned Anwar Al Awlaki’s series because if one was tested with being charged with terrorism charges, no matter how minor, better pray to God that you don’t still have a dust covered copy of any Anwar Awlaki contraband in your closet.  If you do, be sure that you will be found guilty, or at least your chances of being found guilty is increased significantly.

If you doubt what I have just said about your changes of  being “gitmoed,” consider the evidentiary value of something so innocuous as “Bulugh Al-Maram” or “Riyadus Saalihin”. Bulugh Al-Maram, a book well known in the Muslim world, is a collection of Ahaadith (sing. Hadith) on Fiqh/Islamic-Jurisprudence. Another book, Riyadus Saalihin, gives samplings of Islamic beliefs, drawing from selections of Ahaadith and Quranic-verses. Having either one of these books, particularly the latter, might be dangerous contraband used to confirm a mind bent on destruction.  Contained in Riyadus Saalihin is the book of Jihad and several Ahaadith exclaiming the virtues of archery, horse riding and other acts.

In 2007, Dr. Rafeeq Sabir was convicted providing material support to terrorists. While there were many other things that were used to convict Dr. Sabir, one piece of evidence was his possession of one of the two books mentioned above.  In particular, one of the books, more than likely Riyadus Saalihin, contained passages encouraging the riding of horses and the practice of archery – the passages having been highlighted by Dr. Sabir himself. As fate would have it, Dr. Sabir owned a cross-bow and had learned to ride horse while in Saudi Arabia. Well, there you have it, if you legally own a cross-bow and dare learn to ride a horse and you are a Muslim, you are likely a terrorist in training or a terrorist already. So, what should one do?

There is no law that says you cannot own a copy of either of these two great books or that if you bought a copy of Mein Kampf you are a Nazi waiting to be awoken. One should not be worried about buying such books.  However, be smart, read the book and for God’s sake, don’t highlight anything.

Mustapha Ndanusa/2013

Literary Legal-Advice & Awareness: What you read may get you locked-up!!!

Oppression is wretched!!!

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It is something that will taint your soul.
You’ll never reach Paradise, our goal.

Tyranny is something that which Allah has banned for Himself.
Yet, we have the audacity to strip the creation of their wealth.

This wealth is priceless: they are our lives, properties & honor.
Violating, taking these things from others is an action of terror.

As Human beings, we are haters-by-nature.
Envy is a poison, causing us to be immature.

Our hearts are corrupt, black & filthy.
Oppression makes all our deeds petty.

We must ask Allah to remove us all from the path of the dreaded & cursed Shaytan.
Or else, in the Hereafter, we’ll remain in the darkness and will not see another dawn.

Gareth Bryant/2012

What “Change” has there really been in America?!!!

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Since we are approaching the last official year of the 1st. presidential term of Barack Obama, one has to honestly reflect upon how his presidency has affected this country & the world. We cannot just get caught up in the nostalgia of “He’s the first Black President, woo hoo!!!”. We must critically think about what policies that he’s supported & carried out as the Chief Executive of the United States, during his nearly four-year tenure of what could potentially be his only term as the leader of the “Free-World”.

No, it’s not time to break out the worn out Obama hats, shirts, bumper stickers, etc. labelled “Yes, We Can”, or “Change We Can Believe In”. It is truly time for reflection as to whether the U.S. is truly a better country since this man’s been a President. For this reflection, I’ll be taking the liberty of mentioning several happenings throughout the current tenure of this U.S. President & I’ll let you decide has “Change” that this man had promised for this country truly come.

Hate crimes:
Dec. 3rd, 2010-
A twenty-seven year old Black man, by the name of Frederick Jermaine Carter, was found hanging to a tree, in Greenwood, Miss. The Obama administration has yet to even acknowledge the event taking place, and there was no mention of a Federal investigation of this case (ironically enough, Greenwood is a mere 10 miles away from Money, Miss., where Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black youth, was tortured and murdered by racist whites, over 50 years after the Emmet Til tragedy)-This case was just swept under the rug, by Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks, along with the county coroner, declaring Carter’s death a “Suicide”, as a result of him having a history of “Mental-Illness”.

Now, for you & I, who possess basic-intelligence, here’s some serious questions for us to sincerely ask ourselves: When is the last time that a legitimately mentally-ill person used a tree to assist them in a “Suicide”?!!! (Never); when is the the last time that a Black man used a tree to assist him in a “Suicide”?!!! (Never!!!); also, how is the man going to “hang himself”, when he was found tied/bounded to the actual tree that he “hanged himself” from?!!! (Impossible!!!).

Now, just by virtue of the fact that there’s a Black man in the White House is justification enough to have had this case world-wide news; however, sadly, it was just another important issue that was kept under cover, for fear that people would truly realize that having a Black man as a President doesn’t secure shit for Black people, those who came out in droves to vote for this man, really believing that he was their savior-If a White man, or any group of Non-Black individuals would’ve done the same to one of them, this case would’ve been treated the same exact way, especially if they weren’t of any type of known, significant status in our society.

The economy:
It’s not that the Federal bailouts given to the Wall Street titans were bad enough, but to add insult-to-injury, they’ve grown more wealthy & powerful during the Obama years, thus far-According to a report, by Zachary Goldfarb, of the Washington Post:

  • Wall Street firms — independent companies and the securities-trading arms of banks — are doing even better. They earned more in the first 2 1/2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, industry data show. […]
  • The largest banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, earned $34 billion in profit in the first half of the year, nearly matching what they earned in the same period in 2007 and more than in the same period of any other year.
  • Securities firms — the trading arms of big banks and hundreds of other independent firms — have fared even better. They’ve generated at least $83 billion in profit during the past 2 1/2 years, compared with $77 billion during the entire Bush administration, according to data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

#Enough said!!!

International-Relations:
Anwar Al-Awlaki, a Muslim, as well as a U.S.-citizen, was violently blown to bits, by a CIA-controlled drone-missile attack in Yemen. What still puzzles me, till this very day, is the simple fact that none of the actual charges of “terrorist-activity” against this man was even established, until after he conveniently out of the country, relocated to Yemen, even though he was continually probed by the Feds for at least 5 years before he even left the U.S. to spend the rest of his life in Yemen-Ironically the charges that he had actually gotten arrested for & then released while in the U.S. had absolutely nothing to do with “terrorist-activity”. This is something really difficult to wrap my head around: Anwar Al-Awlaki was accused of being the chief recruitment figure for Al-Qaeda in America, yet you wait until the man leaves the U.S. to go to Yemen to do something about it?!!! What sense does this all make?!!! (None).

He was denied his right as a Human being & a U.S.-citizen to have his day in court/any court, via due-process, even though his historical counterpart, Oliver North, the most corrupt U.S. Military official on record, who aided known terrorist-groups, by supplying them with money gins, in exchanges for drugs to be smuggled into the U.S. during the 1980′s, infamously known as the Iran-Contra Affair, did more than Al-Awlaki was even accused of. Yet, North was eventually acquitted of all 16 counts of Federal felonies thrown at him, received an official Presidential-Pardon, and retired with full rank & pension as a Lt. Colonel of the U.S. Marines (check out my article on this same blog, titled, “If Anwar Al-Awlaki were Oliver North, he’d still be alive & chillin’” for more info. about the Iran-Contra Affair). Then, there’s Somalia, the mythical land of African Al-Qaeda & pirates, even though, unlike the Taliban, Saddam, and Qaddafi, Ash-Shabab have not been ousted (check out my article on this same blog, “Somalia [The Anatomy of a Tragedy]” to find out why).

These are just a few of the countless examples of how the mythos of Barack Obama has continually become a political epic-fail, and has been able to keep the American people deaf, dumb & blind. It’s very obvious to me, and should be just as obvious to you all, that Obama being a President, the first Black President, or what ever posthumous title that you’d wish to refer to him by, has not changed any of the business-as-usual policies well-established in this nation.

In short, “Ain’t shit change, except da number after da dot, on da Range (Rover).”
Christopher Wallace (AKA: Notorious B.I.G.)

Gareth Bryant/2012