My chat with Al Maghrib’s V-P about FBI
Thanks to help from the local Al Maghrib folks, I was able to contact Sh. Walid Basyouni, Vice-President of Al Maghrib. We had a fairly thorough talk, but in the end, we did not come to any agreement over the honor Al Maghrib is according to the FBI at Ilmfest in Seattle.
When we first started to talk Mr. Basyouni said he wished I had talked to him before I had sent out the general e-mail about Al Maghrib inviting the FBI to Ilmfest Seattle. I told him I did send an e-mail to Al Maghrib asking for Mr. Basyouni to call me but I received no response so I opened the topic to everyone. My point was that as long as the FBI does not trust or respect Muslims and as long as the FBI considers Muslims to be either targets or a path to targets, we cannot offer them opportunities that make it look as if we trust them and we cannot give them opportunities to influence our youth and our impressionable adults. No doubt any such opportunity will be used to turn Muslims into informants or collaborators against other Muslims whose innocence is only a bump on the road for the FBI.
Mr. Basyouni disagreed with me. He said the FBI does not need Muslims, but Muslims need the FBI and that if we do not talk to them and reach out to them, they will come down hard on us. He said the FBI only follows the law and no innocent people will get hurt if we continue to reach out to the FBI.
I said the FBI makes their own laws and they target us without regard to guilt or innocence. I gave him examples of how Sheikh Ibrahim of the Seattle Somali community was railroaded into the courts on charges that he was inciting Muslims to attack the US. The FBI’s informants said in court Mr. Ibrahim said these things in his sermons in English and in Somali, but the defense was able to prove that he did not know enough English to say such things in English…and it turned out that each of the two informants had been paid $300,000 “for expenses” by the FBI.In the end, the case was dismissed but still, the FBI told Mr. Ibrahim that unless he “voluntarily” left the country, they would be coming after him again.
Even when there was a bomb threat against a Muslim organization, the FBI did not conduct even a cursory investigation, instead, they spread a story that there was nothing to the threat because the perpetrator was a quadriplegic and could not move. I later discovered that the man was in excellent health…body and mind…but since the targets were Muslims, it was taken seriously.
I gave him the example of when the FBI launched a bus ad program in Seattle, showing 16 Muslim faces under the heading, “Faces of Global Terrorism”. It was only after we were able to get support from Mayor McGinn and Rep McDermott and a number of other Christian organizations, that the FBI was finally forced to shut down the ad program. Even then, the FBI continued to resist and recruited a large local Muslim organization to help put together an Op-ed article for the Seattle Times, talking about the great relationship Muslims had with the FBI. Thankfully, the article when submitted, was of such poor quality, that the Seattle Times rejected it.
Mr. Basyouni appeared to be surprised, he did not think the FBI would have acted this way and said he would check it out with his Seattle FBI contact.
I told him that the FBI did not even respect Muslims enough to talk with CAIR, the ONLY effective Muslim civil rights organization in the US and that the FBI boycotts events where CAIR is present. Mr. Basyouni surprised me when he said that it is not the FBI that boycotts CAIR, it is CAIR that boycotts the FBI in order to show them the power CAIR has. I was shocked. I told him I know the local CAIR Director is always looking for opportunities to meet with the FBI and I was told directly by the FBI that they would not have anything to do with CAIR and could not attend an even where CAIR was involved. Mr. Basyouni continued to tell me that this is not true, that CAIR in DC has started the boycott against the FBI.
Mr. Basyouni told me that he was inviting the Chief of Seattle Police and the head of the Seattle FBI to a discussion with Muslims and to a lunch with Muslim leaders so tough questions can be asked. I told him there would not be much of a discussion because most people would not ask challenging questions and hardly anyone will take on an argument with the FBI and in the end, the FBI wall walk away looking like Muslims trust them and that could influence a lot of Muslim youth and adults into collaborating with the FBI a against other Muslims. I said I have no objections to having the Chief of SPD to a discussion or to the lunch, but not the FBI, as long as they maintain their attitudes against us.
Mr. Basyouni understood my objections, but he preferred his approach of reaching out to the FBI in order to convince them that Muslims are good people and thus, gain the respect and trust I spoke about. My point was that the FBI needs to treat us as they treat ALL Americans, before we give them public prominence among Mulsims. By all means, we should have private discussions with them and even have these discussions that include several Muslim leaders and by all means, we should get in touch with them if we are SURE something bad is about to happen by someone who may or may not be Muslim. But we must keep in mind that the sheep cannot hope to make friends with the wolf by reaching out to him.
As long as the FBI is being invited to Ilmfest Seattle, I am not planning to attend any of Al Maghrib’s events. In my opinion, it is a disgrace for Muslims to be so eager to impress those in power, that we lose our self-respect and give up our RIGHT to be treated with respect and our RIGHT to equal protection under the constitution that other American enjoy so easily. My recommendation to all Muslims is to also do the same.
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