DOJ Civil Rights Head Goes To TN To Reassure Muslims
The DOJ’s Civil Rights head visits Tennessee to reassure Muslims (hat tip: Eric Allen Bell). While it is a nice gesture wouldn’t it be great if Obama actually came out stronger against Civil Rights violations and harassment of Muslims? For instance reviewing the fact that 50% of cases brought against Muslims charged with crimes relating to terrorism were dismissed outright! As Law professor M. Cherif Bassiouni wrote,
In the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration, spurred by some in the evangelical right and Neo-Cons, unleashed a campaign against Muslims in the U.S.. This was accompanied by a nationwide PR campaign raising fear about Muslim terrorism in the U.S.. Attorneys General Ashcroft and Gonzalez, issued numerous reports of investigations, arrests, and prosecutions of Muslim terrorists in America. These cases were given catchy names like the “Lackawanna Seven” and “Operation Backfire.” In all, some 500 federal cases were put together. That they were fabricated is evidenced by the fact that various federal courts across the country outright dismissed 250 cases. This is the highest percentage of dismissed cases of any category of violent federal crimes, which averages 15% across the board. For 50% of the cases brought against Muslims in the U.S. to be dismissed means that these charges were either without a legal basis or unsupported by probable cause, meaning that there was insufficient evidence to convince an ordinary, reasonable person that there is a basis to remand the accused to trial. This is far from the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard needed to convict. Thus, for over half of the cases not to have risen to this low threshold, particularly in light of the national percentage in federal cases, is quite telling.
The other cases, with the exception of a dozen or so, were ended by guilty pleas for offenses, which had nothing to do with the original charge. This means that less than 10% of the charges brought had any potential linkage to terrorism. Considering that the nationwide rate of federal convictions for violent crimes exceeds 47%, this too is an indicator of the degree of invalidity of the some 500 criminal charges brought against Muslims in America.
Thomas Perez, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, went to Murfreesboro, Tenn., last week in an attempt to reassure Muslims there who have been the victims of arson and vandalism.
The Nashville Scene reports that Perez traveled around Murfreesboro on Sept. 28, speaking to leaders of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro and other Muslims.
“Basically, what we’re being told is that if there’s any civil violation of the rights of the Muslim community here, they’ll step in,” said Abdou Kattih, vice president of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
“It was a very sobering meeting to listen to Murfreesboro leaders describe the climate of fear that they’re living in,” Perez told the Scene. The DOJ has said it is investigating several cases of potential hate crimes against Muslims, including the arson in Murfreesboro.
The Islamic center, which has been in Murfreesboro for decades, is building a new facility just outside the city, including a mosque. Some residents have been extremely vocal in their opposition to the mosque, and three are suing the county in an attempt to block its construction. They claim officials didn’t post proper notice of the meeting in which construction was approved.
Perez said the DOJ is seeing an uptick in the number of zoning challenges to mosques.
“We have seen a spike in the zoning confrontations, in efforts to keep mosques and the like from being built,” he said. “During times of uncertainty in our nation’s history, people often look for scapegoats.”
The mosque site has also been vandalized and was the victim of arson, when someone torched construction equipment at the site.
Original post: DOJ Civil Rights Head Goes To TN To Reassure Muslims