Several weeks ago, two 16 year-old Muslim girls, one from Bangladesh and the other from Guinea, were arrested in New York City on the specious grounds that they were potential suicide bombers. Neither of the girls has been formally charged with any crime, but both have been detained indefinitely in facilities far away from their homes and families.
As Ari Berman reported yesterday, few details about the arrests have been released. What we do know, however, suggests that the charges could well be completely unfounded.
While both of the girls are in the United States illegally, both have also lived here for most of their lives. The lead editorial in yesterday’s New York Times reveals that investigator’s suspicions are curiously based on an essay written by one of the girls in her high school–an essay arguing that suicide is a violation of Islamic law. And while investigators maintain that the two suspects are friends who attended the same radical Mosque where they plotted together, their families say that they never even met before their arrests.
From the dearth of available information, it seems likely that the case of the teenage suicide bombers is simply a routine immigration investigation gone mad. Unfortunately, the rules of immigration hearings require the girls to prove they aren’t suicide bombers, rather than the government to prove that they are.
A hearing is being held tomorrow, Thursday, April 14, so please click here to send a letter of support for the girls’ lawyers to present to the court. There’s also a rally being planned to support the girls. Check out and circulate the details and other info about the case on a new blog created to help defend the girls by clicking here.
Co-written by Mark Hatch-Miller