Islamophobia Hurts Us All
Thank you for your July 2/9 issue on Islamophobia. Depressing but essential info.
Islamophobia is just a variation on the fearmongering that seems to appear periodically. In the 1950s, it was the Reds.
Oak Brook, Ill.
Recently our family bought burial plots in a cemetery close to where we live in a Chicago suburb—the ultimate act of putting down roots and making a statement that this is our country; this is where we will live and die. But now I and other Muslim Americans wonder when the nation of our choice will accept us as full citizens? What does the future hold for my children and grandchildren? Frenzied Islamophobia nine years after 9/11 was triggered by something as innocuous as the location of a cultural center/mosque, not a terror attack.
There is an urgent need for a commission to deal with this issue and for our nation to make it a priority. Islamophobia is potentially fatal for Muslim Americans and our nation’s pluralistic health. I am a founding member of a Chicago-based Muslim American think tank, the International Strategy and Policy Institute. It has conducted colloquies, published and done grassroots awareness work on pluralism.
I ask you to cover the case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a thirty-year American citizen born in Iraq. Dhafir sent aid to Iraq through his charity, Help the Needy, during the brutal thirteen-year Iraq embargo. For this crime of compassion he was arrested on February 26, 2003—one week after Sami Al-Arian’s arrest. He is listed with Al-Arian in this 2003 “Terrorist Financing” paper [pdf], written around the time of their arrests . Like Al-Arian, Dhafir was never released: he was held without bail for nineteen months and denied access to his own records. He was convicted of fifty-nine counts of white-collar crime (mostly IEEPA violations and mail and wire “fraud” in his running of the charity). See “Anatomy of a ‘Terrorist’ Prosecution: Dr. Rafil Dhafir and the Help the Needy Muslim Charity Case,” on Truthout.org.