Has truth been told about 9-11?

By Saeed Shabazz -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Sep 28, 2010 - 12:09:50 PM

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Photos: AP/Wide World Photos

Call for probe ignites controversy, but many still say September 11 tragedy needs investigation

UNITED NATION - ( After President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke before world leaders and the international press at the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly, an uproar followed and the United States expressed outrage at his remarks.

Protesters hold anti-war and anti-President Bush signs during a protest march Sept. 19, 2006, in New York. The anti-war march, arranged by United for Peace and Justice, was scheduled to coincide with President Bush’s speech before the United Nations general assembly. AP Photo/Seth Wenig
The U.S. media widely reported that the Iranian president accused the U.S. government of killing U.S. citizens in an attack on the World Trade Center in New York on the fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the world leader's question and message were much more nuanced and important than that—his core assertion was that a horrible attack that killed some 3,000 people and the U.S. response changed the world:

• The U.S. has embarked on a bloody and expensive War on Terror that has claimed thousands of lives and cost trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Security measures and the specter of terrorism have changed the functioning of law enforcement and military policy worldwide, affecting immigration, communication, banking, commerce and travel.

• Restrictions on religious freedoms for Muslims have been proposed and even demanded in some Western countries.

• Civil liberties have been under assault as the nations of the earth engage in an “anti-terror” battle where the enemy is most often associated with Islam or is a shadowy assailant whose existence has been used to justify nearly anything—from torture to secret prisons to confinement without charges to the inability to confront one's accuser or even know what one is charged with.

President Ahmadinejad argued the changes in the world were so tremendous that the United Nations should be allowed to explore what happened on Sept. 11. “It was said that some 3,000 people were killed on 11 September for which we are all very saddened. Yet, up until now, in Afghanistan and Iraq hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions wounded and displaced and the conflict is still going on and expanding,” he noted.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
He added that there are three schools of thought about the attack, which include terrorist outsiders attacking the United States; elements within the American government who wanted justification to remake the Middle East politically and protect Israel and to use conflict as a way to help revive a sagging economy, and it was carried out by a terrorist group but was taken advantage of by the American government.

“The main evidence linking the incident was a few passports found in the huge volume of rubble and a video of an individual whose place of domicile was unknown,” Mr. Ahmadinejad noted. “Would it not have been sensible that first a thorough investigation should have been conducted by independent groups to conclusively identify the elements involved in the attack and then map out a rational plan to take measures against them?”


'Would it not have been sensible that first a thorough investigation should have been conducted by independent groups to conclusively identify the elements involved in the attack and then map out a rational plan to take measures against them?'
“It is proposed that the United Nations set up an independent fact-finding group for the event of 11 September so that in the future expressing views about it is not forbidden,” the Iranian leader said. He added that next year Iran will host a conference to study terrorism, how to confront it and invited officials, scholars, thinkers, researchers and research institutes of all countries to attend.

Following condemnation of the Iranian leader by his State Dept., President Barack Obama objected to the Sept. 23 speech in a BBC interview. “It was offensive. It was hateful. And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero where families lost their loved ones,” said the American president.

President Ahmadinejad said at a Sept. 24 New York press conference that “his remarks were not meant to hurt the feelings of Americans.”

The newspaper Haaretz reported upon his return to Tehran, the Iranian president said, “The reaction (by President Obama) was very amateurish, if there is nothing to hide, just present the relevant documents to the fact-finding team so that we can all together fight against the involved terrorists. I just raised one simple question and it is not right that whoever raises a question is insulted afterwards.”

Still Mr. Ahmadinejad was mocked by most mainstream American news organizations, but not everyone accepts the “crackpot idea” characterization. Many believe a full and complete investigation of 9-11 is still needed.

“The truth is the truth regardless of the messenger; and the truth of the matter is that what really happened on September 11, 2001 is an issue that people cannot run away from,” said Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general and co-founder of the International Action Center and founder of

“I don't think you can reject the issue because of the messenger,” Mr. Clark added. “History does require that the facts have a proper review.”

However, Mr. Clark believes the United Nations is too “fragile” an institution to conduct such an investigation. “It's not noted for its boldness” due to American domination, he noted.

“The only public figures that are vilified by the press at the UN for raising controversial questions—the alleged enemies of the empire—are Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Iran's Ahmadinejad,” said Mike Berger, a spokesman for

Mr. Berger said doubts” about the official explanation of the events of Sept. 11 are “increasing.”

“The speculations that surfaced on the Internet directly after the attacks were considered theories until recently,” added Mr. Berger.

“But now, nine years later people are saying that the story we have been told just isn't true; and more and more people seem to be asking who is capable of a real investigation into what happened on 9-11—people say they don't believe the U.S. is capable—it would take an organization such as the UN,” he said.

His organization sponsored a 2007 Zogby International poll that showed 51 percent of Americans wanted Congress to probe then President George W. Bush and his Vice President Dick Cheney and over 30 percent wanted an immediate impeachment for war crimes.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has also said the 9-11 tragedy should have a full investigation. Since 9-11, Muslims in America been watched, searched and had their homes broken into by authorities, he said in response to a question from interviewer Abderrahim Foukara of the Al-Jazreera Arab TV network.

“September 11th was very, very strange: Nineteen Muslims were put before the American public and the world two days after this heinous attack. Qur'ans were found, but before this, the neo-cons that were surrounding President Bush, who were the architects of something called a ‘Project For The New American Century,' said that America needed something like ‘Pearl Harbor'—9/11 was America's new Pearl Harbor—to summon the American people in their anger and horror over what happened; now there are too many strange things that we question,” the Minister continued.

“The American people, I believe, are being deceived by a government that was absolutely afraid of the growth of Islam in America. And they needed something to gather the American people, and under Zionist influence, stop the spread of Islam; stop funding for legitimate Islamic projects, and frighten the immigrant Muslims in America so that they would not speak up,” Min. Farrakhan said. (Read extended excerpt of interview.)

“Muslims should raise questions about the commonly accepted version of the events that transpired resulting in the tragic events of 9-11 which led to this iron-fisted crackdown on Muslims in America and worldwide,” said Min. Farrakhan in another September interview with Al-Jazeera.

Questions should be asked, say activists

Others say a political message was wrapped in the Iranian leader's words. “His message is intended to improve his standing in the Muslim world,” said the Council on Foreign Relations, in a position paper published after the speech. “He has worked hard to cultivate his image as a Pan-Islamic populist leader who is not afraid to stand up to the West.”

David Slesinger, congressional team leader for Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth, told The Final Call the way the Iranian president phrased his argument was excellent.

“He is simply saying that it is not inappropriate for the nations of the world to ask for an international investigation. There is clearly a suppression of the facts,” Mr. David Slesinger said.

“We want to address the evidence about what caused the fall of the three towers, not conspiracy theories.”

“The media has dismissed anyone who raises questions concerning 9-11 by saying that these people are simply ‘conspiracy theorists;' and we are responding saying, ‘if you stick to the evidence it is worthy of investigation,' ” Mr. Slesinger said.

On Sept. 9, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth held a press conference in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club hoping to bring awareness to 1,270 architects and engineers calling for a “new investigation,” emphasizing the importance of the discovery of chemicals used for explosives in World Trade Center dust.

On Sept. 10, the organization traveled to Capitol Hill to deliver a petition supporting a “real investigation” into the destruction of the three World Trade Center towers to each of the 541 members of Congress.

Back in April at a meeting of over 150 lawyers, legal scholars and human rights campaigners appointed Mr. Clark as the chairperson of their international campaign to investigate war crimes committed by officials from the administration of former President George W. Bush.

The coalition said that they have been driven by the fact that the U.S.-sponsored borderless war against an ill-defined enemy has expedited economic collapse, driven totalitarian legislation and generated a great deal of animosity against the U.S. throughout the world.

If we are to preserve the peace of the world, we must challenge the myths purveyed by the Bush administration about 9-11, said Mr. Berger. “The question facing our movement is how to get justice,” Mr. Berger said. “We do know that we do not have the power in the U.S. to get basic discovery of the facts; and we know this because of the fiasco of the 9-11 Commission report.”

The commission also known as the Kean-Hamilton Commission started to probe the 9-11 tragedy on Nov. 26, 2002 and released its final report, formally named “Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” on July 22, 2004. The probe started 441 days after 9-11 and it drew some criticism.

The Council on Foreign Relations in Aug. 2004 said that the 9-11 Commission report lacked specifics. Many 9-11 survivors and many 9-11 victim family members have expressed significant criticism of the 9-11 Commission Report.

The Bush administration has never offered a detailed and documented account of its claims about the events of 9-11, Mr. Berger said.

“Both the U.S. Congress and the Kean-Hamilton Commission have protested the Bush administration's lack of cooperation with their inquiries into 9-11,” Mr. Berger noted.

“I don't think they are going to find much difference in any facts that the government would now release nine years later,” commented Greg Taylor of Staten Island, N.Y., who lost his brother Darryl, 52, in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

“I have bought all of the tapes and listened to all of the studies; and I know the best time to investigate a crime is then, when it happens,” Mr. Taylor said. “All that I am sure about is that my brother is not here.”

“The whole Muslim thing is what America does best, fanning fears; that's why people must think for themselves. I would like to see the mosque built near the site of Ground Zero. I do know that I resent anyone using my brother's death to spread fear,” Mr. Taylor told The Final Call.

“The UN should have investigated 9-11 a long time ago,” said Larry Holmes, an organizer for the anti-war organization Bail Out the People Not the Banks. He has led “Hands off Iran” protests and anti-war protests in New York and other cities.

Mr. Holmes has also taken part in grassroots tribunals and investigations trying to uncover any role the U.S. government may have played in the attacks on 9-11.

“Until all of the facts are brought out into the light of day, we will continue to watch our government seize upon the pretext of 9-11 for U.S. campaigns of racial defamation against Arabs and Muslims, and for sweeping police state measures, and for war,” Mr. Holmes warned.

“The metaphysical significance of the speech given by President Ahmadinejad is that it represents the sentiment around the world,” Mr. Holmes said.

Ramsey Clark, a former high ranking law enforcement official, said Americans have to demand the truth and justice. “It is the imperative responsibility of the American people to relentlessly pursue investigation, indictment and prosecution of those responsible for 9-11 inside of the U.S.,” said Mr. Clark.


Government infiltration threatens rights and freedom, warn analysts

By Eric Ture Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Sep 21, 2010 - 11:29:31 AM

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ATLANTA ( - Allegations that a famed photographer who chronicled the most pivotal moments in civil rights history was identified as a paid FBI informant reminded activists, organizations and dissident movements of dangerous government surveillance employed yesterday and today against domestic groups.

The last thing one wanted to be thought of in activist circles in the heyday of the civil rights and Black Power movement was an informant or snitch. Providing information and sometimes setting up plots to entrap unsuspecting comrades resulted in deaths, bitter inter- and intra-feuds as well as activists who still languish in prison, not to mention the suffering of those jailed unjustly or who spent decades in exile.

Since Ernest Withers the man the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported was an FBI informant is dead, many unanswered questions remain and his family doubts the reports are true.

“Personally, and as a family, we do not believe what has been alleged. It still has to be proven,” Mr. Withers' youngest daughter, Rosalind Withers, told The Associated Press in an interview. Andrew Jerome Withers, Rosalind Withers and Frances Williams vowed to do their own FOIA request and talk to the FBI themselves in efforts to clear their father's name.

Still the use of informants yesterday and today cannot be denied and so are reasons for concern. In the current political environment and with passage of so-called anti-terror legislation, such as the post-9-11 Patriots Acts, advocates warn Americans should have major worries about violations of their civil liberties and government ability to spy and pry into their private lives.

Informants have been at the center of “terrorist plots” allegedly involving Muslims from Florida to New York. And Muslim leaders from New York to Los Angeles have complained about agents sent to monitor and infiltrate their places of worship.

“A movement or institution with enough strength and political discipline can usually withstand the damage from informants. Unfortunately, the Black movements in this country have never gained the level of critical mass or cohesion necessary to escape the damage done and that's the case in this era,” observed Professor Hank Williams, and instructor and Ph.D. candidate at the City University of New York.

“This has a direct connection to where we are today politically, since the movement was successfully destroyed and a generation of some of the strongest leaders was lost through political assassination, exile, and other means. Some were bought off, others couldn't handle the pressure, and yet others couldn't see the people around them destroyed. That affects where we are now, since many have survived and are even still at the forefront of struggle, losing the wisdom and momentum of the leaders and organizations that didn't survive the '60s and '70s was a serious blow.”

While people should not “get too wrapped up in the past,” Prof. Williams said, “one has to wonder how much further along we'd be if the most politically advanced ideas of the organizations and people who didn't make it had been synthesized and acted upon?”

On Sept. 12, The Commercial Appeal—once noted itself for the fomenting of tensions and hostilities in its coverage of civil rights and Black liberation issues in Memphis—reported that photographer Withers was as an FBI informant and spied on Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.

A veteran freelancer, Mr. Withers' photography ranged from the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, to the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and beyond.

According to the Commercial Appeal, an informant identification number assigned to Mr. Withers was overlooked in the redaction of a 1977 FBI file. The document, obtained via the federal Freedom of Information Act provided by the Commercial Appeal, cites ME 338-R and identifies Mr. Withers. In the right-hand margin the notation “b7D'' provides justification for the redacted words. Under the FOIA, section b7D allows the FBI to withhold information that would identify confidential sources, according to the report.

In the article, Mr. Withers, who died in 2007 at the age of 85, is portrayed in the eyes of the bureau “as a prolific informant who, from 1968 until 1970, passed on tips and photographs detailing an insider's view of politics, business and everyday life in Memphis' Black Community.”

“The grief-stricken aides photographed by Withers on April 4, 1968, had no clue, but the man they invited in that night was an FBI informant—evidence of how far the agency went to spy on private citizens in Memphis during one of the nation's most volatile periods,” the story read. According to the Commercial Appeal, the story reported was two years in the making.

Mr. Withers' children question Commercial Appeal reporting.

“When I heard that, it was just terrifying,” said Rome Withers in an interview with The Tri-State Defender on Sept. 14, speaking about his father. “I just hope that the community understands that this is only an attempt to really demonize his Withers' (photography) collection or even to devalue his collection because we have been on an uphill fight to try and maintain and keep his collection intact,” he said.

Since his death, the Withers' children say “forces” have tried to gain control of their father's extensive and unique collection. The family says it is involved in a court battle and wants to make the collection available to the public, particularly so the Black community. It covers Black life beginning in the 1940s, they added.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Withers is not here to answer the allegations or to provide exactly—if anything—what happened. However, what we do know is that J. Edgar Hoover was so diabolical that his hatred for Black people did not stop him from doing what he desired to Whites as well. And like Mr. Withers, we don't know what was held over peoples' heads. We don't know the extent of the threat that anyone found operating in this way, faced,” said Atty. Nkechi Taifa, senior political analyst for criminal and justice reform with the Open Society Poverty Center, in Washington, D.C.

“Why the FBI didn't remove ME 338-R remains unclear, but the evident oversight provides the key that unlocks Withers' secret life,” the paper said.

“They still haven't said what he was doing,” observed satirist and activist Dick Gregory, who was also a target of the FBI's nefarious activities. Mr. Gregory told The Final Call, “We may never know why this number was not redacted. At the same time, it might help us finally pull some pieces together.”

Mr. Gregory took strong issue with some responses to the spying allegations. Civil rights icon Andrew Young has publicly said he always liked Mr. Withers “because he was a good photographer and was always around.” “I don't think Dr. King would have minded him making a little money on the side,” Mr. Young, 78, told the Memphis newspaper.

“Can you imagine a Jew in Nazi Germany finding out that a Jew was working with Hitler for the Nazis and then another Jew saying we wouldn't have minded him making a little money on the side?” Mr. Gregory asked.

“It is never acceptable to turn for the enemy,” commented Kalongi Changa, of the Atlanta, Ga.-based Free The People Movement and author of the forthcoming book “How to Build a People's Army.” He is a grassroots organizer and deals with social and criminal justice issues.

“With all due respect to Andy Young, I think that is one of the most absurd statements that an educated man can make in these days and times. Saying that he thinks that Dr. King wouldn't have minded this man making money snitching on his people is almost equivalent to saying he wouldn't have minded a prostitute making a little money selling her body,” Mr. Changa said. “Playing with your enemy is like playing with fire—someone or something will eventually get burned.”

“I presume that snitching is older than stealing because a person could steal information and give it away before there was ‘property' to steal,” said Dr. Nathan Hare, founder of the San Francisco, Calif.-based Black Think Tank.

“However, though ‘snitch' is now generally associated with giving away or selling secret information it also means ‘to steal.' So snitching is tantamount to stealing and in most people's minds worse than a thief. There at least used to be a code among thieves that they didn't steal from other thieves, but I don't think there's any sense of honor among snitches, and it is rightfully and universally despised and personified with the words ‘rat' as in ‘to rat,' ” he said.

“Stool pigeon, which suggests a pigeon sitting on a toilet stool, but is in fact a pigeon used as a decoy to draw others into a net, and thus the snitch becomes an extension of the police or, and for the enemy,” said Dr. Hare.

A victim of government surveillance himself because he was closely aligned with a range of Black Power groups, Dr. Hare added, “The other side of the coin was that so many good guys appeared to be called snitches, who, apparently and probably were not. At one point it looked like people would call anybody who disagreed with them a snitch or an ‘agent provocateur,' usually shortened to ‘an agent.' ”

Dr. Hare said one book about the FBI's dreaded Counterintelligence Program, COINTELPRO, which was designed to disrupt and destroy Black and progressive organizations, misidentified him in connection with the case of former Black Panther Elmer Geronimo “Ji Jaga” Pratt, who was jailed for 27 years for murders he did not commit. Informant Julius Butler, a member of the Panther Party, testified that Mr. Pratt boasted to him about the murder. Mr. Pratt was only freed after a retired FBI agent admitted the agency had evidence that proved the Vietnam vet was nowhere near the crime scene.

Atty. Taifa added: “I think what we have to do is put it all in perspective. It is one thing to be a snitch, then there is the collaborator and then there is another situation when there is in fact something happening within our communities. Say, one of our leaders is murdered and someone knows who did it. Or, a child is raped or molested and someone has that information for authorities. It is critical to provide that information. But it needs to be clearly distinguished from those who seek financial aggrandizement to bring down the movement, seeking to collaborate with the movement when it is not in our community's best interest,” she said.

A long history of spying inside America

One would be hard pressed to find an instance where dissident or influential individuals and groups were not monitored regularly by the U.S. government as well as some international agencies. The FBI's Electronic Reading Room houses tens of thousands of pages detailing some of the deepest penetrations into the lives of individuals, organizations and the infiltration of mass movements.

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Asian Law Caucus and the San Francisco Bay Guardian filed a lawsuit against the FBI in an effort to speed the release of FBI records on the investigation and surveillance of Muslim communities in the Bay Area.

The civil liberties organizations and The Bay Guardian have requested the records in order to understand and to report on whether and how the FBI are “investigating Islamic centers and mosques (as well as Christian churches and Jewish synagogues); ‘assessing' religious leaders; Infiltrating communities through the use of undercover agents and informants; Training agents in Islam and Muslim culture; and Using race, religion and national origin in deciding whom to investigate; and identifying particular schools for its Junior Agent Program.

“Clear information about the FBI's activities is necessary in order to understand the scope of their surveillance tactics to assess whether they have had a chilling effect on the right to worship freely or to exercise other forms of expression,” said Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California. “This lawsuit is about transparency. The public is entitled to this information under the Freedom of Information Act.”

“The FBI admitted in March that our clients' FOIA requests are entitled to expedited processing because of the widespread media attention on these issues, but the government has yet to provide them a single document,” said attorney Raj Chatterjee of the law firm Morrison & Foerster.

The FBI records are sought in part in response to concerns about the effects of possible racial and religious profiling and the potential harm such tactics may have on national security. The groups are also seeking details on whether FBI agents are recruiting Muslim and Arab children at Bay Area schools to serve in the agency's Junior Agent Program.

“Snitches have played a role in disrupting African resistance since enslavement,” said Georgia State University Professor Akinyele Umoja. Prof. Umoja was referring to paid agents who curry favor with oppressive forces, not tattle tales about run-of-the-mill street crime or illicit activity.

“Denmark Vesey's planned insurrection was stopped due to information provided to the slaveholders. Informants were present in the civil rights movement in the South. Movement forces assumed snitches were in their meetings. Wise movement leaders often confused their enemies by providing misinformation in public meetings. COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program of the FBI to destroy Black leadership and movements) and Southern state documents are full of examples of misinformation provided by Movement leaders to confuse White supremacists and local, state and federal police,” he said.

“It is also revealed that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad couldn't sneeze without the enemy knowing. Snitches also played an important role in the demise of the Black Panther Party.”

The list of Black groups and leaders targeted by government unfortunately goes on and on, he said.

“Informing on the movement is treason. A liberation movement cannot be successful if a culture of snitching is acceptable. Movements are only sustainable and victorious if we have a culture of resistance and self-reliance. One should wear a ‘badge of shame' for informing on our organizations, leaders, and other sisters and brothers to our enemies,” Dr. Umoja continued.

“We also have to develop a culture of collectivism or communalism. If one wants forgiveness, a public apology should be made and restitution should be made to the individuals, organizations and families involved. People's lives and human rights were violated by the repression of the COINTELPRO and other U.S. government initiatives against our movement. “

Dr. Umoja also recommended that if a member of a community has an addiction or a financial or emotional problem, it should be shared with their community and organization. “We are only as strong as our weakest link. If we leave brothers and sisters out there they are vulnerable for parasites who want to destroy the movement,” he said.

Under COINTELPRO's directive in the 1960s and 1970s, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was on the lookout for a “Black Messiah” who could inspire diverse groups and unite the Black masses. The language was clear and so were its targets: H. Rap Brown (now Jamil Al Amin), Stokely Carmichael (who became Kwame Ture), the Black Panthers, the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

“The reason Jamil Al-Amin was transferred to the prison in Florence, Colo., if you recall, is because the Georgia inmates petitioned to make him their imam. An effective organizer—even within the prison population—and a charismatic leader who had also begun to exercise influence over the prison staff is something the government could not afford. So now he sits in solitary. The same for Dr. Mutula Shakur, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Max Sanford, Huey P. Newton. They know they have to do something with people like these,” said Dr. Umoja.

But while the Panther Party and other nationalist groups were destroyed, one movement has been able to re-emerge and is the undeniable target of government surveillance: The Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. With the Nation there is the combination of Islam, Pan Africanism, nationalism and self-reliance—all elements that pose a threat to a nation dependent upon its former slaves, said Dr. Umoja. “Now Minister Farrakhan is here, who represents a blend of all of the elements: an effective organizer, charismatic, influentialand has the genuine love of the people from all walks of life. You cannot be an effective leader without charisma. No one can deny that, he has that charisma that no one can control,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the mission of the Nation of Islam has been misunderstood by some in government but in other cases misunderstanding has been created, which has permitted, and it is well documented in history, the violation of our civil and constitutional rights through J. Edgar Hoover that continues down to the present time as revealed in December 2009 disclosures that there was Department of Homeland Security illegal surveillance of the Nation of Islam and that we were still a target of the U.S. government,” said Atty. Abdul Arif Muhammad, general counsel for the Nation of Islam.

“It would not be wise for us to not think such activity does not continue, especially in light of the Islamaphobia present in the United States and being stoked by the media and other forces in and outside of government to illegitimately distort the mission and work of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.”

Related news:

ACLU challenges secret spying law (FCN, 04-27-2010)

Nation of Islam Targeted by Homeland Security (FCN, 12-24-2009)

The FBI, the Muslims and the double-cross (FCN, 04-22-2009)

Cointelpro 2009: FBI up to old dirty tricks? (FCN, 12-18-2009)

Secret ties between CIA, drugs revealed (FCN, 1996)


Dis-United States of America

By Saeed Shabazz and Richard B. Muhammad -Final Call Staffers- | Last updated: Sep 16, 2010 - 11:11:56 AM

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Nine years after 9/11 tragedy, America suffers from serious divisions, rhetoric is heating up. Where is the country headed?

A participant inthe Anti-Islamophobia march holds up a sign. Photo: Jesse Muhammad Anti-Islam message on the side of truck that circled Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2010. Photo: Saeed Shabazz
'The anti-Islam campaign added to divisions along political lines, racial lines and economic lines with many Americans fearful for the future. A country that at least symbolically stood united as buildings crumbled in New York has seen notions of national unity and good will fall dramatically.'
NEW YORK ( - A strong anti-Islam sentiment and national disunity on the nine-year anniversary of September 11, 2001 has many asking what happened to that sense of solidarity, the seductive dream of unity that engulfed many Americans immediately after the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon?

Rudolph Muhammad, a retired New York City emergency medical technician, remembers running across the Brooklyn Bridge carrying his gear after a plane had hit one of the towers that made up the 11-acre World Trade Center.

“I was assigned to the communication unit, but my training and instincts sent me running towards the burning tower,” Mr. Muhammad said. “I reported to a fire chief, who immediately put me to work.”

“Having the name Muhammad across my chest had been controversial before 9-11, but that day nobody cared; even the people who always had something negative to say—we all worked side-by-side to rescue people; and 18 hours later I walked back across the Brooklyn Bridge to my home,” he said.

On the ninth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack, the Coalition to Honor Ground Zero, Stop the Islamization of America, Freedom Defense Initiative and Jihad Watch were tirelessly demonizing Muslims, said critics, blaming Islam for the 9-11 attacks and political and social problems in the United States.

The anti-Islam campaign added to divisions along political lines, racial lines and economic lines with many Americans fearful for the future. A country that at least symbolically stood united as buildings crumbled in New York has seen notions of national unity and good will fall dramatically.

Nine years ago, one president's initial handling of a crisis won accolades, sympathy and perhaps increased national pride—today President Obama seems unable to do anything that will heal a deeply wounded country.

No act, whether political or symbolic, seems to be enough to blunt critics and cries of government overreach, oppressive taxes and federal tyranny.

“We should be concerned about that because we've gone through those upsurges in fanaticisms and insanity in this country and we're not immune to it in the 21st century,” said Robert Starks, a political analyst and writer.

The bad economy, scapegoating of minorities, in particular racial and religious minorities, opens the door for worse times and increasing divisions in society, he continued.

“We should be doing everything we possibly can to cool the rhetoric and teach our children to be tolerant of each other understand each other (as individuals) and as a people,” said Prof. Starks, who teaches political sciences at Northeastern Illinois University and writes a weekly column for N'Digo, a weekly Chicago-based publication.

Prof. Starks credited the president with appealing to America's better instincts and urged fellow Democrats and religious leaders to join Mr. Obama in “calling for calm and tolerance because I think he is doing all he can.”

“America is not as arrogant and not as clueless about what impact it was having on the rest of the world in 2000 and 2001, however America has still not stopped the arrogance.We have not learned humbleness.We have not learned that the world has to be dealt with as a mutually respectful entity,” argued Dr. David Horne, executive director of the California African American Political and Economic Institute.

“This is about winning the heart and soul of America by using the frantic ferocious fear of the transformation of America— an America that is becoming more inclusive,” observed Dr. Ron Daniels, president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century in New York.

Dr. Daniels called the debate over the mosque near Ground Zero, and plans by a pastor in Florida to burn copies of the Holy Qur'an, the Islamic book of scripture, part of a wave of covert racism in the country.

“A kind of yearning for the ‘good old days' when America was perceived as a White Christian nation; and I underline the Christian part,” Dr. Daniels said.

Right-wingers leading the Islamophobia charge are saying, “Look at all these people of color coming into the U.S., bringing their religion. And after what these Muslims did to us on 9-11, we are not going to have them nearby any place as hallowed as ‘Ground Zero,' ” he said.

Today's anti-Islamic rhetoric is related to America's feelings of manifest destiny to civilize the world and especially to bring Christianity to the world, said Dr. William Boone, of Clark Atlanta University's political science dept.

“The fact that they put out that people who perpetrated the bombings were Muslims, then inside of the country, the run up to greatest economic disaster since the late 1920s, once again, you look to scapegoat someone, to blame, which is always easy to do. So you demonize people who are immigrants and especially those in this country who are Mexican and Latino as the cause of some problem that you have,” said Dr. Boone.

Years of scapegoating and resentment

There George W. Bush administration was able to demonize people, while telling Americans those darker people were responsible for jobs disappearing, changes in lifestyles and build up resentment, he said.

“We had more than a decade of these sorts of things occurring.Then the election of Barack Obama was more of a catalyst to bring people together. But the right- wing has played that out in terms of the Tea Party and its opposition and there are various strains, everything from skinheads to people who want smaller government,” Dr. Boone noted.

Gone is that transcendent feeling enjoyed by many with the election of President Obama less than two years ago. His January 2009 inauguration drew unprecedented numbers of people and hearty expressions of joy.

Today the president's poll numbers are in the tank, some Democrats up for reelection don't want him campaigning in their state and others are running away what should have been victories for his administration—passage of major health care reform and stopping an economy caught in economic freefall. Unemployment hovers around 10 percent and the Tea Party movement, mostly angry Whites decrying the size of government, has many incumbent politicians, especially at the federal level, looking over their shoulders and seeking common ground—and political support.

But the Tea Party movement may not be as grassroots as it seems.

“They have big budgets which are funded by corporate billionaires such as the Koch Brothers (David and Charles),” said Sara Flounders of the International Action Center. Forbes Magazine says Koch Industries is among the largest private companies in America, worth $35 billion, which puts them just behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

New Yorker magazine in a feature on David Koch, 70, and brother Charles, 74, revealed their ownership of oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control of some 4,000 miles of pipeline. The billionaire brothers also own manufacturing companies—including Brawny Towels, Dixie Cups, Georgia Pacific Lumber and Stairmaster Carpet.

The article also quoted Amherst Political Economic Research Institute that showed Koch industries as one of the top ten air polluters in the U.S.

Lawrence Hamm, of the Newark-based Peoples Organization for Progress, says the Kochs “are part of the worldwide strategy of imperialist domination; controlling the resources such as oil and natural gas.”

“These are the same elements that funded the reaction against Affirmative Action,” Mr. Hamm said. David Koch responded angrily to the New Yorker article, denying any connection to the Tea Party.

Nasty politics and November elections

Dr. David Bositis, of the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, said the current climate involves two things: the economy and upcoming November elections. The pot shots about Mr. Obama's citizenship and secret Muslim identity are noisy distractions but the economy is the dominant issue for voters, he continued.

The vast majority of tea Partiers are GOP trying to win political power and aren't concerned in the short term about whether economy recovers no matter how much the people are suffering, Dr. Bositis said,

The language has gotten cruder but the Republicans are a Southern party, a region with generally crude politics, he continued. Most Tea Partiers are Republicans and anyone who is unlike them is considered the enemy, Dr. Bositis said. But the minority population in the country is growing so in the end, these divisive politics will hurt the GOP, he predicted.

Bringing guns to anti-Obama rallies borders on threatening behavior, but the Secret Service should be protecting the president and “to have people like that running around shooting their mouths off about negative things and ranting and raving it diminishes how other people in the world view the country. Is the country going to fall apart? No, I don't think it is,” Dr. Bositis concluded.

“At this moment in history I don't see very much different than any other moment in history under White supremacy, as it relates to people of African descent; it is becoming more camouflaged in terms of how our issues are swept under the rug in an effort to present false projection of what is going in on America,” commented Dr. Conrad Worrill, of the Jacob Caruthers Center for Inner City Studies in Chicago. “What no one really wants to say is that the attacks on the president of the United States are driven by racism, its clear that they have been working overtime with the help of even our own people to make sure he is not re-elected.”

But while Dr. Bositis argues that the underlying problem is a nasty sort of politics, others see more insidious problems. Junious Stanton, a Philadelphia-based columnist and Internet radio talk show host, told The Final Call, powerful right- wing figures use mainstream media to spread disinformation that “obscures the facts and stokes the fires of intolerance and bigotry. Getting us hyped up on bogus issues keeps us distracted from real issues that impact us like the economy, the failing infrastructure, the Gulf crisis, government corruption and malfeasance, and the steady slide towards Fascism,” he said in an e-mail.

And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's insistence that the anti-mosque fervor is political and will disappear after the Nov. 2 national elections also has doubters.

“After Nov. 2 this racism will still be around, that is why we must organize against it,” said Ms. Flounders, of the International Action Center.

“No, I think Mayor Bloomberg is wrong, and can you imagine if the right-wing wins on Nov. 2, they'll be more gung-ho,” said Jeff Siddiqui, of the American Muslims of Pudget Sound in Washington state. “Look, the leadership of this Islamophobia, people such as Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin have fashioned their political careers and livelihoods on fanning the fires of hate,” Mr. Siddiqui said.

“I'm not afraid to say that I don't think this new right-wing movement of Muslim-bashing is going away, and that includes the Tea Party and the other racist's entities,” added Mr. Hamm.

Where is Black America's organized response?

Dr. Daniels told The Final Call that he has two concerns: one is that the U.S. has used up all of its international goodwill that was evident immediately after 9-11. The talk of burning Qur'ans didn't help and neither has years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and strong support for Israel.

“We understand the pretense of the issue of Islam today, but it is really about us (Blacks), who will become the scapegoats in this country. We are here to remind people that it is about the Black condition,” said Roger Wareham, of the Brooklyn-based December 12th Movement.

Everyone in America appears to be somewhat organized to protect their interests, except Blacks, said Dr. Worrill, a longtime leader in the Black nationalist movement. The group that has the most at stake is the least organized and the Tea Party movement is filling a vacuum in leadership, he argued.

“I see the country in a battle over what set of White folk will be running the country. It's an internal battle. So they are having their battle and we seem not to be able to understand that we need serious unity in our community to address our own issues. We're joining in with the very forces that want to oppress us and keep us oppressed instead of coming together,” Dr. Worrill said.

Dr. Horne agreed. “Where this is headed?That's a good question.We can't be sure where it's heading.We can only be sure that as African Americans, we are not ready to fully take care of ourselves or fully take care of our interests, wherever it's going, and that's our dilemma.Whatever White people do really should not be the focus.It really should be what are we going to do and we're not prepared,” he said.

(Charlene Muhammad contributed to this report.)


Black American Muslims speak out against bigotry, hypocrisy and intolerance

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- | Last updated: Sep 7, 2010 - 10:03:47 AM

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Muslim leaders decry anti-Islam climate in U.S., call on country to reject historic hatreds

(L-R) Abdul Jalil Muhammad, Asma Hanif, Nisa Islam Muhammad, Imam Zaid Shakir and Imam Abdul Malik (at podium). Photos: Mikal Veale
WASHINGTON ( - The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan recently joined several Black American Muslim leaders to address the controversy surrounding the proposed building of an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York, as well as the general attitude of mistrust and intolerance toward followers of Islam.

The members of the Coalition of African American Muslims, which included the Minister, urged a rejection of anti-Islam hatred and religious intolerance, while connecting the disdain for their faith to America's old history of hate. But, they said, out of the negative attacks on a beautiful way of life comes an opportunity to teach and spread the truth—despite severe opposition.

“This world is not ignorant to the beauty of Islam,” said Minister Farrakhan. “The fear is that Islam will change the religion of the slave that they took it from and make him a bright light of a brand new civilization,” he said at a Sept. 2 press conference held at the prestigious National Press Club and broadcast live worldwide via Internet webcast.

Imam Abdul Malik of Islam on Capitol Hill, a youth advocacy group, agreed saying Islam is under attack by bigots who fear that which is different. “Islam does not mean terrorism,” said Imam Malik. “The real issue is the rise of Islam,” he added.

There are an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. Minister Farrakhan pointed out that in close proximity to where the Islamic center is to be built, there are sex shops, peep shows, strip clubs and other immoral activities not being protested by those who say the Islamic center will violate hallowed ground and disrespect the memories of who died in Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Those who oppose the center contradict the very principles outlined in the United States Constitution which guarantee freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly, the Minister said.

International media outlets such as PressTV, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and the India Globe and Asia Today newspapers asked questions and observed as the leaders decried the atmosphere of intolerance created by extremist right wing media talk show hosts, unscrupulous special interest groups, ill-motivated politicians and prominent conservative evangelical leaders.

Opponents have made plans for the center a major political and social question, holding protests at the proposed site, and quizzing political leaders from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to President Obama about their positions on the issue. Violence has also erupted: A Muslim cab driver in New York survived a vicious, bloody knife attack as the debate has grown vitriolic, contemptuous and falsely condemned Islam as a religion of hate and enemy of America. Mosques and Islamic centers in different parts of the country have been vandalized and a site for a center in Tennessee was torched. One pastor has announced plans to publicly burn copies of the Holy Qur'an—the book of scripture of Muslims—on Sept. 11.

“We know when people start burning books, it's not a great leap for them to begin burning people. History has shown us that,” said Islamic scholar Imam Zaid Shakir of the Zaytuna Institute. An entire industry has developed which profits from fostering the Islamophobic climate in America today, said Imam Shakir.

“I think what we have to realize is that there is a lot of money first of all that's been spent to create that climate of fear and suspension and mistrust towards Muslims,” said Imam Shakir. “The books have been cranked out and there are major media outlets that are behind that effort of demonizing Muslims.”

Islam is a force for good, liberation

Asma Hanif, chair of the Washington D.C.-based Council of Muslim Organizations, spoke about her difficult experience as a Muslim woman raising children and interacting with family members who have heard media misreports about Muslims.

Minister Farrakhan holds up the front page of the Globe which is repeating discredited claims of Pres. Barack Obama being a Muslim as Akbar Muhammad looks on.
“As I stand here, I think about the fact that I'm an African American Muslim woman born and raised in this country. I think about all of the family members that I have who are listening to the words that are being said about me personally, because they know I am their daughter; I am their sister; I am their mother; I am their niece; I am all of these things. But, if you listen to the media, they say I'm a terrorist, or I'm oppressed, or I'm a bad person,” said Ms. Hanif. “I'm not oppressed! I dress this way because I love it!” Ms. Hanif continued. “In fact, if the truth be known, the only oppression I have ever seen was growing up Black in North Carolina! Islam liberated me as a Muslim woman!”

The severe economic crisis along with the sensationalized coverage of the “underwear bomber” in Detroit, the Ft. Hood shootings, the alleged Times Square attempted car bombing and other highly publicized alleged terrorist plots have contributed to fear mongering and hatred.

The controversy, however, is also creating curiosity and inspiring others to learn more about Islam, observed Imam Shakir and Imam Siraj Wahhaj, amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America, agreed.

“That which is happening right now and across the country with hatred against Muslims, I'm telling you, there's good,” said Imam Wahhaj. “All over America people are asking ‘Teach me about Islam.' ”

Coalition wants to help bring solutions to problems

The Coalition of African American Muslims, a group formed within the last month, sees offering solutions to these problems and giving a voice to the growing number of Blacks in America who are followers of Islam as part of its mission. The coalition said it was willing to work across racial, ethnic, religious and other divisions to combat rising hatred in America and help steer the country onto a proper course.

Islam has deep roots within the Black community, in fact, a significant number of followers of Islam in America are Black people who came to Islam as a result of the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. In later years, due to the influence of prominent representatives such as Malcolm X, the late Imam W.D. Mohammed and Minister Farrakhan, Blacks have continued to embrace Islam.

Coupled with America's legacy of racism, slavery and Jim Crow laws, Blacks have undergone an experience that has prepared them for leadership roles in a society still suffering from bigotry, racism and inequality present at the birth of the nation, said the Muslim leaders.

Audience members listen closely to speakers at National Press Club.
“We're not new to this. This is the same toxic soup of hatred and bigotry, just served in a different bowl,” said Imam Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Freedom Society. The rights advocate described how he endures “Driving While Black” and “Flying While Muslim.”

“This is not the climate in which we want to operate,” said Mr. Bray.

Nisa Islam Muhammad, who has spearheaded outreach and education efforts regarding the religion of Islam and was one of the lead coordinators of the press conference, said its time has come. “It's a great day to be a Muslim,” said Ms. Muhammad, who is also a staff writer for The Final Call.

Lessons for world present in America

Minister Farrakhan said the world is looking to America for leadership, and watching to see how America handles this particular religious issue. A nation's highways, bridges and roads do not determine its greatness; a nation's greatness is determined by its righteousness, he observed.

“She (America) started wrong. Slavery was wrong. The trans-Atlantic slave trade was not right. The dehumanization of an entire people was not right,” said Min. Farrakhan. “One-hundred and fifty years of Jim Crow was wrong. How do you right a wrong like that?”

“When we go to the cause of all causes, we can't blame the agents of God's cause—we have to look at God and ask him why he permitted it,” said Min. Farrakhan.

If Black people rise above emotion into God's thinking, they will see persecution was preparation for a future mission and duty to humanity after trial in the furnace of affliction, the Minister said.

“We have a unique historical prospective in terms of being people who have fought against racism in this country, bigotry, and attempts to relegate us to second class citizens for centuries,” added Imam Shakir. “That bequeathed in our genes a certain resilience and a certain combativeness that is really lacking from this current discourse. I think bringing that voice to bear will be for the service of our brothers and sisters. Not as an alternative voice, not that we have all the answers, but saying that we have a unique perspective and I think that unique perspective will be galvanizing for the overall Muslim community.”

“I personally think that the Muslims in America have a great role to play not only in Islam in America but really Islam all over the world,” said Imam Wahhaj. “We have to show our brothers and sisters and the rest of the Muslim world how to deal with differences. How to have doctrinal differences and yet sit together at the table and have discussion and have dialogue and not bloody each other's noses, not kill each other.”

Discussing the sectarian violence going on in many places of the world, between Muslims, Imam Wahhaj said he is disheartened when he hears about it.

“It sickens me when I hear about a masjid (place of worship) blowing up and 60 or 70 people dying, it just doesn't make sense and it is so hard for me to imagine that these are really Muslims doing it,” said Imam Wahhaj. “I think our brothers and sisters in the East and the rest of the Muslim world could learn a lot from African Americans in the United States.”

Related news and links:

Coalition of African-American Muslims respond to Park 51 Project controversy (FCN Web Video, 09-02-2010)

Anti-mosque groups push campaign in New York (FCN, 09-06-2010)

Rejecting bigotry and targeting of Muslims (FCN, 09-06-2010)

Is Islam a Religion of Violence? (FCN Webcast, Min. Farrakhan, Press Conf. 05-25-2005)


Web Video: African American Muslims respond to controversy over NY Islamic Center

By News | Last updated: Sep 2, 2010 - 6:40:13 PM

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A Coalition of African American Muslims held a press conference, Thursday, September 2, 2010 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to address the controversary of the Park 51 Project (Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan).

Coalition leaders say the controversy over the Park 51 Project is indicative of a general rise in racist bigotry towards people of color in this country. While the issue has its particular and unique distinctions, it cannot be separated from the rising violence against African Americans and Latinos, or the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric and exclusionary politics driving the national debate on immigration.

The coalition's statement read in part, "as African-American Muslims, we feel our unique perspective has been missing from an emerging national discussion. We wish to join that discussion by first of all affirming that among our forbears are Muslims who have lived peacefully and productively in this country since its inception. They, and others among our people have sacrificed too much, both in enduring the horrors and brutalities of chattel slavery, and during the long march to freedom, civil and human rights for us to silently accept a return to Jim Crow exclusionary practices and policies that relegate either ourselves or our co-religionists from other ethnic backgrounds to second-class citizenry."

Related news:

Anti-Islam lies and the loss of rights in America (FCN, 08-24-2010)

Anti-Islamic sentiment, attacks must be condemned (FCN, 05-24-2010)

What is behind the anti-immigration push and who are the next targets? (FCN, 05-11-2010)

Activists, family demand justice in death of imam slain by FBI (FCN, 11-15-2009)

Islam is not the enemy! (FCN, 09-10-2009)

FBI targets religious groups (FCN, 04-23-2009)

Latino activists face death threats in Georgia (FCN, 06-03-2008)

Anti-immigrant sentiment grows into nationwide hate crimes (FCN, 05-16-2006)

Is Islam a Religion of Violence? (FCN Webcast, Min. Farrakhan, Press Conf. 05-25-2005)