On Independence Day, Some U.S. Muslims Feel Alienated by Patriot Act

July 4, 2006

Source: BBC News


On July 4, 2006 BBC News reported, "For U.S. citizens, 4 July - Independence Day - is the most patriotic day in the calendar but for Sabri Ben Kahla and many of the country's six million Muslims, the word patriot has taken on a more sinister meaning. The 30-year-old graduate from Falls Church, Virginia, who once aspired to serving his country as a diplomat, has fallen foul of the U.S. Patriot Act, an acronym for Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.

Since 11 September 2001, when more than 3,000 people lost their lives on U.S. soil, the federal government has adopted a raft of new powers which include phone tapping and search without warrants as well as surveillance of bank accounts, internet records and even library lending lists.

Arabs and Muslims believe they are being indiscriminately targeted and suffer from an over-zealous use of the law.

Next week Ben Kahla is due to appear in court on two indictments of perjury before a grand jury.

In 2004, he was acquitted on a charge of training to fight with the Taleban and firing weapons in Afghanistan.

Now he maintains he is being tried a second time in a 'vindictive' prosecution.

On the orders of the FBI, Ben Kahla was arrested in Saudi Arabia where he had been studying at university.

On the plane home he was shackled, blindfolded and dressed in a Guantanamo-orange jumpsuit before being driven to jail in Washington under full police escort... The Council on American-Islamic Relations has seen a steady rise in civil rights abuse cases since 11 September.

It received 1,522 reports of abuse in 2004, and the number of unreported cases is likely to be far higher. "