The United States of America is one of the few countries that professes world peace from by-gone eras. The nation has remained an outspoken and action-oriented country in the wake of human rights violations in different parts of the world. The United States has sanctioned several nations that were guilty of ethnic cleansing. Diplomatic and commercial interests for world governments has always allowed the United States to champion human rights for those who cannot fend for themselves. Yet, their record at home is less than satisfactory. The Anti-Slavery movement that cost the greatest American President his life, the civil movement in the 1950s and 1960s that claimed the life of Martin Luther King Jr. are testaments to the lack of political will among the American people that encourages equality.
Subsequently, it is no surprise to the way this nation and its government agencies reacted to 9/11. The victims of 9/11 were not limited to the Caucasians or the African Americans. People from all walks of life and from every ethnicity were among the 3500 people killed on that horrific day. While it is comprehendible of the strict restrictions or laws that were enacted to prevent such an act from ever repeating, there was no reason to pick on the innocent. Arab and Muslim immigrants have lived in the United States longer than the tenure of the Al Qaeda. These immigrants worked honestly and contributed to the economy of this nation and were equally devastated by 9/11. They also feared terrorist attacks by fanatics. The NSA and Homeland Security, instead of quelling their fears of a backlash joined in. While the foreign policy complained about the Sadaam Hussein’s government indulging in ethnic cleansing, we Americans indulged in our own ethnic cleansing. We stole, wrongfully accused, tortured, stripped rights and discriminated against our own people in the name of national security (Voice of Witness, “After 9/11: 'You no longer have rights' “).
The definition of national security has been mutilated by a series of laws that specifically target the Muslim and Arab minorities. The illegal detentions of several Arab or Muslim men, women and even teenage girls for months together does not reflect the quality of a premier nation. The stories of Abdurrahman Zeitoun, Nasser Dayoob, and Ronnie are example nightmares that occurred to several thousand U.S. Green Card holders (The Washington Post, “Arab Americans Report Abuse”). Such irrational action only relates to mass hysteria. This type of hysteria was only noted once before in our nation’s history; the Salem Witch Trials. Even in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, we did not indulge in a panic attack. This behavior has set new precedents even for a nation with a poor record in human rights violations.
The Muslim religion professes peace predominantly. The so-called Jihadi groups choose to pull verses out of context and claim that a holy war is required. America is no stranger to cultic groups that usually pull bible verses out of context for the purpose of exerting mind control over individuals. The only difference is perhaps that the Islamic cultic follower is more likely to pick up arms, blow himself up or hijack a plane and dive into the tallest skyscraper. They are however followers of an extremist teaching that the majority of Muslims or Arabs do not follow. The tradition of wearing a parda or burka is common in Islamic women and is one of the sacred tenets (Humanity in Action, “History Does Not Repeat Itself, But Ignorance Does: Post-9/11 Treatment of Muslims and the Liberty-Security Dilemma”). It is more or less the same as a Christian carrying a bible to church. The infringement on these tenets is unreasonable. If it were reasonable, the NSA, FBI and Homeland Security should start pulling up kids dressed as monsters during Halloween. After all, who knows if the kid dressed as a pirate is really holding a bomb with a lit fuse or a toy?
The question is not about whether or not we need enhanced surveillance, restrictions and laws to prevent 9/11. Obviously, we need laws that will allow law enforcement to apprehend terrorists or sleeper cell members before they can launch planes into our cities or blow themselves up during traditional occasions like the Boston Marathon. However, what we need in the United States is a balance that prevents the innocent from being affected. We need political leaders to voice out support for the resident Muslim and Arab communities. Wire taps and electronic surveillance is acceptable. We have not stopped purchasing Smartphones even after the disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden. We have not stopped updating our Facebook and Twitter accounts either. It is alright to pry into any information pertaining to anyone to keep the nation safe. It is even acceptable to have UAVs track the movements of minority communities that might pose a threat.
The balance is in actions of the government agencies based on the evidence. If the FBI has evidence that can be backed by irrefutable proof, it is acceptable to arrest the individual and detain for any time that is deemed reasonable to procure information. However, the letter of the law should be protected. Charges should be read out during the arrest. The arrested individuals should have access to legal counsel and they should be read the Miranda rights. This is a nation that advocates due process even for the worst of serial killers. The same due process should be allowed for all arrested. The prisoners should be treated just as any incarcerated individual and should not be the recipient of excesses just because the person is a Muslim or Arab. The practice of picking up U.S. citizens randomly for a casual conversation should be stopped. The illegal incarcerations should never recur (American Psychological Association, “Muslims in America, post 9/11”). More importantly, all U.S. citizens irrespective of color, ethnicity, religion or language should be treated with courtesy and respect by law enforcement. Who would protect us if not our own?
“After 9/11: 'You no longer have rights' “.Voice of Witness. 2011. Web. Accessed on 26 June 2015.
“Arab Americans Report Abuse”. The Washington Post. 2004. Web. Accessed on 26 June 2015.
“History Does Not Repeat Itself, But Ignorance Does: Post-9/11 Treatment of Muslims and the Liberty-Security Dilemma”. Humanity in Action. 2006. Web. Accessed on 26 June 2015.
“Muslims in America, post 9/11”. American Psychological Association. 2011. Web. Accessed on 26 June 2015.