how the world sees america

Blackburn Muslims Happy, Afraid That Could Change

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Though you’ll see them as a group playing soccer and eating kebabs, you won't see any of these Muslim men from Blackburn talking to my camera. They’re all afraid of saying the wrong thing and ending up a terrorist suspect.

These men live in the tight-knit Muslim area of Whalley Range. Just on the edge of the city center, this hillside community is flooded with sweet shops, halal kebab restaurants, madaris and mosques galore.

Explaining their fears, they tell me their friend was detained for three and a half years by the British government. They were not told why. And just recently he confessed to plotting terrorist activity. “He was a normal, quiet guy – quite friendly,” I was told, “But after three and a half years in jail, you’d say anything.”

These men never visited their detained friend for fear of association: “If you do go [visit him], they [the British government] will check you up; they’ll want to know why you’ve come to see him….You’ll be on a list.” An elderly man named Olam jumps in, referring to the length of time a British terror suspect can be detained without being formally charged, “90 days for no reason...of course we’re scared!” His colleague, a large man named Thair who works for the city government continues, “You have to understand…we have freedoms. We are very happy here. But we know there will be another terrorist attack. And the rules they’ve put in place are like two hands around our neck, closing slowly, you understand? And we can feel it.”

“In a democratic society you wouldn’t expect that,” Thair continues, “You can’t have a special rule for one group and a special rule for another….What kind of...democracy is that? I’d rather go to -- what’s that country -- Pakistan! and live under that dictator Musharraf.”

stroller.jpg
High heels and hijab in Whalley Range.
Latching onto the word “democracy” and turning from the personal to the political, Olam reengages, urging the group to look at "Palestine when they elected Hamas. How come the Americans and Israelis turn around and say ‘Sorry we don’t recognize this.’ What’s the point of fighting for democracy then? Is it only democracy if it supports America?” Shaking their heads, the group suggests that democracy, as they see it, is a sort of victor’s justice, victor’s morality.

The group is skeptical not only about whether Britain and America believe in “genuine democracy” or the selective implementation of it. They are equally skeptical of America's motivations for entering the Iraq war. It was never to rid the country of Saddam Hussein, remove weapons of mass destruction, or bring democracy to a troubled region, they say. “It was for oil money,” Thair plainly states.

Everybody within this group agreed that 9-11 was a tragedy committed by Osama Bin Laden and that this event was harnessed by “neoconservatives to justify war.” But a few people I met earlier in the day were skeptical about 9-11 itself. A young, clean-shaven car salesman and his lanky friend bantered about the tragedy on the side of the street.

Salam began, “How many murderers are still out there in America [that] still haven’t been named…but within an hour they were saying Osama Bin Laden did it...” Shaheed continued, “Nobody actually believed it was real. I mean, for somebody to organize something like dropping the twin towers, you got to be really, really clever to do something like that…”

“It’s more than Osama Bin Laden could do, you know what I mean?”

“I personally can’t put something like that on a Muslim. Hijacking three or four planes…”

“And why hasn’t it happened again?”

Skepticism about America’s commitment to civil rights and democracy is pervasive here. Though very few of the people I spoke to questioned 9-11 itself -- most agreeing it was a tragedy committed by Al Qaeda extremists -- everyone criticized U.S. reactions to it. And as far as motivations for the Iraq war, the jury was clear: money mattered. (This view was captured in 2004 by Pew Research Center's striking polls.)

Why such deep skepticism of America’s global motivations? There are many, many answers which this project will continue to explore. But Salam concluded by simply saying, "America makes up its own laws.”

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Comments (32)

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jamalayka:

People people people .... Don't listen to what people say about Islam or indeed what Muslims say about Islam.... Read the Qur'an and find out for yourself why they will kill you if you don't becoem a Muslim or a second class citizen witha poll tax over your head... Don't listen to me -- Just read the Qur'an.

khalid awan:

Dear Sir / Madam

I am 46 years old, Canadian citizen and native of Pakistan (muslim). I was an immigration consultant in Canada and also member of Canadian Bar Association as part of my business , I had an office in New York.
During 2001 immediately after the Sept 11, event the US govt arrested me on Oct 25, 2001 on anonymous call, as a material witness for the 9/11 world trade centre terrorist attack. A detail investigation by the FBI and USA Naval intelligence dept was conducted and I was cleared, but even then govt put me in front of Grand jury , and I was cleared and the case was dismissed by the Grand jury of the US Federal Court .
Approximately after 2 weeks , before I was released from custody the US Govt imposed a new charges of Fraud and money laundering , under the advice of my attorney , I pleaded guilty and I was sentenced to prison for five years (which was four years more, what I pleaded). In which I had already spent 3 years in Detention jail, during the case , I had about 14 months left to finishing my sentence ,(instead of appealing, I preferred to applied for Treaty Transfer to Canada, because if the case is in the appeal, defendant is not eligible for transfer back to his home country).
While at prison, I learned from the case manager Miss Hause, that my citizen was incorrect in the FBOP’s (Federal Bureau of Prison) computer system as Pakistani instead of Canadian.
Its important to note , that all of my Canadian identifications (passport , citizenship card , S.I.N , Health card , Driving license etc) were under FBI’s possession, with a great deal of concern, I wrote a letter to the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, N.Y to notify such mistake and requested them to fix this problem. This is especially important for Treaty Transfer back to Canada.
The Canadian Consulate official sent a letter to the jail to correct my citizenship status, however FBOP ignored the request and the citizenship status in the FBOP computer still reflect Pakistani instead of Canadian (Note:- I would be required to obtain visa to visit Pakistan) .In contrast , the deportation letter received from US Immigration dept, Contained the correct citizenship status of Canada.
At the hindsight, I believe that the FBOP intentionally left the citizenship as Pakistani, so that they could retained me at their facility, while the govt is planning to file new charges against me 3rd time.
Approximately six weeks before my released date on Jan 30 ,2006 I was notified by the FBOP that I was being transferred from Allenwood , PA to MDC (Metropolitan Detention Centre) in Brooklyn N.Y, it was explained to me, that the purpose of this transfer was in preparation for deportation back to Canada, (after few days, I signed the immigration deportation papers, with my consular Miss Chen).
But immediately after my arriving to MDC Brooklyn, I discovered during a phone call with my family in Montreal, that RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) official had contacted my sister and brother-in-law regarding the whereabouts of my wife and my current situation, there was no explanation given by the RCMP official to the purpose of the call and he left his phone number and asked my wife to call him back immediately, my wife called the RCMP official and left messages in his voice mail. Then the official contacted my brother-in-law again and had asked him to tell my wife not to call again, because there is nothing good nor anything bad.
Meanwhile the AUSA ( Astt United States Attorney) office Investigator and FBI brought me to their office to be interrogated without an attorney present, even AUSA told in the court to the judge on March 16, 2006 that he arranged attorney for me before my arrival from Allenwood PA to MDC Brooklyn, N.Y, on Transcript; page 11, Transcript line No: 14 to 23.
AUSA:-
He (Khalid Awan) was writ in the cause of a grand jury investigation. He clearly had criminal exposure. So to protect his interest I made an application to the duty magistrate for counsel to be appointed.
THE COURT:-
Initially he was brought here by a Court to testify before the grand jury?
AUSA:-
That is correct, Your Honour.
THE COURT:-
When he arrived here, you made arrangements for an attorney to be pointed to request him?
AUSA:-
Yes, Your Honour.
This interrogation started with the AUSA office Investigator stating that my family will be arrested in Canada if I refused to answer their questions.
At this point I am certain that my family is in great danger for reasons that I am not aware of. I was scared that my family would be harassed by these people along with the Canadian RCMP official, I strongly believe that the RCMP is doing this intentionally in collaboration with FBI official to further harass me to admit charges, that I never committed.
Without knowledge of the reasons why the Canadian RCMP agency was involved. I was surprised that RCMP official directly approached my family instead of me without proper explanation, and its also shocked for me, that how RCMP got the phone number of my family (because before my arrest, I don’t have any single record in any police dept, of any country).
I was intimated and pushed to the edge during this interrogation, I was determined to provide anything these USA officials wanted to make them happy even is the questions made no sense, because I want them to stop the harassment to my family.
On March 15, 2006 I completed the term of my imprisonment and was to be released from American Custody and deported back to Canada. Before that I was arrested again 3rd time, and charged with providing “material support to a foreign terrorist” and money laundering (to a organization and person, which are not designated by the USA govt and belongs to Sikh religion) , and with whom, I don’t have any single common interest, because we both are from different countries and different religions.
These charges emerged while I was still in prison and without the capability of providing any type of support. It was even difficult for me to get enough financial assistance to pay legal fees. I could not have provided any material support while I was in prison for five years and I could not launder any money because I did not have any.
AUSA filed three counts of indictment against me.
Conspiracy to provide material support.
Provide a material support to the foreign terrorist.
Money laundering to support terrorism.
(Please note, that in my previous case govt charged me for money laundering and fraud from Jan 1999 to 2002 and “its mentioned in the plea-agreement by the AUSA that no further money laundering charges will be brought against defendant from Jan 1999 to April 2002” even then govt indict me for money laundering from 1998 to Nov 2001 (Which is double Jeopardy and violation of 5th Amendment of U.S Constitution.)
In Oct 2006, during pre-trial hearing on the motion’s filed by my attorney the first two counts of my indictment were dismissed by the judge, stating that there is a lack of facts and figures.
After two weeks AUSA re-indicted me again. I believe this is a desperate act of the AUSA to cover up a huge embarrassment . Further this hastily drawn indictment was full of factual errors and creative legal theories.
Since I was first arrested by the American govt, I believe that I have been singled out, isolated `and discriminated against primarily because of my race and religion, in addition to the fact that I don’t know any information that the American govt is trying to pressure out of me.
I do not understand the American laws and this is what led to my pleading guilty in the first case. I have difficulty understanding the new charges also.
I have been charged under, section 2339(a) of Title 18 of the United States code, which makes it illegal to provide material support to a foreign terrorist.
Please understand, I am not a terrorist, I do not know any terrorist and I have had no connections with or to any known or unknown terrorist. I have been incarcerated for last 5 years and I had no money to provide or launder.
The law enforcement have in America is pressuring me to provide information to them that I really do not have or know. I am a Canadian Citizen and nearly all of my family is in Canada, including my wife and kids. I don’t know any information to tell them to help their investigation.
Because of this , I am being treated unfairly and my rights under the American constitution are being violated. I am being held here in further detention against my will for crimes which I could have never committed, because I was in prison.
I believe, that I am a victim of the discrimination that was outlined in the July 3, 2006 issue of Time magazine (Page 29, column 3). In this article section 2339(a) & (b) are discussed and criticized “as most suspects are charged under these two sections. However, the justice dept here in America admits that of the more than 218 guilty pleas that it has obtained, most are for minor investigation issues that are uncovered deeding the course of their terrorism investigation. This suggest, according to the article that the Attorney General’s office have is not concerned about the rights or fairness or the manner in which it achieves convictions for the people they arrest. Furthermore, criticizes have noted that one of the patterns to emerge from these domestic prosecutions is that suspect seen too incompetent to carry out the deeds they are accused of. The Deputy Attorney General acknowledges that the Dept of Justice’s goal is “ preventions through prosecution’s” and this is done with no regard for an individual’s rights.
I agree that these guilty of terrorism should be prosecuted . But as the above mentioned article suggest , innocent people should not be targeted because of their race or religion.
I am not a terrorist and I should not be targeted and treated unfairly and unjustly.
I need your assistance desperately in my case, as I believe that I am being treated unjustly here. I would like to send you my attorney’s contact information and provide you with legal documents related to my case, so that you may become more familiar with my situation.
Please also note, that I appeared in the court , for no guilty of my 2nd superseding indictment on Aug 02, 2006 and on Aug 03, 2006 FBOP officials placed me in the SHU (Segregation Housing Unit) out of these months, I placed in the SHU isolation from Jan 03, 2007 to March 6, 2007 for unknown “Pending Investigation” in these 215 days of my segregation and isolation, I don’t have a single phone call access to my family, no legal calls to my attorney and Canadian Council, my legal mail opened in my absence, no medical treatment for my injured shoulder (even I went for hunger strike for 3 and half day) I harassed by the various jail officials and lot of other problems too which already been submitted in the attention of the FBOP higher authorities, but no action taken on them, after writing the court, instead of receiving the response or any action on my complaints, jail officials removed /moved me from MDC federal facility to Nassau County Jail .
My suffering has gone on for far too long, and I need your help to bring my suffering to an end. I want to return home to my family, because my imprisonment was injustice and will remain a great injustice forever.
May God bless you and be with you in your efforts to champion the cause of human rights, and the suffering of innocent prisoners and restore hope, faith and love to peoples all over the world.

Sincerely,
KHALID AWAN
FBOP NO. 50959-054

Laika's Last Woof:

There seem to be quite a few pro-American Muslims here, and I would like to ask you some provocative questions.
The last time I asked a Muslim one of these questions he became offended and has never spoken to me since, but I feel these questions are worth asking.

What does the Sharia code mean to you?
Do you believe that democracy and Sharia are incompatible?
How will you as free citizens of a democratic nation consider Sharia as a political authority?
Does Sharia have any place at all in the life of a modern Muslim?
In your opinion do terrorists give speeches condemning democracy primarily as a show of defiance against us or as an affirmation of their belief in Sharia?

JRLR:

I forgot to mention that the "Pew Research Center's striking polls" link does not seem to be valid, i.e. does not lead where it should.

JRLR:

This climate is very unhealthy, highly explosive. One can feel the tension just reading the above.

Integration of people as they are (not as society wants them to be) is key. It presupposes accepting them as they are, once they have been admitted into the country, even more so when they are citizens of the land.

Why such deep skepticism of America’s global motivations? One cannot with impunity, for years on end, flout international law, international accords and conventions, international institutions, even treatises one has signed, etc. One cannot constantly refuse being bound by decent international accords without paying the price in front of world public opinion.

In the community of nations, nobody is so special as to be above everybody else. Such posturing is not tenable for long.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Conspiracy theories regarding the 7/7 bombing here in London were explored in a Channel 4 poll here:
http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/law_order/77+the+conspiracy+theories/545762

Baran:

Hi Amar

Re your 2nd query: I am from Kurdistan. I had my interview for citizenship with USCIS almost 1/5 year ago. I have not heard from them so far. All they are saying is it is pending a background check. God know how long more it is going to take. I have lost lots of nice government job opportunities. Thanks to terrorist Muslims. Because of a bunch of terrorists and criminals, the entire Muslim community has to suffer. There is an old saying that when the fire is high, both the wet and dry will burn. All naturalization applications are in limbo, especially if you come from ME.

Baran:

Hi Amar

Re your 2nd query: I am from Kurdistan. I had my interview for citizenship with USCIS almost 1/5 year ago. I have not heard from them so far. All they are saying is it is pending a background check. God know how long more it is going to take. I have lost lots of nice government job opportunities. Ince I get it, I can get ajob with US Army for 150,000. Thanks to terrorist Muslims. Because of a bunch of terrorists and criminals, the entire Muslim community has to suffer. There is an old saying that when the fire is high, both the wet and dry will burn. All naturalization applications are in limbo, especially if you come from ME.

Baran:

Hi Amar

Re your 2nd query: I am from Kurdistan. I had my interview for citizenship with USCIS almost 1/5 year ago. I have not heard from them so far. All they are saying is it is pending a background check. God know how long more it is going to take. I have lost lot nice government job opportunities. Ince I get it, I can get ajob with US Army for 150,000. Thanks to terrorist Muslims. Because of a bunch of terrorists and criminals, the entire Muslim community has to suffer. There is an old saying that when the fire is high, both the wet and dry will burn. All naturalization applications are in limbo, especially if you come from ME.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Baran,

Thanks for your reply. One other question. What country are you currently a citizen of and how are you finding the process of naturalizing here?

Reza,
Worshipping traffic signs. Haven't tried it, but should.

Ginblossom,

I've just arrived in London and am sitting in Covent Gardens catching up on some work. What strikes me is just how diverse this place is; it looks moreso than even New York, with lots of languages being bantered about, more wide varieties of dress (from traditional Nigerian garb to chadors) and the Italian restaurants are owned by Italians, the Lebanese by Lebanese etc. In short, lots of people from all over the world here.

I asked the group interviewed in this article about their view of themselves as Muslim first, British first, Pakistani first, basically, how do they identify themselves. There's poll data saying people here identify themselves as a prior nationality or a religion before being British, moreso than in the U.S. and I was curious about that. What they said was they identified themselves as "British Asian". This leads a bit to the point Ramazan brought up about gratitude.

Ramazan,
I think a particularly moving quote from this interview was basically about how grateful they were to Britain for letting them practice their religion in freedom, earn a living, get about town, and maintain the type of society they want for themselves. But at the same time, there's fear that things are getting worse every year, not better. That between anti-terrorism laws and prejudice, they're feeling like prey, a group in a defensive posture. So with gratitude comes concern that some of the best attributes of their time here - that freedom - is in jeopardy. From there comes the quote, "If this is democracy I'd rather be in Pakistan." It was referring to the "democracy" that this group is beginning to experience more now, and fears will grow worse in its future, a future where they are increasingly alienated.

Abd-allah,
Another interesting point on this is the phenomena of 'white-flight' from certain areas where Muslims move in, or lower-income people to be more exact. This was a point this group kept bringing up, that they tried to integrate, were happy to live side by side with others, but that they got "ghetto-ized", that it was done to them moreso than they decided to live isolated. Interesting perspectives and I'll certainly try to get many more.

Thank you all for reading and for your comments. I do appreciate them and hope to keep good dialogues running.

Abd-Allah:

Regardless of your faith, it must be understood that Muslims in Britain feel isolated because despite their efforts to integrate, they are constantly picked at by the media, they are constantly abused on the streets, and riots such as those sparked by the British National Party, BNP, in Oldham make them sick and tired of 'integrating'. Why is it that only Muslim immigrants are always told to integrate, and not other people of different faiths?
To be fair, i think that the Muslims on this site should stop slagging off their Muslim brothers and show some respect to them first, before telling them to show respect to the country.

Ramazan :

Religion has never helped me in my life. Religion is something personal and I think it has nothing with what background one comes from. Just mind your life, your family, work hard, abide by the laws of the country you live in and do not interfere with politics. You are never a terrorist and no bosy is gonna bother you.

Islam does clearly indicate to this point that muslims should obey the laws of any country inwhich they live.

Also guys try to be fair and garteful. We, muslims, came thousands of miles away to this country. The truth is We came here because it is a better country. We work here, earn money here, study here. At least show some respect and gartitute.

Saeed Kurdi:

Lots of Anti-American false propagandas and baseless fabrications. I recommend these blind commentators to come and see the fact for themselves. Just stay 3 months in this country. Then you shall see that the extent of freedom the muslim enjoy in this country can not be found any where else in the entire world.

Mohamamd Reza:

It is funny to talk about religions in the US? How cares what you do? what you worship? what church/mosque you go to? You could worship a traffic sign. No body is even gonna look at you. That is your concern. That is why I am in love with USA.

Baran Ali:

To: Amar Bakshi

It is my pleasure and honor to work any where the US military or governmnet send me. unfortunately, I may not qualify because I am not a Us citizen yet. But once I become a citizen, I would love to work for the US Army. Yes, I am a muslim but I am totally opposed to and reject any form of extermism, terrorism, fundamnetalism and prejuduce. I am ashamed that some people justify any crime in the name of religion. it is time for intelelctual Muslim to come to gether and condemn international terrorism. Menawhile, we, as muslims should not allow these criminals to take advantage of Islam and try to further damage its image.

GinBlossom:

I think the reason all immigrants are better assimilated in the US is because there is truly the chance to become American. There is not a definitive "look" that makes someone American. You could look Asian, Latino, Middle-Eastern, Indian, etc. and still be considered by all as American. Especially the children of immigrants who pick up the language and gestures of America. Nobody looks at a Michelle Kwan or a John Leguizamo or a Sanjaya or a Casey Kasem or a Doug Flutie and thinks, "They are not an American." I think in other countries, such as in the UK, one might be considered a legal resident but never truly "British."

Amar C. Bakshi:

Baran Ali, why do you think that distinction exists between UK and US Muslims? Would you serve in Iraq?

Baran Ali:

American Muslims are more integrated and open-minded than British Muslims. I am a Muslim immigrant and I have lived in the US for more than 8 years. I love this country and It is my honor to fight and die for the sake of this freedom. I abide by the laws and condemn terrorism in its strongest terms.

B.B. USA:

Every morning before marching to classroom, the first thing we were obligated to perform was forming ranks, do some light morning workout, listen to the recitation of few verses of “Holy Quran” and lastly conclude with chanting some Anti-US slogans” Down with the Great Satan, “Down with Imperialism“, ” Down with Israel and Zionism”.

It was routine and had become part of our national curriculum. On a daily basis, from school to mosque, from mosque to entertainment clubs, to our occupation, in library, everywhere and where hour that is what we used to hear, watch and were even without comprehending the reason and what its implication.

I recall very well that since childhood, we were repeatedly repeated that American is the greatest enemy of Islam, that American government is killing Muslim children and women in Palestine and around the world, that America helped the illegitimate Zionist to occupy Quads and briefly America is the main cause of misery in the Islamic world and it is a holy duty to wage Jihad against the Jews and crusaders. That we have to assist and protect our brethren-in-faith any where in the Islamic world. Be it Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir and so on.

At school, we were taught stories of heroism and great valor of young Muslims who had detonated themselves under enemy tanks in order to destroy them. Libraries were full of religion related books, materials and resources. The atmosphere was awash with Anti-American sentiments and propaganda lies.

Belonging to another ethnic and sectarian group had made our life even more miserable in the Islamic republic. We were constantly discriminated against. Were were the traitors because we do not recognize Imam Ali as the first Imam. We heard insulting words like infidels and hypocrites at the time.

I am not from Iran. I just did some education in that country.

In or order to seek a bright future, together with my entire family, we fled Iran and set off to Pakistan where we introduced ourselves as refugees to the UNHCR office.

Unfortunately, the worse case exists in Pakistan. The only distinction is one would perceive more and deeper sectarianism than anti-Americanism. Maybe a little bit more democracy rather than theocracy. Of course, the circumstances are totally dissimilar since I left. The education system in Pakistan is more secular and advanced than Iran but blind religious prejudice is extremely prevalent even among the well-read class of people. Fundamentalism and of religious extremism mostly is preached in mosques and Madrasa rather than government institutions.

In 1999, we were sponsored through Lutheran church and my entire family was granted refugee asylum in the US. Starting all over again is not that easy and simple. It requires lots of running and efforts. Getting familiar to the culture, environment, people, system takes time, especially coming from that part of the world.

What about the United States? What about racism, persecution of Muslims, religious prejudice, discrimination against minorities? All that we were taught at school? Are they true?

Being in the US for 8 years, I can see the truth for myself now. I am able to evaluate and make my own independent judgments.

This country is full of various and diversified people, races, cultures, colors and religions. What is interesting is that one never feels outlandish. As far as freedom of religion, press, assembly, it does exit a 100%. There are some tough Anti-terrorism laws, domestic eavesdropping but it is truly a democratic country. Matter of facts those laws are essential to identify the bad Muslims from the good ones. Islam is a widely recognized and respected religion and American Muslims enjoy the same and equal citizen rights. There are no breach of human rights and civil liberties. I did not have this much freedom in my own country.

As an immigrant Muslim, I truly admire this country. I have never been affronted, discriminated against or humiliated. I can worship my religious belief. I have my own house, car, and a good job. With excellent credit, I can obtain almost anything that the president of the United States owns.

Now I know for fact that everything about America and Americans were all lies and baseless. America is a beautiful, blessed country with ample opportunities to grow and advance.

Westerner:

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, why don't they work with the government about trying to root out the extremists and dangerous ones among them. They claim that they are assimilated but they are not. They keep to their own areas, their women wear burkas which is not customary in the west, they show no sympathy as to the unsettled feeling that their extremist members have caused in the non-muslim community. They quickly yell racism and go berzerk when they are being criticized; they are not tolerant of other people's point of view as exhibited by their reactions to the Danish cartoons and the Pope's speech. They are however tolerant of their imams who spout the most hateful things about non-muslims. Are we not to believe that their extremist members don't mean harm when they carry signs that threaten the population that don't believe in their beliefs? We're just supposed to ignore that?

treasurenidz:

We're living in times where the definitions and values are undergoing a trial. Time has time and again tested virtues of humanity...what's right and what's wrong is what stands this test of time. In such moments of flux, the world gets divided into performers, audience and the judge. Performers act and audience reacts. One sets the rules, the other questions and counter questions. One thought thunders, another squats. Democracy may be the judge, but then who will judge the judge.. Time sides with the best intentions...the one who believes do unto others as you wish them to do to you. May the best intentions bring relief soon!

dogbreath:

the prisoners in Guantanamo are not criminals, they are prisoners of war. their crime is trying to kill anyone not a follower of islam.

abolish all religion and world war 3 will end.

dogbreath:

the prisoners in Guantanamo are not criminals, they are prisoners of war. their crime is trying to kill anyone not a follower of islam.

abolish all religion and world war 3 will end.

pak:

If these folks find the West (and America particularly) so horrible to live in why not just go back to their home countries. Maybe they should try assimilation rather than trying to replicate their native village life.

Ali Ettefagh (Tehran):

This is exemplary of the thought process in most parts of the Middle East, including Turkey, and North Africa and North African immigrants in Europe. The unwritten religious apartheid came out in naked and plain view after 9-11, like a Champagne cork flying out of a bottle.

Amar Bakshi has been navigating the right spots and neighbourhoods in UK which are hot spots and large communities that have given up on the process as advertised. They might well be second generation immigrants and citizens, but they some how feel that they are spun out of the mainstream and blamed for crimes of some extremists elsewhere.

The stark reality is that our communities ought to realise that the crystallisation of religious zeal, regardless of the religious grouping, is a bad step backward in a modern society that must have a closely knit fabric. And, after 6 years, it is time to have an honest review of policies implemented since 9-11. Afterall, none of the prisoners in Guantanamo have been charged or convicted of any crime. However, what has happened, as on 7th of July two years ago, a few Muslim British citizens (the so-called "blokes next door") gave up and carried out suicide attacks. I wonder if a more inclusive social dialogue, instead of amplified differences, would have released enough steam out of these otherwise ordinary car salesmen, school teachers and grocers in isolated ghetto zones in UK? And when will the alarm wakeup the general public to the need of having more community dialogue?

Loly:

Conspiracy theories go a heck of a long way I know this from family in the military. There is really a lot of it going around the world, and its scary.

gcb:

we have a long way to go with this global dialogue and listening to the average ciizen in different countries can only promote an understanding that all of us need both in the eastern and western hemisphere. i do believe that we need to clear our minds on both sides of the divide of preconcieved notions and try to understand each other as ordinary everyday workers trying to make a living and live without blood shed. i do hope some that the more educated of your readers, the thinkers and philosophers among them can try to approach this age old problem in an innovative way and perhaps guide you a young and courageieous young man through this incredible journey.

gcb:

we have a long way to go with this global dialogue and listening to the average ciizen in different countries can only promote an understanding that all of us need both in the eastern and western hemisphere. i do believe that we need to clear our minds on both sides of the divide of preconcieved notions and try to understand each other as ordinary everyday workers trying to make a living and live without blood shed. i do hope some that the more educated of your readers, the thinkers and philosophers among them can try to approach this age old problem in an innovative way and perhaps guide you a young and courageieous young man through this incredible journey.

Jessica:

What does our democracy mean? A whole lot more than it seems these days.

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