Good news! All eight of the foreign aid workers held for three months in Afghanistan by the Taliban have been freed. It's still unclear whether or not they were released by their captors or freed by Northern Alliance fighters or, possibly, U.S. special forces. How they were freed isn't important right now, what's important is that they're coming home.
I arrived home after a long day at work and had a half-nap, the kind where you're never really asleep but not quite awake, while replaying the two news programs that I record each day: "Special Report with Brit Hume" and "The O'Reilly Factor." I really wasn't awake for "Special Report," but I was conscious enough for old Bill and his talk with a Muslim woman who opposed the increased scrutiny being proposed for Muslim/Middle-Eastern foreign nationals currently in the United States. The Immigration and Naturalizaton Service, along with the FBI, wants to talk to about 5,000 young men from Middle-Eastern countries that are currently in the United States. They aren't being forced to talk, just asked to tell us anything they may know about terrorist cells. I don't find this the slightest-bit troubling. They're not being forced to do anything. These people are guests in our country. Any rights they have are rights we have decided to give them -- and those rights are likely more extensive than those they would receive in their home country.
There was an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune a couple weeks ago, and similar articles have appeared in papers across the country, about an Arab man, an engineer of some sort, who has been stopped and searched several times in airports. He feels that he is being singled out because of his religion/ethnicity. In eleven trips through airport security, he said that his bags had been searched nine times. Well, he probably is being searched because of his religion/ethnicity -- and it's NOT a bad thing. I know it's not politically correct to say this nowadays, but we know what the enemy looks like. The enemy is a young man, from a middle-eastern country and is a Muslim fundamentalist. Are all men fitting this description terrorists plotting destruction in America? No. But all terrorists plotting destruction in America DO fit that description.
This is different than cops pulling over a black person driving a Lexus. As of this writing, no black people have hijacked airliners and flown them into buildings. Any sane person would acknowledge that there must be a different standard when dealing with mass murder. If young, overweight white guys sporting flat-top haircuts had killed 1,000 people in Saudi Arabia, I would expect that the Saudi government would look at me funny, follow me around, and, at the very least, toss me out of the country.
Unfortunately, our cultural aversion to racial profiling is making the scene in airports a little silly. Whose bags need to be searched? Young Muslim mens'. It is silly to search the bags of elderly black women. On "Larry King Live" tonight, Barbara Walters revealed that the random computer program that airlines are using had twice chosen her to have her bags searched. The only thing the American public has to fear from Barbara Walters is sappy journalism. Let's use some common sense; Barbara Walters is no threat to ram a plane into a skyscraper. What worries me more is that the Arab engineer went through security twice without having his bags searched.
I'm sorry that it has come to this, but Arabs in American must expect increased scrutiny at airports and other places that would be considered "high value" targets by terrorists. There were undoubtedly Muslims in this country that knew the terrorists were up to no good. Likely most of them are now in government custody. But the Muslim community cannot stay silent when they know that terrorists are in their midst.
Unfortunately, there are also many Muslims in this country who hate this country; who hate Jews; and who hate the West. I do not know what is being said in mosques around this country, but I fear that some of it is not good. Lies and hatred are being preached, in at least on New York mosque, if what the former imam is telling the Arab press is what he was also telling his congregants.
In an October interview for an unofficial Al-Azhar University Web site, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Gamei'a, former Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque of New York City, spewed lies designed to rile the "Arab Street" against Jews and the United States. The full interview can be found here. But a little is enough to give you a taste of the lies:
"When a group of people attacked my home, I went out to them and asked why they were doing this. They said that because we were Muslims we were linked to terrorism. I explained to them that what they were doing was uncivilized and was, in effect, a twofold crime, you let the criminals go free and attack innocents. This does not suit a modern state and a modern people, and is opposed to human values."
"During my conversations with this group, it became clear to me that they knew very well that the Jews were behind these ugly acts, while we, the Arabs, were innocent, and that someone from among their people was disseminating corruption in the land. Although the Americans suspect that the Zionists are behind the act, none has the courage to talk about it in public."
There is too much hatred in this world as it is. There will be no peace in the Middle East between Israel and its arab neighbors as long as Muslim religious leaders spew this hate.