Here's what Bilal Kaleem, Executive Director of the Boston branch of the Muslim American Society (MAS) had to say about the Tarek Mehanna case on Friday, October 23, as reported in the MetroWest Daily News:
"Bilal Kaleem considers the terrorism-related charges facing Tarek Mehanna and is troubled for many reasons. Muslims are already feeling a backlash from the Sudbury man's arrest, says Kaleem, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Boston."
"In the wake of Mehanna's arrest, members of various congregations find themselves surrounded by media and placed under pressure and scrutiny, he says..... ' The media has to take on a harder task,'he said. 'We have to analyze it in more subtle and mature ways.' "
"He suggested the media should delve into whether Mehanna's case was another instance of a disaffected kid from the suburbs."
Pretty outrageous, Mr. Kaleem. Most alienated suburban kids don't travel to Yemen looking to join terrorist training camps, no matter how much angst they're feeling. What a nonsensical and frankly mendacious reaction to the Mehanna case. We're not talking about Catcher in the Rye here, Bilal.
"Bay State Muslims should help 'root out' any radicals in their midst, a Massachusetts Islamic leader urged yesterday.
“ 'We call on Muslim leaders and organizations to root out any radical teachings they may find in Muslim communities,' said M. Bilal Kaleem, executive director of the Massachusetts Chapter Muslim American Society."
That's rich coming from MAS! I don't share the enthusiasm of some of the commenters, who are pleased that a Muslim leader is finally calling for routing out radicalism in their midst. It's about ten years too late. And it's no doubt a response to negative reaction to his "disaffected suburban youth" comment. MAS is trying to cover their ass. They're the very organization that controls the mosques and schools where Islamic fundamentalism is taught. They're the very organization that brought people like Salah Soltan, Mahdi Bray and Siraj Wahaj to Boston. MAS is going to rout out radicalism?? This I gotta see!
" 'If anybody senses imminent danger, they should alert the proper authorities,”'said Kaleem, when asked if Muslims should call the cops on hate groups."
This from the MAS which routinely advises Muslims not to talk to the FBI or police, but to call a lawyer first. I eagerly await the next announcement from MAS about how they'll identify and rout out "radical teachings."
P.S. Check out Rusty Shackleford's article at Pajames Media, Boston Terror Suspect: Just Another 'Typical American Kid' with Terror Aspirations. It's an interesting look at the apparently comparmentalized life that Tarek Mehanna was living. His friends express shock at his arrest, describing Tarek as shy, polite and helpful. But Rusty was well acquainted with the online Tarek, aka Abu Sayaba. Excerpts:
"But in Mehanna’s case there were warning signs. If his friends’ shock is real, then Tarek Mehanna was living a compartmentalized and double life. For the Tarek Mehanna I knew online was not the 'moderate' that his apologists portray him as. He was a fanatical Islamist, devoted to the same ideas as al-Qaeda. He spent countless hours translating Arabic texts into English in order to inspire others to become violent jihadists."
"Mehanna went by the handle 'Abu Sayaba' online. In addition to frequently commenting at radical forums and online discussion groups, 'Abu Sayaba' also ran his own blog. His Iskandari blog posted translations of Arabic texts. Typical of the writings he posted were calls for the establishment of an Islamic state and Islamic law. He also encouraged violent jihad as a means of attaining these two goals."
"Tarek Mehanna may seem to have been an unlikely terrorist candidate to some, but given his online support for violent jihad revealed through his 'Abu Sayaba”'persona, should it really come as a surprise that he would aspire to become a violent jihadist himself?"
"....The signs of terrorism are there, but you will not necessarily find them by searching for outwardly antisocial behavior. The common denominator to most would-be terrorists is a devotion to the jihad ideology. And ideologies are hard to detect."