September 14, 2003


Security, rights butting heads: Muslim crime suspects in Arizona feel victimized by terror crackdown (Dennis Wagner, Sept. 14, 2003, The Arizona Republic)

"We understand the need for a tough hand. But they are specifically looking for something to get these people on because they are Muslims or from the Middle East," said Deedra Abboud, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations here.

"They're looking for technicalities so they can be more aggressive. It's just fishing so you can find something to hold over their heads."

Abboud and Randall Hamud, a San Diego defense attorney for terrorism suspects, said agents use intimidation to scare Muslims into cooperation.

"We can't be fast and loose with people we don't like, because everybody suffers later," Hamud said. [...]

Consider the arrest this summer of Samih Jammal, 34, the Lebanese-born owner of Jammal Trading Co. in Tempe.

Was he plotting chemical attacks or making phone calls to Osama bin Laden?

No. Jammal was accused of leading a $22 million crime syndicate that stole infant formula from superstores, then resold the product at marked-up prices in minimarts.

Although U.S. prosecutors trumpeted this case as a success for the Terrorism Task Force, they were quick to point out that no one was charged with a terror-related crime.

Family members of defendants trumpeted their anger: The government smeared 27 people, most of them Muslims, with the "T" word for no reason, they said.

"They're just making him look like some horrible person, like a monster," said Gretchen, Jammal's wife, Gretchen. "They're making a big deal out of it because they want to make themselves look good."

Just remember, today's prosecution of a Muslim thief could lead to tomorrow's prosection of a non-Muslim thief...then what will you say?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 14, 2003 9:52 AM

Without a doubt, Mr. Jammal is a loyal American--after all, he claims he is and he ought to be given benefit of the doubt. It's the American way.

No less, Mr. Jammal should sue the government for defamation of character and breach of faith and unlawful whatever and unsportsmanlike conduct.

And with the money he gets, he can then become a respectable American. (Of course, one hopes he has been paying his taxes....)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at September 14, 2003 11:03 AM