08 May 2007

Six Muslims charged with anti-army plot in US

Six Muslim men, among them one American, two holders of work visas and three illegal immigrants, have been arrested in New Jersey, and have been charged with plotting to attack the US Army base at Fort Dix, with the intention of killing "as many soldiers as possible."

According to US Representative Chris Smith (Republican-New Jersey), the men had trained for the attacks in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains.

The group was under surveillance for over a year, and was arrested after taking delivery of AK-47 assault rifles from an undercover FBI agent posing as a weapon dealer.

Sohail Mohammed, a Muslim lawyer from New Jersey, has condemned the media's description of the men as "Islamic militants," (San Diego Union-Tribune).

I agree with S. Mohammed on this: these men should no more be called "Islamic militants" than the IRA (in the days of old) should be called "Christian militants". However, it is quite possible that they were, indeed, acting in the name of Islam, led by their own delusions.

What these men don't understand is that the United States is home to millions of Muslims, who may not all agree with American foreign policy, but who nevertheless want to live in the country peacefully, as loyal citizens or residents, and to influence US policies by means of lobbying and votes, rather than violence. The last thing that American Muslims need is militants smearing their names and placing them, as a group, under increased suspicion.

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