Circa 1998 or 1999, the “band of brothers” from the local mosque. Dead center, and channeling the unibomber, is Saad. Adnan looks over his right shoulder. I see one Deep Throat in the pic too, hovering like a confused, slighted Judas. Don’t ask about Mr. Ski-mask. He’s wigging me out too.
“FITNAH”: Arabic word denoting a trial, tribulation, difficulty, chaos, hypocrisy, confusing truth with falsehood, disagreement among people, persecution. Fitnah can be a situation, a thing, and even a person.
“RUMOR”: A currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.
The rumors in this episode began in earnest on Reddit, the root of much fitnah, in the form of one “sachabacha”, who wrote in ALL CAPS THAT ADNAN IS A PSYCHOPATH. Between sachabacha, me, Saad, and Yusuf, it escalated. It’s natural, when someone talks smack about someone you love, to step up. We did, and then we stepped back, pulled Yusuf off of the sub, and decided to let the guy get it out of his system. Continue reading
Just because the Secretary of State of the US confirms Adnan is an American, doesn’t mean the State of MD has to buy it. In case you’re wondering Adnan visited Pakistan twice in his life. Once when he was four years old, for a month. And once when he was ten years old, again for a month. We like to radicalize our boys young.
The thing about racism, xenophobia, gender bias, age discrimination, and a host of other prejudices is that unless you’re part of the target group, its very hard to get it. The past few weeks have been gut wrenching as grand juries in the murders of both Eric Garner and Michael Brown returned no indictments against the police officers that killed them. While the overwhelming and appropriate response has been grief and rage against the systematic brutalization of black men, and the lack of accountability for it, there are the inevitable groups that just don’t get it. They see officers forced to make hard decisions, not institutional racism. They see a series of unconnected unfortunate events, not an epidemic of violent responses by law enforcement towards black men, another manifestation of the brutality that drove slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the extra-judicial lynching of black men by whites in this country – even though none of that was very long ago.
They can’t see what’s before their eyes, no matter how many times and how many ways the people who are affected point it out. And the saddest and most ironic thing is that even those who suffer prejudice often don’t recognize the bigotry with which they encounter others.
Which brings me to Adnan, and a courtroom full of Muslims who looked as Muslim as Muslims can look. Continue reading