When the Saudi police burst into a classroom at the Islamic University of Medina during final exams two years ago and whisked away an American exchange student named Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, his imprisonment swiftly reverberated through the among Muslims in this Washington suburb.How weird is this. Instead of being outraged at one of their member putting himself in the position of associating with known al Qaeda terrorist and talking about assinating the President, these guys are acting like the victims of prejudice. The question has to be asked. Why aren't these people prejudiced against the conduct Abu Ali is alleged to have committed? You read both pages of the NY Times story and do not find one sentence from Ali's supporters that say if the charges are true, they are disappointed in his conduct, much less any outrage that he would do such a thing and bring shame on their community. This reaction is more than passing strange.
Mr. Abu Ali was never charged, and he spent 20 months in a Saudi prison where his family says he was whipped, tortured and starved. This week, he was finally returned to Virginia - only to face an accusation by American prosecutors that he had plotted with members of Al Qaeda to assassinate President Bush.
The charge has outraged members of Northern Virginia's growing Muslim population and escalated a conflict with federal law enforcement authorities over terrorism investigations into religious leaders, mosques, businesses and private Islamic schools in the region.
"Our whole community is under siege," said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, a spokesman for the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, where Mr. Abu Ali and his family worshiped. "They don't see this as a case of criminality. They see it as a civil rights case. As a frontal attack on their community."
Is it too much to ask that members of the Muslim community in the Washington area say that it would be wrong to assinate the President of the US?