Blog Archive

Blog Archive – April, 2013

Our nation of sleuths—a watershed scaled in our hunt for bad guys

April 29, 2013

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

I think it was the cheering on that Friday night which most disturbed me. With thousands of police spreading through tranquil neighborhoods, FBI massive search engines working overtime, an army of tactic-geared men swarming through the city, military helicopters churning the night sky, SWAT teams moving from house to house, it would not be long before the wounded 19 year-old suspect was seized. So his eventual capture was, I felt, hardly anything to cheer about.

I became disturbed by the feeling that that chorus of shouts was a self-congratulatory outburst. Because the chase for the terrorist had become a nation-wide effort. Indeed, an obsession.

The US public was brought into the manhunt on a scale never seen before.  Executed as a singular mission, it unfolded with shared excitement and purpose. For millions of onlookers this hunt became a personal pursuit.

Whether we approve or not, we have to give US authorities credit for their superbly orchestrated outreach to the nation.

Their strategy seemed totally transparent. Homeland Security and the people merged into a single-minded patriotic force. Not only Bostonians were recruited. With national media mobilized into the chase with their on-the-spot reportage and dynamic sketches, their seemingly spontaneous interviews with anyone somehow connected to the suspects, every onlooker was made to feel they had a stake in the event.

Each detail seemed available for sharing—suspicions, personal testimonies, boxing matches, anything with the remotest association with the culprits.

While talk is now focused on the brothers’ family history, Chechnya, Miranda rights, self-radicalization and immigration policy, we need to realize that this case plugged into social networking on a new level and thereby transformed surveillance into a public duty. What a coup for our police and intelligence forces!

During the past two decades, well before 911, US citizens were encouraged to inform authorities about suspected Muslims. Many anti-Muslim sting operations executed by US law enforcement agents built their cases on such tips. Our mosques have become no-pray zones for many simple Muslim adherents because FBI operatives are rumored to frequent Islamic centers trolling for suspected radicals or informants. US students retreated from their Muslim Student Association gatherings after learning they too had been infiltrated.

If that was the status quo before the Boston bombings, imagine where our newly endowed population of citizen sleuths might lead us. There are plenty of anti-Arab racists and islamophobes out there to take this challenge really seriously. Moreover if the exalted occupant of the US-vice presidency can call Muslim perpetrators “knock-off jihadists”, doesn’t this give license to others?

My fellow Muslims—we are in for another rough ride.

[ Our nation of sleuths—a watershed scaled in our hunt for bad guys ]

Who is Lynne Stewart?

April 18, 2013

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

There are an estimated 2.2 million men and women in American prisons. Thousands of them are designated political prisoners by human rights organizations or their columns of supporters. Lynne Stewart is one of these prisoners. She is also a civil rights attorney, although disbarred when she was sentenced and imprisoned 6 years ago. Stewart was 70 years old then, diagnosed with cancer and awaiting surgery.  Sentenced to 10 years, the judgment shocked many within and outside the American legal profession. Stewart is now in a cell in a Texas federal prison far from her home and family. When under treatment for her advanced cancer at a prison-designated hospital in Fort Worth, this 73-year-old gravely ill woman, a grandmother, is shackled and chained to her hospital bed.

We who know Lynne Stewart as a brave and committed civil rights attorney are asking people of conscience to join the international campaign to have our indefatigable sister released from prison on compassionate grounds in order to return to her New York home and be treated for her cancer in a nearby hospital. Join more than 9000 other signatories. As human rights supporters we can demonstrate our solidarity for an individual who sacrificed so much for those of us who needed legal defense over the past 30 years. You can find the petition on any number of activist websites, and you can read Chris Hedges recent appeal in TruthOut. I also suggest you go directly to Stewart’s own site where you can add your name to the petition, read Lynne’s comments and learn more about her remarkable history, her prosecution and the status of her health. You can also hear clips from our earlier interviews with the attorney on

[ Who is Lynne Stewart? ]

Find Us on Facebook
Find Us on Facebook

Snatching liberty seemed compelling. Some of us thrived; some of us died. All of us had a taste. 

Toni Morrison, author

Tahrir Diwan

a poem.. a song..
poem "Malfunctioning Flowtron" by Marian Haddad

See poems and songs list

poem Qur'an Surat Al-Shams
from 'Approaching The Qur'an', CD.

See audio list

Book review
Rajia Hassib's
In The Language of Miracles
reviewed by BNAziz.

See review list

Tahrir Team

Jad Abumrad
Read about Jad Abumrad in the team page.

See Tahrir Team

WBAI Online

Select Links