Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Botched New York Car-Bombing:
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, May 10, 2010
In the wake of an arrest of a Pakistani American, Faisal Shahzad,
as the suspect behind the failed Times Square bombing plot,
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has assured
the Muslim community that any backlash against them will not be tolerated.
"We will not tolerate any bias or backlash against
Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers," he said.
backlash, major American Muslim organizations hastily held a news
conference in Washington DC, on Tuesday, saying that the alleged actions
of the Pakistani-American suspect are not representative of the nation's
Muslim community. They also urged the fellow citizens not to allow the
incident to be exploited to advance growing anti-Islam sentiment. "We urge
that our fellow citizens and our nation's leaders reject the inevitable
exploitation of this incident by those individuals and groups devoted to
demonizing Islam, marginalizing American Muslims and feeding the
unfortunately growing Islamophobic sentiment in our society."
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Council of Muslim
Organizations (CMO) in the Greater Washington, D.C., Area, Muslim American
Society (MAS) and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), in a joint
"On behalf of the American Muslim community, we
condemn the attack in Times Square and thank all those who reported their
suspicions, disarmed the bomb or are participating in the current
investigation. We welcome the arrest of a suspect and hope that anyone
involved in the attack will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full
extent of the law.
"American Muslims repudiate all acts of
terrorism and will continue to work with local, state and federal law
enforcement authorities to keep our nation safe and secure. We ask anyone
who has information about this attack to contact local police and the FBI.
"In no way, shape or form does this attack represent American
Muslims or what they stand for as a faith community. We must also, as a
civil rights group, remind everyone that we are a nation of laws and that
in our system of justice, every suspect is innocent until proven guilty.”
Another leading American Muslim organization, the Islamic Society of
North America (ISNA), while condemning the botched attack said: The
attack, described by the alleged sponsors as a sort of "pay-back" or
"revenge", is "inexcusable and without any justification in Islam or
authentic Muslim tradition. Even the murder of a single innocent person is
abhorrent and in direct contradiction to the clear and unequivocal
teachings of our faith (Quran Chapter 5,Verse 32), let alone the mass
murder of unsuspecting innocent bystanders in a crowded square."
urged Muslim Americans to stay true to their faith in rejecting any ideas
or actions that tolerate or attempt to justify the use of terrorism for
any purpose or by any group.
However, Mr. Enver Masud, the
founder of the Wisdom Fund think tank and author of The War on Islam, has
another take on the reaction of American Muslim civil advocacy groups. He
“Assuming that the alleged perpetrator, Faisal Shahzad, 30 -- who was
taken into custody at Kennedy Airport on board an Emirates flight to Dubai
-- is guilty, did Muslim "community leaders" stop to ask, "Why"? Apparently
not, and neither did the news media, despite nonstop coverage of the event
for several days.
“Assuming, for the purpose of argument only, that Shahzad is guilty as
charged: Was the pre-emptive war on Iraq to find nonexistent weapons of mass
destruction, where well over one million Muslims have been killed by US
forces, a factor in why Shahzad made the crude attempt to blow up his rigged
“Was the unlawful war on Afghanistan (it was not authorized by
the UN Security Council, and to this day the US FBI has not charged Bin
Laden with the September 11, 2001 attack on the US), where countless more
Muslims have been killed, a factor?
“Was the undeclared, unlawful,
but very obvious war on Pakistan, where hundreds of Muslims have been killed
by drones and US special forces, a factor?
“Muslim leaders, never
missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, failed to ask the all
important, "why," Enver Masud concluded.
The suspect, a 30-year old
Pakistan-born US citizen, Faisal Shahzad, appeared in a Federal Court in
Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon to face charges on his alleged involvement in
the botched car-bombing.
A leading newspaper of Pakistan, Dawn,
reported that Shahzad received an F-1 student visa in December 1998.
Immigration officials noted then that there was “no derogatory information”
on him in any database.
He first attended Southeastern University in
Washington, DC, and then transferred in 2000 to the University of
Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he received a B.A. in computer science and
In April, 2002, he was granted an H1-B visa for skilled
workers; he stayed in the US for three years on that visa and gained an
M.B.A. It is not clear what company sponsored the visa, which is used to
attract workers with a “specialty occupation”, such as information
Then on October 20, 2008, he reported his marriage to
Huma Asif Mian, an American citizen. He became a naturalized US citizen on
April 17, 2009.
Dawn reported a US law-enforcement official as
saying that Shahzad has admitted to buying the truck, putting the devices
together, putting them in the truck, leaving the truck there and leaving the
The official was also quoted as saying that Shahzad claimed
to have acted alone and did admit to all the charges. He reportedly told
interrogators that he learned bomb-making at a camp in North Waziristan
during a recent five-month trip to Pakistan.
According to media reports, on Saturday night, a
Senegalese Muslim immigrant, Aliou Niasse, first noticed the suspicious
smoke coming from a vehicle parked at the Times Square. It was later
found to be packed with explosives. With the help of another vendor named
Lance Orton, Aliou's observation was relayed to local police who moved
quickly to defuse the situation. The un-detonated car left a treasure trove
of evidence that quickly led the authorities to the suspected plotter being
On Tuesday, Shahzad was charged with "terrorism and attempting to use a
weapon of mass destruction." According to the New York Times, Shahzad
was interrogated without initially being read his Miranda rights under a
public safety exception, and he provided what the FBI called “valuable
intelligence and evidence.”
Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Executive Editor of the online magazine
American Muslim Perspective: