FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Bomb in My Briefcase?

by MOHAMMAD ALI SALIH

Many terrorists’ tactics used in London will be repeated here. First, it was shoes; last year it was liquids and baby formulas; and this year it is propane tanks in cars and Muslim physicians.

I am not a physician, but every weekday I dress up in a suit, carry a briefcase and go to work. I wonder what would happen here if London police had arrested someone wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase with a bomb inside it.

More precautions make me more afraid than less precautions and the nations’ capital that I have worked in for 27 years, is, since 9/11, increasingly scaring me.

* * *

Highway signs that used to warn people of traffic jams and construction sites, every now and then flash terrorism warnings. Recently, my family went to Baltimore International airport to pick up my college-age daughter arriving from Germany with her German friend with whom she had spent two weeks. The friend will stay with us for two weeks before she returns to Germany.

Electronic signs along the highways to the airport flashed: “Report Suspicious Activities.” The airport was guarded and our car was “randomly” stopped, but a security man was nice as he quickly checked inside and signaled us to proceed.

The German girl took far longer than my daughter to pass through customs. Both of her hands were finger-printed, her picture was taken and she was asked extensively about the purpose of her visit. “I can’t believe this; the Americans are scared of everything. There is fear in Germany, but nothing like this,” she said.

* * *

Plans for a simple cookout now involved fear of being suspected of building an IED. Going to Home Depot to buy a propane tank brings to mind recent reports that the security authorities “have been contacting local businesses, asking them to report unusual sales of propane tanks, fertilizer or other materials that could be used to make crude bombs.”

When my children borrow my car, I asked them, tongue-in-cheek, to check if there are “protruding wires, bitter odors” and other “suspicious characteristics” that the police was reported to be looking for in cars.

* * *

Recently, there was a debate about an immigrant from Morocco who was arrested in Florida for saying “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and threatened to blow up a building while his car was playing loud Arabic music. (Later, it was reported that no bomb was found and his roommate said he had problems with a girlfriend).

Now, this immigrant not only repeatedly says “Allahu Akbar” (as a quite prayer) days and nights; not only plays Arabic music in his car; but also keeps Koranic CDs in his car!

But I always check to be sure that I also have my Bible CDs, and the Christian literature I pick up from churches.

* * *

Of course, the security authorities should take precautions to protect people.

But it just seems that these are endless precautions:

First, there will always be terrorists and crazy individuals who would want to kill people. Second, the security authorities should not be expected to theoretically declare, “No more security threats; let us dismantle our agencies.” Third, President Bush inflames the situation every time he declares that if the terrorists in Iraq were not defeated, “(t)hey would follow us here, home.”

* * *

In a recent address, President Bush warned people about his “new and unprecedented war” on terrorism. If he could only imagine the fear, stress and depression that have inflicted me, and many other Muslims I know here in America, as this endless war goes on and on!

That was one of the reasons I stacked my car with Islamic and Christian CD’s and literature, after I had found refuge in mosques and churches. I never thought I would go to churches this often; but I have found in them a different type of Americans. They don’t seem to minimize this unbelievable fear that engulfed this greatest nation in the history of mankind, but they seem to trying to calm themselves, and to find refuge (and explanations) in their faith.

I can’t but compare them to Washington politicians who I have covered for almost thirty years, and who I have found, since 9/11, to do the opposite: scare people (and promise to protect them, to win their votes).

Finally, if someone becomes suspicious when hearing me saying “Allahu Akbar” a little too loud, or because of a loud sound of Koran from my car, I will eagerly bring out my Bible CDs.

MOHAMMAD ALI SALIH is the Washington , DC , correspondent for London-based “Asharq Alawsat,” an international Arabic daily newspaper, and other Arabic publications.

 

More articles by:
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
Andrew Levine
Why Not Hillary?
Paul Street
Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé
Chris Floyd
Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers
Eric Mann
How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools
Jason Hirthler
The West’s Needless Aggression
Dan Arel
Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Flunks Decontamination
David Rosen
The Privatization of the Public Sphere
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy
Chris Gilbert
Corruption in Latin American Governments
Pete Dolack
We Can Dream, or We Can Organize
Dan Kovalik
Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation
Jeffrey St. Clair
Fat Man Earrings: a Nuclear Parable
Medea Benjamin
Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail