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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
Pauline Murphy
Friedrich Engels: a Tourist In Ireland
David Swanson
The Unifying Force of War Abolition
Louisa Willcox
Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Tom Udall Back Tribes in Grizzly Fight
John Stanton
Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States
Robert Fisk
Did Trump Denounce Qatar Over Failed Business Deals?
Medea Benjamin
America Will Regret Helping Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen
Brian Addison
Los Angeles County Data Shows Startling Surge in Youth, Latino Homelessness
Native News Online
Betraying Indian Country: How Grizzly Delisting Exposes Trump and Zinke’s Assault on Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Stephen Martin
A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market
Debadityo Sinha
Think Like a River
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail