April 26, 2005
Universal Press Syndicate

Then They Came for the Children

Feds Arrest Girls for Teen Snottiness

by Ted Rall

They've vanished into the netherworld of a Homeland Security gulag and their story has already disappeared from the headlines, but the shocking case of two 16-year-old girls [Adama and Tashnuba] from New York City arrested a month ago ought to inspire outrage among every American worthy of the name. Since the government's reasons for the girls' imprisonment could apply to virtually any teenager, it should also spark fear. . . .

Without a warrant, NYPD detectives and federal agents burst into the girl's home--no wonder they don't have time to look for Osama!--where they "searched her belongings and confiscated her computer and the essays that she had written as part of a home schooling program," say her family. "One essay concerned suicide...[that] asserted that suicide is against Islamic law." The family is Bangladeshi. They are Muslim. That, coupled with the mere mention of suicide bombing in her essay, was enough to put the fuzz on high alert. . . .

Based solely on an essay written by one of the two, the FBI says both girls are "an imminent threat to the security of the United States based upon evidence that they plan to become suicide bombers." But the feds admit that they have no evidence to back their suspicions. Nothing.

"There are doubts about these claims, and no evidence has been found that such a plot was in the works," one Bush Administration official admitted to the Times. "The arrests took place after authorities decided it would be better to lock up the girls than wait and see if they decided to become terrorists," another told the New York Post. The same logic could be used to justify locking up any Muslim, or anyone at all. Heck, maybe that's the idea.

The Bangladeshi girl, who was homeschooled and wears a veil, says she never even met her outgoing and more Americanized "co-conspirator" from Guinea before the cops accused them of plotting to do...something. Maybe.


[Ted Rall, America's hardest-hitting editorial cartoonist for Universal Press Syndicate, is an award-winning commentator who also works as an illustrator, columnist, and radio commentator.]

Enver Masud, "Secret Evidence Laws Target Arabs, Muslims," The Wisdom Fund, August 7, 2000

Joe W. (Chip) Pitts III, "Tough Patriot Act Followed by 40 Nations," Washington Post, September 14, 2003

[Mr. Aatique and Mr. Khan are among 11 Muslim paintball players who were indicted in June on 32 counts of weapons violations and conspiring to aid the Taliban in its fight against the United States.--Tarron Lively, "Suspects trained at terror camp," Washington Times, February 13, 2004]

[. . . the Federal Bureau of Investigation has asserted that both girls are "an imminent threat to the security of the United States based on evidence that they plan to be suicide bombers." No evidence was cited, and federal officials will not comment on the case.--Nina Bernstein, "Teachers and Classmates Express Outrage at Arrest of Girl, 16, as a Terrorist Threat," New York Times, April 9, 2005]

"Secret FBI Report Highlights Domestic Terror," ABC News, April 18, 2005

[The heart of the government's case against Timimi was a meeting he attended in Fairfax on Sept. 16, 2001 -- five days after the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. Timimi told his followers that "the time had come for them to go abroad and join the mujahideen engaged in violent jihad in Afghanistan," according to court papers.--Jerry Markon, "Jurors Convict Muslim Leader in Terrorism Case," Washington Post, April 27, 2005]

Nina Bernstein, "Elation in Harlem as Girl Held in Terror Inquiry Is Released," New York Times, May 7, 2005

Nina Bernstein, "Questions, Bitterness and Exile for Queens Girl in Terror Case," New York Times, June 17, 2005

Julian Borger and Duncan Campbell, "Evangelist tells 7m TV viewers: US should kill Venezuela's president," Guardian, August 24, 2005

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