Two news reports that came out today about two different terrorists living in America highlight the crazy disparities between how the government treats foreign-born Muslim people involved in terrorist groups versus homegrown white Christian people involved in terrorist groups.
The first news story is about Ali Al-Marri, a Qatari guy who was attending college in the US before September 11th. I hung out with Ali's brother, Jarallah, for a couple weeks in January and got an earful about his case — the CIA suspected Ali of being involved in Al Qaeda and arrested him right after 9/11. Since then, he's been held in naval prison in South Carolina, much of the time in solitary confinement in a "sensory deprivation" cell. Ali hasn't been charged with any crime and today the Justice Department announced it would finally arrange a civilian trial for him.
The second story is about Robert Henderson, a Nebraska state trooper who was fired for being actively involved with the Ku Klux Klan. In his decision, the State Supreme Court judge said, "From its very inception, the State of Nebraska has been founded upon principles of equality and tolerance that the Ku Klux Klan, from its very inception, has used violence and terror to oppose."
So one man suspected of being involved with a group that's used violence and terror to oppose the American government has been imprisoned for five years while another known member of a group that's used violence and terror to oppose the American government just gets fired from his job. What's the difference? I think their pictures say it all.
If our justice system really did value equality and tolerance, either Robert Henderson should be held without trial for five years or Ali Al-Marri should be released immediately. Apparently having members of known terrorist organizations running loose in the country is no big deal as long as their terrorist organizations are part of the fabric of American history. But obviously, both of these are dumb options — we should just have fair trials for all terror suspects to begin with.
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