We have also suffered at the hands of Islam!

Maryam Namazie
Published in Hambastegi English
December 23, 2002

Thousands have been arrested throughout the USA after complying with an order for all non-immigrant men over 16 from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Syria to register with the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) by December 16. The INS is refusing to say how many have been arrested from the 7,200 boys and men who had been expected to show up at their offices nationwide. Young and old, many of them with pending immigration petitions, have been detained and are at risk of deportation. There are numerous reports of mistreatment and abuse. And there are more mass arrests to come. Boys and men from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen face a registration deadline of January 10 whilst those from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan must register by February 21.

The majority of those targeted by this outrageous racial profiling and state racism reminiscent of the internment of the Japanese during World War II are non-immigrants who were born in the Middle East and North Africa. The only ‘crime’ of these people who are in the USA on student, tourist or work visas and or with pending immigration petitions is their place of birth. Entire groups of people are being deemed criminals for the crimes of Islamic states and groups from which in fact many of them have fled. They are criminalised even if they are now citizens of other countries like Canada, even if they are secularists, non-Muslims, opponents of political Islam and Islamic terrorism, Muslims who oppose political Islam (do all Americans or ‘Christians’ support the KKK?) and so on. These people are being deemed guilty for the acts of states and groups that have been at one time or are now supported by the USA and West.

This USA law and registration system would really be preposterous if it was passed for the terrorist acts of some ‘Americans’ and or even the USA government. Wouldn’t it be preposterous to round up all American and Western boys and men over 16 because of the actions of for example Timothy McVeigh? Or even because of the acts of terrorism of the USA government on say the people of Iraq or Chile? It seems preposterous because it is a given that people living in the West are not homogeneous and don’t usually represent the government or reactionary right-wing groups in the West. But when it comes to ‘easterners’, everyone is one and the same with the Islamic states and groups that have wreaked havoc in the region and the world.

This racist law and the arrests portray all people from the Middle East and North Africa as terrorist. Clearly, this is not the case. In fact, Islamic terrorism and political Islam, which was strengthened by the West, has massacred a lot more for a lot longer. The tragedy and outrage that took place on September 11 is the daily tragedy of the people living in that region. In reality, many of those rounded up in the past few days or the days to come are victims of this very Islamic terrorism themselves. This law also deems all those countries and people as ‘Islamic’ and ‘Muslim’. It’s as if the people of that region choose to live under Islamic fascism and intolerable Islamic laws. And this is not only the USA government’s assumption. Armenia, which was originally on the registration list, was scratched off at the last minute for being a ‘Christian nation’. According to a spokesperson of the Armenian Assembly of America: ‘We have suffered at the hands of Islam…unfortunately, we have junior members of the State Department who don’t know one country from another’!!! It’s as if there are no differences in beliefs, opinions, religions in that region, no struggles, no socialists, atheists, secularists, freedom-lovers and so on. Fore example, though there is an anti-Islamic backlash in Iran and people there are actively struggling to overthrow the Islamic regime in Iran, Iranians are being portrayed as one and the same with the state that is oppressing them.

This law and arrests have just about as much legitimacy as the law rounding up Germans and Japanese during the World Wars – that is, none whatsoever. What relation did the Japanese at the time have with the Japanese government? What relation does the Iranian, Iraqi, Libyan student, worker or tourist have with those governments? This law must be resisted and pushed back. The USA government must not be allowed to assault rights, diminish civil rights on a global level and re-victimise people who have already been the victims of Islamic or USA terrorism.

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