0 Siddiqi gives U.S. Muslim 9/11 viewpoint
Approximately one week after the Sept. 11 attacks, when many American Muslims were questioned by law enforcement agencies, a Western Illinois University English and journalism professor, Mohammad Siddiqi, found himself sitting across from a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent.
Siddiqi, a Muslim, sat for two hours with the FBI agent in the University Union.
"Some of the questions were such that the agent himself laughed while asking. For example, he asked, 'Are you a terrorist,'" he said.
During his Wednesday presentation, "Muslims and Islam in America: 9/11 and After," Siddiqi said in the first month (after Sept. 11) more than 2,000 Muslims were arrested and their basic civil liberties were violated.
He added that more than half have been released, but about 900 still remain in detention.
"Most of them still don't know what their crime is, except the investigation continues. This is a disturbing element, because if tomorrow I am charged with collaborating with terror, my family cannot know for months where I have gone," he added.
Siddiqi recalled hearing about the first World Trade Center attack while driving to Western. By the time he reached his office, the second plane had already hit; he was sitting in his office when Tom Carper, the mayor of Macomb called.
"He said, 'We are experiencing a very horrifying moment, no doubt, but I want to make sure the small number of Muslims in Macomb do not feel helpless.'
"It was reassuring to have support from the community and university," Siddiqi added.
He stressed there is no relationship between what was done by the Muslims who hijacked the planes and what Islam is.
"As Muslims, we are against any act of violence or terror aimed at innocent people. In our effort to make this world a peaceful and safer place, we have to establish justice. Peace cannot be established without justice," Siddiqi said.
He believes American Muslims need to interact, participate and contribute in public life to continue to change attitudes.
"I am hopeful that something very tragic has broken barriers. We have to realize that America is a diverse and liberal society to make it more beautiful and strong," Siddiqi added.
Macomb resident Anne Lobdell came to the meeting because she is concerned with relations within the Islam community in Macomb.
"I study Middle-Eastern culture for my own knowledge, and I was really pleased to see so many people here to listen to Dr. Siddiqi," she said.
Lobdell added she would take away a greater understanding of the Muslim community because she now sees how important networking is in clarifying the misunderstandings.
A little background on Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi. He founded the Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI), otherwise known as the Indian Mujahideen. Inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, it stood for radical social change in India and the waging of Jihad in India. He has been a Professor of Journalism and Public Relations at Western Illinois University Macomb, Illinois since 1987.
Now we know Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a suspected 9/11 planner, lived in Macomb, Illinois. We also know he wanted to attend Western Illinois University to study English. In addition al-Marri was in direct communication with Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other al-Qaida members.
Siddiqi claims he is not involved with terrorism. But these facts do appear to be very coincidental.
By: Plox (1054.32)
Tags: WIU, Macomb, Illinois, Jihad, Islam, Muslim, 9/11, al-Marri, Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi, SIMI, Students Islamic Movement of India, Western Illinois University, Mujahideen, Terrorist, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Qatar, al Qaida, Osama Bin Laden, Sleeper Cell
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