The article discusses issues surrounding the killing of Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy. However the topic quickly turns to Jihadi John and the perspective that the prisoner advocacy group Cage put forward regarding the harassment and barring of the return to his country of birth Mohamed Emwazi aka Jihadi John received (for the complete story click here). Ghitis then goes on to write:
“It is a misleading interpretation of events, one seemingly aimed at furthering the alleged agenda of Cage. Indeed, reports suggest that the security services had reason to believe Emwazi was already engaged in supporting Somalia’s al Shabaab before his troubles began. Any “harassment” he experienced therefore seems more likely to have been because he was regarded as a threat.”
I singled this article out due as this is a very destructive way of thinking and a view that too many share. What Ghitis seems to be saying here is that there is no need to grant Muslim suspects the right of due process. The statement: “Any “harassment” he experienced therefore seems more likely” is quite a foolish sentiment. Since when is punishment delivered to a suspect because it “seems more likely” that he is guilty? The reason we have courts is to charge, try, and ultimately convict or exonerate suspects. There is no room for any other permutation. We cannot say that a man should be barred from the country of his birth, harassed to be a spy, and repeatedly harass family members and close friends because he is merely a suspect. I wonder if Frida Ghitis would accept the same treatment from the US government if she were dealt with in this way? Then when she tries to cry foul people would just dismiss her suffering by concluding that “…it seems more likely to have been because she was regarded as a threat.” Would this be acceptable to any freedom loving person with sincere intentions at being fair?
I am perhaps one of the most vociferous critics of ISIS from amongst the Muslim community world wide. There is certainly no love lost between myself and ISIS, however there is a saying in the Quran that states:
“…and let not the enmity and hatred of others allow you to be unjust.”
Ghitis and those like her are being unjust. You don’t have to be Muslim to see the wisdom in this statement. I will not follow her example and let my dislike of ISIS cause me to be unjust. Emwazi and ISIS have done unimaginable evil, yet we should not pretend that there is no context to Emwazi’s evil actions. When people feel that they have no access to justice or that justice doesn’t include them, they sometimes lash out. Am I saying that all the blame is on the security services? Absolutely not as such an accusation would be ludicrous. However to try and state that the blatant unjust actions of the security services played no potential role in his radicalization is equally ludicrous. Emwazi had never been convicted or even charged with a crime. How can we justify the treatment he received?
In an interview following the revelation of CIA torture techniques, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said: “But when you make this moral equivalence argument, the fact that we made some terrorists uncomfortable for several days…” I must add that these “terrorists” were people who were NOT convicted in any court of law and thereby were suspects. Many people can be suspected of a crime, however they are supposed to be given due process and fair treatment until their guilt is substantiated. Bill Harlow’s use of the word “uncomfortable” is ridiculous. Torturing people is not making them uncomfortable. I wonder if he would accept his own brother or father to be arrested and waterboarded simply because he was suspected of committing a crime. I think that he would not be ok with it nor would I be ok with it. However, Muslim suspects seem to have a different criterion. What of the many who were tortured in CIA and MI6 programs only to find out that they were not guilty of any crime? The hatred that those victims may feel, the radicalization of those individuals, should be attributed to who exactly? Should it be attributed to Islam?
My question to Frida Ghitis is simple: Do you feel that the treatment Emwazi received was just? And if you feel that it was then are you comfortable having the same treatment given to your brother or father who was not convicted or even charged with a crime in a court of law? I await your response…