May 18, 2001, - 1:07 am
“Profiling” may be the dirty word of the decade.
Like “racism,” it’s a key word inflamed by the civil rights victimology industry. A dynamite stick thrown around with very harmful results.
Unfortunately, even President Bush got caught up in the act. In October 2000, desperate to win Michigan and show politically correct moderation, candidate Bush joined the anti-profiling bandwagon. In the second presidential debate, when asked about racial profiling in stopping and/or arresting criminal suspects, Bush denounced the practice. He cited his buddy, Arab-American Senator (now Secretary of Energy) Spencer Abraham, and spoke of his opposition to racial profiling of Arab Americans.
As an attorney, I’ve represented Arab-Americans — most of whom are hardworking and law-abiding — against institutions that have discriminated against them. But profiling of Arab-Americans for terrorism is different from discriminatory traffic stops of black Americans — it’s a necessary tool of law enforcement. It’s necessary to protect the security of America and Americans. And Bush’s Arab-American friends in Michigan — whose turnout at the polls was small, and who didn’t vote for him or even their own ethnically representative U.S. senator, Abraham — are proof of why profiling is necessary.
The Detroit area is home to the largest concentration of Arab-Americans. It is also home to the largest concentration of Arabs anywhere outside of the Middle East. And, whether they wish to admit it or not, it is also home to any number of sympathizers and active participants in Arab terrorist groups that kill Americans. It may not be politically correct to utter this truth. But, several recent current events show it to be accurate.
Last week, the Detroit News reported on Arab activists complaints about alleged profiling of Arabs in the Detroit area. But, the article, “Arab Americans Criticize Use of FBI Informants,” detailed a frightening story of how two Lebanese brothers, Ali and Mike Boumelhem of Dearborn, Mich., attempted to ship loads of weaponry and ammunition over the Detroit-Canadian border to their eventual destination, the Hezbollah terrorist cell in Lebanon.
Disguised as auto parts and contained in the Boumelhem brothers’ shipment seized by FBI and U.S. Customs agents, was a cornucopia of terrorism tools — flash suppressors for AK-47 assault rifles, parts for AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, 12-gauge shotguns, 750 rounds of ammunition, a police scanner, and many other weapons. FBI agents also uncovered a videotape showing Ali Boumelhem firing automatic weapons in Lebanon and acknowledging that he was a member of Hezbollah. On Nov. 17, he bought a one-way ticket to Beirut, where he was stopped and arrested by federal agents. In Boumelhem’s bags, agents found a black ski mask, black combat boots, a camouflage jacket, green khaki pants, and identification cards with at least three different names. Hint: This guy wasn’t headed to the golf course to tee off. He was headed to the Middle East to foment terrorism. “These are the garments of a terrorist organization,” said an FBI affidavit.
The weapons were contained in a 41-foot-long steel cargo container, to be sent on a rail line bound for Montreal, then shipped to Lebanon to Hezbollah, a fanatical terrorist group that takes its marching orders from Iran. In 1982, Hezbollah killed 240 U.S. Marines in Lebanon. This charming group committed the torture, murder and hanging display of U.S. military attache Col. Higgins’ body. These are the people who kidnapped the CIA man, surnamed Butler in the U.S. embassy in Lebanon. They transferred him to Iran, where he was tortured and bludgeoned to death. Several years ago, Hezbollah also blew up the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center, where over 100 were killed.
Hezbollah officially supports “the use of hostages” and “suicide in jihad operations.” When the State Department released its terrorist list this year, Hezbollah was on it — again. Hezbollah’s response: “We regard the hostile [sic] of the American administration as proof that we are following the right path.” Hezbollah declares that, “it is the duty of all Muslims to engage in Islamic jihad if it ensures the ultimate goal, which consists in inflicting losses on the enemy.” America and Americans are high on Hezbollah’s enemy list. If President Bush ends profiling, he will help this group achieve its ends, by hindering U.S. law enforcement’s efforts to stop them on our own soil.
For all their faults and the hits they are taking over the flubbing of document discovery in the Timothy McVeigh odyssey, the FBI did a good job catching the Boumelhems. But, unfortunately, they are the tip of the iceberg. Stories have appeared in Detroit newspapers many times over the years regarding the aiders-and-abettors of terrorism who were caught as a result of alleged profiling. And there are many such stories that go unreported. Not to mention the weapons that make it through from our borders to Middle Eastern terrorist groups — weapons that make it through because federal agents are under increasing pressure from so-called civil rights groups who discourage logical, efficient profiling.
Osama Siblani, editor of the Arab American News, and Arab activist, Adrian Baydoun — rather than denouncing the terrorist Hezbollah and its murder of Americans — are protesting the FBI’s nabbing of the Boumelhems, claiming that it is ethnic profiling. Why? Because the FBI relied on brave, volunteer informants who are Arab-American, relatives and an ex-wife of one of the suspects — witnesses whose lives have now been threatened. If there is something wrong with this, then the FBI and all law enforcement agencies need to go out of business immediately. Informants are the primary way the criminals, terrorists and otherwise, are caught. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
The FBI didn’t just rely on the testimony of Susan Boumelhem Gates that on a previous trip to Lebanon, last year, she was forced to hide weapons parts in her luggage. They tailed the brothers to gun shows all over Michigan and surveilled Mike Boumelhem, who can’t legally buy guns because of a California felony conviction for grand theft, and saw him buy weapons for his brother, Ali. Then they watched them try to illegally ship the weapons amid stolen auto parts over the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Canada.
Let’s face it. Profiling is necessary, if evil. And those defending these terrorists are just upset they got caught. They know that profiling works. Siblani and the other defenders of these terrorist suspects were up in arms when Hollywood produced the movie, “The Siege,” about Arab terrorists who blew up New York buildings. But who actually did those things in real life, the Samoans?
When terrorists on our own shores tried to blow up the World Trade Center and planned to detonate many other U.S. cites containing large numbers of people, their names were not Sven and Thor or Juan and Jesus. They had names like Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad, Ahmad Mahommed Ajaj, Mahmoud Abouhalima, Abdul Rahman Yasin, Ramzi Yousef, Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, Ibrahim El Gabrowny and Eyad Ismoil. Prosecutors showed at trial that Yousef also planned to blow up a dozen U.S. airliners over the Far East in January 1995, as part of a terrorist plot he called “Project Bojinka,” meaning “chaos in the sky.” Without the use of profiling and FBI informants, they would have succeeded.
Hopefully, President Bush realizes that profiling is needed for American safety. And that’s more important than a pandering campaign promise to a group that didn’t vote for him.
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