Please continue to keep Tariq and his family in your duas and pray that Allāh clears him of all charges against him. Āmīn.
Just a few days ago, I was online checking my e-mail, when I received some incredibly upsetting news. A friend of mine from Boston, Br. Tariq Mehanna (Tariq misspelled as Tarek), had just been arrested by the FBI. At first, I was reluctant to write-up anything about this, so as not to expose the brother's privacy, however, since the media has already made his case and name public, the least we should do is publicly defend and support him.
Regarding Br. Tariq himself, I have known him to be one of the most gracious, kind, caring, thoughtful, and respectable people I have ever known. For the two years that I knew him in Boston, I have seen him go above and beyond what most others would do to help others in need. Those who know him personally know exactly what I am talking about. I am sure any of his peers, Muslim or non-Muslim, would testify to his excellent character, māshā'Allāh. Furthermore, Tariq was very involved in the Muslim community, māshā'Allāh; I remember many times that he would be giving halaqaat (Islamic lectures) in the local masjid on an Islamic text he was studying. And he helped many many other Muslims in the community come to the straight path, walhamdulillaah, where those brothers were previously not very into the deen. I'd also like to emphasize that he does not and never has supported nor been involved with terrorism, in any way whatsoever. As such, I am completely perplexed as to why the FBI would be scrutinizing such an upright individual in the first place.
According to the details from the Boston Globe, Tariq was arrested for allegedly lying to the FBI in December 2006 regarding the whereabouts and activities of Daniel Maldonado. For now, he is being held without bail (pending a hearing to decide whether or not he should be held without bail). The FBI claims that it recorded phone calls and that it had an informant who secretly recorded conversations with Tariq that, they claim, show that he was lying to them about Daniel.
Before I go any further, I would like to remind all of our readers that these are only accusations against Br. Tariq. At the moment, we don't know Tariq's side of the story, nor do we know how much of what the FBI is claiming is false and how much is true. That being so, we should assume that he is innocent unless proven otherwise. The principle of innocent until proven guilty is a foundation of this country's legal system and values, that I hope and pray that we as a nation will fully return to after so many well-documented individual abuses given the fledgling status of habeas corpus in America these days.
Let's take a step back and consider the implications of this incident: we have another American citizen with no previous criminal record of any kind, being held without bail (for now) in his own country, arrested TWO years after the alleged incident and while on his way to a prestigious position that should have been new positive chapter in his and his family's life.
No mention was made of any other wrongdoing since the alleged incident in 2006, and they didn't arrest him then, so arresting him now does not make any sense. Such a tactic serves only to smear Muslims, and brings pain and suffering to him, his family, and his future. Such tactics by the authorities work directly against the integration of the Muslim community into this society, serving only to create a hostile environment that leaves Muslims fearful, marginalized, and unable to trust the authorities.
Once again, I remind all of our readers that, under the laws of this country, Tariq is presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. I can honestly say that I can think of very few individuals that I know personally who can match this brother's character and efforts for the deen. It would be extremely saddening if we were to lose such a brother. I ask everyone to please make du‘ā’ for Tariq's expedient release and that Allāh protects him and makes his innocence known. May Allāh protect Br. Tariq from those who wish him ill, make his innocence known, and grant him an extremely speedy release and safe return to his family and life. Āmīn.
If anyone is in the Boston area, please try your best to attend Tariq's court hearing to show your support. His hearing has been moved to Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, at 2:30 pm.
Court Hearing for Tarek Mehanna
Show Your Support – Attend the Hearing
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Time: 2:30 pm
John Joseph Moakley US Federal Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way
(617) 748 9152