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“Perfect Terrorist”: Looking into Mukasey’s Modeling Techniques!

Amad Abu Reem

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If [(Arab+Muslim+Trip to Pakistan+ …) / (age+ #of prayers/day+ …)] > X,
THEN suspect
ELSE patriot

Ok, not exactly. But Mukasey, a strong supporter of the Patriot Act, and who argued in a WSJ piece that:

“current institutions and statutes are not well suited to even the limited task of supplementing . . . a military effort to combat Islamic terrorism.”

I talked about Mukasey before his AG approval in this post “Injudicious and Malicious” Judge Mukasey : An Attorney General Nightmare For Muslims?. As expected, he has been busy developing (constitutionally) dirty techniques, using public and government records to create “terrorist profiles”. So, even if you did nothing wrong in your life, or you were the biggest activist against terrorism; your age, ethnicity, national origin, trips “back home”, and I am guessing your “religious profile” (perhaps your membership to an Islamic organization) could make you a “prime suspect”.

We already know that Mukasey’s record shows his utter disregard and near disdain towards Muslims (read previous post), so it is not entirely surprising that he would go after the civil rights of Muslims & Arabs. Though I would have hoped that he would leave his prejudices behind for the sake of fairness and justice in this most important position of authority. Of course the obvious intent of racial and ethnic profiling is buried under “access to military training” (paintball??) and “travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity” (entire Muslim world, barring Turkey and Malaysia??), and “a person’s race and ethnicity” (Muslim, Arab??). The article discussing this new policy points out:

The policy, first reported last week by The Associated Press, would let FBI agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious. Among the factors that could make a U.S. citizen or resident the subject of an investigation is travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, access to weapons or military training, along with the person’s race or ethnicity.

The rush that Mukasey seems to be in, coupled with the blanket of secrecy (like most other illegal Bush programs), seems to display a serious intent of getting something in before the new President takes office. He wants to leave his mark in the new McCarthyism against Muslims. And he wants to do it fast!

What can you do? Write to the members of the Senate Judiciary committee (especially its chairman, Patrick Leahy), urging them to pay close attention to this program and urging them to not allow the passage of this program, because such profiling is against the constitutional independent check of equal protection under the law.

More on the constitutional 14th Amendment (info. gleaned from my business law book):

Though the 14th amendment applies to states in original writing, equal protection guarantee has been incorporated within the 5th amendment due process, so it also restricts federal government. The guarantee applies to ALL situations in which government classifies or distinguishes people. “The law inevitably makes distinction among people, benefiting or burdening some groups but not others. Equal protection doctrine, as developed by the Supreme Court, sets the standards such distinctions must meet in order to be constitutional”.

Moreover, there are certain basis for classification that require very rigorous equal protection review, and this includes race, national origin, and even one’s citizenship status! Obviously the DOJ program being discussed here cuts straight through race, national origin and ethnicity, and thus needs to be vehemently questioned.

Make sure to use the constitutional discussion when writing to the Senators, it will make you look much more informed and will give the Senators more pause for thought.

Imad Shaykh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Imad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Amad

    Amad

    July 9, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    I was hoping for some other IT folks to provide other programming option to catch the next “budding terrorist”.. thoughts?

  2. Avatar

    Hassan

    July 9, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    if (name.equalsIgnoreCase(“Muksasey”) || name.equalsIgnoreCase(“Gonzales”)) {
    waterboard();
    electricuteBalls();
    }

  3. Amad

    Amad

    July 9, 2008 at 12:24 PM

    Very funny Hassan! good one.

    Here is the message I sent to Leahy. You can use this as a guide/template. It will take you only 5 minutes:

    Honorable Senator Leahy,

    I write to you with deep concern regarding the yet-to-be-finalized DOJ program that will use among other things, race, ethnicity, countries visited to screen potential terrorists.

    This is nothing more than a fishing expedition that is based on unconstitutional techniques, because such profiling is against the constitutional independent check of equal protection under the law.

    As you are well aware, the 14th amendment, and by its incorporation in spirit into the 5th amendment due process, guarantees equal protection under the law applies to ALL situations in which government classifies or distinguishes people.

    Moreover, there are certain basis for classification that require very rigorous equal protection review, and this includes race, national origin, and even one’s citizenship status.

    Obviously the DOJ program being discussed here cuts straight through race, national origin and ethnicity, and thus needs to be vehemently questioned.

    Mr. Mukasey’s past-record, including his stance on terrorism, as evidenced by his op-ed piece in the WSJ on 8/22/07 (http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010505), where he commented in a position remarkably similar to the Bush administration stance for holding up Combatants in Guantanamo:

    “Instead, when it is examined closely, this case [Jose Padilla’s case] shows why current institutions and statutes are not well suited to even the limited task of supplementing what became, after Sept. 11, 2001, principally a military effort to combat Islamic terrorism.”

    Another article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/washington/24mukasey.html?adxnnl=1&ref=nyregion&adxnnlx=1190659045-dxz/hVh8rvuWZqdW0yuMBQ)
    provides more indications of the deep prejudices and biases that Mr. Mukasey seems to harbor against Muslims.

    Hence, it is not all that surprising that he would take such an action. But the rush to do so, clearly to preempt Presidential elections (and a new president), is highly suspicious, and I hope the Democratic-controlled Judiciary committee will not allow such a farce of a program, in the “advertised” interest of national security. Such programs don’t make America stronger, rather the constant digs at the constitution and the fabric of this nation, make America weaker.

    Regards,
    Amad

  4. Avatar

    MR

    July 9, 2008 at 12:24 PM

    $(religion).function ({
    $this(‘islam’),
    $(‘muslim’).no-freedom-of-religion;
    $this(‘other’),
    $(‘non-muslim’).freedom-of-religion;
    });

  5. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    July 9, 2008 at 3:08 PM

    In the first snippit of code written by Amad:

    If [(Arab+Muslim+Trip to Pakistan+ …) / (age+ #of prayers/day+ …)] > X,
    THEN suspect
    ELSE patriot

    #of prayers/day should DEFINITELY be in the numerator (and probably as a multiplicative factor as opposed to an additive one), so something more like this perhaps:

    If [(#of prayers/day)*(Arab+Muslim+Trip to Pakistan+ …) / (age)] > X,
    THEN suspect
    ELSE patriot

    Thus 0 prayers/day means the LHS is zero, which always results in patriot, but 5 a day would greatly increase the probability of the LHS being greater than X (given X is a random variable, perhaps with a parametric one… normal distribution with mean = (Terror Alert level)*(scaling factor), and std. dev. = (Current population of US Muslims)/(1 million).) Any other proposals for X?

  6. Amad

    Amad

    July 9, 2008 at 3:19 PM

    Now Ahmad, you have got my engineering/stats juices flowing…

    I agree on the numerator/denominator switch. I think an exponential function would be better. Furthermore the exponent function would have a multiplier with the # of times prayers are in mosque. Also added a beard function. Women are exempt for now. Also added a RAND ranking on logarithmic scale, with liberal/progressive/secularist/sufis receiving a 0.1, and “fundamentalist wahabis” receiving a 100.0. See RAND Advisory System here.

    So, #of prayers range 0-5
    prayers in mosque: 1-5 (set min=1)
    age>12 and <95 (generous to kids and senior citizens)
    Beard size in cm (set min=1), unbearded individuals still threat.

    If {[#of prayers^(2*(prayers in mosque)]*(Arab+Muslim+Trip to Pakistan+ BeardSize…)*(RAND Ranking) / (age)] > X},

    I won’t touch panametrics– leave that to MIT gurus like u.

  7. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    July 9, 2008 at 3:31 PM

    MuslimMatters has officially been taken over by the geeks.
    *Goes into hiding*

  8. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    July 9, 2008 at 4:14 PM

    im a comp sci guy and this is all way too nerdy for me

  9. Avatar

    Musa Maguire

    July 9, 2008 at 4:58 PM

    Honorable Senator Leahy,

    Remember in the 90s, when Malcolm X the movie came out, and everyone was wearing X caps, and Nike put out the Air Raids with a big “X” across the front, and Hakeem Olajuwon was winning championships, and all the rappers claimed to be Muslim…back then, Islam was cool. Unfortunately, due to America’s misguided and narrow-minded immigration policies, our Muslim communities have been overrun by computer geeks from all corners of the world. Can you please arrest them and send them to cool camp?

    Thank you,

    A concerned citizen

  10. Avatar

    Haroon

    July 10, 2008 at 7:43 AM

    You NERDS!

  11. Avatar

    Kashif

    July 10, 2008 at 8:47 AM

    LOL – Hassan that was great!

  12. Avatar

    Seeker7

    July 10, 2008 at 10:33 AM

    **scratches head** :S

  13. Avatar

    Asim

    July 10, 2008 at 12:18 PM

    Does it matter if we email or mail our letter?

  14. Amad

    Amad

    July 10, 2008 at 12:45 PM

    Asim, mailing is usually considered more effective than electronically.

    See here on “how to get Politician’s attention

    But some action is better than none, so even if I can get my fellow Muslims to simply click and copy and paste, I think I’ll be happy :) The more motivated ones, with good questions like you asked, can help the cause by snail-mailing!

    jak for asking… i learned something new myself

    wsalam

  15. Amad

    Amad

    July 10, 2008 at 1:12 PM

    And someone (or two or three), please STUMBLE this!

  16. Avatar

    Alima

    July 10, 2008 at 8:03 PM

    stumbled!

  17. Avatar

    Suhail

    July 11, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    And now we have Obama voting for FISA. These politicians can never be trusted. I wonder what he is going to do next.

  18. Avatar

    Hassan

    July 11, 2008 at 6:00 PM

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/11/obama.netroots/index.html

    I am sure Obama’s apologists would have some way of twisting it as well.

  19. Avatar

    Yus from the Nati

    July 15, 2008 at 12:14 PM

    @ AnonyMouse: HAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH

  20. Avatar

    Raz

    July 15, 2008 at 2:03 PM

    Want a peek into the rise of an opportunist…Obamafiles pls tread with caution….read this article from Baltomore Chronicle, http://baltimorechronicle.com/2008/071508Zeese.shtml

  21. Avatar

    patb

    July 16, 2008 at 1:10 AM

    I’m not familiar enough with this issue to agree/disagree with the profiling tech being put forth here but I do have a question.
    If you were resp. for combating terrorism and focused upon wmd being utilized by an agent of a radical group (pick one) within the continental US how would you proceed?
    How would you focus limited resources to maximize effectiveness?
    You only have to fail once to lose in a big way. Chem, bio and nuke are the systems in your charter.
    How would you balance individual rights and protect those with those rights?
    Everyday hundreds of thousands of containers are offloaded in ports. Thousands of flights arrive dailey. 20 to 30 thousand 18 wheeler trucks cross our borders and trains from Mexico and Canada arrive hourly.

    .

  22. Avatar

    tabman

    August 18, 2008 at 2:20 AM

    while (Muslim)
    {
    print(“Terrorist”);
    }

    :P

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#Society

Ya Qawmi: Strengthen Civic Roots In Society To Be A Force For Good

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari

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For believers the traditions and teachings of the Prophets (blessings on them), particularly Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), are paramount. Each Prophet of God belonged to a community which is termed as their Qawm in the Qur’an. Prophet Lut (Lot) was born in Iraq, but settled in Trans-Jordan and then became part of the people, Qawm of Lut, in his new-found home. All the Prophets addressed those around them as ‘Ya Qawmi’ (O, my people) while inviting them to the religion of submission, Islam. Those who accepted the Prophets’ message became part of their Ummah. So, individuals from any ethnicity or community could become part of the Ummah – such as the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad.

Believers thus have dual obligations: a) towards their own Qawm (country), and b) towards their Ummah (religious companions). As God’s grateful servants, Muslims should strive to give their best to both their Qawm and Ummah with their ability, time and skillset. It is imperative for practising and active Muslims to carry out Islah (improvement of character, etc) of people in their Ummah and be a witness of Islam to non-Muslims in their Qawm and beyond. This in effect is their service to humanity and to please their Creator. With this basic understanding of the concept, every Muslim should prioritise his or her activities and try their utmost to serve human beings with honesty, integrity and competence. Finding excuses or adopting escapism can bring harm in this world and a penalty in the Hereafter.

Like many other parts of the world, Britain is going through a phase lacking in ethical and competent leadership. People are confused, frustrated and worried; some are angry. Nativist (White) nationalism in many western countries, with a dislike or even hatred of minority immigrant people (particularly Muslims and Jews), is on the rise. This is exacerbated through lowering religious literacy, widespread mistrust and an increase in hateful rhetoric being spread on social media. As people’s patience and tolerance levels continue to erode, this can bring unknown adverse consequences.

The positive side is that civil society groups with a sense of justice are still robust in most developed countries. While there seem to be many Muslims who love to remain in the comfort zone of their bubbles, a growing number of Muslims, particularly the youth, are also effectively contributing towards the common good of all.

As social divisions are widening, a battle for common sense and sanity continues. The choice of Muslims (particularly those that are socially active), as to whether they would proactively engage in grass-roots civic works or social justice issues along with others, has never been more acute. Genuine steps should be taken to understand the dynamics of mainstream society and improve their social engagement skills.

From history, we learn that during better times, Muslims proactively endeavoured to be a force for good wherever they went. Their urge for interaction with their neighbours and exemplary personal characters sowed the seeds of bridge building between people of all backgrounds. No material barrier could divert their urge for service to their Qawm and their Ummah. This must be replicated and amplified.

Although Muslims are some way away from these ideals, focusing on two key areas can and should strengthen their activities in the towns and cities they have chosen as their home. This is vital to promote a tolerant society and establish civic roots. Indifference and frustration are not a solution.

Muslim individuals and families

  1. Muslims must develop a reading and thinking habit in order to prioritise their tasks in life, including the focus of their activism. They should, according to their ability and available opportunities, endeavour to contribute to the Qawm and Ummah. This should start in their neighbourhoods and workplaces. There are many sayings of the Prophet Muhammad on one’s obligations to their neighbour; one that stands out – Gabriel kept advising me to be good to my neighbour so much that I thought he would ask that he (neighbour) should inherit me) – Sahih Al-Bukhari.
  2. They must invest in their new generation and build a future leadership based on ethics and professionalism to confidently interact and engage with the mainstream society, whilst holding firm to Islamic roots and core practices.
  3. Their Islah and dawah should be professionalised, effective and amplified; their outreach should be beyond their tribal/ethnic/sectarian boundaries.
  4. They should jettison any doubts, avoid escapism and focus where and how they can contribute. If they think they can best serve the Ummah’s cause abroad, they should do this by all means. But if they focus on contributing to Britain:
    • They must develop their mindset and learn how to work with the mainstream society to normalise the Muslim presence in an often hostile environment.
    • They should work with indigenous/European Muslims or those who have already gained valuable experience here.
    • They should be better equipped with knowledge and skills, especially in political and media literacy, to address the mainstream media where needed.

Muslim bodies and institutions

  • Muslim bodies and institutions such as mosques have unique responsibilities to bring communities together, provide a positive environment for young Muslims to flourish and help the community to link, liaise and interact with the wider society.
  • By trying to replicate the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah, they should try to make mosques real hubs of social and spiritual life and not just beautiful buildings. They should invest more in young people, particularly those with professional backgrounds. They should not forget what happened to many places where the Muslim presence was thought to be deep-rooted such as Spain.
  • It is appreciated that the first generation Muslims had to establish organisations with people of their own ethnic/geographical backgrounds. While there may still be a need for this for some sections of the community, in a post-7/7 Britain Muslim institutions must open up for others qualitatively and their workers should be able to work with all. History tells that living in your own comfort zone will lead to isolation.
  • Muslim bodies, in their current situation, must have a practical 5-10 year plan, This will bring new blood and change organisational dynamics. Younger, talented, dedicated and confident leadership with deep-rooted Islamic ideals is now desperately needed.
  • Muslim bodies must also have a 5-10 year plan to encourage young Muslims within their spheres to choose careers that can take the community to the next level. Our community needs nationally recognised leaders from practising Muslims in areas such as university academia, policy making, politics, print and electronic journalism, etc.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

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Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source: DMagazine.com


Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News


Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc


Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News

 


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center


Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN

 

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#Current Affairs

From Sri Lanka – The Niqab Ban and The Politics of Distraction

Shaahima Fahim

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This article was originally published on Groundviews

 

As of last Monday, Sri Lanka is taking a seat at the table next to a list of 13 other countries from across the world who have passed legislation banning the niqab or face veil.

Amidst incensed murmurs from certain parliamentarians, and following a discussion with the country’s main Islamic theological body, the All Ceylon Jammiatul Ulema (ACJU), the President’s office has announced that ‘any garment or item which obstructs the identification of a person’s face would be barred.’ Sri Lanka has been under emergency regulations following the Easter Sunday attacks which killed over 250 people. The ban will hold until emergency regulations are lifted.

Ever since the identification of the all-male terrorists behind the massacre as members of militant group ISIS, Muslim women -for some inexplicable reason- were to bear the hardest brunt. Instances of headscarved Muslim women being refused entry at various supermarkets and prominent establishments, was followed by the usual scaremongering via alarmist infographics doing the rounds yet again ‘educating’ the public of the differences between the burqa, hijab, and chador.

A victory indeed for both anti-Muslim voices, as well as to many within the Muslim community seeking to audibly amputate themselves from a supposedly dated form of Islam – one that they claim has no bearing to inherent Sri Lankan Muslim identity.  A view that discards the notion that any religious or ethnic identity is fluid, in flux, and subject to constant evolution.

The grand slam however is primarily for the current political establishment, members of whom are probably high-fiving each other as a result of this kneejerk symbol-politics manoeuvre on having supposedly successfully placated the public of their fears of homegrown terrorism. A move that bleeds hypocrisy for it comes at the cost of subliminally ‘othering’ an already marginalized segment of a minority community, while at the same time PSA’ing for peace and coexistence in this time of crisis.

What is most insulting to the intelligence of our society however, is that amidst all this brouhaha, only few have questioned the actual relevance of this new ban to the current state of our security affairs.

No eye witness report nor CCTV footage showed that any of the suicide bombers from any of the coordinated attacks across the country were on that day wearing the niqab/burqa/chador at the time of inflicting their terror. The men were in fact dressed in men’s attire, with faces completely exposed. It might serve to add here also that they weren’t dressed in traditional Muslim man garb either.

How then did the face veiling Muslim woman get pushed under the bus as the most identifiable sign of radicalism?

It is obvious that the government was cornered into passing this legislation, as was the ACJU too in having to support this move. While all communities have only their praises to sing for the exceptional work of the security forces in tracking down the attackers within only just hours, the country’s elected leadership was in dire need of respite following what many experts claim was a massive intelligence failure, a blunder involving the wrongful identification of a terror suspect, and incompetence in the handling of events overall. A distraction was desperately required. Something needed to give, and it just so happened that the niqab-donning Muslim woman was the easiest scapegoat.

To an outsider unfamiliar with Muslim religious symbolism, the face-veil can come across as alien, even unnerving. And while our first instinct is to otherize in an attempt to help deal with the discomfort of dealing with any unknown, a woman out in the street in a niqab is -for as long as anyone can remember- most certainly not an oddity that has compelled anyone to stop and recite their final rites.

The misguided belief that the face veil is a marker of extremism isn’t and hasn’t ever been based on any empirical research. If studies were to be carried out, results would show that Muslim women in general -let alone those with a face cover- have a little role to play, if any, for acts of terror committed in all the countries that have banned them.

Contrarily, there is a clear proven relationship between terrorist attacks and increases in recorded Islamophobic incidents against Muslims, with women being disproportionately targeted. One can then dare infer that being visibly Muslim carries a greater risk to oneself, than to the people around them.

The niqab ban has been put in place as a security measure they say – a flexing of muscles towards any semblance of radicalization that will deter any future acts of terror in the country. Naturally, the perpetuating of this ideological hegemony is doing Muslim women no favors. If anything, the ban is a wholly counterproductive one, in that it ostracizes an already marginalized segment of a minority community – a sliver of a percentage out of the 10% that is the country’s Muslim population.

If -as commonly believed- veiled Muslim women are being hopelessly persecuted, the ban will serve only to increasingly confine these women to their homes, under the control of the men accused of governing their lives, and further disconnected from being able to assimilate with society. Even more dangerous, there are studies which prove that having to live in an environment that is aggressively policed on the basis of belief is more likely to harbour radicalization.

Absurdity of the non-connection of the attacks with the niqab ban aside, this in itself should be a war cry for secular feminists advocating for everyone’s basic right to the civil freedoms of a liberal society. Where now are the proponents and ambassadors so wholly soaked in the ‘Muslim woman saviour complex?’ A segment of Muslim women has been forbidden from wearing what they feel best represents their Sri Lankan Muslim identity. They were not consulted before this legislation was passed, nor were they given the chance to show their willingness to cooperate on instances where identification was required.

Ludicrously, discourses surrounding veiled Muslim women are paradoxically lobbed back and forth according to the convenience of the times. In times of world peace, they are oppressed and subservient to patriarchal whims and fancies, while in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack there are hostile and threatening, capable of devising all kinds of evil. They are either victims of violence or the perpetrators of it.

This age-old preoccupation with Muslim women’s attire is in actuality a gross conflation of conservatism with extremism. In claiming that a strip of cloth holds the answer to combatting a severe global threat is trivialising the greater issues at hand. If there was a direct correlation between the attacks and veiled individuals, legislation forbidding the covering of the face in public would be wholly justified. But there is none.

Muslim women shouldn’t be faulted for the cracks in the state’s china. In not being able to answer the hard questions of accountability, lapses in acting on available intelligence, and general good governance, those at the top should leave well alone and consider hiding their faces instead.

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