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(October 1, 2011)
The Ugly America Murders Again!
The Martyrdom of Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki
Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):
Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki was a scholar and teacher who was well known to Muslims in the West. His contributions over the years in helping tens of thousands (if not millions of Muslims) better understand their faith, and become more deeply connected to it, will not be soon forgotten. As the Noble Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said:
"When the son [or daughter] of Adam dies, nothing will be of greater benefit to him than three things: a continuous charity; some useful knowledge he has left behind; and a child who will pray for him."
I can assure our detractors that (in spite of their relentlessly venal propaganda campaigns against this targeted, and now deceased, mujahid) as word spread throughout the Muslim world yesterday and today, of the U.S. government's murder of this Muslim-American citizen, there was a prayer on the lips of millions of Muslims both here and abroad for Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki. (May ALLAH forgive his sins and grant him passage through one of the highest gates in Paradise.)
We have yet to see the evidence that Sheikh Awlaki ordered, or even encouraged, acts of terrorism (as this term is universally defined) anywhere in the world. In our humble opinion, his only crime (in the eyes of neo-colonial powers) was in having the courage to articulate the Muslim Ummah's right to defend itself (i.e., its people and its territories) from the political violence of others, and to also assert the Muslim Ummah's right to God-given self-determination.
With that said, the embarrassing doublespeak of some of the Muslim community's leading organizations in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, reveals some of the reasons why Muslims today receive so little respect from the temporal powers-that-be. It is because we have so little respect for ourselves! (Any loyalty that some of us may feel for the "brotherhood of Islam" is often paper thin, and easily buckles under pressure...and the enemy knows it!)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had this to say about the assassination of Sheikh Awlaki:
"As we have stated repeatedly in the past, the American Muslim community firmly repudiated Anwar al-Awlaki's incitement to violence, which occurred after he left the United States. While a voice of hate has been eliminated, we urge our nation's leaders to address the constitutional issues raised by the assassination of American citizens without due process of law."
And this comes from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC):
"While continuing to repudiate Al-Awlaki’s violence-filled message of hate, MPAC and constitutional scholars have raised legal concerns about the methods used in Al-Awlaki’s demise, namely the killing of an American citizen without a trial and due process.
"During the past few years, he has been a vocal mouthpiece attempting to incite Western Muslims to violence against their home countries. According to MPAC’s “Post-9/11 Terrorism Database,” 16 out of 26 al-Qaeda attacks against the American homeland have been either operationally planned or inspired by Al-Awlaki. This includes the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber and the 2010 Times Square attacks."
Dar Al-Hijrah, an Islamic Center in Northern Virginia where Sheikh Awlaki once served as imam, had this to say:
"In recent years, while in his self-imposed exile, Mr. Al-Awlaki encouraged impressionable American-Muslims to attack their own country. Al-Awlaki will no longer spread his hate speech over the internet to Muslim youth provoking them to engage in violence against Americans.
"We must also add that in previous statements we have rejected the use of extra-judicial assassination of any human being and especially an American citizen which includes Al-Awlaki."
It would have been better if they had said NOTHING at all!
I invite the "leaders" of these organizations, and others around the country who may be preparing similarly shameful, capitulatory statements, to read and reflect over the statement of Michael Ratner below (of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights). You might learn a little something about the importance and meaning of due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilt.
Afterwards, reflect over the divinely given mandate revealed to all humanity via The Noble Qur'an:
"If an evil person [or entity] comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth; lest in your ignorance you do harm to an innocent person, and later be full of regret for what you have done."
May ALLAH guide and fortify us. Ameen.
El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan
September 30, 2011
The Guardian (UK)
The law on the use of lethal force by executive order is specific. This assassination broke it -- that creates a terrifying precedent
by Michael Ratner
Is this the world we want? Where the president of the United States can place an American citizen, or anyone else for that matter, living outside a war zone on a targeted assassination list, and then have him murdered by drone strike.
This was the very result we at the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU feared when we brought a case in US federal court on behalf of Anwar al-Awlaki's father, hoping to prevent this targeted killing. We lost the case on procedural grounds, but the judge considered the implications of the practice as raising "serious questions", asking:
"Can the executive order the assassination of a US citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organisation?"
Yes, Anwar al-Awlaki was a radical Muslim cleric. Yes, his language and speeches were incendiary. He may even have engaged in plots against the United States – but we do not know that because he was never indicted for a crime.
This profile should not have made him a target for a killing without due process and without any effort to capture, arrest and try him. The US government knew his location for purposes of a drone strike, so why was no effort made to arrest him in Yemen, a country that apparently was allied in the US efforts to track him down?
There are - or were - laws about the circumstances in which deadly force can be used, including against those who are bent on causing harm to the United States. Outside of a war zone, as Awlaki was, lethal force can only be employed in the narrowest and most extraordinary circumstances: when there is a concrete, specific and imminent threat of an attack; and even then, deadly force must be a last resort.
The claim, after the fact, by President Obama that Awlaki "operationally directed efforts" to attack the United States was never presented to a court before he was placed on the "kill" list and is untested. Even if President Obama's claim has some validity, unless Awlaki's alleged terrorists actions were imminent and unless deadly force employed as a last resort, this killing constitutes murder.
We know the government makes mistakes, lots of them, in giving people a "terrorist" label. Hundreds of men were wrongfully detained at Guantanamo. Should this same government, or any government, be allowed to order people's killing without due process?
The dire implications of this killing should not be lost on any of us. There appears to be no limit to the president's power to kill anywhere in the world, even if it involves killing a citizen of his own country. Today, it's in Yemen; tomorrow, it could be in the UK or even in the United States.
Two unwarranted high-profile executions in the space of a week (Troy Davis and Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki). What a dubious record for a nation that flaunts itself around the world as "the land of liberty and justice for all." Something to think about! - MS