Criminalizing Muslim Charities and Political Activism

11Feb13

Rally for DhafirYesterday we learned that the New York Court of Appeals has refused to reconsider the harsh sentence that Iraqi American Dr. Rafil Dhafir is currently serving. Dhafir was arrested in the weeks before the US-led invasion of Iraq because he was sending humanitarian aid to needy Iraqis suffering under the cruel UN sanctions regime. He was publicly described by politicians and bureaucrats as a terrorist without any supporting evidence – legitimating the false notion that Iraq and 9/11 were connected – and sentenced to 22 years in a high security prison. Last Monday his lawyer appealed to the court that the most serious crime he was found guilty of, money laundering, normally falls under a lesser sentencing category than the one used to punish him. Furthermore, most cases relating to the violation of sanctions for humanitarian reasons do not result in high end sentences. We were told that such appeals normally require six weeks to six months to decide. Dhafir’s appeal, however, was rejected in less than one week. Since our system of justice has consistently betrayed him, Dhafir is now calling for a political campaign to solve the political case against him. To help spread the word, I am re-publishing this academic paper I wrote about the injustices that he and the Muslim communities in Central New York have suffered as a result of the criminalization of Muslim charities and political activism.

Sarah Marusek, “Muslim and Interfaith Charities in Central New York,” Proceedings of Connections and Ruptures: America and the Middle East, (American University of Beirut, Summer 2012).

Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans have long been subjected to discrimination. However, since 9/11 United States policy makers have manipulated the public’s fear of terrorism for the purpose of formally increasing existing unjust discrimination against  Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. Although these two groups comprise diverse populations spanning different ethnic and religious groups, public discourse and policy encourage Americans to imagine a community of Muslim–Arab–Middle Easterners that is a threat to homeland security and challenges everything from the U.S.’s Christian identity to its capitalist free markets.[1] Ascribing to a person membership in this deviant community has the effect of trumping his or her claim to American citizenship, and by so doing, retracting the rights this latter identity is supposed to guarantee. As a result, since 9/11 thousands of Arab-Americans and Muslim- Americans have been detained, deported or profiled, even though very few are ever prosecuted in the courts. Islamic organizations have also been targeted, with dozens of Muslim charities either closed down or financially disabled. The targeting of Muslim charities not only curtails humanitarian work, but also limits Muslim-Americans’ expressions of faith since charity is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. When Muslim charities are closed down, other charitable institutions are needed for Muslims to be able to practice this essential tenet of their religion, which perhaps helps to explain why the number and scope of interfaith organizations have increased in recent years.

This ethnography focuses on developments within the Muslim charitable communities in Central New York State post 9/11, where many Muslims were persecuted following the 2003 arrest of Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a prominent Iraqi-American oncologist and the closure of his charity Help the Needy.[2] I will first look at the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Dhafir and closure of his charity, and then explore the workings of interfaith initiatives in Central New York. My research is based on unstructured interviews with prominent local religious activists, as well as participant observation of several interfaith initiatives, focusing primarily on Interfaith Organization, a women’s charity group co-founded shortly after 9/11 by Mary, a Christian activist, and Latifah, a Muslim activist who worked closely with Dhafir.[3] The aims of Interfaith Organization are remedying socio-economic injustices by serving the poor, as well as promoting social solidarity by joining together people of different faiths. However, as demonstrated in some of the inner conflicts Interfaith Organization faces, the group is ultimately reproducing the politics of the American state. Indeed, contemporary theories of recognition (Fraser 1997 and Taylor 1994) indicate that further transformative practices may be necessary to remedy the deeper social injustices against Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, practices that liberal discourses of multiculturalism may be unable to provide.

Targeting Arab-Americans, Muslim-Americans and Muslim Charities[4]

Scholars of Arab-American studies often cite the invisibility of Arab-Americans prior to 9/11 and their hyper-visibility thereafter.[5] The horrific terrorist attacks in New York created a climate of fear that was then manipulated by policymakers to redefine American identity. The “us” versus “them” binary adopted by former President George W. Bush forced every American to choose a side, which erased the possibility of a hyphenated identity. Suddenly criticizing the U.S.’s foreign policy became synonymous with anti-Americanism, a phenomenon Salaita (2005) calls “imperative patriotism.”[6] Religion was also racialized, as Arab-Americans were conflated together with Muslim-Americans, and both were persecuted and denied rights on the basis of negative stereotypes of Islam and Arabs. Although this practice was not new, after 9/11 the government reproduced a particular typology of Muslims in relation to the war on terror. Subsequently, thousands of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans have been unreasonably persecuted. Mamdani (2004) suggests that the system now fundamentally presumes Muslims to be ‘bad’ unless proven otherwise, reversing a core principle of American jurisprudence.[7] Bayoumi (2006) similarly argues that immigrant males from targeted countries are obliged to “misidentify from the Muslim-as-terrorist figure,” a typology repeatedly emphasized in the media.[8]

The Muslim community in Central New York experienced this persecution after 9/11. According to Sanaa, a local Muslim activist, “some people would not go to the mosque… some women even took their hijab off. Some women would not go out of their homes, saying what if they grab me, what if they throw me with rocks, what if they do this or…?” Latifah describes the injustice she personally experienced while working as a technician for the Red Cross: “I had a supervisor who turned away a donor because the donor came in and said I’m not comfortable with a Muslim terrorist sticking me. And [my supervisor] said, well, I’m not comfortable having you donate so I’m gonna have to ask you to leave. So the guy left.”[9] On another occasion, she recalls how “I got stopped in a mall one time, and the person said to me, you need to go back to where you came from. You know, assuming I was from the Middle East.”[10] This crude remark is even more astonishing considering Latifah is an American of English and Irish descent.

In addition to Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, Islamic organizations have also been subject to extreme discrimination. Charity is one of the Five Pillars of Islam; however, since 9/11 many Muslim charities have been unjustly targeted in the name of the so-called ‘war on terror.’ In the years following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has “designated more than 40 [Muslim] charities internationally as terrorist financiers,”[11] although they have yet to publish a list of officially approved charities. The vast majority of Muslim charities targeted by the U.S. government have had their assets frozen and their offices shut down without ever being formally prosecuted or convicted of any crime.[12] The few federal cases that have arisen against Muslim charities and individual supporters of Muslim charities have been legally problematic because the government is adopting loose interpretations of material support for terrorism, as well as using ex post facto relationships to prove that suspects are, according to President George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13224 of September 24, 2001,[13]  “otherwise associated with” terrorists. As a result, most prosecutions have not resulted in convictions. Perhaps this lack of convictions helps to explain why some cases are being tried only as criminal cases, and not as a terrorist-related, as is true in the Help the Needy case in Central New York.

In 2003, Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a prominent Iraqi-American oncologist living in Central New York was arrested because his charity Help the Needy was sending aid in response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq,[14] including money to build mosques, parcels of food and medical supplies, all of which allegedly violated the U.S. and U.K.’s sponsored United Nations (U.N.) sanctions. Although the F.B.I. had kept the Dhafir under surveillance since at least 1997,[15] Help the Needy was never prevented from delivering the supposedly illegal aid. Instead, the charity openly carried out its operations until 85 agents went to Dhafir’s home to arrest him in 2003, only weeks before the launch of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.[16] The same morning Dhafir was arrested, around 150 Muslim contributors to the charity living in Central New York were also questioned by various government agencies. Much like Dhafir, every Muslim who was questioned was assumed to be ‘bad’ unless he or she could prove otherwise. One woman did not even have time to put on her headscarf before officials forced open the door to her home.[17] The agents also questioned the Dhafir’s medical staff while cancer patients were stranded all day in the waiting room without anybody available to administer their chemotherapy treatments.[18]

When the local community helped to raise $2.3 million in bail to secure Dhafir’s release, the judge refused to grant his release even though he agreed to wear an electronic monitor tag.[19] Many in the community still argue that he did not receive a fair trial. Colleen, a court watcher for the American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.), describes the events: “I don’t know if you ever had the experience, but when I was a kid there would be times when these rich kids had a game that everybody wanted to play, and you’d be playing the game with these kids and because it was their game they changed the rules as they went along. And that’s exactly how it was for Dhafir.” In preparation for his trial, Dhafir could not see his three lawyers together in the prison where he was being held, as only two were allowed to visit him at any given time, and even then only one was given phone access. His trial lasted for 17 weeks, and he was accused of 60 counts of white-collar crime with no charges of terrorism.[20] Even so, leading up to the trial, the former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former New York governor George Pataki both publicly stated that the case was connected to terrorism,[21] reaffirming the Muslim-as-terrorist typology.

According to Colleen, the intelligence community connected Dhafir to terrorism because of his work in Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders during the years of the Soviet invasion (1979-1989).[22] Although not mentioned during the trial because the information was sealed, the prosecution suggested during the sentencing phase of the trial that the government had ex post facto evidence that Dhafir had met with a member of the Afghani mujahedin who later became a supporter of al-Qaeda. The prosecution neglected to point out that at the time of this alleged meeting the U.S. government was providing financial support for the mujahedin.[23] Dhafir was found guilty of 59 out of the 60 charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison. He is currently serving his prison sentence in a severely restricted new facility that almost exclusively houses Arabs and Muslims, known as the Communications Management Unit (CMU) in Terre Haute, Indiana.[24] In a personal letter, he wrote:

During my trial, The Post Standard [a Central New York newspaper] published an episode of the cartoon Blondie. Bumstead was reading the newspaper. He turns to his wife and says, “Look honey, this man is great. It says here that he is rich but spends most of his money on charity.” Blondie then says, “So when will he be arrested?” I gave this [cartoon] to my lawyer to pass on to the judge. I wonder if he ever got the message.[25]

As stated above, the morning Dhafir was arrested, authorities also interrogated around 150 local Muslims who had donated money to Help the Needy. Latifah, who was forced to accept a plea bargain to avoid prosecution, recalls an incredible exchange between her husband and the F.B.I. agent who questioned him: “…one of the F.B.I. agents was getting ready to leave and he turned around and looked at my husband and he said, it wasn’t a Christian who flew the planes into the World Trade Center. And my husband turned to him and said, and you know it wasn’t a Muslim who blew up the Oklahoma Federal Building.” Since the interrogations on that morning, fear of further persecution still plagues the Muslim communities in Central New York. As Latifah explains, on that morning “[The F.B.I.] came in with guns, and here’s these kids, these small children… two, three and four years old, and they’re sitting there watching these guys go through [their] apartments and stuff, with guns. I mean what kind of impression does that leave on these kids?”[26]

Since Dhafir’s arrest, charitable donations by Muslims in Central New York have dramatically decreased. One prominent community member claims that donations have declined by at least 60 or 70 per cent and says that if Muslims do make a donation they now request detailed information about what the money is allocated for, even when it is being collected by the local mosque for maintenance purposes.[27] Collaborations between the mosque and other organizations have also declined,[28] which unfortunately limited my access to informants. According to Mary, some Muslim women are even hesitant to participate in Interfaith Organization because they fear documentation of their participation will end up in the local newspapers.[29] Both she and Latifah believe that women working undercover for the F.B.I. have attended the group’s meetings in the past.

Furthermore, the problem of “interpellation,” as described by Althusser (1971), may also be limiting Muslim participation. Althusser cites the example of the subject who responds to the policeman’s call “hey, you there!” A subject’s response to this call presupposes some recognition of potential guilt and opens the door to a subsequent judgment, reorganizing the power relations between the policeman and the subject accordingly. By responding, the subject is recognizing that he or she really does occupy the deviant space designated by the interpellator.[30] Volpp (2003) suggests that this process of interpellation may also be happening through the racial profiling of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. She concludes that if individuals recognize the categorization of non-citizen, foreigner or even potential terrorist, “he or she is translated into a subject of ideology—here, the subject of nationalist ideology that patrols borders through exclusion.”[31] Therefore, after 9/11 some Muslim-Americans may not want to respond to the call of non-Muslim because both the acts of calling and responding are problematic.

Interfaith charities in Central New York

While many in the region continue to be frightened, several Muslim activists have responded to these events in progressive ways, framing this case and its aftermath as an opportunity to educate people about Islam. They have also established connections with those of other religious faiths who are similarly troubled by social injustice. As a result, several interfaith initiatives have emerged in Central New York, ranging from small social networking clubs to wide-scale regional development charities. Since 9/11, non-governmental organizations and government agencies in the U.S. have lauded interfaith initiatives for promoting mutual respect and understanding.[32]

My research focuses on Interfaith Organization, a group that tries to address social injustices in Central New York. Fraser (1997) argues that there are generally two kinds of injustice today. One is socio-economic injustice, which is best addressed by some form of redistribution promoting group de-differentiation. There is also what she calls cultural or symbolic injustice, which is rooted in discursive practices. Examples of the latter include cultural domination, non-recognition and disrespect.[33] This type of injustice requires social change that leads to recognition, which conversely promotes group differentiation. Fraser suggests that recognition could involve revaluing the identity of those suffering injustice, valorizing the diversity of the society at large, or the “transformation of societal patterns of representation, interpretation, and communication in ways that would change everybody’s sense of self.”[34]

Interfaith Organization works to reduce socio-economic injustice both locally and internationally, although this work is not necessarily focused on promoting the equality of Muslim-Americans, who tend to be more educated and have a higher employment rate than the national average.[35] At every monthly meeting there is a collection box to benefit afflicted women and children in Central New York. The charity partners with local organizations to reduce gun violence and organize activities for the sizeable community of resettled refugees in the region. They have also raised considerable sums of money to help another women’s organization build a school in Pakistan, and they regularly sponsor women living in post-conflict regions, assisting them with access to medical care, education, housing and clothing. Interfaith Organization is also interested in remedying cultural or symbolic injustice by educating the community about Islam, about which most Americans are completely ignorant. After 9/11 Mary contacted the local Imam because she was worried that the community might be alienating Muslim women. Mary was then introduced to Latifah, who describes their first meeting:

I met with Mary at her house about two weeks after 9/11 and we just sat down for coffee and she was asking about how she could help. And I think over our conversation I was educating her about Islam. She didn’t even know anything about Islam. So I was telling her this and that. And she said, this is really interesting… and I said well… both of us kind of came up with the same idea and said wouldn’t it be nice if we could extend this conversation with other women. And Mary said, well why don’t we?[36]

Interfaith Organization has hundreds of members from approximately a dozen different faiths. Clearly, reaching out to alienated members of the community also promotes diversity. As Mary exclaims, “Why, in heaven’s name, wouldn’t we want to reach out to people who really, really need help and bring them into our community and make them vital parts of our community?”[37] While this mission is certainly important in itself, there are limitations to Interfaith Organization and similar groups, because they do not necessarily undermine the climate of fear and persecution against Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. Both the climate of fear and that of persecution hinder the “transformation of societal patterns of representation, interpretation, and communication in ways that would change everybody’s sense of self.” Fraser believes that these sorts of transformations are necessary to remedy certain kinds of cultural and symbolic injustice.[38]

Recognition and the politics of difference

Taylor’s (1994) work on recognition also suggests that a transformative capability is necessary for multicultural societies. His conception of recognition is linked to identity, which “is partly shaped by recognition or its absence, often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or a group of people can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves.”[39] Even though we have an inner conception of self, we can only express this conception through language and in the presence of others. As a result, identity is socially negotiated. For example, Hall (1997) points out that the voices of capitalism and fundamentalism in the U.S. “are not coming out of different places, they are coming out of the same place.”[40] Both identities are interacting with each other as well as with the forces of modernity. Therefore, fundamentalism is not intelligible without capitalism and vice versa. Abu-Lughod (2002) and Mamdani (2004) further suggest that identity is now globalized.[41] Western liberalism developed during a period of colonial expansion and imperialism, while Islamic movements emerged in response to the intense engagements of Western powers in Middle Eastern lives. Neither an American identity nor a Middle Eastern identity is possible without the existence of the other. In multicultural societies like the U.S. in general, and Central New York in particular, these identities work in varying combinations to construct personal, communal, national and international meanings.

The politics of difference calls for identities to be recognized, not marginalized. However, when U.S. policy in the Middle East is perceived as invasive and unjust by Muslim-Americans, conceptions of Islam and the Middle East become over-politicized, which complicates formations of a merged identity.[42] At the same time, a de-politicization of American identity is occurring. McAlister (2002) demonstrates this phenomenon through the media’s portrayal of American soldiers, hostages and victims as brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, rather than citizens with political objectives.[43] Brown (2006) believes that the liberal discourse of tolerance actually enables the de-politicization of particular norms, because “the subject of tolerance is tolerated only so long as it does not make a political claim, that is, so long as it lives and practices ‘difference’ in a depoliticized or private fashion.”[44] In this way dominant norms and practices are recognized as desirable, while anything outside of these norms and practices is merely tolerated, and even then only as long as the claims being made are not political. This state of affairs not only rearticulates marginalization, but also depoliticizes the dominant norms and politicizes marginalized norms. Since the liberal state promises to protect the individual’s right to toleration, Brown suggests its politics are ultimately contrary to the community that is ostensibly being tolerated.[45]

In his discussion of global mass culture, Hall (1997) believes the current dominant ideology of multiculturalism wants to recognize and absorb differences without challenging “the larger, overarching framework of what is an essentially American conception of the world.”[46] Perhaps this is why Taylor (1994) suggests that a fused horizon of standards is necessary to acknowledge the worth of another culture, ultimately allowing everybody his or her own contextual wholeness.[47] He argues that since liberalism is the political expression of only one range of cultures, it may not be compatible with other ranges and therefore cannot universally provide a forum for recognition. The liberal norms and expectations of the dominant society may obscure the meaningfulness of important struggles for those who are oppressed within liberal culture as well as those outside of it.[48] After all, liberalism fosters the norms and expectations that are actively being resisted.[49] Unless the significance of these particular struggles can become visible, Babbitt (2001) suggests that any stories about them will ultimately be misunderstood, as appears to be the case with Interfaith Organization, as further illustrated below.

Reproducing the politics of the state

Interfaith Organization is confronted by internal contestations common to many social movements. Although both co-founders stress the fact that the group is not political, the power relations that govern Washington are also working within the group, and as a result Interfaith Organization is subtly reproducing the politics of the American state. During my interviews, tensions appeared in stories about the importance of Muslim contributions to the group’s history. Similar tensions also emerged during one Interfaith Organization meeting, when a member gave a speech thanking Mary, asserting that the group was hers, and only mentioning the group’s Muslim co-founder Latifah as an afterthought. Sanaa is concerned that Muslim women are currently not being given a voice within the group. She said that whereas “[In the beginning] the whole organization was built around Muslims, right now Muslims have no say in anything.”[50] Indeed, many of the group’s recent meetings were poorly attended by Muslim members. The group had tried to avoid this predicament by adopting a consensus-based approach to governance. According to Latifah, not only is this a fair way to hear everybody’s voice, but it also encourages each person to use her voice responsibly.[51]

The problem in this case may be that equal representation in the group does not remedy the systematic marginalization of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans by American society at large, a feeling compounded by events surrounding the arrest of Dhafir, the Iraqi-American oncologist. As Majaj (1999) points out, Arab-American identity is “subject to identity-based discrimination and to the repercussions from political events in the Middle East.” This identity, therefore, “cannot be understood in isolation from factors affecting the group at large.”[52] This observation about the communitarian nature of identity informs developments in Interfaith Organization. Sanaa has stopped participating in the group because she feels that the current Jewish president is not amenable to her taking positions in support of Palestine, a perspective that is neither well publicized nor respected in the American mainstream. She says that over the course of five years, she has repeatedly tried to raise the “Palestinian Israeli problem” with the group, but she was not successful and eventually she just gave up.[53] When asked why this topic is avoided, both co-founders of Interfaith Organization stress that they have to steer clear of politics because the group is a registered charity, and perhaps such a discussion would, in fact, be better suited to a separate forum. Nevertheless, the Internal Revenue Service’s definition of politics only refers to elections, candidates and campaigns,[54] not to debates about international affairs and humanitarian concerns. Earlier group meetings also dealt with several controversial political issues such as civil liberties and the current war in Iraq.[55]

Therefore, excluding any discussion of the “Palestinian Israeli problem” is actually a highly political act. Silence over the matter may be interpreted by some as tacit agreement with the normative perspective that informs American foreign policymaking. Salaita (2008) similarly argues that those academics asserting a non-political orientation are, in fact, taking an extremely politicized stance during a time when any person disagreeing with the American state is deemed to be siding with the enemy.[56] The ongoing detention of respected Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian, an academic from the University of South Florida, in Tampa, who was arrested in 2003 and charged by the government with material support for terrorism but never convicted by a jury, illustrates the draconian penalties Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans face for speaking out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. While Charara (2008) argues that Arab-Americans are political, “whether we like it or not,”[57] this statement needs to be contextualized in an era when certain tenets of liberalism are being de-politicized and very specific identities are being over-politicized. Why are some struggles seen as political by Interfaith Organization and the American state, whereas others are not? American foreign policy is certainly contentious, and not just for Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. However, Taylor would probably argue that in order to recognize those who have cultural ties to a region that is adversely affected by U.S. interventions, we must not only listen to their perspectives, but in some way also find ourselves transformed by the exchange. Otherwise, the marginalization of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans will continue, and we will not be able to recognize the injustices they suffer, as demonstrated in the case of Dhafir, who is the only American citizen ever to be imprisoned for violating the sanctions against Iraq.


[1] Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (London: Verso 1991). Anderson suggests national communities are also imagined or created. Here, the imagined American community excludes Muslim- and Arab-Americans.

[2] I use pseudonyms for all participant interviews and interfaith organizations to protect the identity of informants. However since this court case is in the public domain, I am not using pseudonyms for the defendant Dr. Rafil Dhafir and his charity Help the Needy.

[3] I also observed a larger community wide interfaith organization and the local chapter of a national organization.

[4] This paper frequently interchanges Muslim-American and Arab-American to facilitate critical and theoretical analysis, however argues against the political conflation of Arab or Arab-American identity with Muslim or Muslim-American identity. (The hyphen used for Arab-American and Muslim-American is the editor’s).

[5] See Amaney Jamal and Nadine Naber eds. Race and Arab Americans Before and After 9/11: from Invisible Citizens to Visible Subjects (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2008).

[6] Steven Salaita, “Curricular Activism and Academic Freedom: Representations of Arabs and Muslims in Print and Internet Media, Arab Studies Quarterly, Volume 30, Issue 1, Winter (2008): 1-14.

[7] Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror (New York: Pantheon Books, 2004).

[8] Moustafa Bayoumi, “Racing Religion,” CR: The New Centennial Review, Volume 6, Number 2, Fall (2006): 267-293. For an analysis of bias in the media see Joseph, D’Harlingue and Wong, “Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in the New York Times, Before and After 9/11,” in Jamal and Naber eds. Race and Arab Americans, 229-275.

[9] Interview with Latifah, a local Muslim Activist, October 16 2008.

[10] Ibid

[11] Alan Cooperman, “Muslim Charities Say Fear Is Damming Flow of Money,” Washington Post, August 9 2006.

[12] Elaine Cassel, The War on Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled the Bill of Rights (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2004), 94.

[13] Guinane, Dick and Adams eds. Collateral Damage: How the War on Terror Hurts Charities, Foundations, and the People They Serve (Washington D.C.: OMB Watch, 2008). The link to the Executive Order was removed after publication of this paper.

[14] Denis Halliday argues that these sanctions caused the death of around one million people in “Of Sanctions and Bombings: The UN Failed the Iraqi People,” Counterpunch, September 6, 2003.

[15] In court the prosecutor presented Latifah with e-mail correspondences that dated back to 1997. Interview with Latifah, October 16 2008.

[16] Katherine Hughes, “Criminalizing Compassion in the War on Terror,” Fellowship, Volume 72, Number 9-12, Fall (2006).

[17] Interview with Latifah, October 16 2008.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Interview with Colleen, a court watcher for the American Civil Liberties Union, September 19 2008.

[20] The charges were all connected to the running of the charity: violating federal regulations in relation to the economic sanctions imposed against Iraq, money laundering, mail and wire fraud, tax evasion, and visa fraud.

[21] Michael Powell, “High-Profile N.Y. Suspect Goes on Trial,” Washington Post, October 19 2004.

[22] Interview with Colleen, September 19 2008

[23] Ibid.

[24] Dan Eggen, “Facility Holding Terrorism Inmates Limits Communication,” Washington Post, February 25 2007.

[25] Personal correspondence with the Dr. Rafil Dhafir, March 29 2009

[26] Interview with Latifah, October 16 2008.

[27] Interview with Sanaa, a local Muslim activist, October 13 2008.

[28] For example, the mosque did not promote an interfaith dinner dialogue in November 2008 and only a few Muslim participants attended a Muslim Solidarity Day celebration in February 2009.

[29] Interview with Mary, a local Christian activist, November 17 2008.

[30] Louis Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971).

[31] Leti Volpp, “2003 The Citizen and the Terrorist,” In September 11 in History: a Watershed Moment? ed. Mary L. Dudziak (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), 157.

[32] See Kian S. Lee, “Building Intergroup Relations After September 11,” Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 2002 and Changing Course: a New Direction for U.S. Engagement with the Muslim World (Washington D.C.: U.S.–Muslim Engagement Project, 2008).

[33] Nancy Fraser with Linda Gordon. “From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a ‘Postsocialist’ Age,” in Justice Interruptus (New York: Routlage, 1997), 14.

[34] Ibid, 15.

[35] Jane Lampman, “US Muslims: Young, Diverse, Striving,” The Christian Science Monitor, March 3 2009.

[36] Interview with Latifah, October 16 2008.

[37i] Interview with Mary, November 17 2008.

[38] Fraser, Justice Interruptus, 15.

[39] Charles Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition,” in Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, ed. Amy Gutmann (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). 25.

[40] Stuart Hall, “The Local and the Global: Globalization and Ethnicity,” in Culture, Globalization and the World-system: Contemporary Conditions for the Representation of Identity, ed. Anthony D. King (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 32.

[41] Lila Abu-Lughod, “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others,” American Anthropologist, Volume 104, Number 3, (2002) and Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim (2004).

[42] Steven Salaita, “Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism: Arab Americans Before and After 9/11,” College Literature, Volume 32, Number 2, Spring (2005): 151-152

[43] Melani McAlister, A Cultural History of the War without End, The Journal of American History, Volume 89, Issue 2 (2002): 439-455.

[44] Wendy Brown, Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 46.

[45] Ibid, 95.

[46] Hall, “The Local and the Global,” 28.

[47] Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition,” 70.

[48] Susan E. Babbitt, “Objectivity and the Role of Bias.” In Engendering Rationalities, ed. Nancy Tuana and Sandra Morgen (Albany: SUNY Press, 2001), 298.

[49] Ibid, 302.

[50] Interview with Sanaa, October 13 2008.

[51] Interview with Latifah, October 16 2008.

[52] Lisa Suhair Majaj, “New Directions: Arab American Writing Today” in ArabAmericas: Literary Entanglements of the American Hemisphere and the Arab World, eds. Ottmar Ette and Friederike Pannewick (Frankfurt: Vervuet, 2006), 325.

[53] Interview with Sanaa, October 13 2008.

[55] All of Interfaith Organization’s meetings are noted and available to download on the group’s web site.

[56] Salaita, “Curricular Activism and Academic Freedom,” 2008.

[57] Hayan Charara ed, “Introduction” in Inclined to Speak: an Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry (Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 2008), xxix.

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