The fiery Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque in London, Abu Hamza, has been found guilty by a New York jury of kidnapping and terrorism charges. He was extradited from Britain in October 2012. The charges date back to 1998. He will be sentenced on September 9 and will likely get life. Abu Hamza had fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan when America was an ally of these fighters.
Muslims in the US seem to clutch any straws that would make them feel as if they are welcome in the US. The latest episode is the announcement by New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio that he would fulfill his campaign promise to recognize Muslim holidays in the public school calendar. The illegal surveillance of Muslims and infiltration of mosques by NYPD agents provocateurs, however, will continue.
When the US declared its intention to overthrow the Taliban government in Afghanistan after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, there were knowing smiles among those familiar with the US oil industry’s long interest in the region. Two years later, a great deal has changed.
Black activist Al Sharpton, who organised a vigil at the site of the shooting on February 9, asked at a forum on police brutality on the night of the shooting, ‘Are we talking about policing or are we talking about a firing squad?’ He pointed out that Amadou must have fallen to the ground after being hit twice or thrice.
Two New York police officers were convicted this month of the horrific and brutal torture of a Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima, on August 9, 1997. After his arrest outside a nightclub two years ago, Louima was beaten by four police officers in a car.
Amnesty International, the London-based human rights organisation, has just discovered that there are widespread human rights abuses in the United States.
In a pointed snub to their efforts to gain international recognition, the Taliban were frozen out of a high-powered meeting in New York called by the United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan on September 21 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
In its 1997 report, the United States Agriculture Department revealed that, ‘Americans routinely toss away uneaten vegetables, day-old bread and other pantry items, wasting one-fourth of the nation’s total food supply.