Editorial-Arrests of Florida Imams Require Serious Investigation

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief

Two imams, (Muslim religious leaders) and four of their family members were arrested in Florida for allegedly sending money to the Taliban in Pakistan and supporting their terror network. The two were naturalized US citizens. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies rightly explained that the indictment was not against a community or religion but against individuals. The authorities have the recorded conversations of the two imams with the Taliban contacts in Pakistan and have the information about the money transfer between 2008 and 2010.

This is a serious issue and all mosque managements in the US need to take measures that that spiritual leadership positions must not be misused to promote personal political agenda. Regardless of how the situation is explained, the fact is that an average American would find it hard to trust a Muslim spiritual leader for his words. In his view, not only the individuals but people and institutions who support these individuals are guilty. However, illogical this perspective may be, but it cannot be overlooked.

It is the responsibility of mosque management to ensure that people who are given the responsibility to lead the community in spiritual matters are not pursuing some hidden political agenda. It is important that before hiring them, their background is checked and their understanding of religion is verified. There is nothing wrong in taking the help of the law enforcement agencies in having background check of individuals. The religious identity of a person is not a guarantee that his understanding of religion is sound or his past is free from actions that are contrary to religion.

The two imams of Florida should not have been at the position they were appointed. How could such people who have a duality in their character ever lead a people to the correct understanding of their faith. Does their behavior not confirm the fear of many non-Muslim Americans that Muslim Americans lie in order to promote their hidden agenda of destroying America from inside?

These sort of religious fanatics must be rooted out of the community. In fact, those who invite such people to America to lead the community in the masajid must be investigated too.The faith cannot be held hostage by the people who have nothing but hatred in their heart, two of the diseases that Islam demands must be fought.

Injustice must be fought but not through violent means. Yes, what is happening in Palestine is wrong and what is happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan is wrong. But the wrong can not be corrected by doing more wrong. Those among the Muslim community who promote hatred and anger and violence must realize that they have no place in the community. They will be challenged and thrown out of Muslim places of worship as they do not represent the faith and the example of the leader of the faith, the Prophet (s).

13-21

The Great American Fraud

November 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS) Middle East Correspondent

money-stacks2 The U.S. Chief District Attorney, this week, revealed a conspiracy by a Kuwaiti owned and operated food company to bilk the American government out of $8.5 billion in contracts to provide food for troops in Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq. It took the Atlanta-based Grand Jury no time at all to indict the Kuwaiti company. According to the indictment, Agility (formerly known as the Public Warehousing Company) was charged with a veritable ‘laundry list’ of crimes related to defrauding the U.S. Government. Agility provided food for U.S. troops from 2003-2005. The conspiracy was uncovered during a probe into unethical business practices of Middle East vendors.

According to court documents, Agility took painstaking measures to get away with the fraud. Some of the charges include submitting falsified documents, overinflating prices to sometimes triple the local Kuwaiti market value, making false statements and wire fraud. Most damaging is perhaps the revelation that Agility ordered it’s own suppliers to reduce the size of packages so that twice the number of packages would be delivered to unsuspecting U.S. military bases.

Agility is not taking the charges sitting down and has already come out ‘swinging’ and leveling their own verbal barrage at the U.S. government. In a recently released statement to the press, Agility has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and says that the charges are baseless. The company also says that ongoing contracts with the US government, which are not part of the current indictment, remain in tact. However, Agility has been barred from bidding on new contracts with the US until the pending indictment is either proven or dismissed. The press release also went on to say that Agility is putting its’ full confidence in the US system of justice to prove its’ innocence, “An indictment and a complaint are merely allegations. PWC is confidant that once these allegations are examined in court, the will be found to be without merit.” Agility also revealed that the prices it charges for its’ goods and services were predetermined and approved by the U.S. government and that company heads are “surprised and disappointed” by the charges.

This case is only one out of several that have been launched against contractors hired by the U.S. government over the past several years. The most notable is a case of fraud leveled against KBR, which is a subsidiary of Halliburton. The company has been charged with overcharging the U.S. government for oil and other military supplies. Since the news of the Agility fraud broke, the company has ceased all trading in the Kuwait stock market which has seen an 8% drop in its stocks. However, on the Dubai market, Agility continues to rally without incident.

Agility stands to lose plenty if it is found guilty of the charges of fraud. According to a recent report by Goldman Sach’s, the company’s annual revenue is comprised of a meaty 37% of American contracts. A guilty verdict would result in Agility being put on probation and having to repay either twice the gain they received from the contracts or twice the loss that the U.S. government incurred. The U.S. government has promised to deal swiftly with those seeking to defraud it and that the charges against Agility are “only the first step” in dealing with dishonest contractors.

In the meanwhile, Agility continues to look for new ways to break the chains of reliance upon the U.S. government for it’s daily ‘bread’. Agility has diversified itself across the board. The company now sells real estate and even provides freighter service for gold mining companies in Papua New Guinea. However, their new business ventures may prove to be exercises in futility as the U.S. government is unlikely to back down as it relentlessly seeks justice.

11-48