Update #2: Contrary to what Barbara Carmen reported, I spoke with both federal and local law enforcement today and no one was aware of any investigation by their departments into Abukar Arman. Never let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.
The Columbus Dispatch wades into the Abukar Arman controversy with a front page article this morning, “Investigation clears Hilliard man”. First off, I think that reporter Barbara Carmen did a fair job of splitting the baby and allowing both sides to have their say, though there are several factual errors with Carmen’s article that I will note below.
This is certainly an improvement over the hatchet job by Dispatch reporter Felix Hoover in May 2006 on my research into Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS operative and Hilliard resident Salah Sultan, which presented Sultan as a moderate Muslim cleric in an article published just a few days before he appeared on Saudi Al-Risala TV saying that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush Administration to launch the War on Terror and praising an al-Qaeda cleric.
But the headline is intentionally deceptive. The article quotes County Administrator Don Brown on what Arman was cleared of: “We did a background check and found no criminal or terrorist connections. Mr Arman is not a person of interest.” Yes, Don Brown — terrorism researcher extraordinaire. But the Dispatch article itself reveals that they didn’t actual do an investigation, and the County Commission has said that it will not issue a report. What exactly was Abukar Arman cleared of, Columbus Dispatch?
They did a background check? No one ever accused Mr. Arman of any crimes or terrorist activities. What I did accuse him of in my original FrontPage article, “Hometown Jihad: The Somali Terror Apologist Next Door”, citing his own extensive collection of published articles, was his praise for designated terrorist organizations and individuals by the US government. See for instance his blog post, “HAMAS Victory is a Victory for Democracy and Peace!”. I would invite readers to peruse that post and explain to me how it is anything other than irrational exuberance at the January 2006 election of the terrorist group HAMAS in the Palestinian Authority elections. The recent HAMAS takeover in Gaza gives us an indication of their plans for “democracy and peace”. His support for terrorist organizations should have been the issue at hand, but it apparently wasn’t.
One interesting tidbit revealed in the Dispatch article is that Abukar Arman is not even a US citizen, and yet he is sitting on all these government boards and committees, particularly the Criminal Justice Planning Board.
There are a couple of errors made by Carmen worth correcting. Carmen says, “Poole note the county website says that the criminal justice board oversees homeland security. County officials said that is an error. The board oversees justice grants and court programs, and handles no sensitive information.” Actually, in our conversation it was Carmen, not me, who referred to the website. What I referred her to was the Planning Board’s own report (that bears Abukar Arman’s name), “The Franklin County Comprehensive Strategic Justice Plan”, which is dated December 2006 and states the following about the Planning Board’s oversight of Homeland Security:
The Board is responsible for comprehensive countywide planning and directing the mission of the Office of Homeland Security & Justice Programs. The Franklin County Office of Homeland Security & Justice Programs performs the fiscal and programmatic administration of the county’s federal justice block grants and the Urban Area Security Initiative, provides training and technical assistance for the justice partners and first responders, and is responsible for the development and evaluation of projects and programs operating in accordance with the Franklin County Comprehensive Strategic Justice Plan and the Homeland Security Strategy.Additionally, there are members of the Planning Board that I interviewed off the record who are also under the supposedly erroneous conclusion that they oversee the county’s Office of Homeland Security and Justice Programs.
A second error is that they state that I have worked for “Republican research groups”. In fact, I have never worked for a Republican organization. Every public policy organization I have worked for is a registed 501(c)3 that is prohibited by law from engaging in partisan politics. But the Columbus Dispatch never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.
Thirdly, she claims that I did a FrontPage story on CAIR-Ohio president Asma Mobin-Uddin, which in fact I haven’t.
A few observations:
- It doesn’t appear that the County Commission was really interested in actually examining Arman’s vocal support for terrorists because of the perceived political implications for the three Democratic county commissioners. It’s tragic, and one day may prove fatal to some Central Ohioans, that the County Commission is driven more by political interests than the security of the citizens of Franklin County.
- It is certainly disappointing that the County Commission did not actually conduct an investigation, as Commissioner Paula Brooks and her staff had represented. Instead, they punted and tried to find a bureaucratic way out, much as the Columbus Public Schools did by letting Arman go.
- This kerfuffle has essentially come to a draw on the central issue I raised — Abukar Arman’s vocal support for terrorist organizations — because it was never really examined. They did a background check. So what? I never accused him of being a criminal or a terrorist.
- Abukar Arman was sitting on these boards and commissions without actually being a US citizen (a fact uncovered by Barbara Carmen). That apparently isn’t troubling to anyone else. That notwithstanding, it seems their “investigation” did uncover something.
- Read the last two paragraphs of the article:
“Mr. Arman is a man of the greatest integrity, kindness and responsibility,” Mobin-Uddin said.But here is how Abukar Arman himself described this encounter:
She recalled a visit with Arman a few years ago to the home of an ex-Marine who displayed an anti-Muslim bumper sticker.
“We stood and talked with the man on his doorstep for an hour and a half. Mr. Arman never raised his voice. He told the man, ‘You know, sir, I have four children. I’ve lived in this country for decades. If I knew someone who was going to put a bomb somewhere, I would be the first one to jump on them.’”
Several months ago, a non-Muslim fellow in the inter-faith community brought to the attention of CAIR-Ohio a picture of his neighbor’s truck with a bumper sticker that read “Jesus loves you, and Allah wants you dead”.Abukar Arman and Asma Mobin-Uddin decided that they didn’t like this man’s bumper sticker and confronted him at his doorstep at the instigation of one of the “interfaith community” friends. They originally intended to make him “a poster-child of the prevalent assertive ignorance that is widening the post 9/11 political divide between Muslims and non-Muslims”, but instead decided on just haranguing him at his home. Could you imagine the outrage (rightfully so) if I had done that to someone with a pro-HAMAS bumper sticker? Can you imagine the CAIR press release that would have followed? But in their view, this is evidence of their peace and moderation.
Some of us thought that the appropriate thing to do was to get media involved and use this truck owner as a poster-child of the prevalent assertive ignorance that is widening the post 9/11 political divide between Muslims and non-Muslims. Others, on the other hand, saw this as an opportunity for human contact, discourse, and to build bridges of understanding.
The latter opinion prevailed.
Therefore, I had the privilege of being one of three Muslims (2 male and a female with Islamic veil) who paid a neighborly visit to the truck owner.
What ensued was an interesting discourse that I found to be very educational (its final outcome notwithstanding).
The truck owner was a former Marine officer who served in Somalia and Iraq. Initially, as he opened the door, he was visibly apprehensive (and rightfully so).
We greeted him and introduced ourselves. We reassured him that we were only interested to get to know him, address any questions or perhaps grievance that he may have, and to give him a chance to meet and dialogue with ordinary Muslims.
Long story short: in a conversation that took place right outside his door and lasted for over an hour, the former Marine talked about how he was very suspicious of Muslims and how, both in Somalia and in Iraq, he and other Americans who “came to help these two countries had their hands bitten. . .” He talked about how he did not believe there were any moderate Muslims and how organizations such as CAIR were deliberately silent about condemning terrorism. He also talked about being alarmed by the growing Muslim population in Central Ohio and how they may be hiding a terrorist who has in his possession a “briefcase nuke”. He said, “I don’t want to see a giant mushroom in Columbus” [I will come back to this point].
Lastly, he talked about his career in the private sector . . . how he worked as a “corporate anti-terrorism expert” and a “consultant to a numerous multinational corporations”. . .
Go back to sleep, Central Ohio. The Democratic Party, the establishment media and moonbat blogs are here to tell you that everything is all right. Ignore that big, bad man saying otherwise.