“Mr. Arman is a man of the greatest integrity, kindness and responsibility,” Mobin-Uddin said. She recalled a visit with Arman a few years ago to the home of an ex-Marine who displayed an anti-Muslim bumper sticker.But here is how Abukar Arman himself described this encounter:
“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”.First, note that this man was reported to CAIR-OH by one of his neighbors in the “interfaith community”. Abukar Arman admits that 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. Of course, we only have one version of the events that evening, so it would be interesting to hear the side of the man they accosted to see if the conversation really went as Arman says it did.
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”. . .
Could you imagine the outrage (rightfully so) if I had done that to someone with a pro-HAMAS bumper sticker or come to Abukar Arman’s home to confront him on his extremist views? Can you imagine the CAIR press releases and restraining orders that would have immediately followed? But in their view, this is evidence of their peace and moderation.