Is There Religious Neutrality in the Enforcement of the Neutrality Act?

The Washington Post’s Jerry Markon (‘Va. Jihad’ Case Hailed As Key in War on Terror, June 8, 2006) quoted chief Alexandria federal prosecutor Chuck Rosenberg as dismissing any suggestion of anti-Muslim bias in the highly criticized “Paintball 11” convictions because, he claims, the government does “not prosecute people because they are Muslims or Catholics or Jews. We prosecute them because they have committed criminal acts that warrant prosecution.” This astonishing statement prompted me to send the honorable prosecutor an e-mail asking how many American citizens who violated the same law (the “Neutrality Act”) by going to Israel to fight against Arab countries against whom the United States has not declared war have been prosecuted? Other than the religious difference Mr. Rosenberg dismisses, the main difference between those scofflaws and the Paintball 11, it seems to me, is that the latter only talked about violating the act while the former actually did so. This seems to bolster rather than resolve the suspicion of religious bias.

It’s been weeks since I sent Mr. Rosenberg my e-mail and he has yet to respond to my e-mail or to my follow-up telephone call. While my own inclination is to suspect this is due to the fact that the inquired-after perpetrators are so rarely indicted, perhaps I sent my e-mailto the wrong federal prosecutor’s office. Perhaps the prosecutor who made this remarkable statement lives in some alternative universe, one where violators of the neutrality act are prosecuted with the same fervor regardless of religion. Perhaps it is the same universe in which Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, where George Bush has fired those who leaked the Valerie Plame’s identity, and Bill Clinton did not have sex with “that woman.”

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad

Minaret of Freedom Institute

www.minaret.org

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