Friday, May 21, 2010

North Carolina: Prominent moderate Muslim arrested for "willfully exporting" to Libya "equipment controlled by the U.S. government for anti-terrorism reasons"

 May 21, 2010

And Muslims in North Carolina are vigorously playing the victim card. "Popular local Muslim figure arrested on federal charges," by Yonat Shimron for the Raleigh News and Observer, May 20 (thanks to Twostellas):

RALEIGH A prominent member of the Muslim community who worked to better relations with law enforcement agencies was arrested Wednesday and charged with exporting computer equipment to Libya without a license.

Mohammed "Moe" El-Gamal of Raleigh, the president of the Muslim American Public Affairs Council, appeared today before a federal judge who agreed to release him on $1 million bail before his trial.

$1 million bail. He wasn't just sending mousepads to Tripoli.

El-Gamal's lawyer, Dan Boyce said his client would plead not guilty.

More than 40 members of the Triangle Muslim community crowded into U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge James Gates' courtroom, dismayed by the charges against El-Gamal, an Egyptian native who immigrated to Canada in 1978.

"It's not fair," said Burhan Ghanayem, a retired pharmacologist from Durham. "Are they trying to make a point that we in the Muslim community are targeted?"

In a sane world, non-Muslims would be quoted in this story, saying something like, "It's not fair. Are Muslims trying to make a point that even the moderate ones support jihad against the West?" Instead, Burhan Ghanayem claims victim status unchallenged.

Only last Friday, El-Gamal helped organize a seminar in Apex for the Muslim community with representatives of Transportation Security Administration and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. During the event, Muslims were encouraged to ask questions and share their concerns about racial profiling at airports, among other issues.

Were they encouraged to be loyal to the U.S. Government and cooperate fully with anti-terror measures? Were they encouraged to accept the U.S. Constitution and laws and make no attempt to bring Sharia provisions here?

El-Gamal, who owns a business called Applied Technology Inc, in Kenansville, is a considered by many a moderate voice within the community, eager to bridge the divides between Muslims and others in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yet today, he stood accused of willfully exporting equipment controlled by the U.S. government for anti-terrorism reasons.

The charges date back to 2006 and 2007 and involve the shipment of less than $50,000 worth of Cisco routers and Dell storage devices, including encryption data cards.

Richard Jereski, an agent with the Office of Export Enforcement in the Department of Commerce, testified that El-Gamal lied about having a license to sell the equipment to Libya, which at that time was considered a state sponsor of terrorism.

"He explained he understood the licensing restrictions and said he had the appropriate licenses," said Jereski. "We researched our database and found no license ever issued to the defendant."

Since 1986, the United States adopted economic sanctions against Libya including a total ban on direct import and export trade, commercial contracts and travel-related activities. Since 2003, the U.S. has begun normalizing relations with the African nation after it announced its intention to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and stop sponsoring terrorism. Some trade restrictions remain.

The government is also accusing El-Gamal of lying to U.S. Department of Commerce agent about having multiple citizenships. El-Gamal is a U.S. citizen, but he also holds Canadian and Egyptian citizenships.

Local Muslims though questioned the timing of El-Gamal's arrest four years after the prosecutor said the sale took place.

They worry the case would distract them in their efforts to improve relations between their community and the government.

"We're trying to get Muslims to trust federal agencies and all of a sudden they arrest one of our active members?" asked Waleed Elhentaty, a Raleigh businessman and a member of the Muslim American Public Affairs Council. "It's weird."

Note the inversion of reality. In a sane world, the feds would be saying, "We're trying to get federal agencies to trust Muslims and all of a sudden a prominent 'moderate' Muslim is making illegal exports to Libya?" In the world we live in, however, Waleed Elhentaty takes the arrest of a Muslim for illegal activity and uses it to claim victim status for Muslims -- and no one calls him on it.

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