The Moroccan “Paper Terrorist”

Amine El Khalifi as the Moroccan community in D.C. knows him. (copyright glittarazzi website)

When the news that a Moroccan was arrested in Washington, D.C. on charges of terrorism, a friend of mine called. ”I thought it was you,” she joked. But the case of Amine El khalifi is no joke. It profoundly rattled the Moroccan community in the D.C. area. Many feel an unwarranted haze of suspicion floating over their heads now. They look over their shoulders. They fear the community will be singled out in intrusive federal probes, stereotyped by local businesses, and harassed by local law enforcement. There is a concern the Moroccan community will be demonized and viewed as a source of “stealth Jihadist.” In coffee shops where Moroccans congregate, some expressed anger at El Khalifi; “he brought shame and embarrassment upon the Moroccan community not just in the D.C. area, but across the United States,” they vehemently retort. He deserves his fate some say.

Amine’s brother and cousin, also living in the U.S., are stellar individuals; his father is a hard working, law abiding and respected teacher in Casablanca. He, on the other hand, was rumored to have brought the rambunctiousness of the old m’dina with him. Since he landed here, at the age of seventeen, his life seemed to follow a script written by Antonio “Tony” Montana, the fictional character known as Scareface. His dream was to make beaucoup money and fast by any means necessary. I have seen him a couple of times lingering in a coffee shop in Arlington, VA, twirling the keys to his BMW, looking for action. He was known in the community as a player, a drug dealer and user, infamous for his vainness and dalliances with young women in Layla lounge and other such clubs where he peddled narcotics. Hardly the profile of a suicide bomber wanna-be. Prior to his arrest, he was never convicted of any crimes; his drug trafficking and use remain unsubstantiated allegations.

Overnight, he replaced the twirling BMW keys with prayer beads, grew whiskers, and raised the banner of Islam. He seemingly found Allah and became a devout Moslem. Never mind he couldn’t recite more than a few short Coranic verses, nor could he speak smartly about moderate Islamic doctrines and interpretations, let alone radical Islamic fundamentalism. Those who know him attest he was never in the thrall of radical Islam. They considered his piousness with a bit of sarcasm.

Amine was more of a threat as an alleged drug dealer and junkie than as a Moslem terrorist. He practiced on how to use the gun the FBI gave him, a MAC-10, in a hotel room. He could have gotten more training value from Elevator Action: Death Parade video shooting game in a public arcade. He had never handled a gun until the FBI urged him on. He was so incompetent, he failed to notice the MAC-10 he was given was missing a firing pin. He couldn’t tell the difference between C-4 and glazing putty. Many believe he was incapable of blowing himself up, or shooting anybody. He should have been arrested on drug charges a long time ago; it would have been cheaper if he were detained for being in the U.S. illegally and deported back to Morocco.

The FBI’s development of Amine into an operational “paper terrorist” serves many objectives. It demonizes a Moslem community and enkindle the fear of terrorism; Amine El Khalifi and other similar cases, in which the FBI and local police authorities operate in a grey area, using dubious methods some consider akin to entrapment, constitute ammunition to conservative politicians with an anti-immigration agenda. It justifies the extra-judicial collection on U.S. persons – surveillance on the Moroccan community in New York for instance – because the latest amendment to E.O. 12333 considers terrorism an exception. It gives Lisa Monaco, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s national security division, the opportunity to comment: “Today’s case underscores the continuing threat we face from home-grown violent extremists. Thanks to a coordinated law enforcement effort, El Khalifi’s alleged plot was thwarted before anyone was harmed.” A study by the University of California at Berkeley shows that only three of the hundreds of terror plots investigated by the United States may have had an existence independent of the FBI. Karen Greenberg, a law professor at Fordham University in New York, analyzes FBI tactics in these alleged terror plots; she states that “The target, the motive, the ideology and the plot were all led by the FBI.” The FBI currently has $8.1 billion in discretionary funding. The federal government has a vested interest in maintaining, if not improving on the laws and policies enacted since 9/11 and empowering it to execute preemptive operations without oversight and outside the constitutional framework.

What saddens me is that no one talks about the Moroccans, some citizens and others residents, who lost their lives in support of the War on Terrorism. No one thanks those who are today serving in Afghanistan and who served in Iraq in defense of the U.S. constitution and the ideals it stands for.

I know quite a few Moroccans who, to escape the accusatory looks of friends and neighbors, changed their names to Latin or Anglo-Saxon ones. I was asked once what I thought of it. I am totally opposed to it for the simple reason that I believe we need to grow more cohesive as a community, strive for coexistence instead of a mindless social camouflage. We need to embraces our Moroccan identity and, as American citizens and residents, treasure and defend the principles and institutions of our adoptive home.

My only advice to those who are still considering changing their names is to stir clear of “Timothy McVeigh.” It has an unflattering history.

A. T. B. © 2012

About cabalamuse

venture down those ominous ways thread into that austere city
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16 Responses to The Moroccan “Paper Terrorist”

  1. David James Vickery says:

    Thank you for your very well written and informative piece. I agree with you completely and I definitely sympathize.
    “(We) as American citizens and residents, treasure and defend the principles and institutions of our adoptive home.”
    If I were in your place, I’m not so sure that I would want to “treasure and defend” what the United States stands for these days, in their determination to dominate the world, and in the process ignore the constitution, the bill of rights, and international law.
    Salaam

  2. cabalamuse says:

    I sense a lot of anger against Islam in your comment, Si Fawzi. You must have read too much into my post. It is in no way defending Islam or an approbation of its doctrines. I am ill-placed for that. I was simply pointing out the fact that the Moroccan guy arrested on terrorism charges is hardly a Moslem himself.

    • cabalamuse says:

      That gem is based on a study by the University of California at Berkeley; it shows that only three of the hundreds of terror plots investigated by the United States may have had an existence independent of the FBI. Karen Greenberg, a law professor at Fordham University in New York, analyzes FBI tactics in these alleged terror plots; she states that “The target, the motive, the ideology and the plot were all led by the FBI.” The FBI currently has $8.1 billion in discretionary funding. The federal government has a vested interest in maintaining, if not improving on the laws and policies enacted since 9/11 and empowering it to execute preemptive operations without oversight and outside the constitutional framework. It would be intellectual invertebracy not to consider other angles to the story and examine the bigger picture. Radical Islam terrorism in the U.S. started on February 26, 1993. Up until that date, radical Islamist used to preach in mosques across the U.S. with the endorsement of the CIA and the FBI. In an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, was asked if he regrets arming, training, and financing Islamic fundamentalism, he said: “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”
      I agree with you about all the horrors committed in the name of religions. But it would be fair to recognize that religious ideologies are not the only drive behind terrorism. There is enough historical evidence to convince us the federal government is not sporting a nimbus.
      I also agree with you on the precarious state of Moroccan gays and Moroccan Moslems who convert to other religions.

  3. David James Vickery says:

    Just for the record, Fawzi/Shlomo, I am a non-Muslim white onetime-Christian guy living in Morocco. In nearly 3 years, I have never once experienced even the threat of danger to my person. In fact I feel more safe here, and happy, than in my former home city in Canada.
    F/S, you sound very much like the Zionist apologists for Israel that I encounter all the time online.

  4. Marocain says:

    @Fawzi
    I sense in you a fanatic as radical as any Muslim you are accusing of being whatever racist biases you have.
    Religions are nothing but brain washing. Whether Islam, Christianity or Judaism.
    As a former Minnesota governor has rightfully described religious zealots “religion is for the weak that seek comfort in numbers!”. I might add that all religions are fertile ground for all sorts of xenophobic, racist, and ultimately violent behaviors.
    Fawzi: your comments are the ideal proof that religions should be banned forever, this is the price to get free and open minded citizens.

  5. Mohamed says:

    @ David James Vickery
    Very well said brother
    @ Taibi,
    I can’t believe you are falling in the trap of entertaining someone who is clearly deriving an income from spewing such garbage. He wouldn’t dare say a thing abot Pat Robertson and his Ilk mainly becasue he could take that to the bank. A sI said before the Islam bashing Industry is hiring and paying to p dollar. Mr Shlomo is in it for the money, I can’t take that personally and I am a declared practicing Muslim

    • I question, therefore I am says:

      “How many secular humanists will try to pull this off” Asks Shlomo
      He has the balols to call you a cherry picker. I invite him to read a little about the Anarchist movement in this country and its history with “Agent provocateur”. I am sure he already knows about it, he just does not cash anything where Muslims are not lumped together and bashed collectively.
      And yes I agree with you si Ahmed, this is the government’s “War on drugs” all over again, with a different target.

  6. David James Vickery says:

    Oh Fawzi, paid to write this shit by the state of Israel.

    (sorry, David. I can’t allow personal insults.)

  7. I question, therefore I am says:

    Exactly as I thought, assholes like Shlomo would never want to discuss the fact that Blacks, Anarchist, Dissidents, Modern Militia movement that supports Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin,members of the Sierra club, Animal right activists, anti war protesters, why were they all at some points treated as terrorism suspects at some point. Why were they infiltrated with provocateurs.
    Guess what Shlomo? you ain’t going to frame this debate as they teach you to do in Demagoguery camps.
    Same tools, same game, different targets. Go pick up your check and pick. Just one advice, pick a different blog
    @ David,
    As I understand your frustration but let me tell you as some one who grew up in the states, Shlomo is not a Jew, he is just another keyboard whore. The Jews I know are nothing like him.

  8. David James Vickery says:

    “The Jews I know are nothing like him.” …Thank you.
    I have only one Jewish friend (Israeli), a loving brave woman who lives with her Palestinian husband and three children in Ramallah, Palestine.

  9. David James Vickery says:

    This is one good example of dishonest “news” reporting in the United States.
    Time Magazine!
    See how they spin it to make it look like it was all his idea, not that he was ever an angel.
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2107443,00.html

  10. I question, therefore I am says:

    There is no red herrings here. It is your desires to control this exchange that is making see things that way. My point was very simple and it is what My friend Chip calls: “a witch hunt by many names”
    Read the COINTELPRO papers so you know what I am talking about.
    I appreciate your love for detecting logical fallacies and pointing them out and I raise one. “your normally stellar intellectual integrity.” Isn’t that considered an “Appeal to flattery” Demagogues are known to use it a lot
    Now, I refuse to debate you on Islam, you are clearly and in a premeditated manner conflating Arab and Muslim. Keyboard mercenaries tend to do that

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