April 10, 2005


I have been reading bits and pieces about the story for a couple of days. "One 16 year old Bangladeshi girl detained in NY on suspicion of planning suicide bombing, who was drawn to Islam" - pretty eye-catching phrases. Surely sites like LGF were quick to flash this news everywhere. They said the girl was so brainwashed in bigoted Islam that she quit the school over a veil issue and she was reported by her own father. I couldn't read the original New York Times article, which requires registration. But thanks to the good folks Avi and Saurav at Sepia Mutiny I got the whole picture. The full article can be found here.

Apparently the immigration authorities and the FBI screwed up and locked up two innocent teens based on suspicions stemmed from misunderstanding over a school essay. The indictment on the Guinean girl is even more filled with fantasy.

The mother of the Bangladeshi girl, conveying her daughter's account, said the two girls met for the first time at 26 Federal Plaza after her daughter's arrest. But when the other girl, a Guinean who was facing deportation with her family, noticed her daughter's veil, she gave her a traditional Muslim greeting, and federal agents seemed to think they were friends. The second girl ended up in the Pennsylvania detention center, too.

The chance of the girls getting the justice is slim and the families fear deportation. Because:

The Bangladeshi girl’s father earns less than $16,000 a year, hired a New York immigration lawyer for $2,500. But the lawyer declined to attend her first hearing, according to a motion he filed seeking to handle the matter "telephonically", because of "time constraints".

Abhi has contacted the ACLU and they have said that they will help her. Those who want to get involved can contact with Saurav.

Many were shocked by this act of the US government. Suarav calls this a travesty and blames US anti-immigrant legislations over the past ten years (eliminating the marginal labor pool when it's not needed and/or desired?, scapegoating disempowered groups, taking advantage of groups that have limited rights under the legal structure, etc.). He thinks:

"the government may have finally crossed the public relations line with this one (they crossed the human decency line a long time ago.)"


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