Usama, get your gun! FBI reaches out to Muslim youth — with firepower

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The FBI built bridges with Brooklyn’s Muslim community last weekend with the help of some really serious firepower.

The G-Men, as well as other federal agencies, flocked to Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach last Saturday for the first-ever FBI Muslim Youth Conference — and met 300 youngsters with one open hand and another holding bombs and rocket launchers.

Organizers say that the equipment — which included a helicopter — were just show-and-tell pieces as each agency explained what the items did and what they stood for.

“This is an important community outreach initiative,” said FBI Public Affairs Officer Tim Flannelly. “We genuinely want to foster good relationships in this community by showcasing what our capabilities are and let them know that they, too, can have opportunities in these fields if they choose.”

Mohammad Razvi, whose group, the Council of People’s Organization, organized the event, agreed that the conference would build bridges with young Muslim-Americans.

“It’s imperative that we take these steps,” Razvi said. “We have to take down this wall of ignorance, if we don’t do it now, the wall will only get bigger.”

But some local Muslim groups say the event bombed — because of the bombs.

“[The weapons] send mixed messages,” said Asghar Choudhri, president of the Pakistani American Federation of New York. “On one side, the FBI is saying that they should be trusted, and on the other side, they’re saying. ‘We have this weapon we can use against you.’ You should be friends with the federal government, not scared of it.”

But the weapons didn’t appear to intimidate the children at the conference. In fact, they couldn’t get enough of them.

“I put on a bulletproof vest and got to hold a battering ram, it was really interesting,” said 13-year-old Waleed Ahmed. “I can see myself becoming an FBI agent.”

Quaratulain Muzaffar, age 11, agreed.

“It’s a good event,” she said. “They taught us about guns and stuff.”

Neither child said he felt intimidated by the agency or worried about the FBI coming into their neighborhoods to fight terrorism.

“That’s never happened in my neighborho­od,” Ahmed said. “Cops have come in, but it was nothing big. They were searching for some punk kids.”

The weapons weren’t the biggest draw at the conference either, Flannelly said.

“Logan, the bomb-sniffing golden retriever deployed by the U.S. Parks Police, got a lot of attention,” he said.

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse


May 19, 2011, 10:39 am
Joshua from Bay Ridge says:
Can Jews learn how to use these weapons as well? After all being a bit insecure these days... 9/11, Israel and now this... Great propaganda and to accomplish what? I thought we want to keep guns out of the hands of children. In New York, isn't it a crime to let a child hold a firearm?
May 20, 2011, 6:45 pm
Bob Smith from Bay Ridge says:
Do they reach out to Hindus?

Then, why Muslims?
May 21, 2011, 9:16 am
Frank Scarn from Massachusetts says:
Muslims are not Americans; they are not here for the opportunities and the freedoms that the concept of Americanism – limited government, personal responsibility – has given to so many. Rather, Muslims are here for colonization and conquest. Muslim “yuts” are being raised to carry on Islam’s militaristic aims, not American ideals. Muslims cannot be considered Americans because of their adoption of Islam. Sharia (total government) and American constitutional law (government contained/controlled by the people; hey, at least that's the theory) couldn’t be farther apart.

By their own admissions Muslims tell us repeatedly that their one and only allegiance is to Islam. On this score I believe them.

Trends within Shiite Islam, following Sunni Islam, produced the great ideologue and eventual religio-political leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, following the retrograde “Islamic revolution” of 1978-79 which simply reestablished the pre-Pahlavi era norms of the Iranian Safavid and Qajar dynasty Shiite theocracies (of 1502-1724, and 1795-1925, respectively). Khomeini was remarkably forthright and consistent in his calls for jihad to subjugate the infidel. Consider this 1942 statement:

Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under Allah’s law (Sharia). … Islam says: “Kill [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter their armies.” Islam says: “Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors (jihadists)!” There are hundreds of other Koranic psalms and hadiths (sayings of the prophet) urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim. … Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless.

Khomeini reiterated these views upon assuming power:

The great prophet of Islam [Big Mo himself, -ed.] carried in one hand the Koran and in the other a sword; the sword for crushing the traitors and the Koran for guidance. … Islam is a religion of blood for the infidels but a religion of guidance for other people. … We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry “There is no God but God” resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle.

The FBI is on a fool’s errand.
May 21, 2011, 9:57 am
Otis Jah Baker from Park Slope says:
I question the FBI's wisdom on this one.

Since when is it appropriate to let children handle missile launchers and other weapons (even unloaded)? Do we law enforcement officials promoting the spread of deadly weapons among the young and impressionable?

A photo of a young American Muslim holding a missile launcher only reinforces dangerous cultural stereotypes, and plays into many Americans' paranoid fantasies about Muslims.

If you want to encourage our youth (of all ethnicities and religions) to become responsible citizens, why not promote more positive values and dialogue, instead of violence and fear.
May 23, 2011, 4:01 pm
hazzy from hahahaha says:
Dec. 12, 2012, 8:27 am

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