June 7, 2015
At 7am on Tuesday, June 2, a black Muslim man, Usaama Rahim, 26, was shot by Boston FBI and police in front of the CVS in Roslindale, a relatively nice area of Boston. His brother, Ibrahim Rahim, who is an imam in California, stated that Usaama was waiting for the bus to go to work when police and FBI approached him for "questioning." The police claim he wielded a knife, which left them no choice but to shoot him dead.
Not a single community organization in Boston from the Green Rainbow Party to the Muslims have made any kind of immediate attempt at organizing a demonstration or making a statement as one would expect. The news reports that the man was "under investigation" (as we all are). This alone is enough for them to say the authorities killed a "terrorism suspect." There are some reports the man had made some statements online supporting the Islamic Caliphate. He had been trailed by government agents for the past 6 days 24/7 and was said to be visibly nervous.
This event is even more alarming than your average police shooting because, like the case of Ibrahim Todashev, who was killed by Boston police and FBI in his Florida home in 2013, the murder appears to be premeditated. Todashev is also said to have lunged at officers, which somehow resulted in him being hit in every major organ and a final kill shot to the back of the head.
"CNN already has the black Muslim killed by Boston police convicted as "part of terror network" - a "source" said so!" opined Glenn Greenwald that day. "1) Police kill a black US Muslim on the street; 2) anonymously claim he follows ISIS on social media; 3) case closed."
Local clergy were invited to view the videotape of the event. Imam Farooq Abdullah, who is a highly respected local African American leader, stated that the footage was very distant and inconclusive as to whether or not the man had brandished a knife but it was true that the police backed up several yards before shooting him in the chest. He was not, as his brother Ibrahim was told by their father, shot in the back, nor was he talking on a cell phone at that moment.
Nevertheless, there was no need to kill him. The story about him planning to behead a police officer sounds far-fetched, though if true, would indicate that he was either mentally unstable or just making a joke about smoking pigs. If the authorities actually had any evidence of this plot, they could have easily obtained a warrant for his arrest. Approaching him in the street to intimidate him was certainly not the appropriate way to deal with either a dangerous terrorist or a mentally ill person. They could have left their card at his house or called him.
The most worrying aspect of this entire story is the complete silence of the usual activist crowd.
What is the matter with this town? They stopped traffic when police killed a black man elsewhere, but when it happens here at home they don't care? Why, because he is Muslim? I posted a comment expressing concern on Mayor Walsh's Facebook page and was deluged by hateful comments, mostly from Irish people, who are convinced the police must have been justified in killing a terrorist and that by killing him, they saved a lot of taxpayer's money.
Most likely, public sentiment against Muslims has been stoked by the Boston Marathon Bombing trials, which are all winding down this month. On Tuesday, June 2, Dias Kadyrbayev, the Kazakh friend who threw away the backpack, was sentenced to 6 years by Judge Woodlock after agreeing to plead guilty. Azamat Tazhayakov of Kazakhstan and Robel Phillipos of Ethiopian heritage, who both plead innocent but were found guilty, and Khairullozhon Matanov of Kyrgyzstan, who agreed to plead guilty because he knew he would not get a fair trial in Boston, will be sentenced within the week. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's official sentencing is scheduled for June 24. Dias, Azamat and Khairullozhon are expected to be deported after serving out their sentences. Stephen Silva, who sold Dzhokhar the gun, got 7 years. Silva is being held in general population and Robel is under house arrest while the Asian kids are all in solitary confinement. After sentencing they will be moved to other prisons. I pray they will be safe.