LOCAL VOCAL: Dear Mr. President-elect

by Badi Ali

Mr. President, The entire nation is looking forward to change for the better, both at home and abroad, after eight miserable years of the Bush presidency. Among those most concerned and hopeful are the Muslim citizens of America who have suffered tremendously during these eight years. We are eager to know:

1. Will you order an end to warrantless searches, arrests and wiretapping?

2. Will you put an end to the Patriot Act and revert to the normal rule of law that the Constitution envisages?

3. Will you stop FBI infiltration of Muslim communities, which creates the sense of collective guilt?

4. Will you close down facilities in Guantánamo Bay?

5. Will you ensure that no one is treated as guilty until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? 6. Will you demolish Abu Ghraib prison?

7. Will you withdraw US forces from Iraq? If so, by when?

8. Will you withdraw US forces from Afghanistan? If not, why not?

9. Do you consider anyone who puts up armed resistance against the US a terrorist? Are armed enemies supposed to be terrorists under international law? Were German, Italian, Soviet, Chinese or Vietnamese forces treated as terrorists?

10. Will you stop arming Israel, seeing as how it is already militarily more powerful than all the Arab states put together?

11. Will you urge Israel to let Palestinian refugees return to their homes?

12. Will you stop US citizens from working in Israeli settlements and sending funds to Israeli settlers on land declared occupied land by the UN?

13. What is your position on Jerusalem?

14. Why do you support Israel when the Soviet threat is no more and all the Arab countries are willing to be your allies?

15. Will you condemn Israeli attacks on Palestinian opponents of Israel on Palestinian territory?

16. Will you urge Israel to release the tens of thousands of Palestinian prisoners it holds?

17. Will you stop funding regimes, like those of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdallah of Jordan, which are violating the rights of their own people?

18. If the IAEA finds out that Iran is using its nuclear project for peaceful purposes and cannot produce nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future, will you stop pressuring Iran and Syria?

19. Will you investigate Israel’s nuclear weapons and stop US help for Israel’s nuclear program?

20. Will you take steps to investigate the gross violations of human rights in Kashmir and Chechnya by India and Russia?

Badi Ali lives in Jamestown.