U.S. Military and American Muslims Both Suspicious of Each Other

September 25, 2003

Original Source: The San Francisco Chronicle


On September 25, 2003 The San Francisco Chronicle reported that "efforts to build bridges between Muslims in America and a government at war with terrorism cross rivers of doubts and miscommunication.

'We always encourage people to be part of America, including the military, including intelligence. We see ourselves as Americans like everyone else,' said Imad Hamad, who co-chairs a monthly meeting between Detroit-area Arab-Americans and law enforcement.

But people in his home of Dearborn, Mich., where accused Senior Airman Ahmad I. al-Halabi went to high school, are skeptical of the espionage allegations, Hamad said Thursday. And other Americans seem quick to accept them, he said.

'We're damned if you do, damned if you don't,' Hamad said.

The allegations pose dilemmas for the military, too, as it reaches within its ranks to those with knowledge of Middle Eastern and Muslim cultures for translation, policing overseas and more.

'When you face a challenge like that, you turn to that community for help,' said Michael Vickers, a former Army Green Beret and CIA officer who spent 13 years overseas.

'The problem is you either could have occasionally divided loyalties, or, more usually, the other side targets those individuals. They may have, if not sympathies, vulnerabilities -- family ties and such things. That's the cost of doing business.'"