January 3, 2012: IN THE same week that Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sending it to Barack Obama to enshrine into law a provision allowing indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens, a federal jury in Boston delivered a guilty verdict against Dr. Tarek Mehanna, a Muslim American pharmacist charged with material support for terrorism. Coming in the wake of other Muslims around the country who have been arrested, accused of supporting terrorism, and locked up for long sentences, the December 20 guilty verdict against Mehanna on seven counts was a shocking and chilling reminder to his growing number of supporters and advocates that the "war on terror" has been putting Islam on trial for years.
Tarek's trial lasted nine weeks, but was the culmination of four years of FBI harassment, surveillance and intimidation against Mehanna from his days in pharmacy school. Islam was on trial from the first day, when the government aired the video of bin Laden. Judge George O'Toole's bias in favor of the government was evident. He allowed hundreds of photos and al-Qaeda videos into evidence that had nothing to do with Tarek, but rejected the defense's attempt to submit video clips of former President Ronald Reagan praising as freedom fighters the mujahideen who fought against the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s and were funded by the CIA.