Muslim schoolgirl detention condemned

The arrest of a 16-year-old Muslim schoolgirl in the United States on charges of planning to be a suicide bomber drew fire from her teachers and classmates, reported a leading American daily on Saturday, April 9.

“She is, yes, an orthodox Muslim, but completely integrated into this school,” Jessica Siegel, an English teacher at Heritage High School in East Harlem, told The New York Times. “She’s a wonderful, wonderful girl.”

The Guinean tenth-grader has been described by the FBI as “an imminent threat to the security of the United States” on allegation of planning to be a suicide bomber, according to a government document provided to the daily by a federal official.

She is being held in an immigration detention center in Pennsylvania and her father is now in immigration jail facing deportation.

“She’s about the last person anyone could imagine being a suicide bomber,” said Ms. Siegel, who was profiled in Samuel G. Freedman’s book Small Victories as an unsentimental but fiercely committed teacher who provoked and delighted her students.

Ms. Carr, a speech pathologist, was no less furious. “They have painted this picture of her as this person that is trying to destroy our way of life, and I know in my heart of hearts that this is bogus,” she said.

“I feel like, how dare they? She’s a minor, and even if she’s not a citizen, she has rights as a human being,” said Ms. Carr, who welcomed the girl to her house daily and knows her family well.

Islam Online, 9 April, 2005