Homaidan al-Turki, 37, is a Saudi student in Denver Colorado. He recently was on trial in Denver Colorado for keeping an Indonesian servant at home paid below minimum wage, as well as sexually assaulting her. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison, but later the charges were dropped.
Basic Muslim behaviors?
The press is reporting the news in a way that implies that al-Turki describes these acts as "traditional Islamic behaviors". This has been picked up by blogs as such, and used as an attack on Muslims and Islam.
For example, one blog says:
Al-Turki says sexually assaulting and enslaving a woman are basic Muslim behaviors. So are we to assume that Muslim men all over the US abusing women like this?
Another blog says:
Therefore, a prudent observer must assume that rape and slavery are 'traditional Muslim behaviors.' Historical evidence would support the contention but I never thought someone would be dumb enough to say so.
Come on, NYT, WaPo, CNN, NBC, inform the American public about the traditional Muslim behaviors so there is more tolerance.
Coverage from non Western sources has been more complete and balanced.
Al-Turki is active in Muslim missionary work (Dawah) in prisons. He and his supporters have maintained that the charges are politically motivated, and that the FBI have been investigating him to implicate him in terrorism for years. When they could not use that, they switched to sexual assault claims, and the servant changed her story to say as much.
There are quotes that the maid, who had since became a legal US resident, wanted to rescind her story after marrying an Egyptian-American, but the prosecutor threatened her with jail time if she did. She separated from her husband later.
Case in point: James Yee
Character assassination cases are common in the USA when Muslims are involved. One such case was James Yee, a Chinese American Muslim convert who became an army chaplain. He was assigned to Guantanamo Bay, and then accused of sedition, espionage, aiding the enemy, and more. When these charges were thrown out, a new set of reputation damaging charges were fabricated, such as storing of pornography on government computers, and adultery. These charges were later dropped as well, perhaps after the intended character damage was done.
Is a fair trial possible for a Muslim in America?
Given the virulent anti-Muslim rhetoric that is spewed in the US from right wing talk show hosts, Islamophobic blogs, and even mainstream media, can a Muslim accused of terrorism or other crime get a fair trial?
I don't think so.
Just a note on domestic servants. It should be mentioned that the practice of having domestic servants is prevalent in many countries, for example in Egypt. This practice is often seen as favorable for the servant, often from poor rural families. They earn a relatively high salary compared to what they would have earned in their home village, and would have been deprived of going to school anyways. She would also be less of a financial burden on her poor family that way.
I do not necessarily agree with this practice, but it is not frowned upon in the countries where it exists, and is not such an abomination there.