By Mohamed Brahimi
By Mohamed Brahimi
Boston- Few days ago, a group of Moroccan Americans migrants in Revere, Massachusetts, sharing the same dwelling had a rude wakening.
Acting on a tip from an anonymous caller, Revere police department supported by a SWAT team descended heavily on Francis Street to investigate the gun shots that the caller claimed to have heard.
Now the dust has settled, two things are inarguable. First, you don’t have to be a forensic expert to realize that the caller was a hoaxer who has some deep seated hostility towards the Moroccan tenants occupying the property on Francis street, or a mere pathological fibber with a fecund imagination.
Second, these tenants are now traumatized and sleep deprived. Seeking some serious mental health intervention should be high on their priority list. Their home was ransacked and they appear to be visibly shaken from the horror of that morning. The broken windows and bashed walls stands as constant reminder of the ordeal they had just endured.
We can all mount a cogent argument as to whether a SWAT team was needed or not. We can also differ on whether the cops were heavy-handed in the way they dealt with those tenants. That remains a matter of personal assessment and germane to where you stand on that ideological fence.
Just a week prior, less than a mile down the road, two police officers responding to a domestic dispute call were sprayed with bullets by a man armed to the teeth. Few surgeries later, the two officers are still listed in critical condition. No one is downplaying the dangers that law enforcement job is fraught with. But at the same time, we are absolutely justified in questioning the manner in which they intervene and whether their intervention was warranted in the first place. History is irate with well documented incidents of cops and pumping adrenalin where excessive use of power was pretty evident.
This incident should never be confined in a narrow scope. I think this is a didactic moment for all of us as American citizens who pride ourselves on living in a country where law and order runs supreme. We should have a national discourse about how anonymous phone calls should be handled. This is cause for big concern to all Muslims especially in this climate of rampant Islamophobia. I think there should be a clearly communicated policy as to what is proper protocol when a SWAT team is called. I am not a legal expert but a Moroccan speaking facilitator should have been present as soon as it was determined that the tenants were all Moroccans
Finally, I totally disagree with the doom and gloom crowd that’s of the opinion that these are no propitious times to be a Muslim American. The tenants have reported that when it was all said and done, the cops brought in a box of doughnuts to smooth things out. My guess is that it’s going to take more than doughnuts for those tenants to overcome the psychological scarring and to be able to sleep again.