Chasing Islamic ‘terrorists’ in Paraguay

Source: Al Jazeera

The search for the Islamic bogeyman terror organisation in South America is fruitless because none exist.

In November 2012, a subcommittee of the US House Committee on Homeland Security produced a report titled “A Line in the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border“, an updated version of a similarly named 2006 report.

Both were authored by Texas Congressman Michael T McCaul, who has since become chairman of said committee.

In the preface to the subcommittee’s findings, he explains that the updates were required due in part to the fact that “the new element of Iran and Hezbollah’s influence in Latin America has become very troubling”.

Of course, some observers might find it more troubling that one of the primary bits of evidence listed in support of this “unsettling trend” is that “Iran now ha[s] embassies in 11 Latin American countries that include Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Nicaragua and Uruguay”.

When I last checked, diplomatic relations between countries were fairly common, and the opening of embassies abroad was less problematic than other kinds of international projects pursued by certain regimes, such as the illegal invasion of sovereign nations.

The new and improved “Line in the Sand” report claims that Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah “remains especially active” in the tri-border area, or “TBA”, between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, which is home to sizeable Arab and Muslim communities. The report also includes a photograph of the ominous green “Hezbollah mosque (high rise)” – that is, the Mosque of the Prophet Mohammed in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

It is not clear how this alleged activity poses a terroristic threat to the “Southwest Border” of the US when the TBA is more than 8,000 kilometres away from the border in question.

During a recent visit to Ciudad del Este, I spoke with the imam of the mosque, a humble elderly man who had arrived in Paraguay two years earlier from the village of Houla in southern Lebanon. He marvelled at the shamelessness with which US politicians converted Arab expat merchant populations into terrorist battalions.

Continue reading