US immigration officials detain and interrogate Imran Khan about drones and who’s pushing the State Department

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Imran Khan

U.S. Immigration detained Imran Khan in Canada on Saturday as he was boarding a plane for New York to attend a fundraiser. They  interrogated him for 2 hours over his views on drones.

Khan made big waves last month leading an anti-drone march to Waziristan to protest against American drone strikes. But more importantly he is very likely to be Pakistan’s next President or Prime Minister.

Khan is attractive, charismatic, generous, one of the greatest all-rounders in the history of test cricket, and extremely well loved.

Why would the U.S. issue him a visa and then detain him when his views are already wellknown? Khan said his stand on drones was “very clear “and “I still couldn’t understand why they did this. The official was questioning me about drones but I think he himself didn’t understand what he was talking about.” Glenn Greenwald calls it “vindictive humiliations….a breach of the most basic diplomatic protocol” and part of a “trend” to harass anti-drone advocates. But I am more interested in the right-wing’s nefarious favorite Muslim poster boy connected to the Third Jihad who’s pressuring Hillary Clinton to bar Imran Khan from entering the U.S.. More on that below, first Glenn Greenwald.

The Guardian:

[T]his reflects the Obama administration’s view that critics of its drone policies are either terrorists or, at best, sympathetic to terrorists. Recall how the New York Times earlier this year – in an article describing a new report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documenting the targeting of Pakistani rescuers and funerals with US drones – granted anonymity to a “senior American counterterrorism official” to smear the Bureau’s journalists and its sources as wanting to “help al-Qaida succeed”.

For years, Bush officials and their supporters equated opposition to their foreign policies with support for the terrorists and a general hatred of and desire to harm the US. During the Obama presidency, many Democratic partisans have adopted the same lowly tactic with vigor.

That mindset is a major factor in this series of harassment of drone critics: namely, those who oppose the Obama administration’s use of drones are helping the terrorists and may even be terrorist sympathizers. It is that logic which would lead US officials to view Khan as some sort of national security threat by virtue of his political beliefs and perceive a need to drag him off a plane in order to detain and interrogate him about those views before allowing him entrance to the US.

Reportedly speculations have been made Khan’s detainment may have been related to a letter to Hillary Clinton from the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC). The group consider themselves strategists for counter terrorism (pdf).

Notice the name in tiny font at the embedded link at the right side of the press release.

#Imran Khan Pakistan AILC M Zuhdi Jasser Zuhdi Jassr Hillary Clinton

The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC), Press Release:

Secretary Clinton should bar Imran Khan from entering the U.S.

Anti-American politician should not have access to U.S. to fundraise for Islamist Extremism

WASHINGTON, DC (October 23, 2012) — The American Islamic Leadership Coalition released the following statement in response to the announced visit of Pakistani politician Imran Khan to the U.S.:

“Secretary Hillary Clinton needs to revoke the U.S. visa granted to Imran Khan, founder of the political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Imran Khan is an anti-American politician who regularly defends the Taliban and justifies its action as “Jihad.” In June 2011 he stated that “Confronting the U.S. won’t destroy us (Pakistan). Look at Iran. What have they been able to do with Iran, a country that does not even have nuclear weapons?”

Khan is scheduled to speak at a fundraising dinner and Eid celebration in New York on October 26. In a promotional e-mail, the American organizers of the event claim “All the money raised will be used to change the political as well as social structure of Pakistan by implementing the law across the board, Insha’Allah (Allah be willing).”

The “law” Imran Khan wishes to implement in Pakistan is a medieval interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence, whose application is often devoid of spirituality and compassion. For example, Imran Khan is on record stating “As Muslims we are bound by Sharia and if the Taliban are enforcing that, we should welcome it, not be fearful of it.”

The U.S. Embassy made a significant error in granting this Islamist leader a visa and Secretary Clinton should exert the power of her position and revoke the visa immediately. Granting individuals like Khan access to the U.S. to fundraise is against the interest of the people of Pakistan and the national security interests of the U.S.”

Zuhdi Jasser is president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), famous as the main narrator in the Clarion Fund’s Islamophobic film, The Third Jihad, Adam Serwer’s Muslim Group Leader to NYPD: Thanks for Spying on Us , a “Muslim witness” at  Peter King’s ‘Muslim radicalization’ hearings and mentioned by Max Blumenthal in a list of Who’s Who of anti-Muslim outfits.

The good news is Imran Khan made it into the U.S. What scares me is the thought our State Department takes groups like AILC, and individuals like Jasser, seriously. Probably just a coincidence, let’s hope.

(Hat tip Alex Kane)

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