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Arabeyes: I am a Professional Male Prostitute

I'm a professional male prostitute and a part-time drug dealer
That's what I will answer if someone asks me what do I do for a living.
These days that's better than being an Arabic doctor.

This is what Hareega, a Jordanian doctor in the US, wrote following news about the involvement of Arab Muslim doctors in UK bombings.

Hareega
also draws parallels between himself and Jordanian doctor Mohammed Asha, who is being questioned along with his wife for their roles in the failed London and Glasgow bombings.

Mohammad Asha ….. University of Jordan- Faculty of Medicine (1998-2004)
Yours Sincerely ……….. University of Jordan- Faculty of Medicine (1996-2002)

In case you don't know, the faculty of medicine is a really small one, and between the 4th and 6th year students spend all of their time at the University Hospital and less often at other hospitals like Al-Basheer, so many students in these years know each other's faces or names. Although I could not remember this guy despite the good ten minutes I spent staring at my monitor trying to remember him, I'm certain that I ran across him in some hallway or perhaps tried to bypass him in the long standing line at the hospital's cafeteria.

The reason I cannot remember him specifically is that his face looks very familiar. It's the commonest face you encounter in any faculty in Jordan. His beard (according to previous pictures) was not as thick, and that makes him look like 30-40% of male students at the JU.

Hareega continues by saying that he suspects that Asha could be innocent for the following reasons:

First, he graduated from the Jubilee school. I'm familiar with this school since I was accepted there in 1994 but was discouraged from joining it by my parents because it was brand new and didn't have a GCE program. However, the school was unique in the way it enlightened its students about other cultures. Its students not only scored well in subsequent years but also were able to study abroad and intermingle with people from other countries extremely well.

Another thing worth-mentioning: It's not only that his father said in an emotional interview with a fox news reporter today that his accused son missed many Fridays prayers and was more willing to read Gray's Anatomy than the Quran, but it's because the Jordanian intelligence mentioned that he had clean records prior to leaving Jordan.

We all know it's not easy easy to have a “clean record” in Jordanian intelligence. They know everything.

Things might have changed after he left to the UK, and we know how fanatic some Islamic movements are there, but their target is usually very young Muslim men who have many financial and/or social problems, and that doesn't apply to Asha. The salaries they give to medical residents there are way better than those they give to residents in the US.

I went through the same life that this person went through for many years, and we had different students/doctors graduating from our class. Yes some were very religious , or even supported Hamas or Hizbullah but I can't buy it that someone would be seriously involved in a militant group or planning an attack on civilians. Our past and present makes it almost impossible for anyone to think of something other than medicine.

Meanwhile, the Jordanian blogosphere is ranting and raving and
Natasha Tynes
, at Mental Mayhem, sums up what some bloggers are saying in this post.

Blogger Firas asks “What went wrong?”

The sad thing about this story is that Mohammad represents a true example of a hard working Jordanian. His father is a teacher, they reside in Hay Al Zuhoor . Yet he was a true achiever, always at the top of his class. He got 7 siblings, who 3 of them are doctors as well. His parents say he is not an extremist, he has never shown anything of that, he is not strict, and prays like any Muslim.

So what went wrong?Assuming the UK's security forces are right about him.


Firas
continues:

If he is truly involved, there might be some explanation, and I've personally witnessed this:
What happens is that Arab students go to study abroad in countries where political and religious freedoms are granted for all, say countries like: US,UK,Canada and Australia. Now these students get to know other Muslim students usually Pakistanis who got some extremists among them, and that's when they are fed with all this crap. And this is out of personal experience (a close friend would stop talking to you, because you are a Christian,the guy was transformed in 5 months). As in Pakistan extremist groups and parties are deeply rooted in that country, and for an Arab student who finds him/herself in an alien culture and lately a hostile culture to Islam (think of post 9/11,the Danish cartoons,the Pope's lecture,etc) these guys would have some affect.

The majority of Muslims in Jordan are devout Muslims, and for them Islam is respecting others and living peacefully. For decades Muslim Jordanians have been studying abroad achieving high ranks and good friendship where ever they go.
It's just the bad company and the shallowness of the person that would ruin everything.
The question is, if this Asha guy didn't leave Jordan, would he ever get involved in such things? It's a very tricky question.

Along the same thread, Khalaf notes that the UK is a breeding ground for Islamic fanatics.

London continues to be the home for the most extreme religious fanatics, operating in total freedom.

So, when a brilliant young doctor and his wife left Jordan two years ago, it might not have been too far fetched that he may become a target for the preachers of hate and violence who call London home (as suggested by Firas). The man and wife had clean security records, and were focused on academic and professional achievement rather than mischief. It has not been established yet in court whether they were really involved in the terror plots or to what extent. However, they do seem to have been mixing with a bad crowd.

Personally, I take little stock in the propaganda that tries to blame such conversions to fanaticism on the freedom which is enjoyed in the west. The descendants of the British Empire on which the sun never set can not be so impotent when dealing with a few loud mouthed welfare abusing fanatics. The country that did not hesitate to destroy Iraq and throw it’s population into massive turmoil in which hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions have been displaced can not be so sensitive to the supposed civil rights of a few trouble makers who can be dealt with in a legal and civilized manner….

It is not difficult to conclude that British authorities harbor and tolerate these people because they serve a purpose. I might add that this purpose is not benign. The end result is that terror emanating from the preachers of hate serves to marginalize the Muslim community in Britain, and fosters xenophobia with the British public. Abroad, this tolerance legitimizes extremism, and is a source of pressure on Arab and Muslim countries to act in a similar way with their own extremists. Only a lunatic or a traitor would try to emulate this behavior.

So, while we are worried about fanatics returning from Iraq, Pakistan or Afghanistan, it might be worth while to remember that Britain is the only country that offers preachers of death residency, welfare and legal protection.

Meanwhile, Salam Adil, from Iraq, sums up reactions of Iraqi bloggers here.

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