On behalf of Usama and myself, I would like to correct a statement made by Liz Armstrong in the article “A Visit From the Feds” in the Our Town section of the September 27 issue of the Reader.
In the article, Liz writes about Usama’s imprisoned brother Samer, “After September 11 of last year he had begun expressing sympathy with the terrorists who hijacked the planes.” This statement is false. Samer never expressed sympathy with the hijackers, and neither Usama nor I stated that he did.
The issue is a complicated one and the false statement may have been a result of a misunderstanding between Usama and the writer, during a discussion regarding Samer’s interest in the religious implications of martyrdom.
We would just like the readers of your paper to have a clear understanding that Samer, Usama, and I do not and never did express sympathy with those who caused the terrible loss of innocent lives on that horrifying day.
Liz Armstrong replies:
Usama said that after September 11 Samer was trying to explain to other inmates why some people might harbor resentment toward the U.S. Then, Usama said, Samer started making comments to him about “beautiful martyrs.” If I made a leap in assuming we were talking about the September 11 hijackers, I apologize.