ALARABI: Hillary Clinton and anti-Muslim racism, For Immediate Release, 3-07-08

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Hillary Clinton and anti-Muslim racism
By Ali Alarabi — I must say that when I heard the national media repeatedly playing out the words of Ohio talk show host, Bill Cunningham — emphasizing the name of Hussein in Obama’s name — not only was Cunningham coming across as an anti Muslim, bigoted racist, but the national media seemed to be applauding him by playing over and over again like a broken record. It is not a good feeling, to say the least, to think the media had become complicit in spreading hatred and racial discrimination simply because someone has a “Muslim” middle name. I also  take it that  Muslims with an obvious Muslim first or last names are viewed as suspects.
This latest hatred campaign  directed at Senator Barak Obama for having the middle name of “Hussien” represents a low point in American politics and some American politicians who have made it a career to demean and assault Muslim Americans and Muslims in general.

Senator Bara Obama is not a Muslims, he had said it loud and clear, even if he was, then what? Does it mean that he cannot run for office because of his faith or Middle name?

This whole debate about senator Obama’s roots started by ultra conservative racists and picked up by Senator Hillary Clinton campaign, or the other way around, or even a combined effort against Senator Obama, is a desperate attempt to stop senator Obama train in its tracks, is racist, clan-easque and certainly un-American.

Muslim Americans are an integral part of the American society. They work hard, pay their taxes, serve in the military and die in the line of duty.

My question to those hate-mongers is: how much more American you need to be to prove you are a patriotic American , it looks like it will never be enough for those racists.That said however, Muslims should not change their ethnic names or their religion so as bigots accept them as Americans! This whole idea of attacking  Americans based on their faith, color and race , though not new or usual, is nonetheless preposterous. This dirty trick by senator Clinton campaign was reminiscent  of discrimination African Americans, Asian and native Americans have experienced here at home and even after coming home from battles in past wars risking their lives as soldiers for this country, only to face racial discrimination be rejected as equals by certain segments of the American society.

Many Muslims were offended by Mr.Cunningham and other racists talk show hosts who kept repeating the word ” Hussien” so as to appeal to his fellow racist-Americans in a bid to create a psychological connection between senator Obama’s roots, and terrorists. Senator Obama is an American first and foremost, his faith should be a private matter, regardless of what it is, and non of the business of those bigoted individuals .

Senator Clinton, on the other hand is equally guilty for spreading false rumors and innuendos about Senator Obama’s heritage and distributing a picture of him in a traditional African clothes that includes a turban.And what’s with that! Senator Clinton and her husband former president Bill Clinton donned a Chinese, African, and Asian clothing on their foreign travels. it is very respectful to other nations and their national cultures to try to show respect and understanding.The real reason however for distributing a pictures like this is actually more sinister and defamatory. More,it is a form of character assassination because it appeals to the  psychology of fear and it creates a mental imagery between Senator Obama wearing a traditional African turban and America’s enemies who wear turbans. Clinton’s subliminal message could be  something like a vote for Obama  is a vote for America’s enemies or that obama is one of them, in an another word an enemy! 

Senator Clinton, or i should say the Clintons because it appears that Senator Obama is running against both Hillary and Bill should focus on the real issues that face Americans instead of reaching to her old bag of dirty tricks and thus turning her election campaign into no more than a smear campaign against not only senator Obama, but also against patriotic Americans who happened to be Muslims.

(Ali Alarabi is an Arab American writer and syndicated columnist. He can be reached at alialarabi1@aol.com and at www.ArabWritersGroup.com.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com