ALARABI: Why Arab-Muslim Americans should not vote for Obama, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 8-25-08

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Why Arab/Muslim Americans should not vote for Obama 

By Ali Alarabi — The candidacy of Senator Barrack Obama is a remarkable one by all accounts, from a historical perspective it is an unprecedented feat that an African American stands for the highest office in America and a candidate who was not born into wealth or political family. For Arab American and Muslim voters, however, an Obama-Biden ticket seems like good news for they have had to endure a long arduous 8 year journey of the Republican rule of Bush-Cheney administration that wrecked havoc in their personal lives, eroded their civil rights, a futile war in Iraq, and vehemently supporting Israeli’s occupation and destruction of Palestinian lands and peoples.

 

Arab and Muslim voters thought, in Obama that they were witnessing a candidate with a shot of wining, that he was not part of the pro-Israeli establishment that fills the halls of power in Washington who usually go out of their way, sometimes slavishly, to support Israel at expense of Arab and Palestinian rights.

 

But Arab and Muslims voters did not have wait for too long for their disappointment to arrive when they felt that Obama had increasingly started treating them like a plague avoiding them at all costs so as not to upset the racists and bigots in this country. 

 

In Detroit, last June, Obama staff made sure to remove two Muslim American women from the seats behind Obama so as not to “ offend” American voters, as if Muslims voters are not “fully” Americans.

 

This insult to Muslims is too deep to let it go so easily, it also speaks volumes about the hatred and racism in the American society where Arab and Muslim Americans are usually at the receiving end of its repeated blows, and with no end in sight.

 

It appears to be that Obama candidacy feels that it has to go along with the racist sentiments against Muslims because, in America today, it is not a bad policy to discriminate against Muslims or disrespect them and demean their faith and value system and there will no political ramifications because of it. Except at the ballot box.

 

 Obama went even further in his attempts to appease the right wing racists by repeatedly denying that he is not a Muslims, and he is not, but why does it being a Muslim or not  has to be an issue in a country that the faith of the candidate is besides the point, not the point.

 

As for the Middle East, Obama’s trip to Israel last month as part of his world tour, was pilgrimage American politicians seemingly had to make in order to garner the Jewish vote and financial support in this country. There, Obama visited an Israeli Synagogue a Christian Church, and, yet again, he had to show his anti-Muslims credentials by not bothering to visit a Muslim mosque. Therefore, Obama’s message to the Muslim American voters is that, “ I don’t care about you, I don’t care about your issues, and I don’t care about your vote. 

 

Moreover, In Israel , Obama was quick to issue the now classic policy proclamation assuring Israeli politicians that if he was to be elected president he will continue America’s policy of ensuring Israel superiority and domination over the lives of all of its Arab and Muslim neighbors, a policy that defies the logic peace in the region and from the perspective America’s interests in that part of the world, it is an irresponsible policy to say the very least.

 

Arab and Muslim Americans, therefore should return the favor to Obama and give their support to a third candidate who albeit his or her chances of wining is next to impossible, but at least they should not support a candidate who does not care about them or about their issues.

 

(Ali Alarabi is an award winning journalist and columnist. He can be reached at http://TheArabDesk.blogspot.com and by email at alialarabi1@aol.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