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Arab & Muslim Americans are our best assets to win the War on Terror
Let’s not let fear cripple us on Sept. 11 anniversary,
By Aladdin Elaasar — New York City, NY, 9/11/2008// The anniversary of Sept. 11 will be painful for Arab and Muslim-Americans – as it will be for all Americans. After the terrorist strikes, Arab and Muslim-Americans became targets for random hate and violence. They became the latest ethnic group to be singled out in an American time of crisis.
In the 1850s, Irish immigrants were persecuted.
During World War I, German immigrants were suspect.
During World War II, Americans of Japanese backgrounds bore the brunt of that conflict.
America’s legacy of nativism – the intense opposition to an internal minority because of its supposed foreign connections – reared its head again.
About 3 million Arab-Americans and 7 million Muslim-Americans live in the United States. Sept. 11 has had a negative effect on many of their lives. Some have paid a hefty price, dealing with discrimination at schools and at the workplace, and even facing senseless and brutal hate crimes that have led to injury and death.
Arab Americans are willing to serve the USA and would love to. They actually have been serving in the military, law enforcement and other places in the federal government. Remember General Abizaid, the former Commander of American troops in Iraq: he is an Arab-American who is fluent in Arabic.
According to government statistics, hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Arab-Americans, Muslim-Americans or those perceived to be of Middle Eastern origins in the United States rose dramatically after Sept. 11.
Some in position of influence in the media or in the religious sector fanned these acts of hatred. On Sept. 13, 2001, columnist Ann Coulter, on National Review Online, said: “We should invade Muslim countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson called Muslims “worse than Nazis.” The Rev. Jerry Falwell labeled the Prophet Muhammad a “terrorist.” The Rev. Franklin Graham called Islam “a very evil and wicked religion.”
Fear spread through the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities.
The USA Patriot Act diminished the rights of immigrants and allowed the government to round up people by the hundreds and keep them, in secret, from their families.
The special registration of Arab and Muslim males in America terrified communities and broke up families, as some fathers were deported on the most minor technicalities.
The government has managed in alienating a large segment of Arab and Muslim Americans since and before 9/11. These communities have been hearing about the Secret Evidence, the Patriot Act, selective interviews and secret deportation of young Arabs and Muslims in thousands, about possible domestic eavesdropping on their calls, snooping into their mail, bank accounts, emails, and library records, etc. Should not these efforts been focused on chasing bin Laden in Afghanistan in stead of targeting the wrong victims and rounding up the usual suspects?
Seven years later, have we won the hearts and minds yet?
Fear still pervades the Muslim-American and Arab-American communities. The horrific acts of terrorism by the Sept. 11 fanatics should not impugn the patriotism of these communities.
In the wake of Sept. 11, thousands of Arab and Muslim-Americans volunteered to serve in the U.S. armed services or in law enforcement. They are protecting us. And they should be thanked, not feared or scapegoated.
Would history reveal the efforts of Arab Americans helping the U.S. win the War on Terror? Would it also reveal that so many of them were wrongfully targeted by the same government, or sometimes, by fellow citizens?
Instead, some see swift militaristic action against those who may resemble our enemies as being the best solution. But attacking innocent civilians around the globe will only inflame Arabs and Muslims and create more enemies.
Three years later, we must not let fear cripple us.
ward winning journalist Aladdin Elaasar is one of the foremost authorities on the Arab World. Some of his writings are: “Iraq, the State & Terrorism”; where he predicted the downfall of former Dictator Saddam Hussein. Elaasar also
wrote: Silent Victims: The plight of Arabs and Muslims in Post 9/11 America. And “The Last Pharaoh: Mubarak and the Uncertain Future of Egypt in the Volatile Mid East”Elaasar has been a frequent commentator on Middle Eastern affairs on several local American TV and Radio networks and media and cultural consultant since 1992. Email him at:firstname.lastname@example.org
For a preview of The Last Pharaoh, please click here:
http://www.mobipocket.com/en/eBooks/AuthorDetails.asp?authorId=63168&authorName=Elaasar%2C+AladdinFor a free preview of The Last Pharaoh, please click here:
http://www.mobipocket.com/en/eBooks/AuthorDetails.asp?authorId=63168&authorName=Elaasar%2C+AladdinPlease visit “The Last Pharaoh” on Youtube.com at this link:
Praise for the Last Pharaoh
“Peeling back layer after complex layer of Egyptian intrigue, culture and politics, Aladdin de-mystifies Egypt without tarnishing her almost mystical status as the pinnacle of Arabian culture, and the bedrock of human civilization. The book is stunning in its revelations of Mubarak’s stranglehold on every aspect of life in this glorious, long suffering nation. Connecting one mysterious dot to the next, Aladdin teases the reader from chapter to chapter as he lucidly explains the details of Egypt’s worst kept secrets of all…the ‘secret’ of Mubarak’s power and how he plans to rule from his own royal crypt. “
– Professor Tate Miller, expert on International Negotiations; Conflict Management; Government Relations and Diplomacy; Cross-cultural Communication, and Senior Lecturer at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
The Last Pharaoh should be indispensable to anyone
“Combining an uncanny sense of clarity and understatement, Aladdin Elaasar weaves Egypt’s historical grandeur with an unnerving cascade of political intrigue that reveals a side of Mubarak the world cannot long ignore. In one fell swoop, my admiration for Egypt is both strengthened, and the source of my unease revealed, as the author sheds light on the darkness of Egyptian politics that could one day turn catastrophic. With so much at stake, the west is slowly coming to grips with a new reality; a reality which no single book or author could possibly address. But the views expressed by Aladdin Elasar in The Last Pharaoh should be indispensable to anyone hoping to understand Egypt’s role, not only the Middle East, but the potential for Mubarak’s Egypt to impact the destiny of global events.”
– Professor Tate Miller, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs and Senior Lecturer of International Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies
Why everyone has to read this book?
“Let me give you the four scariest words I can’t pronounce in Arabic: Egypt after Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak’s “emergency rule” dictatorship is deep into its third decade, making him one of Egypt’s most durable pharaohs. His succession plan is clear: Son Gamal tries to replicate Beijing’s model of economic reform, forestalling political reform… “
– Thomas P. M. Barnett, Esquire columnist and author of “The Country to Watch: Egypt”
This post has already been read 420 times!
Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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.
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
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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