Archives: The lynching of Arabs and Muslims in America

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The lynching of Arabs and Muslims in America
By Ray Hanania
(Originally posted at the anti-Arab HuffingtonPost Aug. 11, 2008)

The campaign of Barack Obama, who many Americans think is Muslim, took on a volunteer Muslim lawyer, Mazen Asbahi, to help the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee improve his election support among Muslim American voters.

It’s not that Muslims don’t support Obama. Let’s face it, a guy whom most Americans think is Muslim is probably going to be more understanding of Muslim and Arab concerns than a candidate like John McCain, whose entire existence has been a lap-dog-like association with a political party that routinely trashes Muslims. Rather than fight the absurdity of the attacks, Asbahi decided to resign as an Obama volunteer.

But, Obama has been waffling back and forth on issues of importance to Arabs, who are mostly Muslim so some outreach is necessary to that voter bloc.

Well, last week, the Wall Street Journal decided to investigate (I would call it defaming and mud-raking, which is what the Wall Street Journal seems to do best when it comes to Arabs and Muslims) through Asbahi’s background. And low-and-behold, they discovered he has many Muslim friends.

I would say that Asbahi is like every Arab and Muslim in the United States. If you dig far enough in, you will find at least one person – probably more – who they are associated with, related to, work with and know, who is on the Federal “No Fly List.”

I would even say that you will also find that they are some how related to or attend a Mosque – an Islamic church – which also has one or more people that have been slandered, defamed, attacked and demonized in the hateful anti-Arab anti-Muslim mainstream American news media.

In fact, you might in find that many Arabs and Muslims, through the principle of “Six Degrees of Separation,” can be linked to someone who has been accused of either being a terrorist, knowing a terrorist, or who knows someone who knows a terrorist, or who knows someone who knows someone who knows a terrorist.

You get my drift.

What’s really remarkable is that ALL that the Wall Street Journal discovered in their smear campaign — err, investigation — is that Asbahi once worked or served on a board that also had another board member who is mildly controversial, Imam Jamal Said.

Jamal Said is the Imam of the very controversial Palestinian mosque in Bridgeview, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago. He has some tough views against Israel, but not against America.

It’s the same mosque where Mohammed Salah prayed. You remember Salah? He was the guy the Justice Department and former U.S. Justice Department vigilante John Ashcroft alleged, on the morning after Sept. 11, 2001, was directly involved in terrorist activity against the United States.

But after years of persecution, and after Ashcroft was replaced with a fellow vigilante, Alberto Gonzales, who was succeeded, also, by Michael Mukasey, the “terrorism charges” were dropped. They had a tough time even proving Salah was associated with a terrorist organization. A jury later convicted Salah on the sole, un-terrorism related charge of “perjury.”

Come to think of it, many of the alleged terrorism cases have ended the same way, exposed as exaggerated, politically motivated harassment of individuals whose only “crime” was to have unpopular views critical of Israel — not the United States.

The Bridgeview Mosque has several other shady characters in its midst, but far more who are not so controversial, from the founder of the extremist Islamic Association for Palestine to Ali Ata, who in the face of corruption charges flipped to become the Justice Department’s chief witness against Tony Rezko, Obama’s pal and a chief fundraiser for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

But the worst you can say about all of those controversial folks is that they do not like Israel. Despite all the lawsuits, the unending media slander, and the incessant political attacks, no one at the Birdgeview mosque HAS EVER been convicted or proven to be anti-American or supportive of any anti-American violent groups or religious zealots.

The real tragedy here is that Asbahi is most likely a very decent person who is very American, opposes the Islamic terrorists and just wants to see Muslims and Arabs become more active in American politics. Instead of being able to do that, he has now been forced to quit as one of Obama’s volunteers because of the Wall Street Journal’s and the other media’s smear campaign.

So the next time you hear some typical American ask, “Hows come Moosleems and Ay-rabs dint denounce da terrorists and da extremists? Hows come? Hows come?”

You might respond by explaining Muslims and Arabs want to spend their time denouncing extremists like Osama Bin Laden, but they are TOO BUSY defending themselves against media defamation, slander, name calling and stupid attacks.

Follow Ray Hanania on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rayhanania

This post has already been read 165 times!

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