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Time to expel United Nations to a nation that is freeBy Ray Hanania — You do not have to agree with Iranian President Ahmadinejad to criticize President Bush for his hypocritical comments and the restrictive political policies he encourages that discriminate against Arabs and Muslims in America. The Iranian Leader has much to answer for, including oppressing his own people and highly publicized incendiary comments such as denying Israel’s right to exist, and allegedly calling the Holocaust a “myth.”
I say “allegedly” only because the translation of the Iranian president’s comments from Farsi are often filtered and intentionally distorted by Bush and other rightwing groups like MEMRI which have proven to have intentionally distorted translations to make them seem worse.
Yet exaggerated or not, the bigger issue is whether America is really the free nation it claims to be.
Ahmadinejad is a tyrant. Scores of Iranians have been arrested and falsely charged with “terrorism” and other crimes under Iranian law.
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Yet in this country, scores of Americans have been arrested, detained and falsely accused of acts of terrorism, too. Despite being denied fair trials, they have beaten terrorism charges only to be jailed for minor infractions.
This issue comes up as Ahmadinejad arrives to address the United Nations. Under International Law, the Iranian President does not need permission from the United States or President Bush to address the General Assembly.
Yet, his entrance and the entrance of others are continually harassed, blocked and delayed. He will meet with American political dissidents who challenge American oppression and address Columbia College officials.
Ahmadinejad asked for permission to place a wreath at Ground Zero, the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. It was , rejected on the grounds they could not provide security. The real reason is expressed by Bush and others who falsely argue Ahmadinejad and all Iranians, Arabs and Muslims are responsible for Sept. 11th, a lie that symbolizes growing American ignorance and festering racial hatred.
Bush asserted Americans have “more freedom” than Iranians and wished Ahmadinejad would grant his people the same “freedoms.”
The truth is freedoms denied in Iran are also denied in America. and it is significant that America claims to be the champion of freedom while Iran does not. That puts the moral burden on Americans who cannot claim to be free when their policies are unfree, racist and discriminatory.
Arab and Muslim Americans are routinely denied access to the mainstream media. We are targeted for discrimination and we are denied our right to defend ourselves in court, and out of court.
We are harassed at our jobs, and our unemployment rate has skyrocketed, fired from positions because other “Americans” still harbor racist anger and blame us for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Individuals who challenge popular policies, like Israel’s oppressive occupation of the West Bank, are hounded from their jobs and publicly humiliated. They don’t even have to be Arab or Muslim. Professor Norman Finklestein, the son of Holocaust survivors whose only crimes has been to criticize pro-Israel lobbyists saying they use the Holocaust as a bludgeon to silence critics of Israeli policy.
Mohammed Salah, a political dissident in Chicago, beat trumped up federal charges of terrorism, but is being jailed on unrelated charges that he lied in an unrelated civil case.
The Muslim American charity KindHearts has had its assets frozen without ever being given a chance to fight the attacks in an open court. Even Arabs and Muslims who support Bush’s illegal war in Iraq have been harassed and discriminated against on commercial airlines for the crime of “looking and sounding Arab while flying.”
America is a nation of contradictions, where freedom’s are granted to some and routinely denied to others solely on the basis of race, religion and political belief.
A recent report showed that of 400 alleged American terrorism cases, the majority involve Arabs and Muslims accused of unrelated credit card fraud, minor immigration infractions, and allegedly lying to FBI agents.
The list of political dissidents targeted by American injustice continues to grow. They include Sami Al-Arian, a computer science professor acquitted on charges of conspiracy to kill Americans; Salah’s co-defendant Abdelhaleem Ashqar, also acquitted of aiding Hamas an organization involved in violence against Israel but not the United States; Sami al-Hussayen, a Saudi student acquitted in Idaho of charges he aided terrorism by posting “links on his website” to other web sites that contained “jihadist rhetoric”; Yaser Hamdi, a US citizen held for years as an “enemy combatant” finally released when the government was finally ordered to prove the charges; and, Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo, where torture was used, was falsely accused of being a “spy.”
Jose Padilla, a non-Arab American convert to Islam, was convicted, but not on terrorism charges related to building a “dirty bomb,” but because he volunteered to support Islamic rebels in Chechnya and Bosnia, long before Sept. 11, 2001.
In Iraq, hundreds of American soldiers have been convicted or suspected of commiting war crimes, such as the gang-rape of an Iraqi girl and the murder of her family to cover up the crime. Many of the soldiers have been tried, and convicted but have been given light sentences and slaps on their wrists.
Where is the United Nations on these and other international war crimes?
There is no doubt that United Nations should be evicted from American soil and relocated in another nation that has a principled rather than a political embrace of “freedom”.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and author. Copyright Arab Writers Group, www.ArabWritersGroup.com.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania 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 at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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