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Showing posts from February, 2008

Fascism, Nazism, Tribalism? Schlusseloid Justice

On February 27, 2008 Schlussel wrote in “How to Fight Terror…”

“If I ran Israel, here's what my policy would be: We kill ten of your men for every Israeli you murder. We kill an additional ten for every parent you murder.
That's the only way these animals know you mean business.”

No comment.
This woman was described by the Wall Street Journal as an up and coming conservative commentator.

Schlussel and the Hate Sewer

Funny- but some people don’t get it.
In my experience, if someone is bigoted against one minority group, the odds are that he/she is bigoted against other groups as well. Therefore, fighting all hate targeting human beings for who they are, not their actions, is the best strategy.
Debbie Schlussel does not seem to get this lesson. On February 28, 2008, she writes in “Why I dislike Pat Condell: Stop sending me ignorant, anti-Israel Englishman’s anti-Islam videos": she writes:
"Many readers over the last couple of years have been sending me videos of Englishman Pat Condell. Please stop. I have never posted Mr. Condell's work on Islam, which you'd think I agree with. I do. But here's why I won't glorify the work of Condell by posting it to my readers: Pat Condell is no more than a more affable version of Christopher Hitchens. Like Hitchens, he hates all religions and sees them as morally equivalent to Islam. He's said exactly that. And, more important, Condell …

Schlusseloid Check- On Dearborn and Siblani

Hate Watch: Debbie Schlussel Update

I will be writing regularly in response to Debbie Schlussel’s blog. Many in the community think she is a vile hater of Muslims. Unfortunately, some good members of our community, reacting emotionally, sent her improper e-mails, even arguably hateful emails or threats. The reason for the anger she generates is that she spreads misinformation about Arabs and Muslims and this misinformation is taken by some who are not knowledgeable as fact.
Debbie Schlussel has benefit of the first amendment, just like anyone else. I don’t think there is an “abuse” of the first amendment. All speech deserves protection, including her hate speech, and the answer for such speech is more speech. Her lies/misrepresentations, I call them Schlusseloids, and I will be responding to them by facts and reasonable argument.
So here we go:
On February 28, 2008 she wrote in “Wimpitude? FBI Hints Around, but PC-Gags Itself on Hezbo Cells in US” She writes:
Schlusseloid: We all know ther…

Walid Jumblatt: Their Attacks Only Make You Greater

Of all politicians in Lebanon, no one gets the Syro-Iranian axis and their collaborators more riled up than Lebanese leader Walid Jumblatt. That by itself is a victory for the outgunned and out spent courageous leader.
Even here in Dearborn, an Arab -American newspaper, sadly infected by the unfortunate realities in the Arab world ( an Arab- American newspaper whose Arabic section has a few voices that echo the Syro-Iranian axis and occasionally spread sectarian venom- playing on and reinforcing a ghetto mentality), consistently opened its Arabic -section pages to attacks on Mr. Jumblatt in the most vile and vicious manner. I am disappointed with Mr. Siblani for allowing this to happen.
But these attacks- given Jumblatt's stands- What an honor for Mr. Jumblatt!
Jumblatt- that witty man with the pithy juicy statements that should adorn Lebanese Hallmark cards.
No one says it as it is, in memorable language that has the punching weight of a Mohammad Ali, than Walid Jumblatt.
He spoke out…

The Ship and the General: USS Cole and Aoun

Michele Aoun, Hizbullah’s fig leaf in Lebanon, is not concerned.
He is going to be the last person to hide in a hole in the ground from the USS Cole or from USS Nassau.
This claim is typical Aoun.
Yeah- given his “decorated” history of standing up to military assault, this is so real.
I recall seeing this man on Lebanese Broadcasting Station (LBC) screaming that he, in his declared war on Syria, is going to be the last person to leave Lebanon. After the Syrians attacked, it was a matter of minutes that he ran to the French embassy. Despite all that and after years of exile he returns to Lebanon and is able to gather orange supporters!
He left his men on the ground with no idea that their general has changed his mind about being the last person out. Many were left to be summarily shot and buried in unmarked graves.
And- oddly for an Arab man, he left his wife and daughters to fend for themselves. Only the intervention of the late Elie Hobeikeh, saved them from a sure humiliation and abuse by…

Iran and the US: Waiting to Handshake?

On Febrauary 27, 2008, the Christian Science Monitor published an opinion column by Iason Athanasiadis’s entitled “Waiting for a US-Iran handshake. (http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0227/p09s02-coop.html)
The column, based on interviews with the Iranian foreign ministry officials, has Iranian officials boasting that their policy of pragmatism have made them succeed in exerting their influence in the Arab world and the US should be ready to acknowledge that.
The news of Iran’s success in regional dominance is greatly exaggerated. The column relies on the words of the Iranian foreign policy elite to draw an overly rosy and inaccurate picture of the status of Iran in the Muslim Middle East. This triumphalism is easily checked by the reality in the Arab world. In attempting to project its influence, Iranian policy has created tensions and conflicts almost every wherein the Arab world in Bahrain, Palestine, Kuwait and Lebanon, among other countries in the Middle East.
The Iranians claim they are…

The Koran and the Cartoon Controversy

There has been much written about Islam and its relationship to democracy and its values. The Danish cartoons controversy is the latest in a string of perceived conflicts between Islam and the tolerance of expression. The other day I received a number of emails urging me to boycott Danish products and educating me on how to identify Danish products.
I will not boycott Danish prodcts. I also don't hate Denmark or its people for the offense of a few.
One has to wonder if all this anger, sometimes hate, over the Danish cartoons in justified. Of all the problems in the Arab and Muslim world, outsiders insulting the religion is, arguably, not in the top 100 concerns. Take for example illiteracy and economic development. The Muslim and Arab world have scary levels of illiteracy (too high) and economic development (too low). One only wishes these concerns get the attention they deserve.
A key question is: Is the anger, boycotts, and violence justified? What does the Koran state on this?

A ba…

Costa Rica Recognizes Palestine

Thank you Costa Rica.

Thank you for moving your embassy from occupied Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
Costa Rica is neither a Muslim nor an Arab country.
Thank you for recognizing the state of Palestine- hoping to push along the peace process.
But mostly- thank for highlighting the fact that international relations cannot, as the Islamists believe and promote, be explained on the basis of religion.
Costa Rica is officially a Roman Catholic country. 92 % of the population is Christian.

There is no war against Islam that began since the Crusades, as Islamist propaganda has it. There are national interests that determine foreign policy.
It would be nice if peace loving individuals drop a thank you note to the Costa Rican embassy in their country.

Christian Science Monitor Letter- October 17, 2007

Skepticism about the Muslim Brotherhood's program
In response to Mohamed Elmenshawy's Oct. 12 Opinion piece, "The Muslim Brotherhood shows its true colors": I strongly agree with Mr. Elmenshawy.
The Muslim Brotherhood's current political program will give Egypt an authoritarian, illiberal, failed political system that does not allow for dissent or strong minority protection and inclusion.
It is partly correct to call violent Islamists "Islamofascists," because radical Islamism has many of the features of long-discredited authoritarian and repressive regimes of years past – left-wing, as well as right-wing repressive regimes.
Sadly, if the Brotherhood were in power, it would also have a monopoly on violence to impose an illiberal and outdated value system on the populace.
More important, the Brotherhood would not even deliver good government. Its ideology does not have well-developed operational principles of checks and balances.
What the Brotherhood promises …

Hariri Tribunal and American Support

The US ambassador to the UN said today that the charges for the Hariri murder would be announced this year and the trial of the accused would be next year.
The US is the main world power behind the international tribunal set to bring his killers to justice. For this moral stand for justice in Lebanon, the Lebanese people and Lebanese Americans are forever indebted to the American people.
Mr. Hariri, a friend of the United States, and a great man who rose from a modest family to become a billionaire, a statesman and an international prominent figure, believed in the modern values of education and entrepreneurship and the importance of building Lebanon as a modern state. He spent billions of his own personal wealth to educate thousands of Lebanese citizens of all religious affiliations. Many of those studied in the US, something that these students could never afford on their own. Indeed, he himself was born into a family of modest means, and could not have afforded an American education.

Muslims in the West- The third way?

The Economist (February 16th 2008) weekly had an interesting piece on the issue of Sharia and civil law in the UK. The controversy was started when Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, suggested that the adoption of certain elements of the Islamic law or Sharia in Britain is “unavoidable” if ‘social cohesion is to be fostered.’
Such a pronouncement, as expected, generated a firestorm. There has already been much written about the “Islamization” of Europe and so-called Euroabia. The individuals and groups with anti Muslim and anti- Arab agenda, many of them on this side of the Atlantic, issuing Jeremiahs to “old Europe,” jumped on this pronouncement to reveal what’s in their hearts and minds, unholy thoughts, about Arabs and Muslims.
The Muslims are not the only faith group that has a religious law. Take for example Judaism. Judaism, like Islam, has elaborate personal status laws. These laws regulate marriage, divorce, custody, and inheritance. Of course, in every Western countr…

State Department outreach

07 September 2005
Muslims Integrating and Finding Acceptance in American Society
Ihsan Alkhatib discusses U.S., European Muslims in September 7 Internet chat
By Tim ReceveurWashington File Staff Writer
Washington – Ihsan Alkhatib, a Michigan lawyer who is deeply involved in civil rights issues, believes that the U.S. government’s policy of tolerance and acceptance is largely responsible for the successful integration of Arab Americans and Muslims into American society.
These groups are successful economically, with above-average education and income levels -- even though half were born outside the United States, Alkhatib said during an Internet chat September 7.
Alkhatib, who is president of the Detroit chapter of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), pointed out that “anti-discrimination is U.S. government policy. The government actively encourages inclusion. While there is discrimination, it is not widespread and systemic. Discrimination goes against the civic religion of…

Treasury action on Syria

February 21, 2008HP-834
Rami Makhluf Designated for Benefiting from Syrian Corruption
Washington, DC − The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated Rami Makhluf, a powerful Syrian businessman and regime insider whom improperly benefits from and aids the public corruption of Syrian regime officials. This action was taken today pursuant to Executive Order 13460, which targets individuals and entities determined to be responsible for or who have benefited from the public corruption of senior officials of the Syrian regime.
"Rami Makhluf has used intimidation and his close ties to the Asad regime to obtain improper business advantages at the expense of ordinary Syrians," said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. "The Asad regime's cronyism and corruption has a corrosive effect, disadvantaging innocent Syrian businessmen and entrenching a regime that pursues oppressive and destabilizing policies, including beyond Syria's border…

Hate Watch: on Debbie Schlussel

Local attorney verbal terrorist against Islam
By Ihsan Alkhatib -- Special to The Arab American News --
In the history of religion-based terrorism, Dr. Baruch Goldstein holds an infamous spot. A medical doctor and a religious Orthodox Jew, Goldstein was born in Brooklyn, New York. Not satisfied with life in the US, he emigrated to Israel and served in the Israeli army. Despite his medical oath, he refused to treat non-Jews. He refused to treat even his fellow Israeli soldiers who were not Jews. Defending his refusal to treat non-Jews he stated: "I am not willing to treat any non-Jews. I recognize as legitimate only two authorities, Maimonides and Kahane."
Baruch Goldstein is a hero to some in Israel. In 1994, he entered the mosque in Hebron, Palestine and opened fire on unarmed Muslims in prayer. He killed 29 and injured 100. Bystanders beat him to death.
Dr. Goldstein is not alone in having issues with Islam, the religion of peace, the religion of "whoever saves a life h…

Ahmad Al Asaad makes sense on Lebanon

الاربعاء، 20 شباط، 2008

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أحمد الاسعد: شبعنا "حروباً مفتوحة" وكفى استعمال الشيعة وقودا 20 شباط, 2008
أكد رئيس "لقاء الانتماء اللبناني" أحمد الأسعد رفضه أي حرب مفتوحة قد تجرّ لبنان الى الهلاك. وقال في مؤتمر صحفي عقده اليوم: "شبعنا حرباً مفتوحة وأهلنا شبعوا الحروب المفتوحة". وتابع: "اذا شاركتنا الدول العربية وايران في الحرب فنحن لها ولكن أن تكون الحرب مسؤوليتنا وحدنا وتحديداً مسؤولية الشيعة في لبنان فذلك لم عاد مقبولاً أبداً".
وتعليقاً على اغتيال القيادي في "حزب الله" عماد مغنية، قال: "نستنكر أي عملية اغتيال والعنف من أي طرف ليس هو الحلّ، لأن العنف لا يحلّ المشاكل ويوصلنا الى دوامة مستمرة نريد الخروج منها". ورداً على سؤال عن قراءته لزمان ومكان عملية الاغتيال قال: "هيك بّدك تسأل البصّارة". وردّ على تصريح رئيس الحرس الثوري الايراني الذي توقع زوال اسرائيل على أيدي "حزب الله" بالقول: "اسأله ما هو دوركم؟ تتفرجون فقط ونحن نحارب؟ ألا يحق للشعب اللبناني أن يعيش بهدوء واستقرار مثل الشعبين السوري والايراني؟"…

Letter to the Arab American News

I am writing to register my shock and disappointment at a column written by Ms Raja Saadeh in the February 16-22, 2008 paper.
I believe in the freedom of expression - a sacred value . However, I don’t think that intolerant speech deserves a platform at mainstream media.
I strongly object to the savage attack on Mr. Walid Jumblatt. Accusing him of “working with Israel and executing its plans” is an outrageous accusation of him, a leader of the National Movement- with his father, Kamal Jumblatt, a martyr for Palestine. [ Incidentally such an accusation or rhetorical assassination is what the criminals (Israel?!) assassinating the free Lebanese leaders start with- to be followed by actual murder].
As to her advice to Shaykh Saad, she should know that Shaykh Saad has enough advisers and does not need more advice. As if her giving advice is not offensive and audacious enough, she proceeds to ask Shaykh Saad to delve into the “Deyanat,” Arabic for religion, of his allies- meaning here the Druz…

Hariri Memorial

Dearborn gathering to honor Lebanon's former prime minister
February 8, 2008
By NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Lebanese Americans are set to gather tonight in Dearborn to mark the third anniversary of the assassination of Rafic Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister.
Up to 1,000 people are expected to be at the Fairlane Club this evening for an event held by the Future Movement, the group set up in Hariri's memory to carry out his legacy. On Sunday, hundreds are expected to attend an event honoring his memory at a Lebanese center in Dearborn.
AdvertisementThe commemorations are a reflection of how closely the politics of Lebanon are followed in Michigan, home to one of the largest Lebanese immigrant communities outside the Middle East. Hundreds of metro Detroiters have benefited from university scholarships that Hariri funded.
Hariri was killed in a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, on Feb. 14, 2005.
"He believed in the youth, in democracy, and in nonviolence,&qu…

Muslims in America- 2/11/2007

Re “Iraq’s Shadow Widens Sunni-Shiite Split in U.S.” (front page, Feb. 4):
The war and its ugly aftermath have served to raise the salience of this split. Most important, American Muslim religious leaders have not dealt with this issue in a realistic manner.
My experience attending Sunni as well as Shiite mosques is that Muslim religious leaders take one of two opposite stands — stating either that there is “no difference” between the two groups or that the two groups are “completely different.”
Both positions are false and unrealistic; neither helps the groups enjoy a healthy coexistence.
Muslims will get along better only when there is an acknowledgment of commonalities as well as real and major differences, and an understanding that religious diversity is a blessing and not a curse.
Ihsan AlkhatibDetroit, Feb. 4, 2007The writer is president of the Detroit chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Dialogue- Free Press letter

Step up, not away, from talks
It's unfortunate that Rabbi Klein wants to disengage from interfaith dialogue with Muslims.
Interfaith dialogue is about our children in this country. Interfaith dialogue should be about us all as Americans knowing each other and getting along with each other despite our differences and disagreements.
Imam Qazwini got it right on point when he said that Rabbi Klein is "unrealistic if he thinks Muslim leaders based in Michigan can cool the world's religious hot spots." If one lights a candle and there is still light, the response should be to light more candles, not to blow off the sole lit candle. The frustration expressed by Rabbi Klein calls for more interfaith dialogue, not less.
Ihsan AlkhatibPresident, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee,Detroit Chapter

France and its Jews

France and its Jews: Solving the conundrum By Maria Sliwa May 27, 2003


Nathalie Soussan loves her native France but thinks she may have to build a life elsewhere. At 21 she is an intern for the French House at Columbia University in New York City, and says she is afraid to return to France because of the pervasive acceptance of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in her country. Soussan is Jewish. There are about 5 million Muslims and 650,000 Jews in France, the largest number for both communities in Europe. Most of the attacks on Jews occur in Paris suburbs and other neighborhoods where Jews and Muslims live in close proximity. "Since the French, Jewish and Muslim communities are both the largest, it is not surprising that misinformation and lack of education can lead to anti-Semitic hate crimes in France," Laila Al-Qatami, spokesperson for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination League, said in a recent e-mail. "As documented by the recent national report on hate cr…

Banks, civil rights and terror laws

Banks, civil rights groups and community members should lobby together for change in terror laws.
A number of individuals, businesses, and organizations have had their bank accounts closed due to so-called "suspicious account-related activity." The suspicion causes the compliance department to recommend account closure.
This is not happening only to Arab Americans and American Muslims. A few weeks ago, I was at a meeting in Washington that centered on the issue of charities in the U.S. A non -Arab/non-Muslim resident attorney who attended the meeting spoke of his Saudi clients and shared a story about his bank experience. He said that he receives wired funds to his escrow account from Saudi Arabia for his legal fees. His bank sent him a notice stating that it intends to close his escrow account. He found out that the funds from Saudi Arabia were the reason. The cost-benefit analysis of the bank showed that closure of the red-flagged account was the bank's best bet.
The obvi…

Speech at Third Hariri Memorial in Dearborn Michigan

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for attending this memorial for the late PM of Lebanon, Rafic Hariri-
When we speak about him we speak of great leadership and vision
What ‘s commonly known about him is his great wealth and great generosity to match
He was a man who believed that human beings are basically decent and can only be improved by education.
A prominent Arab- American leader told me that he admired PM Hariri’s role in education.
This education of students did not stop with his death and so far about 50,000 students have benefited from his ongoing generosity.
While his role in education is remarkable, his shining legacy is-
his vision and values-
the values of openness to the other- and inclusion. His belief in Lebanon and its people-
When Mr. Hariri returned to Lebanon, Lebanon was torn in every conceivable way. It was physically in shambles-
He believed it could be rebuilt to be its old self and even greater
Despite the great weight given in Lebanon to family, sect and region-
From da…