Showing posts from November, 2008

CAIR: Unequivocal Condemnation of Terror and Clear Support for American Muslim Integration

Terror has struck India and the suspects seem to be radical and violent Islamists. In response to the terror attacks, CAIR executive director, Nihad Awad, stated in CAIR's press release: “We condemn these cowardly attacks and demand that all hostages taken by the attackers be released immediately and unconditionally. We offer sincere condolences to the loved ones of those killed or injured in these senseless and inexcusable acts of violence against innocent civilians. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens of all faiths in repudiating acts of terror wherever they take place and whomever they target.”

This is a clear and unequivocal condemnation of terror that reminded me of a conversation with a former longtime FBI agent. The former agent told me that the people at CAIR "don't get it.," they condemn terror and in the same press release they mention political issues or disputes and link the two together. He added that this linkage in the context of condemnatio…

Is that a Bomb in your laptop or Bad Speech? Laptop Searches at the Border

I am attending an international conference in Washington, DC this week. I received an email containing this alert: “There is recent controversy regarding the search and seizure of laptops… by border and customs agents for people entering the US from abroad. This applies to US citizens and non-citizens. Agents seem able to make arbitrary seizures of laptops and these devices for indefinite periods of time based upon any criteria they choose…What does this mean? It is recommended that all laptop data be backed up in a secure location before you travel. Further, sensitive research data should be encrypted, and references to research participants should be encoded in such a way as not to identify or harm them. Consider the practical aspects of having your laptop seized at the border. What will you do if your laptop is seized and kept for an indefinite period of time (days, weeks, or even months)?”
Another email that I have seen on this issue is from an attorney concerned about traveling to…

Obama's Rahm

The appointment of Congressman Rahm Emanuel as President Elect Obama’s chief of staff made headlines in the Arab media. His Israeli roots were emphasized and his service in a civilian capacity in Israel during the first Iraq war was noted. This raises the issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Obama and Mr. Emanuel, as to the Arab-Israeli conflict, deserve the benefit of the doubt.

In an interview in the weekend November 8-9 Wall Street Journal Mr. Emanuel told Mr. Jason L. Riley

“I think the country is incredibly pragmatic” “Pragmatic and progressive. But you still have to mix and match different objectives. You have to be flexible.” “I don’t think the country is yearning for an ideological answer.”

When speaking about policy change, he did not mention the Arab-Israeli politics. The elections, he noted, provided “clear directions” to change health policy and energy policy. On energy- “to change an energy policy that has been exporting $700 billion of our wealth to countries overseas.”


Ralph Nader Owes America an Apology

Ralph Nader is a remarkable activist and citizen.

His impact on American life is tremendously good. As an Arab American, I am proud of his achievements.

Yesterday, however was not good.

While America was celebrating this historic moment, Nader made a racially insensitive remark about President Elect Barak Obama, saying that President Obama should not be an Uncle Tom.

Nader does not have a racist cell in his body. No one can doubt this fact. The Uncle Tom comment was just unbelievable in its insenstivity and harshness given that day.

That was a terrible offense. At a time of historic moment, when especially Black Americans are overjoyed by Obama's achievement, to have Nader make that remark was appalling and infuriating.

He rained on America's parade and gave the impression that he is a sore loser who is hating.

Ralph Nader should apologise.

Free Speech and Self Censorship: Arab Americans in the Street and in the Classroom

On 10/28/08,the London- based Asharq al Alwsat newspaper published a report on the US elections. The reporter, Raghida Bahnam, interviewed a number of Michigan Arab Americans for the story: "Arab Americans Strongly Support Obama…Hope he will understand their Concerns." The story emphasized how Arab Americans are excited about Obama's candidacy. One interviewee told her that he wants to vote for Obama because Obama is Black and as a Black American he would understand the fears and concerns of other minorities such as Arab Americans.
It was a good report but what concerned me in the story was the response of a man named Hassan. Hassan told the reporter that he is not interested in politics, that though he lives in the US, he does not get involved in politics. He said after 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act, there is no longer freedom of speech and we can't speak freely or we get dragged for questioning and get thrown in jail for no reason. ..I don't discuss …