Friday, March 26, 2010

St. Martin's Press Mainstreams Hate of Arabs and Muslims

St. Martin's Press Mainstreams Hate of Arabs and Muslims
Wafa Sultan: The Native "Arab Muslim" Daniel Pipes needs to appear moderate
"Hungry" Sultan As the Radical Right/Israel Supporters Useful Tool

Faisal Al Qasim Makes Wafa Sultan

Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-born psychologist who used to write articles for Arabic language publications until she was hosted by Dr. Faisal Al Qasim of Aljazeera's Opposite Direction. On that show Dr. Al Qasim provided her a forum where she used vulgar language to attack Islam and Prophet Mohammed. Dr. Al Qasim provided a forum for an unknown person of no intellectual, scholarly or policy merit to speak in a vulgar fashion about Islam on a network that is generously funded by a Muslim government and watched by millions of followers of Islam. The very appearances on Aljazeera, insulting its millions of viewers, have provided her with the "credentials" to be considered a number of things that have evolved with time from "Muslim reformer" to an advocate for the "Islam is evil" campaign spearheaded by Christian and Jewish extremists who need a "Muslim" to validate their extreme views or, as in the case of Mr. Daniel Pipes, to have the "Muslim" say outrageous things that make them appear relatively moderate.

St. Martin's Press Publishes "A God Who Hates"

St. Martin's press has recently published a book by Sultan, "A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam." Although, many things have inflamed the Muslim world, Sultan is not one of them. It is impossible to get St. Martin's Press to publish a book of a similar content and purpose that targets any group other than Arabs or Muslims. But what is acceptable for Muslims and Arabs is not acceptable for any other groups.

The Praise of Pipes, Spencer and Wilders

Advance praise for the book comes from Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and Geert Wilders. Advance praise reads:"….but Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic., and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare say even in private. A God Who Hates..will remind readers why, even at a time when we are reaching out to others, we must be ever vigilant about the threat Islam poses to the West." Robert Spencer: " A God Who Hates shall be read closely and studied by the president, European leaders, ad all Western policy makers and opinion shapers- before it is too late." Daniel Pipes writes: "But she worries that Middle East customs are encroaching on the West and writes with passion to awaken Americans to a menace they barely recognize, much less fear."

One is tempted to read a book published by St. Martin's press and recommended for reading by Western policy makers and opinion-shapers. What does this ordinary psychologist say that deserves praise by "Muslim reformers"? What does she say that "policy makers" and "opinion shapers" need to take time from their busy schedules to read?

On 9/11: Because Muslims Hate Women

Much has been said and written about 9/11. There has been a 9/11 commission which published its findings in a rather thick report. Ms Sultan has an explanation for why the attacks happened: "Because Muslims, that is the 1.2 billion followers of Islam, hate their women. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks Americans asked themselves 'why they hate us.' My answer is: Because Muslims hate their women and any group who hates their women can't love anyone else. People ask: But why do they hate their women? And I can only reply: "Because their God does."

Arab Immigrants: "Raiders" of American Supermarkets

Sultan's bigotry is not directed only against Muslims but against Arabs as well. Arabs are "raiders." Sultan's Arabs are bad raiders who are interested not in finding treasure but in destroying food packets in supermarkets. She writes:
"When I immigrated to America I discovered right away that the local inhabitants were not proficient in raiding while the expatriate Muslims could not give it up. After I had been in the United States for only a few weeks, an Arab neighbor of mine took me to the supermarket in an attempt to familiarize me with the area we lived in. We went into a VOS market, and once there, she began to make holes in the lids of cartons of milk, Jell-O, and cream. Then she made holes in a number of bags and potato chips, packets of handkerchiefs, and packets of spaghetti. I shouted at her disparagingly, 'Dina, what are you doing?' She replied, ' May God curse them! They stole our land!'"

Muslims: irrational, don't listen

Orientalism portrays the East as irrational while the West is rational. Sultan parrots this orientalist "truth" by writing:
"When you talk to a Muslim, rationally, in a low calm voice, he has trouble understanding your point of view. He thinks you have lost the argument. A Muslim conversing with anyone else Muslim or non-Muslim, cannot remember a single word the other person has said,…"

Muslim Women See Themselves as "Furniture"

Muslims are "irrational" and do not listen to voices of reason that speak with a "low calm voice"? I wonder what other "insights" can Sultan share with us? Oh wait, there is more. Not only are Sultan's Muslims irrational, they have no "human feelings or values" either. Sultan writes:
"A Muslim man can see himself only in terms of his ability to pump out money and sperm. The Muslim women, for her part, sees herself only as an incubator for his sperm and as a piece of furniture he has bought and paid for with his money. The man alone decides when to take possession of this object and when to deposit his sperm in it dictating a relationship in which human feelings have no value."

The Rhetoric of Radicalization: Islamism is True Islam, America is Fighting Islam, and a True Muslim Does Not Acknowledge the Constitution

The Christian Science Monitor had a story entitled "Internet aids terrorist recruiting, radicalization, Pentagon says." The radicalization process involves, among other things, advocating what Sultan is preaching about Islam. In fact, Sultan says the exact same things that recruiters say and gets praised by Pipes, Spencer and Wilders- crusaders who have allegedly declared war on "radical Islam." Pro- Israel groups have either invited her to speak or awarded her for making statements about Islam that are similar to those made by radicalization agents.
"America is waging a war against Islam" is the primary recruiting argument for radicalization agents. Sultan relates in her book that she was "stunned" by the fact that there are Muslim youths memorizing the Koran in Anaheim while the "American government exposes its troop to dangers in Iraq and Afghanistan on the grounds of combating terrorism. Yet increasingly, both the government of the United States and the American people turn a blind eye to the fact that American children are imbibing terrorism…" Sultan also claims that Islamists are true Muslims, no one else: "Islamists who grasp the true nature of Islam…" and "[ A] true Muslim does not acknowledge the United States Constitution…"

Beyond Islamophobia: Demonization and Marginalization Policy
Promoters and Users of the Hungry Who Found Their "Heaven"

It is tempting to dismiss Sultan's book as Dear Diary fulminations of a mentally- ill "hungry" woman who found a way to make a living. After all the writer herself admits she was "hungry" when he came to America and the book is rich with "deep insights" that begin with "I know a Muslim woman…I once stopped for an oil change…driving out of the garage like the wind, shaking with fury (after an argument with a complete stranger)……I met up with a woman who had been a close friend before I left Syria… where I come from people believe that the officials of American embassies worldwide are the bearers of that key."

Rep. Keith Ellison and American "Sultans"

Representative Keith Ellison said the following about another "Sultan": "I think you give people license for bigotry. I think people who want to engage in nothing less than Muslim-hating really love you a lot because you give them freedom to do that. You say, 'yeah, go get after them.'"

It is more than that. The heart of the matter is that Sultan has found a way to make a comfortable undreamt of living by what she says and writes about Arabs and Muslims. Sultan herself writes on page 235 that she" loves America," the country that "fed" her when she was "hungry." The real problem is those who are taking in, paying, and promoting 'the Sultans" of the world. They are not mentally ill like the term Islamophobia suggests. They are in fact rather calculating individuals and groups who are out to demonize and marginalize Muslim and Arab Americans. They believe the exclusion of Arabs and Muslims in America is critical for the permanence and dominance of their national and foreign policy preferences. Sultan's book is merely another brick in the wall of the campaign of extremists who are engaged in an unholy war to demonize and marginalize American Arabs and Muslims.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

George vs. TSA raises important questions for Arab travelers

Arabic flashcards as terror paraphernalia?

George vs. TSA is a troubling case.

The ACLU is suing the TSA on behalf of Nick George for the violation of Mr. George's constitutional rights. This lawsuit arises from an incident that occurred in the Philadelphia airport. A non- Arab student, Nick George, was perceived as a threat simply because he had Arabic/English flashcards. These cards were found during the routine TSA screening process.

Looking for real threat

One can get in trouble not only for possessing drugs, it is also a crime to possess "drug paraphernalia." It seems a similar logic is working for the TSA as to Arabic, "the language that Bin Laden speaks." In the "War on Terror" it seems there is this sense that Arabic language material is "terror paraphernalia." One can only empathize with the young college student Nick George who found himself, due to Arabic material on him, being treated as a terror suspect until being proven innocent, a not uncommon experience for Arab and Muslim travelers. However, the real troubling aspect of this matter is how it was handled by government officials in different agencies and different levels of responsibility. Three TSA screeners, one TSA supervisor, one police officer, and a police sergeant all thought that Arabic/English flashcards are indicators of a threat. The FBI were called and two FBI agents spent half an hour engaging in the "art," as one FBI agent put it, of determining whether Mr. George is a "real threat."

ACLU press release

The ACLU press release reads in part 'ACLU Sues Over Unconstitutional Airport Detention And Interrogation Of College Student Carrying Arabic Flashcards- Incident At Philadelphia Airport Highlights Misdirected Security Efforts, Says ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Pennsylvania today filed a lawsuit on behalf of Pomona College student Nicholas George, who was abusively interrogated, handcuffed and detained for nearly five hours at the Philadelphia International Airport because of a set of English-Arabic flashcards he was carrying in connection with his college language studies. "Arresting and restraining passengers who pose no threat to flight safety and are not breaking any law not only violates people's rights, but it won't make us any safer. It may actually make us less safe, by diverting vital resources and attention away from true security threats," said Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "Nick George was handcuffed, locked in a cell for hours and questioned about 9/11 simply because he has chosen to study Arabic, a language that is spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the world. This sort of harassment of innocent travelers is a waste of time and a violation of the Constitution."

What language did Bin Laden speak?

The press release the ACLU explains fully why the Nick George is troubling from a constitutional viewpoint and from a general public viewpoint. However, the complaint filed by the ACLU highlights serious concerns, particular to Arab and perhaps Muslim travelers, that the ACLU press release does not mention. The TSA supervisor questioned Mr. George in a "hostile and aggressive manner." The questioning and responses, in part, went as follows:
"How do you feel about 9/11?
Mr. George responded that he thought 9/11 was a terrible event.
You obviously read. You know who did 9/11?
Osama Bin Laden.
Do you know what language he spoke?
Arabic.
At this point the TSA supervisor held up Mr. George's flashcards and stated: Do you see why these cards are suspicious?"

The FBI interview: The Art of Determining Real Threat

Mr. George was interviewed by two FBI agents who were called to assess whether Mr. George was a "real threat." One FBI agent asked Mr. George: "Are you Islamic?" Mr. George responded he was not. The agent followed up , asking whether Mr. George was a member of any "pro-Islamic groups" on campus. After approximately 30 minutes of questioning, one of the FBI agents concluded as follows: "Our job is more an art than a science. The police call us to evaluate whether there is a real threat . You are not a real threat." What if the student was an Arab or a Muslim and/or belonged to a pro- Palestinian group such as the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement? How would these factors have played a role in the art of threat assessment?

Questions raised by the George affair

The way the George affair was handled by the TSA and the FBI raises serious questions and is deeply troubling. It validates the fears that Bin Laden and the other radical terrorists and those using the terror attacks to push for an anti Islam/anti Arab agenda have succeeded in criminalizing the faith of 1.3 billion people and the language spoken by at least 300 million people. Who trained the TSA that Arabic is the "language of Bin Laden" and that those who want to learn it are to be viewed as suspicious? Gibran Khalil Gibran also spoke and wrote in Arabic? The Muslim philosopher Al Rumi also wrote in Arabic? How did Bin Laden succeed in owning the language? How could seven government officials, including two highly trained law enforcement officials from the FBI, all deem the flash cards as grounds for reasonable suspicion of involvement with terror and thus justifying detention and "hostile and aggressive" questioning from a TSA supervisor?

To read the complaint go to www.aclu.org/national-security/george-v-tsa-complaint-damages. To see a video of Nick George and Ben Wizner speaking about the case go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTgegDIUocw