Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Reasons They Piled on Imad Hamad and ADC



From left Former FBI director John Bell, former US attorney Jeff Collins, Imad Hamad, recognized for their BRIDGES involvement. In the picture is current US attorney Barbara L. McQuade

The Reasons They Piled on Imad Hamad and ADC:

Dialogue with the U.S. Government, Opening Up to the Gulf
A who’s who of “progressive” and “leftist” Arab American activists piled on Mr. Imad Hamad, the former Michigan regional director of the American Arab anti- Discrimination Committee (ADC), with unexpected viciousness.

In hindsight, it is expected viciousness.

For many reasons - reasons that have nothing to do with the stale harassment claims, the 15- year- old claim of Rashida and the 8- year- old claim of Rana- or Rashida Tlaib and Rana Abbas.
There are two key reasons for this viciousness- one domestic and one international.

“Sin” # 1: Dialogue with the Government

The domestic reason is the engagement and dialogue with the government that Imad Hamad adopted and institutionalized. Imad Hamad and ADC sat with the government. Imad Hamad met regularly and openly with the government officials. He believed and preached that the government is a partner and not an adversary. He believed that the community should be seen by the government as a partner and not as a suspect. Among the agencies that ADC and Imad Hamad met regularly with is the FBI, an agency that the fringe of Arab America sees as Hoover’s FBI. Not only did Imad engage in a dialogue with the government, he institutionalized this dialogue, brought major players from the government and the community to the table, forming the internationally-known law enforcement-community forum of BRIDGES. That was breaking all the taboos for the small but vocal segment of the Arab American community. That “progressive” segment thought that Imad and ADC were “in bed” with the government.  They bided their time and piled on when the opportunity arose or was manufactured.

“Sin” # 2 Opening Up to Arab Gulf Monarchies

A second key reason Imad is hated by the fringe is international. This small and marginal segment, the “progressives” and “leftists” have a self-declared war on “patriarchy” and the “oppression of women” that they see behind everything in society-especially Arab and Muslim society.  And, make no mistake about it, there is no Arab region that this tiny, marginal, but obnoxiously loud, group hate more than the Arab Gulf region. They hate the monarchies and the traditional social system which they see as “oppressive” and in need of revolutionary change. Imad Hamad committed the sin of all sins when he opened up to the Arab Gulf region and engaged them, with respect, as he should have. The ADC is a mainstream Arab organization that represents a community that is largely conservative and mainstream in it s views.  Most Arab Americans are conservative and voted Republican until fairly recently. The majority of Arab Americans, if not openly opposed to feminists, progressives, leftists, and  Nawal Saadawi worshippers like  Nadine Christine Naber, they are not fans of them and for sure do not believe that they are representative of mainstream Arab American views and values.

The Campaign of Sabotage and Destuction

The bottom line is the ADC/ Imad Hamad saga is not about Rana Abbas and Rashida Tlaib, whatever the truths or untruths of their stale claims and their highly suspect timing with the manufactured media circus. The war against ADC and Imad Hamad is not about the two women or women. It is not about sexual harassment. It is simply the campaign of a marginal radical segment of the Arab American population, due to its almost zero resonance with the larger Arab American community, unable to democratically play a key role in shaping the policies and running the affairs of ADC, going for sabotage and destruction of the organization.

A War of Leftist “Terror”

This anti- ADC/anti Imad Hamad campaign is nothing short of leftist “war of terror” that will succeed in destruction only- as leftist wars are usually successful at.

Have any doubts about the intentions, the tactics and strategy of these leftist fanatics?  Ask the people involved with ADC’s once very active San Francisco chapter.

 

 

 

 

Former ADC President Sara Najjar's “Open Letter” to Imad Hamad

Former ADC President Sara Najjar-Wilson



Former ADC regional director Mr. Imad Hamad
 
 
An “Open Letter” to MR. IMAD S. HAMAD      

December 4, 2013

 

 

Dear Imad,

 

It is my understanding that on November 22, 2013, you retired as Senior National Advisor of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and Regional Director of ADC-Michigan.   It is regrettable that your retirement occurred on the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President john F.  Kennedy.  As you probably also know, November 22 is also the date of Lebanon’s Independence Day.  Accordingly, it is with heartfelt sadness that I find myself writing you this thank you letter, but (at the same time) maintaining a sense of hope that you will now have the independence and freedom to continue serving the community at large in some other capacity.  For the entire time that I have known you, you exemplified the calling and creed of President Kennedy, who paraphrased Kahlil Gibran – ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.  You did not ask what your country can do for you, but you did everything you can for your country.  

 

You have built bridges of understanding and enshrined mutual respect, not just within the Arab-American community, but also throughout your local communities, your State of Michigan, and our entire country.  Your outreach to all people – persons in the highest levels of our government, business and other community leaders, or the poorest citizens in your local communities – is unmatched.  You honored all of us by your tireless and selfless efforts in combating discrimination of any kind and bringing diverse communities together.  Your caring and compassion for those in need in your community have been incredibly unrelenting.   

 

Your contributions are beyond measure, and it would take pages to list them and thank you for each one individually, something beyond this one-page letter.  You have been an outstanding shepherd in serving your community, even though it was at a tremendous personal sacrifice; and we pray that you will consider continuing your commendable work.  

 

Last, but not least, words are simply inadequate to convey the loss of your good works; but, as I said above, it is my hope that you will consider continuing to pursue your service to the community at large in a different capacity.  In that context, a heartfelt Thank YOU – Thank YOU!  We are very proud of you, and I bid you Godspeed.

 

Highest regards,

 

 

Sara Najjar-Wilson

Former ADC President

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lebanese Al-Akhbar Newspaper Misrepresents Al Walid Bin Talal’s Views on Shiite –Sunni Relations


Prince Al Walid Bin Talal
 

 
Prince Al Walid Bin Talal is a half Saudi, half Lebanese billionaire. That’s enough for the "leftists"[who knows what it means in today's Lebanon] Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper to dislike him.

 
They have the right to dislike him.

However, they don’t have the right to misrepresent his views and in doing so add to Sunni-Shia tensions that are already at sky high levels.

 
al-Akhbar accused the prince of speaking in the name of all Sunnis. He never claimed that and he cannot claim it. They claimed that he spoke in the name of the Sunnis advocating cooperating with Israel against Iran and the Shia.

 The prince is a highly successful businessman. He did not become this successful and rich by dwelling on sectarian issues. He merely provided a descriptive picture of the unfortunate reality in the Muslim world. Anyone who peruses Gallup survey numbers and PEW numbers knows that what the prince said is what survey data have provided ample evidence of. We know, for example, that Hizbullah is very unpopular in Sunni Majority countries. In Lebanon  while the overwhelming majority of Shia support Hizbullah, an even bigger majority of Sunnis oppose Hizbullah. The prince did not create this reality and did not contribute to it in any shape or form. Sunnis blame the policies of Hizbullah and Iran for this reality.
Newspaper commentaries in many parts of the Arab and Muslim world also reflect these sentiments. These sentiments are explained by Sunni observers and others as largely due to the role that Iran and its allies are playing in Iraq and in Syria. These sentiments are  not grounded in theological doctrine and historical and serious still -relevant disagreements. The numbers are not cast in stone. The survey data before the Iraq and Syria conflicts showed that Iran and Hizbullah were quite popular with Sunnis.

What changed?

By misrepresenting the views of the prince the paper did not just harm the reputation of the prince. They also added fuel to the fire of sectarian tensions.

     This is the link to the report:
 

Friday, November 29, 2013

The ADC/Imad Hamad Saga: Despite Lack of Credibility, Politics of Personal Destruction Wins





 
 
 
 
The Imad Hamad and the ADC Saga*

The Lack of Credibility of Rashida Tlaib and Rana Abbas

 

On Rashida Tlaib

Nothing to Smile About: Rashida Tlaib, Sexual Harassment, and ADC

 Imagine this.

You feel that you were wronged by an organization. You wait 15 years to come forward with your grievance. You feel that you are wronged and you have waited too long because it is too painful to come forward and you are fearful of the stigma and the reaction you would get from your Arab and Muslim community. But in pursuing what you feel is justice you end up undoing years of the work of well-meaning people who had nothing to do with that perceived wrong.

Normally you would feel torn. It's a serious matter, isn't it?

How do you seek justice while not inflicting injustice?

Many things- but cracking a huge smile to the camera while pursuing your “justice” mission is not one of them.

The smile communicates all the wrong messages: Flippant, careless, having fun when the issues are very serious.

1.      The issue is sexual harassment. Nothing to smile about.

2.      The issue is the premier Arab American civil rights national organization that represents all Arab Americans.

3. The reputation and future of Imad Hamad and the feelings of his children.

I have said from the beginning that there is something wrong with the ADC/Imad Hamad story.

Credibility is a big factor in sexual harassment cases which boil down in many instances to he said –she said stories.

It was not adding up.

 What many kept saying was that Rashida is a "credible" person- because of her elected position.

Simply put Rashida Tlaib keeps giving reasons for questioning her claim.

You can add the smiley flippant “protest” to the list.

On Rana Abbas

All Smiles- In the Picture: Rana Abbas’s Head, Imad Hamad’s Hat

 

All this commentary I am writing on the manufactured crisis is about raising reasonable questions about the motivations of Rashida and Rana in orchestrating the anti- Imad Hamad and anti ADC campaign.

 15 years after the alleged events.

8 years after the alleged events.

Why now? This is the question almost everyone is asking.

If these women were hurt and are angry about their alleged victimization, there is no direct evidence or circumstantial evidence of that- then credibility is an issue.

How many know that Rashida Tlaib herself was thrown a fundraiser by ADC staff in Washington, DC less than three years ago- 12 years after the alleged sexual harassment that allegedly occurred.

As to Rana- she wrote this lovely thank you note to ADC and to Imad “particularly”- her words. She left for a better paying job at a government contractor who sent Arabic linguists to Iraq.

After she allegedly left with all these ill feelings she engaged in behavior inconsistent with someone who felt betrayed by ADC.

She herself wrote her farewell letter saying great things about Imad and ADC

She bought a booth for her employer at the ADC national banquet and she herself attended the ADC national banquets.

She frequently visited ADC national office and socialized with the staff.

During the banquets she socialized with ADC staff and went to the social mixers.

One can claim that all the above does not mean that Rana was not hurt and harassed by Imad.

That’s fine.

I am only raising questions that make one reasonably wonder.

I am not contesting that reasonable minds could differ.

But- there is more.

Less than two years ago there was an event- Siham Jaafar’s Images and Perceptions workshop- where Rana encountered  the “monster” Imad Hamad.

 Did she avoid him?  Did she run away from him? No and No.

She wore his hat and smiled to the camera.

The motivations and the timing look more suspicious than ever.

Feel free to disagree.

Personal and Academic Interest in the Controversy

          Many people have asked me why I am commenting on this matter and defending Imad Hamad and ADC. My interest is personal and academic. I am involved with ADC and I am a friend of Imad Hamad. I have an academic interest in the subject. My dissertation was on the political behavior of Arab Americans. I wrote a chapter in an academic book on ADC’s BRIDGES forum.

Personal Toll of the Controversy

I have nothing personal against Rana Abbas and Rashida Tlaib. It is unfortunate that this matter has divided us. The fact that Rana Abbas, one of the accusers of Imad and ADC, used to be a family friend and was my wife’s best friend until this unfortunate episode, did not deter me from questioning the allegations  and providing ongoing legal commentary on the subject as it unfolded and evolved.

 Rashida Tlaib is not a stranger either.  Michigan State Representative Tlaib and I were on cordial terms and were acquaintances for more than ten years.  In fact,  my wife and I donated to her campaign twice despite the fact that we d not live in her district.

 I have nothing against Rashida and Rana.  Our relationship soured because of the ADC case. I chose to stand by Imad Hamad and ADC and question the case and the motivations behind it.

A Friendship Unravels

As a result of my challenging the sexual harassment claims Rana Abbas chose to end her friendship with my wife, to punish my wife for something completely out of her control. My wife was devastated, cried as if she had a death in the family, because she considered Rana the closest woman to her.

In order to save her friendship my wife tried to get me not to comment on the case because the commentary is ruining a network of friendships we weaved over the years in Michigan. However, it was impossible to compromise. I was keenly interested in the case for personal and professional reasons.

I chose to provide analysis that countered the assertions of the alleged victims of Imad Hamad and ADC.
* Column compiled of 2 former blog entries appeared in the Forum and Link, 11/26/2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longtime ADC Leader Retires Attorney Abdrabboh New Regional Director


 

 

 
Longtime Community leader and ADC regional director Imad Hamad Retires

Palestinian American Attorney Fatina Abdrabboh New ADC Regional Director

A New Chapter for ADC Michigan

 

 

 
 
 
Below is The Forum and Link's news item that appeared on November 26, 2013 on the topic of the retirement of Mr. Imad Hamad from ADC.

             Imad Hamad Retires, Abdrabboh Assumes Leadership of  ADC Michigan

 

 

The Forum and Link newspaper, the staff and the writers, thank Mr. Imad Hamad for 17 years of distinguished service of the American Arab anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the community. Throughout these years Mr. Hamad built ADC Michigan, with limited resources and in the face of pushback from other community and parochial organizations, into a formidable presence in Michigan. Under his visionary leadership ADC established the MLK event, the Judges’ Night event, and the internationally known law enforcement- community forum, BRIDGES.

 The Forum and Link wishes Mr. Hamad success in all his future endeavors. We also congratulate attorney Abdrabboh on her new position and wish her success.

 
Below is the ADC press release on the retirement of longitme ADC Michigan leader Imad Hamad’s retirement and the appointment of Palestinian American attorney Fatina Abdrabboh as his replacement as ADC Michigan regional director.

 

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
ADC Welcomes Attorney Fatina Abdrabboh as New Michigan Director
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | November 22, 2013 - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is pleased to welcome Ms. Fatina Abdrabboh, Esq., M.P.P., M.T.S., as the new Director of its Michigan office. ADC expresses its gratitude to all its members and supporters for their continued backing of ADC and further hopes that the community will offer its support to Ms. Abdrabboh during this critical time of transition and rebuilding.
Attorney Abdrabboh is committed to working to protect the civil and constitutional rights of all Arab Americans and to promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs. “I realize much has happened in the last year and I hope to be a force for positive change and a recommitment to the principles upon which ADC was founded.” She continued, “I am looking forward to what I know will be a challenging role and I hope I can count on the community’s support as we move forward in Michigan”.
Ms. Abdrabboh comes to ADC with a background in policy, ethics, and legal advocacy. A graduate of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, her work has appeared in leading periodicals such as the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, the Detroit Free Press, the Washington Times, among others. Her scholarly work has also been published in numerous academic journals including the: Harvard Journal of African-American Public Policy, Harvard Africa Policy Journal, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved, as well as others. She has also appeared on national and international media outlets advocating on behalf of Arab Americans, minorities, and underserved populations.
Ms. Abdrabboh has also represented the community internationally, speaking on legal and policy issues of concern to Arabs and Muslims in the United States. She has also traveled to Niger, Liberia, and Egypt for the United States Department of State as a guest speaker on topics ranging from minority communities, empowering women, and gender-related advocacy. As a long-time supporter of ADC, she established a record of mentorship and a commitment to empowering the youth and marginalized communities.
In addition to her extensive work in policy on the international level, she has worked on numerous legal, policy, and advocacy initiatives on the national level. Specifically, she served as a legal extern for the US Attorney's Office in Detroit where she successfully provided a lecture to federal prosecutors, law enforcement agents, and other federal officials on Arab culture, customs, and history. Additionally, she served as a judicial clerk for an Arab-American federal judge, the Honorable Judge George Caram Steeh from the Eastern District of Michigan. As part of her commitment to public service, she has been invited to lecture across the country with national initiatives created to combat divisiveness, defend against bigotry, and foster understanding between Arab Americans and other ethnic, religious, cultural, political, and gender support groups.
Imad Hamad is retiring from ADC and is no longer with ADC as of today, the 22nd of November, 2013. We acknowledge his many years of service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The "Arab American" News: There They Go, Again: The News Incompetence or Duplicity?


News publisher Osama Siblani


                     Paper’s Headline: Hamad “leaves” and Abdrabboh to “head local chapter”

After months of immense pressure, of a coordinated smear campaign of Imad Hamad and the American Arab anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Imad Hamad retired. The ADC appointed attorney Fatina Abdrabboh, a Palestinian American attorney as the new ADC regional director.

The Orchestrated Campaign of Osama Siblani and the “Arab American” News

Many things are still not clear about the agenda and the motivations of the accusers and their supporters. However, to many people, including myself, one thing is crystal clear: The "Arab American" News and its publisher Osama Siblani played a major role in the crusade against Imad Hamad and ADC. From day one Osama Siblani claimed that ADC “dropped the ball on us” and that ADC has a “credibility problem.”  See  http://ihsanalkhatib.blogspot.com/2013/06/osama-siblani-reinvents-himself-on-arab.html

Rana Abbas and the Ghostwritten Editorial: The Cardinal Sin

The manufactured scandal broke from Osama’s office. Osama was the chief person to speak to the media when the scandal broke out, and he opened his paper to all sorts of people, such as his buddy and BFF assistant US attorney Abed Hammoud, to attack Imad Hamad and ADC. Even in reporting on the matter only those speaking against Imad Hamad and ADC were interviewed or were quoted prominently. Then there was the Mother of All Journalistic Scandals, the scandal of scandals, when, apparently, Osama Siblani let one of the alleged victims Rana Abbas, a Contributing Editor of the paper ghostwrite the paper’s editorial on the issue- in the name of the newspaper and the Arab American community. That is a clear breach of trust and basic journalistic norms and ethics. Of course the assessment that Rana Abbas herself wrote the editorial is my inference and conclusion based on the fact that she is the Contributing Editor, my familiarity with her writing style and my familiarity with the writing style of other writers of the paper. The paper itself and its publisher never denied my charge, which is a serious charge for a publication that values honesty and integrity- not that I am saying that they do value honesty and integrity at the “Arab American” News. I recently received a Cease and Desist letter from an attorney, Edward Youmans, Warren David’s brother in law [what a small world!]  threatening me with a defamation suit and other “remedies” because I concluded from my reading and analysis of the editorial that Rana Abbas ghostwrote the editorial. See here the letter from the attorney http://ihsanalkhatib.blogspot.com/2013/11/within-days-invasion-of-my-facebook.html and here is my response to the letter http://ihsanalkhatib.blogspot.com/2013/11/my-response-to-attorney-youmans-cease.html

Reporting Hamad’s Retirement, Abdrabboh’s Appointment

Imad  Hamad’s retirement is major Arab American news, especially in Michigan. These are some of the few headlines on the news:

“Civil rights leader Imad Hamad retires in the face of sex harassment, assault allegations.” Detroit Free Press‎ -November 22, 2013.

“Imad Hamad retires as American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's.” Michigan director. WXYZ- November 23, 2013.

“Hamad resigns as regional director of Arab-American civil rights group.” The Detroit News:- November 23, 2013.

How did the Arab American News headline the story?

“Imad Hamad leaves ADC Michigan; Attorney Fatina Abedrabboh to head local chapter.” November 22, 2013.

The News “Objectivity” and “Fairness”

Throughout the manufactured scandal the "Arab American" News and Osama Siblani, incredulously and shamelessly, claimed that they are being objective and honest in reporting on the matter. They were neither honest nor objective. It is an outrage to journalism and an insult to the reader for them to claim objectivity and honest reporting on the ADC matter in particular.  The dishonesty and bias continues. While other outlets clearly headlined their story as Imad retiring, the News decided to lead the story with the “objective” and “fair” term of art "leaves."

The Inexplicable/Inexcusable Abdrabboh “heads the local chapter”

The paper claimed that attorney Fatina Abdrabboh would be “heading the local chapter.”  This shows one of two things- intent on misleading the reader, confusing the public, putting the ADC in the position to begin Abdrabboh's tenure with a release addressing the nature of her appointment. Or it shows serious ignorance of the basic operations of ADC in Detroit. It is either the paper is incompetent or dishonest or both.
                    ADC, the office, the advisory board and the Detroit chapter
ADC’s institutional presence in Michigan constitutes of the ADC office headed by the regional director, the ADC advisory board chosen by the director to advise the ADC Michigan office, and the ADC chapter which constitutes of volunteers voted by members of the ADC Detroit chapter. The chapter and the office are institutionally and organizationally distinct from each other. Mr. Imad Hamad headed the office and Abdrabboh was his replacement. Abdrabboh is ADC Michigan regional director. She is an employee of ADC national. She is separate and apart from the ADC Michigan chapter.

Anyone who has been involved with ADC Michigan knows this institutional reality. Osama Siblani and the Contributing Editor and the former deputy director of ADC Michigan Rana Abbas should know this.  But we cannot rule out incompetence as a reason for the misleading reporting. Even though my money is that it is a witch’s brew of incompetence and dishonesty.

 

Interview with LAU’s Dr. Imad Salamey: The Government and Politics of Lebanon


 
 
Dr. Imad Salamey

 
 
 
Interview with LAU’s Dr. Imad Salamey

The Government and Politics of Lebanon*

 

Interviewed by Ihsan Alkhatib, PhD

Dr. Imad Salamey, a professor at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon has written a textbook on the politics of Lebanon, The Government and Politics of Lebanon. Dr. Salamey is a former resident of the Detroit area. The Forum and Link (F & L) interviewed Dr. Salamey via email regarding his book and the political situation in Lebanon. Below are excerpts.

-F & L: Thank you Dr. Salamey for doing the interview and congratulations on your new book. Tell the reader a little bit about yourself.

Salamey: I am an associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Lebanese American University (LAU), President of the Center for Arab Research and Development (CARD), and Executive Board Member of the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Security and Development (CSDS) at Richmond American International University in London. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from Wayne State University. I am the author of The Government and Politics of Lebanon (Routledge) as well as many journal articles, most recent is “The collapse of Middle Eastern authoritarianism” in Third World Quarterly and “US-French collaboration on Lebanon” in Middle East Journal. My research d writing includes studies, editorials, assessments, and reports that provide strategic examination and analysis of Lebanese and Middle Eastern politics. I am a consultant for various International Organizations on issues related to Middle Eastern public policy, elections, rule of law, human rights, power sharing, security, and defense.

F & L: How is it like to be living in Lebanon today?

Because Lebanon is confronting political turmoil and instabilities, living in the country has been a challenge.  It is difficult to remain in a continuous state of alert as the situation is fragile and sectarian- charged rhetoric often stirs street fights.  The conflict in Syria, the influx of refugees, and the divisions among Lebanese on Hezbollah military intervention in Syria have only added to the already fragmented and deeply divided communities. The daily return of fighters killed or injured from Syria along heightened sectarian charged polarization are reasons for deepening hatred among Lebanese sectarian communities: Sunni and Shia in particular.  The spillover of the Syrian conflict into Lebanon is already being materialized by threats for revenge and counter revenge and car bombs exploding in Sunni and Shia populated areas. The Iraqinization of Lebanon is becoming a greater reality day by day as Sunni and Shia Islamist groups are increasingly resorting to violence against one another to attain what are political objectives.

F & L: This is very serious. We hope that you and your family stay safe. Tell me about your textbook?

The Government and Politics of Lebanon attempts to examine the origin of sectarianism and traces its development at various historic junctures. It admits to the fact that Lebanese politics is strongly rooted in sectarian mobilizations that have shaped the Lebanese government and institutions.  State consociationalism, a term coined by political scientist Arend Lijphart, has been the manifestation of sectarian politics where power is divided and shared.  Sectarian consociationalism is asserted in the book as both a blessing and a curse.  Such a governance structure has provided the various groups   decentralized communal autonomies and prevented a strong state, possibly oppressive, from emerging.  The result is a relative sectarian balance of power, political freedom, and the prevention of a dictatorship or a monarchy.  On the other hand, a weak state and fragmented polity prone to external meddling and interventions have produced a chronic state of instability and repeated collapses.  The current Sunni-Shia standoff is only the expression of the latest trend in foreign interventions and sectarian struggle for power after  being Maronite vs. Druze (mid 19th Century) and Muslim vs. Christian (throughout the 20th Century) and now it is Sunni-Shia with the Christians divided between the two camps.

The book is the culmination of four years of research and investigation during which I engaged in different assessments to government institutions, public opinion polls, and interviews with policy makers and civil society leaders.  The book provides international students, diplomats, general readers, and researchers with an intensive and comprehensive read about Lebanon and its political dynamic.  Students of Middle Eastern politics and comparative politics will find an in-depth analysis of power sharing dilemma in a deeply divided and transitional societies as exemplified by the Lebanese consociational model.  The book is currently/in the process of being utilized at many universities.

For those who might be in Beirut I will be having a book signing ceremony at the International Beirut Arab Book Conference, on 11 December, 2013 at 7:30 pm.  The book is available in most libraries and book stores and can be ordered online through Rutledge or Amazon: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415636889/

F & L: Thank you doing the interview. We hope the situation improves in Lebanon. Stay safe.

Salamey: Thank you to the Forum and Link, its staff and its publisher Dr. Assad Dandashli for this interview. I wish you many more years of success.

*Interview will appear in the Forum and Link next week. www.forumandlink.com

 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Response to Attorney Youmans' Cease and Desist Letter


Rana Abbas's head, Imad Hamad's hat
 
 
 
Below is my response to the “Cease and Desist” Letter of Mr. Youmans. I have added subheadings that were not in the original letter for ease of reading.

 Dear Mr. Youmans:

I am writing in response to your Cease and Desist letter sent by email to my work email. Please have all future communication sent to [Personal address and email removed]

And since I have a PhD please address me as Dr. Alkhatib.
 
On Rana Abbas- Nothing Personal

As you are probably aware, I have nothing personal against your client Rana Abbas. I have known Rana since 2001 and we considered ourselves good friends until this unfortunate ADC crisis. Our relationship took a nosedive due to the Imad Hamad and ADC matter that she was involved with. I admit that in questioning her story, challenging her credibility, her timing and her motivations I have written entries that are unflattering to her that may reasonably cause her to be upset- a result that I sincerely regret and have not intended. It is not my intention to upset anyone generally let alone her. The key issue here though is that her being upset by analysis and commentary on a matter largely of her own creation does not make a claim of defamation.

Blogging ADC and Imad Hamad

Apart from my full-time job as political science professor at Murray State University, I have a blog where I provide commentary, analysis and opinion on Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, Law and Islam. I have become involved with the ADC matter as soon as it broke out as an observer and a commentator due to a number of factors among which are my relationship with Imad Hamad, ADC and my interest in Arab American issues. Even though it is not material to a defamation claim, it is worth noting that at no point in time was I motivated by animus toward your client who, incidentally, was my wife’s best friend and a frequent visitor to our home in Michigan until this matter unfortunately ended their close friendship.
Rana Abbas: A limited Public Figure

Your client is a limited public figure. This is a matter of public concern. I categorically and unequivocally deny that I defamed your client in any of my blog entries. You refer to my writings but I am not clear which entry and section you are referencing. I have written numerous entries on this matter, sometimes more than one on the same day. Some entries were posted, removed and then reposted at other times. Therefore, dates are not a good way of pointing out in which entry and how I allegedly defamed your client. I have also raised the same issues and used the same terms, not necessarily the ones you single out, in more than one entry. Providing me with a printout of the specific entries with the alleged defamatory material highlighted would help me provide you a response that addresses your concerns fully and accurately.
Defamation versus Conclusions and Inferences

However, let me hazard a response based on the limited information you provide. You enumerated three specific areas of contention. You cite my usage of the words “lies” and “untruths” in my commentary in my blog entries on the matter. Again it would help if you can provide a printout. But, generally speaking, whenever I used these terms it was in the course of commentary/conclusions based on inference and argument based on the public information available at the time. These were conclusions based on the available information and my reading, understanding and assessment of the information. I have made that clear in my blog entries.
My Inference and Conclusion that Rana Abbas Ghostwrote the Editorial

As to my statement that Rana ghost wrote the editorial in the Arab American News/Sada Al Watan that was an inference and a conclusion I drew given my knowledge of who writes for that paper, my familiarity with Rana’s writing style and given her position as a Contributing Editor. There is no actual malice here. I did not know nor did I have reason to know that she, in fact, did not write it. I did not blind myself to the "truth." I still think and believe she did. No one on the planet, let alone from the paper, contacted me at any time to challenge my inference and conclusion and deem my inference/conclusion defamatory of Rana.
The “Daunting Task” of Meeting the Actual Malice Standard

In writing the blog entries I am exercising my first amendment rights to comment about issues of public importance and this is one of them. This is a matter that has received local, national and international attention due in large measure to the publicity, the interviews and the public appearances of Rana herself. Rana, as a result of the ADC/Imad Hamad issue, is a limited public figure and the actual malice standard applies to her as to the writing on this controversial and admittedly divisive matter. In order for your client to prevail in a claim of defamation she has to show by clear and convincing evidence that I made statements with “actual malice.” New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 280 (1964). There is not a shred of evidence of actual malice on my part let alone clear and convincing evidence.
Unflattering? Yes, Defamatory? No

As you know, defamation law cannot be used to prevent me as a commentator on issues of public interest from drawing any inferences or from making any arguments or drawing any conclusions based on available information especially when I make it clear that it is opinion and commentary. Defamation law and the threat of a defamation lawsuit cannot be solely premised on the commentary being unflattering to your client.
Again, I would be more fully able to address your concerns if you provide me with copies of the material I wrote highlighting the alleged defamatory parts.

Until then I remain
Yours truly,

Ihsan Alkhatib, Esq., PhD