Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ADC: An Institution in Turmoil or a Community in Turmoil? Beydoun et al. Write about the community organization without writing about the community


President Clinton addressing the ADC Convention

ADC: An Institution in Turmoil or a Community in Turmoil?

Beydoun et al. Write about the community organization without writing about the community


            Every community and every organization deals with challenges. This is part of the community and organizational growth process.


ADC is not an exception.


            ADC is an organization that that the “revolutionary” members of the Arab American community simply hate. They hate ADC because they want/ed ADC to be more radical, more controversial, and yes, more divisive.


They failed.


            As an organization that represents Arab Americans of all national, religious, political, and ideological backgrounds, ADC has tried to focus on what can unite all Arab Americans of all backgrounds: The civil rights of Arab Americans. Many wanted ADC to be more and when that did not happen they left. They left and ADC continued to exist.


            I have been involved with ADC since 2001 in different capacities. I am a member, a former ADC Michigan chapter board chair, a former chair of the ADC advisory board, and a current member of the advisory board of the ADC Michigan office.


            Over the years I have met all kinds of people who were part of ADC.  Some of them are not part of ADC anymore. Some left because they got busy with other things such as a job and a family, new endeavors, new interests, and/or had their ambitions for power in the organization stifled, etc.


Writing without History or Context


            It is not possible to make meaningful commentary about ADC as the premier Arab American organization without studying and commenting about the Arab American community itself. The Arab American community has changed tremendously over the years since Senator James Abu Rizk formed the organization. The community has numerically grown and has seen an increase in the number of community organizations that are formed on the basis of nationality and/or religion.  These organizations have greatly reduced the pool of membership available for ADC.


International changes and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

            Major changes on the community level began with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Iraq invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent war to get Iraq out of Kuwait and the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo peace process. Many Palestinian nationalists, leftists and leftist- leaning members got discouraged and left the organization. Oslo was seen as a “major disaster” and signaled for many the perceived bankruptcy of the Arab national project and the need for a better avenue for organizing- that is along religious lines. While religion based organizations are flush with money, secular organizations across the board, with notable exceptions, are starved for money.

The Arab Spring, the Syria Conflict and Sectarian Tensions


            More recently there is the issue of the Arab spring and the Syria conflict and sectarian tensions that have further weakened and divided the Arab American community. This division is reflected in all aspects of Arab American life including institutions. As to Syria- There are those who strongly support Assad. There are those who strongly oppose Assad. Both groups exist in ADC. The challenge for ADC as an organization is how to keep both in the fold. The perceived dis-invitation of Syrian pianist Jandali is a result of the attempt of ADC to navigate the treacherous waters of that conflict and the hard feelings it has engendered in the community.

Hostility to Arab Gulf States


            There is also major controversy over the belligerence and hostility of some members of the Arab American community, especially the radical activists, to the Gulf Arab states. This belligerence is a function of many factors some ideological. Many Arab communists and other leftists have not forgiven the government of Saudi Arabia for contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism by providing 50 cents of every dollar the U.S. spent funding the Afghani Jihad against the Soviet Union. Also, the fact remains that many “revolutionaries” and “critical thinkers” in the Arab American community consider hostility to the Arab Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, as an important part of their identity and being and an important part of their “progressive” bona fides. While there are/were members of ADC who were hostile to the Arab Gulf countries, others in the community and in ADC aren’t/ weren’t. This division came to the surface when ADC took the major donation from the Saudi prince Al Walid Bin Talal. I was there at the banquet when the prince declared his major donation. I also recall that faced with a major nonstop applause he said he will increase the donation that he intended for ADC.


Government engagement v. Government Confrontation


            There is also the issue of ADC- U.S. government engagement. Many Arab American activists are left- wingers who see the U.S. government and its policies as the root of all evil in the world in general and in the Arab world in particular. They want ADC to be hostile to US government foreign policy. They want confrontation, not engagement. They believe that ADC needs to take an adversarial position as to the U.S. government and not a partnership role on issues of importance to Arab Americans. The  institution of BRIDGES, formed by the former regional director of ADC with the former FBI Detroit agent in Charge John Bell is Exhibit 1 in what those activists hate/dislike about ADC. Many of the advocates of the adversarial role and the hostility left. They are the minority viewpoint in the Arab American community. Most Arab Americans do not want a confrontational and adversarial relationship with the U.S. government. They are American citizens and they want to change the behavior of the government not alienate themselves from it.


The Salience of Religious identity and the Rise of Religious Mobilization

            It is not only the lack of history and context that stands out in the piece by Beydoun et al. Those who stayed with ADC know that the biggest challenge today facing Arabs and Arab Americans is the salience of the religious identity and the rise of religion as a mobilizing factor. That is not inherently good or bad as a historical development but its impact on ADC is indisputable. Religious mobilization is gaining, pan Arab mobilizing is losing and this reflects on the resources and membership of ADC.


The National Trend of the Decline of Associational membership


            Nationally, there is a trend of decline in associational membership. Google "decline in voluntary associational membership" and you will see all kind of material on this national phenomenon. The American Sociological Association issued a press release entitled “Active Participation in Voluntary Organizations Declining Faster Than Checkbooks Can Keep Up,” on the subject in 2011 that read in part:  “The decline in active memberships in civic groups, fraternal organizations, and other local associations is greater than the increase in checkbook memberships, according to new research to be presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.” Harvard professor Robert Putnam wrote about this in Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, a book published in 2000. ADC is not unique in the sense of experiencing membership decline.  


Disconnected from Reality


            The changes and the challenges facing ADC are real. The sexual harassment claim is a footnote in this picture and is not relevant or helpful in understanding the changes that have altered Arab American reality and naturally had an impact on ADC. Those who manage and direct ADC have to deal with them every day. Beydoun et al’s piece shows that the writers, as to voluntary associational membership,  are disconnected not only from ADC reality but from the reality of American society at large.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Osama Siblani and his Paper Incite Against Dearborn's Sunni Community

Osama Siblani, owner of the "Arab American" News

Hajj 2013 and the Alleged Mina Incident with the American Dearborn Shiite Pilgrims

Uncritical Coverage/ without Context in the “Arab American” News  is Sectarian Incitement

The Importance of the Proper Frame on Communal Relations


It was reported that during Hajj 2013 there was a sectarian attack against a group of Lebanese Shiite pilgrims from Dearborn. The alleged attackers were Lebanese Sunnis.

The incident was reported in a Dearborn community newspaper, Osama Siblani’s the “Arab American” News. This is an excerpt of the report from their website:

Local pilgrims assaulted by sectarian extremists at Hajj  By Ali Harb

‘ Arab American pilgrims from the Metro Detroit area where attacked and assaulted, for what appears to be sectarian reasons, on Wednesday, Oct. 16, while performing the rituals of Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia.

A known female community leader said that when the local group entered Tent Section 40, an area designated for American, European and Australian Muslims, a pilgrim in the group was asked about his sect, by a member of another group.

"When he said he was Shi'a, they called him Kafir (infidel) and attacked him," said the woman, who did not want her name to be revealed, for safety concerns, until she leaves Saudi Arabia next week.

Arab American pilgrims waiting for the bus outside the tent area.

The attackers, who are Australians of Lebanese descent, then hit three other men in the group and dragged one into a tent, while choking and kicking him.

"They took him into a woman's tent and had him in a chokehold. They were choking him out. When our guys got to him, he was blue," she said.

The attackers threatened the pilgrims to leave the tent area, while bringing up historic sectarian references.

"We will kill you Shi'a men and rape your women," they shouted, according to the source. The source said security officers at the tent area were aware of the attack, but stood by and did not do anything to stop it.

They were required to spend Thursday night praying in Mina, but since they feared for their lives, they will seek a religious accommodation for being unable to complete that ritual.’

The Incident in the Proper Context: Sunnis and Shiites in Dearborn

Framing, Context and Consequences

There is complete support for those whose Hajj experience was tarnished with the incident in Mina. However, one does not do anyone any good by framing this issue as a Sunni-Shia incident as if conflict and incivility are typical of the Hajj experience or of Sunni-Shia interactions. The use of code language, “Salafis” as a stand in for Sunni, does not change this reality.  I have heard many stories of sectarian incidents in the Dearborn area. What is in common with all these incidents, in mechanic shops, car parts’ shops, restaurants, bakeries, etc. is intolerance, lack of civility, and silliness of those who initiated the sectarian incidents. However, of the more than five sectarian incidents that I heard about in the Dearborn area, it was people from the same sect as the offending party that helped diffuse the situation and brought it to an end. Those are the people who jumped in to say one of the following: You cannot generalize, we are all Muslims, don’t talk like that, we are in America and let’s leave old country problems in the old country, people who respect themselves respect others, my mother is Sunni/Shia, etc. At the bottom of many of these incidents was a difficult person who wanted to pick a fight and the sectarian issue is the issue of the day.

Real tensions- The Importance of Context/Frame

Osama’s Inflammatory Coverage

There is no doubt that there are Shia-Sunni tensions in the Muslim world, the Arab world and in the United States. It is important to recognize tensions and work to diffuse them. It is important to put incidents in the proper context. Framing incidents involving individuals of different sectarian backgrounds as solely the result of sectarian differences and inter-communal tensions is unhelpful and misleading. The overwhelming number of inter-sectarian interactions are positive and decent. Sunnis who live in the Detroit area have reason for concern over the inflammatory coverage by Osama’s paper that did not put the Hajj incident in its proper context. Sunni Muslims are a minority in the Dearborn/Dearborn Heights area and fear a backlash from extremists incited by that paper’s inflammatory coverage.

The “Do as I say not as I do” Osama

Incidentally, Arab Americans have always complained that the American mainstream media incite against Muslim and Arab Americans by their coverage that does not provide the right frame and the proper context. Osama is one of those who always lectured over the issues of frame and context in the American media coverage of Arab and Muslim news. A stand alone violent incident reported without any background information and context, in this day and age, is misleading and inflammatory and irresponsible. This is precisely the issue with the coverage in Osama’s paper.

 Why privilege dysfunctional interactions as a true picture of inter-sectarian relations?

How many people went to Hajj 2013? How many were Shia? Is that incident representative of the Hajj experience? Is that incident representative of Sunni-Shia interactions in the Hajj and in other contexts?

Time to Ask for an End to Incitement

By not providing context and the proper frame, Osama’s paper has incited against the minority Sunnis in the Shia majority community of the Dearborn/Dearborn Heights area at a time of high tensions and stress. Sunni leaders and Imams should visit Osama’s paper and ask for an end to sectarian incitement. It is time.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hajj 2013 and the Alleged Mina Incident with the American Dearborn Shiite Pilgrims

Hajj 2013 and the Alleged Mina Incident with the American Dearborn Shiite Pilgrims

1.4 million pilgrims, at least 140,000 Shiites

Unverified report, Sourced by activists

It is reported that during Hajj 2013 there was a sectarian attack against a group of Lebanese Shiite pilgrims from Dearborn, Michigan. The alleged attackers were Lebanese Sunnis.

Before jumping to conclusions it is important to consider two factors.
1. Was the attack truly sectarian or was it related to the politics of Lebanon?

2. Let’s not forget that there were 1.4 million making Hajj 2013 and that at least 10% of them were Shiites- that makes more than 140,000 Shiite pilgrims that performed the Hajj peacefully.

 It is possible an attack happened even though there is no third party independent report on the incident so far. However there is reason for concern about the story being told in the report that appeared in the Washington Times and was written by a Pakistani Shiite activist Rahat Husain. Mr. Husain is director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA,  the Universal Muslim Association of America, a Shiite advocacy group that strongly supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

  There is no way on earth that a Muslim of any background would say what is alleged to have been said in this sectarian incitement piece by Rahat Husain on the Washington Times website. One of the alleged victims is said to have tweeted, among other patently questionable quotes that " [T]hey attacked screaming kill them like Hussien [sic] and take there women as captives like Zaynab… We have people bleeding and women terrified.”
Sunni Muslims of all denominations revere these Islamic figures and there is no way that the "attackers" used their names in that fashion. There is no doubt that there is sectarian bigotry from both the Shiites and the Sunnis and the Internet is teeming with shameful bigotry and incitement from extremists of both sides. However, I challenge anyone to find anywhere on the Internet language similar to that allegedly used by the alleged attackers.
It is just not possible.

I would have had an open mind to a claim of harassment and discrimination but the quotes in the story attributed to the "attackers" make it crystal clear that there is more to the story than reported.

Hajj 2013: A Great Success for the Custodians of Mecca and Medina

Just to put things in their proper context, Hajj 2013 had 1.4 million Muslim pilgrims from 188 countries who peacefully performed their religious obligation. At least 10% of the pilgrims were Shiite Muslims- that is at least 140,000 of the pilgrims were Shiite. With the exception of the alleged incident in Mina the 2013 Hajj is a success story no fires, no stampedes, no "Death to America" protests or other unfortunate events that we saw in the past. The Saudi government is spending great resources to make sure that the pilgrims can safely and peacefully perform their religious obligation. To their credit, this year's Hajj was a safe and peaceful Hajj to the more than 1.4 million that were guests of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A Minor Footnote- Lebanese Politics in Hajj 2013?

That means whatever the validity of the incident with the American Shiite pilgrims from Dearborn, it was isolated, an outlier, and since the alleged offending group was Lebanese the matter seems more related to Lebanese politics than anything else. It is important to not forget that both the alleged offenders and the alleged victims are Lebanese.

Is this more of a Lebanese incident more than anything else? Only an independent report can either confirm or deny this.

We have at best an incomplete picture of what happened.

My money is that it is more of a Lebanese confrontation than anything else.




Saturday, October 12, 2013

Let’s talk about dishonesty and lack of transparency: Rana Abbas’s/The “Arab American” News Editorial

Rana Abbas

Osama Siblani

Nabih Ayad

Let’s talk about dishonesty and lack of transparency: Rana Abbas’s/The “Arab American” News Editorial

An Unrelenting Paid Campaign?

Osama Siblani and his paper The “Arab American” News “The News” are persistent in their campaign against Imad Hamad and the ADC.

The unanimous decision of the ADC national board, a board of individuals of diverse national and religious/sectarian backgrounds,  decided that there is “inconclusive evidence” in the sexual harassment case against Imad Hamad. Despite that, they decided to relieve Imad of his duties as the regional director and keep him as an advisor to the ADC. I don't think this is fair to Imad but Imad has accepted it.

 The decision was unanimous.

This is not good enough for Osama Siblani and it seems he will keep using his paper to keep trying to further discredit Imad and the ADC and continue the media scene for ulterior motives.
In an editorial in Osama’s paper Friday 10/12/2013, an editorial seemingly written by none other than Rana Abbas herself Osama continues with his campaign against Imad and ADC.

Talking about transparency and due process.

Rana Abbas writes the paper’s editorial

The language, substance and style of the editorial indicate that alleged “victim” Rana Abbas wrote it. The paper does not state who wrote the editorial.

Is it transparency, fairness and due process to have one of the alleged victims write the editorial in the name of the paper and the community?

Is that honest? Is that fair?
The most basic of the rules of the ethics of journalism has been breached. It is not a secondary rule. The whole paper is discredited.

 If the paper is simply seeking the truth and not serving as a mouthpiece then Rana's column would have been written under her name and not in the name of the paper and anonymously. Even that would be ethically iffy.

A paper that respects itself would not do what Osama is doing with his paper. But there is no surprise there.

The editorial is entitled “ADC turned its back on the community and its mission.”
Rana writes: “Sadly, their [alleged victims] calls for justice fell on ADC's deaf ears.”

Again- the same misrepresentations from Rana regarding ADC not taking the claims seriously.

ADC’s Mission v. Osama’s Mission

One wonders what did ADC do to “turn back on the community and its mission”?
Did it become blatantly and shamelessly sectarian like Osama and his paper have become, especially the Arabic language section of his paper, while still keeping the deceptively “Arab American” label?

The editorial alleges that “the current leadership of the organization has turned its back on many Arab American women, who claimed their rights were violated by a leader within the organization.”

How did ADC turn its back when it investigated the claims twice and on the second time, despite “inconclusive evidence,” relieved Imad of his duties?

The organization did not say the allegations were true or untrue. They were not proven. And that is not the same.

If there is anyone who damaged the credibility and cause of sexual harassment it is Rana Abbas and Rashida Tlaib in the way they handled the matter from A to Z. Their inconsistencies, exaggerations, untruths, the people they brought on board with them, to whether the claims were brought up before and investigated, and wildly changing number of alleged “victims,” all took from the credibility of their case.

Osama and his paper think it is their position to tell ADC how to conduct the investigation and what responsibilities to give the attorney it hired.

Who gave Osama and his parochial paper the right to tell a national Arab American organization how to conduct its investigation?

Many Motives key among them ties to the ACRL and Nabih Ayad

The editorial continues:

“These are credible women, known in the community, with no plausible motives to harm ADC. But they were implicitly painted as liars by the organization.”

If the women are "credible and known in the community"- So is Imad Hamad.

ADC did not implicitly or explicitly paint the women as liars.
Stating that ADC painted the women as liars is completely dishonest.  No reasonable reading of what ADC said or did bears that conclusion.
Suspicious Timing and Associations

But as to plausible motives there are many as I wrote before.

Rana Abbas worked for the organization, ACRL, set up by former disgruntled ADC board member Nabih Ayad. ACRL is an organization that is trying to take the role of ADC in the Greater Detroit area. ACRL received support from a who’s who of people and groups who dislike Imad and ADC.

Rashida Tlaib worked for many years for ACCESS an organization that, to put it charitably, did not have the best relations with Imad and ADC. Also, interestingly, only a few months before Rashida’s open letter, Rashida began serving on ACRL’s board. Rashida is running for the Michigan senate, a campaign that requires almost three times the money that a house campaign requires. Nabih Ayad and close family members are known for his big contributions. He also holds fund raisers at his residence to help his favored politicians.
I am not saying that Rashida is lying but the above motives surely look plausible.

Osama Siblani is being awarded by ACRL this year. Of course one is not na├»ve enough to think that Osama can be bought with an ACRL award. To him it probably has the same value as a paper that is spit from a gumball machine. There must be some financial benefit from Nabih Ayad to Osama Siblani. These things don't stay hidden for long. I am sure it will become clear in the coming months if not days if this is the case. My reading of the situation is that if I were to make an educated and reasonable guess there is a financial motive.

The editorial continues:

“Due to the reckless decisions of the national board, the integrity and credibility of the victims were called into question, ADC lost its credibility and the community had to endure negative media scrutiny.”

How was the board reckless in a decision that took months and was unanimous? Inconclusive means inconclusive?

Also if the “community” faced “negative media scrutiny” it is from the sensational way that Rana and Rashida went about their claims.    

Now that’s Rich: Osama and his Paper Pontificate on Sectarianism

The silver lining in Rana’s editorial is that it acknowledges that their coverage has not been well received by the Arab community.

“We have always been committed to the highest standards of objectivity and professionalism when covering any story and this one was no exception.”

That is not true. Osama and the paper manufactured the crisis and fanned its flames. The coverage was skewed. All those interviewed for the ADC stories were negative toward Imad. The paper got the Assistant US attorney Abed Hammoud to write a column basically attacking Imad and ADC at that very early stage of the crisis. If the paper was professional, Rana would have been recused from the coverage and not been made part of the paper’s campaign and the writer of the editorial about “objectivity and professionalism.” From day one Osama said that ADC "dropped the ball on us" and that "ADC has a credibility problem." Is it professional and objective reporting?

The gall.

The editorial goes on to deny sectarian and political motivations for going after Imad: “Some insignificant voices in the community have attempted to play a dangerous hand, by making outrageous claims that TAAN was after Hamad for sectarian and political reasons.”
They are significant enough to resonate with the community and to be responded to. 

Osama’s paper is bilingual. The material in the English section is not the same as that in the Arabic section.  The sectarianism is especially clear in its Arabic section. More than one member of the community has asked Osama to tone down the sectarian coverage in the paper. Osama knows that. And large segments of the Arab American community know that and therefore see Osama and his paper as sectarian and divisive. Osama has tried to defend himself by saying those who write for him speak for themselves and not for the paper- that only an editorial speaks for the paper- that is like the one Rana wrote.
This “Twinkie defense” is belied by the fact that he chooses who writes in his paper.

Osama, Imad and ADC: To Love and to Hold Until ACRL Makes Us Part

The editorial continues:

“We have always been supportive of ADC and its mission. Our record speaks for itself. We refer those who accuse us of conspiring against ADC to our archives, which are full of positive coverage that we have given to the organization. After all we share ADC's objectives to protect the civil rights of all people, especially Arab Americans.”

In the past there was no crisis that could give the paper an excuse for a crusade even though the paper did indeed publish damaging rumors about ADC and Imad. But these rumors were not juicy enough to sustain a crusade.  Also,  going to the archives, there was no ACRL wanting to sideline ADC and a generous Nabih Ayad, who is of the same national and sectarian background of Osama Siblani.
It does not pass the smell test. 

Crystal Clear: The “Arab American” News Arabic Section’s Sectarianism

The paper adds: “It is a shame that some people would incite sectarianism to promote personal agendas, when we have all been witness to its bloody, devastating effects in the streets of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and other places.”

If there is anyone bringing sectarian incitement and hatred it is The Arab American News Arabic section. It is indeed a shame to incite sectarianism. Osama should begin with himself and his paper.

From Secular Nationalism to “Shut the F Up” Osama

I am sure Osama was a secular Arab nationalist at one time and his paper was like him. But that, as all fair observers note, is not the case anymore.  Neither Osama nor his paper “are committed to the secular principles of pan-Arabism.” Let me finish with an anecdote about Osama Siblani himself that helps shed light on the man and his "secular" orientation. There was a sahra/party at La Pita’s in Dearborn. Many people were drinking. Osama Siblani was drinking with them as well. He stood up before the crowd that included tipsy and drunk people and while the wine cup is in his hand started an impromptu  glowing speech about Sayed Hassan Nasrallah and Imam Hussein. Not exactly the language of secular Arab nationalism. The crowd was extremely annoyed with the scene and Osama was met with calls to “sit down” and “shut the fuck up.”

This is Osama Siblani preaching his “secular principles of pan-Arabism” ?
Eminem sang "Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?"

There are many Osamas it seems. There is public face Osama speaking to the English language media and there is another Osama speaking in closed settings to certain groups and individuals. They are not the same Osama. 
Will the Real Osama please stand up?


Thursday, October 10, 2013

On the Tlaib- Abbas Sexual Harassment News Conference and the community leaders standing by their side

Osama Siblani

Rana Abbas



Osama Siblani your community’s “Charles Ayoub”

The other day I got a phone call from Lebanon.

It was from a friend of mine who moved to Lebanon a few years ago. He asked me about what is going on with Imad Hamad and ADC. I told him what I thought was happening. He responded by saying that Osama Siblani is using his newspaper, the Arab American News "the News", as a tool to attack those who don’t pay him just like it is understood in Lebanon that Charles Ayoub of the Lebanese daily Ad- Diyar uses his paper to attack those who either stop paying him or refuse to pay him.

Maybe this is the case I said.

That’s an interesting hypothesis.

Reading the way Osama’s pet newspaper is covering the ADC story and seeing Osama's antics make you wonder.

A Real Job for Rana and Grants for ACCESS?

On Thursday 10/10/2013 the website of the News had a story by Samer Hijazi entitled “Community leaders unify in support of new sexual harassment coalition.”

What do we know from this press conference?

There is going to be a “sexual harassment” initiative. And given the ACCESS contingent turnout at the press conference I have no doubt that it will be an ACCESS project whom ACCESS will find none other than Rana Abbas to head.

That’s great news for ACCESS and Abbas. Abbas will get something close to a real job, unlike what she has now, a job that cannot pass even remotely as a real job is what she has at Osama’s paper.

ACCESS will have a new pet project to seek funding for.

The Leadership of the Who’s Who of ADC and Imad Score Settlers

Here is a telling excerpt from the deceptively called “Arab American” News:

“ Led by State Representative Rashida Tlaib and Contributing Editor of The Arab American News (TAAN) Rana Abbas, Tuesday's press conference was backed by dozens of local leaders who stood by the two women.”

Who are these "dozens of local leaders”? Dozens of leaders? Were there any members? All chiefs, no Indians? 

Hijazi wrote:

“Those who stood by their side included Hassan Jaber, executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS); Ismael Ahmed, assistant provost at the University of Michigan-Dearborn; Nabih Ayad, founder and chairman of the Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL); civil rights advocate and attorney Noel Saleh and TAAN Publisher Osama Siblani, among numerous others.”

All these people listed as standing by the “victims” are individuals who have a problem with ADC and/or Imad and stand to benefit from the manufactured scandal to settle scores for real or imagined grievances.

That is the leadership scene to behold. 

ACCESS is an institution that ADC Michigan had issues with. ACCESS sees itself as the 500- pound community organization that all other organizations in the “community” should defer to. Imad Hamad emerged on the scene and was able to create a strong presence for ADC that the ACCESS folks did not like. Ish Ahmed is the former longtime president of ACCESS and he had a few run-ins with Imad and ADC. Hassan Jaber is the current ACCESS president and he inherited this legacy.

And ACCESS stands to benefit from the scandal for a pet project.

Noel Saleh is associated with ACCESS and, even though he used to be Imad’s attorney, he is not on the best terms with Imad Hamad either- an extension of the ADC-ACCESS history.

The Gang of Four/Dearborn's Rabaa: Nabih Ayad, Osama Siblani, Rashida Tlaib and Rana Abbas

The other person standing by the "victims" is Nabih Ayad. Nabih Ayad is a former national board member of ADC who left the organizations after a falling out with Imad Hamad. Ayad custom- made a civil rights organization, the ACRL, and hired Rana Abbas, the former # 2 in the ADC Michigan office as his top administrator, the executive director.

It’s worth noting that with Imad Hamad and ADC Rana lasted EIGHT full YEARS.

Abbas lasted with Ayad only a FEW months- which is an extremely short term stopover employment that she left for a pretend/ poorly- paid job at Osama’s paper.

What gives? 

Only months after leaving Nabih Ayad’s ACRL and working with Osama did the charges against Imad Hamad and ADC bubble to the surface. Also, interestingly, Rashida Tlaib’s open letter emerged only a few months after the Palestinian American “Thomas Jefferson,” Rashida Tlaib, started serving on ACRL’s board.

This does not pass the most basic of smell tests.

Another man standing with the “victims” is Osama Siblani the publisher of the News who has a number of reasons for pouncing on Imad and the ADC. Incidentally, Nabih Ayad’s ACRL is awarding Osama Siblani in this year’s ACRL’s annual banquet.

Tim Attallah, ADC and Imad: Real and Imagined Grievances

The News report adds:

 ‘Attorney Tim Attalla took the podium to lead a pledge and asked the rest of the group to repeat the words, phrase-by-phrase. Some statements in the pledge included "I understand that sexual assault and harassment exists in our community," and "If a friend discloses to me that they have been a victim...I will listen, not judge, and I will seek help from a trusted individual."’

 Attorney Tim Attallah was there to lead the choir in a Pledge of no harassment.

I am not sure if Tim volunteered for the job or was volunteered.

But Tim also has an issue with Imad, ADC and the law enforcement-community body, BRIDGES, whom Imad and ADC co-founded with former FBI Detroit office agent in charge John Bell. Tim bears two grudges against Imad and ADC.

Years ago Tim was involved with an event and organization, Seeds of Peace, that brought Shimon Peres to he hosted and awarded in Dearborn. That did not go well with an Arab American community that is bitter over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and the Qana massacre. Osama Siblani, his strange bedfellow at the press conference, spearheaded the protest against the Peres event.  The Qana massacre happened while Peres was PM of  Israel. Many members of the Arab American community lost friends and family in that massacre and were not happy that the former prime minister of Israel was being hosted in a city that is known for its high- profile Arab American presence. Imad Hamad and ADC, the grassroots organization, given the sentiment of most its members, were not inclined to defend, or be neutral, on the event or Tim Atallah’s involvement.

 Tim blames Imad personally for the lack of support. Imad was a minor player. Tim's grievance is with Osama Siblani and the insulted Dearborn community. The Qana pain is real and was still fresh at the time.

Another grievance of Tim Atallah is that over BRIDGES.

When the government unfairly targeted Tim with ridiculous charges, and Tim is indeed an outstanding human being and attorney, Tim wanted BRIDGES meetings suspended to protest his targeting by the feds. But the dominant thinking and sentiment was that BRIDGES should continue since it is a useful communication tool and a forum for brining issues, indeed Tim’s issue was one of them, to the government’s attention. But the continuation of BRIDGES meetings did not go well with Atallah who still bears a grudge against ADC, Imad and BRIDGES.

 This is an imagined grievance. Imad, and I am one of many who strongly supported that decision, put the interests of the community before the wishes of Tim. Tim should respect that. Continuing BRIDGES was not a disrespect of Tim or lack of sympathy or empathy. When the FBI revoked its award for Imad, many in the community pushed and pressured Imad to put an end to BRIDGES and end the dialogue with the government because the government is "not sincere." One of the loudest "let's make a big- scene" voices was Osama Siblani who was more royal than Imad on this issue. Imad disagreed. He understood the pressures on the FBI. Imad understood that even though he is a founding father of BRIDGES, BRIDGES  was not about Imad Hamad the person.  Imad respected and appreciated that that there are many people at the table from the government side who respect the community and are sincere about the dialogue- and this is true of the current US attorney Barbara L. McQuade and her predecessors.

Sorry Tim- But  Imad was not going to pull the plug for a serious yet personal slight against him. Imad  is a true community leader. Now Tim wanted Imad to do for him what Imad would not do for himself.

Is this a fair or reasonable expectation from Tim? Isn't Tim Atalla's BRIDGES grievance imagined?

But Tim is still upset- and he had his moment to settle scores for real and imagined grievances. At least that's how it looks.

 And Osama’s paper keeps reporting on the manufactured scandal and repeating the manifest  lie that ADC “suspended” Imad Hamad.

Imad decided to step aside in the light of the scandal, a scandal that was created in large part by Osama’s shameless sensational coverage.

 This is the community and the leaders who stood by the “victims.”

Here is a good idea for a "community" pledge: "We shall not pile on. We will not be ax grinders. We will not be out to settle scores with each other and try to milk a community crisis for our own personal and organizational agendas."







Saturday, October 5, 2013

Let’s talk about AAPAC and Osama Siblani’s idea of the “Arab American” community.

Interesting idea of Arab American unity-Osama style

Osama Siblani

Let’s talk about AAPAC and Osama Siblani’s idea of the “Arab American” community.

This is their mission as posted on their website:

 AAPAC was formed by a group of Arab American professionals to organize and encourage the political activities of Arab Americans. AAPAC is non-partisan and independent from any other existing organization or interest group. Our primary concern is the Arab American Community as a whole regardless of the personal interests of any individual or group of individuals.

This is the current leadership of AAPAC:
President: Mariam Saad Bazzi, Esq.
Vice President - Internal: Ali Hammoud, Esq.
Vice President - External: Zenna Elhasan, Esq.
Treasurer: Osama Siblani
Secretary: Mona Fadlallah, Esq.

Ask yourself, are these individuals, with due respect to each of them, representative of the Arab American community and why not?
How many are Yemenis? 0
How many are Iraqi? 0
How many are Palestinians? 0
How many are Chaldeans? O
How many are Christian? 0
How many are Sunnis? 0
How many are North Africans? 0
How many are Egyptians? 0

They are endorsing candidates in the name of the “Arab American community.” Is that honest?

The de facto president of AAPAC Osama Siblani should have the answer to that.

Osama Siblani

Niraj Warikoo- Where is the Arab American Community in the ADC story?

Niraj Warikoo

In a Free Press article, Niraj Warikoo follows up on the issue of the ADC investigation. It seems there was a mix up as to what the outside attorney was hired to do. One thing we know is that she was charged with the investigation. It seems she was not asked to give a conclusion. Fair enough. ADC is saying its board made the decision.

Given the nature of the crusade and the vested interests in it by the Osama Dearborn gang, the crusaders would find a way to keep pushing the issue.

Let's not forget that from day one Osama Siblani said thar ADC "dropped the ball on us" and that ADC has a "credibility" issue. 

This is rich- coming from, of all people, Osama Siblani (more on Siblani in future entries).

ADC could have hired Jesus Christ and Moses to do the investigation and this would not have been enough to satisfy the accusers and attackers who have their own agenda that is far removed from women's rights, due process and justice. For one, the anti ADC/anti Imad Hamad crusaders are associated with an organization, the ACRL, that is trying to displace ADC and inherit its role in the Detroit area. Rashida Tllaib made her sensational allegations only a few months after serving on ACRL's board. There is also the issue of Tlaib campaign donations that should be looked into. As to Rashida's # 2 sidekick Rana Abbas, Abbas is a former executive director of ACRL and now works for ACRL chair's buddy Osama Siblani. All those who resigned from the advisory board are associated with Osama Siblani the publisher of the "Arab American" News which is leading the crusade against Imad and ADC. What is going on can also be explained as Dearborn Arab politics with an unhealthy dose of Middle Eastern national rivalries and sectarianism.

You read the coverage of the events and you ask yourself:
Where are the Yemenis. the Syrians,the Iraqis, the Chaldeans, the Christians, the Sunnis in this story? Other than the Palestinian moustache and public face of the scam Rashida Tlaib.

Why isn’t Warikoo asking that question?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Osama's World: AAPAC's President is the "Community" of One Person

Osama Siblani

Let’s talk about Osama Siblani’s Arab American “Community”

The Arab American Community of Greater Detroit? Who is it that community? As defined by Osama Siblani and his paper.

We get some insights from Osama's paper of today.
I turn now to the coverage of the defamatory campaign against ADC, the American Arab anti Discrimination Committee, by Osama’s “Arab American” News.
The News which came out today 10/4/2013 has a story on the ADC investigation. A subheading of the story reads “ADC investigation, community reaction.”

This is reporting on the "community reaction."  I am eager to hear from the Yemenis, the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Tunisians, the Christians, the Muslims, the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Christians, etc.

I am setting myself for a disappointment.

 Who is the community in Osama’s world?

“The community” is the President of Osama’s AAPAC, the Arab American Political Action Committee, where Osama is the de facto president and Mariam Bazzi is the official president.

Here is the excerpt:

‘The ADC Michigan office experienced some setbacks this month, after a few advisory board members announced their resignations, claiming that there has been a lack of transparency with the national office. The annual Judges Night Gala that the group hosts has also been postponed.

Attorney Mariam Bazzi, the latest ADC-MI Advisory Board member to resign, submitted her resignation following the national organization's decision last Friday.

"There was a lack of transparency in the investigation," she told The Arab American News.

She added that her resignation is not against the principles of ADC, but rather a statement against the way the national office handled the investigation.

"I want to emphasize that I still respect members of the local board and believe in the objectives and mission of ADC, but I urge the national office to reflect on what happened and continue doing what they were founded to do, which is to protect the civil rights of all people," she said.

The former ADC-MI board member stressed that sexual harassment is not an Arab American issue, but a universal issue that needs to be addressed in all cultures.’

 This is the “community reaction”?

We know that over the years Osama has appointed himself as a spokesman for the community and made some fiery and controversial statements that made many in the Arab American community, a community that includes Arabs of all religions, sects and nationalities, angry and disgusted, protesting that Osama has no right to speak in their name.

Now Osama et al not only claim to speak for the community. AAPAC's Mariam Bazzi is the community.

This is not a criticism of  Mariam Bazzi. This is about Osama and his paper's handling of the ADC issue and the community matters.

Louis XIV of France famously said L'etat c'est moi
The News is making one  Arab individual say La communuante' c'est moi.