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 naïve 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?



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