Monday, June 11, 2007

Americans Suspicious of Muslims!--No, Really!

Last week Dearborn’s ADC leader, Imad Hamad, was complaining to the Detroit News that American Arabs "often feel caught in the middle." (“Convention to tackle Arab-American rights”). He was speaking at the opening of the ADC’s convention over the weekend in Washington, D.C.

Hamad went on to complain that “[l]ots of people act like we are responsible for the violence and terrorism in places like Iraq. We're sick of the questioning of our Americanism and our loyalty to this great nation. We see ourselves often on the hot seat.”

Reporter Deb Price, doing her best PR for the subjects of her piece, also describes how this challenge “is underscored by polling from the Pew Research Center: 35 percent of Americans -- one in three -- told pollsters in September that they feel more suspicious of people of Middle Eastern descent since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. That high figure is virtually unchanged since August 2002.”

I suppose the point is that Muslims in America are doing their best to mind their own business, but somehow keep getting thrust--innocently--into "the middle" of controversial issues regarding violence and terrorism.

Except I think Muslims in America are in the middle because their leaders put them there--and they put themselves there--by their loud endorsment of radical, extreme positions. If American Islam is on the hot seat, it is because American Islam keeps choosing the hot seat.

A case in point is the unhelpful decision out of this weekend's convention to try re-opening last summer’s Israeli-Hezbollah war by calling for a UN investigation of Israel’s “war crimes.” ("American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee calls for investigation of Israeli military operation").

Is this Hamad’s idea of staying out of the hot seat?

The fact is that both sides in that conflict were already investigated by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN, and both sides were accused of war crimes. Naturally, Israel got the brunt of the criticism, as all three organizations are reflexively anti-Israel. But even Amnesty International had to admit that Hezbollah was guilty of war crimes for deliberately targeting its missiles at Israeli civilians. ("Hezbollah accused of war crimes").

In fact, it was much worse than that. A well-documented study produced by an Israeli think tank, and reported on by Clifford D. May, (“Hezbollah’s War CrimesLet’s go to the videotape"), confirmed what we could already see on our own TV sets:

"This study,” writes Reuven Erlich, the Center’s director, “analyzes two central concepts of Hezbollah's warfare. … The first is the broad use of the Lebanese civilian population as a living shield; the second, viewing the Israeli civilian population as the primary target for the enormous rocket arsenal Hezbollah built up over a period of years. Both acts are considered war crimes under international law.”

The report and its accompanying photos and videos show Hezbollah rocket launchers hidden in Lebanese villages, alongside schools, mosques, and hospitals; also rockets being launched from near U.N. outposts.

One Hezbollah detainee acknowledges on videotape that he transported missiles while carrying a white flag — used when Lebanese noncombatants wanted to signal Israelis that they were attempting to flee the battlefield. Other Hezbollah prisoners talked openly of using private homes both to store weapons and launch missiles.

As far as I'm concerned, the open support by so many in the Muslim community in America for America’s sworn enemy--Hezbollah--was a disgrace to the Arab-American community. In the midst of the war it was reported that as many as half of Dearborn’s Arabs took to the streets to chant praises for Hezbollah's head terrorist, Hassan Nasrallah (“Mideast View from the Midwest"):

At one recent demonstration, organized by the Congress of Arab-Americans, about 1,000 people attended. College-age men asked, in call and response fashion, "Who is your army?" Protestors responded: "Hezbollah." "Who is your leader?" they were asked. "Nasrallah," the chanters responded. Many carried placards of the Hezbollah leader. A few days earlier at an even larger demonstration, more than 15,000 turned out, about half of Dearborn's Arab community.

Arab-American News publisher Osama Siblani was getting his jabs in, too, saying

the fighting is fueling anger in his community -- not at Hezbollah, but at the Bush administration.

The anger that you see in the Arab community, you do not see in the eyes of the American community," says Siblani. "They're not viewing the same thing. And the perspective you get out of Jazeera or Arabiya, you do not get it out of Fox News or CNN."

Siblani says many in the community who opposed Hezbollah before the fighting have now changed their minds. The U.S. State Department has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Siblani disagrees.

"The terrorist here is the Bush administration," he says.

Is it so hard to imagine why the people Siblani and Hamad claim they speak for are “caught in the middle,” or having their patriotism questioned? Lots of Americans don't like Israel, but like it or not, Israel is a staunch ally. Hezbollah is, and has always been, a sworn enemy of the United States and an unrepentant murderer of our fighting men.

What are we supposed to think when people are in front of our city hall chanting, "Hezbollah is our army, and Nasrallah is our leader!"? Or when Siblani tells us even more American Muslims are lending support to Hezbollah?

There just aren’t many Americans who are going to take kindly to overt support for Hezbollah, one of the most anti-American organizations in our collective memories. If you do those kinds of things, you are going to remain mistrusted, and that mistrust is going to grow.

And even though you have a First Amendment right to voice that opinion, when you do so as loudly and angrily as you do, you can’t then complain that somebody else is sticking your innocent self in the middle, or your innocent butt on the hot seat: you’re doing it all by yourself. You’re chosen to take sides, and the side you’ve chosen, by and large, is odious to the average American.

So really, is there any wonder why the average American, as a direct result of seeing such actions and hearing such sentiments, hasn’t lost his mistrust of Muslims since 9/11?

Is it possible that the Pew figure reflecting suspicion of Middle Easterners is unchanged because America’s non-Arab population have looked, in vain, to the Muslim community for some credible assurance that they deplore, rather than tacitly support, the mentality that brought us 9/11, the six imams, and a dozen other domestic incidents of violence directly tied to jihad?

Nor do one-sided articles such as Deb Price’s, (which reads like the worst kind of CAIR or ADC press release on last summer’s war) help things.

This blog was born out of the refusal of the local press to do anything other than print pro-Muslim propaganda in its coverage of terrorist issues and Islam, especially the awful reporting on the Israeli-Hezbollah war. I don’t believe now that most newspaper readers failed to notice this lopsided coverage, either. We can all recognize the pattern after a while, and know when we're being given just one side.

And I believe most readers just conclude that editors are going along because they’re afraid of angering the Islamic community. Knowing that fact makes the readers, if not exactly afraid themselves, at least uneasy.

After all, what kind of power it is that can force the big strong American press, that fearless guardian that presumes to bring down presidents and end wars, to become too chicken to print the Muslim names of suspicious characters arrested at airports, or to run commentaries or letters critical of Hezbollah, or to fudge story after story about favoritism shown Muslims by local governments and kowtowing politicians?

At any rate, if Hamad, Siblani, and company want to complain that Muslims in America are being unfairly stuck “in the middle,” they may want to do a quick review of their own overheated positions.

Trust is still something that’s earned.

And like it or not, after 9/11, the price Americans are charging for it has gone way up.


Ronbo said...

Excellent article...I'll post a link to it at The Freedom Fighter's Journal, which like your blog, covers the stories the MSM refuse to put to print.

Cheers, Ronbo

P.S...."Furthermore, Islam Must Be Destroyed!"

Anonymous said...

In addition to other articles, did you see the Tuesday Free Press' FRONT PAGE article called "Returning to Tradition" which was nothing short of propoganda for Muslim women to wear the nun-like coverings from head to toe? This article exposes that radicals are pressuring the young Arabs to wear their scarves and loose coverings, and also pressuring very young girls to do the same. Such covering of young girls isn't even practiced in the Middle East, except by the most radical Islamists. The Free Press article, however, pretends that these Muslim women, forced to bow to radical Islam, are somehow expressing their 'freedom.' What a sick joke. Why do our newspapers shill for these murderous Islamists?