Thursday, June 14, 2007

Local Arab Americans Call for National Unity-- Islamic National Unity

Osama Siblani’s Arab-American News reports on last week’s mass unity rally (60 people or so, including children, though some sources have disputed even that high number) in front of Dearborn City Hall. “Local Arab Americans call for national unity”). Organized by local activist Tarek Baydoun, the rally was billed as a call for “national unity” and solidarity among the local Lebanese, Palestinians, and Iraqis in the face of increasing infighting in the Arab Middle East.

Youngblood Baydoun has been getting around: from involvement in a student-election fraud investigation at UM-Dearborn last year, ("SG ELECTIONS UNDER FIRE AGAIN"), to working for the college to divest from Israel, ("U-M Dearborn Passes Divestment Resolution"), to attacking critics of the proposed UM-Dearborn foot baths as "ideologically charged, right-wing bloggers" spreading "vitriolic, Islamaphobic rhetoric over the footbaths."

Said Baydoun, “It is time for us to tell our own stories and plot our own destinies. Unity is needed…that will help us forge a brighter future for our community and the oppressed people in the Middle East and around the world.”

Fellow activist Rashid Baydoun said, “We are here in solidarity with the Palestinian, Iraqi, and Lebanese people. We want to let the American public know we are united.”

Attendee Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi also spoke out on the subject of national unity, actually quoting the Pledge of Allegiance, “I think unity and justice are the foundations of our faith. We are one nation under God, and we are one family.”

Except when the imam talked about being “one nation under God,” he wasn't talking about the American nation, but the Islamic nation, the ummah:

“We are one family under God, one humanity under God. Unity comes from God, disunity comes from Satan.”

The article portrays Imam Hisham Husseiny expanding on this idea.

"Quoting the Qur'an, he reminded the audience that, ‘The believers are like one body through their love, harmony, unity, and suffering. If one person suffers, the whole nation suffers. So wherever you grow a rose, it will bloom from America to Iraq to Lebanon to Palestine.’”

Any religion worthy of the name recognizes that obedience and devotion to one’s faith must come before even national loyalty. If forced to choose, I am a Catholic first, before I am an American.

But most of the time, we are not forced to choose, which is why people of almost every faith have been able to come to America and practice their various religions without having to renounce either citizenship or patriotism. It is also the reason we usually discuss our ultimate loyalties within our own religious communities, rather than wrapping them around bricks to throw defiantly at our benighted fellow citizens.

That's why I say, almost every faith has been able to blend into America, because there is always that exception one simply must make for Islam.

We noted the other day the self-defeating program of Muslim activists who engage in the most extreme rhetoric or tactics of intimidation against critics of any kind, while at the same time howling that Americans aren't any less suspicious of Muslims than they were immediately after 9/11.

Last week’s rally fits the pattern. The organizers say they wanted to “let the American public know we are united.” But united with whom? With the American public? No, but “… with the Palestinian, Iraqi, and Lebanese people.” With the “believers,” with the “one family,” with “humanity,” as defined by Islam. In other words, it's "Hey, America, we're united--WITH EACH OTHER. You go to hell! And what do you mean you don't trust us?"

By the way, the term “humanity” doesn’t include kaffirs like you and me.

And for all the talk about growing roses, Siblani drags the whole rainbow unity project back down to Earth when he prattles on about “how mature” these young firebrands are “regarding our causes. It is the first time in which Iraqis, Lebanese, and Palestinians stand together to condemn the same cause, the occupation. It is the occupation that is the source of all problems in the Arab world."

Siblani was unclear which “occupation” he had in mind, whether the old chestnut about the "illegal" occupation of Israel by Israelis, or the “occupation” of Iraq by a liberating coalition, both of which he hates. (For a better idea of where Siblani’s sympathies lie, take a look at a fawning pro-al-Sadr piece he just published in his newspaper. (“Iraq passes resolution to end occupation”)).

Or, there is always the occupation of Islamic lands by even a single infidel soldier--the ummah hates that one, too.

And it's not very encouraging to see that Siblani views the rally’s participants as “Iraqis, Lebanese, and Palestinians”--not as Americans.

Americans of all kinds, who owe no allegiance to the Prophet, can claim a respectable record of showing solidarity with “Iraqis, Lebanese, and Palestinians,” because as a nation we have shed blood to defend them (Iraq and Lebanon), or suffered through decades of costly and thankless frustration in an effort to foster the blooming of sanity in a wasteland of implacable hatred and revenge (Palestine).

We at Dearborn Underground are not in the business of advising Islamic leaders on how to do better PR with the American public. We’re much too busy commenting on the details of the bad public relations they’re already practicing as if by rote.

But for those who are trying to decide whether or not it’s true that Muslims in America are doing their best to blend in, this sort of public theater is worth a serious look.

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