Monday, February 13, 2006

To James Zogby And His Pro-Saudi Gang: We Are Not Arab-Americans

James Zogby, the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), is a pro Saudi puppet who falsely claims to represent Middle Eastern Americans

Editor's note: The Arab American Institute (AAI) continues its policy of identifying Assyrian ,- Coptic -and Maronite Americans as "Arabs", despite a previous attempt to stop this practice. On October 10, 2001 a letter (AINA 10-27-2001) was sent to the AAI by a coalition of nine Assyrian and Maronite organizations; the letter asked AAI to stop identifying Assyrians and Maronites as Arabs, but AAI has continued to do so.

We Are Not Arab-Americans
By:Pierre A. Maroun
(AINA) Ever so often, certain partisan groups who claim to be grassroots and non-profit organizations use the freedom of expression in the United States to attack the conduct of the other active groups. In particular, The Arab American Institution (AAI), headed by Mr. James Zogby, has repeatedly alleged that measures taken by the Bush Administration to combat terrorism have infringed on the rights of the Arab and Muslim communities in the USA.
While it is the right of every American citizen to speak his/her mind, it is our responsibility to correct the blatant misrepresentation of our communities. We believe that the AAI's statements and actions have dual fallacies.
The first is the AAI's portrayal of being the representatives of the whole Middle Eastern community in America. Secondly, its allegations of US abuse of Arabs and Muslims, which are false, unethical, and politically motivated.
Thus far, Mr. Zogby's has failed to provide any tangible evidence of its claims and allegations. Therefore, it is only fair to conclude that his objections to the US Administration's war on terrorism and to the Patriot Act are not due to his concern about Arab-American rights and civil liberties, but rather for his political ideology and financial means.
Political Ideology
Mr. Zogby adamantly opposed the Patriot Act and its associated necessary security measures, which the US Congress overwhelmingly passed to prevent another attack on our soil similar to September 11, on the grounds that such laws discriminate against Arab-Americans and Muslims and harm their civil liberties.
For example, on January 6, 2006, Mr. Zogby asked the U.S. government to end its Security Entry/Exit Registration System2 (NSEERS) claiming that Arabs and Muslims paid dearly for such measures."3
While these allegations are very serious ones, he failed to have the courtesy to provide a single proof. Furthermore, Mr. Zogby blindly opposed the US war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan claiming that these wars cannot be justified, despite the fact that 25 million, Iraqis and 18 million, Afghanis have been freed from the tyrant regimes of Saddam Hussein and the Mullahs of the Taliban's.
It seems that, as a committed democrat and as a member of the American Civil Liberty Union (ALCU), Mr. Zogby is obliged to fight the Republican Bush Administration regardless of what's at stake if the Administration lost its war on terrorism.
His objection is ridiculously vicious stretching from election campaigning to spreading anti Bush propaganda. For example, in his article: Why Arab-Americans should vote for John Kerry, published in the Daily Star on October 27, 2004, Mr. Zogby said: I'm a Democrat" and "[t]his November, I will vote for John Kerry for President of the United States. I will do so, confident that it is the right thing to do for my country and my community."1
Financial Gain
On March 14, 2005, Mr. Jim Zogby sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In it, he complained about the Department of State recognizing the Middle Easter-American communities as such instead of Arabs, for there are some organizations which do not support his political and ideological views. He referred to these organizations as "exiled groups." While he did not elaborate on their status, we find it necessary to explain that these groups are exiled simply because they want freedom and are civil right activists who refuse to live under the oppressive and tyrant regimes in the Middle East. These are the same undemocratic regimes, which back and finance the AAI. Mr. Zogby went even further to complain about the Director of Public Diplomacy for Middle Eastern and MEPI Affairs at USAID the Honorable Walid Maalouf asking him "not to label the Arab Community" each according to his/her ethnicity. What Mr. Zogby is seeking here is nothing but a continuation of the annihilation of these Middle Eastern minority groups who suffered death and destructions at the hand of the tyrant leaders of the Arab community which Mr. Zogby claims to represent.
Mr. Zogby's own poll contradicts his own allegations and proved that Mr. Maalouf's conduct is proper and true. In his article, Good news in S. Arabia and Lebanon, published January 3, 2006, you affirmed that in the second half of 2005, Zogby International poll, which covered six Arab countries, found that "[s]ignificant changes are taking place in public opinion, especially in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, which warrant special attention." Mr. Zogby wrote:
"One final area where a dramatic change occurred in Saudi opinion was in how Saudis identified themselves. In 2002, they indicated a preference to self- identify as "being Arab". Today, they prefer describing themselves as "Saudi". All this points to a growing sense of self-confidence, satisfaction and commitment to their country." He added: "The best news for Lebanon, however, is the degree to which the Lebanese, from all groups, identify with the country -- higher than in any other Arab country. When asked to describe their principal identifier, more than 70 per cent say "being Lebanese" -- double the number in 2002."
We should have the courtesy to respect the wish of the people to label themselves as they desire and not as he deems fit. Furthermore, we urge him to take an advice of his own polls. In addition, the AAI mission statement claims that "AAI is a membership organization based in Washington, DC that represents the policy and community interests of Arab Americans throughout the United States…" It will be of great help for the State Department to make a decision regarding his claim had Mr. Zogby defined Arabism. However, a link on his website does the work for him, which also contradicts Mr. Zogby's claims. In his article, Arab Identity: E Pluribus Unum, scholar Halim Barakat explains:
The prevailing view is that only a small minority of the citizens of Arab countries does not speak Arabic as their mother tongue and lack a sense of being Arab; this minority category includes the Kurds, Berbers, Armenians, and the ethnolinguistic groups of southern Sudan. Fewer still are those who speak Arabic as their mother tongue without sharing with the majority a sense of nationhood, a trend that may exist among the Maronites of Lebanon in times of conflict. Most other minority groups, such as the Orthodox Christians, Shi'ites, Alawites, and Druze, consider themselves Arabs with some qualifications and reservations….Yet, most Arabists, especially today in response to the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism, continue to assert the complementarity, if not the synonymity, of Islam and Arabism [sic].5
Accordingly, we believe that Mr. Zogby et. al. should respect the rich diversity of Middle Eastern-American communities by referring to them as such, unless he is referring specifically to the Arab-American small community, which represent only 22% of the Middle Eastern-American communities. In such case, he should be specific and clear.
The AAI claims to be a "non-profit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent." Such claim is unfounded. The AAI is not a grassroots organization fighting for the public interest as Mr. Zogby claims, but rather a lobbying group fighting for interest groups, i.e. Arab regimes, which fund Mr. Zogby's activities, in coordination with the Democratic Party and the ACLU. Thus, Zogby is misleading the US and the Middle Eastern communities by feeding the public false information and biased studies.


At 2:02 PM , Blogger Egypeter said...

That is a great article!!

As a middle-easter Christian NON-arab born and raised in the US, this idiot does not speak for me or anyone else in my Orthodox community.

I'm not sure that Americans realize that the vast majority of middle-easterners in the US are Christian, hence we are NOT ARAB. Whether we are Coptic, Asyrian, Chaldean, Lebanese, none of us rightfully consider ourselves Arab. And Arabs should know this since all of these groups have thier own culture, religion, language, history, etc.

So bottom line; Zogby might speak for the Arab Muslims in the US but he DOES NOT SPEAK for the 80% of middle-easterners in the US.

At 2:46 PM , Blogger Nicco Knight said...

I guess if a vampire sucks your blood, you become a vampire. Same logic?

At 4:37 PM , Anonymous Meniawy said...

True, we Copts are not Arabs, and neither are our Christian brothers and sisters in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and North Africa. We are the descendants of the pre-Arabian civilizations and we have been massacred for 1400 years on the hands of Arabs. We may be Arabic-speakers, but definitely NOT Arabs.

At 9:25 AM , Blogger forsoothsayer said...

Are you fucking crazy? of course there are thousands of US abuses since september 11 against those PERCEIVED as arabs. the media has documented them to some extent, but with even a modicum of research you could find out that thousands of human rights organizations have been horrified. contact me for details if you are interested.

At 10:08 AM , Anonymous Not an Arab said...

forsoothsayer is a real Arab who wants to impose her f**ing identity on others. we are fed up of your bs. Arabs enjoy a better life in the West than they have it back in their own countries...if they don't like it..simply go the f**k back to their paradise in what is called the Arab land.

At 2:48 PM , Blogger Egypeter said...

Let's be honest and serious with ourselves. I really don't think you can compare the "Arab abuses" commited in the US against the "non Arab" abuses all over the middle east and especially in Egypt. Don't Human Rights mean human rights for both groups - or is it just a one-way street? You see, a fundemental difference is that the US implements "Human Rights" beliefs while in Egypt it is a foreign concept.

-I don't see Arabs in the US being attaacked and killed over building a mosque (see Al-Udesayat). Such a thing would be a tragedy in the states. And violaters would be PUNISHED to the fullest extent of the law.

-I don't see Arabs' properties, bussinesses and places of worship being burnt in retaliation over a play that may have offended them (see Alexandrian riots). Mob riots and vigilante justice disappeared from the US back in the Wild West. I don't think any US Arab can say that they have been a victim of such violence.

-I don't see hyper-sensitive responses and knee jerk reactions against Arabs/Islamists perceived to insult Americans. (The Cartoon Crisis). You have to be able to take whatever you dish out or else that makes you a hypocrite.

-I don't see blatant lies and un-truths being spread about Islam at Border's or Barnes & Nobles Bookstores. I don't find books that spread hatred, anger and intolerance on every news stand. But in Egypt it is fashionable to attack Christianity and Judaism without relent. Instead I find that I am free to have an open mind and that I can express it as I wish.

So I would ask all Arabs to look at the log in their own eye before blaming the other. If fundementalists here don't like the US then please go back to your Islamic Theocracies and give your spot in the US to someone who deserves or needs it! US citizinship is a blessing and a privelege not a right.

At 3:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that the word 'Arabic-speaking" is more accurate description. I don't think any one should be too sensitive regarding these issues. Our culture was never accurate of its “perception” of history. In fact most of the Islamic history is fiction, as well as many of our ‘Coptic history. It is a fiction history, because it sees history from one side. For example, if you ask the daughter of Saddam Hussein to write about her father, she will definitely describe him as a loving father, which is true. However, the same person can’t give an objective description of all the sides of her father. Same way is Islamic history, if a Muslim try to describe the prophet, he/she will use the most wonderful words for his thesis, but it will not be able to describe the agonies of those who happened to be on the receiving ends of Islamic wrath.
Do I disqualify them?, no, they have all the rights to believe any thing they desire, however, it is hard to ask a person who is expelled from his land to understand or to sympathize with the Islamic romantic view of the history of our culture.

At 4:20 PM , Blogger Egypeter said...

That's why you need 3rd person perspectives on the issue. Your point is well made. Even if you look back in time at the history of the Crusades you see two totally different anaysis of the same event; one by Muslim scholars and one by Christian scholars. The only problem is is that Islamic writers today still do this. Of course today, if you read an Islamist writers' account of history it will have a very heavy bias. The reader needs to have the understanding to decipher and analyze what they are reading.
Instead of giving history, like they claim, they give a skewed version of the event or an opinion. It's a shame.

Hopefully the onset of the Internet Age will help dispel those lies.

At 10:36 AM , Blogger forsoothsayer said...

you have to understand that when one makes a point about a country, it is in no way a comparison with any other country. so morons and rude persons - i did not make any comments about the human rights records of any other countries besides the U.S. i certainly made no comments about my identity as an arab or lack thereof. my point is, the U.S. doesn't care how middle easterners self-identify, all are tarred with the same brush and are consequently discriminated against.

At 7:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice article!!!!! Mr. Zogby must be humilated for being exposed like this. He deserved it.

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