Having recently converted to Islam in order to acquire some sort of native legitimacy in his mediocre comedic career, Dean Obeidallah has made “humanizing” Muslims a priority. Of course, this became lucrative after the 9/11 attacks; before, by his own admission, Obeidallah was just another white Christian guy from New Jersey. While this photo opportunity with U.S. President Barack Obama will go a long way in advancing his career, it illustrates that Obeidallah does not actually care for Muslims. After all, from 2009-2011, Obama ordered four times more drone strikes on Pakistan than President George W. Bush authorized during two terms, resulting in the deaths of 1,354-2,254 Muslims. This toll does not include casualties of Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan, collaboration with NATO in the bombing of Libya or adventurism in Somalia and Yemen. If Obeidallah sincerely wanted to “humanize” Muslims, he would refuse to attend a White House function in protest of the Obama administration’s wars on Muslim nations and continued detention and torture of Muslims in Guantanamo Bay, many of whom have been held without trial for well over ten years. If Obeidallah’s “comedy” was, as he regularly claims, infused with a social, moral, and political consciousness or if he had a minimal personal conscience, those imprisoned, tortured and murdered should merit his skipping a presidential photo-op. Then again, these Muslims aren’t “human” to Obeidallah: “Muslim” is merely a convenient label for a marginal comedian pursuing a career in post-9/11 America.
[Ikhras Note: Palestinian-American Zionist and Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award winner Ray Hanania* continues his inflammatory, offensive rhetoric and tirades against all anti-Zionist activists. In this article, first published on occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, Sadika Arab responds to his latest attacks on two Palestinian activists.]
It’s always a dilemma. What to do, when people you admire are being attacked by the jealous and hateful? If you respond to it, it sometimes gives them the undeserved attention that they desperately seek. If you stay silent about it, you let baseless smears linger as if they contain some element of truth.
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for this January, 2012 is Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf. Speaking during his visit to occupied Palestine Feisal Abdul Rauf, a self-declared supporter of Israel, called on Muslims world wide to follow in his own foot steps and take a pilgrimage to the Zionist entity.
“I’d like us religious leaders to call for a sacred month that that will allow people to go on pilgrimage,” he said. If Muslims – including Iranians, who are often keen pilgrims – “felt free to come here for part of their pilgrimage, you would have easily tens of millions of people coming to Jerusalem…The pilgrimage to Mecca has always been an occasion for Muslims to get to know Muslims from other parts of the world,” Rauf noted. “If Muslims could come here, you could create some activity on the sidelines between Muslims and Jews.”
This purely political gesture, complete with quotes of passages from the Quran and absurd analogies to feuding Arab tribes in pre-Islamic Mecca, is intended to serve the interests of the usurping Zionist entity in three ways.
By Guest Writer and Ikhras friend Tammy Obeidallah*
Arsalan Iftikhar, international human rights lawyer, former National Legal Director of CAIR and now author of a book entitled Islamic Pacifism, is yet another stooge making money off “humanizing” Muslims. It seems to be his sincere hope to convince colonial powers that Muslims really are peace-loving and don’t deserve to be obliterated. According to him, the “extremists” engaged in “terrorism” belong to a small minority who have “hijacked” Islam.
Hussein Ibish, the Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), the Washington public relations outfit for the collaborationist Palestinian Authority (PA) in occupied Ramallah, continues to speak in the most disrespectful, condescending, and sometimes racist fashion when it comes to Arabs and Muslims especially those among them opposed to US criminal wars abroad and insist on combating and defeating the Zionist colonial project in Palestine. The language of the intellectual godfather of the establishment Arabs has grown increasingly abrasive and crude as he moves further and further to the political right and continues to adjust his unreasonably reasonable stance on Palestine to the demands of the most extreme elements of the Pro-Israel lobby.
[Ikhras Note: Unsurprisingly alleged comedian Dean Obeidallah has failed to digest the irony of someone that launches a career as a nominal Muslim Arab on the far fringe of American pop culture dismissing the dedicated work of an American solidarity activist because she doesn’t share an Arab-Islamic heritage. Ethnicity is a chance of birth and religious persuasion is a personal choice. You don’t have to be a Palestinian, an Arab, or a Muslim to recognize and be part of the struggle against Zionism and injustice in Palestine. Our universal human values should lead all of us to accept and promote a shared global responsibility for fighting against injustice, racism, ethnic cleansing, occupation, imperialism, and war wherever it may exist. In this special guest submission ikhras friend Tammy Obeidallah shares her personal experience with Obeidallah and makes it clear that Palestine is not a punch line for aspiring American comedians, it is a morally compelling cause that has enlisted people of conscience from all backgrounds.]
By: Tammy Obeidallah*
In May 2007, I was working as a staff writer for the Daily Advocate in Greenville, Ohio. While the newspaper is a small-town rag if there ever was one, it served as a forum to write as much about Palestine as possible to a largely conservative “Christian” Zionist community.
One day a message showed up in my inbox at the newspaper’s account from Dean Obeidallah. He had contacted me out of the blue, asking if we were related. I informed him my then father-in-law and his father were first cousins. He offered me free tickets to the upcoming Axis of Evil show in Cleveland, Ohio. Only vaguely familiar with his name at the time, I agreed to go.
[Ikhras Note: The following was a comment by Jeffrey Blankfort.* It’s not just Arab-Americans that reject the political pandering of establishment Arabs. Palestine solidarity activists and all Americans opposed to the US policy in the Middle East have been equally frustrated with Washington Arabs that are busy garnering mainstream media acceptance and clamoring for photo-ops with US officials. Although these opportunistic careerists are unwilling to address the false narratives and assumptions of American officialdom, principled social activists and other Americans of all backgrounds do not hesitate to do so. ]
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for this December, 2011 is Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi, the President of the International Union for Muslim Scholars is the most prominent Islamic theologian in the Arab world and within the Sunni branch of Islam. He is best known for his weekly talk show program on Aljazeera, al-Sharia wal hayat (Sharia & life), in which he discusses a myriad of issues and their relationship to Islamic law as he sees it. He is also the leading figure behind the popular website Islam online and is among the most influential clerics and unofficial leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Not only has Ibish’s strategy of presenting himself as a defender of Arabs and Muslims by taking on the lunatic fringe failed, it has also contributed to legitimizing the mainstream racists and extremists. It’s Ibish’s friends, collaborators, co-authors, partners in “peace”, and ATFP gala keynote speakers that are most troubling for the Arab and Muslim communities, not Manji and the other assorted nuts.
James Zogby, the poster boy for all that’s wrong for what passes as an “Arab Lobby” in Washington DC, has pursued a comfortable, air-conditioned career as the self-appointed spokesperson for the Arab-American community. An unprincipled, career opportunist pursuing petty ambitions and false prestige, this cheap political prostitute for the State Department (which organizes most of his appearances in the Arab world) and the Arab oil-Sheiks of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates maintains a busy social calendar which he wants us to believe is a sign of Arab-American political empowerment. The following are a few entries that establish a pattern we have discovered in his writings and talks. When we stopped we still had over 20 more examples we could have included, but the following should suffice:
Mona Eltahawy’s broken arms have now become a part of Egypt’s revolution, or so she says. In each media appearance wherein she dons two casts, now full of signatures, well wishes and smiley faces, Mona Eltahawy draws attention to her alleged abuse while in the clutches of Egyptian officers. All the while she sits in green-room studio’s around the United States she makes passerby acknowledgment of abuse other Arab women have faced.
Despite having bones broken in both wrists, one broken, swollen arm, and a broken hand Mona Eltahawy was able to tweet some 12 hours after her supposed physical and sexual assault, an assault a number of major media outlets cannot yet verify.
Yet there she is, her face plastered on our television screens, her story being covered by Democracy Now!, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360 etc. etc. ad nauseam.
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for this November, 2011 is King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Hashemite puppet of Jordan has spent the entire month of November reminding the world of his family’s traditional role as a pliant tool of Western imperialism and Zionism’s best friend in the Arab world. After recently being invited to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the American-sponsored club of Arab reactionary monarchs, King Abdullah II has been working hard to remind Israel and the West of the important service his regime continues to provide them. This month he met with the head of the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised Palestinian (illusory) Authority (PA), and hosted the Zionist war criminal Shimon Peres in Jordan. Next week he will be coming to Washington to receive his instructions and learn what’s expected of him in the near future.
No other Arab regime has been as loyal to Zionism and imperialism as the illegitimate regime of Jordan. In this special guest submission Sumaya Al-Shawish takes a look at how the Hashemite King is spending his time pursuing his families’ traditional role as a puppet regime in the service of Western imperialism and a pliant tool of Zionism.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has been a busy man of late. Last week, he paid a visit to the West Bank for the first time in ten years to meet with Palestinian President and fellow House Arab Mahmoud Abbas. Then he played host to Israeli President Shimon Peres during a brief visit to the Hashemite Kingdom. Next week he is reportedly heading to Washington.
Arab, Muslim-American comedian Dean Obeidallah thinks Muslims “worship” Jesus and Mary.
This statement conveys an appalling ignorance of Islam’s most basic teachings. It’s even worse than Hussein Ibish’s definition of Sufism as “squishy.”
In this special guest submission Dr. Diane Shammas* takes a look at the selective reporting by Western media outlets on the abuse of Arab and Muslim women, and the colonial feminists’ lack of concern for the real victims of physical abuse and sexual assault which remain unknown.
I just viewed Mona Eltahawy on CNN today and another from Democracy NOW during the wake of the Libyan Revolution. I do not deny that women suffer violation in the Middle East, as I surely have experienced sexism myself living several months in the Middle East.