American Xenophobic Racist Murders Lebanese Man Because He’s “Filthy Lebanese Ay-rab”

Dear American media, I’ve fixed the news title for you. I mean, why not call things the way they are, instead of beating around the bush of trying to lighten the news in proportionality to the skin color of those making them?

I know it’s hard to think of someone whose genes gave him less melanin as somehow possible of being evil. I shudder at the thought as well. But it might happen – unlikely as you think it could be.

No, Vernon Majors did not kill Khalid Jabara because he had an “unusual fixation” with his Lebanese neighbors. He killed them because he was a xenophobic racist terrorist murderer.

If the tables were turned and Khalid had been the person to whom all those criteria apply, you wouldn’t have hesitated to apply them. You’d have even decided what his entire background was judging by his name, the color of his skin, and the country where he came from.

That’s not different from what Vernon Majors did. It’s not “unusual fixation,” it’s him making sure Khalid’s family knew they were: ‘dirty Arabs,’ ‘filthy Lebanese,’ ‘Aye-rabs,’ and ‘Mooslems,’ as he told them repeatedly to make sure they knew their place in his world. Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but the Jabara family is Christian.

The story goes back to last year when Vernon Majors willingly ran over Khalid Jabara’s mother trying to kill her. Unfortunately for him, she did not die, and he ended up in jail, but like the good white American that he is, Vernon Majors saw himself out of jail a few weeks ago, back to the same streets, neighboring the Jabara family, and wanting to take out his revenge on them.

Picture this: a man who willingly ran over a woman trying to kill her ends up in jail for one year, with no conditions on his bond — no ankle monitor, no drug/alcohol testing. It was as if he never entered.

The Jabara family learned of his release. They also knew he had a gun. They also notified the police who informed them they couldn’t do anything, because second amendment and all. Minutes after the police left, Khalid went outside of his house to get the mail, and he was fatally shot by Vernon Majors, who has since been apprehended.

All of this was an “unusual fixation” at his Lebanese neighbors, according to the Tulsa police department, a fixation that goes back to him complaining to that same police department that they were “Ay-rabs, and Mooslems and filthy Lebanese.”

I wonder, how many racial and xenophobic and Islamphobic slurs does a white man have to do to in the United States to cross from “unusual fixation” territory into being a downright disgusting space-occuping lesion of a creature who also hated black people and other foreigners?

If the tables were turned and Khalid had been the person to whom all those criteria apply, this wouldn’t have been someone with an “unusual fixation.” The limits of “unusual fixations” stop when someone’s skin ends up in a different shade of blonde, and when their name maybe just maybe indicates them not praying inside a Church.

Khalid’s sister, Victoria wrote the following Facebook post, and the only way their story made it to the media in the first place:

I ask that you share this FB post throughout the community for the murder of my brother, Khalid Jabara so you can be outraged, just as we are outraged. I want to shed light and bring awareness to the negligence that occurred from the first moment the neighbor..this monster.. called our family ‘Dirty Arabs’, to the time he ran over my mother with his car, to the two Protective Order violations,and our constant vigilance to communicate and be proactive with the DA’s, to the fact that they let him out of jail after 8 months, to the fact that my brother called the police to explain to them that we were scared because we heard he had a gun, to the fact that the police left, saying they could do nothing, and, 30 minutes later….the fact that the criminal walked up to my brother and shot him on his front porch.

At the end of the day, my beautiful brother had a heart like no other. Sensitive to the core, he loved others so much and wanted to be loved back. I’ll miss his jokes (I stole all my jokes from him!), his love for all things electronic, his love for my mom and dad, Rami, and his tenderness towards his nieces. This angel will be missed. Love you, Khalid.

This is the vermin Majors:

Vernon Majors

How many more of “filthy Lebanese” is the diaspora supposed to handle? This is the tip of the iceberg. How many more hate crimes are Arab Americans, be it Muslim or not, supposed to withstand before someone – anyone – realizes that this is just not right, that this is exactly how you push people away, that this is how minorities get radicalized?

This is nothing but a specimen of Donald Trump’s America. So dear Lebanese Americans, this is what you get when you help perpetuate the mere idea of an entity like Donald Trump. There’s no beating around the bush here: his message of xenophobia, hate, racism, Islamophobia includes you too, whether you like it or not, whether you think you’re at a whole level of immigrants or not, you will always remain just another immigrant group that people like him, and those that think like him, can do without.

You will be people they can dispose of, call filthy and end up as nothing more than people with “unusual fixations.”

 

Meet Amanda Saab, The Lebanese on US’ Masterchef: Changing Stereotypes & Shining With Lebanese Food

Amanda Saab Masterchef USA

Meet the awesome Amanda Saab.

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine was gushing about how excited he was that there was a Lebanese candidate on this season’s Masterchef, which airs on FOX every Wednesday in the US.

On that episode, Amanda Saab had done a fusion cuisine dish, based on our very own Lebanese pride and joy: it was kefta with sumac aioli and jalapeño-dusted potatoes. Her favorite comfort food? Kebbeh nayye.

From that moment on, it’s only been looking up for her. She’s now considered by many to be one of the show’s front-runners. Amanda and I have spoken a couple of times on Twitter, and I’ve noticed how many people are rooting for her whenever a new episode airs. She keeps getting attention the more she progresses. But this is not only what’s impressive about Mrs. Saab.

Originally Lebanese and born in Michigan, when Amanda Saab does not cook, she works as a social worker in Seattle where she lives with her husband, Hussein. Cooking was her way to deal with the grief and horrors she witnessed in her every day job. Her inspiration cuisine is Lebanese, but she likes to add twists to it.

Amanda Saab is also the first Muslim candidate to go on the US’ Masterchef. She’s also the first veiled woman to go on any American primetime TV show.

I’ve been following up with news around Masterchef for a while now, and it’s safe to say that Amanda Saab is changing minds about Islam, about Muslim women and about Muslim-Americans for the general American audience.

This is to say that even if Amanda Saab does not end up being the show’s overall winner, which I do hope she is (the show has already been filmed), with her participation in Masterchef, she’s challenging preconceptions that Americans have about women in headscarves: when they’re seeing Amanda follow her passion, and do it in such a glorious way, they can’t but reconsider what they thought they knew.

At a time when the only news of Islam that’s propagating around the world is ISIS and their terror, Amanda Saab  is showing that there’s another side to Islam, and it’s people like everyone else, with scarves or without, who can cook and who can’t.

Ramadan Kareem and good luck to Amanda!

 

 

Lebanese Women Are 10th Sexiest Worldwide

Lebanese women

I stumbled on an article published in The Independent today talking about an American survey to pinpoint the world’s sexiest nationalities among both men and women. To that effect, 60,000 women were polled and it turns out Irish men are their favorite. It could be the accent.

Lebanese men, however, are not in the top 10. I suppose “ya ashta” doesn’t translate well to the average American woman? Our life has been a lie.

On the other hand of the gender spectrum, however, Lebanese women represent.

In another poll of nearly 45,000 men, Lebanese women ranked at #10 on the list of the world’s sexiest nationalities. The #1 sexiest women of the world according to that poll were Armenians, fueled by American adoration to Kim Kardashian and her family.

The full list of nationalities is as follows:

  • Armenian

  • Barbadian/Bajan

  • American

  • Colombian

  • English

  • Australian

  • Brazilian

  • Filipina

  • Bulgarian

  • Lebanese

The Lebanese woman that was found to be in the forefront of the survey was none other than Amal Alamuddin, a person that I find is an extremely good example to represent Lebanese women, not only looks-wise. She is extremely accomplished and successful, is a champion at defending human rights worldwide and has been all over the place the past few months with representing Armenia in European hearings to defending captured journalists in Egypt.

I say we dodged a bullet by not having Mia Khalife represent us, right?

The value behind this survey isn’t as simple as naming a representative celebrity. Being done by an American dating website, it’s also about real-life encounters with people of said nationalities. As a country that gets anxious whenever we’re mentioned in the same sentence as the word “sex,” especially when our women’s hymens are at stake – honor and all, I think it’s wonderful that our women are becoming so comfortable with themselves abroad, comfortable in their own skin, away from the confines of a society that is all about sex, but not really sex, sex.

Ultimately, surveys like this are not entirely worthwhile. But a little fun every now and then never hurt anyone.

 

The Myth of All Terrorists Are Muslim

Bad luck Muslims: they drew a deep sigh of relief when the Boston bombings turned out not to be done by a Saudi citizen… it turns out they were European Muslims who, ironically, are literally Caucasian. I guess racial profiling is out the question now?

I didn’t know that a simple comment on a BuzzFeed article from yours truly would spark a debate of over 50 comments and a hundred “likes.” The article in question was simply about the Islam leaning-Youtube page of one of the bombers. My comment was: how is this relevant?

Many sided with me. Many called me overly politically correct. Many others said that even though not all Muslims are terrorists, all the terrorists are Muslims.

If you ponder on that last statement, you are sure led to believe it’s true: the Boston Bombings, 9/11, etc…. However, it turned out to be the furthest thing possible from the truth.

There’s a hypocrisy when it comes to the categorization of “terrorism” in American media. For instance, the Aurora and Newton shootings were not carried out by a “terrorist” but by someone who was mentally unfit. If in a hypothetical scenario that person worshipped Allah instead of God, the “terrorist” label would have been used. Labels tend to stick.

The American and international media have been doing a “fantastic” job at highlighting select bits of acts of human violence and throwing them as representative of an entire sociological or religious aspect. Their portrayal of any violence that happens to come from Muslims tends to be sensationalized à la Middle Eastern way of reporting and, since their extent of knowledge regarding Islam and Muslims is very limited, it also comes off as ignorant. But not to those who take that media as scripture.

Moreover, the numbers to back up the “all terrorists are Muslim” claim is simply not there.

A study published by the FBI – could you get a better US-centric reference? – about the acts  of “terror” on US soil from 1980 till 2005 revealed approximately 318 terrorist attacks that varied in magnitude which break down in the following way:

Terrorism by event USA 1980-2005

Luckily enough, the numbers and data in that study have been turned into a pie-chart (here) that categorizes all the terrorist attacks by religion/ethnicity/background:

Terrorism Islam USASure, many things happened since 2005. But not all of those things were from Muslims. The above percentages may have fluctuated slightly but they’re still representative. For instance, Jewish extremism has over a period of 25 years committed more acts of terror in the United States than Muslims had. Now isn’t that interesting? Did any American know about this or is it hail-Israel and bomb-the-Muslims all the way?

To back this up even further, CNN published a study about the threat of Muslim-American terrorism. The study was done by Duke University and the University of Chapel Hill and found that the supposed danger of the radicalizing of Muslim-Americans post 9/11 has been severely exaggerated. The level is “small compared to other violent crime in America, but not insignificant.”

Violence Begets Violence:

The more societies across the world shut out, categorize and work against people just because they wear a headscarf or pray in a different way, the more these people will find refuge in doctrines that may not represent their true beliefs. The actively-fueled verbal, moral or even social violence only serves to increase the physical violence of those on the other side of the equation. There could be a linear relation there. Sure, the aforementioned premise is an over-simplification but talking about Saudi or Qatari policies of exporting radical Islam coupled with American policies in the region which help fuel this export will take forever.

Is there a growing trend of radicalizing in Islam? I only need to look at samples across my country to say the answer is yes. But fighting this growing radicalization doesn’t happen by clumping those who haven’t fallen prey to erroneous indoctrination with those who have anti-American, anti-West or anti-non-Islam agendas.

The whole point is: political correctness is perhaps something that we need in a time when it’s very easy to judge and lump people in a batch of stereotypes just because we think we know everything there is to know about them, especially when said-political correctness isn’t really coming from a higher moral ground as much as it’s emanating from actual reality.

Empathy isn’t a one-way street. Those terrorist Muslims are the ones dying in the tens and hundreds daily across the world today and it’s not only because they’re fighting among each other.

So next time someone wants to “kill all the Muslims,” know this: not all Muslims are terrorists and it’s a certainty that not all the terrorists are Muslims – not even half of them.

PS: A note from all those big bad Muslims to the people of Boston:

Boston Bombings Syria

2012’s Most Powerful Pictures

Buzz Feed has recently published a set of 45 pictures that they’ve called 2012’s Most Powerful Pictures. And the least that can be said about these pictures is that they’re chilling. Some of them are haunting, others will bring tears to your eyes. And they are all supremely striking.

Woman suicide Greece

A Greek woman’s suicide attempt as she’s told she would be laid off work

Bangladesh Riot Beating woman with baton

A woman from Bangladesh defies the police

Palestinian girl punching Israeli soldier

A little Palestinian girl tries to punch an Israeli soldier

Syrian Father saving daughter hospital Aleppo

A Syrian father trying to save his daughter’s life after his city, Aleppo, was shelled by regime forces.

Father begging Bangladesh soldier Myanmar

A father from Myanmar begs a border control officer from Bangladesh not to deport his family back to Myanmar

An American woman mourns her son on Memorial Day

An American woman mourns her son on Memorial Day

Check out the rest of the brilliant pictures here.

The White Guilt of American Elections

Subtle racism has found its way to the American political scene in the final days before Americans head to the ballots to vote on who should run their country for the next four years. The issues both candidates stand for are known. Conservative versus liberal, right wing vs left wing, grosso modo. However, with elections being less than 48 hours away, the talk isn’t centered around the core issues anymore.

The American elections are now all about demographics: who’s voting for who. Because demographic talk is important to see how the country might vote on November 6th.

Pro-Obama analysts underplay the shift in numbers from 2008 to 2012 as something that can be compensated for on election day. Pro-Romney analysts extrapolate the shift in numbers to claim a premature victory they desperately seek. But what is the demographic talk they speak of?

It is that of Catholic and Protestant voters. It is that of independent voters. It is that of women. And do you know what’s the common thing among all those demographics that are up for grabs still?

They’re all white. Or caucasian, whichever term is more politically correct.

In the dying minutes before Americans choose, the tactic is to bring out the colonial white guilt that hasn’t died down since America’s old days. Bringing out the guilt happens even in subtle comedy that, when not read into, is another funny gimmick to make people laugh. However, after a careful minute of reflection, a seemingly harmless skit holds a deeper meaning than it presumably intends to.

For struggling campaigns, the play on the emotional cords of voters is essential to rally them up come election time. The emotional cord for white American voters is the issue of racism. If you don’t vote for this candidate, then you are subtly racist. The fear from the label pushes some people to vote against their convictions in order not to fall into the stereotype.

And this is the inherent hypocrisy of the American system.

More than 90% of African American voters are voting for Obama come election day. Are they accused of racism? No. How many of those voters are more inclined to vote for Obama because of the color of his skin? How many are voting for him based on their convictions and political stance? Both questions are quite irrelevant because they don’t apply here. They apply to “others.”

On the other hand, caucasian Americans do not have the prerogative to vote for their convictions guilt-free. It’s because they weren’t the segment of American society that was marginalized for years and years. But does the fact that African Americans had a very tough phase in their history warrant the rhetoric that has sunk to the level it’s at today?

And we’re not even going into the baggage that voting for one candidate over the other carries: xenophobe, homophobe, female-phobe, anything-phobe.

The bottom line is: it’s not racism and you’re not a racist when you’re voting for someone not because of the color of his skin but because of what he stands for. It’s not racism and you’re not  a racist if you haven’t really thought about a candidate’s skin color until now. Come election day, everyone – regardless of their skin color – should vote to who they believe can get their country in the right direction. The “white result” of 2008 has shown that the majority of Americans don’t care about a candidate’s skin color. So for those who voted to one candidate in order to prove they weren’t racist in 2008, mission accomplished, no need to feel guilty if you cast an opposite ballot this time around. One thing to be said though is shame on media that would revert to such cheap tactics in order to get their preferred candidate a boost.

 

A Comment on Carrie Underwood Endorsing Gay Marriage & the Backlash

The following is a guest post by an American reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

Country superstar Carrie Underwood has gone 180 degrees against the Country current by endorsing gay marriage. In an interview with The Independent UK, she had the following to say on the matter:

“As a married person myself, I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry,” she said. “I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.”

“Our church is gay friendly. Above all, God wanted us to love others. It’s not about setting rules, or [saying] ‘everyone has to be like me’. No. We’re all different. That’s what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It’s not up to me to judge anybody.”

I am not pro-gay marriage. Not for religious reasons but for reasons I will talk about later on.

The responses her endorsment has been getting are mixed between those who approve based on liberal ideologies and those who disapprove based on a twisted understanding of the bible.

The infamous verse that is quoted nowadays is Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Bible-nazis are taking this sentence and flaunting it around. If you don’t follow it, then you are not a proper Christian.

Well, I’ve got a few words for them. And what better words than from the Bible itself.

Exodus 21:7:  “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do.” Would those Bible-loving men and women sell their daughters as servants? I don’t think so. That’s one thing of the Bible they wouldn’t abide with.

Leviticus 25:44: “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.” According to another Leviticus passage, I’m allowed to have slaves provided they are from neighboring countries. Does that mean illegal Mexican immigrants are our slaves now? The Bible says so. It must be. No?

Leviticus 11:10: “And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.” The Bible forbids me from eating things coming out of the Sea. But I’m a seafood lover. Do you eat seafood? If you do, then you must stop. Immediately. The Bible demands it.

Leviticus 19:27: “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” This states that men are not allowed to cut their hair nor shave. Do you cut your hair?

Leviticus 19:19: “Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.” To the awesome Americans of the Bible-belt, many of you have farms, right? Do you have different types of animals in your farms? Do you grow different crops? Because if you do, then you are committing blasphemy, in which case Leviticus would also demand that the entirety of your town comes forward to stone you.

The thing about Leviticus, my fellow Christians, is that it is part of the old testament and it is what Jesus Christ came to Earth to change. The thing about Leviticus, my fellow Christians, is that the only part of it that you know is the part pertaining to homosexuality.

When it comes to my Christianity, it’s about the message Jesus wanted to bring forward: a message of love.

Jesus Christ forgave those that were killing Him before he died on the Cross. Leviticus would call upon those people to be stoned and burned. Jesus Christ called on those without a sin to cast the first stone. Jesus knew that none of us is without sin. Jesus knew that when it comes to life, compassion is the most important emotion to get us by. Compassion makes everything else seem so small.

So next time you want to quote the Bible to prove a point, make sure you quote the part that makes you a Christian today: the New Testament, whose pages are all about the redemptive power of love.

When it comes to me, I’m not pro-gay marriage but that doesn’t mean I’m against those who are homosexual. How’s that? As I look around, I see families crumbling around me. The concept of a family sticking together like my grandparents did, for more than fifty years, is becoming more and more nonexistent. My parents got divorced when I was ten. My cousins’ parents divorced when she was twelve.

Out of my high school friends, at least half of them came from houses where they were raised by a single parent – and not because “death did them part.”

With crumbling family values and surging divorce rates, I don’t approve of adding another portion of society to the whole mess of marriage because, like it or not, homosexuals feel the way we do and they change their mind. And because the notion of marital love fades away after the initial infatuation and many are left wondering: Is this really what I signed up for?

Moreover, you don’t want the kids gay couples will adopt to be more disoriented than those of heterosexuals couples as well in case of a divorce.

And as a cherry on top, I think there are way more important issues that are worth the discussion today than this. Just a quick question to illustrate this point: how would any married couple, regardless of what that couple is, have an optimal marriage in the horrid economy we live in?

When it comes to Carrie Underwood’s comment, I am neutral. I like what she said because it doesn’t seem forced. She’s not telling people what to believe like many other celebrities do. She’s stating her belief. On the other hand, in a time when much more serious things are happening around the world than accepting gay marriage or not, I think other stances precede this in importance. And for an artist who had publicized her refusal to comment on anything of a political nature, regardless of how she spins it, I wonder what changed her mind.

There will be backlash. It has already started. It won’t be pretty. But kudos for Carrie for saying what she believes in, despite it coming out of the blue.

To conclude, here’s a quote for you all:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Ghandi.

You have your Christianity and I have mine.