Washington doesn’t like its Muslim Arabs to take pride in their heritage or oppose the Israeli occupation, writes As’ad AbuKhalil.
By As`ad AbuKhalil
Special to Consortium News
Washington was not expecting the arrival of Reps. Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib. The nation’s capital has seen Arabs and Muslims before but they were not like these two new assertive and defiant members of Congress.
The White House, under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, hosted Iftar dinners for Ramadan and invited a variety of Muslims (including of course the Israeli ambassador because he is wildly popular among the world’s Muslims), but they were of a different brand. The Bush administration even employed Muslim Arabs or Muslim-born Americans who preached Bush’s doctrine to anyone who would listen in the Middle East.
But those were different Arabs. They were the “non-threatening” Arabs who made Westerners feel comfortable in their racism and bigotry. The Arabs who are welcomed in the halls of Congress are usually mimics of the late president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, and the current king of Jordan. They are the type of Arabs who praise Western wars and downplay Arab anger at the long record of Israeli occupation and aggression.
Some of those Arabs in D.C. are employed as correspondents for Gulf-regime media. Some had even received their training at the research arm of the Israeli lobby, while others work for racist Congress people. They are the kind of Arabs who are paraded before Western audiences to show them that there are Muslim Arabs who are exceptions: the ones who are willing to insult other Arabs and Muslims, and who tell tales about how they were saved from the terrorism of the religion or the culture of the region.
But Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib are not those kinds of Muslim Arabs.
The Muslims whom Washington has been used to receiving from Lebanon or from Gulf embassies are Muslims who are embarrassed about their religion and about their culture. They are the Muslims who…