Satanic Verses in Detroit

by Nabeel Abraham
published in MER168

Ayatollah Khomeini’s death sentence of February 14, 1989 continues to affect the lives of people far removed from its original target -- author Salman Rushdie. More than a year later, in Dearborn, Michigan, local sympathizers of the ayatollah within the Arab American community disrupted a talk on Rushdie’s Satanic Verses by Nabeel Abraham, an Arab American activist and member of the MERIP board of directors. Abraham talked about his experience with journalist Jonathan Scott.

Why were the protesters so fiercely opposed to your lecture?

The Rites and Rights of Citizenship

by Moustafa Bayoumi | published September 9, 2011

On Tuesday I became a citizen of the United States. Almost ten years ago, I was granted permanent residency. Between my Green Card and my naturalization certificate lies the seemingly endless decade of the “war on terror.”

Shoring Up the National Security State

by Nina Farnia
published in MER259

Many expected the Obama administration to slow or altogether stop the growth of the national security state that its two predecessor administrations brought into being, but just the opposite has occurred. Prisoners are still held without charge at Guantánamo Bay; the Patriot Act is still the law; the administration has retained the use of rendition and protected state secrets with punitive vigor. President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all others combined. In key respects, indeed, the Obama administration has expanded and institutionalized the national security state.

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Do Immigrants Have First Amendment Rights?

Revisiting the Los Angeles Eight Case

by Jeanne A. Butterfield
published in MER212

“War on Terrorism Hits LA,” the headline of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner screamed on January 27, 1987. The Los Angeles Eight, as the seven Palestinians and a Kenyan came to be known, are still fighting deportation today. Dangerous security risks? The Immigration and Naturalization Service said so. International terrorists? The INS still argues that the Eight were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). These charges were partly based on secret evidence, including photos showing the Eight distributing a “subversive” magazine published in Damascus entitled Democratic Palestine.

Court Wrongly OKs Profiling

by Moustafa Bayoumi | published July 2, 2006

Should the police be able to arrest you based on your religion and then imprison you indefinitely while they search for a crime to charge you with?

Of course not. The very idea flies in the face of American jurisprudence, whose traditions guarantee due process, equal protection and the presumption of innocence. The law works to prevent—not facilitate—arbitrary detention.

But that is not what a federal judge in Brooklyn recently ruled. According to District Judge John Gleeson, the U.S. government has the right to detain immigrants on the basis of their race, religion or national origin, and it can legally imprison immigrants indefinitely as long as their eventual removal from the country is “reasonably foreseeable.”

Fort Hood Shootings: Again We Will Be Judged for Acts We Didn't Commit

by Moustafa Bayoumi | published November 6, 2009

So much is still unknown about the shooting at Fort Hood Army base and the motives of the alleged shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, but still I have that same queasy feeling in my stomach that I've had before: this will not be good for Muslims.

First things first. Major Nidal Malik Hasan is in custody. We should judge him fairly and, if he is found guilty, punish him accordingly.

The same is true for Sergeant John M Russell. In May 2009 Russell shot and killed five of his comrades at a combat stress clinic in a US Army base in Iraq. Before that, Sergeant Joseph Bozicevich killed two American soldiers at his base just outside Baghdad in September 2008. What do these incidents point to?

Sects and the City

by Moustafa Bayoumi | published May 17, 2010

I had almost forgotten I’d sent in an application when the e-mail message appeared, like Mr. Big, out of nowhere. “Hi, Moustafa,” it began, as if we were old friends. “Thank you for e-mailing us regarding your interest in working on ‘Sex and the City 2.’ ”

Persons of Interest

by Louise Cainkar
published in MER236

Persons of Interest (Allison Maclean and Tobias Perse). New York: First Run/ Icarus Films, 2004.

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The Post-September 11 Arab Wave in World Music

by Ted Swedenburg
published in MER224

Music from the Arab world has traditionally been a minor player within world music, the marketing category encompassing a wide variety of international music that emerged in the late 1980s. Aimed at an NPR listening “adult” audience, world music has a small market share of roughly 2-3 percent (comparable to classical music and jazz), but its audibility increased during the 1990s. Rai music from Algeria and Algerians in France -- the most important Arab presence in world music -- opened the way for other Arab artists to enter the scene during the 1990s.

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No Longer Invisible

Arab and Muslim Exclusion After September 11

by Louise Cainkar
published in MER224

Unlike other ascribed and self-described "people of color" in the United States, Arabs are often hidden under the Caucasian label, if not forgotten altogether. But eleven months after September 11, 2001, the Arab-American is no longer invisible. Whether traveling, driving, working, walking through a neighborhood or sitting in their homes, Arabs in America -- citizens and non-citizens -- are now subject to special scrutiny in American society. The violence, discrimination, defamation and intolerance now faced by Arabs in American society has reached a level unparalleled in their over 100-year history in the US.