The American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee Reveals Its True Colors
by Daniel Pipes
On Oct. 31, Imad Hamad, Michigan regional director of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (and the near-recipient of an FBI award), wrote a letter to the president of the Crestwood Board of Education in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, urging him to consider making the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha a school holiday in his district. After urging the president, Ron Panetta, to "thoroughly review this matter," Hamad went on:
Rushing into decisions that involve such sensitive issues might bring serious ramifications and unexpected unhealthy consequences. This is why, we further urge the school board not to individualize the issue, and jeopardize the position of any of the fine staff of the Dearborn Heights Public Schools.
Panetta understood this passage as an ultimatum ("There is no doubt in my mind that I was threatened and then he retracted the threat. How else do you interpret 'unhealthy consequences?' What does that mean to you?") but Hamad dismissed the matter as nothing more than a "bad choice of words" and unrepentantly explained to Panetta what happened in a second letter, dated Nov. 3:
ADC's sole intention was to further inquire into the matter and make sure that your board is aware of the highly sensitive nature of the situation. The reference in the letter to "serious ramifications and unexpected unhealthy consequences" was not meant as a threat, but simply was an effort to alert the district of the wrong message that might come across to the community if this matter were to become more political, rather than educational in nature.
Hamad then attempted to turn the tables on Panetta, reports today's Detroit News, by "asking municipal and school officials in Dearborn Heights to formally investigate Panetta's role in the entire affair. Both Hamad and [ADC] Deputy Director Rana Abbas say that at a school board meeting Tuesday night, attended by 150-200 people, officials distributed a copy of the first letter, but not the second."
This incident is most instructive, for in combination the threat, the lack of apology, and the attempt to punish Panetta all point to the barely contained thuggishness of the ADC. As I have argued about another member of the ADC staff, "the media, think tanks and politicians should consider [his] record and close their doors to someone so far removed from the mainstream of the American debate." The same advice also applies to Imad Hamad. (November 6, 2003)
Dec. 22, 2003 update: On a different topic entirely, Hamad today again showed his colors, and those of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee. Here he is, explaining to the Detroit Free Press why Arabs feel shame at the capture of Saddam Hussein: "You have to keep in mind that Saddam has been part of the region's history and political makeup for a long time. It's not easy for people to see someone who was so high up being treated this way."
Dec. 28, 2003 update: Another "interesting" statement by Imad Hamad. Asked by the Detroit News for a reaction to a new policy at the Detroit airport, starting in just over a week, to photograph and fingerprint most foreigners as part of an effort to improve border security, Hamad called the step "a waste of resources. It inconveniences visitors and will result in fewer visitors coming to the United States." Here's a challenge to Hamad and the ADC: name for me a counterterrorist step that you don't consider a "waste of resources" and an "inconvenience."
Feb. 3, 2004 update: The ADC's Michigan chapter continues to maintain its record of saying what the other, more subdued, ADC offices are presumably thinking. Today's e-mailed edition of "ADC Michigan News and Views," announces a community celebration on Feb. 5 "to celebrate the recent historical prisoner exchange between Hizbollah and the Israeli Government." (For my own views on this swap, decidedly less celebratory, see "Hezbollah's Victory, Israel's Decline.") This announcement is noteworthy because it refers to the traded Hezbollah terrorists and other assorted criminals as "heroes." Right: they are members of a group deemed a "Foreign Terrorist Organization" by the U.S. government and proscribed by U.S. law – but ADC calls them "heroes." I guess it's clear on which side ADC stands in the war on terror.
April 11, 2004 update: Back to Imad Hamad and his demand that public institutions close in commemoration of the Islamic holidays (i.e., where this entry began back in November 2003): today's Detroit News reports that Hamad believes closing government offices on Eid al-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha would "send a good message showing the unity that we like to sustain, and preserve, and advance in the city of Dearborn, the state of Michigan and in the country." To which City Councilman Thomas Tafelski replied: "The city of Dearborn will follow the state and federal holiday calendar, and until that changes, that's where I stand."
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