When Fareed Zakaria, the Newsweek writer and CNN host, God bless his merciful soul, gave back “the award he received in 2005 from the Anti-Defamation League over the Jewish group`s opposition towards the Ground Zero mosque,” he made me cry.
I started crying at 9:45 am on Saturday morning when I read the Huffington Post announcement, and his statement:
"I was thrilled to get the award from an organization that I had long admired. But I cannot in good conscience keep it anymore. I have returned both the handsome plaque and the $10,000 honorarium that came with it. I urge the ADL to reverse its decision. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain a reputation."
The courage that it takes a brown man in the United States to do such a thing is remarkable. But the fact that Fareed, karrama allahu wajhahu, is also a CNN anchor turned my crying into sobbing. I had to ask my family members to hold me so I wouldn’t fall, and I erased all my messages to friends in my “sent” folder chastising Fareed for everything he said as he was especially kissing up to the establishment on his way to CNN’s desks. As I was erasing I came across an email from a former student of mine. The email read:
“Dear Bassam, I have emailed you my resume´ which includes my recent employment at the research instituted I told you about so you may include it, and the skills I acquired there” in your recommendation. Also, please send three copies of the letter (not two) as I originally asked for. Thank you so much for doing this on such short notice. R.W.”
I immediately froze. Did I amend my action and send three letters instead of two. I do recall that I took note of this and printed an additional letter. But for some reason I am not absolutely certain I did so. Although R.W. was accepted in a prestigious University and is very happy now, that thought interrupted my deletion of the email messages I sent regarding Fareed, may all the birds and baby angels in heaven fly around him in a most elliptical manner.
If the mosque (it`s not a mosque) is ever built—which will certainly singlehandedly reverse the wave of Islamophobia catalyzed by a pack of beckhannibaughvinvage wolves—there will finally develop a more sober and rigorous analysis of the causes of terrorism and their putative connection to Islam. Thank God almighty and, Fareed, may he swim in fields of honey and dibis bit-heeneh, that there is a campaign, almost worldwide, to build this mosque. The fact that we are continuously discovering that “dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945” keeps distracting us from what should highlighted in the news. I am sure Fareed will have a special show on this in the wake of this statistical development. Fareed is a good boy for going against the rabid bigots, and clearly he will have no problem confronting nice liberal nationalist myths propagated 7 years ago by his network who pushed a war that wreaked havoc in Iraq with chemical weapons in the name of preventing the use of similar kinds of weapons and of fighting terrorism.
But wait, isn’t Iraq one of those Arab countries? Those caldrons of terrorism are making Islam look so bad. After all, it is actually not Islam that is the problem (good boy Fareed, may the heavens and the profits rain goodies as well as instrumentalist opportunities on you to do one good thing here and things like the following quote from you back in 2006’s Washington Post there, a quote i found as i was deleting regretful emails re: your essentialism. Alas, couldn`t delete this next one). Rather, according to Fareed, terrorism is “at its heart is an Arab phenomenon, born in the failures of that region.” I mean, how bad can statements like these be in 2006 coming from a brown Muslim man with mainstream credentials? Surely they don’t cause the destruction of whole societies for decades to come. But the Mosque! Oh that mosque will change everything. Tamil anyone?
I will leave you with the full quote, lest I be too fair to Fareed, may all the religions you can eat for $8.99. (here’s another similar pearl by Fareed).
“For all his intellectual shortcomings, Bush recognized that the roots of Islamic terrorism lie in the dysfunctions of the Arab world. Over the past 40 years, as the rest of the globe progressed economically and politically, the Arabs moved backward. Decades of tyranny and stagnation -- mostly under the auspices of secular, Westernized regimes such as those in Egypt and Syria -- have produced an opposition that is extreme, religiously oriented and in some cases violent. Its ideology is now global, and it has small bands of recruits from London to Jakarta. But at its heart it is an Arab phenomenon, born in the failures of that region. And it is likely to be cured only by a more open and liberal Arab culture that has made its peace with modernity. Look for example at two non-Arab countries, Malaysia and Turkey, whose people are conservative and religious Muslims. Both places are also reasonably successful economies, open societies and functioning democracies. As a result, they don`t produce swarms of suicide bombers.”
--Fareed Zakaria quote, Washington Post, Dec 18, 2006
(good boy Fareed, let’s not stray too far from cultural racism and 6th grade analysis except when it comes to the Mosque, after all, not all Muslims are Arabs—A.F.)