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Ali Eteraz Headshot

Arabs Aren't Decent?

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An Arab friend called me the other day. He wanted to talk about a McCain town-hall meeting where someone had apparently called Obama an "Arab."

"Guess what?" my friend said sadly.

"What?" I asked.

"I'm not an Arab," he said.

"Says who?" I asked.

"Says John McCain," he replied.

"John McCain? My fellow prisoner?"

"Yes him."

"What are you talking about? You were born in Egypt. Most people would consider you an Arab."

"No," said my friend. "I am a decent and family oriented man, and according to a recent response John McCain made to a bigoted woman at one of those town-hall meetings he so prides himself on, Arab men can't be decent or family oriented."

"Well," I said. "That's too bad but things could be worse you know. Why don't you take some solace in the fact that John McCain didn't call you a camel jockey or a rag head! Nor did anyone at the town-hall scream out 'Kill him' about you!"

"Fair point," he said reflectively. "I should be thankful that my family was able to escape a tyrannical regime thirty years ago and come to a country where our life isn't attacked, just our basic dignity."

"See, now you're just being unfair," I said. "Don't you realize that your people attacked America on 9/11? You should be thankful that you aren't in Guantanamo!"

"Good point," he said cheerfully. "I should also be thankful that as an American my phone sex isn't tapped illegally as it might be in Egypt!"

"Now you're getting it! See, this is Amurrica, and either you're with us or you're a turrorist! Do you understand?"

"You betcha!"

"Anyway," I said. "I think you are being very unfair to John McCain."

"I know," said my friend. "He was a POW and spent five years in proximity to our Communist enemies. Therefore he automatically knows everything about America's non-Communist Muslim enemies; which I am, because my first name, Muhammad, one of the most popular Muslim names in the world, was shared by a couple of the 9/11 hijackers, and my last name, Hussein, another one of the most popular Muslim names in the world, was shared by Saddam. My names automatically make me an enemy of the state and therefore an enemy of John McCain and in fact all Republicans."

"You are just being silly now," I said. "Just because your name is Hussein doesn't mean anyone is going to insult you. In fact, John McCain doesn't have a single problem with the name of Hussein. Why, his transition chief actually used to lobby on behalf of Saddam! Besides, what's the insult in someone calling you Hussein? I mean, that's your name isn't it? It's your fault for getting offended!"

"I think you're losing it!" said my friend. "What's next? You'll be demanding that the government monitor the whereabouts of Muslims and Arabs?"

"I don't see how that is an odd request to make. I mean, 40% of Republicans and 24% of Democrats agree with me!"

"You don't seem to think anything is an insult!" my friend yelled. "There is no use talking to you!"

"That's not true," I defended in the vein of my hero Bill Kristol. "Do you remember last year when John McCain said that he would be uncomfortable by someone who practices 'the Islam' becoming President?"

"He said that?!"

"That's right," he said it last year when he was still in the primaries. His campaign had to apologize for it."

"I can't believe that," said my friend.

"I know! I couldn't believe he apologized either! A real American should never apologize to Muslims because America is a Christian nation. As the man whom John McCain once referred to as his 'moral compass' argued, we live in a Christian theocracy, not a democracy."

"So you really aren't going to do anything to stand up for my dignity?"

"And be labelled uppity ?" I said to my now former friend. "Hell no. Get off the phone, Islamo-fascist!"

"Actually I'm an atheist."

"Well you resemble all the Muslims I've ever met!"