VOICES of APAAM is a patriotic periodical that profiles the contributions of Arab Americans in the US Armed Forces. For media contact email firstname.lastname@example.org, and find out more about us at www.apaam.org A MOMENT OF PRIDE
Guest Column by: Mahmoud El-Yousseph,
Tech Sergeant, USAF (Retired)
27 June, 2006 As I sat watching the "Miami Seven" alleged terrorist cell arrest unfold on national TV, I held my breath, hoped, and prayed that they were not Middle Eastern. I thanked God when I learned that the seven suspected terrorists were neither Muslims nor Arabs. This group never worshiped in an Islamic mosque, and there is no affiliation whatsoever between them and any Muslim or Arab group. In fact the seven were a 'bunch of losers' with only gangster affiliations. Sources in Miami confirmed that it was with the help of an "Arab Speaking" contact in Miami, who presented himself as an Al-Quaeda operative that these would-be terrorists were arrested. The man was actually cooperating with the authorities. Why doesn't our government and the media spell it out? Simply state the obvious: it was a Muslim or an Arab who infiltrated the "Miami Seven" terror cell in order to protect our homeland security. America's Arab and Muslim communities are always questioned for their reaction only when violent or tragic events take place here and abroad, thereby equating them in people's minds with violence instead of positive contributions. Let's face it, would our government have been able to catch these thugs in Miami had it not been for the Arabic-speaking "under-cover" person? Of course not. But concealing this fact was a moment of pride denied to America's Arab/Muslim communities. All this brought to mind, Christa Mcauliffe who was chosen to be the first teacher in space and who perished in the Challenger disaster in 1986. Sadly, no one knew she was of Arab background until years later, and by then it was too late. Why are Arabs only spotlighted as criminals? What about our Arab American heroes? Why are they never mentioned? Regardless of whether America's Arab/Muslim community are recognized for their contributions or not, our government, news media and the public at large should take more seriously the efforts of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), The Arab American Institute, and The Arab American Anti-Discrimination committee in this area. CAIR National Board Chairman, Parvez Ahmed said it best the day after the Miami arrest,"The American Muslim community stand with local and national law enforcement bodies in seeking to keep our nation safe and secure."
Mahmoud El-Yousseph Technical Sergeant, USAF (Retired)