Opinion: An anti-Muslim tirade inspires a beautiful response | CNN

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Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of Sirius XM Radio’s daily program, “The Dean Obeidallah Show.” Follow him. Threads. The opinions expressed in this comment are their own. Read More comments by CNN.


After police say she repeatedly taunted an Arab immigrant food cart worker in a Manhattan neighborhood Obama-era National Security Council official Stuart Seldowitz was arrested last week by the New York Police Department. He now faces hate crime and aggravated harassment charges.

Videos of Seldowitz’s rants — which went viral — were offensive. The former government official committed a shameful act Anti-Muslim comments He taunted an Egyptian food cart worker about the Israel-Hamas war with comments like, “What do you know if we kill 4,000 Palestinian children? It wasn’t enough!”

Seldowitz, who pleaded not guilty They spoke The local New York paper regretted the accident He is saying., “In the heat of the moment, I probably said something I shouldn’t have said. But Seldowitz, whose “heat of the season” defense rang out, is said to have returned to the food cart several times at a time. Two weeks time To spew hate.

Sadly, since the October 7 war between Israel and Hamas, such incidents have increased. Anti-Defamation League In the weeks after the start of the war, anti-Semitic incidents increased by 388% compared to the same period last year.

Jews saw Americans. places of worship Along with a shocking number of damaged Threats and attacks on Jewish students in the college campus. one Deeply about At Cornell University’s Jewish dining hall, when they promised to “shoot up” and the incident happened. They stabbed the Jews in the courtyard Posted online. A student was arrested And he was accused of being behind the threat and I don’t understand. Petition filed in court for the first time.

Likewise, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has recorded one “terrible” There was an increase in reported anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias incidents after October 7. Overall, CAIR saw a 216% increase in requests for assistance and reported incidents of bias compared to 2022.

Incredibly, one such horrific incident appears to have occurred on Saturday in Burlington, Vermont, where three Palestinian students were present. Shoot. Two are US citizens and the third is a legal resident. Two of them are wearing a traditional Arab scarf known as a kefiyyah local police. The Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee also indicated in the press conference. Speaking Arabic.

Fortunately, the three students survived the shooting, but Two were accepted to the intensive care unit and one “suffered serious and serious injuries” according to the ADC. The story is still ongoing and police say they are currently investigating the motive of the white male shooter.

Unfortunately, a 6-year-old boy Palestinian American Wadea Al-Fayoume The person who was stabbed did not survive. Targeted His son is a Muslim. he was Accused with murder and two hate crimesHe has pleaded not guilty, among other charges.

The question is: What can each of us do to prevent hate and make it clear that we will not allow bigotry to become the norm in any community? One of the best responses was what we saw in New York City after Seldowitz’s hate-filled rampage gained widespread attention: elected officials and neighbors rallied to stand with a 24-year-old Egyptian food cart worker. Muhammad HussainWho was subject to strictness.

Even before Seldowitz’s indictment, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levin. he said. On social media: “This Islamophobic bigotry is absolutely reprehensible. No one in this city should be subject to this poison.

But it was the reaction of the people in the area – which deserves more media attention – that was truly moving. According to CBS New York reported, “What happened at the food cart just seemed to bring people together. One of the food cart workers, Baha Hassan, told CBS: “We have a mostly Jewish clientele in this building. [Two customers] He made us a cake last night.

Before long, the villagers had set up tables next to the food carts to encourage people to sit, eat and talk together. Upper East Side resident Stephanie Marabet told CBS. About the workers“They’re really wonderful people and they care about the community they’re in, and they definitely don’t deserve this.

These actions send a powerful message that we will not allow hatred to go unchallenged. This is my long time friend Max Brooks – author of “World War Z”, “Zombie Survival Guide” and more – asked me to join him in making a short video against hatred of Jews, Arabs and Muslims. Unbeknownst to us at the time He recorded this video. In the neighborhood where Seldowitz was mocking the Arab food cart worker last weekend.

Max and I have often been told that we look alike. There is good reason for this. We are both half Italian and half Semitic. In Max’s case, his Semitic half is Jewish – from his father Mel Brooks – my Semitic heritage comes from my late Palestinian father, Abdul. (And yes, Arabs and Jews are both. The Semites!)

Each of us can – and must – play a role in preventing hate. In a country as populous as the United States, there will always be some prejudice. It is our response to hate.

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