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All the #HummusHaters that came after the EgyptAir plane crash

posted on: May 21, 2016

All the #HummusHaters that came from the EgyptAir plane crash

With all the anti-Arab bashing we see in the news every week, Arab America is determined to expose those who discriminate against our community. We will recognize those who vilify the positive influence and contributions Arabs have made to the fabric of American society. And we will use hummus as our weapon. By naming those who vilify the Arab American community as #HummusHaters, we can express our culture positively while showing intolerance to bigotry.

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer

All the #HummusHaters that came from the EgyptAir plane crashOn Thursday morning, EgyptAir Flight MS804 traveling from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean. There were 66 people on board the flight. Their belongings and aircraft parts were found 180 miles north of Alexandria in Egypt’s waters.

Initially, the cause was unknown, but the instantaneousness of the crash has caused Egyptian officials to believe it was terrorism that brought the plane down. However, after investigating the crew and security personnel on the plane, the Egyptian government said there is “nothing to implicate them in anyway and there is no proof otherwise” of terrorism. The plane was swept beforehand and had three air marshals on board, making terrorism an unlikely outcome.

Naturally, American presidential candidates voiced their opinions on this plane crash that in no way affected the U.S. or Americans. In an interview with CNN, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said the disaster “shines a very bright light on the threat that we face from organized terror groups.”

Clinton also took time in the interview to criticize Republican candidate Donald Trump for his proposed “temporary” ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. She said by barring all Muslims, “you’re sending evidence to the Muslim world, and you’re also sending a message to terrorists… Donald Trump is essentially being used as a recruiter for more people to join the cause of terrorism.”

Donald Trump did not like hearing this. He quickly attacked Clinton for accusing him of aiding terrorism in this statement:

“The fact that Hillary thinks the temporary Muslim ban, which she calls the “Muslim ban”, promotes terrorism, proves… she is not qualified to be President.

Look at the carnage all over the world including the World Trade Center, San Bernardino, Paris, the USS Cole, Brussels and an unlimited number of other places. She and our totally ignorant President won’t even use the term Radical Islamic Terrorism. And by the way, ask Hillary who blew up the plane last night – another terrible, but preventable tragedy…”

Trump probably has not heard yet, but terrorism was not named the official cause of this plane crash. But Trump and Clinton are not alone in their assumptions. Many media outlets are already writing articles voicing their opinions on what happened, and the effects plane crashes should have on foreign policy.

In an opinion piece by Michael Rubin titled “Flight MS804: Should We Halt Visa Waivers from France?,” the author criticizes Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport and French intelligence for not spotting “radicalism” in time. Even though getting a bomb past airport security seems near impossible these days, the author suggests that France’s inability to crack down on its “radicalized” population is “the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with American air travelers.”

A few thoughts come to mind when reading these opinions on the EgyptAir plane crash.

All the #HummusHaters that came from the EgyptAir plane crashFirst, the assumed attack was initiated in Europe, not the Muslim World – which, by the way, is made up of several non-Arab countries, too, like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia – so by narrowing her understanding of terrorism to the Muslim World only, Clinton is adding to prejudicial opinions about Arabs and Muslims. The passengers were defined by more than just their religion or nationality, too. They were businessmen, scholars, diplomats, students, and travelers.

Second, many passengers on the plane were French, and other nationalities aside from Egyptian, so why is it automatically assumed that it was a Muslim who committed the crime if that was the cause? Also, some of the Egyptian passengers could have been Coptic, a significant Christian minority in Egypt. Trump fearlessly using “radical Islamic terrorism” does not make him a stronger contender for office. It actually shows that he’s willfully ignoring all factors involved in this case, and therefore prejudicial in his assumptions.

Third, none of the passengers were hits on terror watch lists. There are thousands of people from all over the world placed on terror watch lists as a result of intense, Western surveillance programs. It is hard to believe that if anyone on the plane was “radicalized,” that these surveillance programs did not catch him or her beforehand. Writers such as Michael Rubin who are blaming France for its lack of strength in combatting radicalism are constructing an answer to this mysterious crash, based on prejudicial thinking developed from 9/11.

Clinton, Trump, and writers like Rubin are all hummus haters in this incident. Try some hummus before commenting on anything that has to do with the Arab World. It clears the mind and opens the heart so that statements are based on evidence and understanding of the Arab World, not unverified assumptions.