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Something's Wrong with this Picture During National Arab American Heritage this Month?

posted on: Apr 17, 2019

Something's Wrong with this Picture During National Arab American Heritage this Month?

By: Warren David/Arab America Contributing Writer

It’s April, and we are celebrating National Arab American Heritage Month, but there is something wrong with this picture.

During the month of April, Americans across the country are celebrating the contributions Arab Americans have made to the diversity of this nation.

It’s a time when school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, and governors proclaim the accomplishments of Arab Americans.

It’s a time when school teachers combat bullying by introducing lesson plans which instruct students about the history and culture of Arab Americans.

It’s a time when our public officials stress the importance of the positive contributions Arab Americans have made in the wake of distorted images directed against Arab Americans because of their color, ethnicity or religion.

Yes, April is the month we should be celebrating Arab Americans and yet we see the President of the United States invoking hate against them.

Rather than acknowledge the spirit of April as National Arab American Heritage Month, President Trump invoked images of hate last Friday tweeting a video which featured out-of-context remarks Arab American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar made about 9/11 juxtaposed with images from the terrorist attack showing the World Trade Center in flames.

His tweet to date has received over 250,000 likes and over 100,000 retweets.

Omar tweeted, that she has “experienced an increase in death threats,” and that “violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world,” she added, “We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land.”

In response to the numerous death threats Omar received, on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement requesting Capitol Police to protect Omar.

Trump’s tweet was in response to Omar’s comments made last month at an event in Los Angeles coordinated by CAIR, Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Here are Omar’s remarks in their entirety:

Omar’s quotes were taken out of context, her comments were meant to convey “something” done by “some people” referred to the millions of Arab Americans and Muslims who were discriminated against because of the actions of a few.

Trump again attacked Omar on Monday saying (Speaker Pelosi) should look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful “hate” statements Omar has made.

Instead of acknowledging the nation’s commemoration of National Arab American Heritage Month, President Trump has chosen to provoke hateful and inflammatory comments.

During a time of heightened hate crimes, bigotry, and misunderstanding towards the Arab American community, the President should seize the opportunity to talk about the importance of celebrating inclusion, embracing the Arab culture, rather than using negative political rhetoric to encourage division and hate.