Friday, May 21, 2010
Well, according to a few disgusting neocons, such as Debbie Schlussel, she is. Recently crowned Rima Fakih, formerly Miss Michigan USA, is facing outrageous allegations suggesting she is a supporter of Hezbollah, based on the fact she was born in Srifa, Lebanon, raised as a Shi’a Muslim and has a Muslim sponsor with Muslim friends, which really has nothing to do with, well, anything. Fakih is the first Muslim, first Arab-American and first immigrant to ever be crowned Miss USA.
First of all, Fakih moved to the United States with her family when she was seven years old. Yes, this means she is an immigrant, but I think we can safely say she has grown up American enough to love our country as much as the next person. She was not raised amongst gun-toting, propaganda-shouting terrorists. In fact, for those right-winged idiots who think religion dictates anyone’s place in the world, here’s something to soothe your soul: Fakih attended a Catholic high school, and her family celebrates various elements of the Christian faith alongside their own Muslim traditions.
Fools such as Schlussel allege that “intelligence sources” have found “evidence” that Fakih has relatives who are some of Hezbollah’s top officials and make up the ranks of their terrorists. Now, this very well could be true - it is common among Lebanese Shi’ites to have large, extended families. However, Fakih has already acknowledged that some of her relatives are quite radical - in both directions. Fakih has said she has relatives that are supporters of Hezbollah, but she also has relatives who are secular Shi’ites and even communists.
Schlussel also expresses concern over Fakih’s attendance at a Henry Ford Community College’s conference entitled “The Many Faces of Arab Women.” The conference was held to educate the American public on many issues concerning women of the Islamic faith, such as “Why do some Arab women cover themselves while others do not?” Schlussel says that many Shi’ite extremists were in attendance and the conference was actually attempting to promote Islam using tax payers’ dollars. I don’t think I even need to comment on how ludicrous it is that Fakih, an HFCC alumna, is receiving criticism for fostering understanding and supporting education. I am certain that no pretty blonde-haired, blue-eyes Texas girl would receive the same backlash for attending a similar conference that examines Christianity instead.
Fakih’s sponsor, Farouk Shami, has also been dragged into the ordeal. Whether or not the slew of allegations against Shami are true (anti-Jewish, anti-white), I fail to see how it is entirely relevant. First of all, all information is embellished. That fact that Schlussel calls The American Task Force on Palestine a pro-terrorist organization should indicate just how skewed her interpretation is. Some people are pro-Palestine. I myself have significant empathy for Palestine and hope Israel is more cooperative in the coming years. Should I be pegged as a terrorist co-conspirator? Regardless, I bet a good portion of all Miss USA pageant sponsors have less-than-desirable views on politics and some shady ties to even more shady people that we could argue over. The fact that Shami's ties are to Arab-Americans who at times may be controversial how nothing to do with the crowning of Miss USA.
The idiocy is astounding. She is not going to reject her Lebanese heritage, as I’m sure many would have it. Honestly, she shouldn’t even have to defend it at this point. She is an American citizen, with some bad relatives. According to family lore, I have a relative in the mob... maybe it was the mafia. Either way, we all have idiots in the family. When Joseph Stack crashed a plane into an office building in a rage against the IRS, no one began investigating his daughter Samantha Bell (although she responded “yes” when asked whether she considers her father a hero, so maybe someone should).
Fakih is a smart and beautiful woman, and I think she will make a great Miss USA who can set an example for plenty of young girls. Better than former Miss USA Tara Conner, the famous wild child who went into rehab for cocaine use, which started after she won her title. Fakih has nothing to apologize for, and hopefully people like Schlussel will soon be silenced by those who recognize the identity of an American is evolving and becomes more diverse everyday.