The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Protest letter sent to Nolan Finley at Detroit News

The following email was sent to Nolan Finley on Saturday, March 25.

The directors of the National Arab American Journalists Association are drafting aletter denouncing his racist comments, and demanding that the Detroit News take action.

Ray Hanania

I am writing you out of deep disappointment over your column from last Month regarding the Palestinians ... while I think it is appropriate to analyze the policies of a government and ascribe broad strokes of views on policies, characterizing a Palestinian lust for Jewish blood is frankly not only unprofessional, it is racist, offensive and I think borders on incitement of hatred.

The National Arab American Journalists Association has voted to condemn your column and demand a policy that will address the glaring absence of Palestinian and Arab voices on your op-ed pages.

I really believe that the professional thing to do is to acknowledge that you crossed the line with that comment. You want to bash Palestinian policy, do it. You want to bash Palestinians, it is as racist as attacking African Americans as a people and anti-Semitic as attacking Jewish people as a people.

This is not going to go away and just inviting a token response from alocal writer is not good enough.

You have a problem with a lack of balance and fairness at your newspaper and specifically on the Op-Ed pages that you, a person who I feel has crossed the racial line, controls.

One could argue that your racial views against Palestinians is the very reason why Palestinian columnists and writers are absent from your op-ed pages and certainly don't even come close to appearing as frequently or even near frequency as pro-Israel and other anti-Arab writers, such as Charles Krauthammer.

Sorry if you take offense from this letter, but I've tried to wait and see what you and the Detroit News will do about it ... you may not take it serious, but it is a reflection on your claim to be a professional journalist and the newspaper's claim to be a professional journalism publication.

Ray Hanana
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Friday, March 24, 2006

Arab Journalists in Detroit protest racist slurs in Detroit News

Michigan State House Resolution condemns anti-Palestinian column in Detroit News
Released March 23, 2006
Contact: Osama Siblani / 313-582-4888

LANSING - State Representative LaMar Lemmons III has introduced House Resolution 214, condemning a recent anti-Palestinian column in the Detroit News by the newspaper's editorial page editor, Nolan Finley.

The resolution also calls for an apology from Finley.

The resolution draws attention to the dehumanizing, cruel and discriminatory comments made by Finley, who refers in the column to all Palestinians as bloodthirsty through such blanket prejudicial statements as "Palestinian lust for Jewish blood is stronger than their desire for peace" and "terrorism is the history of the Palestinian people."

Lemmons, an African American who represents Detroit's far east side, said he felt disgust and anger when he first read the column.

"Nolan Finley's generalization of all Palestinians as terrorists is reminiscent of many stereotypes that my people have been victimized by," he said.

"History is riddled with tyrants who have painted with a broad brush to negatively characterize entire groups and races of people," he added. "I think it's time to say we as a society are more humane and intelligent than one would guess from this column. I presented this resolution to say I believe it's time we all stand together to show our revulsion for this rhetoric because an attack against one is an attack against us all."

The Congress of Arab American Organizations in Michigan (CAAO), representing more than forty organizations, called last week for continued pressure on the Detroit News until the issue is resolved.

"We support Resolution 214 and thank the representatives for their action on this very important issue," said CAAO president Abed Hammoud.

The resolution has been referred to the Government and Operations Committee. It was co-sponsored by Representatives Lemmons, Jr. (father of Lemmons III), George Cushingberry, Jr., Matthew Gillard, Alexander C. Lipsey, Fred Miller, Barbara Farrah, and Gino Polidori.


Letter to UNITY regarding Arab Journalist participation

We have a loosely organized National Arab American Journalists Association (NAAJA) that stumbled after Sept. 11 because of the intense amount of bigotry and discrimination our members faced. We continue to struggle however with a chapter in Austin, one in Chicago and one forming in Detroit

I am wondering if there is a possibility of

1) Including us in the Unity Coalition
2) Working with us to organize a stronger Arab American professional journalism voice
3) Allowing us to participate in some programs to represent Arab American challenges when UNITY comes to Chicago

We are probably in the most destitute situation as Arab American journalists. Our views are excluded, we are singled out for racial and religious attacks, our members fear identifying as journalists at their newspapers and our writing is constantly being censored.

Our community also has many problems, including the fact that many of our organizations are extremist in views and engage in discrimination against their own members, especially moderate voices who seek to speak out against violence, suicide bombings and who support compromise.

I am writing to you on behalf of the NAAJA acting board ... our temporary web page is ... but we hope to have our own web page up and running by the end of this summer

I appreciate your attention to this request

Thank you
Ray Hanania