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PsychoDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 01:58 PM
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Angry Arabs denounce dumping Merhi
Edited on Thu Mar-30-06 02:14 PM by PsychoDad
Angry Arabs denounce dumping Merhi
Monday, March 27, 2006

By CRISTIAN SALAZAR
HERALD NEWS
http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2...

Arab-Americans from both political parties expressed outrage and sadness a day after Passaic County Democrats pulled their support from Lebanese-born freeholder candidate Sami Merhi.
...
"It's a sad day for Muslims, it's a sad day for Arabs, and a sad day for immigrants in general, and for any community that wants to participate in the great political process in the U.S.," said Sohail Mohammed, a Clifton-based general counsel for the American Muslim Union, speaking by phone Sunday.
...
The controversy reminded Sherine El-Abd, of Clifton, of why she left the Democratic Party in 1984, when she was working for Walter Mondale's failed presidential bid.

"He returned money to Arab-Americans because they were Arab," said El-Abd, the chairwoman of the state Arab American Republican Caucus, in a phone interview.

El-Abd said her bad experience with Mondale made her a Republican for life, so she wasn't surprised by what the Democrats did to Merhi.



and...

Arab-Americans tell Corzine of candidate's `political lynching'
By WAYNE PARRY
Associated Press Writer

March 29, 2006, 3:12 PM EST
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newjersey/ny-bc-...

NEWARK, N.J. -- Arab-American leaders told Gov. Corzine that the dumping of a Lebanese-born candidate for a county office because of comments he made about terrorism amounted to "political lynching," and asked the governor for help in fighting a renewed climate of Arab-bashing.

At a private meeting Tuesday night with the governor in the Statehouse, eight Arab-American community leaders protested the treatment of Sami Merhi of Totowa, according to Merhi and another Arab-American leader, both of whom were present. Merhi was chosen by Passaic County Democrats to run for freeholder, then dumped from the ticket a week later over comments he made in 2002 that some interpreted as sympathetic to suicide bombers.
...
Merhi reiterated his explanation that he has always condemned terrorism in all its forms. When he said he could not see the comparison between the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers and Palestinian suicide bombers, he meant that while all murder is wrong, the 9/11 attacks were mass murder on an unprecedented scale.
...
Aref Assaf, president of the Paterson-based American Arab Forum, said Merhi's treatment was an insult to all Arab-Americans.

"This is not going to fly with our community," said Assaf, who also attended the meeting and said he told the governor that Merhi was the victim of "political lynching."

"He was wrongly judged," Assaf said. "It wasn't the voters who turned him out; it was his own party. It is not acceptable that the party takes our money and our votes, then tells us to sit in the back of the bus."



and ...

YEARS OF POLITICAL SERVICE VS. SOME ILL-TIMED REMARKS
Peter Applebome, New York Times, 3/29/06

PATERSON, N.J. - SITTING at the back of a Lebanese restaurant in South Paterson in his crisp gray suit, cellphone incessantly beeping, Sami Merhi cites the Constitution, reflects on family, tells an immigrant's success story, muses ruefully about lessons learned.

"My grandfather told me this is the only place on earth where you will never feel a stranger," said the most famous almost-freeholder in Passaic County history. "And I believe it."
...
Within days, he was being denounced as a terrorist sympathizer. ("Defender of suicide bombers gets Dem nod in Passaic," ran the headline over an item in the widely read PoliticsNJ Web site last week.) A week later, after his candidacy became part of the parry and thrust in the United States Senate race and after his party's statewide leaders, Senator Robert Menendez and Gov. Jon S. Corzine, said they could not support it, the endorsement was rescinded.
...

"This has gotten so far out of control I really can't believe it," said Harvey Sussman, who is Jewish and has been a friend and sometime business associate of Mr. Merhi. "This is a peaceful, learned man. I've known him for 20 years, and I've never heard a single prejudiced remark. I wish he were in the U.N., because he's the kind of person who could get respect from both sides."

MR. MERHI's problems date to remarks he made in April 2002 before and during a fund-raiser he organized for Mr. Pascrell. In them, while he condemned violence "whether it's committed by a person, a group or a state," he spoke of the frustrations and feelings of despair that drive suicide bombers and of the need for both sides to listen to each other in the Middle East. Mr. Pascrell criticized the remarks the next day.

And in the most problematic remark, after calling the 9/11 attackers "coldblooded murderers," he was asked if that applied to suicide bombers. "I can't see the comparison," he said. He said this week that because he lost a godson on 9/11 and his country was attacked, he was affected personally by one event, so that he couldn't compare it to the other. He said he wasn't minimizing the evil of suicide bombers and opposed all forms of terrorism.




Peace.



So, again, what was it he said that made him a "Terrorist Supporter" to the NJ Democratic Party?
Merhi reiterated his explanation that he has always condemned terrorism in all its forms. When he said he could not see the comparison between the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers and Palestinian suicide bombers, he meant that while all murder is wrong, the 9/11 attacks were mass murder on an unprecedented scale.

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