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March 09, 2009

In article on 'Hijabi Monologue,' LA Times Covers Up

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The hijab, the cloth used by some religious Muslim woman to cover their hair, has inspired three young University of Chicago graduates to write a play called "Hijabi Monologue." In writing about the play, the Los Angeles Times' Raja Abdulrahim has engaged in a cover up of her own. She wrote:

In one of the monologues Alhassen performed, she told the story of Leena Al-Arian, who threw on her hijab early one morning in 2003 when law enforcement agents came to arrest her father, Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor and a longtime Palestinian rights activist, and search their Tampa home.

"They took humanitarian awards, plaques my parents hung up on the wall," she said as Al-Arian. "They took cheesy Egyptian film operas my mother followed with a passion; they took virtually every shred of paper that contained Arabic writing; they took my father."

Standing before her audience, Alhassen's oversized earrings swung back and forth as her anger rose. She spoke of Leena's father but, in a separate interview, said she was thinking about what it would be like if this happened to her own parent.

Nowhere does Abdulrahim expose the play's deception that Sami Al-Arian was arrested because he was simply a "Palestinian rights activist," a humanitarian who enjoyed opera. Nowhere does she say that in 2006 Al-Arian pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an officially designated terrorist organization. In May 2006, he was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his crime.

It's hardly surprising that Abdelrahim, who as a student of the University of Florida wrote in 2002 that no "Islamic militant group" is responsible for suicide bombers, would cover up for Sami Al-Arian. It's disturbing, though, that editors at the LA Times allow the cover up.

A few weeks ago, the LA Times came clean on a report that withheld information about the Holy Land Foundation. It's time again to fill in the facts.

Posted by TS at March 9, 2009 07:53 AM

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