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LAX shooter is innocent
July 8, 2002 12:59 PM   Subscribe

LAX shooter is innocent What is the source of this incessant sense of denial that permeates arab society? Between the "absurdity" of an Egyptian pilot committing suicide, the computer generated videos of OBL, and the "impossibility" of a hate crime, why is it that arabs have an over-arching sense of impossibiility of committing crimes of such sort? Is there no crime in arab countries? Do criminal defenses take to form of "I'm a muslim, muslims can't commit crimes, so I didn't do it?".
posted by dreamer98 (59 comments total)

 
What?
posted by ODiV at 1:03 PM on July 8, 2002


I know I'll feel all cozy and warm when I wrap up in that blanket statement.
posted by ao4047 at 1:06 PM on July 8, 2002


What is the source of this incessant sense of denial that permeates supermax society? Between the "absurdity" of an inmate having murdered his wife, the man molesting neighborhood children, and the "impossibility" of a bank job, why is it that supermax residents have an over-arching sense of the impossibility of having committing the crimes which landed them there?
posted by quonsar at 1:12 PM on July 8, 2002


why is it that arabs have an over-arching sense of impossibiility of committing crimes of such sort?

Because Arabs are made of 1000% evil. Also, they have leathery wings, wicked fangs and want nothing more than to peel you like a banana and feast on your sweet marrow. Recently, they assumed dog form and shat all over my lawn. Curse them!
posted by Skot at 1:15 PM on July 8, 2002


Is it that outrageous to observe that Muslim society assigns a dearth of rights to women, which makes it easy to leave them in the dark about nefarious plans?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:17 PM on July 8, 2002


yup. us non-arab women, when our relatives kill people, we insist that they get locked up right away. "guilty!" we cry, "he must have done it! death penalty for everyone!"
posted by judith at 1:19 PM on July 8, 2002


caveat: i don't mean to imply in my comment above that the muslim population equates to the prison population. only that most people are innocent of the crimes with which they have been charged - just ask them / thier families.
posted by quonsar at 1:20 PM on July 8, 2002


Whether it is entirely cultural or merely highly covered by the media is the first question. Certainly, each time arab extremists commit an act of violence there are denials made that it is possible by others. These denials are often covered by the media. Does this represent overarching denial? Maybe. If it does then it's certainly beyond the Western experience to appreciate and just gives me a headache to consider. If it doesn't represent prevailing views, then why does the media ever cover it?
posted by shagoth at 1:23 PM on July 8, 2002


What would you expect the guy's wife to say?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:25 PM on July 8, 2002


Is it that outrageous to observe that Muslim society assigns a dearth of rights to women, which makes it easy to leave them in the dark about nefarious plans?

Well, it's certainly a non sequitur, based upon little more than your well-established prejudices.
posted by riviera at 1:25 PM on July 8, 2002


Or maybe it's the fact she was his wife? But I guess that that has nothing to do with it. Must be the religion thing...
posted by Bag Man at 1:26 PM on July 8, 2002


[insert unwarranted generalization about "arab society" here thus further supporting this obvious troll]
posted by vacapinta at 1:27 PM on July 8, 2002


1,2,3...

TROLL!!!
posted by signal at 1:29 PM on July 8, 2002


Miguel, I would expect his wife to say something like: "Oh, my, this is horrible! I had no inkling that my husband would do something like this. I offer my condolences to the friends and families of the victims. I, too, lost a husband, so I can feel a measure of their pain. I am truly sorry for what my husband did."
Howzabout that?
posted by Holden at 1:30 PM on July 8, 2002


What would you expect the guy's wife to say?

"You're late and you're drunk, Mohammed"
posted by matteo at 1:34 PM on July 8, 2002


Sorry for the comment but it's impossible to take this thread seriuosly
posted by matteo at 1:35 PM on July 8, 2002


Holden, but that isn't what happens. There is denial in almost every circumstance where a family member does something bad suddenly that seemed "out of character", at least to his or her family. That part isn't cultural, it's probably universal; the only "cultural" thing in this particular situation is the woman's own statement about all Americans hating Muslims after Sept. 11. Blanket statements cut both ways.
posted by yhbc at 1:36 PM on July 8, 2002


In fact I'm going to play my Portuguese card here and say she was a good wife. [On preview: Holden, if she said that, she'd be an honest and honourable woman. But blood is thicker than water and, in some cultures, it's OK to hang on to one's illusions when a loved one dies, whatever crime he's committed. Weak, I know, but true...] Here what husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and brothers say is not even admitted in criminal trials.* Is it the same elsewhere?

*Now distant cousins are a different matter altogether. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:36 PM on July 8, 2002


in some cultures, it's OK to hang on to one's illusions when a loved one dies

some cultures are backwards.
posted by dagny at 1:39 PM on July 8, 2002


what about the "zionist entity"?
posted by Postroad at 1:40 PM on July 8, 2002


I think it's prefectly proper and appropriate to look down upon Muslim subordination of women.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:42 PM on July 8, 2002


can you two get a room?
posted by machaus at 1:46 PM on July 8, 2002


To look down upon Muslim subordination of women is also a perfect way to disguise one's own racism and Arab-hating and make it look like humanitarian concern for human rights
posted by matteo at 1:47 PM on July 8, 2002


We're so much more experienced with this kind of thing in America. Kid shoots up a school or a guy shoots up a McDonald's, and the perpetrator's family knows what to do: Hire an attorney to talk to the press on behalf of the family, express condolences to the victims, say nothing incriminating.
Someday, the rest of the world will catch up.
I wonder if what the man's wife said in Arabic (translated as, "My husband is innocent") is similar to what an American might say in English: "I can't believe he did it." Was something lost in the translation?
Still, condolences for the victims would have been nice.
posted by Holden at 1:48 PM on July 8, 2002


ah, the smell of racism in the morning....
posted by signal at 1:51 PM on July 8, 2002


condolences for the victims would have been nice

Mohammed Atta's dad is still convinced that his son didn't do it, seriously. He said that Israeli/CIA people crashed the jets, his son was a simple passenger
Personally, who gives a damn about what the relatives think?
posted by matteo at 1:51 PM on July 8, 2002


I think it's prefectly proper and appropriate to look down upon Muslim subordination of women.

yes this is true, and from any subordination of women from any culture, but where the heck do you get that from this article? or were you reading a different article? fyi, the article you should be reading is linked at the top of this page (:)) by dreamer 98...i am not even going to start on his/her statements...
posted by m2bcubed at 1:53 PM on July 8, 2002


I think I see what dreamer98's point is trying to be. I don't know if it's necessarily a troll; could go that way, but it could also be a not-delicate-enough way of posing a valid, if sensitive, question. (A few backup sources or additional, well-selected links could have done a lot to shore up the credibility of the post.)

I found an article called The Menace of Jihad Suicide. The source is likely biased---the site's tagline is "News & Views, Politics and Military Analysis from Jerusalem, Israel", but they cite the same soundbites you could find mentioned on CNN regarding suicide among Muslims:

"Islamist (or fundamentalist Muslim) leaders in the United States emphasized that, being a religiously observant Muslim, the copilot would never commit suicide. 'Suicide is a major sin in Islam,' Maher Hathout, imam of the Islamic Center in Los Angeles, explained. Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations pronounced that suicide 'would not be in accord with Islamic beliefs and practices.'"

In addition, has anyone here read Tamim Ansary's fascinating memoir West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Reflects on Islam and the West? (Tamim Ansary was the author of the open letter from an Afghan-American which circulated shortly after Sept. 11.) The book is about growing up Afghan-American, in both countries, and is concerned in part with the author's younger brother, who grew up primarily in America but becomes a rather militant Muslim later in life. There's one conversation between Tamim and his brother described in the book that I found chilling, and I wish I had the book in front of me now so I could better share---basically, Tamim is questioning the cruelty of the extremist Taliban regime, and his brother is insisting that if everyone would just live by the strict Muslim code, there would be no need for barbarism. Tamim says that that can't work, not everyone is a strict Muslim, not everyone will accept that code and so cannot be held to have transgressed against it---his brother refuses to even acknowledge that there may be another way to live.

So maybe these are some questions for discussion: Is there such a thing as Muslim imperialism, one which seeks to thrust its morals and its standards for behavior upon the unenlightened world, in a manner possibly comparable to the way that American imperialism seeks to co-opt the entire planet as accomplices in global capitalism? What are the global implications of Islamist absolutism? Is that absolutism the same thing as ignorance, of the rest of the world or of its own people? And is the denial of this man's wife caused by what must surely be shock and grief at the loss of her husband, or is it a cultural artifact, unknowable to those of us Westerners who give so much lip service to the notion of "live and let live"?

Again, dunno if dreamer98 was trolling, but I'm not. The reason I keep my trap shut during nearly all discussions of Middle-East politics and culture is because I'm pretty ignorant on the subject and I know it. But I too have been struck by the note of---I guess, cultural denial, that seems to be sounded among some Muslims whenever one of them is accused of some type of atrocity; the EgyptAir crash was particularly striking for this. I kept thinking then: no matter how strict the Muslim prohibition of suicide may be (or not, see my first link), that pilot was human first and Muslim second.

Or would that idea itself be one that only an atheist citizen of a pluralistic society could dream up?
posted by Sapphireblue at 1:58 PM on July 8, 2002


I "got it" from the suggestion of certain posters who think Muslim culture is criticized too much, whereas it is, in fact, criticized to little.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:59 PM on July 8, 2002


Holden: I honestly think that the guy's wife believes her husband didn't murder anyone, that he was used in a Zionist-American plot in order to drum up more hatred against Muslims. Or something. What you say about Americans caught in similar circumstances seems to me insightful. There's a delusion at work which "denial" probably doesn't cover. A delusion born of love and the desire for emotional security - factoring in your husband or son as an assassin takes a helluva lot of reorganizing.

Still, your point stands - she could have maintained her husband was innocent and expressed condolences for the victims.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:59 PM on July 8, 2002


It's all relative... or so they say
posted by da5id at 2:01 PM on July 8, 2002


i just don't think that it's related to this story...i think that it is a wife-husband issue, she doesn't think that the man she's known, the one whom she just spoke with so nicely, is capable of killing people. duh!

why is this an arab thing, a muslim thing. her husband just died, her kids don't have a father, her paycheck is gone possibly, her house will have to go possibly, her life in the US is ruined for her arab/muslim husband just killed some people, her husband just killed some people, her husband whom she loves...why is it not logical that she just is in major denial, she just does not comprehend yet that there are other people involved in what happened, that there are other families. all she knows is that everything she's known is actually not what she knows.
posted by m2bcubed at 2:22 PM on July 8, 2002


It's a Muslim thing because (1) he's Egyptian; (2) He shot people in an Israeli air terminal; (3) at least one of his victims was simply Jewish; (4) He had LOTS of ammo; (5) he did it on July 4th.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:33 PM on July 8, 2002


There's a delusion at work which "denial" probably doesn't cover. A delusion born of love and the desire for emotional security - factoring in your husband or son as an assassin takes a helluva lot of reorganizing

No. It's a dellusion born of decades, if not centuries of being told the West, and Jews are evil, and criminal and out to get Muslims.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:36 PM on July 8, 2002


Perhaps a clarification is in order. The western media has fuelled a image of a middle-east region that is against the west and have the appearance of jumping to conspiracy theories and complete denials. Denials from family are obviously understandable, but denials from those who were killed are not as such.

The has concluded that EgyptAir Flight 990 was brought down by the co-pilot as an act of suicide. The families of those on the plane do not accept this conclusion, why? Is the thought of an Egyption committing suicide so difficult to bear?

Why did arab-news outlets come so quickly to insist that the OBL "confession" was a fake?

Is the western media simple giving a voice to the only critics they can find or are they giving too great a voice to a minority of people and impressing a larger sense of denial? Or is the muslim-world simply a culture in which the man who commits an act cannot be separated from the culture he comes from? And more to my rather muddled point, can arab-culture do it the other way around? Does the condemnation of a man, or a group of men, have to be taken as a condemnation of a society (not from a western point of view but from a arab point of view)? Can the west squarely lay blame on an arab and not be derided as hateful people?


posted by dreamer98 at 2:39 PM on July 8, 2002


i am not sure what you are talking about, but i am talking about your comment

   I think it's prefectly proper and appropriate to look down upon Muslim subordination of women..

was that not clear? my response was to say that there is no mention of 'muslim subordination'...if you want to go on and do a little criticism because

   I "got it" from the suggestion of certain posters who think Muslim culture is criticized too much, whereas it is, in fact, criticized to little.

you think that there is not enough going around against muslims, feel free...but it's not relevant to your original comment which is not relevant to the article.
posted by m2bcubed at 2:46 PM on July 8, 2002


It's a Muslim thing... because He had LOTS of ammo;

hmmm.... that's sounds more like an American thing...
posted by y2karl at 2:50 PM on July 8, 2002


Y2karl: thanks for helping to bring Mefi down toward freshman year of college.

The point is that there are (5) factors which suggest the event is linked to terrorism, and terrorism of the kind which brought the World Trade Center. So, no, this is not evidence worth of a criminal trial, but yes, it suggests this is not a random shooting.

In any case, I have nothing but condolences for the woman described.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:58 PM on July 8, 2002


Well, for a fact, I never finished my sophomore year--does this mean I missed a meeting or something?
posted by y2karl at 3:28 PM on July 8, 2002


It's a Muslim thing... because He had LOTS of ammo
hmmm.... that's sounds more like an American thing...

sounds like a man thing... (we are generalising right?).
posted by m2bcubed at 3:34 PM on July 8, 2002


The Koran is very much against suicide. And the Old and New Testaments are against adultery.
posted by Postroad at 3:38 PM on July 8, 2002


The denial thing, which is admittedly a huge problem in the Muslim world, is a result of the insecurity that comes from economic and political powerlessness. Kind of like how nearly all inner-city African-Americans thought OJ was innocent. Is it that hard to understand?
posted by laz-e-boy at 3:43 PM on July 8, 2002


"I'm in a state of shock, I feel I'm having a nervous breakdown," she said in a voice choked with tears. "Pray for us please."

I'd be pretty senseless too if my world had just come apart and I was thousands of miles away and all I'd heard seemed like hearsay based on my own experience. It's just human nature. Paris, Dreamer, you're assholes. The media has already dropped this story and so have the American public, because, sadly, shootings happen in this country all the time, and this was a comparatively small one by that standard, and while it may have been a hate crime, it most certainly does not appear to have been some sort of conspiracy-enriched terror plot. So fuck off.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:20 PM on July 8, 2002


If you've ever known a woman and a mother who's just lost a husband she loved very much, no matter the circumstances, you probably know what I'm talking about.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:21 PM on July 8, 2002


No, its not that hard to understand. Sad, but simple logic: Living in most Arab states > Poverty > Insecurity > Denial. Unfortunately, the author of the post enjoys skipping the middle two steps.
posted by gsteff at 4:24 PM on July 8, 2002


why is it not logical that she just is in major denial, she just does not comprehend yet that there are other people involved in what happened, that there are other families. all she knows is that everything she's known is actually not what she knows.

I might believe that this was denial if she had said "I don't believe... I would never have thought that my husband could do such a thing... I spoke to him two hours before and he sounded so normal." If she were speaking with the kind of distance which is normally a part of denial, then maybe it wouldn't be so questionable.

But she's not out there in the airy unbelieving, shocked widow realm. Instead, she's making concrete statements -- he didn't do it, and not only is he innocent of any wrongdoing on his own, (despite dozens of witnesses, security video, photos by uninvolved bystanders and the dead body which say otherwise) he is a victim of a vast Zionist conspiracy involving two governments, countless agencies thereof, and who knows how many operatives it would take to pull something like this off (and yet no one ever leaked a word to the wrong person).

She's formulated scapegoats and made efforts to politicize her husband's act of terrorist murder. She's engaged in flights of all-too-typical apologetic fancy, reading from a script written long ago and parroted nicely by the likes of far too many before her. It's getting old. No one buys it anymore, and no one ought to.

And frankly, if my husband lost it and murdered people, leaving me and my children to pick up the pieces and try to continue to live with the consequences of his actions, the last thing on my mind would be the release of statements to the media. No matter how many times the phone rang, no matter how deep the throng of cameras and reporters outside my house, my focus would be on my family -- unless, of course, I had an agenda to flog.
posted by Dreama at 4:41 PM on July 8, 2002


And the Old and New Testaments are against adultery.

So where is your rage against "Christian promiscuity"?

Some Muslims aren't very good at following their own religion. Neither are some Christians. But to dismiss these religions as flawed by the actions of the few would be like me condemning all lawyers based on a shiftless minority--an unfair and over-simplified conclusion.

I'm not saying that the culture that allows and encourages the minority doesn't exist, I just think that generalizing this into a "Muslim" thing as opposed to a "radical Muslim extremist" thing hurts your argument.
posted by turaho at 4:49 PM on July 8, 2002


Postroad: didn't mean to make it sound like I was attacking you (since I lead with your quote)
posted by turaho at 4:52 PM on July 8, 2002


It's a Muslim thing because (1) he's Egyptian; (2) He shot people in an Israeli air terminal; (3) at least one of his victims was simply Jewish; (4) He had LOTS of ammo; (5) he did it on July 4th.

Dear ParisParamus,

I'm sure Muslims will be grateful for this clarification of the principles of their faith. Of course, there are Jews in this world whose beliefs and actions could regularly inspire an intemperate critic to produce a scathing list like yours, decrying the "Jewish thing" which was perpetrated... All of MetaFilter knows (1) that somehow people on the other side from you on MetaFilter don't actually descend into racist and religious slurs like "Jewish thing" (they are more likely to deplore the deafness of Jewish militants to the humane values of Judaism; or in your lexicon Likud=Jewish?); (2) if someone did spew vitriol of that kind, you would announce that it's tantamount to the Holocaust the same way you detect links "to terrorism, and terrorism of the kind which brought the World Trade Center" here; (3) your nose, so far from being able to detect dangerous religiously-inspired hatred among Jews, is completely numb while you regularly apologize for the most obvious kinds of irrational hate in the breasts of some Jews.

I would listen to you when you smell the stench of a "Muslim thing" like what happened in LAX (assuming you're right about everything you know diddly about), perhaps, if you could smell the foul odor of your own kneejerk hatred of Muslims.

Yours, Zurishaddai
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:31 PM on July 8, 2002


It's a Muslim thing because (1) he's Egyptian; (2) He shot people in an Israeli air terminal; (3) at least one of his victims was simply Jewish; (4) He had LOTS of ammo; (5) he did it on July 4th.


Ah, so those are the 5 pilars of islam. I was currious about that.
posted by delmoi at 6:41 PM on July 8, 2002


Kind of like how nearly all inner-city African-Americans thought OJ was innocent.

Please do not exclude stupidity in the face of obvious guilt by wiping it away with the "powerlessness" button. Civil rights activists in the '60s were powerless until they became masters of their own destiny (with the right leadership) without submitting to their "powerlessness". Its no excuse.
posted by owillis at 7:21 PM on July 8, 2002


Sarcasm is a wasted talent online, no matter the intent.

There is simply no way to convey an arched eyebrow or an upnote at the end of a statement in this medium.
posted by Dagobert at 7:23 PM on July 8, 2002


that's so true! ;)

anyway, as another example there are lots of arab countries where there are "zero homosexuals" i just attribute almost all of this crap to religionism, christians are known to say some clearly wrong things too with no backing because their faith requires it...

and no, i'm not saying everyone's version of [choose your favorite religion] requires [clearly untrue thing] to be believed. groups within one religion are different
posted by rhyax at 7:47 PM on July 8, 2002


Nicholas Kristof editorial (NYT) more eloquent than my rant.
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:20 PM on July 8, 2002


[Zurishaddai's NYT link]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:23 PM on July 8, 2002


Not all Arabs are included, anyone who suggests otherwise and raises the PC flag is a troll, but there seems to be a clear pattern of denial in the face of overwhelming evidence in a number of high-profile crimes featureing Arabs recently. Whats going on here? Its a valid question.
posted by stbalbach at 8:36 PM on July 8, 2002


I guess one could say that denial is bad, but at least they are not proud of it. The Palestinian suicide-bomber parents sometimes say they are surpised their son/daughter would do such a thing, but hardly ever deny they did it. I guess that is the difference between believing in a cause or not.
posted by chaz at 9:00 PM on July 8, 2002


all i can say is that it's a relief that somebody else is shooting people here for once. i'm sick and tired of hearing about how gun-happy and murderous americans are, it's nice that someone else is taking some of the heat. see? it's not just us, clearly egyptians shoot people too.
posted by hob at 9:08 PM on July 8, 2002


See, I don't know whats in the hearts and minds of the majority of Arabs or Moslems because those stereotypes are easy and wrong. When I see crap written about America or Americans or American society I wonder where these fuckknives are getting their information because it NEVER describes the people or country I know. I do know that our government and business practices are not representative of the regular people; while a bunch of special interest groups including religiosity promote themselves as 'American' I havn't seen a good fit yet and I bet it is the same with everyone else on the planet. Most people are victims of their own institutions.
posted by Mack Twain at 9:56 PM on July 8, 2002


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