As long as young Americans of Arab extraction have to come home to communities like this, and C.A.I.R. is little more than a swarthy German-American Bund, the larger Arab immigrant community in the U.S. will be rightly looked at with suspicion.
Few people ever see Ismile Althaibani's Purple Heart. He keeps the medal tucked away in a dresser. His Marine uniform is stored in a closet. His hair is no longer shaved to the scalp.The Arab community in Brooklyn should be ashamed of themselves with the lack of honor and respect they are showing their sons – because great Americans likek Ismile Althaibani, Ace Montaser, Abe Althaibani, Abuldasset Montaser, and Khalil Almonaster have brought great honor to themselves through their service to a grateful nation.
It has been 20 months since he returned from Iraq after a roadside explosion shattered his left foot. He never expected a hero's welcome, and it never came - none of the balloons or hand- written signs that greeted another man from his unit who lived blocks away.
He learned not to talk about his service in the company of Muslim neighbors and relatives in the borough.
"I try not to let people know I'm in the military," said Althaibani, a lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve.
Ismile's cousin Ace Montaser sensed a new distance among the men at his mosque on State Street. He described it as "the awkward eye."
Ismile's older brother Abe, a burly New York City police officer, learned to avoid political debates.
...many immigrants say that killing Muslims is simply wrong, and they cite the Koran as proof. Their opposition to the war is rooted as much in religion, they say, as in Arab solidarity.
The same week that Abe Althaibani headed to Iraq with the 25th Marine Regiment, his wife joined thousands of anti-war protesters in New York, shouting, "No blood for oil!"Notice the “my people.” She does not consider herself an American. How would early Anglo-America ever have fought the War of 1812 with the likes of her?
"It was my people," said his wife, Esmihan Althaibani. "I went because it was Arabs."
Althaibani almost never tells the story of his wound. Few of his relatives know what happened. When he was awarded the Purple Heart at a ceremony at Floyd Bennett Field, in Brooklyn, he invited only his brother Abe and a couple of friends.Make sure to read the whole thing (sorry you have to go to the NYT for it) so you get to where Ace talks about his “marriage” story. I like Ace. Ace is going to do just fine. He also found out a truth that is as good as gold,
His mother does not know the name of his medal, which is given to service members wounded or killed as a result of enemy action.
"You can't say 'Purple Heart' in Arabic," Althaibani said.
"Iraq is wrong - 100 percent," his father said, speaking in English. "Nobody support the war in Iraq."
Ismile looked away. He had never asked his father what he thought of the war.
”What he realized is the Marine Corps is his other family.”
“I don’t care what I left behind (in Yemen),” he said. “There is nothing for me there. Everything’s in America.”
One small note of interest. The NYT bit mentions the welcome home party that the cousins didn't get as being from a Puerto Rican family. The IHT strips out the ethnic identification. Why? I know why. Do you?