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Daily Kos Defends Hizballah Supporters

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An extended defense of Dearborn Arab-Americans who support the terrorist group Hizballah, by a Daily Kos front page writer: Daily Kos: McCain, Hezbollah, Arab-Americans and Bigots.

As Tapper points out, Jawad has said things about Hezbollah that make it sound less sinister than one would think a group would be to make the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.  Well, he’s not the only person in the area to not condemn Hezbollah; the range of attitudes of Lebanese in Dearborn is probably centered somewhere between ambivalent to fairly supportive.  Many of the Dearborn Lebanese come from a handful of villages in Southern Lebanon, within a few miles of the Israeli border.  Thus, they come from the heartland of Hezbollah.  Their home villages were used by the PLO to stage raids in Israel during the early 1970’s—there is often animosity between Lebanese Shiites and Palestinians, for many Lebanese blame Palestinians for destabilizing Lebanon—the area was occupied by Israel for many years, and it was only after years of fierce attacks by Hezbollah that Israel abandoned Southern Lebanon.  In the eyes of many Lebanese, Hezbollah liberated their home villages from Israeli occuption.  

Hezbollah is now the de facto government of Southern Lebanon, and provides social services as well fights Israel.  Many people in Dearborn have family ties to major players in Lebanese Shiite politics.  And Lebanese in Dearborn view Hezbollah with much the same mix of distrust mixed with nationalist pride and identity that Catholic residents or former residents of IRA-controlled neighborhoods in Belfast or Derry view the IRA.  Most Lebanese in Dearborn came here to escape war, but that doesn’t mean they don’t identify with one faction more than the others.  In Dearborn, many identify  with Hezbollah.

But whatever their views about their home country, most Arabs in Southeast Michigan view themselves as Arab-Americans, and that’s how they’re viewed by most of their non-Arab neighbors. In the Middle East, most would be viewed hostilely by the Sunni terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, because most Arabs around Detroit are Shiite or Christian. They moved to the US to escape problems back home, and have settled in. They often hate the foreign policy of their adopted country, but they love being Americans. And in Michigan, they are political players.

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