On the night of June 29, two months after he was drafted by the Jets, Oday Aboushi stood before more than 700 people at the El Bireh Society convention in Arlington, Va., and discussed his journey to the N.F.L.
Aboushi shared what it was like growing up in Brooklyn and Staten Island as one of 10 children. He spoke about graduating from the University of Virginia in three and a half years. He discussed his 2009 visit to refugee camps in the West Bank, how that trip inspired him even more to succeed and to represent his community.
“It was the classic American success story,” said Sarab Al-Jijakli, the president of the Network of Arab-American Professionals, who was in the audience that night.
Aboushi’s appearance at the convention, a three-day gathering of Palestinian-Americans that was described by another attendee as a “cultural networking event,” produced an outcry from some online who charged Aboushi with being a Muslim extremist. An article on the Web site FrontPage Mag suggested that he had terrorist ties. A column on Yahoo Sports, since removed, said he held anti-Semitic views. An employee of MLB.com on Twitter compared Aboushi to Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end charged with murder, before later apologizing.
Waves of support for Aboushi started rolling in on Thursday, and on Friday, the Anti-Defamation League released a statement condemning the attacks on his character and applauding him for taking pride in his culture. The Jets also backed Aboushi, an offensive lineman they selected in the fifth round.
In a statement, Aboushi said he was upset that his reputation had been tarnished by people who did not know him, but that he was proud of his Palestinian heritage and to have been born and raised in the United States.
NEW YORK — A New York City newspaper says it received an anonymous call from a person claiming to have discarded spoiled bacon in a park where Muslims had scheduled Ramadan prayers.
The caller said he was putting it out for seagulls and raccoons to eat, not as an anti-Muslim statement.
The Staten Island Advance (http://bit.ly/O3kqjw ) said the message was left Tuesday on a reporter’s voicemail.
The caller said “It was not any … anti-Muslim act, and I did not want to offend anybody.”
The NYPD is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. It was informed of the call but declined to discuss it.
By SUMATHI REDDY
The trustees of Saint Margaret Mary parish on Staten Island have voted against the controversial sale of a convent to the Muslim American Society. Father Keith Fennessy, pastor of the Midland Beach church, had agreed to the deal but after intense community opposition he stepped down as head of the church and later withdrew his support of the sale. Before reversing course, Mr. Fennessy had said he stepped down partially because of the local uproar over the convent’s anticipated sale, saying the opposition was not “totally rational.”
By Benjamin Soloway
After agreeing to sell a Staten Island convent to a Muslim group that intends to use it as a mosque, Rev. Keith Fennessy is attempting to rescind the deal in the face of community objections. The Staten Island controversy is especially notable in the wake of objections to the $100 million mosque and Islamic cultural center planned just a few blocks from Ground Zero.
In what may be the first recorded instance of a Muslim wife attempting to murder her husband for not being pious enough, a Staten Island woman was charged this week with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Rabia Sarwar, a 37-year-old Muslim, said she did it because her husband, a 41-year-old Pakistani native, enjoyed booze and pork and wanted her to dress in revealing clothes. (She held fabric over her face and threw a shawl over her head before leaving court on Thursday.) “He made me do so many things that are against Islam,” she said in a police statement. “I did all that just to make him happy, but inside of me there was a war.”
“This is not a reverse honor-killing — it’s martyrdom,” says Islamic apostate and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself the target of death threats.
“The kind of American Muslim you’re seeing now is changing — not because America is changing, but because the world is. Someone from Pakistan is coming here not for freedom, but to escape a horrible situation. [Once here], they are being radicalized,” she says.
“The vast majority of honor killings do appear to be cases where there is some attempt to violate or leave [Muslim] cultural norms,” says David Bryan Cook, associate professor of religious studies at Rice University. “They’ve been going on in the US and Britain for a number of years, but in the recent past they’ve gotten a lot more publicity.”
Some believe that the sheer vastness of the US has kept such incidents largely off the radar. “We’ve not been seeing it yet because our country’s so big,” says Amil Imani, who was born in Iran but raised in the US, and is the founder of Former Muslims United.