Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Civl Rights Luncheon

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Civl Rights Luncheon

Article excerpt

You could tell upon entering the banquet room at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott Hotel on June 7 that this wasn't your average luncheon. To begin with, there were Arabs everywhere, chatting away, happily munching on pita bread and hummus. Then Bob Dole walked in, followed by Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel and the leaders of the ADC.

As the applause died down, ADC Board of Directors Chairman Ahmad Sbaiti approached the microphone and welcomed the mostly Arab-American audience to what would turn out to be a very strange lunch indeed.

To begin with, 9/11 was at the top of the agenda. Sbaiti condemned the attacks, saying "our hearts go out to the victims' families." He made no mention of the backlash directed against Arab Americans post-9/11-an upsetting lapse, considering his audience, which included prominent targets of antiArab discrimination the likes of Florida Prof. Sami Al-Arian.

Restating his commitment to helping the victims' families, Sbaiti proudly held up a check for $90,000 to be presented to Mr. Dole, who, along with former President Bill Clinton, heads a scholarship fund for children of 911 victims. …

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