Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Miss USA is a Terrorist!

You may remember Debbie Schlussel as the one who blew the whistle on Sean Hannity and those “freedom concerts” he hosts. I said at the time that I was only taking the charge seriously after looking at the 990s myself because, quite frankly, if Schlussel told me the sky was blue I’d do a double check to make sure. She is a wingnut’s wingnut who makes Ann Coulter seem downright reasonable by comparison.

Here’s a perfect example of her lunacy. The new Miss USA, Rima Fakih, is from Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest Arab population in the world outside the middle east. Fakih is of Lebanese descent and her family is nominally Muslim (obviously so; a fundamentalist Muslim would not be in a swimsuit competition or doing pole dancing, for crying out loud).

But Schlussel’s primary schtick is claiming that anyone of Arabic descent in the entire world is a terrorist. And so she has declared Fakih to be a supporter of Hezbollah.

Rima Fakih, Miss Michigan USA, who will compete in Sunday Night’s pageant broadcast on NBC, is a Dearbornistan Shi’ite Muslim who is a supporter of Hezbollah and used the pageant name at a forum promoting Islamic subjugation of women. She was born in the Hezbollah stronghold of Srifa in South Lebanon, which Israel was forced to attack in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war because it was a site of Hezbollah weaponry. Her devout Muslim family comes from the Hezbollah-controlled South Lebanon. Intelligence sources confirm that at least three of Fakih’s relatives are currently top officials in Hezbollah and that at least eight Fakih family members were Hezbollah terrorists killed by the Israelis in past Israel-Lebanese wars and interventions. Some of her family members were originally in Harakat Amal [the Shi’ite Amal militia], which is now essentially a part of Hezbollah. There’s a reason that even Al-Manar TV-Hezbollah’s official TV network-is high on Fakih in the Miss USA pageant.

Riiight. Because radical Islamic terrorists who want women kept bundled up like beekeepers are all about the evening gown and swimsuit competition. By “intelligence sources” Schlussel, of course, means the voices in her head. And it turns out that all of this is bullshit.

“All these accusations about her relationship to Hezbollah are nonsense,” Fakih’s 80-year-old uncle, Ahmad Said, told me when I visited him at his family’s home in Souk el-Gharb, the Christian village in Mount Lebanon where Fakih spent the first seven years of her life before moving with her family to the United States. He was holding a copy of the local newspaper, which carried an article describing the American allegations of Fakih’s radical roots. “Everyone in the family, not only Rima, celebrates both Christian and Muslim holidays,” he continued.

Fakih’s extended family is not exactly the Islamist terrorist cell of the right-wing pundits’ imaginations: For one thing, their house is distinguished from the neighbors’ by a big U.S. flag hung from its balcony, surrounded by ribbons and flowers. In the entrance, a Quran and a Bible are placed next to each other on a stand; “There are many mixed marriages in the family, so you cannot really call us a Muslim family,” Fakih’s 62-year-old aunt, Afifa Fakih — the only woman in the household wearing a veil — explained. “We love America,” she added. “Without the USA, Rima wouldn’t have fulfilled her dreams. She made us all proud, and for that, we thank the Americans.”

So rest easy, America. Miss USA will not be hijacking any airplanes during her reign as the winner of some ridiculous competition no one should give a shit about.