April 8, 2008, - 2:06 pm
Michael Monsoor: Un-Hyphenated (Arab) American Hero; Americans Who Don’t Want to Be Known as Arabs: My Apology to Mayor Allan Mansoor
By Debbie Schlussel
I debated how I should write the story of American hero and patriot Michael Anthony Monsoor, the third Iraq war veteran to receive the Medal of Honor.
A couple of years ago, on this site, I praised one of my heroes, Mayor Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa, California (and I’ve written about him several times since). A strong advocate of secure borders, Mayor Mansoor was one of the first local officeholders to take control of the illegal alien cancer that ICE has let fester. Because I know that the surname, Mansoor (also spelled in other assorted, transliterated ways), is a common Arab (and, sometimes, Sephardic Jewish) last name, I praised him as an Arab American we can all be proud of (it turns out his father was an Egyptian Coptic Christian, his mother of Scandinavian descent). But Mayor Mansoor doesn’t like being known as an Arab.
On the contrary, like many of my Christian friends of Arabic descent, he doesn’t identify with it, because he, rightfully, sees himself as an unhyphenated, patriotic American who does not want to be lumped in with Muslims, as some local media have tried to do to him, comparing him with two extremist Muslims from Syria and Lebanon:
One’s geographic origin should not be used to describe someone when you are discussing their actions. If you do that, then you need to do it equally for everyone or you are being divisive. Describing me as an “Arab-American” has no bearing on what views I hold or why I am running for re-election. If you make these distinctions for one, then make them for all. Please don’t lump me into some group out of laziness or political correctness.
My father, though born in Egypt and with an Arabic name, was greatly influenced by European culture. Many business contacts were European and he attended a French Catholic school where he was taught in French. He was also raised as a Christian in a Coptic Church as opposed to a Muslim. My mother is from Finland and when I was raised my mother took me and my brothers to a Lutheran church. Actually my mother is from the Aland Islands which are in the Gulf of Bothnia. Swedish is the culture but the islands are a province of Finland. I was born in California and one could also argue that since my mother was a stay at home mom, Swedish culture was more prevalent in our home than Middle Eastern culture. . . .
I am proud of my parents and my heritage, but I am an American . . . without a hyphen.
Read the whole thing.
It’s something that conflicts me, too. On the one hand, I want people to know that there are plenty of Arabs in America, whom I like (it’s the Muslims I have a problem with, not the ethnicity that includes many Christians who love America). (My first boss as an attorney, Larry Mansour Hansen, was the nicest, greatest boss I ever had. But, while he was proud of his Syrian/Lebanese heritage, he was prouder to be a Christian and an American.)
On the other hand, I decry places like the deceptively-named Arab American National Museum in Dearbornistan, which is the project of extremist Muslims who usurp the identity of prominent Christian Arabs, like former NFLer Doug Flutie and the late (pro-Israel) lawyer Edward Masry (of “Erin Brockovich” fame), to trick us into believing that they–Arab Muslims–are just like these proud Americans (they aren’t).
So, I apologize to Mayor Allan Mansoor, of whom we should all be proud regardless of his ancestry, for bringing up an aspect of his heritage with which he does not identify and which is used by others to discredit him.
But in the same vein, I think it’s important to use Mayor Mansoor’s courage and the bravery of another non-hyphenated American, Michael Anthony Monsoor, to point out that this is what we want for America–those who absorb into American culture and love America, rather than imposing Middle Eastern mores on America, as Muslims and Muslim Arabs are trying to do, today.
Michael Anthony Monsoor, a Christian of Arabic descent who also really didn’t identify as an Arab, made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq to save his fellow Americans. He yelled, “Grenade!” and threw himself on the explosive device during a firefight in Ramadi, Iraq, on September 29, 2006. He gave his life so that his fellow soldiers would live. And that’s why, today, this courageous Navy SEAL’s family was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Bush.
Mayor Allan Mansoor writes about Michael Monsoor:
Interestingly, I did not see Michael Monsoor of Garden Grove, the recently killed Navy Seal, referred to as an Arab-American. I would add that it was good that he was not referred to in this manner because he was fighting as an American soldier.
More about Michael Anthony Monsoor:
When a grenade hit his body and landed near his feet on a rooftop in Ramadi, Iraq, Navy SEAL Michael Anthony Monsoor could have escaped in time.
Monsoor, a Coronado-based sailor, stood close to an exit. He could have ducked out quickly, unlike the three American snipers and several Iraqi soldiers on the roof with him. He was scheduled to return to the United States in a week or two.
But in a move that doesn’t surprise people who knew him, Monsoor yelled “Grenade!” and jumped on the explosive. He died within a half-hour of suffering extensive injuries. His sacrifice saved the other service members that day – Sept. 29, 2006.
For his heroism, Monsoor today will become the third Iraq war recipient of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest distinction for combat valor. He also will be the first member of the Navy to receive the honor during the Iraq war. . . .
Monsoor joined the Navy in 2001, continuing a family tradition of military service. His father and brother James were Marines, and his grandfather George was in the Navy.
He decided to strive for a spot with the SEALs ‚Äì elite fighters known for their physical prowess, endurance and versatility. He withdrew during his first tryout after breaking a heel.
When he tried again in 2004, he graduated near the top of his class. He was a petty officer second class when he died at age 25.
“I truly thought he was the toughest member of my platoon,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Seth Stone, his platoon commander in Iraq.
As a machine gunner and radio operator in Ramadi, Monsoor had to haul gear weighing more than 100 pounds in the searing desert heat of Anbar province. . . .
Monsoor distinguished himself almost immediately upon arriving in Iraq as part of SEAL Team Three in April 2006.
On May 9 of that year, he dragged a wounded SEAL to safety while being exposed to enemy fire. Monsoor earned a Silver Star, the third highest honor for combat bravery, for that rescue.
He also received a Bronze Star for helping to safeguard fellow troops on 11 occasions by risking death from enemy fire to unleash his own suppressive fire, according to a Navy citation. . . .
Monsoor’s ultimate sacrifice occurred shortly after a firefight in Ramadi, then considered the hotbed of Iraq’s Sunni insurgency. His SEAL unit had engaged in fierce battles over the past six months, killing dozens of insurgents and capturing many others.
Acting as a machine gunner, Monsoor went up to the rooftop of a building to provide cover for troops erecting barricades on the street below. His goal was to help restrict the movement of insurgents in the area.
Monsoor positioned himself between two SEAL snipers. From an unseen location, an insurgent tossed a grenade onto the roof. It struck Monsoor in the chest and bounced onto the deck.
“Without hesitation and showing no regard for his own life, he threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity,” the Navy said in a citation. “The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him.”
While the Muslim Arabs who run the Arab American National Museum are nothing like the assimilated, proud American families of Mayor Mansoor and American Hero Michael Anthony Monsoor, I’m sure we will see plenty of usurping of Michael Monsoor’s irrelevant heritage to tell us that they–Muslim Arabs–are just like us. That’s despite the fact that, were they in the “old country” today, they’d be imposing Shariah upon and persecuting Christians like Monsoor (and Mayor Mansoor).
But Michael Anthony Monsoor bears no similarity–in his limitless patriotism–to the people on Michigan Avenue and Schaeffer and Warren in Dearbornistan.
Michael Anthony Monsoor, Rest in Peace. This non-hyphenated American did his country proud.
Read the U.S. Navy Tribute and Biography of Michael Anthony Monsoor.
**** UPDATE: My 2005 entry on Edward Masry makes a similar point to Mayor Allan Mansoor’s:
“My father was a Christian from Syria who came to the United States in 1912 because of repression in his native country,” Masry once told a Jewish newspaper. “He was one of the first to give money to Israel in 1948. His sympathies were pro-Zionist, not pro-Arab.”
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