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Casey Kasem

In his article "Arab Defamation in the Media," Casey Kasem lists well-known Arab Americans, "Like consumer advocate Ralph Nader; heart surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey. The founder of MADD -- Mothers Against Drunk Driving -- Candy Lightner. The football Heisman Trophy winner from Boston College, Doug Flutie; and the race-car winner of the Indy 500 in 9186, Bobby Rahal. Performers like pop stars Paula Abdul and Paul Anka, oractor and Oscar-winner for Amadesus, F. Murray Abraham. Actress Marlo Thomas and her father, Danny Thomas, comedian, humanitarian and founder of St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Authors like Khalil Gibran of The Prophet and William Peter Blatty who wrote The Exorcist. Political figures like Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu. And let's not forget the family of the courageous teacher and astronaut who died aboard the Challenger -- Christa McAuliffe.

"And what about that heritage, that heritage that goes back thousands of years?" asks Kasem. "Let me take a minute to tell you about it. The Arab civilization gave the world a religion, a language, an alphabet -- and advances in science and medicine that inspired great European thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci. In astronomy, they used astrolabes navigation, star maps and celestial globes, and the concept of the center of gravity. In geography, they pioneered the use of latitude and longitude. Arabs invented the water clock, and in music, the lute and the guitar.

"Their architecture inspired the Gothic style in Europe. And in agriculture, they introduced oranges, dates, sugar and cotton, and pioneered sophisticated water works and irrigation systems. Their contributions to medicine were especially outstanding. They developed the first teaching hospitals and traveling medical clinics. They performed the first cesarean section...They diagnosed stomach cancer, measles, smallpox, cholera and bubonic plague -- all of this 300 years before Louis Pasteur taught us to destroy harmful bacteria by pasteurization! And this wealth of knowledge and civilization pulled the Europeans out of the Dark Ages when the Arabs came into southern Europe, beginning a Golden Age in Span that lasted for centuries."

As an example of bias even in mainstream society, Kasem cites: "...the murder of Alex Odeh in 1985, caused by a pipe bomb planted in his office. He was an Arab American from Palestine, a poet and the local head of a branch of the ADC, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee." Kasem notes "the shocking murder of Leon Klinghoffer" received far greater attention. "But Alex Odeh was an American citizen, too, murdered here in America. Is it less a tragedy when an Arab is murdered than when anyone else is murdered?"

This article originally appeared in The Link, Room 241, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115, and was reprinted in the October 1992 issue of Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, a peace and justice periodical on the religious Left.

Editor and publisher Rose Evans writes: "Casey Kasem, disc jockey and radio personality of outstanding fame, has long used his position to make the world a kinder, juster, more joyful place. He has been arrested several times for his stands against nuclear weapons and against homelessness in America. As an American of Lebanese Druze parents, he is deeply concerned about anti-Arab prejudice."

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