We Owe a Debt of Gratitude to Pete McCloskey
By Hazem Kira
CA


"[Pete McCloskey is] the best thing that could happen for the district, the state, the nation and possibly the Republican Party" – Los Angeles Times (1/25/06)
It is important for American Muslims, especially the youth, to know the history of their community including the substantial contributions of their friends like Paul Findley, Paul “Pete” McCloskey, Ramsey Clark, Richard Curtiss, Tom Campbell, and David Bonior. This article details two main points: Who is McCloskey and why we need to support him. And how each of us can pitch in and help Mr. McCloskey.
Who is Paul (“Pete”) McCloskey and why we need to support him?
Mr. McCloskey was elected to the House of Representatives in a special election in 1967 and was re-elected seven times representing the San Francisco Peninsula area. He initiated the effort to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1969, and made the first House speech suggesting the impeachment of Richard Nixon for obstruction of justice in June 1973.
Thirty-five years ago, the then-congressmen Paul Findley and Paul McCloskey were the only two nationally known figures expending time and energy to inspire, empower, educate, organize and mobilize the American Arabs and American Muslims. Their exceedingly helpful role in the creation and development of almost all major Arab and Muslim political organizations remains buried in the unwritten history of our community.
Mr. McCloskey provided civic education and leadership training to a whole generation of immigrant activists. At one stage, he debated the militant Zionist Rabbi Meir Kahane in San Francisco rebuking him for his racist views of Arabs.
It was Mr. McCloskey, who along with his wife, had set up a distribution company to break the implicit censorship of Mr. Findley’s book They Dare to Speak Out by major mainstream bookstores who has refused to carry that book. That implicit censorship was ultimately defeated and, as we all know, the book became a national bestseller.
Mr. McCloskey has not only consistently spoken in favor of a fair and evenhanded US Middle East policy; he has empowered many other elected officials to do the same.
Today, when Howard Dean, the so-called “liberal” Chair of the Democratic Party, is celebrating the denial of port management rights to an Arab country as a major victory in the war against terror, Pete McCloskey, refusing to be swept away by the wave of popular prejudice, has publicly disapproved of Howard Dean’s intolerant views and Islamophobic statements.
Once again, he is running for Congress again from California 11 District. Why? To raise a voice of reason against the war and the USA PATRIOT ACT.
A McCloskey Support Committee chaired by Dr. Ali Zaki and co-chaired by Mr. Tashie Zaheer has been set up in the Bay Area. The committee members can be contacted at (510) 750 – 3297.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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