Press


For many election cycles, the Arab American Caucus of the California Democratic Party gathered in small conference rooms at party conventions, listened to speeches, made a few endorsements and went home. This year, something different happened. "The room was packed," said Rashad Al-Dabbagh of Anaheim, who attended the state party convention in April as a member of the Arab caucus.
Rashad Al-Dabbagh Faithful readers will remember Al-Dabbagh as one of the people trying to get Anaheim to designate an official Little Arabia district instead of the de facto one that exists. And while we're still not too happy with him being a big fan of Anaheim councilmember Jordan Brandman, we forgive him for being on top of all the shit in the Middle East. He's running in the 65th Assembly District.
In his website, Happy Arab News Service, community activist Rashad Al-Dabbagh writes a post titled 6 Reasons To Boycott OC's Arab Festival. The festival runs from Friday, September 28 to Sunday, September 30, and the protest is planned for Saturday evening. 
Rashad Al-Dabbagh of the Syrian American Council said politicians showing support for Palestinians - whether by fully backing a two-state solution or just toning down pro-Israel rhetoric - will capture the support of their community.  “Even if it’s small, it will make a difference on the Arab side,” Al-Dabbagh said. Capitalizing on concentrations in strategic states might be the Arab-American community’s best chance at gaining political clout.
The following interview was conducted by Foreign Policy Blog’s Rob Lattin with the Syrian American Council’s (SAC) Communications Director Rashad Al-Dabbagh.
Rep. Darrel Issa among those who received donations from Dr. Hazem Chehabi. "Dr. Hazem Chehabi represents the Assad regime," said Rashad al-Dabbagh, the communications director for the Syrian American Council. Chehabi has admitted a childhood friendship with current Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad. The United Nations claims Assad is murdering his people to retain control.
People have been calling for Chehabi’s removal for a little over a year. Thursday night, the Associated Students organization on UC Irvine's campus voted on a resolution regarding Chehabi's ousting — and according to Rashad Al-Dabbagh, communications director for the Syrian-American Council, that resolution has passed.
Majd Jadaan, the sister-in-law of al-Assad's brother, Maher al-Assad, left the country before the uprising began March 15, said Rashad Al-Dabbagh, communication director of the Syrian American Council (SAC).
"It should be viewed as a positive thing for Anaheim, not 'Arabization' or 'Islamization,'" says Al-Dabbagh, communications director for the Syrian American Council. "In fact, we're more interested in bringing non-Arabs to these restaurants. There are a lot of reasons why people visit Anaheim. They come for an Angels game, to watch a hockey game or to go to Disneyland. The idea is when someone is coming to Anaheim to watch an Angels game, let's have them stop by Little Arabia and have lunch."
KPCC staff videographer Grant Slater caught up with blogger Rashad Al-Dabbagh of the Happy Arab News Service yesterday in Anaheim’s Little Arabia, where Al-Dabbagh was at a restaurant when he first heard news of Osama bin Laden’s death in Pakistan. Now, he said, “with the death of Osama bin Laden, the person who symbolized terror, we should move forward.”
We spoke with Rashad Al Dabbagh, who is an Arab-American who lives in Orange County, for some context. He spoke with us about the role of sectarianism in the debates.
Rashad Al-Dabbagh, a NAAP board member, said the 68th Assembly District has a large Arab American community, one that comes out to vote. "We're just providing both candidates a forum to explain what their agenda is, why they should be elected, and we want to make sure that the Arab American community's concerns are met and their questions are answered," Al-Dabbagh said.
The old blog post has fueled a campaign by Arab American activists and Nguyen supporters against the "self-hating Mansoor." In one e-mail about Nguyen's fundraiser, community activist Rashad al-Dabbagh urged people to "defeat racist Allan Mansoor!!!"
"It's offensive that he's denying his own heritage," al-Dabbagh said. "If Barack Obama said I'm white because my mom is white, what would the African American community do, would they be offended by that?"
Rashad Al-Dabbagh, a community leader and U.S. Census worker from Anaheim who was born in Saudi Arabia, said the news feeds on social-media sites he checks have lit up with enthusiastic posts. "Every time I log onto Facebook and Twitter, the entire news feed is about it," he said. "People congratulating each other over text messages. Everyone is excited that America is talking about an Arab – and it has nothing to do with war or terrorism."
The census is making a big push this year to count Arab-Americans. In California, it hired Rashad Al-Dabbagh to get the word out.
Newsweek's Web site ran a homepage story on the campaign and a segment ran on National Public Radio. "This was the whole point of the campaign, to get the word out," said Rashad Al-Dabbagh, a committee member from Anaheim and a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau. "We don't want this work to stop here; we want it to be heard across the nation."
"Estimates are that there are more than three times as many Arabs in America as was estimated by the 2000 census," said Rashad Al-Dabbagh, a U.S. Census Bureau partnership specialist from Anaheim.
"These are places that I frequent and I've been talking to the owners about what we could do to help the civilians of that area," said organizer Rashad al-Dabbagh, 27, of Anaheim. "We decided to try and not make it political and focus on whatever we could do to help the civilian population," said al-Dabbagh, who is the son of a Palestinian father and Armenian mother and regional director of California Young Democrats.