Hagerstown is ready for Hookahs?

O.K., what’s going on here?   You can’t smoke in restaurants and bars in Maryland unless you are an immigrant from the Middle East I guess and you use a cool nifty multicultural pipe instead of dirty old American cigarettes.  Yesterday’s Herald-Mail has a story lots of people in Hagerstown, MD are smoking over!   It seems that one, Ham Abu-Zayyad, has plans to open a Hookah Cafe in downtown Hagerstown.  And, he says that “Hagerstown is going in the right direction.”— not according to all the calls I’ve gotten on it.  He says he envisions Hagerstown as the next Frederick (MD).   That last is the ultimate slur!

Hookah cafes are increasingly popular in the United States as places where mostly Middle Eastern and Turkish men go to smoke a communal pipe and talk politics, according to several articles I’ve just read about the unhealthy practice.   You can go here and learn about the history of hookah smoking and how it was intially a method for smoking opium.

You can go here and learn about health hazards associated with the practice:

The social aspect of hookahs also puts smokers at risk for diseases such as tuberculosis and viruses such as hepatitis and herpes. Shared mouthpieces and the heated, moist smoke may enhance the spread of such diseases.

These diseases are already on a dramatic upward trend anyway due to the haphazard and often non-existent health screening of immigrants entering the US.

And, you can go to the Mayo Clinic warning here and read about the myths surrounding hookah smoking.  

What concerns me is how did Abu-Zayyed get the notion that there were going to be enough people to patronize such an establishment here? Is he hoping for more Turkish Russian refugees who are by several accounts such heavy smokers they couldn’t get through their English language lessons without leaving the class frequently for a smoke.

And, I’ll be waiting for an outcry from all the anti-smoking folks, or is this somehow outside the bounds of criticism because of our national reverence for multiculturalism.

Iran, flexing muscles within our gates

In our zeal to bring the world to America, we not only bring the interesting aspects of the world’s many cultures we bring the dark side of the culture as well,  [I guess that is the ‘multi’ part of multiculturalism].  One of America’s greatest strengths is our freedom of speech and most of the world has little experience with that brilliant and beautiful concept.  Silencing us is one of the primary strategies being employed daily by Islamic organizations gaining increasing power in the US. 

Just this week the National Iranian American Council  (NIAC) objected to a cartoon in the Columbus Dispatch depicting Iran as a sewer with cockroaches crawling out into the surrounding countries.   So what!   Is NIAC making the illogical leap that by suggesting that depicting the Ahmadinijad regime in an unfavorable way, in a political cartoon no less, the Dispatch is racist?  And thereby is propagating hate against Iranian Americans?  Whah?  Yes, that is exactly what they are doing (they must be using the Democratic party play book—ten easy steps to victimhood).    Here is what NIAC says about the Dispatch:

By publishing this racist cartoon, the editors of the Dispatch have insulted and propagated hate against the Iranian American community.

NIAC Board member Dokhi Fassihian sent a letter to the Editors of the Dispatch protesting their action. She wrote: “The bigotry demonstrated by the publication of this cartoon not only betrays the mission to inform your readers, it endangers our country at an extremely sensitive time in our nation’s history by serving to further divide us at home and thrust us toward further conflict abroad.”

According to statistics compiled by Center for Immigration Studies,  we have allowed 331,000 Iranian immigrants to come to American through 2005.   The latest available statistics on refugees (Appendix A) from Iran put the number of refugees through 2005 at 63,979.  That number places Iran in the top three Muslim countries sending refugees to America.  What are we thinking?

For more on NIAC, go to Center for Vigilant Freedom here.