True Story

Freedom of Religion
Guaranteed by the First Amendment


By Wendy Ghannam

Philosophers say that time heals all wounds sooner or later, but in Washington, DC there is a dedicated, patriotic former US federal civil servant who holds in her bosom the knowledge of the many faceted layers of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab discrimination which have been ongoing long before September 11, 2001 ever transpired. My story has been earmarked since 1996, however, this story has yet to end in a judicious mode for myself and my family, who share my travails daily.

I am an American-born woman originally from New York State and of WASP heritage, formerly worked at USAID (otherwise known as the US Agency for International Development) in Washington DC from 1988 until 1996. My honest hard work and dedication earned rewards and outstanding certificates throughout my tenure there, until the agency discovered that my spouse is a Palestinian Arab, who also happens to be Muslim. In 1994, I was ruthlessly confronted with the agency's Inspector General and his security staff and forced to detail in great depth certain intimate factors surrounding my daily life, as well as my married life with my husband. I was told confidentially that the agency was in the "catbird seat" to rid itself of employees who held pro-Palestinian views and who, likewise, held any pro-Palestinian belief mechanisms to be considered unpatriotic and to be immediately eradicated from the agency's roles as soon as possible!

Since my removal from the agency, in 1996, I have been operating a one-woman show of force to prove that USAID has been at the forefront of discriminating against its employees who are affiliated with the Arab/Muslim world in any manner whatsoever. I know that certain organizations dealing in contract work with USAID overseas in the Middle East, especially Palestine, have been treated in the same discriminatory capacity as well.

In April, 200l a US federal judge allowed me all of my ethnicity discrimination claims and allegations, but held that the USAID's Inspector General could NOT be litigated in a federal court of law, because he is a protected federal official. Today, he is the Inspector General at the US Treasury Dept. To date, I have been locked into another Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC-Washington DC) grievance matter, which has tied me considerably proving other types of discrimination ongoing within the corridors at USAID. Most definitely, when I am able to reclassify my second discrimination case -- which this story earmarks, I will be considered the first woman to suffer at the hands of the US federal government, because it refused to allow me the chance to fulfill my own "American Dream". Are you listening, President Bush?

In hindsight, I maintain that high-echelon federal officials inside the US Government emphatically told me that all Arabs and Muslims would be placed under close scrutiny in this country, and that pro-Zionist elements were admittedly the focal point behind the soon-to-be operation.

I know that the US Government fully intends to investigate all mosques and Islamic charities in America, because there is so much presumed paranoid fear for terrorism to occur. Remember, I knew all of this strategy and was made a scapegoat because of it since 1994!!

Wendy Ghannam lives in Virginia. She is married to a Palestinian and has two children from that marriage.


TRUE DEMOCRACY     Winter 2002     Copyright © 2002 by News Sourse, Inc.