Americans Unwilling to Accept Arabic Professionals
Sunday, July 24, 2005
(SNN Stamford) World Wrestling Entertainment has announced that it will no longer feature Muhammed Hassan on its “Smackdown!” program due to complaints about an episode that aired the day of the London Bombings.
During the episode, on UPN, five Hassan henchmen in ski masks and camouflage ran into the ring to beat up his rival, who had defeated Hassan's sidekick. The men then carried Hassan's sidekick over their heads, which to some evoked a martyr's funeral. Hassan is still scheduled to appear in a pay per view event this weekend, but beyond that, his future is unknown, and he will be taking a leave of absence from “Smackdown!”
Hassan is a Detroit native who believes that he is treated differently after the September 11th attacks. "The whole point of the story line and this character was to point out the injustices Arab-Americans have suffered since 9-11," Davis said. And he honestly thought the best way to do this was to recruit a group of henchmen in ski masks and camouflage.
Some people drew the conclusion these people were terrorists even though they were not terrorists.
A WWE spokesman said that just because an Arabic man walks around with a group of camouflaged thugs in ski masks, it is unfairly assumed that he is a terrorist. "This was an unfortunate sequence of events," he said. "Some people drew the conclusion these people were terrorists even though they were not terrorists."
This parallels a similar story of the man who was WWF world champion from December of 1983 to January of 1984, the Iron Sheik. Just a few years removed from the Iranian hostages being released, Americans were not ready for an Iranian Heavyweight champion. Iron Sheik also put off wrestling fans because he brought a picture of Ayatollah Homeni to the ring with him out of pride for his homeland. Iron Sheik was defeated by Hulk Hogan and was never truly accepted by American fans. Now, no longer able to enjoy the freedoms of the American way of life, the Iron Sheik is forced to wrestle in Canada.