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2006 June 18 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Abu Who?

First you need to understand the meaning of abu, which can be “the father of” [appropriate for Father’s Day] or “the guy with” depending on what follows.

For example, Abu Hamza could mean “Leo’s Dad” or “the guy who has a lion” or “the guy with the virtues of a lion”. Abu Ayyub could mean “Job’s Dad” or “the guy with the patience of Job”.

There might be a lot of kids named Leo, but I suspect that the popularity of Abu Hamza among thugs in the Islamic world is an attempt to paint themselves as tough. In the West we name people “the Lion-Hearted”, “Coeur de Lion”, or “Corleone”

When the US identifies the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, they are using kuniyat, nicknames. The guy is either “a lion-hearted migrant” [Abu Hamza al Muhajir] or “a patient Egyptian” [Abu Ayyub al Masri].

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June 18, 2006   4 Comments