Allah with a 'B'

Do people have trouble remembering your name?

Sometimes swapping out a 'z' for an 's' for example? An American icon in the entertainment industry has it and so could you. (Don't you just love Liza Minnelli? I do. Did you ever see her mom, Judy Garland, in the original "A Star is Born"? Simply incredible.)

How about the spelling?

I get it ALL the time. Mail arriving with a 'k' inserted where the 'c' should be. That's human error for you.

Now, if I were an elected official and my name were misspelled on a press release from the representative a union criticizing my actions... that might give me pause.

It did for a reader, who is a Muslim. So she told me in an email today; it was her response to the September 2nd press release issued by Police Superior Officers Association (PSOA) President Eddie Drishti.

See if you can guess her objection:

“Last night, a majority of the Hoboken City Council Members committed a glaring act of cowardice by refusing to vote on a resolution opposing Mayor Zimmer’s plan to decimate the police department through 37 lay-offs and demotions. Instead of voting Yes or No on the resolution, the Zimmer council majority hid behind a procedural maneuver to table the resolution. This is the kind of wishy-washy waffling by gutless politicians that is poisoning our political system. The officers who are losing their jobs deserve better than this silly political stunt. It was amazing to hear Councilman Ravi Ballah say that he wanted to hear what Mayor Zimmer had to say before he could vote Yes or No. Is Ballah a puppet on a string or is he an elected official?

I can tell you anecdotely that Bhalla is in fact NOT a puppet on a string.

At least I've never seen any strings hanging from his extremities, though maybe they were there and tucked inside his suit jacket and pants. And the absence of a puppeteer above-- another clue. But he could be a Muppet with the operator hiding under the City Council dais. You never know.

So have you figured out what's amiss in Drishti's press release?


You're so smart. The 'h' was pushed to the end of his surname, Bhalla, to make it B + Allah. Or, Allah with a 'b'. Not Liza with a 'z'. Or Lisa with an 's'.

Now, not being a Muslim myself, I lack a certain sensitivity, as you can see from the jokes in this post. I might just chalk up the misspellings to sloppiness not malice.

But not the reader who was deeply offended.

Here's what she wrote:

How did the letter "h" conveniently jump ahead to the end of his name so it is a subset of the word 'allah' as in the Lord in the Muslim religion? Coincidence?

Either the writer is a poor speller or he is playing to the worst racial emotions of their constituency. I think it is the latter and frankly I'm disgusted having it come from a superior officer.

Well, I do respect her feelings and suggest that she take it up with PSOA representative Drishti.

And he can take it up with whomever vets his press releases.


  1. Maybe he just misspelled Ravi's name or maybe he is a racist. To ascribe the latter on an individual that you don't know is wrong (and you have no proof) and malicious. It's completely different from the playing of the race card against Ravi by a member of the public at that meeting.

  2. ss1959, I didn't read the statement until I got the email yesterday from an individual who felt it was intentional. And think I played it fair... as I wrote, I would have chalked it up to a misspelling, not malice. And suggested this person take it directly to Drishti.

    But it's certainly food for thought on the kind of sensitivities that are out there, and we all should know about living in such an ethnically and religiously diverse society.

    Have a second look.

  3. GA

    I have a few Muslim friends. Yes, I will admit to that, and no I do not burn a Koran a day. What utter idiocy, btw. The H at the end of his name is pretty bad to a Muslim. It would not appear to be such for the average American with teh Judeo Christian ancestry, as we tend to use Jesus as a first name, especially in the Hispanic community, and no one takes offense. But that does excuse the lack of sensitivity in using the H inappropriately. I did not read you calling the guy a racist at all, just someone who perhaps made an unfortunate choice. But now more people know.

  4. Yes, khoboken, and I really would not have thought about it unless it was pointed out to me. By an extremely offended person, a Muslim.

    Well, I learned something.

    In passing I heard some news about a church somewhere in the U.S. planning to burn a Koran on 9-11? With this kind of hateful ignorance in our society, I can't blame Muslims for their interpretation of an innocent mistake (if it was) as something sinister and evil.

  5. My comment was more directed to your Muslim reader, not you.


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