Flipping through the TV channels the other night I saw that professional wrestling has a bad-guy sheik again. My little brother used to watch pro wrestling, otherwise I’d know even less about it than I do. I know that in past years there was a relatively famous character known as the Iron Sheik. The Iron Sheik, an Iranian man, joined the World Wrestling Federation right at the time that Iran was disposing of the US-friendly shah and installing the Ayatollah Khomeni, but the wrestling promoters decided to go Arab instead of Iranian. It may be accurate to say that he was promoted as a bad-guy middle easterner with no distinction as to whether he was Arab or Persian. I don’t remember.
BTW, the Iron Sheik is alive and well in Fayetteville, Georgia, and according to his MySpace page, you can book him to be the best man at your wedding.
Oh my, a Google search reveals he was on the Jerry Springer show at some point.
He doesn’t appear until after minute 3:00.
Back to the present: the current Arab-facsimile bad guy in pro wrestling is another Iranian-American passing as an Arab, and he goes by Sheik Abdul Bashir, real name Shawn Daivari. From Wikipedia:
Daivari signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment in August 2004 and debuted on October 19, 2004, on Raw alongside Muhammad Hassan as Khosrow Daivari. Their gimmick was that of two Arab-Americans who were tired of the prejudice and racism they were receiving after the 9/11 attacks. In the weeks leading up to their debut, the two men would appear on Raw in vignettes promoting their hatred towards America.
His hallmark is his insulting microphone antics. Daivari, whose parents are Iranian, usually speaks Persian during promos and matches. On-screen, he is often referred to as being Arab-American and his speech as Arabic.
But I don’t watch wrestling, so I’ll get to my point, which is that the name Abdul Bashir is not quite right. Abdul meaning “Servant of the” is always followed by one of the 99 names of God. Bashir is not one of those names, although it’s a perfectly lovely name.
Apparently there are actual people, not made-up characters, in the world named Abdul Bashir. I can’t explain that.