haji n. an Iraqi; any Muslim, Arab, or native of the Middle East. Also hadji; attrib. Editorial Note: Haji is an honorific given to Muslims who have made a pilgrimage to Mecca, but the word often takes on a pejorative sense when used by American military personnel. The plural is also sometimes haji, without a terminating “s.” Etymological Note: < Arabic haji ‘pilgrim.’ (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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2 Responses

  1. rich says:

    haji is not a pejorative, but a multi-faceted description of the iraqi world and war i was in for 18 months. i am very aware of racial insensitivity – arabs used to be called sand niggers or dune coons, even diaper heads or camel jockeys. these words are now archaic and impolite in a politically incorrect profession- warrior/infantry. indeed i was the EO [race relations] nco for our battalion [seen it all and heard it all]. haji can be the bad guys, the insurgents “haji’s gonna light you up” or children waving at you “some haji kids up ahead” Also haji shops or haji coke or haji dvd. i equate it to calling europeans, in regard to their country – jack, pierre, fritz, ivan. maybe even japanese dudes as fuji. “my name isn’t fuji, its hoshino” “ok, have a beer hoshino” i had friends in iraq- aziz, habib, horsham [kurd]etc. they never took offense to haji, and we discussed the world, from family to american imperialism [which many in this world consider a natural result of being strong] [not me] i never saw a black or hispanic or white or polynesian or asian US brother take offense to haji- i was with the 27th inf out of hawaii, talk about your rainbow. take care and i thought you’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

    ps. there is a lot worse going on over there than innocuous nicknames. do not make a PC mountain out of a molehill, or call a haji “ali-baba”….. or me a “pork-eating flatlander” i live in the mountains and eat elk

  2. MarthaK says:

    I thought the proper term was “hadji” and it refers not to Iraqis or even Muslims but was historically used to reference Hindu people of India.
    Not until the Iraq war did people use it to refer to people of Iraq (as seen in HBO’s Generation Kill series).

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