Abuse of Civilians
On the night of Jan. 5, Imaad and his mother, Um Imaad—both of whom declined to give their full names for fear of retribution—were watching a movie in the living room.Um Imaad just means "Imaad's mum". It's not a name, it's a title. It's perfectly common in Arabic culture for a woman to be referred to primarily as "X's mother" (um X), especially if she's a widow with only one son. It's also common for a man to be called "X's father" (abu X), if he has a son he's particularly proud of, or who's well known.
So the quote above really says "Imaad and his mother, Imaad's Mother", like a excuse note that a kid forged for himself. Throughout the rest of the piece, when Spinner keeps referring to the mother as Um Imaad, all she's really saying is "Imaad's mother" – so why not just say so? Why use Arabic for this particular word instead of English? She doesn't use the Arabic for "television" or "mosque", or "feelthy peectures", so why the Arabic for "mother"?
Unless, of course, Spinner has no idea; but if she knows so little about the culture she's writing about, why is she writing about it?