Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Imam Musa Sadr in the Good Spy by Kai Bird

Imam Musa Sadr

Force 17 leader Abu Hasan Salameh

CIA agent RoberAmes



In 1978 the Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi invited the Lebanese Muslim leader Musa Sadr to visit Libya. As the late Fouad Ajami put it, the imam vanished on that trip. There were many theories put forth on what has actually happened. The Libyans claimed that the imam and his companions left Libya for Italy. This turned out to be a blatant lie. The fact remains that the imam entered Libya and never left. The Libyan regime and its successor regime never presented a convincing explanation to provide closure.

The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames by Kai Bird provides another story of what happened to the imam. Kai presents the findings of the CIA via the Palestinian leader of Force 17 leader Abu Hasan Salameh.  The CIA did not seem to have questioned the story as conveyed by Salameh to the CIA’s Ames. Below are excerpts from Kai’s excellent book, pages 204-206, the subheadings are mine:

Ames seeks Salameh for information regarding Sadr

Two weeks after Musa Sadr’s disappearance, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – then still in exile in Iraq- sent a message to Yasir Arafat asking him to help “clarify the mystery.” At the same time, Ames decided to take an interest in the case. He did so for two reasons. First, he understood that Musa Sadr’s disappearance could exacerbate Lebanon’s smoldering civil war. And second, he knew the imam’s fate was of intense interest to millions of Shi’as not only in Lebanon but also in Iran, a country that was beginning to show signs of revolutionary turmoil in the streets of Tehran. Ames sent a message to Ali Hassan Salameh about the case and asked if he had any intelligence on the imam’s whereabouts. Salameh eventually replied with a detailed account.

Sadr and Beheshti
Arafat had learned that Qaddafi had agreed to host a meeting between Musa Sadr and one of his theological rivals, the imam Mohammed Beheshti. For some years, the latter had led in exile a Shi’a mosque in Hamburg, Germany. But Beheshti was also a close political ally of Ayatollah Khomeini. Like Musa Sadr, Beheshti was a scholar of some repute. But unlike Imam Sadr, Beheshti was an intellectual proponent of a theocratic Shi’ite state. Sadr disagreed, arguing that Shi’a theology prohibited clerics from directly exercising political power.
Both Sadr and Beheshti were recipients of Qaddafi’s largesse, and the Libyan dictator wanted the two men to set aside their theological disputes and cooperate on a common, anti-Western political agenda. (The eccentric Qaddafi was himself a Sunni Muslim and had no interest in the arcane merits of what was essentially a Shi’a theological dispute.)

Sadr in Libya: No meeting with Qaddafi or Beheshti
In any case, Musa Sadr and Beheshti were supposed to meet in Tripoli and iron out political differences under Qaddafi’s auspices. Musa Sadr arrived – but Beheshti and his delegation never came to Tripoli. Musa Sadr was an impatient man, and after several days of waiting in his hotel for a meeting with Qaddafi that never materialized, he announced that he was packing his bags and leaving Libya. Arriving at the Tripoli airport, Musa Sadr was escorted to the VIP departure lounge. In the meantime, Beheshti told Qaddafi over the phone to detain Musa Sadr by all means necessary. Beheshti assured Qaddafi that Imam Sadr was a Western agent. Qaddafi ordered his security force to delay Musa Sadr’s departure. Qaddafi instructed that the imam should just be persuaded to go back to his hotel. But Qaddafi’s security officers accosted Imam Sadr in the VIP lounge and addressed him disrespectfully. An argument ensued, and the imam was roughed up and thrown into a car. Things had gotten so out of hand that the imam was taken to a prison.

Sadr: Imprisoned in Libya
Qaddafi was angered when he discovered what had happened, but he felt he couldn’t release Imam Sadr without embarrassing himself politically. So Musa Sadr sat a Tripoli prison for many months. Finally, Arafat directly asked Qaddafi for his release. By this time, Ayatollah Khomeini had returned to Tehran, where he and Beheshti were writing postrevolutionary Iran’s Islamic constitution. When pressed by Arafat, Qaddafi reportedly said he had to make a phone call. He called Beheshti, who told him Musa Sadr was a threat to Khomeini.

Sadr: Imprisoned then executed

Ames was told by his Palestinian sources that eventually Imam Sadr and his two traveling companions had been summarily executed and buried at an unmarked desert grave. Ames was shocked by Qaddafi’s wanton ruthlessness but also by Beheshti’s behavior. It gave him the first insight into the cruel character of the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

AHRC: Defending the Human Rights of Arab and Muslim Americans









There are a number Arab and Muslim community organizations. They do good work for the community. Some of these organizations provide services such as ACCESS, or defend civil rights and civil liberties such as ADC. There are still unmet needs, an example is the issue is the human rights of Muslim prisoners. Many people are confused about human rights and prisoners and their rights. To educate and advocate for prisoners, as well as defend human rights generally, a number of Arab American and Muslim American leaders formed AHRC, the American Human Rights Council (http://ahrcusa.org, https://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Human-Rights-Council/267926763396587).

Human rights are inclusive of civil rights and liberties but of bigger scope. It is great to finally have an organization that advocates for human rights in general and focuses on the forgotten segment of the Arab and Muslim community, the prisoners.
This is the information about AHRC from its webpage:

The American Human Rights Council (AHRC) was created as a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, promoting, and defending human rights, as defined by the US Constitution and outlined in the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr. To that end, AHRC will serve the needs of all people whose rights are being denied or violated.

AHRC will collaborate with other civil and human rights organizations and maintain positive relationships with courts, social service agencies, and various governmental agencies. We intend to combine high-level legislative work, media outreach, and grassroots mobilization to shape and promote legislation to advance human rights and protect individuals who are at risk.

THE PRIMARY FUNCTION OF THE AHRC

AHRC will be seeking out and intervening in situations where human rights are being violated or denied. We will provide advocacy and other related services wherever the restoration of human rights is essential to peoples’ well-being. Our primary focus will be on prisoners’ rights. The AHRC will work to ensure that the rights of prisoners, and their families, are recognized and defended. In doing so, we will also encourage cooperation between similar organizations in Michigan, and other states, as well as other co3284untries. We will collaborate to implement projects, programs, and activities for the benefit of our intended beneficiaries, utilizing all available synergies in order to maximize the benefits of our service. Although the AHRC will primarily focus on the United States, we will work in conjunction with any organization which can help us achieve our mission of protecting human rights around the world, regardless of geographical or other boundaries.



Friday, May 2, 2014

The Forum and Link of Michigan Honors Veteran Community Activist and Leader Imad Hamad








Mr. Imad Hamad in the middle to his left is the former US attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and former judge Honorable Jeff Collins



The Forum and Link of Michigan Honors Veteran Community Activist and Leader Imad Hamad
The Legend of Imad Hamad: Decades of Service

Imad Hamad is a legend.  It is not possible to meet anyone who is active in the Arab- American community or is connected to the Arab- American community who does not know Imad Hamad, the former Michigan director of the American Arab anti- Discrimination Committee. For decades Imad Hamad was a fixture at events, conferences and in the media. Over the years he helped so many people that it is not possible to meet anyone in Dearborn who does not know of someone who was helped by Imad. He helped individuals in need, Arab- Americans suffering from discrimination, reporters working on stories, scholars writing books, etc. This is Imad Hamad the legend.

The Forum and Link Honors Imad

The Forum and Link is a Michigan community newspaper that is published by Dr. Asad Dandashli, a tireless man who considers journalism a sacred mission, in the secular sense of the sacred, and not a business enterprise. During the banquet for the tenth anniversary of the Forum and Link, Dr. Dandashli honored Imad Hamad. The award read:

Dr. Assad Aldandachli
Editor in chief
Recognizes
Mr. Imad Hamad

For many years of selfless service of the Arab- American community- It is not possible to compile an exhaustive list of the achievements of Mr. Hamad in almost two decades.  This list includes starting enduring programs, helping individuals and creating a vision of a better community. The brightest light of his achievements remains the founding of BRIDGES, the law enforcement- community forum, which serves as a national and international model of community-law enforcement relations.


Congratulations Mr. Hamad. Well deserved.


The Forum and Link banquet coverage of the banquet can be accessed at  www.forumandlink.com

On Muslim Reformer Mohammed Ibn Abdel Wahhab “Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad”- I

Natana de Long Bass



                            On Muslim Reformer Mohammed Ibn Abdel Wahhab
“Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad”- I
Good Muslims, Bad Muslims

In the post 9/11 period there was an intense focus on Muslims and Islam itself. A simplistic approach to Islam in the context of the war on terror sought to classify/pigeonhole Muslims into good Muslims and bad Muslims. This was not new but a permutation of the attitude toward Islam that prevailed in the post- Ayatollah Khomeini revolution.  The new Iranian regime’s “students,” violating long- held norms of diplomatic dealings, stormed the American embassy and took embassy employees hostages. This was followed by attempts to export the revolution to the rest of the Middle East disturbing the stability of American allies in the Arab Gulf region. In the West there were important voices that divided Islam into good Islam and bad Islam. Shia Islam was seen as bad, the Shia were seen as having a “penchant for martyrdom.” The 9/11 attacks inverted that model- Sunni Muslims became bad and Shia Muslims good. This simplistic thinking was partially responsible for the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 and turn it over to the Shia “majority.”

9/11 and Demonization of Sunni Muslims

In the post 9/11 world there is no group of Muslims that faced as harsh of a backlash as the Salafi Muslims followers of the Sunni Hanbali School, one of the 4 Sunni schools of jurisprudence. The segment of the Salafis that came under the harshest criticism was the Wahhabis who constitute the majority in Saudi Arabia and in Qatar.  But who are the Wahhabis? What do they believe? What explains the tensions between them and the Shia and the Sufis? Boston University’s Natana de Long- Bas, using the writings of Imam Abdel Wahhab, wrote Wahhabi Islam to help demystify the man and his ideas and challenge the unsubstantiated claims, driven by ignorance and/or sectarian animus, that demonized an important segment of the Muslim population. Over a number of columns excerpts from her book will be published.

Below are excerpts from her book. The headings are mine:


Post 9/11 period: Fear and Loathing of the Salafi Wahhabis

Post-9/11, Wahhabism has been identified by government, political analysts, and the media as the major “Islamic threat” facing Western civilization and the inspiration for Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network. It has become infamous for its negative influence on Islam, mosques, and madrasas globally. It is described as extremist, radical, puritanical, contemptuous of modernity, misogynist, and militant in nature. It has been characterized as Islamo-facism following in the traditions of communism and Nazism. It is accused of inspiring militant religious extremism in movements ranging from the Taliban of Afghanistan to the so-called Wahhabis of Central Asia and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network. It is targeted as the most intolerant of all interpretations of Islam, seeking to impose itself alone as the expression of “true” Islam. Wahhabi teachings are often referred to as “fanatical discourse” and Wahhabism itself has been called “the most retrograde expression of Islam” and “one of the most xenophobous radical Islamic movements that can be.”

Osama Bin Laden and the teachings of Imam Ibn Abd al- Wahhab: Historically Accurate Connection?

In response to the demands for answer, many have asserted that the militant extremism of Osama bin Laden has its origins in the religious teaching of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who is believed to have legitimated jihad against non-Wahhabis and encouraged the forcible spread of the Wahhabi creed. According to this interpretation, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab is the godfather of modern terrorism and Islamic militance. Like his contemporaries, he is accused of being opposed to modernity, an extreme literalists in his interpretation of Muslim scriptures, a misogynist, and an admirer and imitator of past militant radicals, particularly the medieval scholar Ibn Taymiyya. Like Obama bin Laden, is believed to have had littler formal religious training, and his written works are generally dismissed as mere compilations of Quranic verses and hadith without any accompanying commentary or interpretation. Finally, both Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and the Wahhabis are often accused of being outside of the Sunni tradition due to their position as “heretical innovators” and extremists. Although this comparison makes for a simple and clean analysis, it is not faithful to the historical record.

Who was Imam Abd al-Wahhab?

The real Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, as revealed in his written works, was a well-trained and widely traveled scholar and jurists, as well as a prolific writer. His extant written works fill fourteen large volumes, including a collection of hadith; a biography of the Prophet Muhammad; a collection of fatawa (judicial opinions); a series of exegetical commentaries on the Quran; several volumes of Islamic jurisprudence (figh), numerous theological treatises; and other varied works, including detailed discussions of jihad and the status of women. The scope of his scholarship stands in marked contrast to the few legal rulings (fatawa) issued by Osama bin Laden. More importantly, his insistence on adherence to Quranic values, like the maximum preservation of human life even in the midst of jihad as holy war, tolerance for other religions, and support for a balance of rights between men and women, results in a very different worldview from that of contemporary militant extremists. The absence of the xenophobia, militantism, misogyny, extremism, and literalism typically associated with Wahhabism raises serious questions about whether such themes are “inherited” to Wahhabism and whether extremists like Osama bin Laden are truly “representative” of Wahhabism and Wahhabi beliefs.

Delong- Bas’s  Nuanced view versus the Media and the Biased Caricature of the Man
  
Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad presents for the first time in a Western language the theme of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s writings that are of the greatest concern post-9/11: Wahhabi theology and worldview, Islamic law, women and gender, and jihad. Rather than reinforcing the standard image of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab as “an unsophisticated, narrow-minded wanderer” and a “disconnected, footloose son of the remote oases” who became “the archetype for all the famous and infamous  Islamic  extremists  of modern times,” it reveals a more moderate, sophisticated, and nuanced interpretation of Islam that emphasizes limitations on violence, killing, and destruction and calls for dialogue and debate as the appropriate means of prosetylization and statecraft. This new understanding is then compared to the writings of other scholars and activists, both past and present, on the controversial topic of jihad in order to assess Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s influence, or lack thereof, on contemporary Islamic militants, most notably Osama bin Laden, and to explore the roots of the militant extremism inherent in their visions of global jihad.

Wahhabism and the Historical Context

Wahhabism was neither a historical aberration nor an isolated phenomenon. It did not arise in a vacuum. In fact, Wahhabism reflects some of the most important trends in eighteenth-century Islamic thought, underscoring the interactions and exchanges that took place between Muslims in cosmopolitan regions like the Hijaz. The fact that Wahhabism so clearly reflects major trends of thought apparent in other contemporary reform movements suggests that it was neither “innovative” nor “heretical.” Rather, it can more appropriately be viewed as part of mainstream eighteenth-century Islamic thought, although somewhat tailored to its specific context.









Wednesday, January 15, 2014

On Iraq: a Sectarian Dictator Falsely Claims a War Against Terror






Al Anbar Sunnis protest for women held in Maliki's sectarian prisons 

 

Al Anbar Sunni protesters that the Maliki sectarian regime blood libeled as the "Camp of Yazeed"


 

Iraq is in the news again and not in a good way. The Al Anbar region, a Sunni majority area in Iraq, is again mired in violence. Al Anbar is a region that has seen a disproportionate amount of violence in the post 2003 invasion. There are a number of books written on the US military efforts in Al Anbar and how the US was able to win the confidence of the marginalized and victimized Iraqi Arab Sunni community in the post 2003 Iraq. The lesson of the American war in al Anbar is that it takes empathy, inclusion and strength to gain the trust of the clans of Al Anbar. Blunt force, humiliation and marginalization do not work.  Today Maliki is trying to subjugate Anbar under the false claim of fighting al Qaeda.

In fact, al Qaeda has no better friend that al Maliki and his bigoted and sectarian policies.

Calling the fight in al Anbar a fight with al Qaeda is inaccurate and misleading now just as it was inaccurate and misleading when American soldiers were doing the fighting. PM Maliki is a sectarian fanatic mired in sectarian hate and delusions. He called the Sunni protesters the "camp of Yazeed." That is the equivalent of a Christian politician calling his Jewish political opponents Christ killers. Maliki, a former Shiite clergy, is a sectarian bigot of medieval proportions.  Next time PM Maliki visits the US he should be sent to a psychiatric ward and not to the White House.

What do Iraq observers think of the conflict in al Anbar? I have chosen an excerpt from Fouad Ajami’s column in the Wall Street Journal and a column by an Iraqi American of Sunni Arab descent, attorney Mohammed Alomari. Fouad Ajami is an American political science professor of Shiite Iranian and Lebanese descent. Both are helpful in understanding Iraq and Maliki.

Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2014

Obama and the Sunni-Shiite War

Having quit Iraq, the Obama administration developed a vested interest in the narrative that all was well in that country. What influence the U.S. still had was tethered to the rule of Mr. Maliki, even as he drifted away from the Sunnis and the Kurds. Borrowing from the book of the Arab authoritarians of old, Mr. Maliki depicted his bid for dominion as part of a campaign against terror. When he turned up in Washington last October, he came to ask for weapons and diplomatic support, but above all to convey to his rivals that he had Washington’s blessing for his campaign for a third term as prime minister.

The Obama administration played along when it would have been the better part of wisdom to deny him the visit in the midst of a political campaign. Mr. Maliki is a lucky man. His political bid for yet another term has the endorsement of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and that of Mr. Obama and Mr. Assad.

The U.S. tilt to Iran is upsetting allies and disrupting the Middle East

Iraq’s Real Problem: A US Occupation legacy of Sectarian Politics by Attorney Mohammed Alomari

Violence in Iraq is again in the news. The biggest problem we face about what is going on in Iraq is the disinformation campaign to which we have been subjected since the 2003 invasion and occupation.

Iraq, which had its infrastructure and institutions demolished in 2003, was rebuilt on political and sectarian lines. Originally Iraq’s army had been based on a nation-wide forced conscription (in which all sects and ethnicities were represented according to their percentages in society). All that was abolished in 2003 in favor of a militia-based structure. Iraq’s current military and security forces are made of former Chalabi-led Iraq National Congress militiamen, Iran-based Badr militia, Mahdi Army militia and other sectarian based militias.

It is as though the President of the U.S. were to abolish the Armed Forces and form a new military force from recruits from extremist groups. Imagine the racial and sectarian killings that would happen here

The recent issue with Anbar province (and the other 5 provinces) is a result of ignoring the year-long demonstrations/protests and sit-ins in Anbar, Salahadeen, Diyala, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Samarra. Tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating in these provinces for over a year to free thousands of political prisoners, stop the mass expulsions of families from their homes, and other similar demands.

Thousands of Sunni families have been expelled from their homes in Diyala province by government-sanctioned militias this past year (in Miqdadiya, Baquba, other towns) with complete silence from most of the media outlets.

Additionally tens of thousands of Sunni young men have been rotting in jail for years or are being tortured and executed under provision 4 of the Terror Law. Army units like the infamous Muthana brigade march into predominantly Sunni towns and neighborhoods swearing and cursing anti-Sunni insults (using expletives against Sunni religious symbols like Aisha, the wife of the Prophet Mohammed, or Omar, the Prophet’s brother-in-law).

About two weeks ago, the Iraqi government decided to move against the peaceful protestors using military force, claiming there were “terrorists” protesting with the demonstrators.

In fact, the people of Anbar and other provinces have had enough of the sectarian repression, mass expulsion of families, mass arrests, hit squads, torture, and executions. The people of Anbar and the other provinces reacted to the attempt of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to take over cities like Ramadi and Fallujah by rebelling and establishing the Tribal forces.

Theses tribal forces are the same groups (Awakening councils) which fought the extremists back in 2007 and expelled them from the cities. But they don’t want the sectarian government forces either.

Supporting the Baghdad government with arms is big mistake; instead, the White House should open talks with the Tribal leaders in these provinces, with the Sunni leaders in the Parliament and pressure the Iraqi government to reform their military and security apparatus and keep the commitment to the April 2014 elections. Unfortunately the media is still playing the old movie of supporting the central government to “fight the bogeyman.”

If this failed policy continues, of blindly supporting the central government without looking beyond the headlines to see what is really going on, Iraq will boil over worse than Syria.

Peace will only come to Iraq if the institutions of power and military/security apparatus are reformed to include all segments of society, and not allowed to be monopolized by one group. Otherwise continuing this failed policy is like throwing gasoline on a burning fire; Iraq will as a result remain a bloody mess for years to come.

Attorney Alomari’s article originally appeared on University of Michigan professor Juan Cole’s website: http://www.juancole.com/2014/01/occupation-sectarian-politics.html

 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Reasons They Piled on Imad Hamad and ADC



From left Former FBI director John Bell, former US attorney Jeff Collins, Imad Hamad, recognized for their BRIDGES involvement. In the picture is current US attorney Barbara L. McQuade

The Reasons They Piled on Imad Hamad and ADC:

Dialogue with the U.S. Government, Opening Up to the Gulf
A who’s who of “progressive” and “leftist” Arab American activists piled on Mr. Imad Hamad, the former Michigan regional director of the American Arab anti- Discrimination Committee (ADC), with unexpected viciousness.

In hindsight, it is expected viciousness.

For many reasons - reasons that have nothing to do with the stale harassment claims, the 15- year- old claim of Rashida and the 8- year- old claim of Rana- or Rashida Tlaib and Rana Abbas.
There are two key reasons for this viciousness- one domestic and one international.

“Sin” # 1: Dialogue with the Government

The domestic reason is the engagement and dialogue with the government that Imad Hamad adopted and institutionalized. Imad Hamad and ADC sat with the government. Imad Hamad met regularly and openly with the government officials. He believed and preached that the government is a partner and not an adversary. He believed that the community should be seen by the government as a partner and not as a suspect. Among the agencies that ADC and Imad Hamad met regularly with is the FBI, an agency that the fringe of Arab America sees as Hoover’s FBI. Not only did Imad engage in a dialogue with the government, he institutionalized this dialogue, brought major players from the government and the community to the table, forming the internationally-known law enforcement-community forum of BRIDGES. That was breaking all the taboos for the small but vocal segment of the Arab American community. That “progressive” segment thought that Imad and ADC were “in bed” with the government.  They bided their time and piled on when the opportunity arose or was manufactured.

“Sin” # 2 Opening Up to Arab Gulf Monarchies

A second key reason Imad is hated by the fringe is international. This small and marginal segment, the “progressives” and “leftists” have a self-declared war on “patriarchy” and the “oppression of women” that they see behind everything in society-especially Arab and Muslim society.  And, make no mistake about it, there is no Arab region that this tiny, marginal, but obnoxiously loud, group hate more than the Arab Gulf region. They hate the monarchies and the traditional social system which they see as “oppressive” and in need of revolutionary change. Imad Hamad committed the sin of all sins when he opened up to the Arab Gulf region and engaged them, with respect, as he should have. The ADC is a mainstream Arab organization that represents a community that is largely conservative and mainstream in it s views.  Most Arab Americans are conservative and voted Republican until fairly recently. The majority of Arab Americans, if not openly opposed to feminists, progressives, leftists, and  Nawal Saadawi worshippers like  Nadine Christine Naber, they are not fans of them and for sure do not believe that they are representative of mainstream Arab American views and values.

The Campaign of Sabotage and Destuction

The bottom line is the ADC/ Imad Hamad saga is not about Rana Abbas and Rashida Tlaib, whatever the truths or untruths of their stale claims and their highly suspect timing with the manufactured media circus. The war against ADC and Imad Hamad is not about the two women or women. It is not about sexual harassment. It is simply the campaign of a marginal radical segment of the Arab American population, due to its almost zero resonance with the larger Arab American community, unable to democratically play a key role in shaping the policies and running the affairs of ADC, going for sabotage and destruction of the organization.

A War of Leftist “Terror”

This anti- ADC/anti Imad Hamad campaign is nothing short of leftist “war of terror” that will succeed in destruction only- as leftist wars are usually successful at.

Have any doubts about the intentions, the tactics and strategy of these leftist fanatics?  Ask the people involved with ADC’s once very active San Francisco chapter.

 

 

 

 

Former ADC President Sara Najjar's “Open Letter” to Imad Hamad

Former ADC President Sara Najjar-Wilson



Former ADC regional director Mr. Imad Hamad
 
 
An “Open Letter” to MR. IMAD S. HAMAD      

December 4, 2013

 

 

Dear Imad,

 

It is my understanding that on November 22, 2013, you retired as Senior National Advisor of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and Regional Director of ADC-Michigan.   It is regrettable that your retirement occurred on the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President john F.  Kennedy.  As you probably also know, November 22 is also the date of Lebanon’s Independence Day.  Accordingly, it is with heartfelt sadness that I find myself writing you this thank you letter, but (at the same time) maintaining a sense of hope that you will now have the independence and freedom to continue serving the community at large in some other capacity.  For the entire time that I have known you, you exemplified the calling and creed of President Kennedy, who paraphrased Kahlil Gibran – ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.  You did not ask what your country can do for you, but you did everything you can for your country.  

 

You have built bridges of understanding and enshrined mutual respect, not just within the Arab-American community, but also throughout your local communities, your State of Michigan, and our entire country.  Your outreach to all people – persons in the highest levels of our government, business and other community leaders, or the poorest citizens in your local communities – is unmatched.  You honored all of us by your tireless and selfless efforts in combating discrimination of any kind and bringing diverse communities together.  Your caring and compassion for those in need in your community have been incredibly unrelenting.   

 

Your contributions are beyond measure, and it would take pages to list them and thank you for each one individually, something beyond this one-page letter.  You have been an outstanding shepherd in serving your community, even though it was at a tremendous personal sacrifice; and we pray that you will consider continuing your commendable work.  

 

Last, but not least, words are simply inadequate to convey the loss of your good works; but, as I said above, it is my hope that you will consider continuing to pursue your service to the community at large in a different capacity.  In that context, a heartfelt Thank YOU – Thank YOU!  We are very proud of you, and I bid you Godspeed.

 

Highest regards,

 

 

Sara Najjar-Wilson

Former ADC President