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Showing posts from 2009

On the fifth anniversary of Arafat's death

Are Hamas and Fateh the new "notables of Palestine"?

November 11 was the fifth anniversary of the death/murder of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, Abu Ammar. Much has been written about Abu Ammar. Those who loved him thought of him as a saint, the very symbol of Palestinian nationalism, Mr. Palestine. Those who disliked him/hated him blamed the setbacks of the Palestinian national movement, unfairly but squarely, on him. In the last stage of his life, the George W. Bush administration adopted the Israeli view that Arafat is the problem and that that he should not be "isolated." Arafat, with the Arab and Islamic world watching, was held as a prisoner in his compound. Israel barged into his compound destroying and wrecking havoc to shake his resolve. He remained steadfast as he always liked to say, "ya jabal ma yhizak reeh," a mountain is not shaken by strong winds. To the very end, the symbol of the Palestinian national movement, remained steadfast t…

Major Hasan and the revival of American exclusionary ideals

Fort Hood shooting and the redefining of American identity

The crimes that Major Hasan stands accused of have rocked the nation. A fellow soldier, a doctor, went on a rampage killing his fellow soldiers. It is not unheard of that a soldier would open fire on fellow soldiers. But this is the country which is fighting a "war on terror" and two external wars in Muslim-majority countries. The nationality, religion and religio-political views of the alleged perpetrator became relevant.

In times like this we Arab and Muslim Americans transform from what Professor Amaney Jamal aptly put it, from invisible citizens to visible subjects. Somehow we are seen as responsible or at least able to explain the behavior of one of us gone bad. If a close friend of mine commits a crime, God forbid, I expect that I would be sought to explain. There is no logic to seeking Arabs and Muslim to explain and account for the behavior of one of more than millions of us. Jamal Dajani, senior director an…

Dir. Offenbacher's "TEA" Demystifies Syria, Unveils Its Beauty and Diversity, and Wins AFF's Noor Award for Best Documentary

13th Annual Arab Film Festival ("AFF") Held in California from October 15 to October 25
Dir. Offenbacher's "TEA" Demystifies Syria, Unveils Its Beauty and Diversity, and Wins AFF's Noor Award for Best Documentary

In California, October was a special month for Arab Americans. San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom declared October "Arab Heritage month." Events celebrating this designation were held during the month. Another event, no less important, is the Arab Film Festival (AFF). From October 15 to October 25. Arab films from around the world were screened in San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose and Los Angeles. In all forty- one Arab films were screened from throughout the world.

The opening night film was a Palestinian film, Pomegranates and Myrrh by Najwa Najjar. "A powerful story of love and freedom under repression and control, as described by AFF's program director, Daniella Jubran. Michele Shehadeh AFF's Executive Director Arab wro…

Remembering the Houla Massacre. 10/31/1948

Houla Massacre of 1948
Apathetic State: No Military Readiness or Political Will to Stand and Fight

The 1948 Houla Massacre Anniversary
October 31, 2009 is the sixty- first anniversary of the Zionist massacre in Houla, a village in South Lebanon. The Zionist Hagganah gang, led by Menachem begin, blew up houses and massacred in cold blood tens of the town's men. As a consequence of the Zionist attack, (one of a string of subsequent attacks on South Lebanon over the years), led to the people of Houla becoming refugees in their own homeland in 1948, living in the Dbayeh refugee camp. It was not until the beginning of May of 1949 that these displaced Southern Lebanese were able to go back to their destroyed village.

The Need for Strong defense of Lebanon
The Lebanese right wing elements has always claimed that there is no problem between the Zionists and Lebanon. They blame all the troubles of Lebanon on the victims of Israeli aggression, the Palestinians, instead of blaming the aggressor…

Love Palestine, love its Palestinians?: The plight of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

Love Palestine, love its Palestinians?: The plight of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

Support for Gaza stops short, operation cast lead and the outpouring of support

During Operation Cast Lead against Gaza, a large number of Arab-Americans, leaders and community members turned out to protest the crimes of Israel in Gaza and the unlimited American support of Israel that enables this carnage. In the Greater Detroit area many of those in the protest were Lebanese who sincerely care about the Palestinian cause. It is great that the Palestinians have this show of support—it is heartening to see the throngs of supporters line up on Warren Avenue.

However, Palestinians in the Arab world are also victims of mistreatment and abuse. This mistreatment reaches appalling levels in Lebanon. One wonders how many of those Lebanese protesting Israeli crimes know, care or do something about the appalling situation of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, refugees who are now into their fourth or fifth …

Palestinian Refugees to be Resettled in America

Victims of Iraq's Gangs are Coming to the U.S. this Fall

Miriam Jones wrote in The Wall Street Journal of July 17, 2009: "The US agreed to resettle 1,350 Palestinian displaced by fighting in Iraq, marking the largest resettlements ever of Palestinian refugees in the nation. The decision appears to signal a shift in Washington's previous position against resettling Palestinians out of concern about the potential impact on US relations with Israel and the Arab world. The resettlement which is slated to begin this fall, is likely to illicit strong reactions from people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

There are many victims of the US unjust war on Iraq from the sanctions' regime to the invasion of 2003 and the reckless way the country was run in the war's aftermath. Much suffering occurred because our former C student President wanted to implement what he thought God wanted him to do. One group that suffered much from the invasion is the Palesti…

The Battle of the Head Scarf: a Muslim Woman, a Circuit Judge, and an Arab Muslim Attorney

Moughni’s Character Assassination is Reminiscent of Abuse of Victims of Sexual Molestation

I was shopping on Warren Avenue when I saw an orange pamphlet distributed by attorney Majed Moughni. In a footnote it reads “Please copy, post and distribute until Judge Callahan is exonerated.” I was eager to read the judge’s story. My Facebook friends were posting articles that were all presenting the woman’s side. These facts are undisputed. An Arab Muslim woman, Raneen Albaghdady, appears in Court before Wayne County court judge William Callahan. She is the last person to go on record. The judge asks her to remove her head scarf. She removes it. Then comes the lawsuit against the judge filed by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) on her behalf for violating her religious rights. Attorney Nabih Ayad, a Michigan Civil Rights Commission member is the attorney representing Ms Albaghdady.

Wayne County: Many Litigants and a Judge Wear the Muslim Head Scarf

My first reaction to this case …

The Release of Political Prisoner Yemeni Imam Al Moayad: The End of a Saga of an Innocent Victim of “War on Terror" Gone Wild

Three Appellate Judges, McLaughlin, Parker and Wesley, Exemplify Judicial Integrity
Another Bush/Ashcroft Ugly Chapter Closes

The recent release of the Yemeni Imam Al Moayad closes one of the ugliest chapters of the Presidency of George W. Bush. The frail Imam Al Moayad is now free, with his many friends, supporters, and people he helped in his long career in charity works. Upon arrival in Sana’a, he was met by a crowd of supporters that included three Yemeni government cabinet- level ministers.

Seeds of the Imam's Trial and Tribulation: A Desperate/Disturbed Man, a Religious Fundamentalist Attorney General, and an Overly Ambitious FBI Agent

The saga of Imam Al Moayad makes excellent material for a Hollywood drama. A down on his luck Yemeni “illegal immigrant “walks into an FBI office offering help in "bagging a big terrorist." An ambitious FBI agent in the post 9/11 heady times wants glory, just like his President George W Bush, and the law-despising Christian fundamentalis…

Landmark Senate Hearing on Islamists- Insights into Explaining Government Behavior toward Muslims in US and Abroad- Part II-

Baran Advises Open War on American Activist Muslims
Void Likely to Result, Most Likely to be filled by Radicals

In the landmark hearing on Islamists held on July 10, 2008 before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Zeyno Baran, a Turkish immigrant and Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute offered a broad indictment of almost all American Muslim institutions. If her argument is accepted by the government, and there is evidence it is, then the existing American Muslim institutional presence is at risk with no plausible alternative offered by Baran's favorite Muslims: "the secular, liberal and cultural Muslims." This void is bound to be filled by a radical alternative that will make the present Muslim establishment dearly missed.

The Islamist Infrastructure in the US

Activist Muslims are often associated with schools of thinking such as the Brotherhood and the Salafis. Baran states: "To understand how and why this [American Muslim radicaliza…

Landmark Senate Hearing on Islamists- Insights into Explaining Government Behavior Towards Muslims in the US and Abroad- Part I-

Puzzling Reality

A few years ago I worked for an Islamic charity, Life for Relief and Development (LIFE). LIFE wanted to bring national and international attention to the crisis facing Muslim charities in the aftermath of 9/11. LIFE and Interaction, a major umbrella organization for non- governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in relief work co-sponsored a forum at Interaction's annual conference dedicated to the issues facing the Muslim charity sector. LIFE retained an Arab American interlocutor to handle its contacts with the government. LIFE gave the interlocutor a list of Muslim charities in the Arab and/or Muslim world and asked her to check the list with the government and help with the visa issue. It turned out the government had a problem with about all of them. The government seemed to have a problem with all of them.. A puzzling reality until one reviews the testimonies at the Senate hearing entitled "[T]he Roots of Violent Islamist Extremism and Efforts to Count…

American Subjects Celebrating the 4th of July and the Promise of Equal Citizenship:

In a few days we will be celebrating the 4th of July. Americans of all backgrounds, all religions and nationalities, celebrate the day of the birth of America as a nation. We will also be celebrating the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, rights and freedoms that define America as a nation. These are promised to all American citizens. American history, however, shows that for many groups the enjoyment of these constitutional rights has been a struggle. The struggle of African Americans, for example, to overcome slavery and Jim Crow laws is the most powerful example of promises going unfulfilled without a prolonged and costly struggle. At this historical juncture, it is our turn to struggle to have our rights and freedoms respected by the government.

The Political Persecution of the Holy Land Foundation

We celebrate the 4th of July while we are the subjects of unfair treatment by the government. Many of our American Muslim charities have been shut: Holy Land Foundation,…

Criminalizing the American Arab and Muslim Communities: Dressing Up Guilt by Association as "Terror Networks"

The Biases and prejudices Guiding American National Security Research

Questioning the" National Security" Research and the Researchers?

Who is advising the US Government on the "War on Terror"? What is the logic behind the measures that have been inflicted on our community: massive wiretapping, delays in processing citizenship and other immigration applications, a massive "watch list," a large contingent of informers and agent provocateurs and the obsession with mosques and vocal activists and imams? The answer is usually given that the government is going by "guilt by association." Letters are written to the President and the Congress hoping to change this ugly reality. Community -law enforcement meetings are held to discuss the challenges/constitutional violations that law enforcement work is inflicting on Arab and Muslim Americans.

The Architects of the Guilt by Association: National Security Policies Drafters are the Domestic Policy Version of …

From Begin to Netanyahu: Can President Obama, like Carter Before him, Deliver the Promised Peace with the Zionist Entity?

Netanyahu: a Chip off the Old Begin Block

President Clinton, after a frustrating meeting with prime minister Netanyahu exclaimed "that SOB does not want a deal." In his former term as prime minister, Netanyahu gave plenty rhetorical support for peace while doing everything possible to derail any progress from 1996 to 1999. Another American president had to deal with an Israeli prime minister who talks peace but does everything to derail it. President Carter described the terrorist- turned- prime minister of Israel, the late Menachem Begin, as "psychotic." President Carter was able to bring peace between Israel and Egypt despite Begin's tactics. Throughout the peacemaking efforts of President Carter, Begin threw obstacle after obstacle. President Sadat, knowing that Begin is stalling and trying to derail the process, gave in more than one time to Begin's demands in order to bring peace between Egypt and Israel. The fact that Sadat gave in to Begin's deman…

American Muslims in the Mosque: God and the FBI are Watching You?

God, for sure. The FBI, maybe.

FBI Director Robert Mueller testified before the Senate in February 2005 on the issue of the "war on terror" stating "Efforts by extremists to obtain training inside the U.S. is also an ongoing concern. Although there are multiple reports and ongoing investigations associated with the paramilitary training activities of suspected extremists nationwide, the majority of these cases involve small groups of like-minded individuals who are inspired by the jihadist rhetoric experienced in radical mosques or prison proselytizing." (my emphasis).

A Google search using "Detroit Muslims FBI" brings up a first page with 10 items, 9 of them negative. One of these items is "Detroit Muslim groups claim FBI coercion" which quoted Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, stating "We have worked extensively with the FBI and others in the past, and certainly we would provide any informatio…