Tuesday, August 24, 2004

PR CHICAGO: New book calls on Arabs and Muslims to fight extremism 8-24-04

New book calls on Arabs and Muslims to battle extremism

(Chicago, August 24, 2004) -- A new book by Palestinian American author Ray Hanania argues that Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians must fight an aggressive war against extremism in their own communities before they can win other battles, including achieving an independent Palestinian State.

Hanania argues in "The Moral Jihad: Defining the Moderate Palestinian Voice in the battle against extremism" (Tahit al-Ard Press, Chicago) that Palestinians cannot denounce the violence against them until they also denounce the violence committed in their name by Palestinian, Arab and Muslim extremists.

In the book, Hanania argues that Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians must take a principled moral stand on issues and recognize the reality of what compromise demands on them.

"I think it is about time that our community leaders were honest about what they can and cannot do for us, and that we must tell our people what we can and cannot expect as a result of a disastrous 56 year history of occupation," says Hanania, a syndicated columnist and Palestinian peace activist.

"I also believe that I cannot expect to win world support in the aftermath of Sept. 11th if I insist on only speaking out against the immorality of actions taken against me by Israel, while remaining silent on the horrendous atrocities committed by people in the name of the Palestinians."

In the book, Hanania denounces suicide bombings not as a tactic but as a principled moral position. He criticizes those who embrace Holocaust revisionism, condone or express anti-Semitism, and calls the rise of Islamic extremism as a "divisive and destructive force" that must be stopped.

Hanania also challenges the many Arab American organizations concluding that despite :some good," most are ineffective and fail to address the real needs of the community.

"They are cowards, afraid to stand up and speak out against the extremists. They would rather ignore the extremists and attack those whos peak out against extremism. Much of today's rhetoric about fighting extremism is disingenuous and false and offered mostly as a political front. The reality is, very few Arab and Muslim organizations in America are actively engaged in combatting the rising extremism in our community that resulted in September 11th," Hanania said.

"I also believe that Arabs must also grapple with the equally important topic of rising discrimination against the Christian Arabs by the Muslim majority. We need to air the dirty laundery in order to clean the laundry and pretending these issues do not exist in the face of vicious, extremist assaults by some American Muslims against Christian Arabs is hypocritical. Further, how can we denounce Israel for being a 'Jewish State' when we refuse to denounce Arab countries that openly and more aggressively embrace themselves as 'Islamic States'?"

Ray Hanania
PO Bix 2127
Orland Park, IL 60462