Friday, March 31, 2006

AMANA announces Knowing Islam Contest

"Bringing Communities Together" A Mission of AMANA
Saturday & Sunday April 15-16, 2006
(Sat. 11:00AM to 9:00PM & Sun. 11:00AM to 6:00PM)

3222 Holiday Springs Blvd., Margate, FL 33063, Tel. 954-575-3872
The First Exhibit of its kind on:
"Pakistan Earthquake"

(AMER, American Muslims for Emergency & Relief, Inc.
With the association of "BAITULMAAL" will present a unique Exhibit on
"Pakistan Earthquake" at the AMANA Festival.)
- Rides for the kids, Free Toys & Candies, Games, Sports &
Lots of Fun for the entire Family.
- Islamic Market-Great Products for Sale
- Tickets $5.00 /Donation/Meal
(Proceeds will go to purchase Qur’an, books and out reach efforts)
Contact us: (305) 898-9314
For More Information and for tickets Contact:
(Br. Sofian, AMANA 305-898-9314), (Br. Yazid, Masjid Al-Mumineen 954-977-6753), (Br. Rashid, AMANA 954-647-0306), (Br. Shazam, Masjid Shamsuddin 305-502-5585), (Br. Osman, Masjid Al Mutaqeen 954-593-2751), (Br. Bassam, Masjid Al Iman )(Br. M. Sanhaji, Masjid ICBR 561-436-2756), (Br. Shabir, Masjid Miami Gardens 305-624-5555), (Br. Moen, IMOF 954-963-9154), (Br. Rashid AMANA 954-647-0306), Sister Safiya, Al-Mumineen 954-600-6848), (Sister Rafee, Al-Mumineen 954-984-4571), (Br. Nael Pompano Masjid 954-274-0111)

Event by: AMANA, The American Muslim Association of North America
Media Contact Br. Sofian Abdelaziz, Tel. (305) 898-9314

The American Muslim Association of North America, AMANA Proudly Serving the U. S. Communities Since 1992 (A Member in the "Florida SAC", Florida State Advisory Committee tothe United States Commission on Civil Rights){The Islamic Center for Reaching & Preaching} Al-AMANA Voice HEAD OFFICE MIAMI / FLORIDA: P. O. Box 5212, Miami, FL 33014 USA Tel. 305-898-9314, Fax. 305-945-0399 E-mail: ~

MICHIGAN OFFICE7642 Calhoun Street, Dearborn, MI 48126Tel: 313-531-9210, e-mail:

PUERTO RICO OFFICEP. O. Box 140494, Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00614 Tel. 787-879-5425, e-mail :

CONNECTICUT OFFICE163 Elmhurst St., West Hartford, CT 06110Tel. 860-216-6211, E-mail: To Subscribe or Un-Subscribe from Al-AMANA e-mail list:

"Bringing Communities Together." A mission of AMANA

50 Questions on Islam
(The Questions are in the Back of this flyer)
1st Prize $75.00,2nd Prize $50.00 & 3rd Prize $25.00
Cake Baking & Decorating Contest
(Home Made Round or Square Cakes)
"No Store Bought Cake – please"
1st Prize $50.00, 2nd Prize $25.00 & 3rd Prize $25.00
Hand Drawn Picture of Any of the three Holy Mosques:
(Color Pencil or Crayon)
Size – 14 x 17 Constructions Paper
1st Prize $25.00, 2nd Prize $25.00 & 3rd Prize $25.00
At the AMANA Festival: Masjid Jamaat Al-Mu’mineen / Tel. 954-575-3872
3222 Holiday Springs Blvd., Margate, FL 33063 (West Sample Rd.)
All work must be submitted by:
Saturday, 4/15/2006 before 3:00PM
Prizes Awarded: Sunday, 4/16/2006 at 5:00 PM

Please contact: Sr. Safiya Tel. 954-600-6848

Or AMANA at: 305-898-9314 or 954-647-0306
"Bringing communities together is AMANA mission"
The American Muslim Association of North America, AMANA

(Please Submit your Answers with your Name, Address and Phone Number)
(1st Prize $75.00, 2nd Prize $50.00 & 3rd Prize $25.00)
1- What is Da’wah means?
2- How many Surah (Verse) are there in the Qur’an?
3- How many Ayah are there in the longest Surah?
4- Which is the longest Surah?
5- How many Ayah is there in the shortest Surah?
6- What is the sin that Allah will claim war against who committed?
7- Where was the Prophet Muhammad born?
8- Name the prophet’s father?
9- What is Sunnah?
10- Can Angels do anything without permission of Allah?
11- Why Islam prohibit "Back Biting"?
12- How old was the prophet when he died?
13- What was the most important characteristic of the prophet’s first wife?
14- What did the prophet do to earn his living as a young man?
15- Who the most qualified to lead the prayer according to our prophet Hadith.
16- It is OK to read the Qur’an without understand it! True False
17- How old was the Prophet when his mother died?
18- How old was the prophet when Allah’s first message of Qur’an revealed to him?
19- Where was Allah’s first message of Qur’an revealed to the Prophet Muhammad
20- What did Khadeejah answer after the prophet told her of the first revelation?
21- Who were the first to accept Islam?
22- Who was the closest to the prophet and one of the most hostile?
23- What is AL-Isra and Al-Mi-rag ?
24- What does faith (Iman) mean?
25- People are questioned in the grave by two Angels. True or False?
26- What make the Halal meat Halal?
27- What are the Angels who write the deeds of everybody called?
28- What is the meaning of Al-Jabbar mentioned in the last two verses of Surah Al-Hashr?
29- Does Islam permit to keep statues at the house?
30- True or False: It is Haram to not speak with your Muslim brother after a fight more than three days.
31- True or False: Muslims should be respectful to their non-Muslim parents even if
they are arguing with them to renounce Islam.
32- Is smoking tobacco Haram?
33- True or False: the Prophet (PBUH) said: "The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and
the best of you are those who are best to their wives."
34- True or False: Mistreatment of Muslim women occurs when traditions and extremism end become
more important than following the teaching of Islam.
35- How the mother of the believers ‘Aisha (RAA) contributed to Islam?
36- When did Prophet Mohammad visited Jerusalem?
37- What was the capital of Spain during the Islamic Rule?
38- Who are the Righteous Caliphs?
39- Was prophet Isa (Jesus) (AS) crucified and killed?
40- Who is the mother of Prophet Isa?
41- What are Allah’s signs which Prophet Musa (AS) used to convince the pharaoh?
42- How many prophet s have Allah mentioned by name in His Qur’an?
43- Continue the following hadith of the prophet (PBUH): "You will not believe unless you love..
44- What is the greatest sin of all?
45- What should the listener do when hearing the Azan?
46- What is Salat Al Duha?
47- What is the meaning of Al Rahman Al Raheem?
49- What is the heaviest word to Allah?
50- Did any of the Prophets claim to be God?


Friday, March 24, 2006

US House condemns Detroit News for anti-Arab bias

House Resolution condemns anti-Palestinian column in Detroit News

Released March 23, 2006
Contact: Osama Siblani / 313-582-4888

LANSING - State Representative LaMar Lemmons III has introduced House Resolution 214, condemning a recent anti-Palestinian column in the Detroit News by the newspaper's editorial page editor, Nolan Finley. The resolution also calls for an apology from Finley.

The resolution draws attention to the dehumanizing, cruel and discriminatory comments made by Finley, who refers in the column to all Palestinians as bloodthirsty through such blanket prejudicial statements as "Palestinian lust for Jewish blood is stronger than their desire for peace" and "terrorism is the history of the Palestinian people."

Lemmons, an African American who represents Detroit's far east side, said he felt disgust and anger when he first read the column. "Nolan Finley's generalization of all Palestinians as terrorists is reminiscent of many stereotypes that my people have been victimized by," he said.

"History is riddled with tyrants who have painted with a broad brush to negatively characterize entire groups and races of people," he added. "I think it's time to say we as a society are more humane and intelligent than one would guess from this column. I presented this resolution to say I believe it¹s time we all stand together to show our revulsion for this rhetoric because an attack against one is an attack against us all."

The Congress of Arab American Organizations in Michigan (CAAO), representing more than forty organizations, called last week for continued pressure on the Detroit News until the issue is resolved.

"We support Resolution 214 and thank the representatives for their action on this very important issue," said CAAO president Abed Hammoud.

The resolution has been referred to the Government and Operations Committee. It was co-sponsored by Representatives Lemmons, Jr. (father of Lemmons III), George Cushingberry, Jr., Matthew Gillard, Alexander C. Lipsey, Fred Miller, Barbara Farrah, and Gino Polidori.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

CAIR urges release of Afghan who faces death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity

Islamic civil rights group says conversion a personal, not state matter
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/22/2006) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the government of Afghanistan to release Abdul Rahman, a man facing the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the man's conversion is a personal matter not subject to the intervention of the state. SEE: Afghan Christian Could Face Death

In its statement, CAIR said:"Islamic scholars say the original rulings on apostasy were similar to those for treasonous acts in legal systems worldwide and do not apply to an individual's choice of religion. Islam advocates both freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, a position supported by verses in the Quran, Islam's revealed text, such as:1) 'If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?' (10:99)2) '(O Prophet) proclaim: 'This is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it.'' (18:29)3) 'If they turn away from thee (O Muhammad) they should know that We have not sent you to be their keeper. Your only duty is to convey My message.' (42:48)4) 'Let there be no compulsion in religion.' (2:256)"

Religious decisions should be matters of personal choice, not a cause for state intervention. Faith imposed by force is not true belief, but coercion. Islam has no need to compel belief in its divine truth. As the Quran states: 'Truth stands out clear from error. Therefore, whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks.' (2:256)

"We urge the government of Afghanistan to order the immediate release of Mr. Abdul Rahman."

Before issuing its statement, CAIR consulted with members of the Fiqh Council of North America, an association of Islamic legal scholars that interprets Muslim religious law.CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
- END -

CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:;
Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:

Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.Washington, D.C. 20003

Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726Fax: 202-488-0833

E-mail: cair@cair-net.orgURL:

IBDAA Tours US -- Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem discusses health issues

Two Chicago-area opportunities to hear about health care projects serving Palestinian refugees in Bethlehem s Dheisheh refugee camp!

The Ibdaa Health Committee U.S. Tour
Thursday April 6 and Friday April 7, 2006 (A free-will donation will be accepted to support healthcare programs at Dheisheh camp; please bring your checkbook!)
* * *
Thursday April 67pm refreshments; 7:30 Powerpoint presentationGrace Lutheran Church, River Forest(Enter from Bonnie Brae)7300 Division StreetRiver Forest, IL 60305

Information: 312/427-2533 x18 or 708/366-6900

Friday April 7Noon-1pmNorthwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine The Lurie Research Building (on Fairbanks Ave. between Huron and Superior Sts.) Searle Auditorium (ground floor, Huron side)

Information: 312/731-2727

About the Ibdaa Heath Committee
The Ibdaa Health Committee was founded in June 2003 in Dheisheh Refugee Camp (Bethlehem, Palestine), in response to urgent needs of the population whose health and mental health needs were not being met. The committee is comprised of volunteer health and mental health professionals, including nurses, physicians, social workers, and others. Three representatives of the Ibdaa Health Committee will visit the Chicago area over two days in April as part of a multi-city US tour. While in the Chicago area, they will hold two public presentations about their work among refugees and promote support for their projects-in-development to improve healthcare in diabetes, cancer, ophthalmology, women s health and mental health. On the tour, the committee representatives will have site visits to observe how health and mental health services are delivered to stressed populations, especially economically-challenged patients who experience violence in their environments. In addition, they will establish mentoring relationships with American health professionals.

* * *Ibdaa Health Committee tour delegates:

Areej Jafari (f)Areej is the coordinator of the Women's Committee of the Ibdaa Health Committee, in which capacity she organizes educational programs and other activities for women such as English and computer classes, and empowerment and leadership training for female youth.

Wisam Hasanat (m)Wisam is director of the Ibdaa Health Committee. He received his practical nursing degree in Hebron; he is currently completing his BSN at Al Quds University. He works at Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation and Surgery. His specialty areas include surgical and emergency care, including patients wounded by assaults, gunshots, and explosions. He also provides psychological support services to the families of political prisoners.

Talal Shihada (m)Talal is a founding member of the Ibdaa Health Committee and currently serves as the Director of Public Relations. A nurse with more than 17 years of experience, Talal is currently working toward am advanced nursing degree at Bethlehem University and an MA in Public Health at Al Quds University. He currently works at Beit Jala General Hospital, where his specialty areas include surgical and emergency care and pediatrics.

* * *

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Israeli company buys majority share of Yahala Arabic language Internet portal

Internet Gold Acquires 51% of Yahala, Leading Israeli Arab-Language Portal

PETACH TIKVA, Israel, March 22

Internet Gold, (Nasdaq NMS: IGLD) today announced that its fully-owned subsidiary Gold Mind has signed an agreement to acquire 51% of the shares of Yahala Ltd., the operator of, one of Israel's largestArab-language portals. According to the agreement, Nizar Hori, Yahala's founder, will continue to hold Yahala's remaining shares and serve as its CEO, while Eli Holtzman, Internet Gold's CEO, will become Yahala's Chairman.

Yahala is a popular Internet portal that offers a rich variety of content and services to Israel's Arab-speaking sector, a segment that accounts for approximately 20% of Israel's population or 1.5 million individuals. Penetration of Internet access into the Arabic sector has been significantly lower than that of the Hebrew-speaking sector, but has been growing significantly during the past 12 months.

Internet Gold intends to integrate Yahala into its Internet Smile. Media Group with the goal of taking full advantage of the potential operating synergies between Yahala and its other portals.

Commenting on the news, Eli Holtzman, CEO of Internet Gold, said, "This acquisition is another step in our efforts to expand ourleadership position as Israel's largest Interactive Media Group. It reflects our expectation that Internet usage in the Arab sector will continue growing dramatically as it has during the past year, making the Arab population an important new target market for Internet advertising. We believe thatownership of an Arab-language portal may also help us identify additional investment opportunities in neighboring emerging markets."

About Internet Gold Internet Gold is a group of communications companies thatprovide Internet access and related value-added services, internationaltelephony, e-advertising, content and e-Commerce services throughout Israel under the brand name "smile". The broad range and popularity of these services have established Internet Gold as one of Israel's leading Internet Communications groups.

The Internet Gold Group includes four subsidiaries. MSN-Israel, its 50.1% owned joint-venture with Microsoft Corp. (49.9% owned), provides Microsoft-branded Search, Instant Messaging, Hotmail and a variety of portal services. Internet Gold International, a fully-owned subsidiary, provides internationalInternet and communication services. GoldMind, a fully-owned subsidiary,provides value-added services to Internet subscribers. GoldTrade, the Group'sfully-owned e-Commerce subsidiary, operates e-Commerce sites.

For additional information about Internet Gold, please visitits Website at

Certain statements made herein that use the words "estimate,""project," "intend," "expect," "believe" and similar expressions are intendedto identify forward-looking statements within the meaning of the PrivateSecurities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those which may be expressed or implied by such statements, including, among others, changes in general economic and business conditions and specifically, decline in demand for the Company's services, inability totimely develop and introduce new technologies, services and applications and loss of market share and pressure on prices resulting from competition. Foradditional information regarding these and other risks and uncertaintiesassociated with the Company's business, reference is made to the Company'sAnnual Report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and its other reports as filed from time to time with the Securities and ExchangeCommission.

For further information, please contact: Marybeth Csaby KCSA Worldwide +1-212-896-1236 In Israel: Meirav Be'eri Investor Relations +972-3-516-7620Source: Internet GoldMarybeth Csaby, KCSA Worldwide, +1-212-896-1236. In Israel: Meirav Be'eri, Investor Relations, +972-3-516-7620

Study of Oregonian Newspaper shows persistent bias

Study of Oregonian Newspapers shows persistent bias against Palestinians

Contact: Rani El-Hajjar, Ph.D.Tel: (971) 226-0362E-mail: for Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights and Palestine Media Watch Human Rights Groups Publish Findings of One-Year Study Documenting The Oregonian Editors' Exclusion of Palestinian Perspectives from Op-Ed Pages of the Newspaper Portland, Oregon, March 21, 2006.

The Oregon-based human rights group, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR) in conjunction with the organization Palestine Media Watch (PM Watch) have published today the findings of a year-long study entitled "Excluded Voices – A Study of Palestine/Israel in the Opinion Pages of The Oregonian Newspaper".

The study's findings confirm the view expressed by Don Wycliff, departing Public Editor of the Chicago Tribune that "on probably the most enduring and insistent foreign policy issue of our time, we routinely do not hear from one side."

AUPHR's study provides both qualitative and quantitative data showing just how pervasive the exclusion of Palestinian perspectives is on theop-ed pages of The Oregonian.

According to the report, most of The Oregonian's editorials and selected commentaries dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "rarely debate the illegal and immoral nature of Israel's actions" and fail to "respond or react to news items indicating Israel's gross violation of Palestinian human rights and its noncompliance with international law."

In addition, the report asserts that the newspaper's editors have unfairly and systematically "narrowly defined the arguments that were allowed to participate" and printed little that "deviated from the official Israeli government positions."

"For years now and especially after the start of the second Palestinian intifada, members of the Palestinian, Muslim and human rights community have been trying to engage editors of The Oregonian in a dialogue regarding The Oregonian's failure to include voices from their perspectives in the discussion of the Israel-Palestine conflict in the Editorial Section of the newspaper," says Zaha Hassan, founding member of AUPHR.

"Our concerns have never seriously been dealt with butnow we have evidence that clearly shows that The Oregonian is notmeeting its obligation to its readers to provide a marketplace of ideas on the Israel-Palestine conflict."

"People may be shocked to hear former President Jimmy Carter call Israel's actions the 'colonization of Palestine' and declare that this colonization is 'the preeminent obstacle to peace,' says Peter Miller, AUPHR President.

"If they are shocked, it is because we rarely hearabout that colonization debated openly in The Oregonian's op-ed pages."

The Oregonian study covered a one-year period from June 2004 to May 2005 and included analysis of editorials, commentaries, cartoons and letters contained in The Oregonian during that period. AUPHR's report is available at

A similar study of thetop five national newspapers in circulation in the U.S. was recently released by PMWATCH with similar findings. PM Watch's report is available at

# # #

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Zuhdi Labib Tarazi dies in US

As many of you have already knew that the former Ambassador of Palestine tothe UN, Zuhdi Labib Al-Tarazi, had passed away on first of March in Amman,Jordan. However, according to his wish, he will be buried next to his latewife Widad in NJ. His children Karima and Kamil are there to accompany thecoffin. His body, if cleared, will be flown to NY on Sunday and the burialwill take place sometime next week.My deepest sympathy to his children and to the Palestinian people.

Here is an article written about him by Ian Williams


Zehdi Terzi first PLO representative to the UN
The Independent (London). [Commentary].
Ian Williams 03/07/2006.

The many journalists and diplomats who consulted with him over the yearsremember Zehdi Terzi fondly. It would be difficult to demonise as a fundamentalist terrorist someone whom the Patriarch of Jerusalem had dubbed a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, or whom his daughter Karimah remembers as a feminist who admonished her, "BSc, MSc, PhD - and only thenMrs." None the less, for 16 straight years, he was America's most unwantedif you judged him by the New York tabloids and the Congressional Register.Terzi was an almost archetypal Palestinian figure.

Born in an ancient Greek Orthodox family in Jerusalem under the British Mandate, he had hopedto end his days in the city, but, he wistfully pointed out to a radio interviewer in 1988, "I can't go back home."

Friendly, courteous and dignified, he was firm in his nationalist principles. When after long anddiscreet negotiations Israel finally offered to let him back to join hisbrothers and sisters in East Jerusalem, he could not bring himself to apply to those he considered illegal occupiers for a visa, so he died, ashe had lived for three decades, in exile.

Under the British Mandate he had studied at Terra Sancta College and graduated from law school in 1948, the year of the partition of Jerusalemand Palestine. In Beirut in late 1959 he met Widad Awad, a Chilean descendant of an earlier generation of Arab refugees, from the Ottomans.They married within months, on his birthday in 1960. She died in his arms, in New York, in 1987.

An early associate of Yasser Arafat, within months of the foundation ofthe Palestine Liberation Organisation in 1964 Terzi became its emissary toBrazil. He was part of the delegation that in November 1974 accompaniedArafat to the United Nations in New York and secured recognition there, ofsorts, for the PLO. The General Assembly affirmed the Palestinians' right to self-determination and independence, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and property, and recognised the PLO as their representative. The resolution gave the PLO almost all the attributes of statehood except a vote.

When Terzi arrived as the first Palestinian "Permanent Observer" to the UN in 1975, he was soon reminded that the US had vigorously opposed the resolution. For the US and Israel, the PLO was a terrorist organisation.

Although the mission was covered by the UN Headquarters agreement, grandstanding American politicians kept trying to close it down. The pressure was continuous throughout his time at the UN. In 1986, forexample, the State Department refused him permission to travel to Harvard Law School to debate with Professor Alan Dershowitz, provoking a lawsuitthat went all the way to the US Court of Appeals.

Perhaps the strangest ofthe court battles that put Terzi in the headlines was in 1982, when a NewYork judge overturned the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Fred Sparks's bequest of $30,000 to the PLO. That Sparks was himself Jewish added anextra piquancy to the case.

However the most notorious collateral damage of these cases was a former Congressman who had, in his own words, "a 100 per cent voting record insupport of Israel". Andrew Young, the former civil rights leader, Congressman and then US Ambassador to the UN, met Terzi "accidentally on purpose" at a lunch at the Kuwaiti Ambassador's residence in 1979.

Young claims that the State Department and the Israeli foreign ministry both knew in advance about the meeting, but, once it was leaked, President Jimmy Carter fired him. The New York Daily Post headline had been "JewsDemand Firing Young", and the incident did much to damage relations between the black and Jewish communities.

Towards the end of Terzi's UN career, as the intifada raged on, he helpedformulate the strategy that may annoy Israel even more: the use of UN resolutions and international law to establish Palestinian rights. It wasa strategy he encouraged when he left New York in the hands of his deputy,Nasser el-Kidwa, currently Palestinian Foreign Minister, to become specialadviser on international and UN affairs to Arafat in Tunis, where he wasto spend the remainder of his days, until going to Jordan for (unsuccessful) medical treatment. Travel to New York is only marginally less difficult for dead than livingPalestinian diplomats.

Terzi's children are struggling to get clearance totake his remains to the plot in New Jersey where he can join his wife.

Zehdi Labib Terzi, diplomat: born Jerusalem 20 February 1924' PLO Permanent Observer to the UN 1974-91' married 1960 Widad Awad (died 1987'one son, one daughter)' died Amman 1 March 2006.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Israeli tighten strangulation of Bethlehem to create new illegal settlement

Fears of new Israeli settlement as wall completed around Bethlehem

For Immediate Release - 27 February 2006

The final section of Israel’s wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem will be completed in a matter of days.
The wall around Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem will not only sever the connection between the region’s most holy Christian sites, but will also herald the creation of a new ‘fact on the ground’ - an illegal Jewish settlement which will be home to some of Israel’s most extremist religious groups.
The ultra-orthodox Kever Rahel Fund announced last year that it intended to build about 400 apartments at the site. This week their work has begun. Settlers are planning to move into houses around the tomb as soon as the wall is completed.
Bethlehem’s population fears that town will become another Hebron– where Jewish extremists have expelled Palestinians from their homes and with the support of the Israeli army, intimidate and harass the local population. Hebron was once the busiest shopping town in the region, but is now a ghost town. Christian Peacemaker Teams have a permanent presence there to monitor and report abuses by the army and settlers on local people.
A former member of the Israeli parliament, Hanan Porat, was quoted today in Israeli newspaper Haaretz : "With the help of God we are progressing toward maintaining a permanent Jewish presence and a fixed yeshiva in Rachel's Tomb, as Rabbi Kook [religious Zionist fundamentalist] urged, and bringing Israelis back to where they belong."
The mayor of Bethlehem, Dr Victor Batarseh, a Palestinian Christian, said: "The recent land confiscation and works around Rachel’s Tomb are illegal and have no security basis. This is an act of land expropriation. It is a serious threat to the economic and social life of the town. As the Mayor of Bethlehem, I share the concern of all Bethlehemites, Christians and Muslims alike, that this could be the first step towards building a new illegal Israeli settlement right in the heart of Bethlehem. That is how it all started in Hebron a few years ago."
In a statement to the international community, he says: "We call on all religious and political leaders, to intervene and protect the lawful rights of the town of the Nativity. The ghettoization of Bethlehem is not only destroying ancient communities, but is destroying the prospects of peace in the Middle East and the whole concept of international law".
Rapid construction of the final section of the wall separating Bethlehem and Jerusalem is proceeding following the rejection by the Israeli Supreme Court of the appeal of 18 Palestinian families and the Bethlehem and Beit Jala municipalities to re-route the wall at Rachel’s Tomb. As a result, the area will now be included within the borders of Jerusalem municipality, in direct violation of the Oslo agreements. The wall was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in The Hague (9 July 2004).
The Rachel’s Tomb area, once a vibrant neighbourhood and a central artery between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, has seen 72 out of 80 businesses close in the last four years. The tomb itself, a major Bethlehem landmark and a shrine holy to three religions, is now barred to the city’s inhabitants. The neighbourhood has been devastated to accommodate the expanding military base around the tomb, confiscating family homes and businesses and carving out a major landmark from the heart of Bethlehem. The wall pushes one and a half kilometres inside the city’s boundaries and confiscates 3km2 of its land.
Leila Sansour, Chief Executive of Open Bethlehem says: "We are now racing against time. Israel has stolen our land to build a settlement. It is a disaster for us. A city of international importance may soon become history. We are calling for divestment from any international company that gives support to, or is engaged in, this illegal project. Divestment is one of the few non-violent options open to us"
For more information, maps and photographs please contact:
London Office
Patrick Orr: 020 7222 5479/ Charlotte Carson: – 020 7222 8443
Bethlehem Office
Carol Dabdoub: + (972) 2 274 1241 ext. 2470; M. (972) 545439841
Bethlehem Mayor’s Office
Tony Murcus: + (972) 22 741323/4/5.

Notes for editors:

Open Bethlehem was launched in London and Washington by the Mayor of Bethlehem on 9 November 2005, declaring Bethlehem an open city and announcing the issue of a Bethlehem passport.
Open Bethlehem is a city initiative that aims to promote Bethlehem as a prime destination for tourists, bold initiatives and investment. The core of its message is that Bethlehem is a city of openness and diversity, with a centuries-old tradition of welcoming travellers, refugees and pilgrims from across the world.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

PLO condemns Israeli terrorism in Jericho and US-British hypocrisy

The Department of Arab and International Relations condemns the Policy of Double Standards
March 15, 2006

The Department of Arab and International Relations P.L.O condemns the IOF military operation against Jericho prison that resulted in the kidnapping of the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Sa'adat, Major Fuad Al-Shobaki and a number of prisoners; two prison guards have been killed and tens have been wounded. The Palestinian governmental compound (Muqata'a) was ruined.

The operation is a result of an American –British collaboration, as it took place a few minutes after the unexpected and unplanned departure of the American and British observers, who were responsible for the protection of the Political prisoners according to an International Agreement that was signed in the year 2002 /Ramallah; the US, the UK and Israel signed the agreement and abide to maintain a secure position to the above mentioned prisoners as long as they remain in the Jericho prison.

The US and UK collaboration would affect the credibility of the two states in the eyes of the Palestinians who have been regarding them as honest and neutral mediators.

The International Society watched yesterday's vicious operation in complete silence – this same society keeps asking the P.L.O and the Palestinian Authority to fulfill all the International Laws.

The silence of the International society regarding the Israeli crimes that have been committed against the Palestinian citizens encourages Israel to do what ever it wishes and to go on disgracing all the international laws and agreements; more than a time Israel conveyed that it's not committed to any of those agreements.

The Quartet and the United Nations are asked to immediately intervene and pressure the Israeli government to fulfill its commitments towards the signed agreements.

Efforts should be exerted to guarantee the return the abducted persons during Jericho operation back under the Palestinian Authority protection as it was agreed by Ramallah Agreement.

Department Of Arab and International Relations

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Arab American Institute hires new Executive Director, Nidal Ibrahim

For Immediate Release:

AAI Hires New Executive Director
Nidal Ibrahim to Join DC Office March 20
March 14th, 2006

WASHINGTON  The Arab American Institute (AAI) is delighted to announce the hiring of Nidal Ibrahim as Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based organization. Ibrahim comes to AAI after leading the Arab American Business Magazine since its launch in February 2000. Under his direction, the Magazine helped connect Arab Americans involved in business, politics and social organizations. Ibrahim was the 2003 winner of the “Ethnic Pulitzer” for best international affairs story.

In his capacity in the newly-created position of Executive Director, Ibrahim will work directly with AAI President James Zogby and AAI Foundation Executive Director Helen Samhan to implement the organization’s Strategic Plan. Ibrahim’s principal responsibilities will be to manage the operations of the AAI national office and expand the reach of AAI’s political, policy and research programs. Ibrahim’s extensive experience in Arab American affairs, marketing and communications brings to the organization both talent and energy well-suited to meet the new challenges of today’s political climate .

“We are delighted that Nidal will be joining the Institute as our new Executive Director. He is a proven manager and communicator, with a deep commitment to advancing the goals of the Arab American community. We are confident that this appointment will bring new vitality to the Institute's work in the years to come," said Dr. James Zogby, president of AAI.

The Strategic Plan, developed in November 2005, is a guide for institutionalizing AAI’s mission and operation and improving communication with our constituency, as well as maintaining AAI as a network for Arab American political organizing. Ibrahim is a valuable addition to AAI, and his management experience and community relationships are vital to implementing AAI’s long-term vision.

“The opportunity to help lead one of the top Arab American organizations in the country during this critical period in the community’s history is an exhilarating one,” Ibrahim said. “I embrace my new position with all of its inherent challenges and opportunities, excited at the prospect of working with an exceptional team of people at AAI, a group of folks who are confident in their mission, driven with passion and committed to the state goals of Arab American political empowerment.”

We invite you to speak with Nidal Ibrahim and Dr. Zogby in a conference call on Friday, March 17th at 11am. To dial in please call: (641) 297-7250 and use the participant PIN number 131054. Only long distance charges apply.

Committee to Protect Journalists blasts Israeli arrest of Journalists in jail assault

GAZA: Journalists, others kidnapped as prison siege sparks violence

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465‑1004 Fax: (212) 465‑9568 Web: E-Mail:
Contact: Abi Wright
Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x105

New York, March 14, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by reports that Palestinian gunmen abducted journalists and other foreigners in Gaza City today. A wave of violence erupted in Gaza and elsewhere in the West Bank, after Israeli forces laid siege to a Jericho prison to arrest militants believed responsible for the 2001 assassination of an Israeli minister.

CPJ sources said as many as four South Korean and French journalists were abducted from Gaza's Dira hotel. Armed kidnappers stormed the hotel this afternoon, according to news reports, which said one gunman was killed in a confrontation with Palestinian police.

At least two journalists were reportedly freed by late night. CPJ is seeking to verify the journalists’ identities.

Palestinian security services said the gunmen were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Reuters reported. Gunmen also attempted to break into the offices of the German television network ARD in Gaza City, causing some damage, an ARD staffer told CPJ.

“We call for the immediate release of all foreigners, including journalists, who were abducted in Gaza,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “There’s no justification for attacking civilians, including journalists who were doing their jobs.”

Several other foreigners were reported kidnapped for brief periods, including two Australians, a Swiss, and an American. Two French women, members of the human rights group Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), were abducted near the village of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.

The attacks came after Israeli forces launched a military operation at the Jericho prison to seize Ahmad Saadat, leader of the PFLP, and five other members of the group. The six were being held in the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last week that he would be willing to free Saadat, which triggered Israel’s response.

British and U.S. monitors who had supervised the detention pulled out of the prison just before the Israeli raid. Israel took Saadat and the others into custody after a nine-hour siege at the prison.

Citizens of France, Britain, Germany, and South Korea, among them journalists, sought the protection of the Palestinian security services amid threats by gunmen, according to news reports.

Kidnappings, including those targeting members of the press, have been on the rise in Gaza over the last year. Cases include:
Ø On August 15, 2005, soundman Mohammed Ouathi of France 3 television was held for eight days by unidentified gunmen.
Ø On September 10, 2005, Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi, of the newspaper Corriere della Serra, was abducted by masked gunmen in the town of Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. He was released later that day unharmed.
Ø And, on October 12, 2005, Dion Nissenbaum, a U.S. reporter for the Knight Ridder newspaper chain, and British photographer Adam Pletts, a freelancer for the news organization, were abducted for several hours by renegade members of the Fatah party before being released unharmed.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lawsuit filed against ACCESS in Dearborn by Yemeni employees

Lawsuit Filed Against the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) of Dearborn SOUTHFIELD, Mich., March 7

Sommers Schwartz, P.C., announces that a lawsuit was filed in United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, last Friday, March 3, 2006, on behalf of plaintiff Bushra Alawie, against ACCESS of Dearborn.Details

WHAT: Plaintiff is claiming that the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) is in violation of discrimination against Yemeni employees. The following counts have been filed in this U.S. District Court lawsuit: Religious Discrimination, National Origin Discrimination, Retaliation, Family and Medical Leave Act Violation and Age Discrimination. U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has been assigned to the case.

WHO:* Plaintiff, Bushra Alawie, a former employee of ACCESS, who was ultimately terminated.Sommers Schwartz ranks among Michigan's largest law firms. Eleven of the firm's nearly 80 lawyers have been distinguished as "Best Lawyers in America." To reach Sommers Schwartz, P.C., in Southfield, Michigan, phone 248-355-0300. The Law Offices of Sommers Schwartz, P.C., are located at 2000 Town Center, Suite 900 ­ 9th floor board room. Source: Sommers Schwartz, P.C.

CONTACT: Mort Meisner of Mort Meisner Associates, +1-248-545-2222; orKristin Schenden Russell of Schenden Comm., +1-248-895-5638

NOTE TO EDITORS: AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS: * Gerald D. Wahl, Attorney for Plaintiff, Sommers Schwartz, P.C., along with his client, Bushra Alawie of Dearborn, Michigan.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

COmmittee to Protect Journalists protests charges against Lebanese journalist

Lebanese journalists face charges of defaming president

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465‑1004 Fax: (212) 465‑9568 Web: E-Mail:
Contact: Joel Campagna
Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x104

New York, March 2, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by criminal charges filed against the daily Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal, its editor-in-chief, and a staff reporter for defaming President Emile Lahoud.

The charges were brought by Beirut prosecutor Joseph Me’mari on Tuesday, four days after Al-Mustaqbal published an interview with former Lebanese ambassador to France and former army intelligence chief Johnny Abdo, who criticized Lahoud’s performance. According to The Daily Star, Abdo was quoted as saying that “under Lahoud's mandate, the Presidential Palace was turned into an unsuitable place to hold dialogue, and Lahoud's presence violates the constitution, because the constitution says the president is the symbol of unity.”

Tawfiq Khattab, the editor-in-chief, and Fares Khashan, the article’s author, were charged with insulting and defaming the president under Articles 23 and 26 of the Lebanese publication law and Article 219 of the penal code, according to Al-Mustaqbal. The journalists face up to two years in prison if convicted. Abdo, who lives in France, has been charged under the same statutes. Khashan is also based in France.

“It’s outrageous that journalists face prison for publishing the comments of a former diplomat about matters of vital public interest,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “This type of punitive case, coupled with the unsolved murders of journalists, endangers Lebanon’s vibrant press.”

Al-Mustaqbal is owned by the family of Rafiq al-Hariri, the slain former prime minister. The paper and its journalists are now facing a total of 12 charges related to defaming the president and other members of parliament, a journalist at the paper told CPJ. One of the most prominent cases involves Khattab and another staff reporter, Zahi Wehbe, who were indicted in July 2005 on charges of libeling Lahoud. That case is pending.
The indictment stemmed from an article that appeared in Al-Mustaqbal on June 7, five days after Lebanese columnist Samir Qassir was murdered in a car bombing. In the article, headlined “His Excellency, the Murderer,” Wehbe wrote: “The general has not, and will not, understand that the people cannot be terrorized.” Although Al-Mustaqbal did not mention Lahoud by name, he is often referred to as “the general” in the press. Wehbe told The Associated Press that the piece was aimed at “all killers in Lebanon.”

Lebanese columnist Gebran Tueni was killed by a bomb in December, and television journalist May Chidiac was gravely wounded in a September bomb attack.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit