Thursday, September 28, 2006

CPJ PR: Gun men kill Iraqi journalist

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465­1004 Fax: (212) 465­9568 Web: E-Mail: Contact: Abi Wright e-mail: Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x-105

IRAQ: Design editor of state-run paper murdered

New York, September 11, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of an editor of Iraq’s state-run daily Al-Sabah. Abdel Karim al-Rubai, 40, a design editor for the newspaper, was shot Saturday morning while traveling to work in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood known as Camp Sara by several gunmen. The driver of the car was seriously wounded, media sources told CPJ.

“We deplore the brutal killing of Abdel Karim al-Rubai,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Al-Sabah and its staff have become repeated targets for insurgents. We urge the authorities to bring those responsible for this murder to justice.”

Al-Sabah reported two weeks ago that it had received a death threat via e-mail against al-Rubai and his family signed by the military wing of the Mujahedeen Council, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq. According to the e-mail, the group was angered by the editor’s accusation that they were behind a car bomb attack on Al-Sabah on August 27, which killed a guard and an unidentified man.

Insurgents have frequently targeted Al-Sabah and other state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. Insurgents have killed at least 18 state media employees since 2004.

In all, 78 journalists including al-Rubai, and 28 media support workers have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003, making it the deadliest conflict in CPJ’s 25-year history. The majority of victims have been Iraqis.

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

OP-ED: Mel Gibson's Rat Race, ByNeal AbuNab

Mel Gibson’s rat race
By Neal AbuNab

You are authorized to republish this article free of charge.Contributions are welcome Please email: Contact Neal AbuNab (313) 506-4409, for all other inquiries. Length of article can be edited according to requirement of editors.Aramedia, P.O.Box 7596, Dearborn, MI 48121, USA All Rights reserved 2006

Some times it feels like we’re always in a race with time. We’re always in a hurry to get things done or racing to get some where fast or just trying to meet some body else’s deadline. Being in a hurry is part of our nature. Impatience to fulfill our most basic needs is imbued in our creation. A baby cries forcefully demanding its milk while a fully-grown corporate executive pounds his fist on the table demanding work to be done.

We’re always racing but we never seem to catch up. Superstar Mel Gibson is telling us to relax and enjoy the ride before it all ends in 2012. Whenever this man speaks some body makes him apologize. The other day he took his new movie, Apocalypto, to a film festival to promote it and made some remarks critical of the Iraq war and the decline of our civilization.

Mel Gibson’s work in movies like Braveheart and the Patriot demonstrate that he is a “for God and for country” type of man. God weighed heavily on his heart when he made “The Passion of the Christ” which infuriated the Jewish institution in America. Then he made his famous anti-Jewish remarks on July 28th when he was arrested for drinking and driving. He cursed at the officers and told them: “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in this world.” Obviously, he was disturbed by the Israel-Lebanon war.

The following day he ate his words and groveled in one apology after the other to the Jewish community. They let the storm die down but they never forgave him and he lost some film contracts in the end. Then, he pleaded no contest to the drinking and driving offense on August 18. The Judge ordered him to get treatment for alcoholism and to do some public service work. On August 20, the Los Angeles Times wrote an editorial calling for disqualifying Mel Gibson from doing public service announcements because he was not a good role model. The paper said: “Gibson should be declared celebrity non grata, left to wrestle with his own demons in private, as most other bigoted people get to do. Obscurity would be the most fitting punishment for the man.”

What do they want from the man besides the whole hearted apology that he made? Maybe he has to check himself into an “Anti-Semitism Rehabilitation Center” to cleanse himself of any critical thoughts of Jews. After completing such a program he will be singing their praise and preaching that they are God’s chosen people. Otherwise, he should re-consider his entire existence as a public figure. I am sure that Mel has millions and millions of dollars that he can afford to speak his mind freely. That’s why his apology is sincere and Jews must accept it and move on. The Pope made anti-Muslim remarks and then he apologized. No one called for his resignation or told him to cancel his existence as a public figure. We have to foster an atmosphere of dialogue that can accept the honest truths of all points of view.

In the latest remarks, Mel Gibson drew a parallel between the United States and the doomed Mayan civilization; the subject of his latest movie. He said: “the precursors to a civilization that’s going under are the same, time and time again.” To illustrate his point he asked: “what’s human sacrifice? If not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason.”

Everyone is critical of the Iraq war but why did such benign remarks draw any attention at all? It is because of the Jewish connection and the implication that Jews are bringing this civilization down. Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, made the linkage for us by stating that "if Jews are responsible for all the world's wars, then by that logic, they are responsible for the war in Iraq.” He wants the 50-year old Oscar winning director to “put matters like that to rest. Until he does, it just hangs over him.”

But the following day Mel offered an apology to the doomed Mayans and not to the Jews. He said: “"Yesterday, when I compared the United States to the doomed Mayan civilization, I had no idea that there were any doomed Mayans still around. I was basically going on the assumption that since they were doomed a long time ago, I was pretty much in the clear."

We learned that even doomed Mayans can protest and their voice does not come from the grave. The National Coalition of Doomed Mayans issued an angry statement saying: “we Mayans may be doomed, but we have feelings.” The group is urging all doomed Mayans to boycott Gibson’s latest film. That should teach him a valuable lesson!

Gibson is a devout Christian and his politics is mostly conservative. He may have offered such scathing criticism of the Iraq war to appease the mostly anti-war Hollywood crowd. It seems like he needs to hire a political consultant these days, somebody like Dick Morris who advised Clinton. His anti-war remarks now probably alienated his core group of conservative supporters. His anti-Jewish remarks alienated the Hollywood crowd and Democrats; and his anti-Mayan remarks alienated the dead people of all bygone civilizations. Will all this affect his popularity or potential sales at the box office? Probably not, and I predict that the opposite will happen.

More people will see his movies than ever before. His remarks represent strong undercurrents in the political discourse. The Rapture Theory and the prophecy of the End Times are current topics discussed by most evangelists and media talk shows. Gibson seems to believe in these ideas and predicting the end of this world is a fulfillment of his convictions. He said: "I don't mean to be a doomsday guy, but the Mayan calendar does end in 2012, boys and girls." He seems to be giving us a hint about the end of our world as the United States falls to its doom like the Mayans did.

The concept of the End Times has been in the subconscious of man since the beginning of time, when he invented the idea the he was created in an instant by a Supreme Being we call God. Any race that has a starting point must also reach a Finish Line. If God created Adam about 10,000 years ago and started this human race then at some point we are going to get tired of running in this marathon. There will be an end to this race.

We will inevitably reach our doom because of the deeds of our own hands. That doesn’t mean the end of human existence. It is simply the end of the rat race that we have created with our own hands, where we turned ourselves into mere robots in a huge industrial machine.

It may also be the end of our racist thinking when we begin to see all humans as equals regardless of their “race, color, religion, or ethnicity.” There is always a silver lining in every cloud and the end of our current way of life might also be the starting point of the God-given promise of a spiritual way of life. Mel Gibson might be right after all when he said “I don't mean to be a doomsday guy.”

Neal AbuNab is a Michigan-based author of “The War on Terror and Democracy”- available at He is a commentator on Arab and Muslim affairs and his weekly column appears in the Arab American News. He can be reached at:


Monday, September 25, 2006

PR: New Philosophical Web Site launched

New Philosophical Website Launched, is a diverse community of engaged philosophers and
philosophically oriented intellectuals. We are interested in writing about
social and political issues, both historical and contemporary, domestic and
international. We view ourselves as contributing to well informed and
analytically substantive discourse focused on issues of moral concern in the
public domain. assumes that no individual or
institution is exempt from moral critique; the website is therefore ardently
unaffiliated. is a unique space amid today's blogs and
journals of opinion. We welcome readers seeking lively, relevant, and serious
writing. Our website is an art piece by Joe Namy, who is part of the Other
Arab Artists Collective in Detroit []. You can see more of
Joe's work at

This first issue of is dedicated to all the innocent
victims in the world, particularly those whose deaths were forgotten,
rationalized, and explained away as collateral damage.

Articles now available at

Mohammed Abed on Morality and Israel’s War on Lebanon

Jaime Ahlberg on Ethical Eating

Lilian Friedberg on Surviving Suicide

Raja Halwani on Israel’s Right to Exist

Shahin Izadi on Global Poverty

Joseph Levine on the Moral Appropriateness of Divestment

Emily McRae on Philosophy and Activism

Matthew Mitterko on Morality and Fair Trade

Steven Salaita on Progressive Zionism and Michael Lerner

Ora Wise on Divestment and Divestment Activism

Sunday, September 24, 2006

PR: New Arab News Site launches/features Arab Bloggers/Writers


Nadia Gergis
(407) 592-9399

Orlando, Florida (Sept. 25, 2006) – Arab Americans have entered the blogosphere through, which aims to be the Drudge Report* and Huffington Post* of the Middle East.

" is the Arab American street," said site founder Nadia Gergis, 30. "We aim to be the pulse, the leading online destination for Arab Americans on the web." provides:

- Streaming breaking news on the Middle East
- Story commenting system
- Original Arab American blogs
- Thought provoking political commentary
- The only nationwide Arab American community calendar fills a critical gap for one of the nation’s fastest growing, most dynamic, and arguably least understood population groups, estimated at 3.5 million in the US.

In the Middle East, there are an estimated 18.2 million Internet users. is the only online destination that features original blogs from seven experts who’ve spent a majority of their lifetimes immersed in Arab American affairs.’s exclusive bloggers:

Asli Bali is a graduate student at Princeton University, president of the New York Chapter of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and a lawyer in private practice in New York. Hayan Charara is the author of The Alchemist's Diary and The Sadness of Others.

Ray Hanania is an award winning journalist and columnist. Pulitzer Prize nominated Hanania has performed standup comedy lampooning his Arab heritage and his unusual marriage to his wife, who is Jewish.

Ferial Masry is the Democratic candidate for California’s 37th Assembly District. This Saudi-born woman is the mother of a US soldier who served in Iraq.

Issa Mikel is a Palestinian-American lawyer, human rights activist and member of the National Council of Arab-Americans, New York Chapter.

Courtney Radsch is a scholar and freelance journalist who focuses on the Arab media and politics.

Maria Shehata produces her own show twice a week at Joe Franklin's Comedy Club and has performed in NY's Arab-American Comedy Festival.

With no end in sight for the Iraq war, tragedy in the occupied territories and a proposed United Nations embargo on Iran, monitoring the pulse of the Arab world and understanding the Arab American community is now possible through

* is neither endorsed nor affiliated with the owners of these media outlets.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

PR CAIR urges compensation to Churches by Muslims

CAIR ASKS MUSLIMS TO HELP REPAIR DAMAGED CHURCHES - Palestinian churches damaged following Pope's comments on Islam(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/20/2006) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on Muslims in America and worldwide to donate to help repair Palestinian churches damaged following recent remarks by Pope Benedict XVI perceived as critical of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.SEE: Churches Targeted Over Pope's Comments

CAIR is urging Muslims to help repair the churches in the West Bank and Gaza by sending a donation to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

(Earmark donations for: "Palestine Damaged Churches")
On Thursday, September 21, CAIR's Florida office will hold a news conference at the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg to deliver seed money to repair the churches.

WHAT: CAIR-FL to Deliver Seed Money for Repair of Palestinian Churches
WHEN: Thursday, September 21, 2006, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, 6363 9th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, Florida

CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506"Our campaign is designed to send the message that attacks on any houses of worship are not acceptable and will not be tolerated," said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier.In a statement released following the Pope's remarks, CAIR called for increased dialogue and outreach efforts aimed at building better relations between Christianity and Islam. CAIR's statement read in part: "Let us all continue the interfaith efforts promoted by the late Pope John Paul II, who made great strides in bringing Muslims and Catholics together for the common good."CAIR has 32 offices and chapters 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.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726,

OP-ED, Pope is wrong and so is violence, By Neal AbuNab

The Pope is wrong and violence is wrong
By Neal AbuNab

You are authorized to republish this article free of charge.Contributions are welcome Please email: Contact Neal AbuNab (313) 506-4409, for all other inquiries. Length of article can be edited according to requirement of editors.Aramedia, P.O.Box 7596, Dearborn, MI 48121, USA All Rights reserved 2006

Several churches in the occupied Palestinian territories were firebombed and attacked by overzealous Palestinian Muslim youths. It was one of the angry reactions to the Pope’s comments that enveloped the Muslim world last week. But this kind of extreme reaction is abhorrent. As a Muslim Palestinian I find myself embarrassed by the misguided anger of our youth. I offer a most sincere apology to all Palestinian Christians and to the entire Christian world for such despicable acts. The violent reaction is inexcusable but I blame the dire economic and political conditions for this violence rather than the Pope’s remarks. In the past few months, Palestinian youths have vented their anger against almost every institution whether it was their own parliament or the buildings of the United Nations.

Muslims all around the globe seem to have become hyper-sensitive to critical remarks and they are easily aroused by verbal assaults on their religion. It is a sign of insecurity for a culture that feels cornered, under siege and does not like or know how to be comfortable under a microscope.

Islam is going through a renaissance and it is hard to predict what it would look like in the end, but being in the spotlight is sure to have a sanitizing effect. The Pope has every right to speak his mind freely about a religion that has competed with and threatened his own for the past 14 centuries. He is in the business of selling spirituality and he is reacting to a threat that is eroding his market share. He is the head of the “Central Spiritual Agency” and he has the final say so whether we go to heaven or to hell.

Islam came and divulged this authority and decentralized spirituality so that every person became individually responsible for determining his own destiny; whether it be heaven or hell. The prophet Muhammad is the only messenger of God whose exact words survive till today. The story of Moses was written by his so-called followers 600 years after his death. Jesus never intended to create a new religion but it was his former tormentor (Saul a.k.a. St. Paul) who capitalized on his pain and created the Central Spiritual Agency, where they handed “deeds to heaven” to all the faithful willing to kill the infidel in a crusade to occupy the holy land.

Yes, I have heard it many times before; the Pope has apologized for the crusade. And it is time to move on and accept that ideas and theologies are not to blame for the endless crimes of man against man. The Pope was wrong to insist on quoting an ignorant Byzantine emperor and he was wrong in offering a half-hearted apology. I do not question the sincerity of his motive in creating an opening for real dialogue, but I suspect that he wants a piece of the limelight focused on Islam these days. His struggle or jihad has a different objective from the Muslims’ jihad. He is combating the idea of irrelevancy and he has conceded that Europe has succumbed to reason and secularism. He wants a piece of the action in reforming Islam which Bush and Blair seem to have monopolized for the past five years. Muslims on the other hand appear as if they are resisting reform like it was the plague. They want to do it at their own snail’s pace without pressure or interference from the outside.

I don’t blame them because no institution will ever accept reform from the outside and especially from its competition. True reform always happens from within. Reformers from the outside are more interested in breaking down a competing institution and demolishing it in the name of reform. That was Reagan’s strategy towards the Soviet reforms championed by Gorbachev back in the eighties. Certain Western powers seem convinced that they can follow the same playbook with Islam. They are mistaken and their insistence on this flawed strategy will only cause the breakdown of their own institutions. Islam is very strong in its flexibility and malleability and it is only a matter of time for its people to control the debate from both sides of the game. Islam has a tendency to suck in every reformer, thinker and theologian into its cosmic allure.

The western media has blamed the Pope for inciting violence in the Muslim world. Scenes of burning effigies of the Pope play to the benefit of Republicans in this election season and they strengthen the Catholic Church in the US, which generates more than half of the Vatican’s revenues.

But I blame Muslim politicians mainly in Pakistan and Turkey who were the first ones to jump on this opportunity and ride a wave of demagoguery that inflamed the passions of their ignorant flocks. It is the same type of ignorance that issued a decree to kill Salman Rushdie for writing a book. Instead of engaging in constructive and enlightening rebuttals of the Pope’s allegations, they incited people to violence. The Pope’s remarks were wrong and the reaction was wrong, and no two wrongs can ever make a right.

The Pope seems to accept and preach the premise that Islam was spread through violence. He has not refuted or repudiated this ancient Byzantine distortion. I would like to debate the Pope and show him that no idea as noble as Islam could have spread so fast and so wide by the use of force. If he studies his own history he will find that his own Vatican papacy rose to dominance because of Islam. The founder of the Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne (742-814), was educated at the hands of a Christian priest who spent most of his youth learning in Arabic the civilization of Islam in Spain. This priest became Pope Leo III and with his student, Charlemagne, they subjugated and Christianized the Saxons and other Europeans by force.

It can be argued that Islam saved Christianity and Judaism from demise. The respect and confirmation of the divinity of Moses and Jesus are clearly established in the Qur’an. Such clear words from God, prior to the revelation of the Qur’an, did not exist.

I urge Muslim scholars to engage the Pope in an honest interfaith dialogue that does not shy away from highlighting stark differences while at the same time creating an open, respectful and peaceful flow of information that educates the curious masses on all sides. Islam is a decentralized religion and Muslims will not be happy to have an Ayatollah or a politician debate the Pope, because each sect and each group has its own opinion on the subject. The Pope is going to be debating many Muslims on this subject for a very long time.

And we should by all means have a constructive dialogue that will bring more peace and harmony to this world instead of creating more reasons for hate and violence. A civil interfaith dialogue that develops a higher level of tolerance, openness and acceptance of differences is very much needed. Faith is supposed to create harmony with existence and seek peaceful means to resolve differences between people.

The Abrahamic faith with its three branches of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is in dire need of reform so that they all stop fighting each other and agree that they all basically worship the same God.

Neal AbuNab is a Michigan-based author of “The War on Terror and Democracy”- available at He is a commentator on Arab and Muslim affairs and his weekly column appears in the Arab American News. He can be reached at:


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Young Arab Leaders promote cooperation and dialogue

Young Arab Leaders Promote Cooperation and Dialogue

Nancy Goldstein

H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Clinton Lead the Effort:
Address the First Annual Arab and American Action Forum

“Prosperity and peace are the products of two conditions only: global cooperation and mutual respect,” said H.M. King Abdullah II

New York, NY (September 19, 2006) – Over 200 Arab and American leaders from the private sector, media, public sector and civil society today gathered in a first of a kind step toward establishing a platform for dialogue between the Arab world and the U.S. The participants included H.M. King Abdullah II; H.H. Crown Prince of Bahrain Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa; former U.S. President Bill Clinton; Founder and CEO of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab; Dina Powell, Assistant Secretary, Education and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State; and Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Mark Mallock Brown.

The group came together at the first annual Arab and American Action Forum (AAAF), an event organized by the Young Arab Leaders (YAL) aimed at creating initiatives that provide opportunities for the Arab youth in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, leadership, dialogue exchange and youth networks.

Addressing the Forum, H.M. King Abdullah II said, “This Forum takes place at a critical time. Recent crises have demonstrated a worrying disconnect between peoples and regions. In this century, prosperity and peace cannot be achieved in isolation, or gained by force; they are the products of two conditions only: global cooperation and mutual respect.” Speaking about the challenges in the Middle East, he added, “Recent crises shout out the urgent need for a better partnership among us, especially for peace. The evidence is clear: piecemeal and unilateral solutions do not work.”

Speaking at the Forum, President Clinton said, “YAL represents the ‘Other Arab World;’ and in times of crisis, people like the YAL are largely invisible.” He stressed the urgency for the YAL to make its presence known and to remember that presence and action in the region can have a positive impact. President Clinton also urged people to continue to have a dialogue because there is a lot that the American public does not know about the Arab world. “The essence of living together as a civilized people is realizing that you have a choice in how to respond to the actions of others,” he added.

“We are here to listen to your concerns, and to share our own. We know we have a challenge at hand and we are here to help find a solution. But we cannot do it alone – we need your help,” said YAL Chairman of the Board Saeed Al Muntafiq to the over 120 American leaders gathered at the Forum. “What we hope to do today is contribute to an environment that will give the Arab youth education and global exposure, and help build a prosperous and peaceful Arab world.”

Through a series of structured workshops today, AAAF participants will arrive at mutually beneficial projects and concrete actions to promote initiatives in the five key development areas. The outcome of these initiatives, through specific commitments of the participants, will be presented at the Clinton Global Initiative tomorrow and will serve as a working guideline for the coming year.

Al Muntafiq added, “As a result of these initiatives, we hope to provide young Arab men and women opportunities to interact with and work alongside their counterparts in the U.S.” He added, “Given the historically polarized agenda between the Arab world and the U.S., we have no choice but to marshal the common will and restore bridges. Leaders in the Arab world have a responsibility to take the initiative, and here we are.”

Klaus Schwab, in his address, presented a three-pronged approach: 1. Bonding – sharing of the problem; 2. Binding - defining the solutions; and 3. Building - acting and start building together.

For more information about the Arab and American Action Forum please contact Nancy Goldstein at 212.614.4827 or

About YAL
Launched in 2004 by the World Economic Forum, YAL is an independent pan-Arab organization which aims to create the necessary environment for future leaders to grow and develop in the region. It is a network of Arab men and women who have seen the power of action in their own lives, reached unprecedented levels of success for their age, are positive and can see beyond today’s difficulties to that vision of a prosperous Arab future. These leaders are currently in prominent positions of responsibility and are destined for extraordinary achievement, and they believe that their efforts today can have an impact on their communities, countries and the region as a whole. For more information please visit:


Monday, September 18, 2006

PR: Groups back "Protected Status" designation for Lebanon and Gaza Strip

ADC Press Release:
Over 40 Organizations Support ADC's Request for Temporary Protected Status for Lebanon and Gaza

Washington, DC September 18, 2006 Today, over 40 organizations, from across the United States, endorsed a letter in support of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's (ADC) administrative request that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State designate Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to the severe humanitarian crisis in those areas.TPS would allow nationals of Lebanon and residents of the Gaza Strip to remain in the United States on a temporary basis to ensure that they are not returned to an area rife with violence, with dwindling access to water, medical and food supplies.ADC's administrative request, filed on July 24, 2006

(See: )

calls on Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to designate Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for TPS due to the severe ongoing humanitarian crisis in both Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Recently, ADC has had discussions about this request with officials from both the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State.In light of the continuing crisis, Palestinian and Lebanese nationals cannot be returned to those areas without great threat to their safety. Today’s letter (see below) renews the request on DHS and the Department of State to act on this issue and to grant TPS to citizens of Lebanon and residents of the Gaza Strip.


September 18, 2006

Dear Secretary Chertoff:

In light of the continuing humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, we, the undersigned local and national civil and human rights organizations, are writing in support of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's July 24, 2006 request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Designation for the citizens of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.Continuing Humanitarian Crisis in Lebanon:Lebanon continues to face a humanitarian crisis despite the August 14th, 2006 ceasefire due to the destruction of thousands of civilian homes, the destruction of the country's infrastructure, and the recently lifted air and sea blockade. At least 1,183 Lebanese civilians died as a result of the conflict, and according to UNICEF, one third of the civilian casualties have been children. The United Nations estimates that 15, 000 homes have been destroyed with an additional 7,500 homes that were damaged. The bombings and the destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure has caused the displacement of 970,000 Lebanese nationals. Water mains, wells, storage tanks, power plants, pumping stations and water treatment works have been severely damaged throughout the country but especially in Southern Lebanon further aggravating humanitarian conditions including access to clean water and medical treatment. Due to the heavy damages incurred by Beirut Airport, traveling to and from Lebanon remains difficult if not impossible. In addition, the severe damage or destruction of Lebanon's roads and bridges, further complicate the return of civilians to their homes and access to food supplies and clean water.Current Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip:While the world’s focus has rightly been focused on Lebanon's humanitarian crisis, the situation in the Gaza Strip continues to worsen. In addition to the concerns mentioned in our first letter (see link below), the number of civilian casualties continues to grow. According to the United Nations, more than 200 Gaza Strip civilians have been killed, more than a quarter of which have been children. The recent August 15, 2006 closure of the Karni crossing preventing aid from reaching the densely populated Gaza Strip has only exacerbated Gaza's humanitarian crisis. The United Nations recent report states that since June 28, 2006, the Israeli Air Force has launched at least 267 air attacks on the densely populated Gaza Strip destroying more than 300 homes, hundreds of greenhouses and its civilian infrastructure. The destruction of Gaza’s powerplants and bridges leave more than one million Gazans with very limited access to food and water with 70% of the population relying on food aid.On behalf of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and undersigned local and national organizations, we renew our request and urge you, Secretary Chertoff, to designate Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for Temporary Protected Status to ensure the safe return of their nationals.We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and your staff to further discuss this matter.Sincerely,The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)American Arab Chamber of CommerceArab American Community Coalition – Seattle, WashingtonArab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)Arab Law Students Association—American University Washington College of LawCongress of Arab American Organizations (CAAO)Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)Lebanese American Heritage ClubNational Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL)The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s GuildThe National Lawyers Guild (NLG)New Alliance for Middle East Solutions (NAMES)The Society for Justice in Palestine/Israel—American University Washington College of LawUS Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation


ADC—Baltimore ChapterADC—Connecticut ChapterADC—Greater Chicago ChapterADC—Greater Detroit ChapterADC—Houston ChapterADC—Kalamazoo ChapterADC—Kentucky ChapterADC—Las Vegas ChapterADC—Los Angeles ChapterADC—Massachusetts ChapterADC—New Jersey ChapterADC—New York ChapterADC—Orange County ChapterADC—Philadelphia ChapterADC—Phoenix ChapterADC—San Diego ChapterADC—San Francisco ChapterADC—Seattle ChapterADC—St. Louis ChapterADC—Tucson ChapterADC—University of Michigan ChapterADC—Washington, D.C. Area ChapterADC—Wayne State University ChapterADC—Wisconsin ChapterTo see ADC's July 24, 2006, letter requesting Temporary Protected Status for nationals of the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, click:

Saturday, September 16, 2006

OP-ED, Good Riddance to DeVos, By Neal AbuNab

Good riddance to Dick DeVos
By Neal AbuNab

You are authorized to republish this article free of charge.Contributions are welcome Please email: Contact Neal AbuNab (313) 506-4409, for all other inquiries. Length of article can be edited according to requirement of editors.Aramedia, P.O.Box 7596, Dearborn, MI 48121, USA All Rights reserved 2006

Dick DeVos, Michigan’s Republican candidate for governor, cancelled an appearance with AAPAC (Arab American Public Affairs Council) members scheduled for last Wednesday citing family issues. He apologized for the cancellation and called it a misunderstanding. The news of this cancellation attracted attention and it was perceived as an insult to the Arab American community. But such insults are not new to the Arab American voter, as most local politicians have become adept at pacifying this voter segment without ever giving them any substance.

The local media reported that the DeVos campaign had concerns about pro-Hizbullah comments made by AAPAC’s President and Publisher of "The Arab American News," Osama Siblani, during the latest Israeli-Lebanese war. Some of these comments were highlighted in an article published by the "Detroit Jewish News." Its editor mounted an attack on Siblani, Abed Hammoud and AAPAC for arguing that Hamas and Hizbullah were freedom fighters. He urged local politicians and candidates "not to attend AAPAC events or accept contributions from the group because of anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and arguably anti-Semitic comments by its leaders.”

The DeVos campaign complied with the Jewish request and cancelled the meeting. In an article on Septemeber 7th, the "Detroit Jewish News" claimed full credit for the victory over AAPAC.

The article quoted Greg McNeilly, campaign manager of DeVos for Governor, as saying: “DeVos supporters initially made campaign leaders aware of the activities and statements of AAPAC leaders, and then saw Sklar's JN column. After independently verifying the statements, McNeilly said they told AAPAC that "they are not willing to come and have that connection."

But on Monday, September 11, Dick DeVos met with a handful of community leaders, including Osama Siblani, Abed Hammoud, and Imad Hamad, and apologized to them for what he called “mistakes” committed by his campaign. Our green candidate will soon learn that such political blunders are career breakers. British Prime Minister Tony Blair is stepping down next year because of his mishandling of the Israeli-Lebanese war and simply acting as George Bush’s poodle. Apparently, Dick DeVos wants to avoid sinking in the Middle East’s political quick sand. But the story has already developed legs of its own and it promises to develop further, and possibly gain national attention.

The DeVos campaign has not disavowed the Jewish claim of victory. This defeat for Arab Americans facilitated by DeVos is a major problem for a candidate who is trying to sell himself as a bridge-builder and a catalyst for harmony and peace. Just like Bush’s poodle, DeVos appears to be the Jewish community’s poodle. And on this occasion I would like to thank Mr. Dick DeVos for creating such a mess out of a simple campaign stop, which he requested in the first place. He saved us the embarrassment and the awkwardness of being cordial to him and to his Republican Party. He may have also provided our community with a real incentive to go out and vote in this election.

We know where Dick DeVos stands on the most important issue to our community; namely the Arab-Israeli conflict. He stands with his boss, George Bush, squarely on the side of Israel. A vote for Republicans is a vote for war and a vote for Democrats is a vote against the war. President Bush has already framed the debate of this mid term election and you can either vote for “staying the course” of war or you can vote for searching for peace. Republican candidates in Michigan including DeVos and Senate candidate Michael Bouchard have fallen in line and have chosen to be the yes men of Bush.

If DeVos had taken the time to understand the context of Siblani’s and most Arab American leaders’ comments in support of Hizbullah he may have understood how the leaders of this community served America’s interests first and foremost. Their comments reflected the prevailing sentiment of 90 percent of the Lebanese population. They were not a blanket statement of support to Hizbullah and its past actions. They were in support of defending Lebanon’s sovereignty from a barbaric indiscriminate attack waged by Israel. They certainly did not support Hizbullah’s attack on the U.S. Marines in 1983, and on a visit to Lebanon last year, Siblani urged pro-Hizbullah supporters not to chant “death to America” in their protests.

Siblani and all Arab American leaders do not support the enemies of America even if they are Hizbullah. But they believe, like most Americans do, in the inalienable right of the Lebanese people to defend themselves against the merciless aggression of a foreign state.

Good riddance to DeVos and to his warmongering party. This episode revealed to Michiganders the kind of incompetence that the Republican Party has become famous for. His campaign ads claim that he is an experienced chief executive. The way he has mismanaged this simple campaign meeting speaks volumes of his abysmal skills. Just like his boss George Bush, Dick DeVos is a man born with a silver foot in his mouth. His speeches echo the familiar themes of Bush’s campaign of 2000. Bush claimed to be a uniter, just like DeVos is claiming, but ended up being the greatest divider since Richard Nixon. DeVos has already created a wedge between Arabs and Jews in Michigan.

Bush claimed to approach foreign policy with “humility” and not to commit our troops to “nation-building” mistakes. He turned out to be the most insensitive arrogant American President the world has ever seen. I suspect DeVos will act the same way if he becomes the next governor of Michigan.

By listening to the "Detroit Jewish News," DeVos proved to be even dumber than his boss, George Bush. He has already resorted to the politics of exclusion and applied sanctions against Arab Americans before taking office. His boss did not do that till after he took the oath of office. He met with Arab American leaders several times on the campaign trail and was able to pacify them by acting “nice” without ever giving them any substance.

Wayne County will decide who the next governor of Michigan will be just like it did four years ago when it gave Jennifer Granholm a lead of 200,000 votes over her Republican opponent. On Election Day, November 7, at least 100,000 Arab American voters will go to the polls in Wayne County and cast their votes. They may not cast the deciding vote but they will vote for somebody to be the next governor of Michigan. That is a fact that Dick DeVos and his Jewish appeasers can not help. They can not deny them the right to vote. They will most likely vote for somebody who did not insult them. Thank you to the "Detroit Jewish News" for making this choice clear to most of us.

Neal AbuNab is a Michigan-based author of “The War on Terror and Democracy”- available at He is a commentator on Arab and Muslim affairs and his weekly column appears in the Arab American News. He can be reached at:


Arab Writers condemn Israeli/US Blokade of Gaza Strip

RAWI Condemns the Economic Blockade of Gaza
Calls on the US, EU, and Israel toLift It Immediately

The Radius of Arab American Writers, Inc. [RAWI] deplores the ongoing economicblockade by Israel and its sponsor, the United States, of the Gaza Strip, hometo 1.4 million Palestinians. We call on Israel, the United States, and theEuropean Union to end this blockade immediately in order to alleviate Gaza’seconomic collapse and the resultant widespread starvation.

According to the New York Times, the majority of Gaza’s child population is nowmalnourished and most of Gaza’s families have been reduced to planting vegetables in sand in order to feed themselves. The Independent of Londonreports that the residents of Gaza are “struggling to survive in the face of aneconomic blockade.”

The effects of this blockade have been worsened by the fact that in its recentinvasion of Gaza, which went largely unreported in American media, Israeldestroyed whatever remained of Gaza’s infrastructure in addition to killing atleast 146 civilians, many of them children.We condemn not only the poor timing and strategic foolishness of this economic blockade, but also its immorality. A reaction to the Palestinians’ selectionof Hamas to a parliamentary majority in a free and fair election, the economicblockade appears to collectively punish innocent people for doing nothing morethan exercising their democratic rights.

RAWI views as shocking, preposterous,and racist the justifications for this blockade based on the indemonstrablenotion that Hamas endeavors to destroy Israel, a position articulated recentlyon the New York Times letters page: “If the [Palestinian] electorate wants agovernment run by a party that is sworn to destroy Israel, it shouldn’t be asurprise when Israel cuts off financing in response.”We would point out in response to this sort of logic that elections in theUnited States and Israel produced right-wing governments that seek thedestruction of Palestine (and, unlike the Palestinians, have the power to acton this impulse, a situation evident today in Gaza).Therefore, as a community of Arab American writers and scholars we would like tobring to the attention of our American compatriots the fact that the UnitedStates government is more dangerous to the Palestinians than the Palestinians’government ever possibly could be to Americans.

All reasoning underlying the continuation of the economic blockade of Gaza,then, is dubious politically, strategically, and morally. RAWI calls for itsimmediate cessation and for an investigation by an international governing bodyof widespread human rights abuses by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

We also call on fellow writers and scholars to raise their voices as individualsand institutions in opposition to this humanitarian disaster.

For more information visit

Friday, September 15, 2006

OP-ED: The Passion of the Pope, By Ray Hanania

The passion of the Pope
By Ray Hanania

Hey Pope, haven’t you figured something out that most people already know?

Extremist in the Islamic world have more weight on public opinion than the moderates who fear violence, bullying and retribution if they dare to questions the extremist lines.

I am no scholar on Islam, but I am very experienced on the issue of Christian Arab persecution and bullying by religious fanatics in the Islamic world.

The real problem with the Arab and Islamic world is not the religion of Islam, which is a religion based on peace and purity of thought.

No, the real problem is the small cabal of extremists and tyrants in the Islamic World who claim to interpret not only what Islam means, like Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and a handful of other characters.

These fanatics have distorted the true meaning of Islam, and the moderates in the Islamic world are afraid to speak out against them.

You can’t blame them. After all, if they speak out against the extremists, they face opposition from two different sides.

On the one hand, the extremists will initiate violence, intimidation and other forms of oppression on the people who dare to challenge their distortion of Islamic principles.

And on the other hand, people like you, President Bush and many Western leaders can’t tell the difference between moderates and extremists in the Arab and Muslim World, so you allow the extremists to bully and threaten the moderates giving them no support.

What you said Pope Benedict was, well, stupid. If you can point out that the Prophet Mohammed urged his followers to spread the word of Islam by the sword, it can also be said that your predecessors at the Vatican also more violently imposed the extremist will of Christian fanaticism on the world.

I mean, the Inquisition was not a Muslim court. It was the result of extremist Christians.
The terms "Jihad" and "Crusade" are words that have many meanings of noble struggle when used by moderates and of unjust violence when embraced by the fanatics.

The Sword of Christian fanaticism is a bloodied as any scimitar you might reference from the deep and dark pages of the ancient past.

Rather than promote peace and love, your comments only serve to throw kerosene on a raging fire that was started, I might add, by extremist Christians who sought to divide and control the Arab and Islamic Worlds when they were only known as Oil Fields after World War I.

The West handpicked the tyrants and the monarchs who ruled the Arab and Muslim World, some of whom today have been ejected from the Western fraternity of International tyranny.

Let’s face it, Pope, you may not like the words, for example, of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, but he is the product of a world the West create. The United States CIA murdered the duly elected president of Iran and then installed a meglomaniac religious fanatic who declared himself not just a king, but the king of kings – Shah in Shah. And the Shah of Iran oppressed and murdered more innocent victims in his first two years in power than Saddam Hussein killed in the late 1980s who plotted against his American-allied dictatorship.

I don’t blame you for not knowing history, Pope. Like most Westerners, you probably grew up learning about the Middle East and the Arab and Muslim Worlds from Hollywood movies and from the Western Media.

They’re not exactly the most reliable sources for accurate news and information, if you haven’t already figured that out. The mainstream Western media is in fact the fuel behind the bigotry and racism that provokes the victims into resistance, revolution and the overthrow of the governments the West has always sought to impose on the people of the Middle East.

Of course, maybe this is a strategy that I have not yet recognized. Let’s start a fight with the Muslims in order to deflect eyes and focus away from the constant revelations about the Catholic Church’s complicity in the Holocaust and the murder by an avowed Christian, Adolph Hitler, of more than 6 million Jews, 5 million gypsies, invalids, and ethnic minorities, and more than 40 million other people including Russians and people of Eastern Europe.

Yea, the Pope who was in charge during that war wasn’t exactly the model of principle or morality.

And today, the Christian World is happy to take the Holocaust and the Western hostility against Jews and cast it upon the people of the Arab and Muslim World who with only one minor exception because of pure political opportunity, was uninvolved.

I think you should apologize, Pope Benedict.

But then I also think that many in the Islamic World including most of their leaders should also offer an apology of their own to Christian and Jewish minorities whom they say they treat with respect but abuse, mistreat and disrespect all the time.

That is besides the point of your rather inappropriate comments, of course.

But in the end, everyone has some blame for the tragedies that have engulfed today’s worlds, don’t they all?

(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and co-founder of the National Arab American Journalists Association. He can be reached at

OP-ED, Israeli Wall differs from US Mexican barrier, By Ray Hanania

US barrier differs significantly different from Israel's wall

Sept. 16, 2006
Arab American Media Services. Permission granted to republish in entirety.

By Ray Hanania

One is allegedly being built to provide security, the other to prevent non-citizens from entering their country.

The Wall that Israel continues to build and the wall that the United States is planning to build have many things in common.

But the one thing they do not share is deception.

The Israeli wall is in fact deceptive in its motives, hiding behind a popular excuse to justify an unpopular real objective.

The American Wall to prevent Mexicans from entering the United States illegal will be built on American soil.

The Israeli Wall which is mostly concrete and 26 feet tall in populated areas, and a combination of equally tall barbed wire fencing bordered by cement trusses and moats is being built on land that is outside of Israel and now farmed and owned by Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israelis see the debate over whether it is a Wall or a Fence as an opportunity to distract audiences from the real issue that undermines Israel’s arguments justifying the wall that it is really an outright land grab to expand the boundaries of the Jewish State of Israel by annexing by default land from non-Jewish inhabitants in the West Bank.

Palestinians are constantly distracted to the debate over whether or not the Wall is in fact a Wall, which suggests a harsher image, or a “fence,” which implies a more temporary structure.

They have even augmented the adjectives used to describe the Wall – something Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims do all too often implying that the reality of the tragedy they constantly face under Israel’s brutal occupation is never tragic enough.

It’s the “Apartheid Wall” which wraps itself around an unholy, immoral policy that was the official definition of the former South African governments that intentionally by law segregated Whites from Blacks and imposed a system of outright discrimination against Blacks by the White Minority population.

Israel’s law also embrace similar discrimination based on religion, granting to Jews greater citizenship benefits than those given to the Christian and Muslim “citizens” of Israel.

The reality is that Israel discriminates against Christians and Muslim citizens on the basis of race and religion, giving non-Jews a special numerical code that identifies them apart from Jewish citizens on citizenship papers and ID cards.

It’s abhorrent, but Israel’s subtle campaign to discriminate against Palestinians in every possible way is far from the outright aspects that Apartheid so abhorrent to so many in the world.

To fight the Wall, Palestinians should focus on the fact that the wall or fence, however Israelis wish to describe it, is less about preventing violence or terrorism, and more about annexing land under the guise of the alleged higher moral call.

It doesn’t matter whether it is a wall of concrete or a fence of wire. The Israeli barrier, the neutral term beleaguered western media outlets have surrendered to under intense pressure from the pro-Israel lobby, still conveys an immoral and unprincipled connotation when the true reasons for the wall are exposed as a clever land grab.

The theft of land has been a singularly consistent chorus in the orchestra of Israeli actions since it was founded through conflict and war in 1948.

The barrier contemplated by the United States and approved recently by the U.S. Congress would be a fence of wire rather than a concrete wall, yet it is invoking outrage among even those who strongly support curbing the immigration of foreigners illegally into the country across the border with Mexico.

Part of this opposition is certainly driven by racism and class distinction. But the images of a Wall were only recently in our generation erased from our memory as remnants of World War II and all the terror and oppression that war symbolized.

The Berlin Wall was a wall of shame, a symbol of oppression and the icon of totalitarianism. Why has Israel’s Wall managed to fall through the cracks of principle and morality?

Granted, Americans in particular among their generation in the West are the least informed people on earth about the truths of the Middle east conflict. They are slaves to media manipulation, the real materialization of the fears of George Orwell’s 1984.

The tyrants frighteningly evoked in Orwell’s fictionalized expression of future fear have not stormed upon American streets with tanks, soldiers and restrictive Nazi-like laws. Instead, they have cleverly managed communications to imprison the minds of Americans in a slavery of ignorance of facts and knowledge.

If Israel wanted to build a wall separating Palestinians from Israelis, I could easily support that notion. Most people who embrace peace based on justice and hope that violence will be one-day overcome by reason in the Middle East also might support the building of a wall, if it were built on Israeli lands and not as many as miles into the occupied territories of what should become an independent Palestinian State.

Imagine if the United States were to use the estimated $2 billion to $7 billion dollars needed to construct the 3,340 KM-long border fence or wall not on the border but on the lands of Mexico, the outrage and the violence that would be provoked.

In fact, I could imagine that if the United States were to do what Israel is doing to the Palestinians regarding land annexation, Mexico would declare war on America, and Mexicans would use whatever means available to free their lands, too.

The rights of individuals, the principles of justice and the rule of law all stand on the side of the landowner, not the powerful who believe that security can be misused as a means of taking someone else’s lands.

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American journalist, author and co-founder of the National Arab American Journalists Association. He can be reached at

Monday, September 11, 2006

OP-ED: Remembering the "Aftermath" of Sept. 11. By Ray Hanania

Now that we remembered 9/11, remember its aftermath
By Ray Hanania

I didn’t have to buy an American flag on Sept. 11 like many of my neighbors who went out and bought flags to fly for the first time in many years.

I already owned one given to my mother by the U.S. 5th Army after my father, a World War II veteran, had died in 1970. Like my dad, I was a veteran, too, and we always flew our flag.

But on Sept. 11, the patriotism of my father’s generation that was driven by justice and respect for human life was thrown out the window. Millions of Americans went out and bought an American flag in response to the Sept. 11 terrorism, and many of them turned the symbol of patriotism into a new symbol of division and even hatred.

Their anger embraced the narrow-minded logic of President Bush who drew a line in the sand and said you are either with us or against us.

From that moment on, America became the land of vengeance, hysteria and injustice.

At my office where I worked as a senior media consultant, a colleague came up to me that morning screaming “We are at war. We are at war. And your people did it.”

My people, I thought? My people happen to be from the South Side of Chicago. She was Irish American and celebrated many of the hyphenated ethnic activities of her community without thought of being unpatriotic. But suddenly, being Arab American or Muslim American meant that “we” were not Americans.

Within a year, I was pushed out of that job and into a new situation where the uneasiness of being Arab in America was unrelenting.

A neighbor emailed me a message threatening me saying I would be punished for what “your people” did.

Again, “my people” as if the breadth of the ignorance and lack of education about the world in America was finally exposed for the very first time in World history.

I called the local police who went to his home and confronted him and asking why he would threaten me, a veteran of the Vietnam War? The man explained, meekly I might add, that he “thought” I was “one of those terrorists” because I was proud to be Arab American and never shied away from letting people know who I really was.

He told the police that he was sorry because he had “threatened the wrong Ay-rab.”

I drove into a shopping mall near my home and pulled next to a car that had words painted on its window and on its fenders and doors. The sentences were all threatening and confrontational.

The sentence on the back window read, “If you want to see jahad or ala, mess with an American.”

At least he spelled “American” correctly, but I could quickly see that the ignorance that Americans have lived in about the realities of the Middle East would soon quickly spill over into a new kind of American hatred, viciousness and even violence against people “like me.”

And sure enough, during the six months after Sept. 11, more than a dozen “Americans” who happened to “look” Middle Eastern had been murdered all across the United States.

In every instance, police claimed that the killings were not hate crimes because there was always another reason why murderers kill people,

In one case, a man hated another and was jealous because he had taken his girl friend. But the man confessed after killing the Arab American that Sept. 11 had pushed him to see that he had to do something.

That murder was never considered a hate crime.

A woman who was a former member of the Chicago Board of Education was walking through O’Hare International Airport returning to Palestine to be by the side of her dying father when the clerk at the airline check-in counter asked her if she wanted “Muslim food.”

No one in the Arab American community had ever heard of such a thing, “Muslim food.” And she asked why they would ask her that. She was taken out of line and to a special place at the airport where all her belongings were searched. And when they searched everything except her purse, she asked them, if you are looking for a bomb, shouldn’t you also search my purse?

The police immediately arrested her for using the word “bomb” in an airport and held her in jail without bond for three days. The FBI declined to prosecute but the angry Chicago Police officer who arrested Amna Mustafa refused to back down.

It was a matter of patriotism to him and he repeatedly scolded her for the actions of “your people.”

Meanwhile, her father died and was buried while she sat in her cell crying. Within a few days, she was fired from her county job but eventually after a long and lonely struggle – because no one would stand up for the rights of Arab Americans, she won her case against the Chicago Police Department which has a history of civil rights abuses and secret criminal gangs.

An Arab man opened a restaurant only six weeks before Sept. 11 featuring Arab food. He was so proud. Everything was perfect. The service was professional. The customers, mostly American, flocked to his store.

For weeks after Sept. 11, his restaurant remained empty and he was eventually forced to close and file bankruptcy.

Many Americans wish to forget and pretend that they do not know, but the in the aftermath of Sept. 11 some of the worst hate crimes and acts of violence against individuals who “looked” Middle Eastern occurred.

And five years later, little has changed.

The mainstream American news media, while it covers the story of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim discrimination vigilantly, continues to discriminate against Arab and Muslim Americans by excluding us from their pages.

We are continually harassed and profiled and prevented from flying at American airports, even though none of those profiled have been involved in any form of anti-American activity.

Hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Muslims have lost their jobs and are unemployed in America because the discrimination has been unchallenged at the nation’s workplaces.

And every day, our loyalty as Americans is questioned by other Americans who have never served this nation in the U.S. Military.

The new patriotism of America is no longer the principles of justice, civil rights and freedom. It is a patriotism that continues to be driven by hatred.

And that is the real tragedy of Sept. 11.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and standup comedian. He can be reached at

Sunday, September 10, 2006

PR: Israeli author slanders Palestinian artists, plagarises works Palestinian artists claim

Statement issued by the League of Palestinian Artists After conducting a thorough review of Palestinian Art, by Israeli art historian Gannit Ankori; (Reaction Books Ltd. 2006) the League of Palestinian Artists deemed it necessary to release the following statement regarding "Part I-Foundations, pp.15-57" of the book.

The three chapters making up this part are wrought with plagiarism, falsifications and the misrepresentation of sources which all lead to the distortion of facts in writing the history of Palestinian art. The author did not bother to comply with some of the most basic ethical codes of professional practice. Ankori's violations may be summed up as follows:

First: The author intentionally falsified and misrepresented the pioneering field research originally conducted by our Palestinian colleague, artist and researcher Kamal Boullata whose studies have appeared in books, encyclopedias, exhibition catalogues and academic journals. Published over the last three decades, Boullata's studies were the first to document a painting tradition in Palestine since the beginning of the nineteenth century.

In light of the historical background he unraveled, he proceeded over the years to analyze the evolvement of Palestinian art in the aftermath of the 1948 national catastrophe (al-Nakba) that culminated in the uprooting and dispersal of Palestinian society. Secondly: While purporting to present an academic historic study based on her personal findings, Ankori employed different forms of plagiarism. To deflect exposure, at times she included incomplete quotations or selective citations from Boullata's studies that serve her claimed thesis; at other times, she disregarded all proper attribution to her source.

Thus, original ideas developed and analyses revealed in Boullata's writings were wholly appropriated and presented by Ankori as if they were her own. Based on our examination of both parties’ texts, and regardless of the author in quesiton being an Israeli, the League of Palestinian Artists expresses its full solidarity with artist and researcher Kamal Boullata – not on the basis of his being a Palestinian, but rather because his pioneering studies and historic findings, which concern us in the first place, have been mangled and fraudulently appropriated.

Gannit Ankori’s plagiarism did not only violate Boullata's rights as a writer but we consider her own writing as an assault on the very historicity of Palestinian art. Thus, in the name of the League of Palestinian Artists, we ask researchers, art historians, the mass media and all cultural workers to take note of this highly camouflaged case of plagiarism.

Readers should approach Ankori's writing with a critical eye that allows them to recognize what appears to be a genuine contribution to documenting a history of Palestinian art, as nothing more than a rehashing of conclusions reached by someone else as verified by published evidence. We must realize that such insidious practices perpetuated by some Israeli researchers who appoint themselves in a position to speak for the Palestinians could only be understood in the context of a colonialist mentality.

This kind of appropriation of intellectual property is taking place at the same time in which the Israeli authorities are continuing to seize the remaining lands in our country, and in the process burying its actual history. Finally, in response to Gannit Ankori's dedication of her book to Palestinian artists: We, the League of Palestinian Artists, reject her dedication and demand from her an apology for violating the intellectual rights of artist and researcher Kamal Boullata.

The League of Palestinian ArtistsPalestine- Ramallah 2006

Translated from the Arabic, dispatched by WAFA Palestine News Agency on 20/08/2006 and published in the Arabic press.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

PR: Jews and Palestinians Beating the Odds: Living, Working, Studying

Jews and Palestinians Beating the Odds: Living, Working, Studying
For Immediate Release: Sept. 8, 2006
Contact: Deanna Armbruster (818) 325-8884

TogetherNeve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, Israel - As summer turns to fall, and peace organizations in the Middle East try to dust off after a summer of violence, there is one place where resolve is stronger than ever - in Israel's first, and only, village where Arab and Jewish families continue to cooperatively live, work and educate their children. Known as Neve Shalom, in Hebrew or Wahat al-Salam, in Arabic, the "Oasis of Peace" is based on impacting positive change in the region through programs that stress equality and mutual respect.During the summer's violence, the "Oasis of Peace" opened its Guest House and Volunteer House to refugees fleeing Northern Israel; both were filled to capacity. When virtually all other binational dialogue had stopped residents in this unique village continued to share their feelings. "Peace work is activity where the means and the end are intimately joined," said one resident. "It's about preserving a humane view towards people on both sides of the conflict where there is subtle incitement to do the contrary. It implies the building of bridges rather than fences."

A year long pilot program, "Agents of Change," at the School for Peace, continued with its regular schedule, no small feat during a time of war. The program brings together Jews and Palestinians (from both Israel and the West Bank) from four professional sectors (education, health care, civic leaders and media) for conflict management training. Self-initiated cooperative responses to the crisis included two social workers (one Palestinian, one Jewish) leading a session on coping with trauma for a Palestinian NGO in Ramallah, a group of Jewish and Palestinian teachers assisting 12th grade students with getting to their exams on time in the West Bank, and another group of Jewish- and Palestinian-Israelis working together to help open roads and connect electricity to villages in Northern Israel.

The "Oasis of Peace" also saw its second generation reach out and demonstrate the impact being raised in this unique community has on them and their ability to make a difference regarding the conflict surrounding them. Led by Ranin Boulos, age 22, a young Palestinian woman who grew up in the "Oasis of Peace," the youth of the community hosted a summer camp for 10-12 year-old Palestinian children from refugee camps in the West Bank. The young adult villagers served as camp counselors, chaperones and activities organizers for the week long camp. The experience had a profound impact on the campers, as well as on the Palestinian and Jewish young adults from Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam who were engaged in running the program.

Ranin explains, "I didn't think these kids would have this much impact on me. We got really, really attached to these kids." She also spoke about the change she saw in the youth attending the camp. "Now, they have hope. They came here and saw that there are different people.they even started learning a few words in Hebrew. They loved our village, and the impact of the village on these kids was very clear. Now they realize that things can be different. Whey they grow up, they will realize.They have these memories."

This week, the Arab-Jewish Primary School at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, which was the first bilingual school in Israel, opened with nearly 200 Jewish and Arab students from pre-Kindergarten through the 8th grade. A large majority of these students (nearly 90%) come from more than 26 villages, towns and cities outside of the "Oasis of Peace," including Ramle, Lod and Jerusalem. Despite, a violent and tense summer, Arab and Jewish parents of these students demonstrate the importance of cross-cultural interactions and of a peace education system that underscores the identity of both its Jewish and Arab students while teaching them to respect the identity of others. Class sizes at the bilingual, binational Primary School at the "Oasis of Peace" are smaller than typical classrooms in Israel and students learn from two teachers - one Jewish and one Arab - who teach in their native tongue.

Raida, a Palestinian village resident and mother of two sons that attend the school, explains that in both the village and the Primary School "there is a sharing and cooperation, a goal that everybody wants to get to -Arabs and Jews - so that together we build a better future for our children, and when they get older, they will know what to do with it."

Likewise, one of her Jewish neighbors, Hezy, who also teaches at the school, describes what he sees as its key strengths. "Children share the beauty of the festivals of the three religions - Muslim, Judaism and Christianity. They also engage in informal activities together - dance, art, yoga, archery, music, etc. These activities are important because most of the children are coming from small villages and towns. They don't have a place to hang out after school, and it's a good opportunity for them to meet in an informal system.They will take this to their lives as grown men and make them better persons."

Building trust and understanding between Palestinians and Jews was a difficult task well before the violent events of this past summer, but one community has found that dialogue, education and mutual respect can sustain positive Jewish-Palestinian relations, even during the worst of times.##

American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam12925 Riverside Drive, 3rd Floor Sherman Oaks, CA 91423Tel. 818-325-8884, Fax 856-325-8983Email

Friday, September 08, 2006

OP-ED: Media lies exposed in American TV movie on Sept. 11 terrorism

TV movie on Sept. 11 exposes mainstream American media lies
By Ray Hanania

To understand the depth to which the lines between lies and truth have been erased in the United States, one need only pause to consider the growing uproar over a TV fictionalized drama about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

The movie by ABC purportedly is based on numerous sources including the 9/11 Commission which published an exhaustive report. The report was so exhaustive that while many Americans purchased the 567 page report, few probably even recognized the subtle nuances that are now being debated when they did read it.

The nuance has to do with several specific accusations that the administration of former President Bill Clinton didn’t do enough to prevent Sept. 11.

In one instance, reportedly depicted in the original film, U.S. Intelligence officials, specifically former Security Adviser Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, had Osama Bin Laden in their sights but failed to take him out.

Five years after Sept. 11, and many years after the supposed incident, the suggestion that Clinton’s administration could have prevented the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by killing Bin Laden, but did not act, is devastating.

It’s devastating not only to Bill Clinton’s legacy but also to the future aspirations of his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton.

Berger claims they tried to kill Bin Laden but missed him by a few hours. Thomas Kean, the 9/11 Commission Chairman, says that the decision to kill Bin Laden was delayed and he escaped and that is reportedly reflected in the film.

Albright is angry because the film implies that she tipped off Pakistan that the U.S. planned to bomb Bin Laden, and that warning was leaked to Bin Laden and that allowed him to escape.

Five years after Sept. 11, who really cares? So much has been said that have turned out to be lies, these lies seem ridiculously selfish.

The American media is complicit in this drama that has highlighted the failures that exist in American journalism. Fact and fictions, are supposed to be two distinct elements of entertainment. One is purely for entertainment. One is for entertainment and knowledge.

The American media is so confused about what is true and what is not true, this debate over the planned ABC movie is ridiculous.

President Bush also lied and his lies have been turned into fact by the American news media. The media’s role in distorting the war crimes of Israel, to water them down into supposed defensive and unavoidable actions, are notorious, while the media’s exaggeration of Arab, Muslim and Palestinian acts to defend themselves and turning them into acts of terrorism are notorious, too.

The American media is so complicit in the distortions that a debate about fact versus fiction in the United States is worthless. Much of what the American news media writes about the Middle East is not news at all but fiction, lies distorted to appear to be truth when in fact they are politically motivated.

American journalists are less reporters and more advocates for causes, and the reason for that is that journalism is leaning away from professional objectivity to increasing profits as independent news sources outside of the mainstream media’s controls slowly and steadily takeover the role of providing information and truth to the American public.

It has been five years since Sept. 11 and four years since President Bush declared that Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein was involved with al-Qaeda. Just this week, the Senate Intelligence Committee released findings that concluded Saddam Hussein opposed al-Qaeda and had no interest in working with them. (Read a story on it?)

In fact, Saddam Hussein might have actually sided with the United States in fighting al-Qaeda, which is a fanatic religious organization driven by distortions of Islam rather than observance of true Islamic faith.

But Americans can’t have it both ways. They can’t sit back and allow the media to carry the lies for Bush and even Clinton, and then cry when a non-news department of one of the nation’s largest entertainment television stations decides to create a movie about Sept. 11.In America these days, there is no line between what is truth and the lies that Americans favor.

Americans want to believe that Saddam Hussein was involved with al-Qaeda because how else can they justify the loss of nearly 3,000 American soldiers’ lives for an unjustified war.

The next thing you know, Americans might start asking questions about America’s blind support of Israel or Israel’s government’s war crimes against the Palestinian civilians or the civilians of Lebanon.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the ABC TV movie on Sept. 11 terrorism that will be broadcast in two parts Sunday and Monday.

Clinton’s calls to pull the film only reinforce my belief that all American politicians, including Clinton and Bush, have lied in order to gain political favor against taking the moral high road and truly standing for the civil rights of people around the world.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and co-founder of the National Arab American Journalists Association. He can be reached at

Harris Completes Contract for Jordan Media City

Harris Corporation Equips Transmission Facility at Jordan Media City Company for New Arabsat Services

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) today announced that it has fulfilled a significant order for a range of Harris broadcast equipment for Jordan Media City Co. (JMC) in Amman, Jordan. The equipment is being used to support a new multichannel playout facility dedicated to the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat), the leading satellite services company in the Middle East. The order included nine NEXIO(TM) server platforms, an Integrator(R) Gold wideband digital multi-rate router, an Inscriber(R) G3(TM) HD/SD- selectable character generator (CG) system, Videotek(R) TVM-850 test and measurement instruments, NEO(R) SuiteView(TM) modular multiviewer and a range of infrastructure products.

Initially accommodating 16 channels, the new playout facility at JMC went on air September 1, 2006. JMC will gradually expand the facility to accommodate 32 channels.

"We have been extremely satisfied with Harris over the last few years since the company first installed its NEXIO server platforms at our facility at JMC to play out eight channels," said Radi Alkhas, CEO of JMC. "Since then, our facility has been through a number of phased expansions with Harris, all of which have been very successful. We have been extremely pleased with the robustness and efficiency of the NEXIO(TM) servers -- Harris continues to deliver the results."

The new playout facility provides services to Arabsat to broadcast its programmes within the Middle East region. The 16-channel transmission system is based on nine NEXIO server platforms with more than 1000 hours of storage. The NEXIO(TM) platforms are split across two domains: the ingest domain is configured as eight record/play ports and eight play ports, while the transmission domain is configured as two record/play and 18 play ports. This configuration offers an effective redundancy solution for the client as the ingest domain provides backup for the transmission domain in the event of a failure. The playout automation for this multichannel service is based on a Pebble Beach Neptune automation system, and the archive is provided by a Sony PetaSite(TM) S Series tape library. Content is copied between the ingest domain, transmission domain and digital library over a fast Gigabit network.

"This installation is a testament to our ability to deliver large, multichannel, server-based solutions to meet our customers' workflow and business requirements as these change and grow," said Dave Dougall, vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa sales for the Harris Broadcast Communications Division.

"The success of this installation speaks volumes, as JMC's operations have expanded significantly over the last couple of years, and the NEXIO servers have been at the core of this expansion."

NEXIO(TM) is a modular, scalable server system for transmission and news environments, which offers integrated application platforms for editing, browsing and media management across a multi-tiered storage hierarchy. NEXIO(TM) provides exceptional fault tolerance and interoperability (including IP), and supports multiple compression formats in both standard and high definition, industry-standard control protocols, third-party file formats and ASI interface, providing broadcasters with the flexibility they need to meet any future requirements. As an operation grows, the modular and scalable NEXIO(TM) design allows users to build systems -- up to 28.8 terabyte in a single domain -- in small, low-cost increments.

About Jordan Media City (JMC)JMC -- a free media zone in Amman -- provides production and broadcast services. For this purpose, JMC operates three television studios and an EFP mobile van, equipped with the latest digital cameras, recording, linear and non-linear editing and server technology. A number of earth stations for uplinking on Nilesat, Arabsat, Eutelsat (Hotbird) and PanAmSat are in use for DTH and occasional transmissions. Additional information about Jordan Media City is available at

About Harris CorporationHarris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. With headquarters in Melbourne, Florida, the company has annual sales of $3.5 billion and nearly 14,000 employees -- including more than 6,000 engineers and scientists -- dedicated to the development of best-in-class assured communications(TM) products, systems, software and services. The company's operating divisions serve markets for government communications, RF communications, broadcast communications, and microwave communications. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at Harris Broadcast Communications DivisionIBC Stand 7:621 & M225 Source: Harris Corporation

CONTACT: Laura Whitaker, Vice President, Marketing Communications, of Harris Broadcast Communications Division,,

+1-408-782-1201; or Meriam Khan of MKM Marketing Communications,,
+44 (0)20 8141 4703Web site:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

OP-ED: Defining the true moderate on the road to peace, By Ray Hanania

Defining the true moderate on the road to peace
By Ray Hanania

Palestinians and Israelis often ask me, what’s a "moderate?"

Actually, Palestinians and Israelis don’t ask questions in order to get answer. The questions are more like the statements my wife makes under the guise of a question, like "Honey. Will you hold my purse?"

I don’t have a choice. I had better take that purse or I am in for it.

And I am always in for it when I talk about the word "moderate" to Palestinians and Israelis, who happen to be among the most emotional people on Earth.

They’re not asking. They’re making a declaration that they hate the term "moderate" as much as they hate the term "extremist."

But I hold my ground, unlike with my wife and the issue of holding her purse. And I won’t budge.

There are moderates in the Palestine-Israel conflict. More importantly, there are extremists, too, on both sides. Both extremist sides use violence to achieve their parallel but different goals, seeking to block peace.

And there is where the challenge arises.

You don’t have to ask an extremist to get up early in the morning to wreak havoc. They do it out of habit. It’s their mission. Extremists believe that if they can keep the conflict going long enough, one day they will win and the other side will lose.

A moderate views things differently. They believe that we have to keep pushing for peace and even more so when the times become more violent. The more violence there is, the more we must commit ourselves to fighting for peace.

I think peace is the only thing worth fighting for. But as a moderate, I know that I am somewhat alone, compared to the extremists.

Moderates rarely wake up early to change the world. In fact, their very nature of peacefulness works against them and rather than energizing themselves to take on the world’s challenges, they often rarely speak out.

The majority of Palestinians and Israelis, in my opinion, are moderate. Some are exploited by the extremists who use those emotions and feelings, and frustrations to make it appear as if the larger community is extreme like them.

Extremists bring people down in order to elevate themselves.

Moderates bring themselves down in order to reach the people who need the most help.

As a longtime journalist and radio talk show host in Chicago on WLS Radio, I remember getting loads of hate calls and mail. These days the postal mail has been replaced by email, but it is all the same.

Editors at the newspapers and the radio station all said the same thing, which is why the hate emails today don’t really other me, even though they outnumber the pro-peace emails and encouragement I get probably 10 to 1.

The fact is, extremists always find the time to complain. They don’t have solutions. They are good only at defining and even exaggerating the challenges to make them look worse in the hopes of preventing the majority of the public to find hope.

My editors said moderates are basically happy people. Not driven by extreme swings of emotion. So they rarely take the time to say, "Good job."

Emotion. It’s like gasoline to a car. Fill people up with emotion and their anger runs forever.
Arabs and Jews are very emotional people, as I noted earlier. We need to recognize that. We need to recognize that we often go from one extreme to the other. Being emotional doesn’ t make us extremists. It just makes as short-tempered, Rash. Despondent. And, susceptible to the exploitation of the extremists.

Arabic and Hebrew are languages that technically are not spoken. They are sung, like songs and poetry. That’s why there is so much more poetry in the Arab World, and I suspect in the Jewish world, too.

It takes a lot of emotion to speak Arabic and Hebrew. You put a lot of energy into it. Even the most innocent phrases sound like anger. Confrontational. Uncompromising.

The true leader in the Palestinian and Israeli conflict is the leader who recognizes that the public will often seem to be extremist because their emotions move them in that direction. Good leaders also recognize that the emotional masses are also always pulled toward extremism by the extremists.

I don’t believe the polls that say Palestinians support suicide bombings. I don’t believe the polls that say Israelis don’t want to compromise.

I believe that at times of great tragedy, conflict and suffering, emotions prevail and are exploited by extremists. We have to take that into consideration before we judge or act.

We need to always give peace a chance, and the greater public the benefit of the doubt. We need to recognize that extremists live by the sword of metal and rhetoric.

So what is he answer to the presumed question? Well, a moderate is someone who reasons, not hates. A moderate is someone who believe sin peace more as the cries of conflict and violence increase. A moderate is someone who recognizes that the only answer to conflict is peace, and that peace, as I said before, is the only thing worth fighting for.

It takes courage to be a moderate.

It’s easy to be an extremist.

But in the end, moderates must recognize that their greatest challenge is reasoning with their people and reminding them that deep down, Palestinians and Israelis are both good people who share the same values and beliefs in the same God.

There’s always going to be conflict and violence. We cannot completely get rid of it. What we need is more peace.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and standup comedian. He can be reached at

OP-ED: The Neo-Crusader Bush. By Neal AbuNab

The Neo-Crusaders
By Neal AbuNab

You are authorized to republish this article free of charge.Contributions are welcome Please email: Contact Neal AbuNab (313) 506-4409, for all other inquiries. Length of article can be edited according to requirement of editors.Aramedia, P.O.Box 7596, Dearborn, MI 48121, USA All Rights reserved 2006

President George Bush is delivering one speech after the other selling the so-called successes of his war on terror and re-defining what he viewed as “the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century”. For the next month he will be talking terror 24/7 and unveiling new initiatives on surveillance, detention, interrogation, spying and trials. But most people are more interested in the state of the economy as this issue had climbed back up to become the number one priority of the American people.

This is good news for the Democrats as most polls show that Americans favor their party to run the economy. But Bush’s economy is closely tied to his war on terror as he had transformed America’s economy in the past five years turning factory workers into security guards, air marshals and soldiers. America’s peace-time industries especially car manufacturing suffered the greatest damage. Bush was in Michigan this week but he refused to meet with auto makers or entertain their needs. Motown’s big three are limping along as their sales slump in a shrinking market.

The big economic boom is taking place where oil and defense industries are based mostly in the southwest of this nation. Michigan has one of the hardest hit economies and its recession is entering the sixth year. In Detroit, which was declared the poorest city in America along with Cleveland, teachers are on strike and lawlessness is rampant. It looks more like a land out of Africa or the Middle East, and it is hard to believe that it is part of the America that most white people want to protect from the Mexican “invasion.”

But Bush has little concern for the millions of Americans who live in dire conditions of poverty and despair. He is obsessed with his crusade on terror. In his speech on August 31st he said: “this is a pivotal moment for the Middle East.” I think it is also a pivotal moment for the United States of America. Unfunded government commitments stand at 48 trillion dollars, according to the government’s General Accounting Office. There will be yearly budget deficits for as far as the eye can see. Bush who just turned 60 represents the generation of baby boomers who will be retiring by the millions in the next 10 years.

The biggest business in America will be in retirement homes and caring for the elderly. This is the single biggest threat to the national security of America. It is called the broken social security and healthcare systems. Where will the money come from to support the tens of millions of retirees?

That is not the concern of our short-sighted President who urged that “we should all agree that the battle for Iraq is central to the war on terror.” Polls already show that most Americans do not see the war in Iraq as part of the overall war on terrorism. The Democrats submitted a letter to the President this week outlining a new strategy in Iraq to refocus the military’s efforts and re-direct it against the self-professed enemy of America; namely Al-Qaida and Bin Laden.

As long as he remains in the White House, Bush is determined to push forward in his crusade against the “totalitarian ideology.” The neo-conservative movement witnessed a sudden eclipse of glory because of the failed Iraqi adventure, but a handful of diehards are hanging on very stubbornly. I call these individuals the “Neo-Crusaders” and Donald Rumsfeld has emerged as their chief theoretician and high priest. That’s why the Democrats are championing a no-confidence measure in the Congress to force the secretary of defense to resign. He offended his critics when he called them “appeasers of fascism.”

Terrorism is a law enforcement issue if America’s overall policy seeks peace in this troubled world. The Democrats want to re-direct funds to strengthen homeland security, local law enforcement agencies, and plug all the vulnerabilities especially at seaports and borders. But Bush stated very clearly that “we have ended the days when we treat terror as a simple law enforcement matter.” His overall policy is one of waging a continuous war and he admitted that “the calm in the Middle East was like a mirage…years of pursuing stability failed to produce peace.”

But peace is the inevitable destiny of mankind. Just take a look at the graveyards and see how peaceful they are. Maybe this is the type of peace that Bush has in mind for all of humanity. He has not said a single word about the Palestinian issue, which is seen by the rest of the world as central to ending the legitimate Arab and Muslim grievances that fuel disdain and hatred for America. Baghdad has become the center of Bush’s universe while the rest of the world sees Jerusalem holding the key to terrorism or peace.

How convenient was it for the Neo-Crusaders when last weekend Al-Qaida’s number two, Aiman Al-Zawahiri, released a video tape kicking off the election season and providing Bush with all the talking points to define the enemy and its twisted ideology. An American convert by the name of Adam Ghadan was the star of the movie. He offered Americans to convert to Islam which will put an end to his group’s Jihad. Comedian Bill Maher was the first one to heed the call and he testified that “there is no God but one God and that Muhammad is his messenger.” By definition he’s become a Muslim and so he is now exempt from the wrath of Al-Qaida.

Most Americans who paid attention to Adam Ghadan were insulted and if they took him seriously they would instantly convert and become believers of the Bush doctrine. How convenient was the timely release of that video. Just like the Bin Laden video that was released three days before the Presidential elections of 2004. It swayed just enough votes to give Bush a second term. Maybe the Democrats should seek such a mutually benefiting relationship with states like North Korea or Iran. It just might break the unholy alliance of Al-Qaida with the Neo-Crusaders, and let them win an election for a change.

Neal AbuNab is a Michigan-based author of “The War on Terror and Democracy”- available at He is a commentator on Arab and Muslim affairs and his weekly column appears in the Arab American News. He can be reached at: