Monday, May 28, 2007

Palestinian NGOs blast Israel repraisal raids in Gaza, ask for help

Urgent Call from Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO)

The Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO) calls on the United Nations and the International Community to immediately intervene to stop the war crimes committed by the Israeli occupational forces (IOF) on Palestinian civilians and their properties in the Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, 16 May 2007, IOF initiated a wide scale offensive against the Gaza Strip. They moved into the northern Gaza Strip, IOF expanded the offensive to include aerial attacks that targeted civilian facilities, soon after, the Israeli occupation government to carry out a series of extra-judicial executions, IOF have killed 50 Palestinians and have wounded 200 others.

IOF have imposed a strict siege on the Gaza Strip closed Gaza strip border crossings as a form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians.
In the West bank The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on 23 May 2007 arrested 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), cabinet and local authorities. Most of those are elected officials.
The International Community has maintained a silence in the face of disproportionate Israeli aggression in the form of daily attacks and crimes.

PNGO as a coordinating body for more than 100 NGOs calls on the International Community to urgently protect Palestinian civilians and pressure the Israeli occupation Government to stop its aggression on the Palestinian people and end the siege.

PNGO considers the continued Israeli aggression and siege will lead to a health and humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza strip calling on the International community to pressure Israel to ensure it's respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
PNGO also condemns the detentions targeting elected representatives and political leaders of the Palestinian people, calling upon the international community to immediately secure the release of Palestinian PLC elected officials.

PNGO calls on the International Community and legal and humanitarian organizations to bring Israeli perpetrators to international justice.

PNGO also calls on the international NGOs to intensify their efforts to pressure governments to work on ending the Israeli escalation of aggression on Palestinian civilians.

Palestinian NGOs Network “PNGO

Amjad Shawa
Palestinian NGOs Network PNGO
Gaza strip- palestine
TEL 0097282847518
Fax 0097282835889
Mobile :00972 599401297
Email :

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scholarships for Illinois Arab Students available


May 25, 2007 708-222-8330 ext 303

Ziyad Brothers Importing Announces Illinois Scholarship
for first-year College-bound Arab students

Cicero, Il – Ziyad Brothers Importing announced it is expanding its existing “Giving Back to the Community” student scholarship program to any student of Arab heritage who will be attending their first year of college this Fall.

A scholarship in the amount of $1,000 cash will be given to one male and one female student of Arab heritage, selected from entries who demonstrate the highest level of pride, self-identity, confidence and writing talent.

The Scholarship will recognize students who demonstrate pride in their Arab heritage, and who detail how they hope to contribute both to their community as Arab Americans and also to this country, explained ZBI General Manager Nassem Ziyad.

“We want to recognize the future leaders of our community who demonstrate a commitment to enhancing and strengthening the image of the Arab Americans through individual initiative and community service. We are looking for young Arab American students, one male and one female, who demonstrate their pride in their Arab heritage and as Americans,” Ziyad said.

“There many talented Arab students and we want to encourage them to pursue their professional career goals while also remaining dedicated to their Arab American heritage.”

Ziyad Brothers Importing, an Illinois-based distributor of more than 1,200 food items to stores in 46 states and six countries, awarded its first scholarships to students in 2006.

Applicants are required to submit an essay of 500 to 800 words on how they hope to “Give Back to the Community.” Application Deadline is August 1, 2007. Winners will be announced in August and scholarships will be presented at the beginning of September. The student recipients must be enrolled in a college or university this Fall in order to receive the cash scholarship amount. Applicants can get information on applying for the scholarship by visiting

Ziyad Brothers Importing was originally founded as “The Syrian Bakery & Grocery Inc.” in 1966 by Ahmad and Ibrahim Ziyad, two immigrant brothers from Palestine. Their small retail outlet on Chicago’s south side specialized in hard to find Middle Eastern food products as well as the first Pita Bread bakery in Chicago catering to the Middle Eastern ethnic community.

The retail outlet later expanded into one of the first automated Pita Bakeries in the Midwest and began distributing Pita bread and Middle Eastern food products to other retail outlets. Ten years later, from these humble beginnings, Ahmad and Ibrahim Ziyad purchased their first warehouse located at 21st and Western Avenue.

In 1995, Ziyad Brothers Importing consolidated facilities and moved into the current location in Cicero, IL. A year later in 1996, Ahmad Ziyad passed away at the age of 56. His brother Ibrahim assumed the role of President. Ziyad Brothers Importing is a family owned and operated business. Ahmad’s sons Nemer, Nassem and Nazmy and Ibrahim’s son Nezar and daughters Leila and Sonia also work at the company.

Winning essays will be published on the web site as well as on the web site of the National Arab American Journalists Association (, and in participating Arab American newspapers and magazines.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mosques and Muslims warned about possible hate attacks in United States

(Washington, DC - 5/15/07) -- The Muslim Public Affairs Council today urged Muslim American leaders community and mosque leaders to take extra precautions to ensure the security of their mosques and community centers, after receiving a phone call from the FBI informing MPAC that FBI agents are investigating threats against a Florida Muslim leader and two mosques this week.

"Years After 9-11, American Muslims Increasingly Targets of Hate"
(Florida Sun-Sentinel, 5/7/07)

In the years since 9/11, Florida's Muslim community has witness an inordinately high number of vandalism and arson attacks against its institutions. In December, a man who stepped outside of a mosque in Melbourne, FL to use a cell phone was shot at five times, one bullet barely missing his head. In April, a Tampa mosque was burned to the ground in an arson attack. Also in April, an Islamic school in Cooper City, FL discovered white powder spread across the campus, which turned out to be non-toxic. The alarming increase in anti-Muslim attacks is being witnessed across the country. Last week, the office of the U.S. Attorney Eastern Division and the FBI announced an indictment against a Philadelphia woman who sent a threatening note to her employer at the hotel where they both work. In all of these incidents, engagement and dialogue with federal and local law enforcement has proved an effective tool in accessing resources to ensure the security and well-being of all Muslim Americans. Both leaders and community members have an important role in ensuring the safety of their mosques, schools and community centers.Since May 2004, MPAC's National Grassroots Campaign to Fight Terrorism has offered mosques a set of proactive community-led guidelines and resources in order to protect mosques, communities and the country. It also supports Mosques in developing ongoing relationships with interfaith groups and law enforcement officials. Click here to find out more about the campaign!

Additionally, MPAC recently launched a national campaign called "Truth Over Fear: Countering Islamophobia" to promote accurate portrayals and depictions of Muslim Americans by public officials and news media, and to train Muslim Americans to respond effectively and constructively to distortions of Islam and Muslims. To schedule an interactive and high energy training session with MPAC experts in your community, email Community Development Director Haris Tarin at


Creating a secure environment is a three-step process: Assessment, Planning and Implementation. You may wish to consult with your local police and/or hire a professional security firm for assistance in this process. MPAC urges mosques and religious leaders to utilize the following security guidelines effective immediately:


Be watchful, ready, and willing to report "suspicious" or unusual activity.
Regularly inspect your building. You should be able to quickly ascertain if something is amiss and help law enforcement if there is a problem - report anything out of place, missing, or does not appear to belong.

Ensure that security devices are turned on and functioning, that outdoor lighting is working, that windows and fence lines are kept clear of bushes and that access to your building is appropriately limited and consistent with fire codes.

Share ideas and suggestions about security and safety.

Help create a culture that is both secure and welcoming.

Support the board and professionals as they make the decision to create and implement an effective security plan.


Identify Targets for Protection - Identify what you need to protect (e.g., people, property and data) and what makes those things vulnerable.

Build Relationships with Law Enforcement - The importance of developing and maintaining a working relationship with your local law enforcement agencies cannot be overstated. At the very least, your local police department may have a crime prevention officer who will do an on-site security inspection and review your plan. Not only could this provide useful information, but it will help build a relationship with your local law enforcement. MPAC can be helpful in initiating contacts with police or other law enforcement agencies.

Have all emergency phone numbers readily available. While you should always try to use 911 first in any emergency, you should also have the phone number of your local emergency responders readily available. Have cell phones available to call emergency services from outside your facility.

Ensure that entrances to your building are monitored; no one should enter your building unscreened. There are many ways to screen, including using ushers, volunteers, staff, etc. The installation of closed-circuit TV cameras, intercoms and door release systems can assist in this process.

Minimize the number of open entrances to your facility (consistent with fire codes). A culture that promotes security consciousness allows staff and visitors to understand that minor inconveniences may translate into major security benefits.

Have a disposable camera available. This way, you can take pictures (when it is safe to do so) that may assist police if a suspicious individual or car is seen.

Founded in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim Americans.[CONTACT:
Edina Lekovic, 213-383-3443,]

How Does MPAC Help Muslims & Islam in America?

As a matter of policy, MPAC DOES NOT accept any funding from foreign governments. The political and financial independence of MPAC will sustain the future of Islam in America. MPAC relies on your financial support to sustain its activities and represent the sentiments and interests of American Muslims not foreign governments.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

NEW: The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook

I'd like to share the news of the recent publication of our book titled 'The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook' which addresses this growing, but often ignored demographic - Muslim teens! Please visit for more info - your name keeps popping up as an involved, concerned citizen of this country who is attempting to fight the war on ignorance about Arab Americans as well as Muslim Americans - please keep up the great work as we desparately need more journalists/publishers like yourself! I would be honored if you reviewed this book on your website. I'm sending you the press release which you are free to run on your website if you choose - please support us in our efforts to educate and empower the Muslim youth of America!

Dilara Hafiz, Imran Hafiz & Yasmine Hafiz

The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook

Accessible and provocative, The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook by Dilara Hafiz, Imran Hafiz, and Yasmine Hafiz, is a fresh perspective on Islam updated for the 21st century. The essentials of Muslim beliefs are interspersed with lively commentary and quotes from American Muslim teenagers. Each chapter deals with a timely subject in Islam, beginning with excerpts from the Quran and a teen-friendly interpretation of that verse, then offering real-world examples that illustrate the essence of Muslim life. “What a delightful, hilarious, wonderful, beautiful book! I loved it!” says noted Muslim spokesman, Reza Aslan, author of No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.
Muslim teenagers across America contributed their thoughts on living as American Muslims, expressing their heartfelt belief that one can successfully fulfill that role through better education and greater understanding – hence the need for the user-friendly Handbook. There is a dearth of current literature that addresses Muslim teens or discusses Islam in a progressive context. With books such as this one, the media’s constant refrain of “Where are the Moderate Muslims?” is no longer a valid question. Anyone curious about the silent majority of Muslims who do not receive media coverage will find this a refreshing, fascinating read.
Dilara Hafiz and her two children, Yasmine and Imran, all possess a strong background in Islam, but it is their insightful combined experiences as a mother and Sunday School teacher, teenage students, interfaith activists, and public speakers that elevate the Handbook into a ‘must-read book’ for anyone interested in Islam. “What a book! I wish every major faith had just such a book for teens of their faith. We could then share them… and build peace in the world." - Dr. Paul Eppinger, Executive Director - Arizona Interfaith Movement
To purchase a book or to learn more about the authors, go to
The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook, ISBN 978-0-9792531-2-6, $11.95, 5½” x 8½” , 144 pages.

ACCESS Calls for Immigration Debate To Move Forward in the Senate


Hannan Deep
Angie Raouf
313-213-0408 cell

313-213-0278 cell


ACCESS Calls for Immigration Debate To Move Forward in the Senate

Senator Stabenow and Senator Levin:
“We need your leadership on comprehensive immigration reform”

Dearborn, Michigan, May 15, 2007 – Today, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) called on Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin to support comprehensive immigration reform and allow the debate in the Senate to go forward. The Senate is expected to begin debate on immigration tomorrow, but some Senate Republicans have suggested they will block the debate from going forward if last year’s Senate-passed bill is introduced.

“A majority of American’s support comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to earned citizenship, and the country is tired of waiting for Congress to do its job” said Noel Saleh, ACCESS Board President. “We expect Senators Stabenow and Levin to take the lead on this issue and help pass bipartisan legislation that balances stronger border security with common sense reform — including due process protections, family reunification, respect for worker rights and a pathway to citizenship.”

Public opinion polls continue to show majority support for immigration solutions that include enhanced border security, workplace and employer enforcement, earned legalization for undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship, and expanded visas for future immigrant workers and families. In April a CNN poll (April 10-12, 2007) found that 77% of the American people support legislation that would allow “illegal immigrants already living in the United States for a number of years to stay in this country and apply for U.S. citizenship if they had a job and paid back taxes." Similarly, a USA Today/Gallup poll (April 12-15, 2007) found that 78% of those polled favored immigration reform that would allow immigrants in the U.S. illegally to apply for citizenship if requirements are met.

“Today we are urging Senators Stabenow and Levin to allow the debate to go forward in the Senate so that we can have a solution to our broken and outdated immigration system,” continued Taleb Salhab, ACCESS National Outreach Director. “Senator Reid has said he will bring last year’s bill to the floor if the senators involved in ongoing negotiations do not reach agreement by Wednesday. We are calling on our Michigan Senators to allow the debate on immigration reform to go forward. The American people want this problem solved with a workable, comprehensive approach to immigration reform.”

# # #

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Palestinian-Israeli American magazine launchedin US

Despite the frequent labelling of the youth demographic as "the future" and "the hope" of the never-ending Arab-Israeli conflict, they have often been unable to affect real change. The Arab and Jewish editors of The Yalla Journal decided to get together to create a space in the form of a printed book where their voices could co-exist in a time where there is no such physical space.
The Yalla Journal is a grassroots collaborative book that is a youth response to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It features 200 pages of the poetry, photography, short stories, personal narrative and essays of Jewish and Arab youth aged 18-30 from across the world.

The Arabic word Yalla explains the mandate of the journal: it means "Come on! Let's get going!" and is used colloquially in both Palestinian and Israeli dialect today. Through this call to action, the journal hopes to inspire the reader to choose communication over silence and dialogue over violence when dealing with the present situation. The journal poses questions like: "What does the conflict mean to Arab and Jewish youth today?" and "What does it mean to be Palestinian or Israeli?" It attempts to weave together a narrative through the stories and meditations generated by the various responses to these questions. In essence, Yalla hopes to help open up the much-needed lines of communication between Arab and Jewish communities abroad. The first edition of The Yalla Journal was released in 2005 across University Campuses in Canada.

The first launch was co-sponsored by the Arab Student's Association and Hillel Jewish student groups. It generated much public interest. Yalla editors were featured in both the local and national media, and were interviewed on the local radio and spoke at University events across Eastern North America. They were also recipients of the 2005 Quebec Government's Forces Avenir Award.The second edition of the innovative journal was released in Canada in November and is ready to be released for the first time in the US! The launch party will feature live Arabic and Jewish artists and musicians, footwork performance/ interpretation of the conflict by some particularly concious Chicago youth, journal readings and free copies of the book.

The launch will take place at 7:30pm on Wednesday May 16 at the Mercury Cafe 1505 W. Chicago Ave (Chicago/Ashland... The Chicago stop on the blue and brown lines). Yalla invites you to join us as we "Get going!"

Press copies are available upon request

For further information contact .

Rachel Leya Davidson ,Senior Jewish EditorDina Awad, Senior Palestinian Editor

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Palestinians routinely abused during Israel interrogations, ne study says

Press Release – Embargo until Sunday, 6 May 2007, 10:00 AM

New report uncovers routine ill-treatment of Palestiniansin Israel Security Agency interrogations

Today, (6 May 6 2007) HaMoked – Center for the Defense of the Individual and B'Tselem, held a press conference in Jerusalem to present the findings of a new report concerning the methods of interrogation employed by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and based on the testimonies of 73 Palestinians who were interrogated between July 2005 and March 2006.

The report reveals the routine isolation of interrogees from the outside world by the ISA over the course of the interrogation; the appalling conditions in which they are held, which include separation and sensory deprivation and are used in order to exert psychological pressure and reduce the body's resistance; during the interrogation, the interrogees are shackled to a chair in a painful position for protracted periods of time and they are subjected to humiliation, swearing and threats by ISA interrogators. None of these methods can be considered a side-effect of the necessities of the interrogation and detention. Their purpose is to break the interrogees' spirit and as such, they contradict the HCJ ruling and constitute prohibited ill-treatment under international law.

In some cases, the interrogators employ methods which involve direct physical violence including beating, painful binding, back bending, body stretching and prolonged sleep deprivation. These methods all come within the definition of torture under international law. All signs point to the fact that these methods are employed according to set regulations and receive prior authorization.

The report emphasizes that acts of ill-treatment and torture perpetrated by ISA agents are carried out under the auspices of the law enforcement system. Thus, for example, while 500 complaints against the ISA have been filed since the beginning of 2001, not a single criminal investigation was instigated. The responsibility for examining these complaints rests with an ISA agent, who, in most cases, finds that the complaints "are not credible." Even in those few cases where the examination yielded that the ISA interrogators did indeed abuse the interogee, the State Attorney's Office ordered the file closed without a criminal investigation, relying on a biased interpretation of the HCJ ruling.

B'Tselem and HaMoked demand the Israeli government conform with the provisions of international law, by, inter alia, completely prohibiting, both in legislation and in practice, the use of harmful interrogation methods and blocking the possibility that ISA agents who abused or tortured interogees will be exempted from criminal liability.

For additional information, and to obtain copies of the report,please contact Sarit Michaeli, Communications Director,+972-(0)50-5387230,

Sarit MichaeliCommunications DirectorB'Tselem+972 (0)2 6735599 (office)+972 (0)50 5387230 (cell)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Zogby Testifies before Congress May 3

AAI President James Zogby to Provide Expert TestimonyBefore House Subcommittees on Arab Opinion of U.S.
WASHINGTON - May 2, 2007 - One of the nation's leading experts on public opinion in the Arab world will appear tomorrow before a joint hearing of two House subcommittees to provide insight into Arab opinions on U.S. policies, values and people.
Dr. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and senior advisor with Zogby International, will present results from extensive polling ZI has conducted in the region.
His testimony will reveal the attitudes and values the Arab world shares in common with Americans, outline how and why their support of U.S. policies continues to erode, and what we can do to create stronger ties with the Middle East through opinion-shaping efforts.
WHAT: AAI President and ZI Senior Advisor Dr. James Zogby testifying before Congress on the matter of "Arab Opinion on American Policies, Values, and People."
His testimony is part of a joint hearing of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, and the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight.
WHEN:Thurs., May 3, 2007 at 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building; Washington, D.C. 20515MEDIA CONTACT: Jenn Kauffman, 202-429-9210 x21 or 202-494-9859,
Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities.
For more information on AAI, please visit

1600 K Street, NW, Suite 601 Washington, DC 20006
phone (202) 429-9210 fax (202) 429-9214

Report on Israeli torture to be released May 6

Invitation to Press Conference to publish new Report:

Absolute Prohibition (working title)
Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Palestiniansby Israeli Security Forces

Sunday, May 6 2007, 11:00
B'Tselem Office: 8 HaTa'asiya Street, 4th floor, Talpiot, Jerusalem

HaMoked and B'Tselem will present the findings of their new report on the interrogation methods of the Israel Security Agency (formerly the GSS). The report is based on affidavits taken from 73 Palestinians arrested and interrogated between July 2005 and March 2006.

We look forward to seeing you
For additional details, to confirm participation and for directions: Sarit Michaeli, B'Tselem Communications Director, +972-(0)50-5387230

Sarit MichaeliCommunications DirectorB'Tselem+972 (0)2 6735599 (office)+972 (0)50 5387230 (cell)