Saturday, July 28, 2007

Defendent who defeats terrorism charges awaits sentencing in suburban Chicago kangaroo court

Co-defendent in phony "terrorism" charge, Dr. Abdul-Haleem Ashqar, cleared along with Mohammed Salah, but awaits sentencing on trumped up phony charges of "civil contempt" and "obstruction of justice" for failing to "testify" when demanded by criminal US Attorney John Ashcroft against other alleged Palestinian targets.

Here's a story from the Muslim Link Newspaper in Detroit:

Ashqar Awaits Community Support
By Farkhunda Ali
Muslim Link Staff Writer

The Free Dr. Ashqar Committee (FDAC), MAS Freedom Foundation, and SISTERS Committee launched a letter writing campaign in support of Dr. Abdul-Haleem Ashqar late May 2007.

The majority of the letters have been submitted from members of Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia. A small number of supporters from Dar-us-Salaam in College Park, Maryland have already begun to submit letters as well.

The next step is to ask other Masajid in the DC Area to participate in the campaign. Ashqar is depending on these letters of support to prove to the judge in his case that the Muslim community stands behind him. On February 1st, the jury found Ashqar “not guilty” of all the major charges and convicted him of lesser charges of “civil contempt” and “obstruction of justice” for not testifying against other Palestinian activists.

His sentencing is scheduled for September 7th in Chicago. He could possibly face a minimum of 18-month sentence if jailed for civil contempt. In the worst-case scenario, Ashqar faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.The defense plans to appeal the verdict on the lesser charges and will fight this case diligently until Ashqar’s family rests at home peacefully.

Ashqar’s defense team is urgently requesting additional letters of support in order to present a positive testimony on behalf of its client. So far, Ashqar’s legal counsel stated they have received 300 letters of support.

The objective of the mass letter writing campaign is to gather 700 support letters before the sentence to present to the Honorable Judge Amy St. Eve asking her to show mercy when deciding on a sentence.

The FDAC did not return any phone calls regarding the letter writing campaign. Ashqar told the Muslim Link he is pleading the community to come forth in large numbers to get as many support letters as possible.

According to Ashqar’s legal counsel, the judge has agreed to read all letters and take them into consideration when deciding on the sentence terms.

After a lengthy jury deliberation in Chicago, Ashqar and his co-defendant Muhammad Salah were acquitted of the most serious charges in February by a federal jury of the racketeering conspiracy charges. This acquittal came at the end of four months trial that took place in Chicago, IL. The previous verdict safeguarded both defendants from possibly facing a maximum life prison terms for terrorism related conspiracy charges. Their victory proved that Americans still value their core Constitutional principles. Judge St. Eve decided not to incriminate Ashqar and Salah for exercising their first amendment rights of freedom of speech.On July 11, 2007, the co-defendant Salah was sentenced to 21-months in federal prison for lying under oath in a civil lawsuit. Salah, 54, was also fined $25,000 and ordered 100 hours of community service.

Ashqar’s defense team did not make any comments regarding the pending negotiations with the probation officer on sentencing guidelines.

“The most challenging thing is counting all of the wonderful letters that we have received from the Muslim community,” said Attorney Bill Moffit, defense attorney of Ashqar.

All supporters are instructed to write their name, address, and phone number. Please include your professional and education background and city of residence. The letter should include information on how one knows Ashqar and the period of time of acquaintance.

The letter should answer the following questions: What is your impression of the type of person he is? Do you think of him as an honest human being? Why?

The letter can be concluded by stating some personal thoughts on the trial, Ashqar and his life. All writers are advised to be polite in their requests to reconsider Ashqar’s verdict or to have clemency in sentencing.

The letters will go straight to Honorable Judge Amy St. Eve. The letters can be mailed to: Mr. WILLIAM B. MOFFITT ESQ. , 11582 GREENWICH POINT ROAD, RESTON, VA 20194. For more information, Email or visit

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Press conference on immigration reform planned

For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 26, 2007

MEDIA ADVISORY Contact: Leonie Campbell (202) 296-2300 x135; (202) 492-4591 (Cell)

TELEPHONIC BRIEFINGImmigrant Rights Leaders to Discuss Increased Anti-Immigrant Measures in Congress and the Need for Community Action

WHAT: On the record briefing with Q & A

WHEN: Monday, July 30, 2007 ~ 3:00 p.m. (EDT) 12:00 p.m. (PST)

HOW: To register and obtain the call-in number, please contact Leonie Campbell at (202) 296-2300 x135 or

WHO: Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive Director, Asian American Justice Center
Josh Bernstein, Federal Policy Director, National Immigration Law Center
Deepa Iyer, Executive Director, South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow
Eun Sook Lee, Executive Director, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium
Kerri Sherlock Talbot, Director of Policy and Planning, Rights Working Group

Background: Last week 57 senators voted for Senator John Ensign’s (R-NV) amendment to the unrelated education bill, H.R. 2669, which would have cut off the Social Security benefits of naturalized citizens who could not prove they were work-authorized for every quarter they contributed to the system. The failed amendment, which required 60 votes for passage, is part of a disturbing trend of Senators and Representatives attempting to restrict the rights of even long time legal permanent residents. Despite the demise of the comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate, Congress has not dropped the issue of immigration. Unfortunately, many politicians are seeking to push anti-immigrant measures as immigration reform. Speakers will discuss attempts to further restrict access to food stamps for legal permanent residents and naturalized citizens and appropriations bills that make the extremely flawed Basic Pilot immigration verification system mandatory for any company receiving funds under the Act.

They will provide information on the impact of anti-immigrant measures on the Asian American community and offer ways for community members to help stop the alarming anti-immigrant trend. In addition, the panel of immigrant rights leaders will talk about the many attempts to enlist state and local police to enforce federal civil immigration laws at the expense of community policing.

The Asian American Justice Center ( is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. It works closely with three affiliates – the Asian American Institute in Chicago (, the Asian Law Caucus ( in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center ( in Los Angeles – and nearly 100 community partners in 49 cities, 23 states and Washington, D.C.

Arab American Media Wire Service Celebrates 3 years


July 26, 2007
Contact: Ray Hanania

Arab American Media Wire Service celebrates 3rd Anniversary

(Chicago, IL., USA/July 26, 2007) -- The nation's only Arab American news wire service, Arab American Media Wire, celebrated its third year of service this month, distributing more than 500 press releases and feature/news stories to mainstream American news media and to the Arab American Ethnic media.

"We started the AAMS Wire in July 2004 mainly because there was no source where one could come to find the latest news releases on Arab American or Middle East issues generated by Arab American groups," said AAMS founder, veteran journalist Ray Hanania.

"Every week, more and more editors and reporters at newspapers around the country and around the world, come here to scan the latest postings for possible story leads and content for their newspapers."

The service is offered free of charge. Any content found ont he AAMS wire can be republished and referenced with proper attribution to the original sources of the news and to the AAMS Wire service.

"This is an important networking tool that is crucial to achieving balanced and comprehensive news media coverage of the Arab American community," said Hanania, who is a board member of the National Arab American Journalists Association and a member of the diversity committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, and Media Watch committee of the Asian American Journalists Association.

"Press releases are a critical aspect of balanced reporting."

Individuals wishing to submit press releases, notices or feature stories can email them to

The preferred format is to post the releases in the body of the email rather than as an attachment. Unfortunately, PDF's cannot be posted to the site.

# # #

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Palestine Football Team in UK

PALESTINE: Something to Cheer About!!!

August 21st to September the 10th 2007

Download the leaflet of the events:

Cheshire County at the Vauxhall Motors Stadium, Ellesmere Port 26/08/07, 11am
Chester City FC Youth at the Airbus Stadium, Broughton, Chester, 30/08/07 5.30pm
Tranmere Rovers FC, Raby Training Ground, Wirral, 04/09/07 3pm
Blackburn Rovers FC, Ewood Park, 08/09/07 at 3pm


For further information on the tour see

SIRAJ Holy Studies Program completes first session, produces online videos

The first month of the Palestinian Summer Celebration for this year already finished successfully and we just started our second month. Participants traveled from Chile, USA, England, Scotland and Switzerland.

The 2007 participants have produced three videos so far:


2- (via Dolorossa, religious)


The last video is the most updated one and all the videos expresses the personal experiences for the participants. More over, our participants have written about their time in Palestine and you can find more information at:

iraj Center has hosted different people this summer who traveled to Palestine either to make a film, write a story, give lectures and talks, or delegations who visit Palestine either to visit Holy Sites and meet with locals and understand the political situation or fact finding missions and work groups.

For more information, please visit Salaam,
George S. Rishmawi
Coordinator,Siraj, Center For Holy Land Studies
Schools Street, Beit SahourPalestine

Monday, July 23, 2007

PR: Support Ta'ayush Human Rights effort, Chicago August 4

Ta’ayush in Peril: Defending Human Rights in Palestine

A Ta’ayush Fundraiser with Israeli Human Rights Attorney Gaby Lasky
Saturday, August 4, 9:30 am to 11:30 am.
Grace Place
637 S. Dearborn
ChicagoTa’ayush (Arabic for “life in common”) is a grassroots organization of Arabs and Jews working to break down the walls of racism and segregation by constructing a true Arab-Jewish partnership. For years, Ta’ayush has been working on behalf of the Palestinian inhabitants of the South Hebron Hills in the West Bank, who are under threat of being expelled from their ancestral hills.

In recent weeks the threat has become imminent, and Ta’ayush has put out an international call to ask for help. Specifically, Ta’ayush – an all volunteer organization with no resources of its own – is trying to raise $10,000 to help defray the lawyers’ costs as they work to defend the rights of these people to keep their homes.Please join us this morning for a discussion with Gaby Lasky, who works with Ta’ayush on this and other issues. A human rights attorney, Lasky represents Israelis, internationals and Palestinians who engage in non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Formerly secretary general of the Israeli Peace Now, she is currently the legal advisor to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. She also represents a number of women conscientious objectors refusing to serve in the Israeli army while the occupation continues.

Lasky will share details of the urgent situation facing Palestinians, not only in the South Hebron hills, but also in Jerusalem, where they are facing severe challenges to continued residency.A light breakfast will be served. There is no cost to attend the event. We will be soliciting voluntary donations for Ta’ayush’s legal fund.

You may also contribute directly:

Send checks made out to Ta’ayush toTali SchaeferPO Box 250778New York, NY 10025Co-sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace - Chicago.RSVP greatly appreciated! Lynn Pollack at 312-427-2533 or e-mail

Saturday, July 21, 2007

PBS Features report on Women's TV Talk Show "Kalam Nawaem" that challenges Middle East stereotypes July 31, PBS


Dishing Democracy Premieres Tuesday, July 31 At 9 P.M. As WIDE ANGLE Continues Its Sixth Season On PBS

While the United States has been striving to promote democracy in the Arab world, a home-grown revolution is already taking place. Every Sunday night in living rooms throughout the Middle East, tens of millions of viewers are tuning in to a fearless all-female talk show whose four hosts discuss controversial subjects, shatter stereotypes and provoke debate. Originally inspired by ABC’s hit The View, Kalam Nawaem (Sweet Talk) is taped in studios over the Middle East and broadcast each week from Dubai. Five years after its premiere, the show is a top-rated program on MBC, one of the first privately owned Arab satellite television channels.

With exclusive access to both the private and the professional lives of Kalam Nawaem’s hosts and producers, WIDE ANGLE: Dishing Democracy provides a nuanced portrait of Arab women harnessing the power of transnational satellite television to boldly and effectively push social reform. Dishing Democracy premieres Tuesday, July 31 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).

The show is hosted by four women of different ages, nationalities and points of view who have become household names and role models across the Muslim world. Muna AbuSulayman, the very first Saudi woman to appear on Arab satellite television; Farah Bseiso, a Palestinian actress; Fawzia Salama, an Egyptian newspaper columnist; and Rania Barghout, a liberal Lebanese, meet in the production studio to discuss – and disagree on – a wide range of news, entertainment and social issues with invited guests. WIDE ANGLE’s cameras capture censorship discussions in editorial meetings, tension and camaraderie in the dressing room, and viewer reaction on the Arab street.

All four hosts are working mothers with strong family values, but when it comes to dishing it out, no subject matter is taboo. They were among the first in the Arab media to openly discuss homosexuality, and have been repeatedly outspoken on sensitive issues like polygamy, masturbation, wife battering, and equality between the sexes. The show is not without its enemies, as Rania Barghout explains: “The day before yesterday we had a letter, saying …we’re terrible women. We are corrupting Arab societies. We are the devil!”

Before the advent of satellite dishes, most Arab viewers depended on terrestrial state television, which meant few channels and some form of government oversight of everything that went to air. Dishing Democracy explores how Muslim women are utilizing satellite television to modernize Islam in living rooms throughout the Arab world.

The director, Amsterdam-based Bregtje van der Haak, has made numerous documentaries on social, political and cultural topics around the world, including Saudi Solutions and Femmes Fatales about the lives of working women in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

For additional information and photography, visit or

Major funding for WIDE ANGLE is provided by PBS, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, The Jacob Burns Foundation, Ford Foundation, Josh and Judy Weston, Rosalind P. Walter, and The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.
WIDE ANGLE is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York for PBS. Stephen Segaller is executive producer. Pamela Hogan is series producer. Andy Halper is senior producer.

Thirteen/WNET New York is one of the key program providers for public television, bringing such acclaimed series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Wide Angle, Secrets of the Dead, NOW With David Brancaccio, and Cyberchase – as well as the work of Bill Moyers – to audiences nationwide. As the flagship public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each week, airing the best of American public television along with its own local productions such as The Ethnic Heritage Specials, The Thirteen Walking Tours, New York Voices, and Reel New York. Thirteen extends the impact of its television productions through educational and community outreach projects – including the Celebration of Teaching and Learning – as well as Web sites and other digital media platforms. More information can be found at:


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Canadian Arab Author releases first book

Chick-lit makes its way to Cuba

First-time Arab-Canadian author explores more than mojitos, cigars and salsa dancing

Toronto, ON – July 04, 2007 -- Young women who struggle to balance the competing pressures of careers, love, friends, family values and individuality will identify with Nadine Dajani's brilliantly-written chick-lit novel with ethnic flare, Fashionably Late. Going beyond the traditional "women's fiction lite" fare, the novel shakes up the fashion-plus-best-friends-plus-boys formula with shadows of social criticism, a fresh look at bastion-of-communism-turned-tourist-hotspot Cuba, and perhaps most surprisingly for a "chick lit" novel, the Lebanese civil war. "Anyone who is curious about the interplay between different cultures will get something from this book," said author Nadine Dajani in a recent interview.

Fashionably Late is far from forgettable fluff for fashionistas. This smart, sassy and inspirational story illustrates the profound evolution of Montreal-based Muslim Ali Hallaby, a sensible accountant who endures a tumultuous quarter-life crisis involving a struggle with career chaos, powerful parental pressure and a lacklustre love life when she fails the Uniform Final Examination (UFE), the single most important thing standing between her and a blossoming career at one of the Big Four accounting firms.

Drawing strength from her friends, foreign travel and her love of fashion, Ali's courageous journey of self-discovery will embolden other young women to listen to the desires of their heart and act on what they learn, while whisking them away to historic and romantic Cuba.

"From the chic boutiques of Montreal to the sultry nightlife in Cuba, Fashionably Late sparkles with wit and humour. You will fall in love with Dajani's engaging Lebanese-Canadian heroine," commented JoAnn Hornak, author of Adventures of a Salsa Goddess.

"It was about having something to say," Dajani, an accountant-turned-author, responded when asked why she decided to pen her first novel. "I wanted to create a novel that people would enjoy, but I was encouraged to infuse it with details and insights about the immigrant experience, especially as seen through the eyes of a deeply misunderstood minority group (Arabs). Ultimately, it was the multicultural aspect of the novel as well as the unusual setting that appealed to people," she explains.

Born in Lebanon and raised in Canada, Dajani grew up loving all things right-brained, but when it came time for university, opted to major in accounting instead. After completing (and passing) her accounting examinations, Dajani moved to the Cayman Islands to work in the offshore banking industry. Eager to flex her creative muscles and explore her passion for fashion, Dajani enrolled in a Fashion Marketing degree at LaSalle College in her spare time.

Fashionably Late enjoyed an international release in June 2007, and is available at major bookstores as well as on-line at Chapters, Indigo and Amazon.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Protestors target anti-Arab/Muslim Congressman Mark Kirk and his pro-war policies

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq
For Immediate Release
Contact: Josh Levin
July 2nd, 2007

Veterans Turn Up the Heat on Congressman Mark Kirk Over Iraq War

National “Iraq Summer" Campaign Targets Three in Illinois Highlighting New Voices Tired of Endless Iraq War

Northbrook, IL – A growing coalition of veterans, families of veterans, faith leaders and peace activists will take aim at Congressman Mark Kirk for his support of President Bush’s Iraq policy this Tuesday. The effort, one of three in Illinois and 40 nationwide, is part of the “Iraq Summer” campaign. Over the next ten weeks, a barrage of events, letter writing campaigns, volunteer activities, internet organizing and resolution efforts directed at Kirk, Tim Johnson (IL-15) and Ray LaHood (IL-18) will call on the lawmakers to reject President Bush's failed policy of endless war and vote for the safe, responsible redeployment of American troops out of Iraq.

"Iraq Summer" is a nationwide campaign organized by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, which is dispatching nearly 100 organizers to the home states and districts of Republican Senators and Representatives who have opposed setting a timeline to end the war in Iraq. The program is modeled on the "Freedom Summer" civil rights project. Organizers will be in fifteen states from Nevada to Maine, a total of 40 congressional districts.

What: Launch of "Iraq Summer," Campaign to Turn the Heat Up on Congressman Mark Kirk

Who: Ray Parrish, Veteran Counselor and Vietnam Veteran; Americans Against Escalation in Iraq

Where: Outside the office of Congressman Mark Kirk, 707 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook, IL 60062. Exit the Edens Expressway (I-94) at Dundee Rd, head west 0.2 miles to Skokie Blvd, turn right (north) and go to the office building next to Morton’s Steakhouse.

When: Tuesday, July 3rd, 11am