Friday, April 23, 2010

Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish Concert in Garden Grove CA May 2

Bookmark and Share

Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish Concert in Garden Grove

LOS ANGELES - On the occasion of the release of the Arab American Almanac, sixth edition, the Arab American Historical Foundation and St. Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal Church present  a concert in honor of the creative work of the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish on May 2, 2010, at 6:30 PM, in the church hall, Garden Grove, California.

The Southern California-based Turath Ensemble will perform a selection of Darwish poems, in addition to other works, in two formats reading in Arabic with English translation accompanied by instrumental interludes, and singing the few poems popularized by Lebanese singer/composer Marcel Khalife.

Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) was an award-winning Palestinian poet who became regarded as the Palestinian national poet who used Palestine as a metaphor for the loss of Eden and the anguish of exile.

The Arab American Historical Foundation’s mission is to preserve and disseminate Arab American history, was founded by Joseph Haiek in Los Angeles 1978. Its Arab American Almanac is a comprehensive reference book about Arab Americans that provides accurate and practical reference sources about Arab Aericans, while acknowledging their heritage and perpetuating their culture, history and society.

St. Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Garden Grove, California, is an Inclusive Spiritual Christian Community Rooted in Faith, Hope, Love, and Justice.

Turath Ensemble specializes in the musical heritage (Turath is Arabic for Heritage) of the Arabic-speaking people of the Levant and Egypt and performs classical and folk composition on traditional instruments.

Inquiries about this event can be directed to or  by calling 1-330-TURATH1.

More information on the Arab American Historical Foundation is found at:

More information on St. Anselm church is found at:

More information on Turath Ensemble are found at:

                                                             - END -

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Egyptian Actress Hanan Turk to Speak at Palestine Benefit in Hickory Hills

Bookmark and Share

Egyptian Actress Hanan Turk to Speak at Palestine Benefit in Hickory Hills Islamic Relief USA's “Support a Family, Save a Society” to help raise funds for orphans and needy families

(Washington, D.C., April 21, 2010) - Hanan Turk, a well-known Egyptian actress and humanitarian, will be the keynote speaker at Islamic Relief USA's “Support a Family, Save a Society” fund raising dinner -- a benefit for Palestinian orphans and families on Sunday, April 25th in Hickory Hills, Illinois.

Turk, who is an international ambassador for the non-profit humanitarian organization, has visited Islamic Relief USA's work sites in West Africa and Egypt and has helped raise money for the poor all over the world.

“The most honorable thing in this world is to help someone in need,” said Turk in an Arabic video message to her American audience. “We want to use this dinner to express our love and support for Palestine.”

Islamic singer, Dr Imad Rami of Syria, will also be performing. Approximately 800 people are expected to attend the event. Proceeds from the event will be used to support hospitals, sponsor orphans and families and feed students.

WHAT: Islamic Relief USA Fund Raising Dinner
WHEN: Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 7 PM
WHERE: The Sabre Room, 8900 W 95th St, Hickory Hills, 60457

Tickets: $30 per person. Babysitting is $10 per child.

For more information, contact Ahmed Shehata at 708-430-9633, or visit

Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, VA, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian agency. As an international relief and development organization, Islamic Relief strives to alleviate the poverty and suffering of the world's poorest people. Since its establishment, Islamic Relief has expanded greatly with permanent locations in more than 35 countries worldwide.

For the sixth consecutive year, Islamic Relief USA has been awarded four stars by Charity Navigator, the largest charity evaluator in the country. This prestigious award puts Islamic Relief among the top 2.25 percent of charities in the nation.

- # -

MEDIA CONTACT: Rabiah Ahmed at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two Men Indicted in Alleged $56 Million Bank Fraud Involving Two Residential Developments in Downtown Loop

Bookmark and Share

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2010
United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois
Contact: (312) 353-5300
Two Men Indicted in Alleged $56 Million Bank Fraud Involving Two Residential Developments in Downtown Loop

CHICAGO—Two men who purported to purchase and develop two Loop residential buildings are facing federal fraud charges in connection with financial transactions that allegedly caused the former CIB Bank in west suburban Hillside to lose approximately $56 million. The defendants, Romel Esmail and Bassam Haj Yousif, allegedly operated various businesses, including a real estate investment venture, a construction company, a land trust and holding companies, and defaulted on bank loans relating to projects they purportedly undertook at 6 North Michigan Ave., and 59 East Van Buren St. Both men allegedly used at least $3.6 million in loan proceeds for their own benefit, including purchasing real estate, as well as a vehicle and jewelry for Esmail and to fund Esmail’s investment account. Neither defendant has any connection to the current ownership or development of the two Loop properties.

Esmail, 50, formerly of Chicago, and Yousif, 42, of Oak Park, were each charged with two counts of bank fraud and three counts of making false statements in bank loan documents in a federal grand jury indictment that was returned under seal in December. The indictment was unsealed Friday in an effort to help locate Esmail who is a fugitive, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Nancy Grinnell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Office of Inspector General. The Chicago Offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division assisted in the investigation.
Yousif is expected to be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $56 million.

According to the indictment, between October 1999 and September 2003, Esmail and Yousif allegedly caused and attempted to cause CIB Bank to lend them money to purchase and develop property by falsely representing the sales price and their cash equity positions, and then to lend them additional funds by falsely representing that the money was being used to pay development expenses.

In 1999, the defendants allegedly applied for a commercial loan of approximately $13 million to purchase and develop 6 North Michigan, falsely representing that they were providing at least $4,262,500 of the purported $17 million  purchase price, while knowing that they actually had an agreement to purchase the building for approximately $13 million and provided no cash equity of their own. As part of the scheme, they allegedly submitted to CIB Bank a fraudulent purchase agreement stating that, through their business, Global Real Estate Investors, LLC, they were buying the building  for $17,060,000 from a fictitious seller.

Beginning in 2000, after obtaining the initial $13 million loan, Esmail and Yousif caused CIB Bank to extend additional loans totaling approximately $8.5 million to pay for demolition, clean up and construction expenses related to 6 North Michigan. The indictment alleges the defendants used at least $3.6 million of those funds for their own benefit.

Also, in 2000, Esmail and Yousif applied to CIB Bank for an $8 million commercial loan to purchase and develop 59 East Van Buren through two other companies they controlled—Transworld Holdings LLC and Deutsche Investment Holding LLC—allegedly falsely representing that they were providing at least $6,392,000 cash equity towards a purported $13 million purchase price. As part of the fraud scheme, they allegedly submitted to the bank false closing statements purporting to show that they had purchased the building for approximately $13 million.

In 2001, the indictment alleges that Esmail and Yousif applied for and obtained a $44 million construction loan from CIB Bank to fund the renovation and conversion of 6 North Michigan into condominiums, as well as to payoff the original acquisition loan and the two subsequent demolition and clean up loans. As part of the scheme, both defendants allegedly provided the bank with false documents purporting to show that certain construction work had been done, supporting disbursement of approximately $7.9 million, knowing that not all of the work had been performed.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick King.

Each count of bank fraud and making false statements carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or the court may impose an alternative fine totaling twice the gain to any defendant or twice the loss to any victim, whichever is greater. If convicted, the court would determine a reasonable sentence to impose under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.


Talfazat adds two new Arabic language channels, including Orthodox Christians from Egypt

Bookmark and Share


Leading Arabic Television Service Talfazat Continues Expansion and Announces the Launch of Two New Channels

Toronto, Canada – April 20, 2010 – Talfazat, a leading provider of live and on-demand Arabic television channels, today announced the addition of Rusiya Al Yaum and Aghapy TV to its program line-up.

Rusiya Al Yaum, an Arabic news channel based in Russia, will be included in the Gold TV Package on the Talfazat TV box and PC Package.  This leading news channel will be available to Talfazat subscribers worldwide and covers a wide variety of events from a Russian perspective featuring personal interviews, fascinating debates and stories about the cultural life in Russia and other major cities.  Rusiya Al Yaum is scheduled to go live on Talfazat before end of the month.  

Aghapy TV, the very first Coptic Orthodox Christian satellite channel, broadcasts in Arabic from Egypt.  It aims to serve Christians globally with shows that focus on spiritual, social and health-related genres.  It is available to Canadian Talfazat box customers as an add-on to any Talfazat TV package and also on the PC worldwide outside the U.S.  

“The addition of Rusiya Al Yaum and Aghapy TV further strengthens our offering to the Arab community and demonstrates our dedication to enriching the viewer experience,” said Tracy West, Chief Executive International Business for NeuLion.  “We are adding more channels to Talfazat in the coming months.”

“We are pleased and would like to thank Talfazat for their cooperation to bring Aghapy TV to the Coptic and all Arabic speaking communities in Canada and abroad.  Aghapy is a word meaning love and we aim utilize Aghapy and draw on Talfazat's reach and viewership to bring the message of God's love to everyone,” Father Angelos Saad.

As a leading Arabic TV service, Talfazat gives global access to live channels and thousands of hours of video-on-demand.  Visit for more information.

About Talfazat
Talfazat is a leading online Arabic television network.  The service gives viewers high quality access to the most popular live Arabic television channels and thousands of hours of video-on-demand.  As a multi-platform service, Talfazat programming can be viewed via the Internet on both the PC and TV through set-top-box.  There is no need for satellite or complex installation.  Begin watching today at 


Thursday, April 15, 2010

EEOC sues Washington DC restaurant for harassment of two Arab Workers

Bookmark and Share

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Charlotte District Office
129 West Trade Street, Suite 400
Charlotte, NC 28202
From: OCLA, 202-663-4912

CONTACT Lynette A Barnes, Regional Attorney
PHONE (704) 954-6462


April 12, 2010


Moroccan/Palestinian Muslims Subjected to Offensive Comments, Federal Agency Charged

WASHINGTON, D.C. A Washington, DC-based steak and seafood restaurant violated federal law by subjecting two employees to a hostile work environment based on their religion and national origin, the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. According to the EEOC's complaint, Faissal Chtaiti, who is Moroccan and Hilal Suboh, who is Palestinian, were subjected to harassment based on their religion and national origin by Deauville, Inc. doing business as Monocle Restaurant. Both men are Muslim.

Chtaiti and Suboh were both employed as waiters at the Monocle Restaurant located at 107 D Street, NE, Washington, DC. The EEOC charged that fi'om around December 2004 through at least December 2007, Chtaiti and Suboh were harassed by the restaurant's general manager. According to the EEOC, the harassment included derogatory comments such as refelTing to the men as "Arab dog," "stupid Muslim" and "crazy Muslim." The general manager also made comments like "go back to the Sahara because it's better for you Arabs with the camels," and "Palestinians should learn how to handle the [expletive 1 Jews," according to the EEOC's complaint.

National origin and religion harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC med suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Deauville, Inc. d/b/a Monocle Restaurant, Civ. No. 1:10-cv-00586, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

The EEOC seeks monetary damages for both Chtaiti and Suboh. The suit also seeks an injunction to prevent Monocle Restaurant from engaging further in any employment practice that discriminates on the basis of national origin or religion.

"Employers must remember that harassment based on national origin and religion, like race harassment, is against the law," said Lynette A Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office which oversees litigation filed by the agency in Washington, D.C. "Companies should have in place a policy that prohibits national origin and religion harassment, as well as a procedure for victims and witnesses to repOit it and for the employer to promptly respond to and rectify it."

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at

# # #

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

President Obama’s Conversation with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan

Bookmark and Share

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      April 13, 2010

Read-out of President Obama’s Conversation with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan

The President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, discussed non-proliferation cooperation and important regional and bilateral issues during the opening dinner of the Nuclear Security Summit. They talked about the UAE’s strong commitment to non-proliferation, including the US-UAE Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy Agreement as well as close cooperation on port security.  They also spoke about the need for Iran to comply with UN Security Council and IAEA resolutions.  The two leaders covered other regional priorities including the need for Israelis and Palestinians to immediately begin proximity talks, leading to direct negotiations aimed at ending the conflict with a two-state solution.  In addition, they discussed the broadening cooperation between the U.S. and UAE in areas like energy, science, and entrepreneurship.  The President looks forward to hosting several Emiratis at the Washington Entrepreneurship Summit later this month. (Credit:  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Monday, April 12, 2010

President Obama and King Abdullah of Jordan meet to discuss regional interests

Bookmark and Share

Office of the Press Secretary

April 12, 2010

Readout of the President’s Bilateral Meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan

President Obama and King Abdullah met today for a bilateral meeting to reaffirm the U.S.-Jordanian partnership and discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest.  The leaders exchanged ideas on ways to advance comprehensive peace in the Middle East, between both Israelis and Palestinians and Israelis and the larger Arab world.  During these discussions, both agreed that Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks should begin as soon as possible, and transition quickly to direct negotiations.  They also agreed that both sides should refrain from actions that undermine trust during these talks. 

President Obama and King Abdullah also discussed Iran's nuclear file.  President Obama stressed the importance of international efforts to pressure Iran to ensure that it upholds its international obligations, including through the imposition of sanctions.  Both leaders agreed on the importance of strengthening the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and holding all signatories accountable to fulfill their treaty obligations.  Both leaders agreed on the importance of securing nuclear material to combat terrorism and agreed to continue cooperation in the area of preventing and detecting illicit trafficking. 

President Obama and King Abdullah also discussed the latest situation in Afghanistan and ways that Jordan could continue to contribute to international efforts to improve conditions on the ground for the Afghan people.  The recent election in Iraq and the current situation in Yemen were also part of their conversation, as well as the current global economic situation.  They also discussed enhancing cooperation in the fields of education, energy, science and entrepreneurship. 


Biden meets with head of Abu Dhabi

Bookmark and Share

Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2010


The Vice President Joe Biden met today with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan to discuss regional issues and bilateral cooperation on economic, diplomatic and security issues.  The Vice President thanked the Crown Prince for the UAE’s significant contributions in Afghanistan and they agreed to continue to support Yemen’s unity, stability, and economic and political reform.  They also discussed Iran’s nuclear program, Iraq, and the Middle East peace process.  The Vice President reiterated the United States’s steadfast commitment to Gulf security.