Thursday, June 30, 2011


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Dearborn, MI (June 28, 2011) – This year’s seventh graders – 12 and 13 years old – are the first Americans to grow up with no memory of time before the searing events of Sept. 11, 2001.

As the country approaches the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this fall, a class of middle school journalism students from McCollough-Unis School in Dearborn invites the public to share the stories of their lives and their community by viewing an exhibition at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn. Of the 29 students in the public school class, 28 are Arab American.

Their exhibition, In the Heart of Arab America: A Middle School Perspective, opens with a 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. reception on Saturday, July 2. The exhibition, in the Museum’s Lower Level Gallery, closes on August 14.

Look at the students’ photos or view their stories online at   and it’s clear that Arab American kids are just that: Arab. American. Kids.

MEDIA NOTE: Students are available for interviews during the July 2 reception and at other times by arrangement.

The students’ photos and stories were created during the 2010-2011 school year, when the Asian American Journalists Association sponsored a project called The Living Textbook with a class of seventh graders at McCollough-Unis School. The idea was to help the students learn about journalism and capture stories about their Arab American community.

The students told stories about bullying and the school track team and the Detroit Tigers. They wrote and took photos about sitting down to big, American-style Thanksgiving dinners – with sides of hummus and tabouleh. Most of the kids are Muslim. Some of the girls, but not all, wear headscarves. Some wore green headscarves for St. Patrick’s Day and clipped shamrock antennae onto them. For a special school program called USA Day, they wore red, white and blue.

For them, the Middle East is a local story. Most of the students’ families come from Lebanon, but the class also has students with ties to Kuwait and Syria. One boy labored over the story of the uprisings of the Arab Spring and what that is doing to his parents’ families in the Middle East. His mother stays up late at night to talk on the phone, losing sleep and weight. They live that story in their home here in the United States.

One student wrote about her mother and her mother’s three sisters – all of whom moved to be close together in Dearborn with all their 18 children growing up together. “I have a cousin in every grade,” she said.

The Living Textbook is funded by the McCormick and Ford foundations with additional support from Kodak. The project, which will continue for two more years, is co-directed by two veteran journalists, Emilia Askari of the University of Michigan and Joe Grimm of Michigan State University.

The Heart of Arab America exhibition was made possible by the dedication of teacher April Kincaid and the support of Dearborn Public Schools administrators.


The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves, celebrates and educates the public on the history, life, culture and contributions of Arab Americans. It serves as a resource to enhance knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in this country. The Arab American National Museum is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization. Learn more at and

The Arab American National Museum is a proud Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Read about the Affiliations program at

The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI, 48126. Museum hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under, free. Call 313.582.2266 for further information.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Jordan, attacks on the press go unpunished despite government assurances

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Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, 11th Fl., New York, NY 10001 Phone: +1 (212) 465-1004 Fax: +1 (212) 465-9568
Contact: Mohamed Abdel Dayem, program coordinator. Phone: (212) 465-1004; E-mail:   
In Jordan, attacks on the press go unpunished despite government assurances

New York, June 21, 2011-On the heels of an attack on Agence France-Presse's Amman offices, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Jordanian government to hold to account those who threaten or attack journalists.

Ten men in plainclothes attacked AFP's offices on Wednesday, destroying furniture and equipment, said AFP journalist Kamal Taha, who was on duty at the time, according to international news reports. The assault came just three hours after an unidentified caller made threats of physical harm against AFP Amman bureau chief Randa Habib and the agency's office, local and regional media reported. Although Habib relayed the threats to authorities, they failed to take measures to prevent that attack, The New York Times said.  

The threats and the assault came two days after a June 13 AFP story that referred to an incident in which men threw bottles at King Abdullah's motorcade during a visit to the town of Tafileh. Officials denied that the motorcade was attacked. The next day, some 300 government loyalists demanded the closure of AFP's offices for "inaccurate reporting," news reports said.   

"Vows by Jordanian officials to find and bring to justice the perpetrators of every recent attack on the media have come to nothing," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. "These unfulfilled assurances amount to a tacit endorsement of violence against the press."

Local journalists held a protest in solidarity with AFP in which they demanded accountability for the attack. Emmanuel Hoog, AFP chairman and chief executive, denied in a letter to Jordanian Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit that the outlet had perpetrated "subversive intrigue" by publishing its story. Noting an official condemnation of the attack and a swiftly launched government investigation, Hoog added that he expected "immediate" and "concrete measures" to be taken to prevent additional attacks.  

Today, Information Minister Taher Adwan resigned, citing laws that he viewed as "restrictive for freedom of expression" and "the repeated attacks on journalists who are doing their professional duties." Adwan, a veteran journalist and the former editor-in-chief of a popular daily, Al-Arab al-Yawm, had issued a prompt condemnation of the attack on AFP.  

CPJ has documented multiple attacks on media in Jordan since March, including threats against Al-Jazeera staffers, assaults on journalists covering pro-reform demonstrations, and the hacking of news websites.
CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

Friday, June 17, 2011

ADC Files TPS Request for Libya – Addresses Student Visa Holders

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ADC Files TPS Request for Libya – Addresses Student Visa Holders
Washington, DC | | June 17, 2011 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Libyan Council of North America (LCNA) has formally requested that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant Temporary Protective Status (TPS) under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, to Libyan nationals presently in the United States. The request was sent directly to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano as a result of the growing civil strife in the nation.

ADC also is working with DHS to ensure that while the TPS request is pending, no student visa holders from Libya in the U.S. get deported. The Department of Treasury recently froze the funds of the Libyan government, effectively cutting tuition funding to nearly 2,300 students in the U.S. This decision could lead to the students falling out of status and eligible to be removed from country. DHS has ensured ADC that removal proceedings against Libyan students would be “laxed.”

Earlier this week Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published a notice in the Federal Register suspending certain regulatory requirements in order to allow eligible Libyan F-1 students to obtain employment authorization, work an increased number of hours during the school term, if necessary, reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status.

ADC and LCNA have lead a collaborative effort with the endorsement of key community organizations including the Libyan Emergency Task Force (LETF), the Libyan Outreach Group (LO), the Libya Foundation (LF), the Libyan American Association of Southern California (LAASC), the Libyan Outreach Student Committee (LOSC), and the New Libya Foundation (NLF). The Libyan Transitional National Council has also endorsed this urgent request.

Under 8 U.S.C. § 1254a, the Department of Homeland Security may designate any foreign state or part of a foreign state for Temporary Protected Status if there is ongoing armed conflict within the state and, due to the conflict, requiring the return of nationals to that state or part of a state would pose a serious threat to their personal safety. In the context of escalating and “ongoing armed conflict,” requiring nationals to return to Libya “would pose a serious threat to their safety.”


Contact:  Abed Ayoub

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) 
1732 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20007 
Tel:  (202) 244-2990 | Fax: (202) 333-3980 | 

Copyright (C) 2011 ADC | All rights reserved.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Al Jazeera English wins New York Press Club Award

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Al Jazeera English wins New York Press Club Award

13 June 2011 - New York Press Club has awarded Al Jazeera English the “Best News Videography of a Breaking Story by an Individual or Crew” in the Spot News Video category.  The award will be presented to Al Jazeera journalists Cath Turner, Alessandro Rampietti and Geoff Mills for their piece on "Haiti Cholera Protests.” 

This prestigious award recognizes the best news videography of a breaking story by an individual or crew that was shot and aired within 24 hours of the story.  It is the first time Al Jazeera English has won an award from the New York Press Club.  Entries were judged by prominent working journalists or former journalists and academics and were selected for their expertise in each category.  The crew accepted the award this evening at the New York Press Club’s annual awards gala held at the Water Club in New York City.

‘Haiti Cholera Protests’ featured reporting by Cath Turner, an Al Jazeera English reporter based in New York.  In the build-up to the first round of Haitian elections in 2010, Cath and her crew reported on the ground from Cap-Hatien.  With anti-UN protests, a deadly disease outbreak, and ongoing fallout from the earthquake and hurricane all during pre-election campaigning, Haiti was in a very critical and potentially dangerous situation.   Cath along with Alessandro and Geoff took to the streets of Haiti to bring this volatile story to Al Jazeera’s audience worldwide in real-time.

Cath Turner stated, “We are very honored to have received this award tonight.  Haiti has been such an important story for us during the recent difficulties it has been experiencing.  It means a lot to have our work recognized and appreciated as it has been tonight.”

To view ‘Haiti Cholera Protests’ please follow the below link

Saturday, June 11, 2011

ADC backs down from censorship of Malik Jandali

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ADC to Open Tonight's Gala with "Watani Ana"

Washington, DC | | June 11, 2011 — ADC announced today that it will open its annual Gala with the playing of the song "Watani Ana" by Syrian composer and pianist Mr. Malek Jandali.

We regret the series of events that led to the cancellation of Mr. Jandali's performance.

We hope that by playing the song, with its powerful message of freedom, that we will address the valid concerns of many in the Arab-American community. It is in this spirit we hope to move forward and continue to build our grassroots network, as we work to empower Arab Americans.

ADC’s mission as a civil rights organization will be advanced by being a broad umbrella that represents the whole community. We encourage the participation of all Arab Americans as a vital way of continuing to build, and improve our ability to defend our rights. It is regrettable that this issue has been emphasized by some to detract from the important work that ADC does and from its message conveyed at its annual convention. ADC has gained its Arab-American community's trust by being active and fair and has worked diligently to protect their rights.  

Thursday, June 09, 2011

ADC responds to vicious attacks regarding Malik Jandali

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Statement Regarding Malek Jandali and the ADC Convention

Washington, DC | | June 9, 2011 -- There has been an attempt to deflect from the focus of the ADC National Convention by various media, with accusations leveled against ADC as being against pro-democracy speech. Renowned pianist Mr. Malek Jandali was invited to perform at the ADC Gala Banquet for his inspiring compositions. A celebrated artist, Mr. Jandali performed at ADC last year. The notion that ADC, the largest grassroots Arab American organization, which has consistently and painstakingly fought for the civil rights and liberties of Arab Americans throughout its history of thirty-one years, would disinvite an artist for promoting democracy is absurd. Mr. Jandali’s participation at the banquet was intended to be in his professional capacity as a musical performer.

As for the expression of personal political views, ADC provides ample opportunity for discussion and debate throughout the convention. This year’s convention includes panel discussions on U.S. foreign policy, the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, Arab American identity, and other areas. In these events, where experts and scholars engage in candid discussion, audience members are encouraged to participate. We hope that Mr. Jandali will join in the exchange and articulate his personal views at these events.

ADC’s grassroots membership-base represents a diverse spectrum of Arab Americans, who vary in their national origin, religion, social traditions, and political views. ADC’s power to fight for the rights of Arab Americans stems from its identity as one organization for ALL Arab Americans, a unifying force that speaks with one voice in the interests of our community as a whole. To truly succeed in combating the many common challenges Arab Americans face in the United States, it is vital that this be the guiding focus of ADC’s mission. 

It is for this reason that ADC seeks to bring Arab Americans together, based on a shared identity and experience, and avoids fomenting the divisiveness that inevitably emerges in the Arab American community where domestic Arab politics are concerned. Unfortunately, in keeping with its goal to unify Arab Americans, ADC’s resolution not to promote any particular side of a dispute is misunderstood as a failure to uphold the underlying principles upon which ADC is based. ADC unequivocally supports civil rights and liberties for all people and condemns any action that undermines the freedom or dignity of any human being.  



Wednesday, June 01, 2011


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Music Without Borders in Millennium Park kicks off on June 9 with Hanggai and Aurelio Martinez, then continues on June 16 with Dandana: A Celebration of Muslim Voices.


Two Acclaimed Vocalists Come to Millennium Park
Thursday, June 16 at 6:30 PM at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Coming to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park is Dandana: A Celebration Of Muslim Voices featuring Hakim (“The Lion of Egypt”) and the Alim Qasimov Ensemble of Azerbaijan on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Music Without Border series.  The concert will be a showcase of two very different types of Muslim singers, with Hakim’s mix of modern dance beats and native Egyptian music contrasted with the passion, devotion and incantation of Alim Qasimov’s sounds.

Returning for a sixth summer, the free Music Without Borders series features music spanning five continents—Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America—with six groups making their Chicago debut at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium ParkThe series is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.  United Airlines is the Official Airline, the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park is the Official Hotel, and WBEZ 91.5 FM is a media sponsor of Music Without Borders.

Recognized worldwide as a leader of the movement to popularize music of the younger generation (jeel), Hakim is an innovator who has revolutionized the genre of sha’bi (indigenous Egyptian music).  His songs fuse traditional melodies with urban dance beats, and his lyrics chronicle daily life through the rhythm of street slang.  A major figure in the international music scene, Hakim has played to sell-out crowds throughout the world. 

Hakim was originally scheduled to perform in Chicago on the closing night of the World Music Festival in September, 2001, one week after September 11th.  He was not able to travel to the United States for the Festival, but did appear in a rescheduled “World Music Presents” date on February 14, 2002 at the Riviera Theatre—the last time he performed in Chicago. In Millennium Park, he will appear with a band of 16 musicians.

The evening opens with the six member Alim Qasimov Ensemble of Azerbaijan.  One of the foremost mugham singers of classical Azerbaijan song, Qasimov is a recipient of the International Music Council—UNESCO Music Prize in 1999, one of the highest accolades for music worldwide.  Accompanied by the daf (drums), balaban (woodwinds) and kamancha (strings), audiences will be transported by the sounds of his vocal technique along with his passion and devotion.  Qasimov has made many appearances with Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, recorded nine albums, three of which are mugham albums featuring his daughter, Fergana Qasimova, who will appear with him in Millennium Park.  Alim Qasimov made his Chicago debut in the World Music Festival in 2000.

This concert is supported by the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation Endowment, managed by Millennium Park Inc. Dandana: A Celebration of Muslim Voices is presented in collaboration with Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) and the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.  This marks IMAN’s second collaboration with Music Without Borders in Millennium Park.

For more information about all of the Music Without Borders concerts in Millennium Park, visit, call 312.742.1168, visit Millennium Park on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @Millennium_Park.

Future Music Without Borders concerts include:

Thursday, June 23 at  6:30pm 
RAM + Sexteto Tabala                                                               
Standing for the initials of its founder, the Haitian-American musician, Richard A. Morse, RAM champions the mizik rasin musical movement, a Haitian art form that combines Voodoo culture with rock and roll. Formed in 1990, RAM quickly became one of the most influential bands in Haiti, through hopeful music that addressed government corruption and other social ills. The band combines elements of rock, lyrics in Creole, French and English and Haitian rhythms, melodies and instruments. The group’s single "Ibo Lele (Dreams Come True)," is included on the soundtrack of the 1993 film “Philadelphia” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. They make their Chicago debut in Millennium Park.

For over 70 years, Sexteto Tabala has been preserving Colombia’s afro Palenquero ancestral and cultural traditions and has made it now one of the most representative musical expressions of the black communities of Colombia. Their highly percussive music is a blend of Cuban son and Colombian Caribbean rhythms and includes drums, bongos, maracas, guiro, harpsichord, marimbula (native African bass) in addition to vocals. Its 76 year old lead singer, Rafael Cassiani was selected as one of the ten most important artists in Colombian culture by the country’s Ministry of Culture.  Sexteto Tabala make their Chicago debut in Millennium Park.

Thursday, June 30 at  6:30pm
Diogo Nogueira + Freshlyground
Thirty year old Diogo Nogueira descends from a noble lineage of samba. Born in Rio de Janeiro, the son of the renowned singer João Nogueira, Diogo grew up going to rodas de samba with his father, the communal gatherings where musicians and composers sing and improvise samba together, a habit that earned him respect and approval of the music’s bambas (samba legends). Today, the rising Brazilian star, Diogo Nogueira performs the samba-canção, a more melodic variation of the samba, full of romantic lyrics that wax poetic about love, music, soccer, and his endless infatuation with his native city. He makes his Chicago debut in Millennium Park.

Formed in 2002 with band members hailing from South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, Freshlyground seamlessly blends pop, folk, jazz, blues, and indie-rock with traditional South African beats, including kwela and African folk music.  With four celebrated albums, an MTV Award and a collaboration with Shakira on the 2010 World Cup song—“Waka Waka—This Time for Africa”, Freshlyground has established their place on the international music map.  They make their Chicago debut in Millennium Park.

Thursday, July 7 at  6:30pm
Rupa and the April Fishes + Baloji
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rupa and the April Fishes create music that defies easy categorization. Led by Rupa Marya, a young woman of Indian heritage, their music is a mixture of international music styles, including French chanson, Argentinean tango, Gypsy swing, American folk, Latin cumbias and Indian ragas, with lyrics sung in French, Spanish and English.  They made their Chicago debut at the World Music Festival in 2009.

The evening opens with the innovative Congo-born, Belgian-bred hip-hop wordsmith, BalojiHis debut release Hotel Impala was made for his mother in Congo, a gift and a message from a son who had been away for 25 years. On a personal quest for his roots and his future, Baloji decided to return to Kinshasa to make an African version of that first album. In Kinshasa Succursale, Baloji shows off a diversity of styles and unique vocal sounds—a mix of Congolese dance music (soukous), 60’s soul and the lyrical edge of Hip Hop’s pioneers.

Thursday, July 14 at 6:30pm
Sierra Maestra + Susheela Raman
Originally founded at the University of Havana in 1976, Sierra Maestra has spent the last 35 years revitalizing, reinventing, and preserving the Cuban son music tradition. Headed by Juan d’Marcos Gonzales, they were the first of the modern-era groups to play in the old-style son line-up. Their aim was to revive and re-explore this long forgotten Cuban music style of the 1920s.  Their revival of son with a modern twist was a sensation for the new generations of Cubans.  They return to Chicago for the first time in nearly ten years, following President Obama’s lift of the restrictions on travel to Cuba.

Susheela Raman is one of the most interesting musicians to emerge amongst the South Asian Diaspora, equally at home with South Indian Classical as with Jimi Hendrix and Fela Kuti, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Aretha Franklin. Born in London to Tamil parents, she has constantly pushed cultural barriers to find new and ancient connection points between India, England and beyond. As a composer, arranger and interpreter, she keeps her tamil heritage alive in her music—a mix of South Indian classical music crossed with jazz, folk and pop influences and makes her Chicago debut in Millennium Park as part of the Eye on India Festival.

Thursday, July 21 at 6:30pm
Yemen Blues + Etran Finatawa
Growing up in Israel to a Yemenite family, Ravid Kahalani quickly learned to appreciate the artistic undertones of his cultures’ traditional chants, then extended his influences in the areas of blues, West African soul and classical opera. Together with jazz bassist Omer Avital, he created Yemen Blues, a hybrid musical experience that combines strong Yemenite melodies with the world of blues, jazz and funk, an ultimate celebration of African grooves, pure happiness and deep emotional Yemenite singing. This event is supported by the Israeli Consulate of Chicago.

Niger’s Etran Finatawa’s hypnotic musical groove evokes the breathless heat and shimmering horizon of the Sahara. Literally meaning “stars of tradition,” the band includes musicians from two different tribes—the Wodaabe and Touareg nomads. Led by Touareg Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla and the Wodaabe singers, Bammo Agonla and Bagui Bouga, they bring their laid back guitars, driving rhythms and compelling voices to the stage for a night of highly innovative sound and rich performances.  They made their Chicago debut at the World Music Festival in 2009.

Millennium Park
Millennium Park is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is bordered by Michigan Ave. to the west, Columbus Dr. to the east, Randolph St. to the north and Monroe St. to the south. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and at the Grant Park North and East Monroe Garages, all located within a short walking distance of Millennium Park. 

Millennium Park, managed and programmed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers. Among Millennium Park’s prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa; the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture.  Since its opening in July 2004, Millennium Park has welcomed more than 24 million people, making it one of the most popular destinations in Chicago.

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, presents thousands of high-quality free festivals, exhibitions, performances and holiday celebrations in venues throughout the city each year. DCASE is dedicated to promoting an ongoing celebration of the arts in Chicago, supporting the people who create and sustain them, and marketing the city’s abundant cultural resources to a worldwide audience.

Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture
The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC) is dedicated to promoting Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers, providing innovative visitor programs and services, and presenting free world-class public programs. COTC supports local artists through grants and other resources and creates vital opportunities for artists of all levels. For more information please visit


Please Note My New Email Address:

Jill Hurwitz
Millennium Park Communications Manager
Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture
78 E. Washington Street, 4th floor
Chicago, IL  60602
phone:  312.742.1149
fax: 312.742.2783