News and Analysis 4/11/21

April 11th, 2021

The arrest of choreographer Ata Khattab the depth of Israeli fear of Palestinian culture:

“Attacks against Muslims are attacks against the Republic” — Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin, “the main sponsor of legislation passing through parliament which the government says is designed to tackle what it describes as encroaching fundamentalism that is subverting French values … [which] some critics say … points the finger at Muslims”:

Iran is calling on the international community (including the International Atomic Energy Agency) to confront Israel’s “nuclear terrorism”:

Ashraf Abu Sorour “had been subjected to severe torture” and “was later sentenced to life imprisonment”:

A British think tank accused of Islamophobia as well as collaborating with the far-right to demonize Muslims in the UK, shut down abruptly  on Friday due to lack of funds:

Blinken “called on governments around the world, including the United States, to take ‘concrete actions’ to ensure that no companies are providing China with products or services that facilitate its repression of the Uyghur population”:

Former Conservative FM Sir Alan Duncan expressed his shame over British government submission to Zionist “pro-settlement propaganda’,” calling it “a sort of buried scandal that has to stop”:

News and Analysis 4/9/21

April 9th, 2021

Amidst almost daily human rights violations …

… Israel refuses to recognize the authority of the tribunal, which plans to investigate “war crimes in the Palestinian territories”:

“What we’re saying in the lawsuit to Facebook is, ‘Do one of two things: Stop lying, or have your actions conform to your statements'” — Muslim Advocates lawyer Mary Bauer:

As talks of rejoining the nuclear deal and removal of U.S sanctions on Iran continue …

… an Iranian vessel was attacked amidst what seems to be an escalating maritime war between Iran and Israel:

Demonstrations broke out as Indian soldiers damaged a mosque in which militants had sought sanctuary …

… and journalists protest attempts by Indian police to suppress news coverage:

Amid a Muslim exodus over past violence a Hindu priest is called out for insults deemed likely to provoke further violence:

Military officials are frustrate by Biden’s failure to make a decision on the future of U.S troops in Afghanistan three weeks from the withdrawal deadline:

Another “senior leader of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group has been convicted on ‘terror’ charges and sentenced to life in prison”:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused the United States of blocking Iran’s access to 10 million doses of the vaccine “by pressuring the companies involved in supplying the vaccine to Iran”:

“A bid by the French Senate to ban girls under 18 from wearing the hijab in public has drawn condemnation, with the hashtag #HandsOffMyHijab circulating widely on social media”:

News and Analysis 4/6/2021

April 6th, 2021

On Monday, Israeli soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian couple, killing the man and wounding his wife with bullets. “They began shooting at us, my husband fell into my lap and was killed”:

After indirect talks at Vienna, the U.S and Iran have agreed to try and synchronize “Washington’s lifting of sanctions” and “Iran’s limiting of uranium enrichment;” …

… Smashing Trump’s “sanctions wall” will be politically costly for Biden, but “failing to do so, Biden risks war with Iran or acceding to an Iranian nuclear program on steroids”:

“Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have 12 members of Congress refer to Israeli occupation as colonialism, so I have no doubt that the needle on Palestinian human rights is moving” :

Palestine urged the Middle East International Quartet to pressure Israeli into allowing elections in line with “international law and the signed agreements”:

Post editors did not incorporate multiple reports indicating that “[t]he Government of Israel destroyed multiple Palestinian COVID-19 clinics, materials and testing sites, and prevented medical care to Palestinians in the reported sites of Jenin, Hebron, Khirbet Ibziq  and Silwan” into articles otherwise “lauding Israel for its COVID-19 measures”:

News and Analysis 4/4/21

April 4th, 2021

Reports state that two groups of settlers beat a Jalud resident with “sticks and rocks”,  to the extent that he required immediate medical attention, then “two Israeli soldiers who reached the scene fired stun grenades at the Jalud residents who came to the Palestinian’s aid”:

Can diplomatic choreography sidestep the “you go first impasse” for a return to JCPOA?

As Lebanon finds itself on the brink of economic collapse, one can only hope that it makes it to the 2022 parliamentary elections so that new leadership can put the country on a new, sustainable economic trajectory:

Jordan’s Prince Hamzah Bin Al-Hussein, the half-brother of King Abdullah II, said Saturday that he’s been placed under house arrest as the government arrested “more than a dozen individuals — including high-profile members of the Kingdom” over an alleged plot to overthrow the king:

The Biden administration has “has offered few concrete details on its plan to end the United States’ support for” the illegal and cruel war that Saudi Arabia and its US-backed allies have waged on Yemen” or the arms sales that support it:

A biker converts to Islam and, turning his back on street fighting, forms a new kind of motorcycle club that fights brush fires, saves lives, and provides young people an alternative to “a life of crime and vice”:

The Iranian fictional spy show is so hostile to Iran’s moderates that FM Javad Zarif has branded the second season a “lie from beginning to end”:

Palestinian electoral commission has announced the list of candidates who are approved to run for next month’s legislative elections. With this vote, many hope “to boost international support for Palestinian governance”:


News and Analysis 4/2/21

April 2nd, 2021

U.S. and its allies started the “illegal, undeclared, and criminal” war against the Yemen. Now, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken calls on “’all parties’ to allow unhindered import and distribution of food and fuel” even as U.S. naval blockade prevents “food and fuel from reaching those 20 million Yemenis”:

The textbook publisher has paused distribution of books that UK Lawyers for Israel pressured it to adulterate. Among the many facts deleted “that during the first intifada of 1987-93 the arms and fingers of Palestinian child stone throwers were broken by Israeli soldiers” …

.. while in the U.S., Butler University students say Zionists pressured the SGA to block civil rights icon Angela Davis from campus “because of her support … for nonviolent economic pressure against Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestine”:

The Biden Administration will grant a meagre $15 million in humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, less that 5% of the aid given before Trump stopped it 2018 and about 1/2% of the annual military aid given to Israel to perpetuate the occupation:

The entry of the popular armed resistance leader currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison has the potential to “severely weaken President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and help its militant Hamas rivals”:

Iran’s FM confirmed on TV that “participants had agreed to meet in person in Vienna on Tuesday after ‘frank and serious’ talks”:

“It was unclear what prompted the two militaries to adhere to the accord they had largely ignored for years”:

News and Analysis 3/31/21

March 31st, 2021

A U.S federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the JNF and other Zionist lobbies accusing the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) of engaging in “material support for terrorism” over their support for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement:

Documenting the IDF’s daily crimes leads to routine harassment:

Released and reunited with his wife, son, and daughter after spending 20 years in Israeli jails for membership in the PFLP, Barbar was arrested again a raid on his home in which twelve people were reportedly “wounded by rubber-coated bullets, tear-gas suffocation and beatings”:

Tareq Alaows, a 31 year old Damascus born refugee, made headlines when he announced his intention to run for German parliament. However, racism and extreme threats have led him to end his bid:

As Israeli elections come to a close, extremist religious and settler parties now make up a firm majority of Israel’s parliament. Netanyahu can’t cut a deal with Arabs because his most extreme right wing allies would desert him:

The Biden administration continues to feign ignorance that Iran demands that Washington lift all sanctions before Tehran resumes compliance:

News and Analysis 3/29/21

March 29th, 2021

The U.S. claims an “alarming” systematic indoctrination to ISIS ideology is taking place in civilian camps housing “the wives, widows, children and other family members of IS militants” and run by Syrian Kurdish officials:

As Israeli courts continue to rule in favor of settler organizations in East Jerusalem,  hundreds of  women and children are being forcibly evicted and displaced from their ancestral homes:

French legislators push for a bill that many consider a direct attack on freedom of association paving the way for state abuse in the dissolution of civil society organizations:

A report finds that Muslim groups lose tax status for hosting speakers that espouse views that speakers at Christian groups espouse with impunity:

The Court’s ruling support’s the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign’s charges that the theatre’s refusal twice to screen the film exposing Israeli apartheid “amounted to unlawful discrimination on the prohibited grounds of ‘conscience and belief””:

On Saturday, China and Iran signed a 25 year long agreement, providing Iran with a lifeline amid US sanctions as it secures “$400 billion in Chinese investment” in the coming years. “Relations between the two countries have now reached the level of strategic partnership and China seeks to comprehensively improve relations with Iran”:

Niveen Gharqoud of Gaza has “submitted 5 exit permit requests” to Israeli authorities in hopes of reuniting with her husband and children in the Israeli occupied West Bank”:

The exiles agreed to leave their homeland “as part of a deal to free … a Jew who was captured by the Iran-backed group’s intelligence around six years ago” for his part in smuggling to Israel an antique deerskin Torah scroll deemed by the Houtis as a national treasure:


News and Analysis 3/27/21

March 27th, 2021

Even as Muslims raise funds for victims of the Boulder shooting …

… the chairman of the Islamic Center of Boulder said that “even though the suspect never set foot in their center, they decided to close their prayer room to keep their members safe” because the alleged shooter has a Muslim name:

The Niqab-wearing dog-lover is joined i her fight against stereotypes about Islam and dog’s by a neighboring Muslim teacher who quotes the Islamic teaching:  “The heart of a person who hates dogs without any reason is even more impure than the dogs themselves”:

Making “Israel synonymous or coextensive with ‘all Jews’ … is deeply problematic because in effect it essentializes and homogenizes all Jewish persons”:

“Facebook, Instagram and Twitter [continue to remove posts, block videos and shut down accounts trying to shed light on the dire situation in the region” even as “the Indian government has partially lifted the lockdown on Kashmir”:

A U.S. “presence would most likely prevent a collapse of the nation’s own security forces and allow the government in Kabul, the Afghan capital, to retain control of its major cities, but the Taliban are still likely to gradually expand their power in other parts of the country”:

“Muslim girls are powerful; we were raised to act appropriately which in turn gives us a preparedness for the business world that our peers do not possess. We were raised to stand for what we believe in, giving us a confidence in ourselves that most can’t even comprehend”:

“There are people, to this day, that still refuse to look at me, refuse to talk to me in this building. That was something that I had anticipated, but I didn’t think it would feel how it does”:

Netanyahu needs the sell-out Muslims party to form a majority, but if he includes them he will be denied that majority by the abandonment of far-right parties that refuse to be in a coalition with Arabs:

The IDF injured “a child with a stun grenade in his foot” and inflicted “suffocation from gas inhalation” on “many others”:

News and Analysis 3/25/21

March 25th, 2021

It is becoming increasingly clear that Netanyahu must turn to Arab votes to maintain his power:

After years of Israeli strikes that have “several dozen Iranian oil tankers, which caused Iran cumulative damage of billions of dollars,” Israel accuses Iran of striking an Israeli ship, which Iran denies:

Reports indicate that senior Saudi official twice threatened UN investigator Agnes Callamard in a meeting with other UN officials, wanting to have her “taken care of”:

Malik says, “We are not a monolith. … I hope [audience members] walk away with stereotypes shattered and seeing that Muslim women are their sisters in humanity”:

A female Palestinian anthropologist “was demonised by a broader Zionist public with racialised and gendered epithets steeped in Orientalist discourse,” which she understands as a “form of ethnographic knowledge that speaks to the gendered aspects of Zionist repression and the urgency of understanding Palestine as a feminist issue”:

The judge said she “was sympathetic to the submission made on the mother’s behalf, that whilst she appreciated that the male counsel acting would wish to see her face, it was not necessary for all other participants to the hearing to see her”:

“Abdul Bari Naik’s family says he is paying a price for exposing corruption by officials and raising concerns over village land being taken over by the army”:

“Qatar has quickly moved to take advantage of the greater diplomatic margin of manoeuvre created by the Al-Ula summit to enter a race with other Gulf nations for closer ties with Iraq driven by different or conflicting intentions and calculations”:

As the U.S. fails to make progress, China’s FM wants to take the lead on Middle East peace:


March 25th, 2021


Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.

Minaret of Freedom Institute


I am a Palestinian-American Muslim. Although I was taken away from it while still in my mother’s womb, Palestine is my motherland in a multi-dimensional sense. My mother was not only born and raised in Jerusalem, but she was named for it. Her name was “Qudsia,” the feminine form of al-quds, “The Holy (one),” the Arabic name for Jerusalem. My father is from a small village just outside of Jerusalem, called Bir Nabala. The Israelis have expanded the boundary of the city to the point where it impinges now on my father’s village.

In 1947 my father returned to Palestine from America to find a wife. He had left Palestine while yet a twelve-year-old boy. His parents had both died and his eldest sister had to raise the family. He came to America to earn money to support the family. Now, he was back looking for a life-mate, and the college-educated city girl, school teacher, and radio pioneer (the first woman to read the news on Jerusalem radio) seemed the ideal wife to hold up under the cultural shock of a move to America.

My mother was pleased to marry this handsome and very intelligent, albeit uneducated, man, but she did not want to forsake her beloved homeland or the environs of the city for which she was named. If he wanted to marry her, he would have to stay in Palestine. He gladly agreed, and, in November of 1947, they wed. And I took up residence in her womb.

In May 1948, less than six months into her pregnancy, the massacre at Deir Yasin took place. My mother had a student from Dir Yasin, and the stories of how the terrorists had split open the bellies of pregnant women to rip out the fetuses and stamp on them had their intended effect.  She was terrorized, and she changed her mind. She would leave family and her ancestral homeland to come to a country she did not know to keep her baby safe from the terrorists.

By the time she got her visa, my mother was too close to term to be allowed to fly on an airplane. They booked passage on a ship (the Marine Carp) instead, and, ten days before the due date, I was born on board. I would not set foot on the land in which I was conceived until thirty-two years later. My knowledge of Jerusalem would come to me through my mother’s memories and the religion in which she raised me.

Jerusalem Through My Mother’s Memories

Raised in America, I envied my classmates who personally knew their grandparents. I knew mine only through my mother’s memories and a photograph of my grandfather in his fez and Ottoman mustache. He had been an assistant to the Ottoman governor of Jerusalem, and his marriage to an Arab woman of Jerusalem spared his life from the anger of the mob during the Arab uprising of 1916.

I had met only one of my maternal uncles, who had come to the United States to study. He passed on a flavor of my homeland through his playing of the lute, an instrument he left behind when his studies were done and he returned home. It hung on my mother’s wall until her passing when it was inherited by my niece, now a musician in New York City. Of my mother’s other brothers, known to me only through her reminiscences, Lutfi was a memorable rascal. One time he got into trouble by sneaking up on a Jewish neighbor and clipping off one of his sidelocks.

My uncle’s juvenile mischief notwithstanding, the image my mother painted of the relations with her non-Muslim neighbors (the “People of the Book” as the Qur’an calls them) was warm and convivial.  She would tell me how she would accompany her Christian neighbors as they walked the stations of the cross. Muslims do not believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) had been crucified (for the Qur’an says that was only what God had made appear to be the case), but that did not stop her from sharing in the spirit of their holidays, as they would share in the Muslim Eids (feast days), when Muslim tradition demands that the meals marking the end of the month of fasting be shared with all close enough to smell the food.

In some ways, life in Jerusalem was atypical for my mother. She was a graduate of the Jerusalem Women’s College. A picture of her graduating class now hangs in my living room.  There were only two dozen graduates that year, a testament to the rarity of higher education for women in Jerusalem in the first half of the twentieth century. Her family was too poor to send more than one child to college, and tradition would have demanded that it be Lutfi rather than Qudsia. But Lutfi was not the academic type and urged his father to let his studious sister go because she would appreciate it more, go. Fortunately, my grandfather’s good sense prevailed over tradition, and he conceded.

Once out of college my mother not only took up teaching, but also got a job with the Palestine Broadcasting System. There she produced award-winning programs on the history of Islam and of the region. She even got to read the news one time when the regular announcer failed to show up. She did not enjoy the experience, as by that time the conflicts between the newly arrived Zionists and the indigenous peoples had become so seriously violent that, she said, she wept as she read the reports.

Her tears are another memory of Jerusalem. I cannot forget the day I came home from school to hear her crying.  No child should have to hear his mother cry. It is for parents to dry the tears of their children. Young children do not know how to dry the tears of their parents.

“Why are you crying?’ I asked her.

“I am so homesick,” was her reply. She missed her family, her neighbors, the sights and the sounds of the holy city. I cannot remember if I was six or eight or ten when this happened. I only remember feeling helpless. It was something about which I could do nothing.

Jerusalem Through My Religion

When I was about to enter fourth grade, I began to ask my mother questions about religion. She gave me a copy of the Qur’an that included Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation into English. I began my serious study of Islam, which continues to this day. Within the narrative of Islam is a tale of three cities: Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. The significance of Jerusalem as the city of David, Solomon, Jesus, and Muhammad is the way it links three different religious communities into a single essential religious history. David, Solomon, and Jesus (peace be upon them all) who lived in Jerusalem are mentioned more often by name in the Qur’an (16, 25, 17 times, respectively) than Muhammad (four times, peace be upon him). And Moses (peace be upon him)—for whom the Holy Land was the object of his flight from Egypt, although he never made it to Jerusalem—is mentioned by name 135 times. Mary or Maryam, Mother of Isa or Jesus, is the only woman named in the Qur’an, with her name appearing seventy times. The 19th chapter or sȗrah of the Qur’an is named after her.

This significance is expanded upon by the Hadith (traditional reports about things the Prophet said and did) recounting his “Night Journey” to Jerusalem. The event is alluded to in the Qur’an in the passage (17:1): “Glory to (God) Who took His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque [Masjid-al-Harâm, in Mecca] to the farthest Mosque [al-Aqsa, in Jerusalem], whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who hears and sees (all things).” The traditions state that the Prophet was transported to Jerusalem (whether materially or in a vision is irrelevant to the point) where, united with all the previous prophets, he prayed together with them to the One God.

This significance of Jerusalem is also attested to by the fact that it was the original qibla, or direction of prayer as well. When the qibla was changed to Mecca, the Qur’an explained (2:142) that “To God belong both East and West” and (2:177) that righteousness lies not in facing a particular physical direction, but in belief and good deeds.

This significance of Jerusalem can be seen not only in the religious texts, but in Muslim history. When Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab conquered Jerusalem in 637, he neither slaughtered the Christian inhabitants (as the Persians had done to the Christians when they conquered the city twenty-three years earlier and as the Crusaders did to the Muslims four centuries later) nor expelled them, but allowed them to remain. When the appreciative Patriarch Sophronius invited him to pray inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Umar declined explaining that, although it was not forbidden for him to do so, he feared some future Muslims more zealous about religious identity than observant of religious law might use his having prayed there as an excuse to convert the church into a mosque. In later generations some Christians accused Umar of betraying them by letting Jews into the city, but had he made any promise to keep them out it would not have been legal under Islamic law.

My Visit to Jerusalem

Not until I was in my thirties would I finally set foot on the ground of my mother’s native city. My father had become afflicted with cancer and sought to cross a major item off his bucket list by taking his children to visit Palestine. My brother Maher, my new bride Frances (for whom this would be our honeymoon), and I eagerly accepted. After spending a week with some cousins in Amman, we would spend a week in the home of my mother’s big sister in the Old City.

When I told my mentor, Harvard Professor Robert Nozick, about my forthcoming trip, he urged me not to take as discrimination the close search we would receive from the Israeli border guards, assuring me that everyone, even Jews like himself, received the same scrutiny. I think he failed to notice some subtle differences in treatment. On the day we crossed over the Allenby Bridge from Amman to Jerusalem, I, with an Arab name, but traveling on an American passport and with an American accent, got through customs in 25 minutes.  For my parents, with American passports but Palestinian accents, it took 50 minutes. For my cousin, a permanent resident of Jerusalem, it took the WHOLE DAY. Knowing that it would, she had left Amman after dawn prayers.  We waved to her as she cooled her heels in the waiting room in the late morning, and she joined us in my aunt’s house for supper late that afternoon.

As we approached the city, our car, identified by the license plate color as owned by a Palestinian, was stopped by the Israeli police. When the officer poked his head into the car he saw my very American-looking wife in the back seat next to me and hastily explained, “I’m just checking to make sure your seat belts are fastened.”  How thoughtful.

My aunt’s five-hundred-year-old house is ensconced within the walls of the Old City, near Herod’s Gate or Bab as-Zahra. Except for the master bedroom and the tabûn (a special kitchen for baking bread), every room is adjacent to the central courtyard, which itself is partly covered by a grape arbor. The grapes were not yet ripe, but had we come a month later, I think I could have just reached up and grabbed myself a fresh snack.

My aunt had always spoiled her little sister. Her hospitality as well as that of her husband and their daughters now was incredible. As Frances and I were newlyweds, they insisted we take the master bedroom, a lovely chamber with a cathedral ceiling. They did not want us to lack anything, which caused an awkward moment after our supper.

My aunt asked us what we wanted to do that evening, and Frances said she would like to go out for ice cream. A deathly silence fell upon the household.  My aunt spoke little English, so finally my cousin explained the cause of their embarrassment: The ice cream parlor was in a section of the city closed off to non-Jews at night.  “I don’t need ice cream,” Frances reassured our hosts.

The next day, we made our way past soldiers armed with rifles to a camp filled with “internally displaced” refugees. The day after that, Frances had traded in her touristy-looking straw hat for a Muslim style headscarf that provoked visible affection from the locals we met.

Then, we went to the market to engage in some old-fashioned haggling.  My cousin had tutored me on exactly the tone of voice to take in responding to a shop-keepers opening price with an incredulous “shooo?” (“Whaaaaat?”)  Frances admired an embroidered caftan. How much?  They gave a price.  “Shooo?” I said. I offered one fourth of what they asked.  Impossible. They offered half. We walked out.  They chased after us into the narrow old city street. OK. Deal.

One day we took a day trip to Ramallah, stopping at my father’s village of Bir Nabala. I finally was able to meet the aunt who had raised the family while her brothers went to America to support them. She had not seen her little brother in over thirty years. Every time my brother or I got near her, she would begin to whisper prayers over us.

Bir Nabala means “well of Nabala.” I asked if it were possible to drink of the water of the well. The locals seemed surprised that anyone would want to drink of the well water when piped water was available, but I insisted. The water was brackish, but to me the drink was a satisfying coming-home ritual. We then took a walk to the ruins of the house in which my father grew up, destroyed by an earthquake. Later I was shown the room in which I was conceived. Afterward I stood on the roof of that house and looked at the moon over the Jerusalem suburb and at a nearby hilltop where settlers were building their illegal homes.

My aunt’s neighbor was a professional tour guide, and we joined his tour starting at the Garden of Gethsemane. He said he always took his shoes off there because it is holy ground. We took in the panorama of the city below us, dominated by the golden Dome of the Rock. Beside it is the smaller silver dome of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Then, at prayer time on Friday we were there, less than a 10-minute walk from my aunt’s house.

As we entered the plaza a Muslim guard shouted at Frances, but backed off when my mother shouted back at him. The Al-Aqsa Mosque was full, so I had to pray on the plaza between the two mosques. The women got to pray in the more impressive Dome of the Rock. I got to pray there later after it had emptied out. On my way in I saw a hole in the wall made by Israeli fire during the June 1967 War. Mosque officials refused to repair it so that no one could ever forget.

Inside, I positioned myself so that I was facing both Mecca and the large rock where some believe that Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him, mentioned by name in the Qur’an 69 times) prepared for the sacrifice of his son. The Qur’an does not name the son in question but, like the Bible, says it was his only son at the time. There was a time when Ishmael (peace be upon him, mentioned by name 11 times in the Qur’an) was his only son and never a time when his second son Isaac (peace be upon him, mentioned by name 15 times) was the only son, so Muslims conclude the son in question was Ishmael. The fact that the Qur’an makes no mention of the name tells Muslims that the story of Abraham’s sacrifice is about the love of God, not about real estate.

I was removed from Jerusalem, but Jerusalem will never be removed from me.