- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
In April 2008, CAIR-LA organized a delegation of Muslim religious and student leaders to join the 39th annual Pilgrimage to Manzanar. Manzanar is one of the 10 concentration camps across the U.S. where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were interned during WWII.
This is a trailer of the short documentary that will be coming out soon.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Coming soon to an airport near you
How do you feel about being strip-searched for no probable cause? I can guess you would not like it.
Well, how about being viewed through a screen, semi nude, by security agents using a see-through body scanner, again, for no probable cause? I am sure you would not like it either.
Last week (on 6/5/2008), USA Today reported:
"Body-scanning machines that show images of people underneath their clothing are being installed in 10 of the nation's busiest airports in one of the biggest public uses of security devices that reveal intimate body parts.
"The Transportation Security Administration recently started using body scans on randomly chosen airline passengers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Albuquerque and New York's Kennedy airport.
"Airports in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami will be added this month...
"The TSA says it protects privacy by blurring passengers' faces and deleting images right after viewing. Yet the images are detailed, clearly showing a person's gender...
"Passengers scanned in Baltimore said they did not know what the scanner did and were not told why they were directed into the booth...
"Passengers can decline to go through a scanner, but they will face a pat-down."
As you could imagine, groups worried about possible privacy and civil rights violations (such as the ACLU and CAIR) have expressed strong concerns about this new intrusive measure.
Excerpts from ACLU's statement:
"Body scanners produce graphic images of travelers’ bodies and are an assault on their essential dignity...Ultimately, we question whether the security value of these scanners is proportional to the cost to flyers’ dignity and privacy..."
Here is a sample image of a scanned person (My apologies for the explicit photo, but it is important to show the extent of the violation of privacy)
(Photo Source: ACLU)
More to come on this matter soon.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Peace in the Middle East as well as America's credibility and image in the world are being sacrificed at the altar of the Israel-first lobby to solicit the support of some of the most right-wing extremists in our country. This is political prostitution at best.
Watch this short video segment from the Daily News with Jon Stewart.
Now take action and sign this petition prepared by the American group Jewish Voice for Peace calling on Senators Obama and McCain to moderate their stances in the interests of a peaceful future.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The blogger, the chef and the terrorist
By Ahmed M. Rehab
How could a chirpy TV host with such edible title credits as "30 Minute Meals" and "Tasty Travels" one day awaken to find herself in the middle of a terrorism-related media blitz -- all because of a Dunkin' Donuts ad, no less?
It's a tough recipe to cook up, but here are the ingredients:
- One paisley scarf that somewhat resembles the checkered pattern of a Palestinian national garment called the "keffiyeh," --a scarf that could be bought at Macy's
- One right-wing blogger who lacks any sense of cultural nuance
- A public opinion climate ripe with paranoia
- A slow news day for the media
Can you hear the world's laughter?
The blogger is Michelle Malkin, author of the universally ridiculed book, "In Defense of Internment."
One of many to find fame and fortune in the post 9/11 hullabaloo, Malkin has a strange but simple job: to whip up controversy. If she succeeds, she gets attention. If she gets attention, she gets paid. She is her own brand, and like any brand, hers must deliver on expectations to remain competitive in an increasingly saturated market.
Malkin continuously scours the world's hot button issues hoping to raise the heat. On Thursday, she hit the jackpot with the most unlikely of subjects.
Enter Rachael Ray, who also has a straightforward job: to whip up meals. She shows TV audiences how to find bliss through the art of food. Sound controversial yet? Patience.
Ray happens to do an iced coffee ad for Dunkin' Donuts. She dons a paisley scarf selected by the stylist for the spot.
OK, that's the end of the buildup.
No, really, that's it.
Presented with that ad, most people may wonder if the iced coffee is any good. None is likely to wonder whether Dunkin' Donuts and Rachael Ray were promoting terrorism.
Malkin is a notable exception. She has a hungry career to feed.
And so, Malkin's pattern-recognition sensors kick in: Palestinians!
According to her, if Ray's scarf looks like a keffiyeh, the traditional scarf worn by Palestinians, then it must be a keffiyeh.
So what if it were?
Well, she further argues that, unbeknownst to the world, keffiyehs are actually a symbol of terrorism, hence her insinuation that the ad promotes terrorism.
Malkin then proceeds to educate the world about Palestinian keffiyehs, when they are worn, by whom, and why.
Not surprisingly, she gets it all wrong: In reality, the average Palestinian is much more likely to wear a keffiyeh than a terrorist.
Think about it: would the keffiyeh really be your preferred disguise if you were a terrorist and wished to walk incognito into a Tel Aviv bus or pizza parlor?
It is, however, your likely choice if you are an average Palestinian going to the mall, farming your land, walking to school, or -- yes -- hurling stones at an Israeli tank in the streets of your occupied hometown: hardly acts of terrorism.
So how does Malkin manage to discombobulate the facts? How does she find no shame in writing off a people's national dress as "a symbol of terrorism"?
There can only be one explanation: For Malkin, every Palestinian is a terrorist. To sell that point, she resorts to sensationalism, minimalism and obscene sweeping statements.
Sadly, this reductive approach is an old and tired trick when it comes to public discourse on the Middle-East, or Muslims.
But let's not kid ourselves. Malkin's anti-Palestinian message, by itself, is not newsworthy. It is only effective when coupled with a climate that is highly receptive to fear-mongering. Only then can it wreak havoc. After all, it is only because of the perception of a public backlash that Dunkin' Donuts, with curiously weak knees, felt pressure to yank the ad off the Internet.
Luckily most Americans know better than to drink Malkin's Kool-Aid. They will likely remember this tale only as one of 2008's silliest. Nonetheless, I am certain Malkin is gloating over the few prized conformists her antics were able to mobilize.
Come to think of it, I think I will wear a keffiyeh on my way to work tomorrow -- as I sip my iced Caribou coffee.
Ahmed M. Rehab is the executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.