Girish Mahajan (Editor)

American Muslims for Palestine

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American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is a Muslim organization based in Palos Heights, Illinois that aims to educate people about Palestine and is critical of U.S. support for Israel. AMP was formed in 2005 and was a volunteer organization until 2008. It is now a national organization with chapters in several states. AMP holds numerous fundraisers and is funded solely by donations. American Muslims for Palestine is alleged by the ADL to have evolved from the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), a group which the ADL claims is anti-Semitic.

Contents

Mission

Their stated mission is to “educate the public about the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination, liberty, and justice”. They seek to “shed light on the plight of more than 7 million Palestinian refugees” and “Israel’s flagrant and continual violations of international law and human rights abuses of Palestinians in the construction of settlements, the apartheid wall and the more than 600 checkpoints, obstacles and other barriers to the freedom of movement”. Their hope is that by raising awareness of these issues, Americans will pressure Congress to stop using tax-payer dollars to support Israel and to create a Middle East policy that is less biased towards Israel.

Activities

AMP supports their mission by holding conferences, lectures, workshops, and trainings, and by publishing educational materials that are distributed publicly. They support student campus activism through the Muslim Students' Association and Students for Justice in Palestine.

In March 2013, on the first day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the AMP unveiled its billboard campaign on Metro North stations in the suburbs of New York. The ads accused Israel of “apartheid” and depicted an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at a Palestinian child. It called for an end to “unconditional American aid for Israel”.

In March–April 2014, AMP launched a campaign on Washington D.C. buses calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel.

In summer 2014, AMP organized anti-Israel protests around the country against Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” offensive against Gaza Strip based Hamas rockets.

Positions on key issues

AMP regularly displays anti-Israeli rhetoric, questioning the legitimacy of the State of Israel, and approving resistance against the Zionist State. A report by the Anti-Defamation League describes AMP as having “extreme anti-Israel views” and states that it has “provided a platform for anti-Semitism under the guise of educating Americans about ‘the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination’”.

Settlements

American Muslims for Palestine is staunchly against the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel. AMP believes that Israel constructs settlements strategically so as to divide the West Bank and make it easier to annex more Palestinian land and isolate Palestinian communities. They also assert that the creation of settlements is an act of ethnic cleansing.

Refugees and the right of return

AMP supports the right of return of all Palestinians as a right that is granted by international law.

One vs. two state solution

AMP does not state a position on the resolution for Palestinian self-determination.

Leadership

The AMP National Board is composed of the following individuals:

  • Dr. Hatem Bazyan – Chairman
  • Munjed Ahmad – Vice Chairman
  • Salah Sarsour
  • Sufyan Nabhan
  • Mamon Hussein
  • Yousuf Shahin
  • Sana Daoud
  • Hussein Al-Khatib
  • Abdel-Ilah Nofal
  • Osamah Abuirshaid
  • Shakeel Sayed
  • Shekel Says
  • Controversies

    AMP is a founding member of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations which was officially launched in 2014 as an umbrella group of “major national American Muslim organizations”. Many of the group’s member organizations are among the top Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the U.S. including Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) and the Mosque Foundation.

    The Investigative Project on Terrorism identified at least five AMP officials who served as part of the now disbanded Palestine Committee. The committee was created by the Muslim Brotherhood to promote Hamas’ agenda in the United States.

    Conferences

    Several of AMP’s conferences have featured controversial speakers. In 2014, AMP sponsored a conference in Chicago at which Sabri Samirah, the former chairman of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), was a featured speaker. Sabri Samirah was deemed by the U.S. in 2003 to be a security risk and was barred from entering the U.S. for several years partially due to his involvement in the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, the Islamic Action Front. At the same event, Rasmieh Odeh was praised extensively as a supporter of human rights a justice. Rasmieh Odeh is responsible for the death of two university students in a Jerusalem grocery store bombing orchestrated by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1969, for which she spent 10 years in an Israeli prison. Odeh was eventually indicted by the United States on naturalization fraud for being in the U.S. and not disclosing her previous arrest. Another one of their conferences featured Jamal Said who was listed as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas financing trial.

    Leadership’s ties to extremism

    Many of the members of AMP’s board and leadership have ties to the Islamic Association of Palestine. There are several members with particularly questionable backgrounds prior to the formation of American Muslims for Palestine. Salah Sarsour has been named in law enforcement documents as assisting in raising money for Hamas. Sarsour's brother Jamil was arrested by Israeli authorities in 1998 for providing military support to Hamas. Upon his arrest he detailed Salah’s involvement in Hamas fundraising through a Holy Land Foundation branch in Texas. Salah and Jamil also raised money for Hamas through a furniture store that they owned in Milwaukee. The money, as well as military support, went to Adel Awdallah who was wanted and killed by Israel in 1998.

    Osama Abu Irshaid, an AMP board member has close affiliations with the IAP and UASR, formerly serving as the editor of IAP’s Arabic periodical, Al-Zaitounah, which disseminated pro-Hamas propaganda. He also served on the board of the American Muslim Society (AMS), another name for the IAP. He also worked at the UASR, most notably publishing an article in 1999 that argues against past peace agreements with the “Zionists” and the 1993 Oslo Accords. The article was published in the Middle East Affairs Journal. He has praised Hamas war tactics against Israel and been critical of the Palestinian Fatah party. He has also criticized Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s designation of Hamas as a terrorist designation.

    Yousef Shahin criticized allegations against British politician George Galloway that he was using his charity, Viva Palestina, to raise money for Hamas.

    AMP on university campuses

    American Muslims for Palestine openly states they collaborate with Muslim Student Associations. The earliest Muslim Student Associations in the United States were founded by the Muslim Brotherhood and the organizations have long been linked to terrorism. Most notably, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MSA was linked to al Qaeda. The groups also collaborate with Students for Justice in Palestine, which is an anti-Israeli campus group.

    In February 2010, ten pro-Palestinian students staged a series of organized disruptions during a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at the University of California, Irvine. The students, known as “The Irvine 11” were convicted in September 2010. The national campus coordinator of AMP, Taher Herzallah, was one of these students and has since frequently spoken out about his involvement.

    References

    American Muslims for Palestine Wikipedia


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