After delay, Sheikh Abdelfattah Mourou granted permission to enter country

International guests arriving for AMP’s 7th annual conference

mourou(CHICAGO 11/27/2014) – Sheikh Abdelfattah Mourou, of Tunisia, and his wife are en route to Chicago to attend the 7th annual Conference for Palestine in the US: Gaza Teaches Life!, the American Muslims for Palestine has announced.

Early Wednesday, Tunisian authorities removed the couple from their aircraft, saying the United States would not grant them entry. The US State Department confirmed the incident to AMP but said the issue should be “resolved positively.” They declined to disclose details surrounding the delay.

Late Wednesday, the State Department told AMP that Sheikh Mourou and his wife would be allowed to visit Chicago and the couple should arrive in time for the conference’s opening session at 5 p.m.

International speakers continued to arrive throughout the day Wednesday. Dr. Ahmad Tibi, Palestinian member of the Knesset, and Al Jazeera anchorwoman Ghada Oueiss have checked in, while Dr. Mads Gilbert and Dr. Rafeef Ziadeh are expected Thursday afternoon.

AMP expresses our deep concern and well-wishes for the mother of Dr. Tamim Barghouti, who fell ill unexpectedly and is in intensive care. Dr. Barghouti has sent his regrets to AMP and will not be in attendance.

The largest gathering for Palestine in the US kicks off with its inaugural session at 5 p.m. Thursday, followed by a panel discussion on the fate of the Arab revolutions and the evolution of ISIS, featuring Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid, AMP national board member and expert political analyst; Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, of the pre-coup Egyptian parliament; and Syrian American Safaa Zarzour. A concurrent session on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement will feature Dr. Rafeef Ziadeh, Miko Peled, Taher Herzallah and Kristin Szremski.

It’s not too late to join the action. On-site registration is being taken! To book your room at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, call 800.233.1234.

Sh. Mourou prevented from flying to US

 State Department ‘optimistic’ issue will be resolved in time for conference

mourou(CHICAGO 11/26/2014) – The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national education and advocacy organization, is dismayed and concerned to learn that Tunisian authorities today removed Sheikh Abdelfattah Mourou and his wife from a plane they boarded en route to Chicago. Authorities there told Mourou that American officials were prohibiting him from entering the United States. 

Mourou is scheduled as a keynote speaker at AMP’s 7th annual Conference for Palestine in the US: Gaza Teaches Life! from Nov. 27-29, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. 

A State Department employee confirmed the incident but declined to give further information, saying she was not allowed to speak to the media. She did say the issue would be included in a State Department press briefing later today.

However, Christopher Henzel, the director of the Office for Israel and Palestine Affairs in the State Department said, “There’s not much any of us can say publicly, but it’s coming close to a resolution. We’re optimistic this will be resolved before tomorrow.”

This is the second time in two years US officials have barred a main speaker en route to AMP’s annual conference, despite having been granted visitors’ visas. Last year, Turkish officials removed Um Kamel El Kurd – a survivor of a violent nighttime eviction from her East Jerusalem home at the hands of Israel settlers -- from her aircraft, also saying the United States would not grant her entry. 

AMP is concerned for the safety and comfort of Sheikh Mourou and his wife. The State Department has said the issue should be resolved in time for him to arrive at the conference tomorrow. We will continue to issue updates as new information becomes available. 

Balfour Declaration at the heart of the assault on Al Aqsa; occupation of Palestine

(CHICAGO 11/01/2014) – In perhaps one of the biggest ironies ever, British parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly in October to recognize a Palestinian state, just two weeks shy of the 97th commemoration Great Britain’s Balfour Declaration.

While Zionism, with its inherent racists and imperialist policies, is behind the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, it is the Balfour Declaration that was the catalyst for the Zionist enterprise that ate up Palestinian land and dispossessed two-thirds of its indigenous population to create the state of Israel.

Take Action Now: AMP condemns conviction, incarceration of Rasmea Odeh

rasmea(CHICAGO 11/11/2014) –The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, condemns the unjust conviction and imprisonment of beloved community activist, Rasmea Odeh. We call upon our supporters and all lovers of justice and Free Speech to take action for Rasmea this week.

Rasmea’s conviction in a Detroit courtroom is another dimension of continued Palestinian dispossession.

Rasmea was convicted of one count of unlawful procurement of naturalization for allegedly not disclosing she had spent 10 years in an Israeli prison on her application for naturalization. In 1969, Rasmea – along with 500 other Palestinians – was rounded up by Israeli Occupation Forces. She confessed to a crime she did not commit, after enduring 45 days of torture, including sexual assault. 

Bringing Israel into the courtroom, prosecutors based their case on this episode from 45 years ago. Then, stripping her of her due process, presiding Judge Gershwin Drain prohibited Rasmea from telling the jury about the torture, the resulting post-traumatic stress disorder and how the occupation authorities forced her into confession to a crime she did not commit. 

ACTION ALERT! #SaveAlAqsa

AL AQSA UNDER ATTACK - ISRAEL FULLY CLOSES SITE FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1967

nader(CHICAGO 10/30/2014) – Since 1967, Al Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, has been threatened by Israeli imperialist and apartheid policies. But since last summer, a rise in the ultra-right, extremist Temple Movement, has resulted in frequent incursions of racist Jewish settlers, protected by Israeli Occupation Forces, into the mosque sanctuary.

Now, Israel has completely closed off Al Aqsa and its surroundings. This is extremely troubling, given the effort by many in the Knesset to partition Al Aqsa in the same manner as the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, where Palestinians are prohibited from two-thirds of their mosque, which only Jews now can enter. There is also a new bill in the Knesset to ban the Adhan, or Muslim call to prayer.

International laws guarantee freedom of religion worldwide. Even American law mandates the US government must hold accountable foreign governments that “engage in or tolerate ‘particularly severe’ violations of religious freedom.” 

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) asserts it is time we hold Israel to the same standards as the rest of the world.

TAKE ACTION

1. Attend one of AMP’s upcoming sessions on Al Aqsa and the Judaization of Jerusalem. 

2. Register for AMP’s 7th annual Conference for Palestine in the US: Gaza Teaches Life!, where you will learn how you can help Gaza and Al Aqsa. Register by Sunday for 40% OFF!

3. Join in today’s Social Media campaign and Tweet for Aqsa. Post pictures of yourself with the hashtag #SaveAlAqsa and take to Twitter from 3-4 p.m. CDT to spread the word!

Empowerment Through Education and Action

The American Muslims for Palestine firmly believes that educating the American public is key to bringing about change in the Middle East. Because once Americans know what is truly happening on the ground in Palestine, they will no longer allow their tax dollars to be used to support Israel's military occupation of Palestine, the world's last and longest-lasting occupation. We are all empowered to act for justice when we know the truth.

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