Call for immediate halt to Muslim Leadership Initiative

Dear U.S. Muslims: 

Read and Sign
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Please read this important call co-initiated by AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian, Omid Safi, Laila El-Haddad, Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, and Zareena Grewal, then take a minute to sign and then share, particularly with folks who you think may consider participating in the notorious MLI program, which has been used to drive a wedge within Muslim communities to undermine Palestinian liberation and to provide cover for apartheid Israel.

Consider this analogy: Imagine an MLI-type program that was designed to address racial tensions and understanding of police violence in the United States. MLI is akin to going to Ferguson, but not meeting with Michael Brown’s family, and instead devoting oneself to “engaging” the supporters of Officer Darren Wilson. At a time that we are seeing a proliferation of on-the-ground, social justice Muslim efforts to sit with the suffering of our fellow human beings, MLI is oddly out of touch, bypassing the suffering of our own community at a time of their ongoing bombardment.

AMP condemns seizure of 'Marianne'; calls for end to siege

Take Action!

Call President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry today!

Talking points:

1. The Israeli navy broke international law when it boarded the Marianne in international waters.

2. Israel must be held responsible for the safety and well-being of the detained passengers.

3. The US must pressure Israel to end the seige of Gaza and occupation of Palestinian lands.

Contact info:

President Barack Obama
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Secretary of State John Kerry - 202-647-9572
State Department Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs Director Christopher Henzel

Israel must be held responsible for safety and well-being of passengers

(Washington DC, 06/292015) – The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, condemns the Israeli seizure of the Freedom Flotilla III vessel, the Marianne, and calls upon President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to hold Israel responsible for the safety and well-being of the detained passengers.

The Marianne was the lead vessel of the flotilla, an international effort to break Israel’s siege on Gaza and deliver life-saving medical supplies and solar panels. Passengers included former Tunisian president Al-Moncef Al-Marzouki, Palestinian member of the Knesset Basel Ghattas and at least one member of the European Parliament.

This is not the first time the Israeli navy has violated international law and seized a humanitarian ship in international waters. In 2010, commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara and killed 10 unarmed activists on board, including American Furkan Dogan, several of them ‘execution style,’ according to a United Nations investigation. And in 2012, passengers aboard the Estelle were tasered and clubbed by Israeli commandos, according to Flotilla organizers.

“Israel’s actions, once again, show the world it does not want peace and that its right-wing leaders are not interested in the welfare and well-being of Palestinians,” said AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian. “The Palestinians in Gaza are enduring absolutely inhumane conditions and it is time for the United States to pressure Israel to lift the siege and end the occupation.”

As third cohort leaves, AMP analyzes MLI

PART II: Muslim Leadership Initiative and Understanding BDS, Zionism and Israel

By Dr. Hatem Bazian
AMP Chairman
Originally published on AltMuslim

In a May 22, 2015 article published in The Huffington Post, Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, the only Palestinian participant in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), officially and publically disengaged from the program. Abu Shamsieh’s disassociation concluded, “As the third cohort of the Muslim Leadership Initiative gets underway, it has become impossible for MLI to meet with any credible Palestinian. Without a Palestinian narrative, MLI risks becoming a Hasbara program, Israeli-propaganda.”
The announcement is a very significant development and brings the debate back into center stage.

In late March, both Abu Shamsieh and Imam Abdullah Antepli visited Berkeley, Calif., to discuss with me and others the MLI program and issues emerging from the intense debate and also to open channels of communication moving forward. The discussion was long and spirited, but the differences and gulf between us remained the same. At the time, I agreed to write an article to express my own opposition to the MLI program and also to highlight the political nature of disagreement.

Take action today for Freedom Flotilla III

Freedom Flotilla(WASHINGTON DC 06/28/2014) -- The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, announces today that it stands in solidarity with the activists, journalists and political figures aboard the Freedom Flotilla III, a fleet of four boats attempting to break the eight-year siege on the Palestinians of Gaza with medical supplies and solar panels.

AMP remembers the nine courageous human rights activists, including American citizen Dogan Furkan, on the Mavi Marmara, whom Israeli commandos executed in international waters in May 2010, and we call upon President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to ensure safe passage for the vessels of Freedom Flotilla III.

AMP chairman analyzes MLI program

PART I: Shalom Hartman’s MLI Program – A Constructive Engagement Paradigm

By Dr. Hatem Bazian
AMP Chairman
Originally published on AltMuslim

I am writing this article a few months removed from the heated debates on Altmuslim and other media outlets about the Shalom Hartman-sponsored Muslim Leadership Initiative — all-expenses paid trips to Israel for mainly American Muslim leaders to learn about the roots of Zionism. But, the issue are as relevant today as they were then. And now with the third cohort readying to leave this summer, the debate on the subject has only started.

I am approaching the subject first through South Africa’s anti-apartheid and Latin American solidarity movements lens, then I’ll engage in a discussion about the problematic nature of Shalom Hartman Institue’s MLI. The debate on the MLI program and my disagreement with it is fundamentally political in nature and not theological, even though participants entered into the program based on their Muslim identity.

This fact, then, conflates the political with the religious. I am not interested in the religious part of the debate and find the introduction into the conversation of Adab (spiritual courtesy), a complex term that governs relations between Muslims, as a tactic used to mute or alter critical responses to the program.

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.

The official positions of AMP are present in official communiqués coming from the national office in the forms of press releases, action alerts, statements and educational emails, as well as from our designated speakers, which include our national leadership and authorized staff, when they are speaking in the capacity of AMP.

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