[News] Open Letter from the Arab-American and Muslim Community to the US Anti-War Movement

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 12 13:19:09 EST 2004


<For wide distribution>



Background: A call to mobilize against colonial occupations on March 20th, 
2004, was issued and endorsed by a large nationwide coalition of 
organizations and communities that included the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition; 
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition; the National Lawyers 
Guild; the Arab Muslim American Federation; the Free Palestine 
Alliance-USA; the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation; and the 
Muslim Student Association of the U.S. and Canada.  The National Council of 
Arab Americans (NCAA) supported this call in full.



The call to mobilize demanded ending "all colonial occupations from Iraq to 
Palestine to everywhere".  It also called for "bringing the troops home 
NOW" without delay, and for opposing giving an international cover to the 
colonial occupation of Iraq.



Some sectors in the anti-war movement objected to and are organizing 
against these demands, insisting that Palestine be dropped from the call 
for March 20 (as these same sectors have often demanded), and that 
internationalizing the occupation of Iraq should remain a viable option.



As a result, and in the context of a long history of being silenced and 
marginalized, the Arab-American and Muslim community prepared this open 
letter to the movement.





An Open Letter from the Arab-American and Muslim Community to the US 
Anti-War Movement



Dear peace and justice organizations and activists,



On March 20, 2004, the world will mobilize against war and colonial 
occupations.  The significance of this historic day is evident to all and 
requires no further elaboration.  The political clarity and character of 
this mobilization in the US, however, remains illusive.



This is where our community stands:



In confronting war, the people of Palestine and Iraq have paid 
dearly.  They stand against the imperial project shoulder to shoulder with 
communities of color and the working class in the United States, along with 
great many subjugated peoples around the globe - from Afghanistan to 
Colombia, and from the Philippines to Vieques, and on.  Without a doubt, 
the Palestinian and Iraqi people are both welded together in an 
inextricable unity at the forefront of the global anti-war movement, 
transforming themselves as a whole as its embodiment and paying in its 
defense with the dearest of all - their very existence.  Yet, despite every 
home destroyed, child murdered, acre confiscated and tree uprooted, town 
colonized and ethnically cleansed, wall built, refugee remaining 
nation-less, and incremental robbery of their self-determination, they 
remain the very antithetical formulation of empire and with a vision of 
justice for all.



In the United States, we, Arab-Americans and Muslims have been maliciously 
targeted, stripped of our rights, and positioned outside the constitutional 
framework of this country.  A new COINTELPRO has been unleashed against our 
homes and living rooms, as our fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters are 
plucked away and thrown into unknown prison cells.  Thus, in a continuum of 
history, we stand with African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos, 
Native Americans, and all others in the painful struggle for 
justice.   From them all, we take our cue, for they are our predecessors 
and our partners in this long march.



Accordingly, we the undersigned hereby declare that:



1. We do not accept delinking the struggle of the Palestinian people from 
the anti-war movement, and regard the struggle in Palestine, as it is 
viewed worldwide, to be central to any peace and justice mobilization.



2. We insist that the Palestinian right to return and to self-determination 
are the key anchors of the Palestinian struggle, and that organizations 
that attempt to diminish, sidetrack, or abrogate these rights, regardless 
of any other position they may take on Palestine, are acting contrary to 
the will and aspiration of the Palestinian people.



3. We view all attempts to relegate our collective presence to the margin 
and to tokenize our participation in the movement to be racist in 
character.  In its attempt to silence the Arab and Muslim voices for 
decades, particularly that of the Palestinian people, the movement in the 
US has stood alone in the global movement for justice.  We see ourselves as 
full partners in leading the movement as signified in the heavy price we 
continue to pay along the way, and reject any attempt to objectify our 
presence.



4. We regard the positions that the "colonial occupation of Iraq must be 
internationalized", or that ending the occupation must be conducted over a 
period of time until the "Iraqis are able to secure their democracy", as 
implicitly colonial and racist.  These are positions that are rooted in the 
construct of "manifest destiny" and the "white man's burden" to "civilize".



5. We call on our people everywhere to hold all organizations accountable 
to the positions they take, especially those that depict racist attitudes 
towards us, implicitly or otherwise, particularly those that tokenize and 
objectify our struggle.  Any organization or movement that finds it 
acceptable to minimize or disregard for political expediency the struggle 
of any people should not be allowed to function within the global justice 
movement.  Justice is neither selective, nor partial or conditional.



We are firm on these principles for the March 20th mobilization and beyond 
as we call on all communities and organizations to mobilize and stand in 
force under the following unifying five slogans:



1. End all colonial occupations from Iraq to Palestine to everywhere!

2. Bring the troops home NOW!

3. No to internationalizing colonial occupations!

4. Stop the attacks on civil liberties!

5. Money for jobs, education, and healthcare not for war!



As we salute and stand empowered with sectors of the movement that have 
taken a principled stand on justice, we seek to participate in the 
empowerment of all as we call for a genuine global united front against war.



All out on March 20, 2004!



(List in alphabetical order.  To be included, please write to: 
rashmawi at sbcglobal.net)



1. Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition

2. Al-Bireh Palestine Society, California Chapter

3. Al-Qalam Institute

4. American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ)

5. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Greater Sacramento Area Chapter

6. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, New Jersey Chapter

7. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Seattle Chapter

8. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Los Angeles/Orange County 
Chapter

9. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

10. Arab Muslim American Federation

11. Arab-American Community Center, Chicago

12. Arab-American Forum, New Hampshire

13. Arab-American Press Guild

14. San Francisco Bay Area Palestine Coalition

15. Canada-Palestine Association

16. Canada-Palestine Friendship Society

17. Canadian Arab Federation

18. Committee for Democratic Palestine - Canada

19. Committee for Justice - USA

20. Deir Yassin Society of New York

21. Free Palestine Alliance - USA (FPA)

22. Friends of Ghassan Kanafani, Toronto Chapter

23. Kana'an Review

24. Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MAS Freedom Foundation)

25. Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA-National)

26. Muslim Students Association, California State University, Sacramento

27. National Council of Arab Americans (NCAA)

28. Palestine House Educational and Cultural Center, Canada

29. Palestine Right of Return Congress - USA

30. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Los Angeles

31. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Seattle

32. Palestine Solidarity Group - Chicago

33. Palestinian American Women's Association (PAWA)

34. Sacred Roots

35. Students for Justice in Palestine, California State University, Sacramento

36. Students for Justice in Palestine, University of California, Davis

37. The Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)

38. The United Muslim Association of High Schools Club




<http://al-awda.org>http://al-awda.org




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