Saturday, October 31, 2009

FBI shoots Detroit Imam 18 times, handcuffs him, then airlifts a police dog to hospital.

1,000 mourn the Imam at his funeral.

Photo: Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, shot dead by the FBI.


"Islamic leader's family urges investigation into his death:
"He was shot 18 times, they say"


"DETROIT FREE PRESS" (Detroit, Michigan)

October 31, 2009

On the Web at:

"...Omar Regan, 34, one of Abdullah's sons, said his family was told by authorities that after he was shot 18 times, Abdullah was handcuffed and placed on a stretcher. He complained that the FBI airlifted a police dog that had been shot while no medical helicopter was brought in for his father."


"Government should heed calls to investigatge Abdullah's death"


October 31, 2009; 4:56 PM

Editorial by Jeff Gerritt

On the Web at:

"More than 1,000 mourners this morning attended the funeral of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the Islamic leader killed by FBI agents this week during a shootout in Dearborn. This was a solemn, sacred and beautiful religious ceremony, not a political rally. But imams did call for an independent investigation into Abdullah’s death. It’s a call the government should heed to clear questions harbored by Muslims around the world, as well as by many Detroiters, Muslim and non-Muslim.

"Such calls will grow. The Dearborn Police Department is investigating the shooting now, but Abdullah’s killing has blown up beyond metro Detroit. It could threaten relations between the government and Muslim Americans, and even between the U.S. and Muslim nations -- relations that President Obama has cultivated. Enough is at stake for a national body to investigate whether agents properly targeted Abdullah, or could have avoided killing him. Whether that body is the Justice Department or Congress, or some other outside agency, it must have credibility with all parties.

"As I wrote Friday, no one should assume government wrongdoing or impropriety — nor has anyone I’ve talked to in Detroit. Still, there is growing skepticism about what happened during the Wednesday raid, and how the government uses informants to infiltrate Muslim groups. The account now widely held in the community is that Abdullah was shot repeatedly by agents, after he shot an unleashed police dog, despite official reports that Abdullah fired on agents. Because Abdullah was both African American and Muslim, his death has racial and religious overtones, especially among a people who have faced excessive police force throughout their history.

"The government described him as a dangerous Islamic fundamentalist who advocated violence and Muslim rule, urging attacks on police and the U.S. government. But to others, he was a beloved brother, a righteous Muslim and modest man who helped uplift and sustain the poor in his neighborhood.

"African American Muslims who knew him told me he took in the homeless and fed the hungry, despite having little himself. As mourners — mostly African Americans but also Muslims with Middle Eastern roots and a few whites — filed out of the packed and steamy Detroit mosque, they gathered their shoes and addressed one another as brother and sister.

"The FBI says agents acted appropriately, but Muslim organizations will continue to press for an independent investigation next week. As questions linger, it’s time to get some official, and independent, answers."


"Prayers and Criticism in Wake of Detroit Imam’s Killing by F.B.I."



October 30, 2009

On the Web at:

"...The Muslim Alliance in North America, a national network based in Lexington, Ky., expressed shock at the killing of Mr. Abdullah, who served on its governing body.

" 'Reference to the Ummah as a "nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group consisting primarily of African-Americans" is an offensive mischaracterization,' the group said in a statement.

" 'To those who have worked with Imam Luqman A. Abdullah,' it continued, 'allegations of illegal activity, resisting arrest, and "offensive jihad against the American government" are shocking and inconsistent. In his ministry he consistently advocated for the downtrodden and always spoke about the importance of connecting with the needs of the poor.'

"A funeral for Mr. Abdullah is scheduled for Saturday at the Muslim Center in Detroit."


Monday, October 26, 2009

Zionists choke off Palestinians' water, to "crisis point"

"Some Palestinians only get 20 litres of water a day, Amnesty says"

Israel 'cuts Palestinian water'

27 October 2009

On the BBC at:

Israel is denying Palestinians access to even the basic minimum of clean, safe water, Amnesty International says.

In a report, the human rights group says Israeli water restrictions discriminate against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

It says that in Gaza, Israel's blockade has brought the water and sewage system to "crisis point".
Israel says the report is flawed and the Palestinians get more water than was agreed under the 1990s peace deal.

'Basic need'

In the 112-page report, Amnesty says that on average Palestinian daily water consumption reaches 70 litres a day, compared with 300 litres for the Israelis.


"Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians' access to water" --Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International


It says that some Palestinians barely get 20 litres a day - the minimum recommended even in humanitarian emergencies.

Amnesty says that Israel denies West Bank Palestinians to dig wells, and has even destroyed cisterns and impounded water tankers.

At the same time, the report claims, Israeli settlers are enjoying swimming pools and green gardens.

In Gaza, Israel refuses access to many of the building materials needed to renovate the ailing water system, the document says.

It adds that Israel uses more than 80% of the water from the Mountain Aquifer - the main source of underground water in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

"Water is a basic need and a right, but for many Palestinians obtaining even poor-quality, subsistence-level quantities of water has become a luxury that they can barely afford," Amnesty's Donatella Rovera said.

"Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians' access to water."

Ms Rovera also urged Israel to "take responsibility for addressing the problems it created by allowing Palestinians a fair share of the shared water resources".

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the report was factually inaccurate, accusing the Palestinians of mismanaging water resources.

He also rejected the claim that Israel was preventing Palestinians from drilling for water.
The spokesman said Israel had approved 82 such projects but the Palestinians had only implemented 26 of them.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Boycotting Apartheid Israel, at the University of Pittsburgh

"Palestinian conference reveals Israeli-Palestinian debate on campus"

by Erin Bloch

University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)

published: Thu, 22 Oct, 2009

On the Web at:

Rachel Corrie stood as one of the links in a makeshift human forcefield. In six or seven seconds, her life was taken by an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer.

The bulldozer ran her over twice, and her efforts to save local Palestinian citizen Samir Nasrallah’s home abruptly came to an end.

Stories of untimely conflicts between the Israelis and Palestinians are frequent because of the constant conflict in the Middle East. Corrie’s story, however, is unique because it will be expressed through a theatrical debut at a Students for Justice in Palestine conference this weekend, entitled “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.”

The conference, which runs today through Sunday, focuses on building and enhancing the boycott, divestment and sanction, or BDS, movement on Pitt’s campus. Other participants in the conference include the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Hampshire Students for Justice in Palestine and Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee.

The conference touches on a controversial topic not just in the Middle East, but also here on campus.

Panthers for Israel, Pitt’s pro-Israel organization, does not agree with the conference’s message.

Chelsea Zimmerman, vice president of Panthers for Israel, said the conference doesn’t promote equality between the two sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Each day of the conference is divided into several sections and includes workshops during which participants will learn about the BDS movement and the actors involved. Tonight’s opening event will feature Palestinian-American poet and presenter Remi Kanazi. On the final day of the conference, attendees will immerse themselves in a theatrical production of “My Name is Rachel Corrie.”

The BDS movement, according to Courtney Nassar of the Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee, is a successful, non-violent method used to gain justice in South Africa, which “brings justice and equality to to all peoples.”

The method involves creating pressure from foreign actors on the Israeli government, Nassar said. The intent of the strategy is to end the Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank and what Palestinian activists call human rights abuses of their people.

She said that boycotting Israeli products is one of the ways the Students for Justice in Palestine plan to effect change in a non-violent manner. There are three types of boycotting that can promote the cause: cultural, consumer and academic.

This past February, Students for Justice in Palestine, along with other pro-Palestinian groups, used a cultural boycott method when the exclusively Israeli Batsheva Dance Company preformed in Pittsburgh.

The conference stresses consumer boycotting. Jaffa, a popular variety of Israeli orange and frequent export to the United States, is one product which Students for Justice in Palestine and its supporters are targeting. The conference’s graphic features a blood-smeared orange slice with the slogan, “Don’t squeeze a Jaffa. Crush the Occupation.” Specifically, Nassar said, it represents the “blood of the Palestinians. If you buy a Jaffa Orange, you are buying into the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” She said that in 2003, Palestinians called on the United States to implement the boycott and divestment strategy nationwide.

Nassar said the occupation affects Palestinian human rights. Palestinians are losing their homes and jobs, and 11,000 prisoners and refugees are being held in Palestine or Israel, she said.

Nassar said a wall was built in 1967 to divide the Palestinians from the Israelis, which created checkpoints where Palestinians and their supporters are searched before entering into Israeli territory, where their land and jobs exist. Nassar experienced these “human rights violations” firsthand when she traveled to Israel for a month and visited the West Bank as a Palestinian supporter.

The BDS movement also calls for the American people to divest and know how their tax money is distributed.

“Roughly $7 million everyday leaves the tax payers and is given to aid the Israeli military,” she said. “We are funding the occupation and need to invest our money elsewhere.”

The groups organizing this weekend’s conference want the event to be about awareness. Students and community members will learn what products should be boycotted and the amount of effort — “very little,” Nassar said — needed to help the cause.

Pitt students and Pittsburgh community members “just need to show up and educate themselves,” Nassar said.

Nassar said she wants students and community members to know that the groups involved with the conference have problems with the Israeli government, not with the Israeli people.

Zimmerman said she’s concerned about the point of view that the conference will express.

“My issue with this conference is that the only [country] it’s pointing fingers at is Israel,” Zimmerman said. “If it were a conference calling on all countries who haven’t done their part, that would be one thing, but the fact that they are targeting Israel is what I have a problem with.”

Zimmerman said that the average Israeli person wants peace just as much as the average Palestinian person.

“No one is denying that there is a humanitarian crisis involving the Palestinian people in Israel,” Zimmerman said. “If this conference were to help the Palestinians in need, I would have no problem with that, but it’s not.”

Further, she said she’s concerned that she hasn’t heard Students for Justice in Palestine mention anything about Hamas, a known Palestinian terrorist group against the Israeli occupation, or the suicide bombings Palestinians have committed against Israel.

Zimmerman said that the divestment and boycotting plan is “lofty” and that an ideal starting point would be to look at the Palestinian leadership and its deprivation of their people.

“Money donated by the U.N. [to Palestinians leaders] is put towards corrupt ideals by corrupt leadership, which fosters hatred,” Zimmerman said.
The Panthers for Israel are worried that this conference will give students and community members the wrong idea.

The protests which Students for Justice in Palestine hosted make some Panthers for Israel members uncomfortable.

“Yes, they’re just standing there and not doing anything illegal, but they’re meant to elicit emotion. Posters of dead Palestinians draw attention and are inflammatory propaganda. I feel helpless,” Zimmerman said....


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Divesting from the "criminal nation" of Israel, at the University of Wisconsin:


"UW must divest from Caterpillar"

By Sam Stevenson

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 10:59 p.m

The Badger-Herald
University of Wisconsin-Madison

On the Web at:

Israel is a criminal nation. This statement has been a verifiable fact for many decades and continues to gain support with each new violation of international law Israel commits. Most recently, a U.N. report authored by Richard Goldstone — a South African judge and self-proclaimed Zionist — found that Israel (and Hamas) committed war crimes and (quite possibly) crimes against humanity earlier this year during the Israeli invasion of Gaza. During that war the Israeli army killed more than 1,300 Gazans including 437 under 18. They also wounded nearly 2,000 Gaza children. In contrast, the Israel Defense Forces suffered 13 causalities, nearly half victims of friendly fire. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were left homeless in the war’s aftermath. Even before the war, figures as diverse as President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had compared the conditions of Palestinians in the occupied territories to those of blacks in South Africa under apartheid.

If this seems like the complete antithesis of a “campus issue,” you might be surprised how far reaching the conflict really is. Allow me to explain how this tragic story actually does affect students at this university and what genuine opportunities we have to seek justice for the Palestinians, safety for the Israelis and perhaps even the beginnings of a resolution to one of the most obdurate conflicts in modern history.

The war in Gaza was the most recent outburst of violence stemming from a persistent aggression that has been smoldering in its modern incarnation for more than 60 years. Of the many factors contributing to the seething animosity between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, the pervasive occupation of Palestinian lands, accompanied by the wanton demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses by the Israel Defense Forces, have been central.

The rationale behind this destruction has been disputed since the practice began in 1945 under a British mandate. The IDF insists the demolition of Palestinian property is for the sole purpose of destroying militant hideouts and supply chains. However, in the occupied territories it has been argued that the true rationale behind the bulldozing of Palestinian homes is to disembowel Palestinian dignity and what little control they have left over their own lives. The latter point is certainly supported by the tragically farcical bulldozing notice given to residents, usually on the order of minutes to a half hour.

When Israel destroys hundreds of Palestinian homes as “punishment” and thousands more to root out “terrorists,” its motives are brought into serious doubt. Indeed, the IDF violates the Geneva Convention every time they destroy private property for purposes other than those “rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”

So how does all this affect us and what can we do as students to send a message to Israel that we denounce their cruel and gratuitous mistreatment of Palestinians? Well, it all starts with money.

The UW system has an endowment that is invested in a long list of corporations. One of those corporations is Caterpillar — the manufacturer of the bulldozers that the IDF employs to tear down Palestinian homes — to the tune of nearly $400,000. The tuition dollars we give the university every year fund this system and makes us, in part, responsible for how and where this endowment is invested. A brief review of the facts makes it clear the UW System Board of Regents must follow historical precedent and withdraw endowment funds from companies doing business with perpetrators of war crimes.

In the past, the UW has divested from countries and companies that are complicit in violations of international law. These include South Africa, Burma and Sudan. In fact, the UW System Trust and Fund Policy states it will “seriously reconsider” investments in companies that “violate, frustrate or subvert” international law. Cases involving Caterpillar’s complicity in violations of international law as well as the legality of Israel’s demolition policy are currently being litigated; indisputably, compelling evidence of criminality exists. Other universities in the U.S. and Europe have already divested from Caterpillar for these very reasons.

Ultimately, divestment would send a message to Israel that one of the largest public universities in the United States views its conduct as abhorrent and in need of drastic change. That is the message Israel needs to hear not only from the federal government but also from the myriad institutions in this country that support the apartheid-like conditions Israel brandishes over the Palestinian people.

That message and the position it embodies is ironically the most pro-Israel stance one can take. Indeed, it is only by being critical of Israeli policy and endeavoring to change it that one can hope of achieving a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Any practical and serious observer knows that a two-state solution is the only just resolution for the Palestinians and the Israelis. Only after serious concessions are made can peace, safety and healthy livelihoods be made manifest in the region. That process begins by withdrawing unconditional support for Israel and instead holding them to tough, honest standards by which the Palestinians are treated humanely. That process can begin with UW students.