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April 20, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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trip to VA

in VA visiting my sis and her family. drove down here with my daughter and our little pup phoebe. such a beautiful drive. today i got to meet the brilliant Anu Ramdas, whom i had met many years ago in ithaca. we talked about feminism (within quotes), racist/casteist structures and patriarchy, islamophobia, the hijab, BLM, our work and fam, and much much more. i always wish i had taken notes after our conversations because they spark so many ideas. am thankful for all the wonderful people (and pups) in my life 🙂

April 19, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons

Marwan Barghouti: Over the past five decades, according to the human rights group Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel — equivalent to about 40 percent of the Palestinian territory’s male population. Today, about 6,500 are still imprisoned, among them some who have the dismal distinction of holding world records for the longest periods in detention of political prisoners. There is hardly a single family in Palestine that has not endured the suffering caused by the imprisonment of one or several of its members.

How to account for this unbelievable state of affairs?

Israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid, that provides virtual impunity for Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians, while criminalizing Palestinian presence and resistance. Israel’s courts are a charade of justice, clearly instruments of colonial, military occupation. According to the State Department, the conviction rate for Palestinians in the military courts is nearly 90 percent. More here.

April 16, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Remi Kanazi on Palestine and BDS – Witness Palestine Rochester

Last year in October, Rajesh Barnabas and I interviewed Remi Kanazi when he was here to perform his work for Witness Palestine Rochester. It took us a while to get all the footage sorted out and for me to edit, but here it is. The interview includes a reading of one of Remi’s poems from his book “Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising up from Brooklyn to Palestine.” Pls watch and share.

April 14, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Imam Khalid Latif in Rochester

With Imam Khalid Latif and members of the Civic Engagement Committee at the Islamic Center of Rochester today. Khalid Latif is Executive Director and Chaplain for the Islamic Center at New York University. He shook things up and challenged us to be more specific about our long term goals and strategy. Just the impetus we needed to delve more deeply into what we’re trying to achieve and the best way to get there.

April 14, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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RIP Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Jasiri Oronde: A true trailblazer Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam grew up in Washington, one of seven children in a poor family, and earned her law degree at Columbia University in 1977. After law school, she became a public defender in Brooklyn, representing people who could not afford lawyers, and then served as an assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State attorney general’s office. In one of her first cases, she won an anti-discrimination suit for more than 30 female New York City bus drivers who had been denied promotions. She was the first Black woman appointed to New York State’s highest court and the first Muslim woman judge in United States history. I pray we find out what really happened to our sister and that her family finds peace.

Sheila Abdus-Salaam

April 13, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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The brutal killing of Mashal Khan

am sick at heart. this madness must stop.

Tazeen Jay: Mashal Khan, a journalism student in Mardan University was lynched and then murdered earlier today. He was accused of committing blasphemy. It must be pointed out that incidents like Mashal’s lynching do not take place in a vacuum, in 2012, a mob burned a church in Mardan for alleged blasphemy and no one was apprehended, a few months back, Jamiat goons attacked students when they celebrated tribal dances at the same university, they were also not punished. TV pundits like Orya Maqbool Jan asked students to keep an eye on their fellow students for supposed blasphemous acts on prime time TV and no one bothered to check or condemn this vigilantism, then Islamabad High Court judge warned all the alleged or imagined blasphemers of dire consequences a month ago … and last but not the least when we make heroes out of murderers like Mumtaz Qadri …. Mashal Khan’s death happened because we let all that happen unchecked and unchallenged.

April 13, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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US drops ‘biggest non-nuclear bomb it has’ on Afghanistan

because it can. afghanistan is the second poorest country in the world. too depraved, too revolting for words.

The US has dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in the country’s arsenal on an area of eastern Afghanistan known to be populated by Islamic State militants. The weapon is known in the US Air Force by its nickname MOAB, or “mother of all bombs”. MOAB stands for massive ordnance air blast. More here.

April 13, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Jinnah did not want Partition: Ayesha Jalal

Ayesha Jalal: This tendency to say that Islam is somehow incompatible with modernity or liberalism is really very much a construct of the West and its antagonistic views of Islam. What I am trying to do is turn the gaze inward, to see how people were writing during the colonial period. Muslims from across the board – from all spectrums, religious and Western – responded to the colonial experience. It was by no means a closed experience; it was a much more creative interaction. There were Muslims who accepted the purely Western standards but there were many other variants – such as anti-colonialists who were moved by socialist-communist ideas or by Islamic ideas.

When it comes to the legal domain, Sharia was a moral precept but the question of precedence in colonial case law codified those precepts. What we call Sharia is Anglo-Muhammadan Law. I am not saying its solely colonial judges who created this – it was also the Muslim elite. Let me give you one example. We assume that there has been a struggle between modernity and tradition but, in fact, what we call tradition is at the heart of modernity.

When the colonial state began intervening in the legal domain, it was not as if modern colonial laws were all against tradition. In fact, tradition defined those laws because the colonial state had to navigate the tradition with the elite’s help. This way, many traditional things became entrenched in the name of modernity, including patriarchy. More here.

April 13, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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The idea of resistance

Francesca Recchia: Fifty-two years ago Gillo Pontecorvo shot The Battle of Algiers, a revolutionary film that tells the story of the Algerian resistance. The film is a three-year-long flashback reconstructing the initial steps of the liberation movement: from 1957 all the way back to November 1954 when the leaders of the National Liberation Front started gathering people and consensus. The story is narrated from the militants’ point of view and gives a very humane insight into the choices that paved the way to the dramatic, but necessary process of decolonisation.

Five decades later, the film still speaks to the present with immense relevance. The historical terms may have changed, but the substance remains the same. Oppressors, fascisms, colonialisms both past and present reiterate trite arguments to perpetuate their own existence and assert an idea of an immutable past to legitimise their privileges. The benevolent paternalism of power, the infantilisation of the Other, the discrimination on the ground of religion and skin colour survive their own stupidity.

…In response to an unjust and apparently immutable status quo, resistance – in its political, civil, disobedient, armed forms – continues to live and reclaim the right of self-determination, of an equal access to resources, of the possibility of being the author of one’s own history. 1957 Algeria is Palestine during the Intifadas, it is Kashmir in the bloodied summer of 2016, it is the protest of American Indians at Standing Rock. More here.

April 11, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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NAACP Legal Defense Fund responds to United Airlines video

SHERRILYN IFILL: Amy, this is the convergence of two issues. At the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, we’ve been working on the issue of removals of passengers—not violent removals of passengers, but removals of passengers because other passengers think that they look suspicious or for some other reason. We’ve been looking at the issue of racial profiling and the issue of removals. Now we’re seeing this kind of very violent removal. And what worries me about this is that even if we want to talk about the training of those police officers, the response of United Airlines is so bizarre, in my view, that it suggests that there is a wider and deeper systemic problem. And I worry that Americans increasingly are being subjected to seeing things like people violently dragged by police officers next to them as they have out cellphone videos—this is almost like the police killings—we’re being almost inured to this violence that we’re seeing, every place we go. This is why we have to stand against this attempt to return us to ultra-violent policing in this country.