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News :: Organizing
142 Organizations Support the Arab-American and Muslim Open Letter
22 Jan 2004
Modified: 08:56:10 PM
142 ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORT THE ARAB-AMERICAN AND MUSLIM
OPEN LETTER
142 ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORT THE ARAB-AMERICAN AND MUSLIM OPEN LETTER

** FOR WIDE DISTRIBUTION **

[To join as an organizational signatory, please write to: rashmawi (at) sbcglobal.net]

UPDATE AND BACKGROUND:

On January 12, 2004, an "Open Letter from the
Arab-American and Muslim Community to the US Anti-War Movement" was initiated by 41 Arab-American and Muslim organizations in the United States and Canada. Today, this letter carries the names of 142 signatory organizations
(listed below) that are supported by thousands of activists and community members, including solidarity groups and anti-war coalitions from coast to coast.

The movement in South Africa also weighed in, giving its support to the Arab-American and Muslim community in the United States, thus further indicating the global consensus on the political demands of the anti-war movement. The Arab National Conference (ANC), a leading
umbrella of Arab intellectuals and activists throughout the world, earnestly joined in endorsing this call.

At present, there are hopeful signs that the movement in the United States as a whole is also approaching a unity on these core principles set-forth in the Open Letter, which would lead to a unified mobilization on March 20, 2004 - as demanded by communities and the grassroots
nationwide.

The Open Letter was originally initiated on January 12 following a call to mobilize against colonial occupations that was issued and endorsed by a large coalition of organizations and communities that included the International 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 Students Association of the U.S. and Canada. The National Council of Arab Americans (NCAA) supported this call in full. This national and all-encompassing umbrella has since expanded
and is now called the "March 20 National Coalition".

The call to mobilize, which constitutes the political basis for the unity of the March 20 National Coalition, demanded ending "all colonial occupations from Iraq to Palestine and 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, however, are yet to accept these unifying principles.

As a result, and in the context of a long history of being silenced and marginalized, the Arab-American and Muslim community prepared the following Open Letter to the movement.

Today, the movement can be hopeful that a unified and an all-inclusive mobilization could take place nationwide, not only in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, but also in New York City and elsewhere, on the basis
outlined. This would set a new definitional and unifying turning point and would strengthen the grassroots tide to stop the continued advance of war and empire. We urge all community and progressive organizations to stand together as full partners in Dolores Park in San Francisco, Times Square in New York City, Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles, in Chicago, and in cities and towns across the U.S.

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!

Signatory organizations:

(List is still in formation. To be included, please write
to: rashmawi (at) sbcglobal.net)

1. Act to Stop War Coalition, Omaha, Nebraska
2. Al-Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition - Los Angeles
3. Al-Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition - San Diego
4. Al-Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition - San Francisco Bay Area
5. Al-Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition - National
6. Al-Bireh Palestine Society, California Chapter
7. Al-Moharer
8. Al-Qalam Institute
9. American Muslim Voice
10. American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ)
11. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - Greater Philadelphia Chapter
12. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Greater Sacramento Area Chapter
13. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter
14. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
15. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Seattle Chapter
16. Americans for Justice in Palestine-Israel
17. Arab Center of Washington - Seattle
18. Arab Muslim American Federation
19. Arab National Conference (ANC - Al-Mu'tamar Al-Qawmi Al-Arabi)
20. Arab-American Community Center, Chicago
21. Arab-American Forum, New Hampshire
22. Arab-American Press Guild
23. Arab-Palestine Association, BC, Canada
24. Arabs Building Community, SF Bay Area
25. ARA-LA/People Against Racist Terror
26. Asians 4 Jericho/Mumia
27. Bay Area United Against War (BAUAW)
28. BAYAN - USA
29. Bend-Condega Friendship Project
30. Berkeley Women in Black
31. Break the Silence Mural Project
32. Canada-Palestine Association
33. Canada-Palestine Friendship Society
34. Canadian Arab Federation
35. Charlotte Fellowship of Reconciliation
36. Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism (CCAWR)
37. Citizens for Fair Legislation
38. Coalition for Equity-Restorative Justice
39. Committee Against the U$ Empire (the CAU$E), St. Louis, MO
40. Committee for Democratic Palestine - Canada
41. Committee for Justice - USA
42. Comunidad Chileno-Palestina
43. Deir Yassin Society of New York
44. Divestment Resource Center
45. DuPage Against War Now
46. Filipino Workers Organizing Committee (FWAC), Seattle, WA
47. Free Ahmad Sa'adat Campaign
48. Free Palestine Alliance - USA (FPA)
49. Freedom Socialist Party
50. Friends of Ghassan Kanafani, Toronto Chapter
51. Global Peace
52. Hammerhard MediaWorks, Chicago
53. Houston Coalition for Justice Not War
54. Incorruptible Media of Long Island
55. International A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition
56. International Solidarity Movement-Chicago chapter
57. Islamic Political Party of America (IPPA)
58. Jewish Voices Against the Occupation - Seattle
59. Jews Against Zionism
60. Jews for a Free Palestine
61. Justice for Palestinians
62. Kana'an Review
63. LAGAI -- Queer Insurrection
64. Land Minds Not Landmines
65. Louisville Committee For Peace in the Middle East/ISM Chapter
66. Masjid Al Qur'an of Philadelphia
67. Mexico Solidarity Network
68. Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA)
69. Middle Eastern Student Association of Loyola, University Chicago
70. Midwest Unrest
71. Morton County Citizens for Responsible Government
72. Mother Seed
73. Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MAS Freedom Foundation)
74. Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA-National)
75. Muslim Students Association, California State University, Sacramento
76. Muslim Students Association, University of California, Davis
77. National Council of Arab Americans (NCAA)
78. Nebraskans for Justice in Palestine
79. New Jersey Solidarity - Activists for the Liberation of Palestine
80. Niagara Coalition for Peace
81. Nicaragua Network
82. No One Is Illegal-Vancouver
83. Northwest Suburban SUSTAIN - Chicago
84. Omega First Inc.
85. One World Society, University College Cork
86. Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
87. Palestine Community Center - Vancouver, Canada
88. Palestine House Educational and Cultural Center, Canada
89. Palestine Labor Support Committee, USA/Canada
90. Palestine Right of Return Congress - USA
91. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Los Angeles
92. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Pittsburgh
93. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Seattle
94. Palestine Solidarity Committee, Wisconsin
95. Palestine Solidarity Group - Chicago
96. Palestine Solidarity Group - Vancouver
97. Palestine/Israel for Peace and Justice Alliance
98. Palestinian American Women's Association (PAWA)
99. Palestinian Rights Committee, Albany, NY
100. Partnership for Civil Justice
101. Pax Christi - Palm Beach
102. Peoples Video Network
103. Philadelphia Committee to Free the Five
104. Poets for Peace - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
105. Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT)
106. Radical Women
107. Resident Peaceniks, Western Washington
108. Riverside Area Peace and Justice Action, California
109. S.U.S.T.A.I.N. (Stop U.S. Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now!), L.A./Orange County
110. Sacred Roots
111. San Francisco Bay Area Palestine Coalition
112. Socialist Arab Coalition in North America
113. SOL Foundation
114. Solidarity International
115. SOS Iraq
116. South Asian League of Artists in America (SALAAM)
117. Students for Justice in Palestine, California State University, Sacramento
118. Students for Justice in Palestine, Univ. of
Illinois-Chicago
119. Students for Justice in Palestine, University of California, Davis
120. Students for Justice in Palestine-Bloomington, IN
121. Students for Social Justice, Chicago
122. Students Organizing for Social Justice at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
123. The Adelaide Institute
124. The Canadian Palestinian Foundation in Montreal, Canada
125. The Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Québec in Montréal
126. The Freedom Socialist Party
127. The International Action Center
128. The Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)
129. The Islamic Egyptian Soc. of N.S.W.
130. The Middle East and North African Student
Association, North Carolina State University
131. The Santa Fe Research Roundtable
132. The United Muslim Association of High Schools Club
133. Third World Forum
134. Tri-Taylor Neighbors for Peace, Chicago
135. U.S. Citizens Against the War, Florence, Italy
136. US-Japan-China Comparative Policy Research Institute
137. Women In Black - San Francisco, California
138. World Constitution & Parliament Association (WCPA)

South African Movement in Solidarity:
1. Anti-War Coalition - South Africa (representing 70 social movements and civil society organizations)
2. Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa
3. Palestine Solidarity Committee, South Africa
4. Friends of Al-Aqsa, Cape Town, South Africa
See also:
http://www.answerboston.org
http://www.internationalanswer.org

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