Thursday, December 24, 2015

#RefugeesWelcome Guide & Campaign Launched

The #RefugeesWelcome guide and campaign was recently launched by the Arab American Civic Council, PAX Manifesto in partnership with World Relief, a refugee resettlement agency with a local office in Garden Grove.

The guide, which is currently in the works, will be a multi platform hyper local book for refugees who settle in the Greater Los Angeles Area. For more info, click here: www.refugeeswelcomeguide.org.

To support this project, contact refugeeswelcomeguide@gmail.com to volunteer, or give a tax-deductible donation here: https://givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/Welcomerefugees

On Saturday, January 16 the groups will conduct their first outreach activity in Garden Grove. 


Friday, December 11, 2015

CDP's Arab Caucus Condemns Comments Made by Rep. Sanchez Regarding Muslim Americans

The Arab American Caucus of the California Democratic Party in a statement condemned the disturbing comments and inaccurate image portrayed by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez regarding Muslim Americans where they comprise a large constituency in her congressional district.

Time and again, Muslim and Arab Americans have had to defend themselves from Islamophobic comments made by the likes of Donald Trump, Ben Carson and many, many more. “We are appalled to have to stand up against the recent comments of fellow Democratic leader, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, that paint our community in a negative light,” said Iyad Afalqa, the Southern California Vice Chair of the Caucus.


“We strongly reject the generalizations made by Ms. Sanchez - especially given the current national climate - and encourage her to remember the positive contributions Muslim Americans have made to this nation and her own congressional district.”

The Arab American Caucus is an Official Caucus of the California Democratic Party (CDP). The Arab American Caucus of the California Democratic Party was established in 1991, to unite and provide representation for Arab Americans within the California Democratic Party structure. The Caucus promotes the welfare of Arab Americans through effective legislation and by encouraging Arab Americans to fully participate as Democrats at all levels of policy making and public service.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Bullet-Riddled Copy of the Quran Left at Clothing Store in Little Arabia

CAIR-LA Asks FBI to Probe Bullet-Riddled Copy of the Quran Left at Islamic Store as Hate Crime



(ANAHEIM, CA, 12/2/15) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on the FBI to investigate as a hate crime an incident in which an apparently bullet-riddled copy of the Quran, Islam's holy text, was found outside of an Islamic clothing store.

The owner of Al-Farah Islamic Clothing in Anaheim, Calif., found the English translation of the Quran pierced with multiple holes and hanging on the front door of the store Tuesday morning.

The owner of the store immediately contacted CAIR-LA and the Anaheim Police Department, which is now investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Surveillance video of the area has yet to be reviewed.

Several months ago, an unidentified individual shattered a store window. Police are investigating whether the two incidents are related.

"Anyone has the right to be a bigot, but when that bigotry is expressed through the targeting of individuals or businesses through acts of intimidation similar to a cross burning it crosses the line into criminal behavior," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "If you shoot up a Quran on your own property, that is bigoted freedom of expression. If you deliver that bullet-riddled Quran to a Muslim home or business, that is an act of intimidation and a hate crime."

Ayloush noted that in 2003, the United States Supreme Court ruled that acts of intimidation like KKK-style cross burnings may be prohibited if the perpetrator is carrying out the burning to intimidate or terrorize.

He said the Anaheim incident appeared to be part of an unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris.

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is also asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html




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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

CA-46 Debate: Progressives Except on Palestine

[Originally posted on the Orange Juice Blog
“The state of Israel maintains its illegal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, and continues to expand its illegal Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land. As a Member of Congress, will you demand that our government cuts the annual US taxpayer-funded aid of more than $3,000,000,000, or will you support subsidizing the longest occupation in recent history?”
That was the question I submitted to the organizers of the LULAC/NAACP 46th Congressional District candidates debate.  One of these candidates will replace Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who's running for US Senate. The moderators chose to ask a different question Palestine: What is your position on bringing justice and freedom to Palestine?


In their typical PEP stances, the candidates leaned far to the left most issues, except on Palestine. Click here to get tested whether you're a PEP (Progressive Except on Palestine.)

All four candidates provided vague and predictable answers that lacked much substance. In a district heavily populated by Arab Americans and includes Little Arabia, none of the four candidates was able to directly outline how they'd want to support justice for Palestinians.

Bao Nguyen: "Israel, as I said earlier, is one of our greatest allies in the region and I support a two-state solution. Diplomacy is what America stands for and that's the direction we need to go with."

It seems as though Bao Nguyen wanted to avoid addressing this issue since he didn't even use a quarter of the minute allocated to answer the question. He simply reiterated that Israel is America's greatest ally. I am not aware of a large pro-Israel community in the 46th district, but perhaps this was his attempt to appease AIPAC and powerful pro-Israel individuals who don't live in the district. Three out of the four candidates felt the need to mention that they support a (dead) two-state solution to answer a question about bringing justice and freedom to Palestine.


Jordan Brandman: "we actually need a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. We have not been able to even get close to that since Isaac Rabin was assassinated... The president is working hard, leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is committed to it and once we have an implementation of a two-state solution we will hopefully have peace in this region."

Mentioning Palestine, without referring to it as "Palestinian Territories" or simply "Palestinians" passes as - and I use the term loosely - progressive nowadays. While Brandman's answer wasn't particularly progressive, acknowledging Palestine without feeling the need to blindly repeat an AIPAC talking point makes him the least PEP out of the candidates.

Lou Correa: "We must create the incentives for all sides, all interested parties, to come to the table and come up with a solution. I support the president's role in mediating a solution that works for all sides. We can push as much as we can push to get people to the table but folks in that region have to want to have peace."

As if a peace agreement brokered by the US would be an extracurricular activity out of the goodness of our hearts, both Lou Correa and Joe Dunn said that the Palestinians and the Israelis must want peace themselves. The reality on the ground is that Israel, with the support of our government, continues its expansionist policies and land theft through its illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel implanted 400,000 Jewish settlers on Palestinian land covering approximately 42% of the West Bank. All while the US taxpayer continues to subsidize the Israeli occupation without accountability. Without US pressure on Israel, no peace agreement will come to fruition.  We must hold Israel accountable or simply cut our annual American taxpayer-funded $3 billion military aid to Israel.

Joe Dunn: "...I do support the two-state solution... We have a significant role in bringing peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis... but it is tragic every time we see on TV whether it be Israeli children who are killed in a rocket attack or Palestinian children in a response attack, but they do have to want it themselves."

Joe Dunn's answer was the most condescending for parroting a pro-Israel talking point that gets repeated over and over every time Israel launches a war on Palestinians, including during last year's war on Gaza. According to the UNbetween July 7 and August 26, 2014, the duration of last year's Operation Protective Edge, 2,251 Palestinians were killed (1,462 of the civilians) including 551 children. During the same time 5 Israeli civilians, 1 Thai national, and 67 Israeli combatants were killed. Such large scale offensive cannot be simply a response to rocket attacks which should be treated as a symptom of the military occupation rather than the cause of each Israeli assault on Gaza.

What all four candidates failed to mention was the root cause of the conflict; it's the occupation, stupid! 

Demonstrators in Anaheim's Little Arabia at a rally to support justice in Palestine on October 18
[www.LoayPhotography.com]

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Walmart Discontinues Racist Halloween Costume Sales

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | October 27th, 2015 - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes the decision by Walmart to pull the “Israeli Soldier Kids Costume” and “Sheik Fagin Nose” from their store shelves and website. Earlier today ADC, joined by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), called on Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Sears Marketplace to remove the offensive and racist costumes.

ADC President Samer Khalaf explained, “The costumes are very problematic, and offensive to many people. The Israeli forces are responsible for the continued death and occupation of the Palestinian people. Such a symbol of fear, violence and a long history of dispossession should not be used for entertainment purposes.” About the “Arab” costumes, Khalaf explained, “Selling merchandise which mocks Arabs, or any other race or ethnicity, must not be tolerated. These images do nothing but perpetuate racist tropes that have long been used to demonize, otherize and alienate Arab communities throughout history.”

As of this evening the items are still available on Amazon, eBay and the Sears Marketplace. ADC will continue pressuring the retailers to remove the items immediately.







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Monday, October 12, 2015

Anaheim City Resolution urges POTUS to allow more Syrian refugees

City Councilman and candidate for the 46th US Congressional District seat (to replace Loretta Sanchez) Jordan Brandman and Councilwoman Kris Murrey submitted a resolution urging President Obama and US Congress to significantly increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed in the US.  

The resolution urges the federal government to collaborate with local refugee serving organizations to strengthen the human services safety net for asylum seekers from the Arab world. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Man Attacks Mock Apartheid Wall at CSUF

A man (pictured) attacked the “Palestinian Mock Apartheid Wall” and yelled racial slurs at CSUF's Students for Justice in Palestine president yesterday.  [via The Daily Titan]. 

Read this Daily Titan report.