Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Crescent Report

The Crescent Report can also be viewed here. Please bookmark it

Friday, October 26, 2007

Attending Sabeel Conference in Boston

What is Sabeel? Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians. Inspired by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, this liberation theology seeks to deepen the faith of Palestinian Christians, promote unity among them, and lead them to social action

I will be attending this weekend the Sabeel Conference in Boston and it is my honor that Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa will be appearing as the keynote speaker. He is a man I have admired for years as he bravely struggled before the eyes and ears of the world against the apartheid system in South Africa and at this conference we will address the parallels between that period and the hardships being suffered by the people of Palestine.

Archbishop Tutu will give a keynote address in entitled "The Apartheid Paradigm:
Issues of Justice and Equality". Another issue that will be explored in detail is the treatment of Palestinian Christians in the occupied territories which is an issue that is overlooked by many segments of the Christian community in America.

I am attending this program to view a distinguished ecumenical panel that will include Rev. Cannon Naim Ateek, Phyllis Bennis, Professor Anat Biletzki, Diana Buttu, Prof. Noam Chomsky, Prof. John Dugard, Noura Erakat, Dr. Nancy Miller and more.

For a look at the diverse sponsors of this event, including the Massachusetts Islamic society you can go the website where you can also get information on attending the event if you are in the Boston area and will not be glued to the TV watching the World Series.

3 Strikes and You're Out at The Legal Fishing Expedition

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MASNET) Oct. 22, 2007 – MAS Freedom (MASF), as the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS) has learned of today's announcement that the Dallas, TX jury has returned a "not guilty" verdict for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) defendants. While there remains a mixture of verdict response on some charges, a mistrial on most of the remaining defendants has been reached.

MAS Freedom Executive Director, Mahdi Bray, who has shuttled repeatedly between Washington and Dallas for the HLF trial and coordinated the Dulles-based Hungry for Justice Coalition stated, "This is a good day for the rule of law. A jury of Dallas citizens has rejected the government's outrageous overreach in this case and has made it crystal clear that in America, free speech is protected and feeding hungry children is not a crime – and that includes Palestinian children as well."

"They tried it in Florida, they tried it in Chicago, and they tried it in Texas, as they say in baseball; three strikes and you're out" Bray proclaimed.

Central to many in the Muslim community is the unprecedented use of designating over 300 individuals, including many major Muslim organizations, as "unindicted co-conspirators." MAS Freedom has strongly protested this and continues to fight this abuse by the US government. "Use of the wholesale designation "un-indicted co-conspirator" smears the reputation of well-respected Muslim organizations and their leaderships and it cannot be allowed to continue," stated Bray.

“The government needs to stop wasting the money of taxpayers with all of these legalized fishing expeditions. They tried it in Florida with Dr. Sami al-Arian and failed, they tried it in Chicago with Dr. Abdul-Halim al-Ashqar and Mohamed Saleh and failed, and now the government has failed in their efforts in Texas to connect anyone from the Holy Land Foundation with international terrorism and it should be three strikes and your out for the government.” Bray said.

MAS Freedom will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Compassion Needed

Larry James writes about the causes of homelessness in this post (h/t Street Prophets)

Roman laid out an interesting, brief historical overview of the problem of homelessness in the U. S. She pointed out that prior to 1983, homelessness wasn't much of a problem in the nation. Her organization and, more recently, her plans emerged as a result of the growing national crisis.

She didn't say, but I couldn't help but wonder about causes for the rather sudden explosion of the number of homeless in America. Several things came to mind.

The Vietnam War and the thousands of veterans who returned unprepared for what greeted them. Side bar: a friend of mine who is a psychiatrist at Veteran's Hospital here in Dallas told me that 85% of his homeless patients suffer from post traumatic syndrome due to events that occurred prior to their military service--the military being their place of escape until their tenures of service ended.

The Reagan Era and its more draconian social benefits and programs built on the theories of supply-side economics.

De-institutionalizing mental health treatment and services across the nation.

Ironically, the "war on drugs" that has resulted in the incarceration of millions of men and women who likely needed treatment instead of what they received. Upon release countless of these people ended up on our streets with few options for work or housing.

The forces that have created a growing gap between the wealthy and the impoverished have also fueled the growth in the homeless population. Outsourcing of millions of better paying American jobs would be included here.

The disappearance of the old "boarding houses" that existed everywhere until the mid to late 1960s.

Since the early 1980s, service providers have responded to the growing problem of homelessness. By the late 1990s there were over 40,000 programs in the U. S. designed to address the issues of homelessness.

Ironically, the homeless population doubled! The proliferation of services does not equal a solution to the problem.

In that vain, this comment from pastordan (of Street Prophets) says it all:

This is why charity alone will not address social problems. How could a soup kitchen or shelter address the inequalities of drug sentencing, mental health treatment, income distribution and housing? These are all things that require policy answers, and smart ones. And policy solutions require advocacy. What James is saying here is essentially that our society creates homelessness. To eradicate it will require a basic reworking of the drift of government over the past 40 years. That kind of change doesn't happen by itself, and it requires more than small, isolated groups treating the symptoms.

Those who are working to eradicate homelessness via soup kitchens are certainly doing outstanding work, but the above is why we need to work to change policies to make sure that these people can pick themselves up and we can make lasting changes on peoples' lives

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two more articles on 'Islamofascism Week'

People are seeing through the deception of 'Islamofacism Awareness Week'

Horowitz Spins 'facts' Aimlessly

Audience challenges Rick Santorum

Mahdi Bray Responds

In Tim Craig's Washington Post article on October 21, 2007 (Two2 GOP Lawmakers Allege Democrats Have Ties to Terrorism), he mentions my appearance in a video clip from eight years ago provided by the Investigative Project. The clip comes from the video of a rally in Lafayette Park protesting the death of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli Defense Forces.

This short video clip of me is now being widely disseminated as evidence of my support of terrorism and terrorist organizations. In actuality, what is being depicted was a spoof response to the speech given by Mr. Abdur-Rahman Alamoudi.

At the time of this rally, Mr. Alamoudi was a leading American Muslim leader with strong ties to the U.S. government. Those ties extended into the early months of the George W. Bush Administration. Mr. Alamoudi angrily showed up at the rally after having been rebuffed by Hillary Clinton in her initial bid for the U.S. Senate. Ms. Clinton had returned campaign funds raised for her by Mr. Alamoudi.

Although not scheduled to speak at the rally, Mr. Alamoudi was invited to speak, and began to thumb his nose at the Clinton Administration, saying, satirically, that he and the entire crowd were terrorists and supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah. Of course, no one on stage or in the audience took Mr. Alamoudi seriously. A closer examination of the video clip actually shows me pumping my fists and laughing Mr. Alamoudi's over- the- top- antics.

But what a difference September 11th, 2001 has made. Alamoudi, a former Goodwill Ambassador for the State Department, is now incarcerated on the charge of supporting an assassination plot by Libya's leader Muammar Khadafy to assassinate a Saudi Prince. Hamas won elections in Palestine. Khadafy is now a friend of America. Hillary Clinton is running for president of the United States. And a grainy, out-of-focus video clip, provided by a group that has turned Muslim-bashing into a cottage industry has now transformed me into a supporter of terrorism.

For the record, nothing in my writings or speeches has ever given support to terrorism. I have spent my life as a practicing Muslim activist denouncing religious extremism, racism and bigotry while working tirelessly to support interfaith dialogue, diversity, pluralism, and alternatives to violence as a means to resolve conflicts.

A 30 second, surreptitiously recorded video clip cannot erase my 30 years of dedicated struggle for social justice and human rights for all individuals.

Imam Mahdi Bray
Washington, DC

A Call to Help Those in California Fleeing Wildfires

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that no one truly believes until he wants for his brother what he wants for himself and in the spirit of this hadith I am calling on all Muslims to do whatever they can to alleviate the suffering of those in California forced to flee their homes because of the fires. Those interesting in donating and helping the victims of the California wildfires should visit the website of the MAS Service Corps in order to donate.