The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Neiman Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers

The Nieman Foundation would greatly appreciate it if you would encourage NAAJA members to apply for the 2008 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers. The award, which carries a $10,000 prize, was established through gifts for an endowment by members of the Taylor family, who published The Boston Globe from 1872 to 1999. For the first time, second and third place finalists will receive $1,000 each. The purpose of the award, which is administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, is to encourage fairness in news coverage by America’s daily newspapers.

Nominations may be a single story, a photograph, an editorial or a commentary; a series of stories, photographs, editorials or commentaries; or a body of work by an individual journalist. Entries must be postmarked no later than Friday, Jan. 18, 2008, for work published in a U.S. daily newspaper during the previous calendar year.

Anyone may submit a nomination by sending to the address below five copies of the work and a letter explaining why the entry is an exemplary example of fairness in newspapers. The letter should also describe how the work was developed, reported and presented to readers in the context of fairness. In evaluating work, submitters should consider all aspects of the journalistic process: reporting, writing, editing, headlines, photographs and illustrations, and presentation.

Taylor Family Award for Fairness
Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard
One Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

For more information about the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers, visit:

Best regards,
Ellen Tuttle
Ellen Tuttle
Communications Officer
Nieman Foundation for Journalism
at Harvard University

Friday, December 14, 2007

NAAJA announces 2008 Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award, Excellence in Journalism Contest

NAAJA is proud to announce the 2008 Mehdi Courage in Journalism Contest and the Excellence in Journalism Contest for Middle East, Arab American and general writing for print, TV, radio and web blogs.

The contest is open to anyone.

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1, 2008. Winners are announced in April 2008.

Get details at:

You can't win unless you enter.

Ray Hanania

Friday, November 30, 2007

Israeli-Palestinian Journalism Conference Monday Dec. 3 East Jerusalem

Israeli and Palestinian Journalism Conference
Ambassador Hotel, Sheikh Jarrah, Off Nablus Road (at the
intersection for the police department)
It is a few blocks north of the American Colony Hotel ... the number there is

Journalists from the print media and Internet media address their experiences, your background, what you have learned about covering the Middle East, describe your beat, what you look for, what challenges you might face and how you deal with them ... any
examples of great stories, tough stories, stories you can't get to do because of barriers ... things you would like to see change, etc. (Humor is always good)

Our purpose is not to get into a political debate, but obviously, as we all know, politics is the world in the Middle East so it will surely inject itself into the discussion. But the purpose is to focus on professional journalism, and also introduce journalists together, Palestinians and Israelis.

------------------- Program ------------------
SPJ-Arab Journalists

Monday, Dec. 3, 2007
Ambassador Hotel, Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem
1st Floor Conference Room

Sponsored by NAAJA, SPJ-Arab Journalists

PANEL 1: Internet Media: Strategies and Challenges facing Internet News Web and
Blog sites
Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, 12-2:30

- Moderator, Charley Warady, co-host, Israelisms, an online weekly audio blog of
life in Israel (Confirmed)
- Alan Abbey, Former editor,, one of the most popular English
language news sites from Israel (Confirmed)
- Khaled Abou-Aker, Editor,, online Middle East analysis (Confirmed)
- Elisheva Cohen, one of the highest ranked Middle East news
blogs on the Internet (Confirmed)
- Fadi Abu Sada, Director Palestine News Network, an online news agency
(Confirmed – or a representative if he is not allowed to cross from Bethlehem)
- Sherif Hedayat, standup comedian, online video producer

PANEL 2: Traditional Media: Strategies and Challenges facing coverage of the
Palestine-Israel Conflict
Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, 2:45-5:30

- Moderator: Ray Hanania, syndicated columnist, SPJ-Arab Journalists coordinator, and Arab Writers Group Syndicate manager.
- Steve Linde, managing editor, The Jerusalem Post, editor at Israel Radio.
Linde has worked at the Jerusalem Post for the past 10 years and 18 years at
Israel Radio. (Confirmed)
- Lisa Zilberpriver, reporter Haaretz Newspaper. (confirmed)
- Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy Newspapers Jerusalem Bureau (Confirmed)
- Joel Greenberg, Middle East correspondent for the Chicago Tribune (Confirmed)
- Zaki Abu Al-Halaweh, correspondent for al-Quds Newspaper (Confirmed)
- Issa Sharbati, correspondent for al-Hayat al-Jadida newspaper (Confirmed)

The event is open to the public. We encourage you to have lunch at the
Ambassador Hotel prior to the conference.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

CAIR Publishes Guide on Islam and Muslims

Help Improve Coverage of Islam in the U.S. Media
Sponsor 'A Journalist's Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims'

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/13/2007) - CAIR today called on Muslims to support a major new initiative to help improve coverage of Islam in the American news media.

At a press conference in the nation's capital, CAIR said the centerpiece of its "Beyond Stereotypes" campaign will be distribution of the newly-published "American Muslims: A Journalist's Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims" to some 40,000 media professionals nationwide.

Muslims are being asked to sponsor copies of the guide for $20 or to order hard copies for distribution to local media outlets.

SEE: Beyond Stereotypes: A CAIR Initiative to Enhance Understanding of Islam in the Media

CAIR's new guide offers journalists the tools needed to gain a better understanding of Islam and to write accurate and balanced stories about Muslims. The guide also offers background information on issues related to Islam and Muslims, best practices for reporting on the American Muslim community and definitions of terminology often used in news stories or editorials.

In challenging common misconceptions about Islam and Muslims, the guide provides an Islamic perspective on hot-button issues such as Islam and democracy, freedom of religion, women's rights, and interfaith relations.

Media professionals may request a free copy of CAIR's journalist guide through the "Beyond Stereotypes" website. (Sample pages of the guide can be viewed on the website.)

Along with distribution of the guide to editors, reporters, producers, and other journalists, CAIR is offering media relations training to Muslim communities nationwide. The "Beyond Stereotypes" website also offers tips on pro-active educational activities such as hosting media events and meeting with newspaper editorial boards.

"Because we work with media professionals on a daily basis, we know the vast majority of journalists are doing the best job they can with the information resources they have available," said CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed. "It is our duty, and that of the Muslim community, to make sure every journalist who writes about Islam or Muslims has access to accurate information."

In a statement released at today's news conference, CAIR said: "We recognize that much of the negative perception of Islam and Muslims is the result of negative actions by a tiny minority of Muslims. That minority should not be allowed to overshadow the vast majority of Muslims in this country and worldwide who reject terrorism and religious extremism."


1. SPONSOR A JOURNALIST'S GUIDE. For only $20, you can help improve coverage of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. media. Click here to sponsor a journalist's guide.

2. ORDER HARD COPIES OF THE JOURNALIST'S GUIDE for distribution to local media outlets. Click here to order a guide.

3. REQUEST MEDIA RELATIONS TRAINING for your community. Either contact a local CAIR chapter, or click here to request training or learn about other actions you can take.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

3rd Annual National Arab American Book Awards, submissions due Feb. 1, 2008

Dear Publishers and Writers:

The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is proud to announce that submissions are now being accepted for the

2007 Arab American National Museum
Book Award

Books submitted for consideration must be written or illustrated by an Arab American, or address the Arab-American experience. It must be an original work and published in English between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007. Submissions must be postmarked no later than February 1, 2008. An award will be given to an author or illustrator in each of the following three categories:
 Adult Non-Fiction in the areas of the Social Sciences and Humanities
 Adult Fiction, including Arts and Literature
 Children or Young Adult, Fiction or Non-Fiction
Submission forms are attached to this email and can also be found on the AANM website: For additional information regarding the Book Award please contact Dima Kanakri of the AANM Library & Resource Center at 313-624-0223 or
The Arab American National Museum Book Award was established in 2006 to encourage the publication and excellence of books that preserve and advance the understanding, knowledge, and resources of the Arab American community by celebrating the thoughts and lives of Arab Americans. The purpose of the Award is to inspire authors, educate readers and foster a respect and understanding of Arab American culture.

The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves, celebrates, and educates the public on the history, life, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans. We serve as a resource to enhance knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in this country. The Arab American National Museum is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization.

Arab American National Museum 13624 Michigan Avenue Dearborn, MI 48126


Journalism Conference in East Jerusalem Monday Dec. 3

Journalism Panels -- Jerusalem
Monday, Dec. 3, 12 – 5:30 PM
Ambassador Hotel East Jerusalem

Sponsored by NAAJA, SPJ-Arab Journalists

PANEL 1: Internet Media: Strategies and Challenges facing Internet News Web and Blog sites
Tentatively: Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, 12-2:30/3

- Moderator, Charley Warady, co-host, Israelisms, an online weekly audio blog of life in Israel (Confirmed)
- Alan Abbey, Former editor,, one of the most popular English language news sites from Israel (Confirmed)
- Khaled Abou-Aker, Editor,, a center for Palestinian, Israeli and Middle East opinion (Confirmed)
- Elizabeth Cohen, one of the highest ranked Middle East news blogs on the Internet (Confirmed)
- Fadi Abu Sada, Director Palestine News Network, an online news agency (Confirmed – or a representative if he is not allowed to cross from Bethlehem)

PANEL 2: Traditional Media: Strategies and Challenges facing coverage of the Palestine-Israel Conflict
Tentatively: Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, 3-5:30/6

- Moderator: Ray Hanania, syndicated columnist and Arab Writers Group Syndicate manager. (Confirmed)
- Steve Linde, managing editor, The Jerusalem Post, editor at Israel Radio. Linde has worked at the Jerusalem Post for the past 10 years and 18 years at Israel Radio. (Confirmed)
- Sara Miller, reporter Haaretz Newspaper. (confirmed)
- Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy Newspapers Jerusalem Bureau (Confirmed)
- Joel Greenberg, Middle East correspondent for the Chicago Tribune (Confirmed)
- Zaki Abu Al-Halaweh, correspondent for al-Quds Newspaper (Confirmed)
- Issa Sharbati, correspondent for al-Hayat al-Jadida newspaper (Confirmed)


Friday, November 09, 2007

NAAJA-Palestine launched

A new networking chapter of the National Arab American Journalists Association has been launched based in Jerusalem, Palestine. The group, NAAJA-Palestine, features 10 Palestinian journalists working with a wide range of Palestinian print and online news media.

The group plans to organize a new Palestinian journalism union to replace the former union which has collapsed through inactivity and politics.

For more information, visit

Ray Hanania

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Arab Press Freedom to be explored at Beirut Conference

The 2nd Arab Press Freedom Forum, to be held in Beirut, Lebanon, next month, will provide an overview of press developments in the Arab world, from the latest government policies to case studies of newspapers that combine editorial independence with commercial success.

The event, organised by the World Association of Newspapers in collaboration with Lebanon’s An-Nahar newspaper, will include four sessions on topics of urgent concern to newspapers and media experts from across the Middle East.

For more information about the event, to be held on 9 and 10 December next, contact Kajsa Tornroth, Co-Director of Press Freedom Programmes at the Paris-based WAN, by e-mail at

The 2nd Arab Press Freedom Forum takes the theme, "Fighting Back: Challenges and Opportunities for the Arab Press". The sessions include:

"Backsliders and the usual suspects - the latest government policies that affect the press", which will address the recent government clampdowns on independent media in several Arab countries, and how the media has reacted.

"Combing editorial independence with commercial success," which will focus on independent Arab newspapers that have become profitable yet still maintain their independence and a critical stance towards those in power. Confirmed speakers include Egyptian Publisher Hisham Kassem, Rajeh Khoury a Political Analyst for An-Nahar in Lebanon and Ali Anouzla, Editor of Al-Massae in Morocco.

"Blogs, an alternative way of telling the news," which is dedicated to the increasing role of blogs and alternative news channels in the Arab world. Speakers in the session include Mohammad Azraq, a blogger from Bahrain, Wael Abbas, a blogger for Misr Digital blog in Egypt and Wadih Tueni, IT Manager for the An-Nahar Newspaper in Lebanon.

"How to best address the challenges faced by newspapers," which will examine the existing structures for independent Arab media professionals to work together for the common good. Speakers include Rafik Khoury, Editor in Chief of Al Anwar Newspaper in Lebanon, Said Essoulami, Director of the CMF-MENA Center in Morocco, and Abdelrahim Abdallah, Journalism Unit Coordinator at the Media Institute/Birzeit University in Palestine.

Plus more speakers to be announced.

The event will also feature the presentation of the second Gebran Tueni Award, which annually honours a newspaper publisher or editor in the Arab world who demonstrates the free press values upheld by Gebran Tueni, the An-Nahar publisher and WAN Board Member who was killed in a roadside bomb attack in December 2005. The award, which carries a 10,000 Euros stipend for newspaper leadership training, will be given to an editor or publisher of an Arabic-language publication whose activity reflects a profound attachment to the freedom and independence of the press, courage, leadership, ambition and the search for high managerial and professional standards.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 76 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and world-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:


American University of Beirut plans journalism workshops

The Journalism Training Program at the American University of Beirut (AUB) is organizing two workshops for Arab journalists. Application deadline for both courses: November 16.

The first workshop, “Environment/Health Coverage,” is scheduled to run for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m from November 26 to 30 in the Regional External Programs Conference Room at AUB . The second workshop, “Citizen/Online Journalism,” will run from December 3 to 7 at the same venue. The Dutch Embassy is supporting the programs, which are open to print, broadcast and online journalists.

This training is free, but journalists from outside Lebanon must cover their own travel and lodging costs, organizers said. Those wishing to participate should send resumes and three work samples to Magda Abu-Fadil at, or fax +961 (0)1 748539.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

MPAC host journalism confernece on Muslims Nov. 15 Columbia


(New York - 11/7/07) -- On Thursday, November 15, the Muslim Public Affairs Council's New York City chapter will host a panel discussion on "Media Coverage of Muslims Post-9/11" at Columbia University in Manhattan.

Moderated by Sheheryar Azhar, host of GEO TV's "The Forum", the panel discussion will feature Columbia University Journalism Professor Ari Goldman, award-winning journalist, filmmaker and Professor Anisa Mehdi, and MPAC Communications Director Edina Lekovic.

Co-sponsored by the Columbia University Muslim Students Association, panelists will draw on their decades of experience in the news media to provide a critical examination of news and entertainment media portrayals of Muslim Americans as a community as well as public discourse on the Islamic faith.

WHAT: The Coverage of Islam & Muslims in the American Mass Media Post-9/11

WHEN: Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Columbia University
James Room on the 4th Floor Bernard Hall
2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027-6902

WHO: Professor Ari Goldman, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
Anisa Mehdi, Journalist and Professor at Seton Hall University
Edina Lekovic, MPAC Communications Director
Shaheryar Azhar, host of "The Forum" on ARY

Goldman is the director of the Columbia's Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism and the Spiritual Life. Goldman also co-directs the Universitys Religion-Journalism Dual M.A. Program. Previously, he spent 20 years at The New York Times, most of it as a religion writer. He is the author of three books, including "The Search for God at Harvard".

Mehdi is an Emmy award-winning journalist specializing in religion, the arts, and people. For over 20 years she has reported, written, directed and produced television news and documentary programs for major American media outlets, including National Geographic, PBS, ABC News, and CBS. Her commentaries are heard on NPRs award-winning newscast All Things Considered. She is also Adjunct Professor of Communication at Seton Hall University. She is producer/director of "Inside Mecca," the National Geographic Special that premiered on PBS in 2003. She was also executive producer with Alvin Perlmutter of the two-hour PBS FRONTLINE special "Muslims".

Call 213-383-3443 or email for more information.

Founded in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim Americans.


IBDAA media awards for students approaches deadline

Ibdaa Media Awards 2007 Gathers Momentum As November 15 Deadline Appoaches
Application Forms Available at

Dubai, UAE - November 6, 2007: With the November 15 submission deadline for the coveted Ibda’a Media Student Awards 2007 fast approaching, the competition is receiving an unprecedented response from international and local media students vying for top honours in the region’s most recognised award for emerging industry talent.

Ibda’a Media Student Awards is organized on an annual basis by Dubai Media City, member of TECOM Investments, in association with the International Advertising Association (IAA). Designed on the concept of ‘Flammable Talent’, the Awards aim to recognize, nurture and promote young media talent.

The competition is open to all undergraduate and fresh graduates of the year 2006-2007. Entry forms are available on the dedicated website

Over the years, the Ibda'a Media Student Awards has attracted a multitude of entries from the Gulf region and around the globe. Its success is marked by the increasing number of entries, participating countries and the inclusion of additional categories to accommodate the diverse components of new age media. In 2006, the competition received more than 2,200 entries from 20 countries.

Mohamed Al Mulla, Director of Dubai Media City and Coordinator General of the Awards, said: “Ibda'a Media Student Awards 2007 will continue to discover outstanding creative talent from all over the world. Serving as a springboard for students, Ibda'a Awards spotlight young talent on the international media arena, and offer them an opportunity to showcase their work and realize their aspirations.”

Award finalists will be flown to Dubai for a gala celebration that will give away exciting prizes, as well as internship opportunities with leading media organisations including Arabian Radio Network (ARN), Xische, Team Y&R, Motivate Publishing, Nikon, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, CNBC Arabia, CNN and MBC.

Dubai Media City will host the Career Day on 26 December. On the sidelines of the awards, an exhibition of short-listed entries will be held from 25-29 December.

To be presented on 27 December in Dubai, the Ibda’a Media Student Awards cover 10 main categories, including journalism, radio, animation, graphic design, analogue photography, digital photography, print advertising, TV advertising, TV documentary and film/TV feature.

Dubai-based Ziad Galadari Group is the title sponsor of the event this year, while Emirates Bank, Arabian Automobiles, OMD and Carassi are the co-sponsors. Media partners include Motivate Publishing, Zee Arabia, Showtime, Xische, 7 Star Events, Arabian Radio Network, Al Emarat Al Youm and Emirates Today, CNBC Arabia and DMI.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New York: Challenges facing Muslims in the West, Nov. 6

Tuesday November 6, 2007, 6:30-8:30 pm
At NYU’s Silver Center for Arts and Science,
Jurow Lecture Hall, 100 Washington Square East,

New York, NY 10003.

We invite you to attend and help us continue our conversation, significant to contemporary political, economical and cultural issues, facing Muslims in the Western world.

Our conference in Salzburg brought together 60 policy makers, community leaders, scholars, media professionals and activists from Europe, North America and the Muslim World. Mustapha Tlili opened the discussion with “a call for creative thinking about the inclusion of Islam and Muslims in the west”. The participants yielded to this request that led to stimulating and insightful conversations. While Farah Pandith, Senior Advisor on Muslim engagement at the State Department, shared lessons learned from the American experience of integrating Muslims and other minorities, Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, Ursula Plassnik, emphasized the need to develop tools that encourage integration and prevent hopelessness in young Muslims.

Other participants raised interesting questions such as: Is it appropriate and feasible to speak in terms of a “Western Islam”? How best can tensions created by the presence of Islam and of Muslims in the West be overcome? What role does public policy play in addressing these tensions? What best practices, if any, can be developed regarding security and integration?

Our panelists for the evening are experts & leaders in matters related to the Islamic world and Muslims in the West and the relationship between Islam and West.

Abdullah M. Alsaidi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Yemen to the United Nations, who, prior to his current appointment, served as his country's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1999-2002.

Jon Benjamin, Deputy Consul-General of the United Kingdom in New York and considered one of the most knowledgeable experts on Muslim communities in the West.

Jytte Klausen, Professor of Comparative Politics at Brandeis University who has authored several books, including The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe.

Piet de Klerk, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations, former Netherlands Ambassador at large for Human Rights.

Please RSVP to 212-998-8693 or by November 4, 2007 if you would like to attend.

To learn more about and to read online copies of our publications please visit us at


Arab-US Association for Communications Educators focuses on importance of media

Role of media, varsities in Arab-US ties stressed
By Zoe Sinclair

30 October 2007

DUBAI — The importance of media and universities in sharing ideas and developing understanding between cultures was stressed at the twelfth Arab-US Association for Communication Educators (AUSACE) conference at Shaikh Zayed University this week.

Speaking at a session yesterday, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and President of Zayed University Shaikh Nahyan Mubarak bin Al Nahyan said the conference came at a time when there was a critical need for Arab-American understanding and dialogue.

The need for Arab-American understanding was also highlighted by key speaker ‘Washington Post’ Middle East correspondent Anthony Shadid on Sunday who related his experiences working in the region by describing a deep sense of loss.

Shadid recounted an experience sitting in a Baghdad bookstore surrounded by famous texts as everyday life continued around him and the bookstore owner.

As visitors passed by to speak with the bookstore owner and relate their news, updating the owner on the conflict, they would often smoke an apple-flavoured ‘shisha’ and Shadid said it was the ordinariness of these moments that made them special — “Life as it should have been and could have been.”

It was also what struck him with a feeling of loss when the bookstore keeper died as the result of a bomb blast and how he related the story such that the ‘Washington Post’ audience could understand.

Shaikh Nahyan said the media, particularly new media, and educators were bridge builders between the Arab world and the United States.

“This understanding, which can only be built on shared beliefs, values, and ideals, will help us all to be more sensitive to each other’s needs,” he said.

“I strongly believe that common ground is possible when both the Arab and the American sides come to know one another as equals. And in this endeavour, universities and educators have a unique role to play.”

The three-day conference that began on Sunday attracted 200 professors representing 40 countries, including from the region.

The attendees are taking part in a series of sessions and workshops aimed at developing exchanges between Arab and US university faculty, media professionals and senior journalism students.

Shaikh Nahyan said some of the issues that often mark political and cultural divisions that the conference was rightly addressing included the role and representation of women, the propagation of stereotypes and issues of access to and ownership of the media.

“How societies address these issues reveal the values and beliefs of those societies,” he said.

“It is my hope that your insights and analyses can suggest productive avenues and possible solutions as we move forward to establish common ground and productive connections.”

A third keynote speaker, former US Ambassador to the UAE and Yemen William A. Rugh spoke at the opening of AUSACE.

Attendees including University of Bahrain professor Dr Hoda Al Mutawah and University of Hong Kong students welcomed the conference as an opportunity to share ideas and research.

AUSACE president Douglas A. Boyd said the conference’s success in sharing of knowledge meant that it was now more common to find Arab experts researching and publishing works on the region where previously such fields were dominated by Western study.

American University of Beirut adds journalism training program

AUB Adds journalism training program

The American University of Beirut launched on May 16 a wide-scale journalism training project for Arab reporters working in print, broadcast and online media.
The project was made possible through a generous sponsorship agreement made between Ms. Sarah S. Alfadl, a Saudi-American lawyer/activist, and the REP's Office.

"AUB is proud to be part of this endeavor to provide reputable and reliable training to journalists in the region," said Provost Peter Heath, during a news conference, held in College Hall B-1 to announce the new program. "We are deeply grateful to Ms. Sarah El-Fadel for providing both inspiration and financial backing for this program of training."

"I believe people cannot intelligently participate in the democratic process unless they have access to accurate and timely information provided by a free and professional press," said Alfadl of the new program, adding that she hoped others would follow suit and invest in Lebanon's revival.
Al-Fadl added that she chose to support the program because she believes in Lebanon's long history of press freedom and its ability to remain a leading democracy in the region. Moreover, she said that she found in AUB the perfect partner for such an endeavor.

The Journalism Training Program (JTP), which is part of AUB's Regional External Programs, is scheduled to conduct its first workshop in "Investigative Journalism," in July 2007 and plans to offer other courses in the coming months focused on "Citizen Journalism," "Elections Coverage," "Newsroom Management," and "Science/Health/Environment Journalism."

The JTP was created to provide journalists from the Gulf to North Africa with year-round courses in various topics including basic news reporting and writing, editing, war/safety coverage, online journalism, and media ethics in Arabic, English and French.
Additionally, it will conduct workshops in media literacy and corporate communications/media crisis management, both at AUB and in-house where requested, and is destined to become a regional hub for Arab journalism training -- something Alfadl hopes other sponsors will also encourage.

AUB's Regional External Programs, which has been running other successful training and consulting projects for about two decades, aims to plug the gaps in existing efforts and meet new needs of the media through the JTP. While the Arab world has seen a proliferation of media in recent years, not all have been adequately serviced by sustainable training to meet their needs and to cope with technological advances.

Leading the new effort is Magda Abu-Fadil, the JTP's founding director, who brings years of experience as a foreign correspondent and editor with international news agencies such as Agence France-Presse,and United Press International; newspapers such as Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Riyadh and Defense News; and magazines such as The Middle East and Events; and, as an academic and a media trainer.

Until February 2007, Abu-Fadil was director of the Institute for Professional Journalists at the Lebanese American University. She taught journalism at American University in Washington, D.C. -- from where she graduated -- and was coordinator of the journalism program at LAU for six years.
"The Journalism Training Program's aim is to train journalists so they can confront any challenges they might face in their work, thus sparking a renaissance in this sector in this part of the world," said Abu-Fadil, during the news conference.

"This is an exciting challenge and we hope to turn AUB into a beehive of Arab journalism training and education with state-of-the-art facilities," she said. "It's only fitting that Lebanon, with AUB at the helm, lead the charge."

Communications Professor and chair of the JTP steering committee called the new program "a dream come true" for which he had worked for more than 40 years. The need for such a program is ever more important, he said, because most news outlets have focused on building infrastructure and acquiring hi-tech equipment instead of investing in human potential.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

NAAJA launches Media Watch Committee

NAAJA has launched a media Watch Committee to monitor excesses involving racism, stereotyping and unprofessional conduct by mainstream American media.

This is not a place for political discussion.

NAAJA is forming a Media Watch Committee consisting of professional Arab American Journalists. We will accept complaints involving mainstream American media and consider taking acting.

To join, you must be a professional journalist of Arab American heritage working either in the mainstream American media or the Arab American/Muslim American ethnic media. If you would like to join and help:

1) You must be a member of NAAJA
2) You must identify yourself fully for members to know who you are
3) This is not a political discussion list
4) Your contributions would be to highlight obvious and glaring
transgressions that really rise to the necessity of addressing formally.
NAAJA Media Watch will

1) Review and discuss complaints
2) Issue a formal written letter, when appropriate, to the mainstream media after NAAJA Media Watch committee discuss the transgressions
3) Media that refuse to respond will be put on a MEDIA WATCH DISCRIMINATION LIST posted on the official NAAJA web site ( until they respond
4) NAAJA will seek the support of other Arab journalism organizations and mainstream American Arab organizations to publicize this unprofessional behavior

Here is how to join this list if you meet the above criteria:

Post message:
List owner:

Ray Hanania

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NAAJA member's new book now available

Press Release

Contact: Ahmed Soliman
Oct. 24, 2007

New Voice Emerges in American Media
Arab & Muslim-American Journalists Offer Essential Perspective

(Maple Shade, NJ, Oct. 21st, 2007) — Arab and Muslim-American journalist Ahmed Soliman believes his new book, “Born in the USA: Reflections of an Arab and Muslim-American Journalist,” will give mainstream Americans a fresh perspective into the Islamic and Arab Worlds that is unique and rare.

Soliman argues that despite the events of Sept. 11th, 2001, Americans still do not understand the Arab and Muslim Worlds. By sharing his many interviews with Arab and Muslim leaders in the post-Sept. 11th World he believes he can not only change that but also improve the American journalism profession.

“There have been many post 9/11 books written with the Muslim-American perspective and some written by journalists who have covered such stories as the war on terror, domestic surveillance and the conflict between Israel and Palestinians,” explains Soliman who has been a journalist for more than seven years.

“But I think I bring a special knowledge as a professional journalist who has covered international issues for the past two years and who is both Arab and Muslim. I believe I bring a fresh and more objective perspective to the international discussion on these and other important issues. It’s a freshness that contrasts the sometimes cynical views often reflected in the writings of longtime, veteran journalists, many of whom are neither Arab nor Muslim and who have witnessed the often tragic events of the Middle East repeat themselves over and over again.”

The book features many voices and opinions not often heard, based on firsthand interviews Soliman conducted as a reporter for broadcast and print Arab, Muslim and mainstream American newspapers.

“It's not often that Americans really get to hear the perspective of the Pakistani foreign minister on such issues as the war on terror, and whether or not the US government is correct in saying that they're not doing enough. Understanding the people on the other side of the ocean is crucial to resolving our contemporary challenges,” he says.

And, Soliman believes the book might help initiate “a broader discussion about the role of our own American media, whether that is opening some eyes among editors and news directors about the importance of integrating more diverse voices in their newsrooms, specifically regarding Arab American journalists, or also aspiring Arab American journalists who could benefit from the experiences I share in the book.”

Like many Arab and Muslim Americans, Soliman had planned on entering a professional career in medicine or engineering. But it was when he wrote an essay that received immediate notice and was recognized with a prestigious journalism award that he decided to pursue journalism, instead.

“Prior to the 9/11 attack, the vast majority of Muslim-Americans entered the engineering and medical fields, the result of the influence they received from their immigrant parents,” explains Soliman, who worked for two years as senior anchor and producer for the nationally televised Daily World news on Bridges TV.

“The result was that Muslim-Americans, now numbering over 7 million according to the Zogby poll, never had much influence on public opinion or policy. Now, after the 9/11 attack, the few of us who did enter the journalism field are trying to keep the dialogue and coverage in the media more balanced and insightful.”

Soliman’s story is a poignant, eye-opening portrayal of the challenges facing media coverage of the Arab and Muslims, and on international issues including the war on terror, and racism.

“No reasonably minded person would disagree with anything [Soliman] has said in this book,” said Ambassador Richard Parker, former U.S. representative in the Middle East.

Prior to working at Bridges TV, Soliman produced and directed a post-911 documentary for a PBS affiliate titled Born in the USA: Muslim Americans. The film followed a Muslim American doctor and teacher in the months following the September 11th Attack, and received positive reviews and press from WCBS – TV in New York, The Star Ledger Newspaper in New Jersey, and The Home News Tribune. Soliman started his career as the Managing Editor of the Gazette-Leader, a weekly newspaper for the towns of Elizabeth and Hillside in New Jersey, where he covered crime, education, and government related stories. He also interned for WNBC-TV in New York.

“It’s not always easy being an Arab and Muslim-American journalist. A lot of people in our profession throw obstacles in our way,” Soliman argues.

“But I believe that when your argument is for more objective and balanced coverage, by way of including more diverse voices in the perspectives offered in the media, eventually people will realize that it can only be a good thing. Writing Born in the USA was just the next domino in the set that will be falling on this issue.”

Soliman is a columnist with the Arab Writers Syndicate ( and a member of the Steering Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists-Arab American Journalists group. He is also a member of the Arab professional journalism associations NAAJA ( and AMEJA.

The book is available from most major bookstores, and online from Barnes & Noble and It is published by iUniverse Inc., in New York.


Monday, October 22, 2007

CAIR on IslamoFacism Week of Hatred

Robert Spencer is main speaker for upcoming Islamophobic campus tour

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/21/2007) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) revealed today that the main speaker for an upcoming series of "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" lectures at university campuses nationwide recently offered a keynote address at a European gathering that included representatives of racist or "neo-Nazi" political parties.

Author Robert Spencer, who is scheduled to appear beginning next week at universities such as Brown, DePaul and Dartmouth, is regarded by American Muslims as one of the nation's worst Islamophobes. His virulently anti-Islam website promotes the idea that life for Muslims in the West should be made so difficult that they will leave.

Spencer recently spoke at a so-called "Counterjihad Brussels 2007" conference in Belgium attended by those with links to far-right parties such as Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang (Belgium) and Ted Ekeroth of Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden). Both parties have been accused of either having a racist platform, a neo-Nazi past or having links to neo-Nazis and other racists.

Vlaams Belang is the successor to the Vlaams Blok party, which was banned in 2004 for being an illegal racist political faction. (Vlaams Belang's founders were Nazi collaborators in World War II.)

Of Sverigedemokraterna, the International Herald Tribune wrote: “Sverigedemokraterna, or the Sweden Democrats, have been part of this country's political landscape for almost 20 years, but they were considered too close to the Nazi-inspired far-right to contend for large numbers of votes.” (7/7/06)

SEE: European Organizations Gather in Brussels to Organize Resistance to Islamization and Shariah

SEE: Court Rules Vlaams Blok is Racist

Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch Board Vice President "Hugh Fitzgerald" wrote on that hate site: "Only one group, only one belief-system, distinguishes itself by appearing incapable of fitting in. And that is Muslims, and Islam ... if one really knew what Islam contained ... then how could any decent person remain a Muslim?"

He also recommended that western nations be "Islam-proofed the way a house is child-proofed," compared Muslims to Nazis and urged that they be boycotted: "[I]t should not be hard to find ways to limit the spread or practice of Islam. And if in addition to whatever local, state and federal government officials do, private parties simply conduct their own boycott of goods and services offered by Muslims, in the same way that they would have refused to buy, in 1938, a German Voigtlander camera..."

Other speakers on the "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" tour include Ann Coulter, who refers to Muslims as "rag heads," and Daniel Pipes, a supporter of the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II and of the views of French racist Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“All those who value religious tolerance and diversity should be concerned about the growing links between European racists and American Islamophobes,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Publicity for the tour got off to a bad start when it was revealed that the poster promoting the campus events used a photograph that purportedly showed a Muslim woman being stoned to death, but which was in fact an image from a fictional movie.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, 10/20/07

A controversial week of events, billed as Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, launches at the University of Washington and some 100 other colleges next week — drawing condemnations from Muslim groups here and across the country.

The UW College Republicans, organizer of the local events, say the week is intended to foster awareness of the terrorist threat posed by a small number of extremists within Islam.

But some local Muslims say the week fosters Islamophobia and racism and attempts to paint all Muslims as terrorists.

Beginning Monday, the group plans to hand out information sheets describing what the week's activities are all about.

And it's hosting two events open to the public: a showing of "Suicide Killers," a documentary about suicide bombers, at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Smith Hall, and a talk by conservative author and talk-show host Michael Medved at 7 p.m. Thursday in Kane Hall.

Amin Odeh, a board member with the local Arab American Community Coalition, said he agrees that "radical anything is dangerous — radical Muslims, radical Christians, radical Jews. Education is needed."

But Odeh says Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week makes too general a link between extremism and Islam, and that the term "Islamo-fascism" links fascism with an entire religion.

"Unfortunately, when people hear the term they don't think of only a small group of extremists, but of Islam in general," he said.

Hala Dillsi, a member of the UW Muslim Student Association, believes Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week promotes fear and intolerance. She is distributing green armbands and encouraging people to wear T-shirts that are green — traditionally the color associated with Islam — on Wednesday in solidarity with local Arabs and Muslims.

The student group also is organizing a forum Oct. 29 in which professors and local Muslims discuss and answer questions about Islam.

Members of the Muslim Student Association, along with other organizations, also plan to hold protests outside Wednesday and Thursday evening's Awareness Week events.

Assistant Chief Ray Wittmier with the UW Police Department said his department is meeting with student organizers on all sides "to make sure everybody stays safe."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hate victim in New York Arabic School controversy speaks out

Debbie Almontesar, who was targeted in a hate campaign led by notorious anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Daniel Pipes, issued the following statement that was published in the New York Times Oct. 16, 2007:

Good evening. My name is Debbie Almontaser. I am the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, which is known as KGIA. Over a two-year period beginning in 2005, I devoted my life to establishing a school that reflected not only my vision, but the ideas of a design team that included other educators, prospective parents, community members, and the Arab American Family Support Center.

In early August of this year, under pressure from The New York Post, The New York Sun, and right-wing bloggers, representatives of the mayor, the chancellor, and New Visions demanded that I resign as KGIA’s principal. They threatened to close down KGIA if I refused. The next day, I submitted my letter of resignation. Because I believe that I am the person to carry forward the mission of KGIA, I have today submitted my application to become the principal of KGIA. I have also asked my lawyer to begin preparing a lawsuit against the D.O.E. for violation of my constitutional rights.

When I first discussed with New Visions for Public Schools the creation of an Arabic dual-language public school in New York City, controversy was far from my mind. I was thrilled to create a unique school that would provide a rigorous regents-based curriculum with Arabic language and cultural studies, and that would equip students for work in such areas as international affairs diplomacy and cross-cultural understanding. As with the more than 60 other dual language programs in the city, KGIA was created to foster multilingual and multicultural education. It was also joining many New York City public schools that use theme-based approaches to inform and enrich curriculum across subject areas. As an Arab-American Muslim, born in Yemen and raised in the U.S., establishing KGIA was my American dream. It turned into an American nightmare.

On Feb. 12, 2007, the Department of Education announced the establishment of KGIA. In the days following, right-wing blogs began spinning KGIA as an Islamist school with a radical extremist jihad principal. And local New York City papers fanned the flames with headlines like: “Holy war! Slope Parents Protest Arabic School Plan,” “A Madrassa Grows in Brooklyn,” and “Arabic School Idea Is a Monstrosity.” From the day the school was approved to the day I was forced to resign, The New York Sun plastered my picture on its website with a link to negative articles about KGIA.

Leading the attack was the “Stop the Madrassa Coalition” run by Daniel Pipes, who has made his career fostering hatred of Arabs and Muslims. The coalition conducted a smear campaign against me and the school that was ferocious. Members of the coalition stalked me wherever I went and verbally assaulted me with vicious anti-Arab and anti-Muslim comments. They suggested that, as an observant Muslim, I was disqualified from leading KGIA, even though the school is rigorously secular, and its namesake, Khalil Gibran, was a Lebanese Christian. To stir up anti-Arab prejudice, they constantly referred to me by my Arabic name, a name that I do not use professionally. They even created and circulated a YouTube clip depicting me as a radical Islamist.

Then in early August, The New York Post and the Stop the Madrassa Coalition tried to connect me to T-shirts made by a youth organization called Arab Women in the Arts and Media. The T-shirts said, “Intifada NYC.” Post reporters aggressively sought my comment. Because the T-shirts had nothing to do with me or KGIA, I saw no reason to discuss the issue with the media. I agreed to an interview with a reporter from The Post at the D.O.E.’s insistence. During the interview, the reporter asked about the Arabic origin of the word “intifada.” I told him that the root word from which the word intifada originates means “shake off” and that the word intifada has different meanings for different people, but certainly for many, given its association with the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, it implied violence. I reiterated that I would never affiliate myself with an individual or organization that would condone violence in any shape, way, or form. In response to a further question, I expressed the belief that the teenage girls of AWAAM did not mean to promote a “Gaza-style uprising” in New York City.

Although The Post story distorted my words, it accurately reflected my view that I do not condone violence. That should have been the end of the matter. D.O.E. officials should simply have said that it was clear that neither I nor KGIA had any connection to the T-shirts. They should have pointed out that I had devoted my entire adult life to the peaceful resolution of conflict and to building bridges between ethnic and religious communities. In other words, they should have said that the attacks upon me were utterly baseless. Instead, they forced me to issue an apology for what I said. And when the storm of hate continued, they forced me to resign.

In closing, permit me to explain why I am speaking out at this time. While I have been the victim of a serious injustice, the far larger offense has been to the Arab and Muslim communities of New York City. In the years since 9/11, our communities have been the object of the most vile and hateful attacks. The attacks on me are part of a larger campaign to intimidate and silence marginalized communities. Among other strategies, the right-wing is trying to get people from other communities to view Arabs and Muslims as threats to their safety and security. As a result, well-meaning people sometimes act out of fear—not just a knee-jerk anti-Arab, anti-Muslim response, but the fear that, if they do not succumb to right-wing pressure, they too will become targets.

Those seeking to harm our communities would like nothing more than for me to remain silent in response to their hate. For the sake of the Arab and Muslim communities and for all marginalized communities, for the sake of the families of KGIA, and for the sake of all of us committed to creating a society that we can be proud to leave to future generations, I stand here today to say that they will not prevail. I will continue to stand against division, intimidation and hatred; I will stand for a society based on mutual respect and understanding and dignity for all our communities. These are values to which I have devoted my entire adult life and career.

I am applying to be the principal of KGIA because, as its founding principal and the person who envisioned the school, I believe I am the person most qualified to be its educational leader. Throughout the planning process, I worked with a wonderful and devoted design team comprised of educators, parents, students, and community members. I would like to continue that work and to build KGIA into a model dual language school that, to quote KGIA’s mission statement, “helps students of all backgrounds learn about the world” and fosters in them “an understanding of different cultures, a love of learning, and desire for excellence in all of its students.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Missing Egyptian Editor, four years later

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465‑1004 Fax: (212) 465‑9568 Web: E-Mail:
Contact: Abi Wright
Telephone: (212) 465-1004 ext. 105

The Forgotten Man
A CPJ special report:
An Egyptian editor disappears and no one can say why

New York, October 17, 2007—Four years ago, a senior editor at Egypt’s leading state-run daily vanished in central Cairo. In a special report, “The Forgotten Man,” the Committee to Protect Journalists traces the last known movements of editor Reda Helal, who disappeared on his way home from a routine workday at the prominent daily Al-Ahram. Some Egyptian journalists believe Helal was a victim of an “enforced disappearance” undertaken by domestic or foreign security agents, CPJ’s Joel Campagna writes.

The report’s release coincides with an Egyptian government crackdown on the press that has included a flurry of prosecutions and convictions of outspoken journalists. CPJ has designated Egypt as one of the world’s worst backsliders on press freedom, citing an increase in the number of attacks on the press over the past five years—including Helal’s disappearance.

“It is inconceivable that a journalist can simply vanish in the center of Cairo in broad daylight and for the authorities to say they have no clues,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “The Egyptian government’s failure to shed light on this alarming disappearance, or even to release its findings after four years, is deplorable. We call on Egyptian officials, including President Mubarak, to provide answers.”

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Monday, October 15, 2007

Washington Post Iraq freelancer/photograper killed in Baghdad

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465‑1004 Fax: (212) 465‑9568 Web: E-Mail:
Contact: Abi Wright
Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x-105

Washington Post reporter killed in Baghdad

New York, October 15, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of a reporter for The Washington Post in Baghdad on Sunday. Salih Saif Aldin, 32, was killed at close range by a single gunshot to the head while photographing fire-damaged houses on a street in Baghdad’s southern neighborhood of Saydiya, The Post reported.

Saif Aldin was on assignment interviewing residents about the sectarian violence raging between Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents in the neighborhood, long a center of violence, the newspaper said. The Post reported that a man used Saif Aldin’s cell phone to inform an employee at the paper that the journalist was killed.

“We condemn this deplorable attack, which is a fresh reminder of why Iraq remains the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, especially Iraqis,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Accounts that Salih Saif Aldin may have been murdered by Iraqi soldiers are alarming, and they demand swift action by the Iraqi government in providing answers and ensuring those responsible are brought to justice.”

Washington Post Baghdad Bureau Chief Sudarsan Raghavan told CPJ that it remained murky as to who shot Saif Aldin and why. Some residents suspect that the Iraqi army, some of whose members are loyal to the Mahdi Army, a militia led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, is responsible for the slaying, The Post reported. Iraqi police suspect Sunni gunmen from the Awakening Council, a group consisting of Sunni tribes working alongside U.S. forces, The Post said.

Saif Aldin, who wrote under the pseudonym Salih Dehema for security purposes, began his journalism career as a reporter for the weekly Al-Iraq al-Yawm in Tikrit, and joined The Post in January 2004 as a stringer, the newspaper said. Saif Aldin has been arrested, beaten, and threatened while carrying out his assignments.

Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Post, called Saif Aldin a “brave and valuable reporter who contributed much to our coverage of Iraq.” Saif Aldin was known for his tenacity and his willingness to take assignments that put him in harm's way, The Post reported.

On March 7, cameraman Yussef Sabri of Biladi satellite channel was killed along with several other people by a suicide bomber in Saydiya, and on July 13, New York Times journalist Khalid W. Hassan was shot and killed in the same neighborhood.

In all, at least 119 journalists, including Saif Aldin, and 41 media support staffers have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, making it the deadliest conflict for the press in CPJ’s 26-year history. About 85 percent of media deaths have been Iraqis.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Arab Journalists Declare Sianis' Cubs-curse Goat is NOT a real Goat

Sianis Goat and Curse are a Fraud, Hoax, fake, Arab Journalists Declare

Chicago -- The National Arab American Journalists Association today declared that the goat owned by the late Billy Goat Owner Billy Sianis is NOT a real goat and therefore the Curse of the Goat o the Chicago Cubs is a hoax.

Arab Americans have long suspected that the alleged Goat, aka "Murphy," aka "Sinovia," aka "Harry Faced Carey," was not a Goat at all and was not from the Mediterranean. It was a Llama with short legs, and horns glued to his head by the enterprising Greek American restauranteur and owner, Billy Sianis, who brought the alleged goat to Game 4 of the 1945 World Series in which the Cubs were playing against the Detroit Tigers.

Before the game ended, Sianis and his goat, which had limped to his Tavern after falling off a wagon cart, were thrown out of the game by Andy frain ushers and Cubs owner Philip Knight Wrigley, who was quoted as mumbling while chewing a mouthfull of chewing gum, "Dat ain't no Goat. It smells like Fernando Llamas!"

"Clearly, therefore, the power of the curse that Sianis invoked when his so-called 'Goat' was evicked from Wrigley Field is in fact a fraud, a hoax, and trick," said NAAJA member Ray Hanania, a die-hard Cubs fan since he discovered that the only way he could get a date with his first high school sweetheart was to invite her to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs

"If this were a goat," Hanania explained, "the curse would have merit. But, it's not a goat. The Arabs and the Middle East get blamed for everything. This goat is a fraud. It never walked the rockey hills overlooking Bethlehem, or the coast of Jordan or struggled through the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia. It was never nurtured by caring parent goats in a little grotto off the Mediterranean coast. This goat that limped it's way off a South American tomato peddlers cart is in fact a Llama that escaped from the Brookfield Zoo and took up the appearance of a Goat to fool the easily fooled Cook County Sheriff's police."

This is was discussed between Dwight Eisenhower and Saudi Prince Saud right after the World War II, but an exchange of oil between the two nations prevented the truth from coming out. Isn't oil behind all of the world's problems?

For more information, visit


CLick Image to go to cartoon web page

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Eliav Sartawi Awards in Middle East Journalism Announced

2007 Middle East Journalism Awards Announced
Search for Common Ground has announced the recipients of this year's annual Eliav-Sartawi Awards for Middle Eastern Journalism.

These Awards are given annually to recognize and encourage journalism that contributes to better understanding between people in the Middle East. The winning articles provide insight into regional issues and debates, contribute to political dialogue, expose readers to new perspectives and help to lay the groundwork for peaceful solutions to Middle Eastern conflict.

The Awards will be presented on the afternoon of November 7th at a special event co-sponsored by Columbia University School of Journalism and School of International Affairs in New York City.

The 2007 recipients are: Akiva Eldar and Salameh Nematt, "Reaching Across the Divide," published simultaneously in Ha'aretz, Al Quds, and The Baltimore SunAkiva Eldar is Chief Political Columnist and an editorial writer at Ha'aretz. The Financial Times named him one of the most influential commentators in the world in 2006. He is the co-author of "Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories," recently published by Nation Books. Salameh Nematt is a Jordanian journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering political, security, and human rights issues. He is a frequent guest on TV and radio news and talk shows, and was a political analyst and Washington Bureau Chief for the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper and the LBC Arab satellite channel.

Bassam Aramin, "A Plea for Peace from a Bereaved Palestinian Father," originally published in The Jewish Daily ForwardBassam Aramin is head of the Al Quds Association for Democracy and Dialogue, and is one of the co-founders of Combatants for Peace, a group consisting of former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters now working together to achieve a nonviolent end to the conflict.

Gershon Baskin, "When Will It All End," originally published in the Jerusalem Post Gershon Baskin is the Israeli Co-Director and Founder of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), a joint public policy think tank. Dr. Baskin's books and articles on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been widely published and he has received numerous awards for his work.

The winning articles can be found on the Common Ground News Service website, here:

The Awardees will join international journalists in a symposium on the impact of the media on the conflict in the Middle East.

In speaking about why common ground journalism is relevant and needed in the Middle East, Akiva Eldar said "as a Jew, as a human being, and as a commentator, my job is to protect my children. Peace is too important to leave to the politicians alone: It is everyone's job." Salameh Nematt reflected that "the beginnings of change begin with the media."

The Awards were conceived and are funded by J. Zel Lurie, veteran American journalist, who began reporting on the Middle East during the British Mandate in Palestine before 1948. Mr. Lurie sought to give recognition to journalists whose work promotes greater understanding between Arabs and Israelis.

The Awards are named after two courageous pioneers of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. Dr. Issam Sartawi, an advisor to Yassir Arafat, was assassinated in 1983 for his moderate stance. Lova Eliav was active in Israeli politics and diplomacy since the founding of the state. They both received the 1979 Kreisky Prize of Austria for their efforts in exploring a peaceful end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

For information contact:Rebecca Polivy Search for Common Ground Jerusalem, Israel 972 (0)2-581-2049 Susan Koscis Search for Common Ground Washington DC (202) 777-2215

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Arab American Writers Syndicate launched

Anisa Mehdi, Ray Hanania, Ali Alarabi, Saffiya Shillo, Aladdin Elaasar and Sherif Hedayat, all professional writers, journalists and Arab Americans have launched the Arab Writers Group Synidcate to provide quality professional columns and commentary to mainstream Arab American newspapers.

The site is located at and also features regularly published political cartoons.

# # #

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Casting call for bilingual Arab journalists

Dubai TV and Saudi News Ch 2 English are casting for experienced reporters who can speak English/Arabic to work on upcoming projects with their stations. Job duties include general news gathering, writing, and on-air news reporting.

Interviews are being scheduled for this week from 3pm until 9pm at the Sound View Studio in Long Island City (see below for address). Ideal candidate will have previous broadcast experience.

The address is:

Sound View Studio

36-01 37th Ave,
Long Island City, NY 11101

Monday, August 06, 2007

Morocco censors news weeklies, confiscates papers and charges publisher

Committee to Protect Journalists

330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465­1004 Fax: (212) 465­9568 Web: E-Mail: Contact: Abi Wright
e-mail: Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x-105

Morocco: Government confiscates newsweeklies, charges publisher

New York, August 6, 2007— The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Moroccan government’s seizure of the editions of two independent newsweeklies over the weekend. Authorities alleged that the magazines disrespected King Mohammed VI and violated public morality.

On Saturday, Moroccan police seized copies of the Arabic-language weekly Nichane from newsstands and other locations around the country and confiscated printed copies of its sister weekly, the French-language TelQuel at the printing press used by both magazines, local journalists told CPJ.

“We condemn this act of flagrant censorship and call on Moroccan officials to release both confiscated editions at once,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “The seizure of Nichane and TelQuel is further evidence that press freedom is being sharply eroded as Morocco continues to damage its reputation as a country that tolerates critical journalism.”

Some 50,000 non-assembled copies of TelQuel were destroyed at the printing house, according to sources at TelQuel. Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou announced the Nichane seizure that same day, stating that the magazine had failed to show “due respect” to the king and had published articles “containing expressions contrary to morality that offend the feelings of Muslims.”

Ahmed Benchemsi, publisher of both weeklies, was formally charged earlier today with failing to show “the due respect to the King” under Article 41 of the Moroccan Press Law. He was summoned to appear in court in Casablanca on August 24 and could face between three to five years in prison and a fine up to 100,000 dirhams (US$11,000) if convicted.

An editorial written by Benchemsi and published in Nichane over the weekend triggered the seizures of the two magazines, according to journalists at TelQuel. The editorial took issue with King Mohammed VI’s commitment to democracy and questioned the use of legislative elections slated for September 7, as long as the king firmly controls all powers. The same editorial was slated to run in French in TelQuel until authorities confiscated it. Authorities also objected to an article about sexuality in Arab culture that ran in Nichane.

In a separate development on Monday, police visited the printer of the independent weekly Le Journal Hebdomadaire and demanded to see the magazine’s proofs, several journalists told CPJ. After a six-hour delay police approved printing.

The government previously banned Nichane in December 2006 for allegedly denigrating Islam when the magazine ran a 10-page article analyzing popular jokes about religion, sex, and politics. In January, a court handed down three-year suspended sentences and fines to the paper’s editor and a reporter. TelQuel has also been the target of a numerous politically motivated court judgments because of its political coverage.

Saturday’s seizures came amid growing concerns among Moroccan journalists about press freedom.

A Casablanca court will begin hearing the case on Tuesday of Abderrahim Ariri, publisher the independent weekly Al-Watan Al An and Mostafa Hormatallah, a reporter for the paper. Both were charged in July with possessing classified documents after they published a secret government document regarding terrorist threats against Morocco. Both journalists were arrested in July 17, and Hormatallah remains behind bars.

On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, CPJ designated Morocco as one of the world’s worst backsliders on press freedom. Last month CPJ released a special report noting that press freedoms in Morocco have notably regressed in recent years. Independent journalists have been the targets of a series of politicized court cases, financial pressures, and harassment from authorities.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Iranian journalist sentenced to death in closed trial

Committee to Protect Journalists

330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465­1004 Fax: (212) 465­9568 Web: Contact: Abi Wright
e-mail: Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x105

Iran: Journalist sentenced to death in closed trial

New York, August 6, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the death sentence handed down in mid-July by a revolutionary court against Adnan Hassanpour, a journalist and former editor for the now-defunct Kurdish-Persian weekly Aso, in Iran’s northwestern province of Kurdistan. Iranian Kurdish environmental activist Abdulvahed Butimar was also convicted and sentenced to death.

Hassanpour was convicted of endangering national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, one of his attorneys, Sirvan Hosmandi, told CPJ in a telephone interview conducted Wednesday through an interpreter.

“We are alarmed that this death sentence has been issued in a closed trial,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Iranian authorities must provide a fair and transparent legal process.”

Iranian judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency on Tuesday confirming that both men “have been sentenced to execution on the charge of moharebeh,” The Associated Press reported. In the Iranian Islamic penal code, Moharebeh (fighting with God) is used by the Iranian authorities against persons who allegedly take up arms to violently overthrow the regime. Jamshidi gave the remarks during a weekly news conference, Reuters said. The news agency quoted him as saying that Hassanpour and Butimar “have taken arms to topple the system.”

Hassanpour and Butimar will appeal their sentence to Iran’s Supreme Court, U.S. government-funded Radio Farda reported. Hosmandi told CPJ that both men were currently being held in Kurdistan province’s capital, Sanandaj.

The exact charges and the evidence used to convict the men remain murky. Dr. Roya Toloui, a Kurdish women’s rights activist and journalist currently based in the United States, told CPJ that she suspects Hassanpour’s critical writings are behind the charges that led to his death penalty. Toloui is a former journalist at Aso and a friend of Hassanpour.

The Revolutionary Court has only confirmed the death sentence against Hassanpour and Butimar, but has not publicly provided full information about the basis for its convictions. Hassanpour’s attorneys say the specific charges used to convict their client are not directly related to his journalism.

Security agents seized the reporter in his hometown of Marivan, in the Kurdistan province, on January 25, according to news reports and international human rights organizations. There are conflicting news reports as to the exact date Butimar was arrested, but it was sometime in late December 2006 or early January 2007.

Hassanpour and Butimar were taken to an intelligence ministry jail in Sanandaj and held for several months without charge before being transferred in late March to a prison in Marivan, according to Amnesty International.

Hassanpour worked as an editor for nearly two years at Aso. The weekly was banned in August 2005 following its coverage of violent protests in the Kurdistan area that summer. Hassanpour has a separate, ongoing court case over articles he wrote for Aso.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eliav Sartawi Awards deadline nears Aug. 15


Search for Common Ground requests submissions for this annual competition to recognise and encourage journalism that contributes to a better understanding among people and to maintaining political dialogue in the Middle East. Awards will be offered for articles published originally in Arabic, in Hebrew and in other languages, including English. The articles must have been published between May 1st, 2006 and August 15th, 2007 in a recognized newspaper, magazine, web-publication or other periodical. Winners in each category will receive a monetary award of $1,000 (one thousand U.S. dollars). An Awards Ceremony will be organised in New York at the Columbia School of Journalism and the School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University in November 2007. Please send submissions BEFORE AUGUST 15, 2007 to .

For details, including the submission process, please visit:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Feature on New Jersey/New York newspaper Aramica

Newspaper is voice for Arab-Americans
Monday, July 30, 2007

Copies of Aramica on display at the Arab-American festival in New York City.

There was a scarcity of Arab-American voices in the mainstream media before Sept. 11, 2001.

Following the attacks, they were all but silenced. That's when Antoine Faisal chose to speak out.

"Our community here wasn't being covered by anyone," Faisal said. "Mainstream media was lashing out at us, and no one was covering us, so that became my focus."

Faisal started a free biweekly, bilingual Arabic and English newspaper called Aramica –
a combination of the words Arab and America -- in early 2002.

"The challenge was how can you get the Arab-American community here to pick up an Arab-American newspaper after Sept. 11," Faisal said. "And in finding a common denominator that would make a Yemeni Muslim and a Maronite or Lebanese Christian pick up the same newspaper."

Faisal found those commonalities by offering readers a mix of hyper-local coverage of the Arab-American diaspora, as well as interviews with national newsmakers and public opinion surveys on perceptions of Arab-Americans among non-Arabs.

Aramica, which started with a print-run of 10,000 copies, has steadily grown to its present-day distribution of 30,000, according to Faisal. The paper is based in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, but is distributed throughout North Jersey, where it has several local advertisers such as Nouri Bros. of South Paterson. Each issue features news from Arab-American communities across the United States, a synopsis of world events and a lighter section of jokes, puzzles and horoscopes.

It often includes commentary from members of North Jersey's Arab-American community, such as a recent issue examining the topic of sex in the holy texts of different religions.

Sami Merhi, a Totowa businessman and leader of the Druze religious community -- an offshoot of Islam -- was one of those interviewed for the article.

Merhi said he supported Faisal's efforts to tackle issues that might be considered taboo in many of the countries from which Arab-Americans hail.

"The beauty of America comes in many colors," Merhi said. "One of which is we can say and talk our minds without the fear of retribution, that is the beauty of the freedom of speech."

Merhi said he liked the way Aramica's coverage reflected the diverse backgrounds of Arab-Americans in the United States.

"Any type of media that can bring the community, or people together, or be a bridge of truth in bringing a message -- I applaud," he said.

The publication is widely available in many shops along South Paterson's business corridor.

"I like it, I read different papers, but this has a lot of new stuff," said Khitam Arabiat, who works in a Middle Eastern gift store on Main Avenue. Arabiat said she still prefers to read it in Arabic, but knows American-born young people who pick it up for the English.

"A lot of customers take it," she said.

Faisal, now 34, emigrated from Beirut, Lebanon, in his early 20s. He parlayed a background in advertising into a marketing job in New York City, but was laid off when the economy suffered a post-Sept. 11 hit.

"I was an Arab in New York after Sept. 11. No one would hire me," Faisal said.

He decided to go into business for himself. Now, he dreams of one day expanding Aramica into a national paper, but one whose mission will remain the same: to offer a forum for the many diverse voices of Arab-Americans living in the United States.

"Many times, we have criticized our own community with the same intensity that we have defended it," Faisal said.

"We are not just flatterers, or covering events, we do have a say or an opinion, we do consider ourselves part of this community."

Reach Samantha Henry at 973-569-7172 or

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Moroccan journalists charged by government

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465­1004 Fax: (212) 465­9568 Web: Contact: Abi Wright e-mail: Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x105

Moroccan journalists charged for publishing secret government documents

New York, July 24, 2007—Two Moroccan journalists detained for more than a week were charged today with possessing classified documents after they recently published secret government papers regarding terrorist threats against Morocco.

The Casablanca public prosecutor charged Abderrahim Ariri, publisher of the Moroccan weekly Al-Watan Al An and Mustafa Hormatallah, a journalist for the paper, with “concealing items derived from a crime” under article 571 of the Moroccan Penal Code, said the journalists’ lawyer, Jalal Taher. Taher told CPJ that it is not clear what his clients specifically concealed and that they are expecting to find out in court on Thursday when the public prosecutor will give more details. If convicted, the journalists face up to five years in prison and a fine.

“These charges should be dismissed at once,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “These two journalists are being punished for doing what good journalists are supposed to do by publishing news that is clearly in the public interest.”

On July 14, Al-Watan Al An published an article about secret government documents that reveal terrorist threats against Morocco. The weekly reproduced one of the purported secret documents of the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance, a Moroccan security agency, which discussed the monitoring of jihadist Web sites.

The reproduced document cited an online video in which militants threatened to wage jihad against Morocco and other North African states. It said the video contained pictures showing jihadists imprisoned in Morocco, followed by images of U.S. President George Bush talking to the leaders of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Although the video focuses heavily on Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s meeting with Bush, Al-Watan Al An deleted the king’s name from the directorate’s document.

Staff at Al-Watan Al An told CPJ that at around the time of the journalists’ detention about 20 plainclothes security agents raided the newspaper’s Casablanca office and confiscated part of Al-Watan Al An’s archives and Ariri’s personal computer.

Ariri and Hormatallah were summoned for questioning by police in Casablanca on July 17 and detained pending investigation for allegedly revealing national defense secrets. Ariri was released today and told CPJ that the prosecutor extended Hormatallah’s detention until Thursday because the journalist had authored the article relating to the secret documents.

Al-Watan Al An frequently publishes stories critical of the Moroccan authorities. In March, it ran a story that criticized the king and palace officials for failing to cooperate with the Moroccan press.

The National Committee Backing Al-Watan Al An¸ a group composed of journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, was set up to support the journalists. The committee’s coordinator Mohammed Hafeed told CPJ that its members gathered outside the paper’s offices on Saturday to show their support.

In a special report released earlier this month, CPJ noted that press freedoms in Morocco have notably regressed in recent years. Independent journalists have been the targets of a series of politicized court cases, financial pressures, and harassment from authorities.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Middle East Journalism Award deadline nears




Search for Common Ground requests submissions for this annual competition to recognise and encourage journalism that contributes to a better understanding among people and to maintaining political dialogue in the Middle East. Awards will be offered for articles published originally in Arabic, in Hebrew and in other languages, including English.

The articles must have been published between May 1st, 2006 and July 31st, 2007 in a recognized newspaper, magazine, web-publication or other periodical. Winners in each category will receive a monetary award of $1,000 (one thousand U.S. dollars).

An Awards Ceremony will be organised in New York at the Columbia School of Journalism and the School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University in November 2007.

Please send submissions BEFORE JULY 31, 2007 to .

For details, including the submission process, please visit: .


Saturday, July 21, 2007

PBS Feature on Arab World Woman's TV Show "Kalam Nawaem" July 31

WIDE ANGLE PRESENTS AN exclusive report on the ground-breaking all-female talk show that is shaking up the Middle East

Dishing Democracy Premieres Tuesday, July 31 At 9 P.M. As WIDE ANGLE Continues Its Sixth Season On PBS

While the United States has been striving to promote democracy in the Arab world, a home-grown revolution is already taking place. Every Sunday night in living rooms throughout the Middle East, tens of millions of viewers are tuning in to a fearless all-female talk show whose four hosts discuss controversial subjects, shatter stereotypes and provoke debate. Originally inspired by ABC’s hit The View, Kalam Nawaem (Sweet Talk) is taped in studios over the Middle East and broadcast each week from Dubai. Five years after its premiere, the show is a top-rated program on MBC, one of the first privately owned Arab satellite television channels.
With exclusive access to both the private and the professional lives of Kalam Nawaem’s hosts and producers, Wide Angle: Dishing Democracy provides a nuanced portrait of Arab women harnessing the power of transnational satellite television to boldly and effectively push social reform. Dishing Democracy premieres Tuesday, July 31 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).

The show is hosted by four women of different ages, nationalities and points of view who have become household names and role models across the Muslim world. Muna AbuSulayman, the very first Saudi woman to appear on Arab satellite television; Farah Bseiso, a Palestinian actress; Fawzia Salama, an Egyptian newspaper columnist; and Rania Barghout, a liberal Lebanese, meet in the production studio to discuss – and disagree on – a wide range of news, entertainment and social issues with invited guests. WIDE ANGLE’s cameras capture censorship discussions in editorial meetings, tension and camaraderie in the dressing room, and viewer reaction on the Arab street.

All four hosts are working mothers with strong family values, but when it comes to dishing it out, no subject matter is taboo. They were among the first in the Arab media to openly discuss homosexuality, and have been repeatedly outspoken on sensitive issues like polygamy, masturbation, wife battering, and equality between the sexes. The show is not without its enemies, as Rania Barghout explains: "The day before yesterday we had a letter, saying …we’re terrible women. We are corrupting Arab societies. We are the devil!"

Before the advent of satellite dishes, most Arab viewers depended on terrestrial state television, which meant few channels and some form of government oversight of everything that went to air. Dishing Democracy explores how Muslim women are utilizing satellite television to modernize Islam in living rooms throughout the Arab world.

The director, Amsterdam-based Bregtje van der Haak, has made numerous documentaries on social, political and cultural topics around the world, including Saudi Solutions and Femmes Fatales about the lives of working women in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
For additional information and photography, visit or

Major funding for WIDE ANGLE is provided by PBS, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, The Jacob Burns Foundation, Ford Foundation, Josh and Judy Weston, Rosalind P. Walter, and The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

WIDE ANGLE is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York for PBS. Stephen Segaller is executive producer. Pamela Hogan is series producer. Andy Halper is senior producer.

Thirteen/WNET New York is one of the key program providers for public television, bringing such acclaimed series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Wide Angle, Secrets of the Dead, NOW With David Brancaccio, and Cyberchase – as well as the work of Bill Moyers – to audiences nationwide. As the flagship public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each week, airing the best of American public television along with its own local productions such as The Ethnic Heritage Specials, The Thirteen Walking Tours, New York Voices, and Reel New York. Thirteen extends the impact of its television productions through educational and community outreach projects – including the Celebration of Teaching and Learning – as well as Web sites and other digital media platforms. More information can be found at:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Campus Journalism Award available, June 30 deadline

David W. Miller Award for Student Journalists

The David W. Miller award is in memory of a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education who was killed by a drunk driver. He was only 35 years old. The award consists of a $1,000 prize and a certificate. The deadline is June 30. Candidates should submit up to three samples of published work accompanied by a one-page letter describing the articles and why they were chosen for submission. The articles must have been published in a campus publication during the previous academic year. Candidates must have been undergraduate students at the time the articles were published. Candidates should send their materials to:

Andrew Mytelka
Senior Editor
The Chronicle of Higher Education
1255 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Friday, July 13, 2007

Arab American journalists join in mourning death of journalist in Baghdad

NAAJA expresses its condolences to the family of New York Times interpreter/reporter Khalid Hassan who was killed in Baghdad this week, and to the families of all the journalists who have died in this conflict.

CPJ mourns death of New York Times reporter in Baghdad

New York, July 13, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement about the death of Khalid W. Hassan, an interpreter and reporter for The New York Times Baghdad bureau, who was shot and killed today in Baghdad. CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said:

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Khalid Hassan and send our heartfelt condolences to his family, colleagues, and friends. His death is even more difficult to bear, coming as it does on the heels of the loss of two of our colleagues from Reuters, who were killed yesterday by U.S. forces’ fire in Baghdad.

“There is no safe way to report on the streets of Baghdad. The fact that Khalid Hassan was shot on his way to work is a reminder that even the simplest, most routine functions of daily life can be deadly in an environment of rampant violence.

“Khalid Hassan’s killing, together with the deaths on Thursday of Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and assistant Saeed Chmagh, is a reminder of the crucial news-gathering role that Iraqi journalists have assumed in the conflict. Iraqi journalists are eyes and ears for the world; they have shown extraordinary courage and commitment in revealing the reality of life in Iraq. Too often they have paid with their lives: Nearly 85 percent of the journalists and media support workers killed in the conflict have been Iraqis.

“As we mourn the loss of the Khalid Hassan, Namir Noor-Eldeen, and Saeed Chmagh, we should take a moment to recognize and honor the Iraqi journalists who put their lives on the line every day to report for international and local news organizations. They provide a service to the world, and all of us are deeply in their debt.”

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Canadian Arab writer publishes new book


Chick-lit makes its way to Cuba

First-time Arab-Canadian author explores more than mojitos, cigars and salsa dancing

Toronto, ON – July 04, 2007 -- Young women who struggle to balance the competing pressures of careers, love, friends, family values and individuality will identify with Nadine Dajani's brilliantly-written chick-lit novel with ethnic flare, Fashionably Late. Going beyond the traditional "women's fiction lite" fare, the novel shakes up the fashion-plus-best-friends-plus-boys formula with shadows of social criticism, a fresh look at bastion-of-communism-turned-tourist-hotspot Cuba, and perhaps most surprisingly for a "chick lit" novel, the Lebanese civil war. "Anyone who is curious about the interplay between different cultures will get something from this book," said author Nadine Dajani in a recent interview.

Fashionably Late is far from forgettable fluff for fashionistas. This smart, sassy and inspirational story illustrates the profound evolution of Montreal-based Muslim Ali Hallaby, a sensible accountant who endures a tumultuous quarter-life crisis involving a struggle with career chaos, powerful parental pressure and a lacklustre love life when she fails the Uniform Final Examination (UFE), the single most important thing standing between her and a blossoming career at one of the Big Four accounting firms.

Drawing strength from her friends, foreign travel and her love of fashion, Ali's courageous journey of self-discovery will embolden other young women to listen to the desires of their heart and act on what they learn, while whisking them away to historic and romantic Cuba.

"From the chic boutiques of Montreal to the sultry nightlife in Cuba, Fashionably Late sparkles with wit and humour. You will fall in love with Dajani's engaging Lebanese-Canadian heroine," commented JoAnn Hornak, author of Adventures of a Salsa Goddess.

"It was about having something to say," Dajani, an accountant-turned-author, responded when asked why she decided to pen her first novel. "I wanted to create a novel that people would enjoy, but I was encouraged to infuse it with details and insights about the immigrant experience, especially as seen through the eyes of a deeply misunderstood minority group (Arabs). Ultimately, it was the multicultural aspect of the novel as well as the unusual setting that appealed to people," she explains.

Born in Lebanon and raised in Canada, Dajani grew up loving all things right-brained, but when it came time for university, opted to major in accounting instead. After completing (and passing) her accounting examinations, Dajani moved to the Cayman Islands to work in the offshore banking industry. Eager to flex her creative muscles and explore her passion for fashion, Dajani enrolled in a Fashion Marketing degree at LaSalle College in her spare time.

Fashionably Late enjoyed an international release in June 2007, and is available at major bookstores as well as on-line at Chapters, Indigo and Amazon.