The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

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