The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

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.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

JOB: Santa Clara University Journalism Chair, applications soughts

Knight-Ridder/San Jose Mercury News Chair in Journalism and the Public Interest

Santa Clara University

The Department of Communication at Santa Clara University invites applications for this newly endowed Chair from applicants with a compelling vision of how journalism can serve social justice and the public interest in the new media environment. The Chair may be filled by a distinguished journalism professional or a senior scholar (associate or full professor).

Distinguished professionals must have extensive leadership experience in the field of journalism and a record of teaching excellence at the college level. The professional applicant will be expected to publish long-format journalism or books on news and the public interest.

This person will teach courses in her/his area of specialty, as well as courses in at least one of the following areas: community journalism, multimedia journalism, public affairs reporting, investigative reporting, ethnic/multicultural journalism, media ethics, media economics, journalism history, or media law. The professional will help lead our journalism program by attracting external funding, extending our connections to Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area news organizations and community groups, and convening public forums on journalism.

Senior scholars will have an active research program and communicate it to the public, regularly publishing in academic outlets and commenting in the news media. A record of external research funding is a plus. The successful candidate will also be an excellent teacher of undergraduates who will teach courses in her/his area of specialty, as well as courses in at least one of the following areas: journalism history, political communication, media law, media economics, media ethics, ethnic/multicultural journalism, or news in the digital age. This person will provide intellectual leadership to the department's journalism program and the wider communities of Silicon Valley and theSan Francisco Bay Area, advancing public discussion and understanding of journalism by organizing symposia and projects of her/his design.

Located in northern California's Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University ( sits in the heart of the SanFrancisco-Oakland-San Jose media market. SCU is a Jesuit Catholic university committed to promoting social justice and public service. Housing assistance is available. SCU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, committed to excellence through diversity, and, in this spirit, particularly welcomes applications from women, persons of color, and members of historically under represented groups. The University will provide reasonable accommodations to all qualified individuals with a disability. Also, in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the University annually collects and makes publicly available information about campus crimes and other reportable incidents (

The anticipated start date for this position is September 2008. Applications will be accepted until December 7, 2007. Applicants should mail a letter of application (including a description of strengths andexperiences that have prepared you to teach and work effectively with culturally diverse students and colleagues), a professional resume or CV, examples of professional or scholarly work, three letters ofreference, and evidence of teaching excellence (e.g., course syllabi, student evaluations, and teaching portfolios) to: Chad Raphael, Knight-Ridder/San Jose Mercury News Chair Search Committee, Departmentof Communication, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA, 95053-0277.