Wednesday, December 26, 2012
American Arab media gets nod from PEW Research Center
Chicago, Il/NAAJA – The PEW research Center through its Project for Excellence in Journalism releases a detailed overview of the successes and challenges of the American Arab news media at the end of November.
The overview is one of the first of its kind by a major mainstream American media center and it showcased several successful Arab media and the challenges American Arab media face.
The National American Arab Journalists Association, which monitors American Arab media, applauded the PEW Research Center and urged them to do more.
“One of the big challenges facing American Arab media is that they are ignored and marginalized through this intentionally act of exclusion by major news media and that only selected sources that are ‘politically correct’ or correlate with political opinions are addressed,” said NAAJA national coordinator Ray Hanania.
“Marginalization and exclusion are the means in which minority groups are often excluded from mainstream participation. It mutes the voices of American Arabs and minimizes their significance. The PEW Research Center’s work is important because it puts a spotlight on the American Arab news media which continues to grow.”
Hanania said that growth is particularly significant because of the set-backs caused by post-Sept. 11 hate and discrimination backlash that occurred. Many American Arab newspapers closed permanently and some temporarily in the wake of the attacks which provoked a widespread wave of discrimination against anyone who looked or appeared to be ‘Arab’ or ‘Middle Eastern’ in this country.
“If you are excluded from the American table, you don’t exist in this country. That creates a particularly difficult circumstance for American Arabs who exist in a dual and contradictory states. The only time American Arabs are ‘seen’ by the mainstream public and media is when they are being attacked and vilified as terrorists. When we are not being vilified, we are being ignored. That reinforces stereotypes and hatred,” Hanania said.
“What PEW has done is help pull the curtain away from these discriminatory practices which are accepted as being ‘normal’ and often ignored as being part of the larger picture of racial and ethnic discrimination that exists in America. Arabs are American and we are a major part of this country. Our community media is a significant showcase for who we are. If you ignore our community media, it is an effort to ignore and marginalize the larger community.”
The PEW Research Center study, completed on Nov. 28, 2012, is available on the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s web site at Journalism.org.
“The study is just the tip of the iceberg. More research needs to be done. It’s only shortcoming was its failure to look at the bigger picture of American Arab media,” Hanania said.
“While it captured some important facts about the community, it missed a lot.”
The study identified several or the nearly 100 American Arab print publications including several weekly newspapers like Aramica and the Beirut Times, which are considered the most significant voices of the American Arab community.
It also identified Radio Baladi and Good Morning Michigan, hosted by Laila alHussini in Detroit as being among the pre-eminent American Arab radio programs broadcast in the country.
“There are many American Arab newspapers, some publishing weekly but most publishing bi-monthly or monthly that are very important to our community,’ Hanania said. “And while there are only a handful of radio shows and a few cable TV shows, more needs to be done to showcase and augment their hard work.”
Hanania said NAAJA has worked hard to bring American Arab media together to not only strengthen the voice of American Arabs but also to strengthen the American Arab community media.
“An ethnic community is only as strong as its community media,” Hanania said. “When the mainstream society and Americans recognize the American Arab media fully and with understanding, they will be better able to understand the American Arabs who live and work among them in American society.”
A lot of the success of the American Arab media is dependent on the support of many sponsors and advertisers. The majority of the Advertisers and sponsors are of American Arab origin – such as the Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz in Detroit and Ziyad Brothers Importing in Chicago. American businesses might advertise more if they better understood the power this media offers in terms of marketing and information.
“The Arab World and the Middle East consume a lot of our attention as Americans. Our fuel and oil is closely tied to the Middle East. The entire world of terrorism and violence is directly linked to the Middle East. You would think that Americans would want to better understand the Middle East in order to better address all of these concerns,” Hanania concluded.
“Americans have a long way to go to better understand the Arabs and the Middle East and they need more factual and complete information in order to do that. The PEW study is a step forward in that direction.”
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Consequences of hate speech, not for everyone
By Ray Hanania
The tragic killings of four Americans during protests in Libya including the American Ambassador to Benghazi, Christopher Stevens, has over-shadowed a major aspect of the role hate plays in provoking communities to hate.
The Stevens killing was a tragic exception to the rule involving protests that are sweeping the Arab and Muslim World against America’s hypocritical standards when it comes to hate speech.
An American extremist originally thought to be an Israeli American produced a movie which defames in the most offensive manner Arabs, Muslims, Islam and the Prophet Muhammed.
To Arabs and Muslims, the film was no different than a man standing up in a crowded theater and yelling “fire,” but then also blaming the “fire” on a specific religious or ethnic group.
While Americans have expressed unbounded criticism of the murders of Stevens and the three other Americans, the initial criticism of the promoter of the hate video was tempered by arguments that “people in American enjoy the right of free speech” and “free speech is a corner stone of Democracy.”
That changed days later when it was determined that the man, who claimed to be Israeli American Sam Bacile, has been identified as an outspoken anti-Muslim Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Immediately, police set upon Nakoula and determined that he had outstanding criminal warrants.
For those who argue that as disgusting as Nakoula’s anti-Islamic and anti-Arab video is, it is protected by free speech and American society is powerless to take any actions, I would remind them about the vicious campaign orchestrated by pro-Israel groups and activists against Helen Thomas in 2010.
Critics charged that Thomas, an award winning veteran journalist and the first female White House correspondent, had engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech when she flippantly responded to questions posed in an ambush by a notoriously racist anti-Arab supporter of Israel.
In fact, the Anti-Defamation League, which selectively fights instances of bigotry and hatred, issued a statement that gave the Society of Professional Journalists, the national organization of mainstream American media, the mandate to act on Thomas, one of the SPJ’s veteran and honored members.
The SPJ had created a Life Time Achievement Award in her name that was awarded to a long list of prestigious journalists.
But the ADL coordinated with the SPJ’s newly elected Israeli American president and a national SPJ board that had become increasing hostile to American Arab SPJ members and that same year terminated its then young program to give American Arab members of the SPJ a voice to raise issues concerning imbalanced media coverage.
The ADL spearheaded the assault on Thomas and issued this statement on January 10, 2010 to give the SPJ’s board cover for their political move to censor Thomas and punish anyone who dared to question media bias in favor of Israel, a foreign country:
“Fortunately, there are consequences in our society for those in positions of power or authority who publicly express racist, anti-Semitic or prejudiced views. We are pleased that the executive committee of the SPJ agrees that this award was no longer appropriate given the unprofessional and unbecoming conduct of its namesake.”
If you dispute that the ADL’s role was merely as an observer, it’s worth noting that the ADL statement denouncing Thomas came one year before the SPJ national board under its Israeli American presidency terminated the Helen Thomas Life Time Achievement Award, Jan. 14, 2011.
What are the consequences of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic hate speech? Statements by American politicians defending the rights of the haters included a declaration by Republican Candidate Mitt Romney attacking President Barack Obama for bowing to Arab and Muslim extremism.
The Egyptian embassy statement read, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
Romney said that a statement issued by a low-level Administration aid from the Egyptian embassy expressing regret for the hatred expressed in the video was a “surrender” to our enemies and an apology for “American values.”
Yes, when someone criticizes Israel, they become anti-American Nazi anti-Semites.
When someone criticizes Arabs and Muslims, or even denounces hatred against Arabs and Muslims, they are ridiculed as contradicting American values of free speech.
Maybe that’s why this year the ADL has been invited by the SPJ’s increasingly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim national board to be a sponsor of this year’s journalism convention which takes place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sept. 20.
Maybe someone should make a video about that. But God Forbid that we might protest, being Arab and Muslim and all.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning journalist who ended his more than 30 year long SPJ association by tearing up his membership card. Reach him at www.TheMediaOasis.com.)
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
American Syrians hosting fundraisers Sept 14-16 in Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland
PRESS EVENT ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ray Hanania
Sept. 5, 2012 Rayhanania@comcast.net
American Syrian Community Rallies for the People of Syria
Mural reminiscent of Spanish Civil War to be displayed
American Syrian activists will host three fundraisers on behalf of the people of Syria to help cover medical costs.
The fundraisers will be held in Detroit on Sept. 14, Chicago on Sept. 15 and Cleveland on Sept. 16, and are sponsored by the Syrian American Medical Society and the Syrian Sunrise Foundation.
In addition to speakers from Syria, a key feature at the fundraisers will be a mural painted by renown French artist Roger Dale in the tradition of the famous effort by the late Pablo Picasso’s mural, Guernica, which was painted and used as a rallying cry for Spanish independence during the Spanish War in 1937.
“We are taking an important page from the history of people standing up for freedom in holding these fundraisers,” explained Dr. Malaz Alatassi, one of the fundraising coordinators.
“In 1937, Picasso painted a famous mural that was displayed at the International Fair held that year in Paris, France and that mural helped awaken the world to the plight of the oppressed people of Spain. We expect hundreds of people to attend the fundraisers in each of the three cities, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland, and to be inspired by this effort to parallel history.”
Picasso was commissioned by the Spanish Republican Government to create the painting memorializing Guernica, a city in the Basque region of Spain that had come under attacked earlier that year by Nazi Germany and Italian forces.
The “Guernica” mural became a symbol of protest against oppression and fascism and helped to rally world support against the Nazis and in support of freedom for the people of Spain. It was displayed at the 1937 World Exposition in Paris.
The Picasso mural brought the plight of the Spanish Civil War to the world’s attention.
This year, world renown French Artist Roger Dale will strive to do the same with a mural he has painted in support of the people of Syria and the Syrian pro-Democracy movement.
“Thousands of civilians are being injured and killed by Syrian military forces and the civil war in Syria reminds us of the civil war in Spain and the rallying of support for human rights it provoked around the world,” Alatassi said.
The Dale mural has been named “Homs 2012” and measure 351 x 780 cm. Dale and his students displayed the mural in Strasbourg and then later in Paris. Dale has promised that the painting will be permanently placed in Homs at the Clock Square once Syria is freed.
The Detroit Fundraiser will be held Friday Sept. 14 at the Auburn Hills Marriott, 3600 Centerpoint Parkway, Pontiac, Michigan.
For Detroit Tickets Contact:
Raya Rass at 248-824-0442
Malaz Alatassi, 248-953-0526
Hanadi Alatassi, 248-953-0899
Heba Dlewati, 810-410-5590
The Chicago Fundraiser will be held Saturday Sept. 15 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center Hotel, 70 Yorktown Center, Lombard, Illinois.
For Chicago tickets, contact:
312-758-3995 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cleveland Fundraiser will be held Sunday Sept. 16, and the location will be announced very soon.
The contact there is Dr. Ihsan Mamoun
For more information online, visit: www.ssfusa.org or www.sams-usa.net
Friday, July 20, 2012
Monday, July 09, 2012
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
FROM THE ARAB SPRING TO THE SORKIN SUMMER Sorkin writes Hollywood’s first portrayal of the Arab Spring on HBO’s The Newsroom
(Los Angeles, June 11, 2012) Last year’s revolution in Egypt inspired people across the world -- including the mind of Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin. His highly anticipated new show, The Newsroom (premiering June 24 on HBO) will include Hollywood’s first depiction of the Arab Spring.
The mid-season plot will follow the revolution with the help of real life Egyptian-American actor Amin El Gamal, a rising star who guests on the show. El Gamal plays an amateur reporter that wins the hearts of the newsroom staff (played by Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, and Dev Patel) and becomes their rogue correspondent.
“The revolution had a profound effect on my family and me.” El Gamal said. “And I was thrilled to play an Arab man who’s not associated with violence and hate. I felt a responsibility to properly represent the incredible people who finally got a voice during those 18 days in Tahrir Square.”
That responsibility lead El Gamal to collaborate with Sorkin on some of the character details.
“My character originally had a Swahili name, which didn’t make much sense for an Egyptian.” El Gamal said. “I was terrified to bring it up -- Aaron Sorkin being as brilliant as he is -- but I felt I owed it to the brave Egyptians whose story we were telling.”
Sorkin was open to the change and asked El Gamal to email him a list of common Egyptian names. Just two days before shooting, El Gamal was Fed-Exed new pages with a new, more accurate name.
“I hope my episode reaches some brown kid with a similarly weird name, who’s struggling with his or her identity, like I was.” El Gamal said. “And I hope it empowers him or her to be the best they can be.”
Amin El Gamal is an actor who was born (during an earthquake) and raised in Palo Alto, CA. Amin is a first generation Egyptian-American (his last name means “The Camel” in Arabic) and a graduate of Stanford University. Within months of completing USC’s MFA in Acting program, he caught Aaron Sorkin’s eye and landed a guest role on HBO’s The Newsroom in an episode named after his character (airing July 22). Amin can also be seen in the upcoming films Take Down the House and Indefinitely, and on stages across the country including the NY Public Theater, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Magic Theatre, and A Noise Within.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Sharon Witherell, IIE, 212-984-5380, email@example.com
Leena Soman, IIE, 212-984-5360, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Witherell, IIE, 212-984-5380, email@example.com
Leena Soman, IIE, 212-984-5360, firstname.lastname@example.org
For immediate release:
IIE Opens Emergency Student Fund to Provide Financial Relief to Syrian Students Studying on U.S. Campuses
Grants of $2,000 will help Syrian students with urgent financial needs to continue their studies in the United States
NEW YORK, February 15, 2012— The Emergency Student Fund (ESF) of the Institute of International Education (IIE) is issuing a call for nominations from U.S. colleges and universities that have Syrian students on campus with urgent financial need due to the escalating unrest in Syria. The program aims to help international students from Syria pursuing higher education in the United States complete their studies so that their academic careers are not interrupted as a result of turmoil in their home country.
Syria-ESF will provide grants of $2,000 each to Syrian students nominated by their U.S. host colleges and universities who may be unable to continue or complete their degree program in the United States due to serious financial difficulties precipitated by the situation in their home country. Administrators and faculty from accredited U.S. campuses can nominate up to four Syrian students at their institutions who need financial assistance to complete spring semester 2012.
International Student Advisers or other campus officials should submit applications to IIE by February 29, 2012. To nominate students, advisers must complete the Syria-ESF nomination form and e-mail it to SyriaESF2012@iie.org. Applications directly from students will NOT be accepted.
U.S. host campuses nominating students for Syria-ESF awards are expected to provide some emergency assistance to the nominated students, through tuition waivers, full or partial scholarships, housing, stipends, loans, work study, or other forms of support.
IIE anticipates that the need will exceed funding currently available in its Emergency Student Fund, and is actively seeking donations from interested individuals and foundations.
Awards will be announced in early March. IIE may announce a second call for nominations in late March 2012 depending on the availability of funds and ongoing need.
“The Institute is committed to helping students finish their chosen courses of study so that they will be prepared to help meet their home countries' needs,” said IIE President and CEO Allan Goodman. “Supporting students now is critical to educating future leaders for our increasingly interdependent world.”
According to data from the 2011 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, published annually by IIE in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, more than 500 students from Syria studied in the United States in 2010/11, an increase of 24 percent from the previous academic year.
IIE’s Emergency Student Fund provides grants to post-secondary students matriculated at accredited educational institutions outside their home countries whose sources of support have been impacted by natural disaster or other crises. Since 2010, IIE’s ESF has provided over $1 million to nearly 400 students from Japan, Haiti, Libya, and Thailand whose home sources of financial support were impacted by crisis or natural disaster.
Building on a Freeman Foundation designation of $2.5 million for emergencies involving students from East and Southeast Asia studying in the U.S., IIE is issuing a request to donors around the world to support this fund for other world areas. The Institute seeks additional contributions for the Emergency Student Fund so that it can respond quickly to help international students when disasters and emergencies in their home countries threaten to jeopardize the completion of their studies.
Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is a private not-for-profit leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. In collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors and donors, IIE creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and provides support to students and scholars in danger.
Sunday, March 04, 2012
Bringing Mideast fight to North Jersey
Saturday, March 3, 2012
BY AREF ASSAF
Specail Guest Editorial The Record
Saturday, March 3, 2012
BY AREF ASSAF
Specail Guest Editorial The Record
Aref Assaf is president of the American Arab Forum, a think-tank specializing in Arab and Muslim American affairs. www.aafusa.org
THE Democratic primary contest between Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, and Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, over the redrawn 9th District in North Jersey will have the unintended consequences of pitting the Arab and Muslim communities and their allies on the one side and the Jewish community on the other.
Some call parts of Paterson "Little Jerusalem" because the area is home to places of worship for Christians, Jews and Muslims. By all accounts, the relationship among the area’s people and leaders has been cordial and cooperative.Sadly, politics, money, lobbying and disinformation are about to spoil whatever semblance of friendship and hope there are. The turf war has begun and while we did not start it, the community of Arabs and Muslims in the district give Pascrell victory.Jewish and now some mainstream newspapers have framed the June 5 primary as a litmus test for the survival of Israel.
Although Pascrell has consistently supported Israel, Jewish sources say he is not a perfect example of an Israel loyalist. Moreover, they warn about Pascrell’s home turf, which is swarming with a large and suspect community of Arabs and Muslims.This is nothing short of deplorable blanket racism. We are being depicted somehow like a fifth column; we are perceived as ineffective at harnessing our political power. Pascrell is being condemned for failing to be a 100 percent on the side of a foreign country and for sleeping with a suspect community whose vote will most likely determine the outcome of the elections.
The community has taken notice of how this election is being framed. We detest the questioning of our loyalties and doubts of our patriotism.This escalation of the election’s tempo will surely engender greater involvement by the community in the Pascrell campaign. Already grass-roots meetings are strategizing for a massive turnout, voter registration drives, fund raising and targeted mobilization of volunteers. I was invited to one meeting and the mood was intensely personal.
Ironically, Pascrell’s standing in the community has been steadily rising, but it was not because of his position on foreign issues. The community has long advocated for a two-state solution where Israel and Palestine live peacefully side by side, the long-standing position of the United States, Pascrell and many in the Jewish community.The community recognizes Pascrell’s positions on domestic issues such as fighting discrimination and advocating for the protection of the civil and religious rights of all Americans. They recognize Pascrell’s long record of accomplishments, office accessibility, personal friendships and, above all, sincerity.
While some of Rothman’s supporters put the flag and the security of another country above ours, we place America first and unconditionally. While they put Israel first, we place America second to none.If Rothman truly supports President Obama, he should have chosen to defeat Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, in the 5th District instead of choosing to fight Pascrell, a fellow Democrat. These are uncontested facts not lost on the district’s voters.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
On behalf of NAAJA and its members
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The Anaheim-based mainstream American Arab-Muslim newspaper InFocus is facing severe financial challenges and is on the verge of shutting down. We urge community members to do what they can to help support this newspaper which reflects the highest journalism values and professional journalism.
Here is the open appeal that was published by InFocus to explain their difficulties. Although the newspaper is in California, American Arabs and Muslims throughout the country should be concerned.
National coordinator NAAJA
Their web site is (CLICK HERE) ... and their Facebook Page is (CLICK HERE)
We, as community leaders, are proud to write to you about the role InFocus News plays in our community.
Recent news – such as learning the FBI used paid informants to monitor activity at mosques – made it clear to us that our most important challenge as Muslim Americans is informing the public and shaping public opinion to counter the heavy load of misinformation being spread about Islam and Muslims. Those who have access to a more balanced perspective through IFN are more supportive of our community and more vocal in advocating for justice and tolerance.
IFN is distributed free of charge to more than 70 mosques, 350 Muslim businesses, and 35 public libraries, and at major Muslim events across California, Nevada, Arizona and Oklahoma. Making a profit is not the objective of IFN. In fact, IFN is a non-profit organization. With your support, IFN plans to soon become a national newspaper; a newspaper that will also reach elected officials, interfaith leaders, media professionals, and other fellow Americans.
We are contacting you to join us in supporting IFN's work. We have been big fans of their success and professionalism and have volunteered our help to build on their efforts.
We invite you to support the unique educational efforts of the newspaper. About 70% of IFN’s operating costs are supported by advertisers. The rest comes from those in our community who value having an American Muslim outlet telling our story to the general public. There are a number of ways to get involved in supporting this project.
- Sponsor subscriptions to at least five (5) people of influence or to public libraries or prisons
- Become a Friend of IFN by automatically giving $100, $50, $20 or even $10 every month
- Make a one-time generous donation to help IFN’s operating expenses.
We finally have a great opportunity to establish our own strong media outlet that will reach the public at large. We hope we can count on your generous support to realize this goal. Please use the attached envelope to make your donation today. Every amount will help.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
The National American Arab Journalists Association today denounced the Atlanta Jewish Times which published a column by its publisher, David Adler, calling for the Mossad to "hit" President Barack Obama. Click here to read London Guardian Story on the controversy which many American media are trying to ignore.
Anyone who speaks English knows the meaning of that phrase, that to place a "hit" on someone is to call for their murder.
Mr. Adler's newspaper has promoted all kinds of anti-Arab and racist propaganda over the years. But because he is American Jewish, his ignorance is tolerated. In fact, many of the mainstream American news media have ignored the story and are trying to play it down.
Adler quickly took the column down when foreign media began to criticize the hypocrisy and the call to violence. But thanks to Gawker, it was been preserved, Click here to read the column (PDF) that Adler later removed.
Here's a section from the column that has been preserved:
Three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States' policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.
Yes, you read "three" correctly.
Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don't you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel's most inner circles?
Another way of putting "three" in perspective goes something like this: How far would you go to save a nation comprised of seven million lives...Jews, Christians and Arabs alike?
You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table.
Adler even speculates that Israeli leaders have thought about killing the president, in a manner that suggests he is okay with it. (He doesn't even protest the idea after writing it.)
Ironically, in the same newspaper, there was a story published about an Atlanta woman who sent an anti-Semitic package who was then killed by police in Atlanta.
Wow. The hypocrisy is outrageous here.
David Adler of the Atlanta Jewish Times writes that the Israeli Mossad should take out a "hit" against President Obama, and no one screams at all, except maybe some members of the foreign press. That's okay. But it's just routine news when an American expresses anti-Semitism, an act of ugliness and hatred, and then is killed by Police.
Mr. Adler, shame on you. But worse, shame on the American mainstream news media for ignoring Adler's venom. He should be fired from the newspaper or the newspaper should be shut down. That we tolerate some forms of vicious hatred only exposes the hypocrisy of American journalism.
Mr. Adler took down the column, as he should. But that is not enough. He should be punished and the Society of "Professional" Journalists should stop playing politics with Middle East and Arab-Jewish issues, and stand up for what's right. Of course, when was the last time the biased SPJ did that?
NAAJA Urges the SPJ and all Journalism groups to condemn Adler's call to violence and we urge officials in Atlanta to shut down the Atlanta Jewish Times for promoting violence against the President of the United States.
-- Ray Hanania