By Kristin Szremski
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) held their eighth annual Conference for Palestine in the US: Reclaiming our Narrative. The event, which is the largest gathering for Palestine in the country, drew a record 4,000 people this year. The purpose of the conference is not only to educate but also to help Muslims recognize and understand our heritage in Palestine. The conference’s many programs, including the Campus Activism Track, youth and young adult programs and the Sanabel Club for children, help to ensure the desire to seek justice for Palestine within the American framework, which is passed from generation to generation.
Several nationally and internationally renowned speakers such as Dr. Mohamed Al-Moncef Al-Marzouki, former president of Tunisia; Sheikh Abdelfattah Mourou, founder of the Ennada Party in Tunisia; Dr. Ahmad Tibi, Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset; Dr. Abdallah Marouf of Istanbul 29 Mayis University; Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies; journalist Rania Khalek; and Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of MuslimGirl.net.
Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin, CIOGC chair; ISNA’s President Azhar Azeez, Nihad Awad of CAIR, Dr. Osama Abuirshaid and Dr. Hatem Bazian of AMP; and Oussama Jammal of the US Council of Muslim Organizations also spoke, among many others.
During the conference, the leaders of several regional Muslim Student Association (MSA) councils adopted the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as one of its platforms and signed a pledge that they would no longer engage in ‘normalizing’ events with Zionist students. Normalizing events are those that seek to keep Muslim and Arab students silent on the issue of Palestine or that seek to obfuscate Israel’s occupation of Palestine by suggesting the tension between Jews and Muslims is a religious one, instead of a political one directly related to the dispossession and occupation of the Palestinian people.
AMP also announced the purchase of a new office suite in the Washington DC area and plans to hire more staff to more effectively engage in national coalition building, legislative advocacy and national media work. AMP established a presence in the nation’s capital last February and now will be expanding its staff and the scope of its work.
For more pictures, go to www.conference.ampalestine.org.
Kristin Szremski is the Media Coordinator for American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)