By: Fern Sidman
An organization calling itself American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) has announced that they will be holding a four-day event called the “Conference for Palestine in the US: A Movement United,” in suburban Chicago from November 22-25. It has been reported that Turkish Airlines is one of the major corporate sponsors of the conference which is currently scheduled to take place at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort. The official state carrier of Turkey will be contributing as much as $15,000 for the event and in order to encourage attendance has announced that the “first 200 registrants will be entered into a raffle to win an international airline ticket from Turkish Airlines.”
Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst at www.RadicalIslam.org and a contributor to FOX News has reported in an article of October 16th that one of the central themes of the conference will be the successful establishment of Islamist interfaith partnerships with such Christian evangelical leaders as the Reverend Donald Wagner of “Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding” who is also slated to address the conference.
According to their web site, the mission statement of American Muslims for Palestine calls for attention to be brought to “the people of Palestine who have been living under occupation for decades,” adding that, “we believe once Americans know the truth that their tax dollars support the longest-lasting and the last military occupation in modern history, they won’t stand for it and will demand that Congress change our foreign policy in the Middle East to one that is more balanced.”
In an article of September 24th, author Michael Rubin of Commentary Magazine says, “American Muslims for Palestine is not any ordinary organization. Its home page depicts the conference logo — a map of Palestine made from birds showing the Palestinian state encompassing all of Israel. So much for the two-state solution.” He adds that, “The AMP conference is due to feature Fadwa Barghouti, wife of imprisoned terrorist Marwan Barghouti, currently serving five life sentences for murder. For several years, the AMP has worked to promote nakba (catastrophe) commemorations on college campuses, with a goal to delegitimize Israel’s existence. The group’s national campus coordinator moved to disrupt a speech by the Israeli ambassador at UC-Irvine back in 2010.”
Moreover, the roster of confirmed speakers at the conference reads like a “Who’s Who” of prominent Muslim Brotherhood personalities. According to Mr. Mauro’s investigation, “AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid, another speaker at the conference, has described the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas as a form of “legitimate resistance.” Abu Irshaid had previously been the editor of an Arabic publication sponsored by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, which according to the American Muslim Brotherhood’s internal documents identify it as having been one of its fronts set up to support Hamas.”
Also addressing the convocation will be Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). As has been previously reported, the federal government named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial, listing it among “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee.” Awad declard his support for Hamas in 1994. In 2004, he refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah, instead choosing to call them “liberation movements.
Other speakers include Safaa Zarzour, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Society of North America. FBI investigators identified ISNA as a Muslim Brotherhood front group as far back as 1987. A 1991 American Muslim Brotherhood document also lists it as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” Jamal Badawi, a founder of the Muslim American Society, another Muslim Brotherhood front, has gone on record in justifying suicide bombings. In February 2009, he criticized the West for describing “martyrs” from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as terrorists. In March 2010, he said Islam justifies the “combative jihad” of Palestinians.
As recently as October 13th, the AMP participated in a conference sponsored by the Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East called, “Jews in Solidarity with Palestinians,” that was moderated by Ali Abunimah, a co-founder of the Electronic Intifada and author of “One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.”
Adding his name to the litany of apologists for the Palestinian cause and a featured speaker at the conference will be leftist Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, a former lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. He has proffered the theory that Israel has engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and blames the creation of the Jewish state for the lack of peace in the Middle East, arguing that Zionism is more dangerous than Islamic militancy, and has called for an international boycott of Israeli academics. Pappe supports the one-state solution, which envisages a binational state for both Palestinians and Israelis.
A campaign to exert pressure on the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort to cancel the conference is now underway by the grassroots Jewish community of Chicago. Cheryl Jacobs Lewin, Chicago chapter chairperson of Americans For A Safe Israel (AFSI), has said, “Since the AMP has known ties to Hamas, we are asking of the management of the Oak Brook Hills Marriott how they can justify renting their hotel to a group that has been designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization.” She added, Let’s not forget that the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the AMP clearly alligns itself with, was responsible for the recent destruction of the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and that the Brotherhood was also responsible for “security” in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the murders of four Americans, including the US Ambassador.
Offering his perspectives on the controversy swirling around the upcoming AMP conference, author Ryan Mauro said, “Can you imagine the outcry if this was an event by Christian extremists like the Westboro Baptist Church or an event about mocking Mohammed? I bet the hotel would cave rather quickly. This conference features speakers who legitimize Islamist violence and terrorist groups. In my article, I identified ten speakers that are closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood or promote it. Ten. At one event. How many would have to be there for the media to notice and for the hotel to think twice?”
He added, “The hotel shouldn’t be expected to be terrorism experts, but they should be expected to cancel their hosting of the event when confronted with the facts. The extremism of the speakers and their links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are thoroughly-documented.”