International News

By Bill Chambers
(Photos by Bill Chambers)
CHICAGO, Ill. – On Fri., July 28, 2017, over 400 Chicago Muslims, Palestinians and their supporters rallied and marched to protest restrictions on access to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Muslims from multiple mosques throughout the area listened to Muslim and non-Muslim speakers – all critical of suppression the Israeli government placed on access to al-Aqsa Mosque.
The area in Jerusalem including al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, has been has been under occupation by the Israelis since East Jerusalem was captured in the 1967 war.
The site is managed by the Islamic Waqf religious authority who has had to resist Israeli encroachments on the site ever since.
Current problems began when two Israeli policemen died after three Palestinians reportedly opened fire on them near the al-Aqsa compound. As collective punishment, Israeli authorities installed metal detectors at the gates and restricted access to al-Aqsa even during Friday jummah... Read our latest issue Here.

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By Agieb Bilal
The Qataris have been a thorn in the side of Gulf rulers since their refusal to join the newly formed UAE (1971), a decision comparable to Singapore’s opting to not join the Malaysian Federation (1965).
Reasons were to be independent of perceived British influence on the UAE (Qatar) and Malaysian Chinese refusal to be dominated by an overwhelmingly Muslim and native Malay government.
Present problems with Qatar and the area rulers (including Egypt’s military and other oppressive regimes) can be traced to her audacious embrace of Thomas Jefferson’s famous edict regarding government:
“… Newspapers (media) without government is preferable to government without newspapers.”... Read Jun. 16, 2017's Issue Here.

By Hameem Habeeb
Qur’an 6:11: “Say, travel in the earth….” El-Hajj Malik Shabazz, Dec. 27, 1964: “Well, I’ve done a lot of traveling and I think over all travel does broaden one’s soul.”
DAKAR, Senegal – Becoming an international citizen is a byproduct of practicing Al Islam. The obligation to travel internationally for the sake of Allah at least once in your life if affordable is a deep desire of every conscious Muslim. Once that obligation is fulfilled, the whole world beckons to be explored and understood.
The practice of Islam by the association of Imam W.D. Mohammed, Allah’s mercy on him, previously under the auspices of the Nation of Islam had rank and file members hobbled in their ability to travel.
NOI members had to acquire “travelling letters” from an NOI administration official to even travel from Buffalo to Detroit. Under the Muslim freedom movement ignited by the Imam WD Mohammed, the association members began to travel the four corners of the globe and return with insights, greater energy and motivations to take the Muslim Model Community concept to its next logical conclusion.
Given the opportunity and the occasion, this writer made a recent trip to Senegal and its city of Dakar, the home of arguably two of the most famous enslaved Africans on this continent, Job Ben Solomon – born Ayyub ibn Sulayman ibn Ibrahim around 1702 – and Omar ibn Sayyid born 1770... Read Jun. 16, 2017's Issue Here.

It's easy to be anxious about the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. After all, this is a brutal organization that not only kills but seems to revel in doing so in ways designed to shock the world -- from the beheadings of journalists to burning a Jordanian pilot alive. Such moves are part of this murky group's propaganda and its deliberate efforts to manipulate information.

So what can and should we make of the organization?

I explore the issue in depth in a special airing Sunday night. And although it's important to start with the caveat that ISIS is indeed trying to scare and confuse us, I took away some tentative lessons from speaking with the people who have traveled inside the minds of ISIS.

There is increasing evidence that the military backbone of ISIS is made up not by a group of Islamic zealots, but rather high-ranking officers from Saddam Hussein's army -- Baathists who were at least ostensibly secular. An internal ISIS report detailing its organizational structure was reported on last week in the German weekly Der Spiegel.

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GAZA and Palestine

By Leila Diab

Freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives to recapture their homeland, secure their families and friends from the reins of terror and the desire to exist as human beings are too numerous to count.
One thing is for sure, they were passionate human beings. Those who were my uncles, cousins, teachers, lawyers, Muslim scholars, poets and people of humanity in the medical profession, and many of my Palestinian brothers and sisters are now in heaven.
Granted, I and the world community's freedom of character and thoughts carry the torch in their memory for freedom, justice and human dignity.

Dishonorable racial bias, condemnation and barbaric slaughter  of Palestinians for decades should never go unchallenged to save humanity and urgently secure universal  international laws and human rights.
The significant social, economic, literary and cultural contributions of Africans, Chinese, and the Middle Eastern and Muslim  scholars are the treasures to the Western  World and beyond.

Throughout the decades, the Western/European world manufactured in storytelling myths, and I reiterate again, the myths, regarding the significant and flourishing centers of the sciences and liberal Arts.
These worldly contributions epitomized the Arab Muslim civilizations treasured gifts to the modern world.
The same holds truth for the ongoing and close to three weeks of incriminating violence in Gaza.
The world is now taking a concerted effort to realized the many false myths of the true nature of Israel's crimes against the innocent people of Gaza.
Hopefully/prayerfully, the world community and its leaders will read between the lines of terrorism and the understand the horrendous game that is being played out in the blazing destruction of civilian lives in Gaza.
     Here are the glossed over Gaza and Palestinian facts:

  1. There has been a blockade of Gazans going in and out of Gaza since 1996.
  2. Medical and food supplies are not allowed to reach Gaza, even if you inform the Israeli government of your desire for the right of passage of goods and the economic development of Gaza society, it will be denied.
  3. Gaza fishermen are only allowed a 25 meters area to fish in Mediterranean Sea.
  4. Gaza people cannot visit Jerusalem to pray at their mosques or churches.
  5. Permits are denied by the Israeli military government.
  6. Water shortages in Gaza due to the Israeli governments edict to channel water to the Israeli settlements in Gaza.
  7. A total strangulation of the Gaza people's right to economic freedom and jobs. Over 25,000 jobs that Gaza people once had in Israel have been banned.
  8. Extensive media coverage in Gaza is limited or banned.
  9. Hospital, for the elderly, children and the sick, wounded and maimed have been Israeli government targets.
  10. 25 Gaza family members, while in their beds and watching TV during the Israeli military bombing attacks in Gaza, were all killed - innocent people.
  11. Human rights organizations coming into Gaza are whimsically frozen and the reality of life in Gaza, one of the most densely populations of refugees in the world, is distorted with colorful characters of legendary myths.
  12. With high tech surveillance monitoring of Gaza, the Israeli government knows where and what every single building is – life in a cage.
  13. Thousands in the world community continue to stand up and voice their support of the people in Gaza as well as outspoken Israeli journalists/academics and Israelis in Israel.

With the sheer courage and determination to the Gaza people to be free with an end to the debilitating Israeli Military occupation, ask yourself this question: “If this knowledge was available to the world leaders, the president of the United States, and shown daily on the mainstream media networks,  would they have the courage and human dignity in reporting the reality of Gaza and Palestinian life?
And who has the right of power over the disenfranchised, dispossessed, and the homeless refugees?
That is the Gaza reality.
The world community has the power to stand up and voice their humanistic concerns to end these more than 100,000 Gaza people being displaced once again, and the over 600 Palestinians – women and children and their families – being massacred.
Freedom, dignity, character and humanistic thoughts will hopefully usher in, lessening these bitter results for humanity.
As Franklin Delano Roosevelt reiterated, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
(Leila Diab is a freelance journalist of Palestinian American descent in the Chicago area. She was instrumental in establishing and accompanied the delegation of Muslims led by Imam W. Deen Mohammed to the Palestinian territories culminating in a meeting with the late Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat. Diab has written for Muslim Journal since the mid 1980s.)

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By Leila Diab

The universal strength and staunch resolute of women from all four corners of the world and beyond have for decades mirrored their will to challenge the many devastating obstacles against all odds of exemption.

Whether it be social, economic or political inequities of life's faltering status quo, women, young and old are the courageous link in the challenges of courage and in the chain of sisterhood voices of monumental change.

The month of March is Women’s History Month and on March 8 was International Women’s Day. It is a time to reconsider the dignity of pride and recognition of the gallant historical contributions women and feminists have made in the world community.

There are women such as Nawal Al Sadawi, an Egyptian doctor, human rights advocate and feminist; Queen Rania of Jordan; Leila Khalid, nationalist and freedom fighter for justice; Benazir Bhutto, a Pakistani leader who became the first Muslim woman elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.

However, Bhutto was assassinated as she ran for another term as president of her nation.

We pay tribute to the many nationalist Palestinian women throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries who have risen up to end the occupation of their homeland and their right to return.

The long list of professional and literary contributions, sacrifices and challenges of the many women who have captured the urgent sense of their rightful belonging in their society continue to stand up for an everlasting prevailing universal justice.

International Women's Day is a commemorate time to recognize and pay tribute to the women in the world who represent the significant symbol of their unrelenting limited or unlimited humane boundaries for truth, peace and of all things possible.

There have been many women from the past and even now in our world who have been denied the opportunity to accomplish their goals in life, such as education, merely because they are women who have been subjected to a restrictive cultural standard, patriarchal rule and often extreme religious environment.

Granted, the list of women from beyond the horizons of India, North Africa and the Middle East are the unheard voices of an enduring will that needs to be heard throughout the world so they can reclaim their lives for justice, freedom and basic human needs.

Needless to say, we have witnessed almost on a daily basis in the social and news media of women who continue to take a stand, because they are living under harsh and brutal circumstances such as an illegal occupation of their homeland, even if it means the loss of their own lives.

It comes to mind that this month of March and International Women’s History Day again the most distinguished figures in modern Arabic literature, Fadwa Touqan, also be remembered. Touqan is a Palestinian woman who was born in Nablus. At the young age of 13, she was forced to quit school due to an illness.

However, her loving brother took the responsibility of educating her and gave her books to read and taught her English. Fadwa Touqan's literary work embodies an inspiring example of what it means to never give up on your dreams and embraces life's will to belong.

Her poems were and still are the message of the Palestinian identity and the challenges for courage, just like so many other global women.

Fadwa Touqan’s poem, The Martyrs of the Intifadah (uprising) captures the significant message of the soul of a nation of women and their children who should be celebrated every day of the year. These women should never have to stand alone in their struggle for a better life:

“They died standing, blazing on the road,

Shining like stars, their lips pressed the lips of life,

They stood up in the face of death,

Then disappeared like the sun.”

Women of the world, I personally celebrate and salute you for your phenomenal courage, accomplishments and sacrifices as you continue to carry the torch for freedom and rise up for truth, equality and security for the next future generation of women and your children.

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Mandela Statue South Africae

By George E. Curry

NNPA Editor-in-Chief

PRETORIA, South Africa – Nearly a month after his death, there is a bitter struggle to define – and, in many instances, re-define – the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

“There is an attempt to do in his death what they could not do in life – take away his story,” Jesse Jackson said in a speech at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. “… He did not go to jail as some out-of-control youth who needed to be matured. He went in as a freedom fighter and came out as a freedom fighter.”

The effort to soften the image of Mandela as a freedom fighter began long before his death.

Speaking at an African National Congress (ANC) celebration a year before Mandela’s death, South African President Jacob Zuma said, “Inside our country, even those who were are who are still, fundamentally opposed to the ANC, and who fought tooth and nail to keep South Africa a racist pariah state, now claim Nelson Mandel as their own.”

In trying reclaim Mandela as their own, many Whites are trying to sanitize him image, Jackson argues.

Part of that effort begins with attributing many of Mandela’s outstanding qualities to his 27 years in prison. For example, television commentators in the U.S. and in Africa say Mandela learned to love his enemies in jail and cite his forgiveness of his former jailers as evidence to support that assertion.

However, Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, traces that lesson back to his youth.

“On this first day of classes, I was clad in my new boots. I had never worn boots before of any kind, and that first day, I walked like a newly shod horse. I made a terrible racket walking up the steps and almost slipped several times.

“As I clomped into the classroom, my boots crashing on that shiny wooden floor, I noticed two female students in the first row were watching my lame performance with great amusement.

“The prettier of the two leaned over to her friend and said loud enough for all to hear: ‘The country boy is not used to wearing shoes,’ at which her friend laughed. I was blind with fury and embarrassment.

“Her name was Mathona and she was a bit of a smart aleck. That day, I vowed never to talk to her. But as my mortification wore off (and I became more adept at walking with boots), I also got to know her, and she was to become my greatest friend at Clarkebury,” a Wesleyan missionary school Mandela began attending at the age of 16.

In his autobiography, Mandela gave another example of not humiliating his opponents.

“I learned my lesson one day from an unruly donkey,” he recounted. “We had been taking turns climbing up and down its back and when my chance came I jumped on and the donkey bolted into a nearby thornbush.

“It bent its head, trying to unseat me, which it did, but not before the thorns had pricked and scratched my face, embarrassing me in front of my friends. Like the people of the East, Africans have a highly developed sense of dignity, or what the Chinese call ‘face.’ I had lost face among my friends.

“Even though it was a donkey that unseated me, I learned that to humiliate another person is to make him suffer an unnecessarily cruel fate. Even as a boy, I defeated my opponents without dishonoring them.”

Many public reflections understate the depth of Mandela’s hatred of apartheid, a system where a White minority of 10 percent controlled the 90 percent Black majority.

“In their relationship with us, South African whites regard it as fair and just to pursue policies which have outraged the conscience of mankind and of honest and uprights men throughout the civilized world,” he said in his famous speech from the dock on Oct. 22, 1962, the first day of his trial.

“They suppress our aspirations, bar our way to freedom and deny us opportunities to promote our moral and material progress, to secure ourselves from fear and want. All the good things of life are reserved for the white folk and we blacks are expected to be content to nourish our bodies with such pieces of food as drop from their tables of men with white skins.

“This is the white man’s standard of justice and fairness. Herein lies his conceptions of ethics. Whatever he himself say in his defense, the white man’s moral standards in this country must be judged by the extent to which he has condemned the vast majority of its inhabitants to serfdom and inferiority.”

In that same speech, Mandela said, “I hate the practice of race discrimination, and in my hatred I am sustained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of mankind hate it equally….

“Nothing that this court can do to me will change in any way that hatred in me, which can only be removed by the removal of the injustice and inhumanity which I have sought to remove from the political and social life of this country.”

There have been some efforts to depict Mandela as South Africa’s version of Martin Luther King, Jr. But unlike America’s apostle on nonviolence, Mandela was in charge of the military wing of the ANC.

“Some of the things so far told to the court are true and some are untrue. I do not, however, deny that I planned sabotage,” Mandela said in his statement from the dock. “I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence.

“I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites.

“I admit immediately that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto we Sizwe [the military arm of the ANC], and that I played a prominent role in its affairs until I was arrested in August 1962.”

Mandela explained, “We felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the government.

“We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.”

His widely-praised leadership skills were also honed during Mandela’s youth.

“As a leader, I have always followed the principles I first saw demonstrated by the regent [the man who took him in after his father died] at the Great Place. I have always endeavored to listen to what each and every person in a discussion had to say before venturing my own opinion.

“Oftentimes, my own opinion will simply represent a consensus of what I heard in the discussion. I always remember the regent’s axiom: a leader, he said, is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

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Marc Moria

By Marc H. Morial,

President and CEO?

National Urban League  

 

"Our victory in defeating apartheid was your victory too. We know that our pride in regaining our dignity is shared by you. To you, and to all of the American people who supported the anti-apartheid struggle, we thank you from the bottom of our heart for your solidarity, and for having cared." ~  Nelson Mandela, September 1998, New York City    

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Nelson Mandela's heroic struggle for a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa inspired freedom-loving people around the world but was especially intertwined with the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement in America.

African Americans felt a special relationship with Mandela, a man who, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., endured years of persecution and discrimination in pursuit of freedom and equal opportunity for his people.

Both Mandela and King were  unafraid to agitate for justice and equality, but each ultimately changed the course of history through the power of reconciliation and unity.

Though Dr. King was 11 years younger, Mandela often spoke of his admiration for America's fallen civil rights champion.

In fact, in his 1993 Nobel Peace Prize speech, Mandela praised King, saying,  "It will not be presumptuous of us if we also add, among our predecessors, the name of another outstanding Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late African-American statesman and internationalist, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“He, too, grappled with and died in the effort to make a contribution to the just solution of the same great issues of the day which we have had to face as South Africans."

Twenty-nine years earlier, in his own Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Dr. King had related the American civil rights struggle to the freedom movement in South Africa.

Dr. King said, "So you honor the dedicated pilots of our struggle who have sat at the controls as the freedom movement soared into orbit. You honor, once again, Chief Luthuli [Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize winner  and Mandela mentor] of South Africa, whose struggles with and for his people, are still met with the most brutal expression of man's inhumanity to man."

 

The connections between our struggles did not end there.  In the 1970s, American youth on college campuses across the country held large anti-apartheid demonstrations, urging the United States to divest its investments in South Africa until the government ended its brutal subjugation of the majority Black population.

While I was a student at Georgetown University Law Center in 1981, I co-led an effort to boycott the cafeteria operator because of its investments in South Africa.

During this same period, I was a member of the leadership team of the National Black Law Students Association that pushed for divestment of South African investments by U.S. companies.

Early in my career, I was arrested at the South African Embassy as part of a mass, peaceful protest led by Congressman Walter Fauntroy, Mary Frances Berry and Randall Robinson, founder of TransAfrica, in support of U.S. economic sanctions against South Africa.

After years of demonstrations, arrests and political action, the U.S. Congress finally passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986.

Sponsored by California Congressman Ron Dellums and supported by the Congressional Black Caucus, the Act imposed significant economic sanctions against the government of South Africa and was a major factor in the abolishment of the system of apartheid in 1991.

As the world mourns the passing and celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela, America is especially indebted to the great leader for his inspiration and solidarity in our shared struggle for human freedom, equal opportunity and justice for all.

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Mandela & Imam W.D.M.

Vernon FareedBy Imam Vernon M. Fareed  

 “Africa has made Islam its own, from the very beginning when the African Christian King Negus and Abyssinia gave protection to the followers of Prophet Muhammed. That example of respect and cooperation points to the role religion can play, and the spiritual leadership it can provide, in contributing to the social renewal on our continent.

“Now that South Africa is free, the ties which the Islamic Community has always had with other parts of our continent can flourish and enrich our nation without restraint or distortion. They are part of our common African heritage.”

The above words were spoken by none other than the late esteemed world leader Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (a.k.a. Madiba).

This was part of an address that he presented in Johannesburg, South Africa on Jan. 30, 1998, to a gathering of Muslims.

Mr. Mandela not only demonstrated respect for Muslims and the religion of Al-Islam, but he was highly respected by Muslims throughout the world for his courage, tenacity and his moral fortitude.

In September of 1994, he was honored with the Yusuf Peace Award by the Muslim Women’s Federation in South Africa.

The former President of South Africa had met and established relationships with a number of Muslim leaders over the years.

This list included but was not limited to: Sheikh Nazeem Mohammed (Bo Kaap – Cape Town); Dr. Faisal Suliman (South Africa); Imam W. Deen Mohammed (U.S.A.); Yassar Arafat (Palestine); and  Sheikh Ahmed Deedat (South Africa).

We are all aware that Mr. Mandela spent 27 years of his life in prison fighting for a cause that he was literally willing to die for. One prominent American recounted the words of Mandela, saying that the prison helped to shape him into maturity.

When this writer reflected on those words it brought forth the process involved in the making of a diamond. This precious stone that we know as “diamond” is created from a rock that has been under the weight of the earth for hundreds of years. It’s the pressure (oppression) that eventually transforms the rock into a precious gem.

The oppression of a racist system called apartheid coupled with extreme conditions in the prison environment molded Nelson Mandela into a precious gem with magnificent brilliance and beauty. His life subsequent to this helped to cut and polish him even more, and now he is held up as a symbol of human excellence for the whole world to see.

President Mandela transcended racial, religious, and cultural boundaries and rose to world leadership. It is because of this that his passing is now being celebrated by kings, queens, presidents, the rich and the poor people throughout the world.

The pages of his life’s book are still being turned, and the words that emanated from his soul, will continue to evoke lessons of wisdom for centuries to come!

We should thank G-d for putting a man like this among His creatures for all of us to emulate and learn from.

 

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End US Embargo of Cuba

Special to the NNPA

from The Chicago Defender

In an overwhelming UN vote, 188 countries have called on the U.S. to lift its 53-year trade embargo on Cuba. Havana has slammed the financial sanctions as a flagrant violation of human rights and said they are tantamount to genocide.

The recording-breaking opposition to the embargo saw Israel isolated as the only country to vote in support of the U.S. Palau, the island nation that got behind the U.S. last year, abstained in the 22nd UN annual vote, along with Micronesia and Marshall Islands.

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla conveyed Havana’s disappointment at the Obama administration, stressing that the human cost of the embargo is “incalculable.”

Upon assuming the presidency Barack Obama pledged to take steps to improve U.S.-Cuban relations, but diplomat Rodriguez said the sanctions had actually tightened under Obama.

“Our small island poses no threat to the national security of the superpower,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “The human damages caused by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba are incalculable.”

Mr. Rodriguez also stated that the sanctions had been classified as “genocide” under the Geneva Convention of 1948 and the total cost to the Cuban economy was estimated at $1.1 trillion.

Several other nations spoke out against the U.S. embargo at the UN vote. China’s Deputy UN Ambassador Wang Min urged the U.S. to “change its policy toward Cuba” as the “call of the international community is getting louder and louder.”

Moreover, Bolivia’s UN ambassador Sacha Llorenty Soliz decried the embargo as “sullying the history of mankind.”

In the name of human rights?

The U.S. mounted its defense in the face of overwhelming opposition and a barrage of criticism, claiming the sanctions were in place “urge respect for the civil and human rights.”

Seeking to justify the financial penalties that have been held in place for 53 years, U.S. diplomat Ronald Godard said the U.S. was being used as a “scapegoat” for Cuba’s internal issues.

“The international community cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly [and], impedes independent journalism,” Mr. Godard said to the assembled UN countries.

Moreover, Mr. Godard added that the U.S. had sent $2 billion in remittances to Cuba in 2012 and underlined that the U.S. provides a large portion of the food aid to the island.

The U.S. began imposing economic penalties on Cuba when Fidel Castro seized power in 1959 and nationalized property owned by American individuals and corporations. The measures were ratcheted up three years later by the U.S. government to a full embargo on Cuba.

Last year, Washington took action to ease travel to and from Cuba, granting 16,767 visas to Cubans in the first half of 2013 – 80 percent more than were issued in the same period in 2012.

Politics

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By Nusayba Hammad, Communications Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (nusayba@uscpr.org) WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an act unprecedented in recent history, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand...
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