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Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > Dhabah Almontaser & Lena Alhusseini Arab American Family Support Center joins with Khalil Gibran school to promote Islamism

Dhabah Almontaser & Lena Alhusseini Arab American Family Support Center joins with Khalil Gibran school to promote Islamism

May 10, 2007

Lena Alhusseini and the Arab American Family Support Center are collaborating with Dhabah Almontaser and the Khalil Gibran school to foster Islamo/Arab surpremacism and promote a radical Islamist anti Western agenda under the guise of a taxpayer funded Arabic language public school -The Khalil Gibran Internation (aka Islamist) Academy.

Alhusseini is a stealth Islamist appearing as moderate and modern she has teamed up with Almontaser to push an anti American pro fundamentalist weltaanschauung under the guise of Muslim civil rights- a euphemism for the implementation of shari'a and proseltylisation of Islam by via da'wa and interfaith. Lena Alhusseini calls herself a "Palestinian" and grew up in Saudi Arabia she is a typical example of a Muslim woman who has benefitted from all the opportunities America has to offer while making a living and career as a grievance propagandist who entire "business model" is based on false bias claims and the need to award special privileges and services to Muslims and Arabs.

A recent SAMSHA [Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association] conference epitomises this entitlement mentality and the radical Islamist connections of the AAFSC and KGIA. Lena Alhusseini spoke together with radical Islamists Johari Abdul -Malik and Sayyid Syeed and plan "to use the information to guide development of a national summit on the needs of Arab Americans and American Muslims, projected for later this year" http://www.samhsa.gov/SAMHSA_News/VolumeXV_2/article12.htm

Both Alhusseini's and Almontaser's own professional and person lives contradict every one of their discrimination claims. If America was the gulag for Muslims they portray it to be -how can one be the principal designate of the first Arab language public school in New York City and the other the executive director of the largest Arab American social services organisation in the country? Not to mention the numerous awards, grants and official recognitions both women have received and are continuing to benefit from. [Note that the AAFSC website is registered to John Abi Habib -who also heads the Salam Center of New York. Abi Habib has been instrumental in scouting a location for the school and is on the board of a district council in Brooklyn. DOE spokeswoman Melanie Mayer - has falsely claimed to MIM that Abi Habib "has nothing to do with with the school"].

The siege mentality which provides groups like AAAFSC with their raison d'etre was expressed by Imam Johari Abdul Malik who supported terrorist Ali Al Timimi a jihad recruiter jailed for life. Abdul Malik is the Outreach Director for Dar Al Hijrah mosque in Virginia which was cited in Paul Sperry's book "Infilitration" as "the most dangerous in America" and hosted at least 2 of the 9/11 hijacker. At the conference Abdul Malik presented a delusion view of reality explaining that it is Muslims in America who live in fear of attack and should oppose lists of potential terror suspects like those whom he defends.

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the Muslim chaplain at Howard University and Director of the Outreach Program at the University's Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, explained, "First there's the fear that every American has that something could happen again and they could be victims. Then, American Muslims fear that whether or not something happens, they have to be concerned about an attack from within, from their neighbor."

Participants cited the types of discrimination that they observed, including profiling and harassment at airports, phone taps, and the creation of lists of potential terrorists.

Below :Al Hussein together with from left Johari Abdul Malik Imam of Dar Al Hijrah mosque which is considered to be the most dangerous mosque in America and ministered to the 9/11 hijackers. Malik raised money for the legal defense and called for the release of two convicted terrorists Abu Omar Al who was jailed for planning to assassinate President Bush and Al Al Tamimi who was jailed for inciting and recruiting for jihad. Sayyid Sayeed was the president of the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] a Saudi funded group which promotes Wahhabism and does da'wa with the intent of turning American into a Muslim society.

At the recent listening session on Arab American and Muslim Youth Behavioral Health, participants included (left to right) Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Dr. Radwan Khoury, Dr. Mona Amer, Abdi Wehelie, Lena Alhusseini, Dr. Sayyid Syeed, and Abdallah Boumediene.

The Arab American Family Support Center and Dhabah Almontaser and Lena Alhusseini promoting Islamism and Muslim entitlement:

  • The Arab-American Family Support Center [the organization which the NY Times reports will provide the Arabic instruction at the new school]
    • Has joined with groups such as CAIR, ACLU, NLG, AMC and Peace & Justice Foundation in a 2002 drive to advise Muslim- & Arab-Americans of their rights in dealing with law enforcement. (See attached Solidarity USA flyer - PDF- packet includes forms for file a complaint)
    • Has joined with CAIR-NY and other groups in sponsoring a November 16, 2002 rally "against racial profiling, and police/INS targeting immigrants" [Email from listserve, pasted below, page 33-end]
    • Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) provided INS training at their office in Feb & Mar 2003 (MPAC Newsletter – clip pasted below, on page 30)
    • Was one of several co-sponsors of event May 13, 2004 at MAS (Muslim American Society) in Brooklyn: "Muslim Unity Forum." [MODERATED by Debbie Almontaser] Sponsors included: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers Association; Council on American Islamic Relations in NY (CAIR-NY); Council of Pakistan Organization; Islamic Society of the New York City Fire Department; NYC Commission on Human Rights; NY Area Muslim Bar Association. Focus was on discrimination since 9/11. Siraj Wahhaj [an unindicted co-conspirator of the first World Trade Center bombing] was scheduled to speak, but he did not show up and was replaced by Imam Ayu Tawa Bagi who spoke about the two faces to America, the equality and freedom espoused in our constitutional principles vs. reality. He criticized the reality of the Patriot Act... [flyer pasted below, page 30-32]
    • One of the board members, Christine Moore Vassallo, of Lebanese descent, claimed that Mayor Bloomberg was too "one sided" toward Israel during the war against Hezbollah. [Ms Vasallo, and several other board members of this organization, are also on the board of ADC-NY]
      • "Bloomberg's recent expression of support for Israel included no mention of the Lebanese civilians killed in the ongoing bombing, nor of the thousands of stranded Americans --many of Lebanese descent-- clamoring to get out. ‘He really needs to show that he is the mayor of all New Yorkers, not just of one segment of the population,' said Christine Vassallo, a board member of the Arab American Family Support Center. His one-sided statement was just shocking to us because the Lebanese have been a part of this city and this country for centuries.'" "City Arabs chided Mike as one-sided," New York Daily News, July 21, 2006
    • A founding member of the organization, Emira Habiby-Browne, who was the executive director until April 2006, when Lena Alhusseini took over the position, has made numerous statements against US government immigration/security policies in the post-9/11 environment, indicating her belief that Muslims and Arabs in America are unfairly targeted for discrimination by government agencies. These are just a few:
      • "It seems like it's okay to hate an Arab now," said Emira Habiby Browne, president and founder of the Arab-American Family Support Center in Brooklyn. "It's nothing new. It happened after Oklahoma City. After TWA Flight 800." "Volunteers helping fearful Arabs," New York Daily News, Sept. 21, 2001.
      • "It's odd," said Emira Habiby Browne, executive director of the Arab-American Family Support Center in Brooklyn. "While the rest of the country seems to slowly forget the impact of Sept. 11, people here feel more and more under siege." " New York's Arab Enclave Trips Radar," Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2002.
      • Emira Habiby Browne, executive director of the Arab-American Family Support Center, located a few blocks from Atlantic Ave., said that since 9/11, apprehensions among Arab-Americans have increased, mainly because of concerns about treatment by law enforcement agencies. "We've all read of arrests in the press," Browne said. "There's a sense of being targeted, profiled and harassed. There's fear that no matter what you do, you are suspected as a potential terrorist. No one feels secure - even in their own homes." "A wonderful place to put down roots: Newcomers and old praise Boerum Hill," New York Daily News, Jan 5, 2003.
      • Federal policies have created "a climate of hostility and suspicion toward Arab, Muslim and South Asian immigrants," says Emira Habiby Brown, executive director of the Arab-American Family Support Center. "That stigmatizes these immigrants and creates fertile ground for bias crimes." "It's way past time to halt bias crime," New York Daily News, Aug. 7, 2003.

LENA ALHUSSEINI current EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR http://www.aafscny.org/mTeam.htm

Ms. Alhusseini joined AAFSC in April 06 after a number of years at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) where she served as international outreach project manager on issues of child protection, abduction and child trafficking. Prior to joining NCMEC, Alhusseini worked for the Gateway Battered Women's Shelter in Denver, Colorado where she developed the Shelter's children's program and worked with Arab-American women and children implementing the Peaceful Families Project model. Developed by the late Sharifa Alkhateeb, the Peaceful Families Project curriculum was the first program of its kind in the U.S. to address domestic violence issues within a culturally sensitive framework. Before coming to the U.S., Alhusseini served with a number of international organizations around the world on issues pertaining to child protection, including USAID and UNICEF. Most notably, she established the Jordan River Foundation's child protection unit under the direction of HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah. That organization was the first in Jordan to address the issue of child abuse. Born in Jerusalem and raised there and in Saudi Arabia, Alhusseini is of Palestinian origin. Her extensive training and experience in the issues of domestic violence and child protection both in the USA and in the Middle East make her a fitting and welcome addition to the Arab American Family Support Center.

DEBBIE ALMONTASER, slated to be the principal of the new school:

  • Describes herself as becoming an "activist" after 9/11 [numerous clips below]
  • "Her next goal: to have schools recognize Muslim holidays, as they already do Christian and Jewish ones" [NPR Morning Edition, July 13, 2006, transcript below]
  • Has called herself a "convert" to Islam, although she was born Muslim ["Finding my religion," Colorlines Magazine, March 22, 2005]
  • Regarding the spring 2006 trial of the Herald Square bomb plotter, the NY Times reported:
    • On May 12, in the middle of the trial of Mr. Siraj, Mr. Kelly met with 150 Muslims at a youth center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He showed them a 25-minute video that the Police Department created to train new officers to be sensitive toward Arabs and Muslims. He said he was there to hear their "concerns about issues of public safety," according to a transcript of his speech. Only after several questions did anyone mention the trial. Debbie Almontaser, a board member of a Muslim women's organization, told Mr. Kelly that she was saddened that the police had resorted to "F.B.I. tactics," and that she thought this was polarizing the Muslim community. Applause swept the room. [Andrea Elliott, "Undercover Work Deepens Police-Muslim Tensions," NY Times, May 27, 2006]

*Mrs. Almontaser is affiliated with the following organizations:

  • Women in Islam: New York NY
    • Women In Islam Inc "is a non-profit educational, advocacy organization focused on human rights and social justice" http://www.womeninislam.org/Contact.html
    • The organization honored Amina McCloud, Professor of Religious Studies, DePaul University, in 2005: Dr. Betty Shabazz Award
    • Co-sponsor of forum with CAIR-NY, Dec 15, 2005: The Aftermath of Katrina: "Hurricane Katrina reawakened the American public to the existence of race and class subjugation in the United States through the shocking realization that there was simply no evacuation plan for poor Black residents of New Orleans." http://www.womeninislam.org/katrinaflyer.pdf
  • Justice for Detainees: Brooklyn, NY
  • ASMA Society (American Society for Muslim Advancement)
    • Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan
      • "FOX also queried Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which describes itself as an organization dedicated to creating bridges between the American public and American Muslims. Feisal described the violent images and indoctrination as ‘political,' rather than religious. Feisal also likened the statements by radical Muslims in the FOX documentary to outrageous statements he says are made by some Christians and Jews. "There is something in the human psychology which — which believes in the superiority of its own individual faith. And wants to impose it on everybody else. There are those who are Christians who are like this. There are those who are Muslims who are like this." Andrew Cochran, "Steven Emerson & Walid Phares Featured in New Documentary on Radical Islam," The Counterterrorism Blog, Feb 2, 2007, http://counterterrorismblog.org/2007/02/sewing_mustard_seeds_in_poso_a.php
    • John S. Bennett, Cofounder of the Cordoba Initiative and former mayor of Aspen, CO.
  • Brooklyn Bridges: Brooklyn, NY (co-founder)
  • Yemeni-American Association: Brooklyn, NY) (officer)

A New School Plans to Teach Half of Classes Using Arabic
By ELISSA GOOTMAN
New York Times
Feb 13, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/13/nyregion/13schools.html

The New York City school system will open its first public school dedicated to teaching the Arabic language and culture in September, with half of its classes eventually taught in Arabic, officials said yesterday.

The school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy, is one of 40 new schools that the Department of Education is opening for the 2007-8 school year. It will serve grades 6 to 12 and will be in Brooklyn, although a specific location has not been determined.

Debbie Almontaser, a 15-year veteran of the school system who is the driving force behind the school and will be its principal, said that ideally, the school would serve an equal mix of students with backgrounds in Arabic language and culture and those without such backgrounds.

"We are wholeheartedly looking to attract as many diverse students as possible, because we really want to give them the opportunity to expand their horizons and be global citizens," said Ms. Almontaser, who emigrated from Yemen when she was 3 and is fluent in Arabic.

"I see students who are excited about engaging in international careers, international affairs, wanting to come to our school. And I also see Arab-American students who would want the opportunity to learn Arabic, to read it and write it and have a better understanding of where their ancestors have come from."

Next year, Ms. Almontaser said, the school, which is named after a Lebanese poet and philosopher, will have only sixth graders. It will grow year by year, and will eventually serve 500 to 600 students; by the third year, she said, she hoped that half of the school's classes would be taught in Arabic and half in English.

The school is opening in partnership with New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit group that has helped create dozens of small new schools in recent years, and the Arab-American Family Support Center, a Brooklyn social service agency that will provide the Arabic language instruction next year, as well as other programs. It will benefit from donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has helped Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg create many other small schools.

Half of the 40 new schools the department will open in September were announced last month and the others were announced yesterday. The schools include 10 middle schools, 3 elementary schools, a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school, 12 schools for grades 6 to 12, nine high schools and five transfer schools for students who struggled elsewhere.

Many of the schools will be located in buildings of schools that are being closed for poor performance.

________________________________

Dhabah (Debbie) Almontaser

Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow

Mission of ASMA

The ASMA Society, a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 founded in 1997 in New York City, is an Islamic cultural and educational organization dedicated to fostering an American-Muslim identity and building bridges between American Muslims and the American public.

http://www.asmasociety.org/mlt2006/usa.html

Debbie Almontaser is currently Coordinator of External Programs for Brooklyn public schools. Ms. Almontaser sits on the boards of The Dialogue Project, Brooklyn Borough President's New Diversity Task Force, Muslim Consultative Network, Women In Islam Inc., We Are All Brooklyn Coalition, and Youth Bridge NY. As a multicultural specialist and diversity consultant, Ms. Almontaser frequently lectures and serves on panels as well as facilitates workshops on Arab culture, Islam, conflict resolution, cultural diversity, and Augusto Bola's Theater of the Oppressed around the city, at local, national and international conferences. Ms. Almontaser co-designed a curriculum for the Muslim Communities Project at Columbia University and for Educators for Social Responsibility/Metro. In addition, she has contributed a chapter in The Day Our World Changed: Children's Art of 9/11 for New York University's Child Study Center and the Museum of the City of New York and in Forever After: New York City Teachers on 9/11 for Teachers College Press as well as articles and essays in several magazines. Ms. Almontaser also serves as a consultant to Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. Muslim American Series Project, Independent Production Fund on the Islam Project (producers of Muslims and Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet PBS Productions), Islam Access Project (Channel 13 WNET), the Muslim Communities Project, Columbia University, Educators for Social Responsibility, the Interfaith Center of NYC, and the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association's (CAMBA, Inc.) Diversity Project. Ms Almontaser has been featured in several documentaries locally on New York Voices, Teaching Tolerance and internationally on Voice of America, From Yemen to Coney Island; From Teacher to Community Activist. Ms. Almontaser has been quoted on Muslim Community issues and Cultural Diveristy issues in the NY Times, NY 1, Time Magazine, Newsweek, and profiled in the Daily News. Debbie Almontaser was born in Yemen and raised in the United States. She acquired a B.A. from St. Francis College in English and World Religions and an M.S. in Multicultural Education and Reading from Adelphi. She holds an M.S. from Baruch College's School of Public Affairs through their Aspiring Leaders Program. In the past few years, Ms. Almontaser has recieved [sic] a few awards from faith based groups and proclamations for building bridges of understanding from the Borough President of Brooklyn and the Mayor of the City of New York. In 2004 Ms. Almontaser recieved the Revson Fellowship award for her contributions to City life.

Dhabah (Debbie) Almontaser

Revson Fellow 2004-2005

http://www.revson.columbia.edu/fellows/alumni/debbie_almontaser.html

Coordinator of External Programs in Conflict Resolution and Multicultural Education

Region 8, New York City Department of Education

Debbie Almontaser is currently Coordinator of External Programs for Brooklyn public schools. As a multicultural specialist and diversity consultant, Ms. Almontaser facilitates teacher and public workshops on Arab culture, Islam, conflict resolution, cultural diversity, and Augusto Boal's Theater of the Oppressed around the city, and at local and national conferences. Ms. Almontaser also serves as a consultant to Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. Muslim American Series Project, Independent Production Fund's Islam Project, Educators for Social Responsibility, the Interfaith Center of NYC, and the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association's (CAMBA, Inc.) Diversity Project. She sits on the board of The Dialogue Project, Women In Islam Inc., among other organizations. She is also a co-founder of Brooklyn Bridges, The September 11th Curriculum Project, Justice for Detainees, and the We Are All Brooklyn Coalition. Ms. Almontaser co-designed and developed a curriculum for the Muslim Communities Project at Columbia University and for Educators for Social Responsibility/Metro. She has a B.A. from St. Francis College and an M.S. in multicultural education and reading from Adelphi University. She also holds an M.S. from Baruch College's School of Public Affairs through their Aspiring Leaders Program. During her Revson year, Ms. Almontaser took courses from the International Center for Cooperation & Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Teachers College and received a Certificate in Conflict Resolution. The Conflict Resolution Certificate program is a rigorous and thorough program of study in the field of conflict resolution exploring local and global conflicts as well as the various mediation models. Ms. Almontaser plans on incorporating these courses into a doctoral program.

(The Revson Fellow's biography that appears above was last updated in 2004. Revson Fellows may update their biographies on this site by sending email to: revson@columbia.edu)

NPR Morning Edition

Copyright 2006 National Public Radio®. All rights reserved.

July 13, 2006

Teacher Works for Understanding of U.S. Muslims

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Here's the story of the life that was changed by September 11. Debbie Almontaser used to be an elementary school teacher. After the attacks, she became an activist.

At the age of 42, she is one of the new advocates for Arab-Americans and American Muslims, and it's the latest of many changes in her life.

NPR's Anne Garrels reports on a journey that started when Almontaser and her parents came from Yemen to New York.

ANNE GARRELS reporting:

Back then, in the 1960s, her father's advice to the new immigrant family was be like everyone else, assimilate.

Ms. DEBBIE ALMONTASER (Coordinator of External Programs, Brooklyn Public Schools; Public Relations Officer, Yemeni-American Association): Don't talk about your culture. Don't talk about your language, you know, just try to fit in.

GARRELS: For years, Debbie Almontaser did just that. But like many children of immigrants, she eventually had to forge her own identity. She chose to be what she calls an American Muslim.

Ms. ALMONTASER: Why did I come from such a far place? Should this far place be a part of me now today? And it was, you know, it was a lot of soul searching.

GARRELS: She and her husband, also the child of Yemeni immigrants, sit on the porch in their mixed Brooklyn neighborhood. Naji, home from his job as the banquet chief at a leading New York hotel, is in a T-shirt and shorts. Debbie's face is framed by an elegantly draped hijab, the Muslim head covering.

They've rediscovered their faith; one they believe is true to both Islam and being good Americans.

Mr. NAJI ALMONTASER (Board Member, Yemeni-American Association; Husband of Debbie Almontaser): The most important thing about Islam is this: that the Imam, the spiritual leader of a mosque, cannot tell you that this is right. As a Muslim, you have an obligation to yourself to find out, to investigate, to be an informed, educated individual - Muslim, who knows his religion and knows what is right and what is wrong.

GARRELS: But as 9/11 showed, there are those who read the Koran in different ways.

Ms. ALMONTASER: Committing, you know, this hideous act in the name of Islam, for me, as well as others, you know, feel like they've hijacked Islam.

GARRELS: Their elder son, Yousif, was in the National Guard. He immediately raced to join his unit and was assigned to do rescue and recovery at the World Trade Center.

Mr. ALMONTASER: He did his job as an American, as a soldier, and as a Muslim. But, you know, it has its scars also of what he saw, most of it. And the other scar is that knowing that Muslims did it. We had many conversations about this. You know, this was not the Muslims, the religious Muslims who are understanding, who know their religion. This was a political move.

GARRELS: And the backlash hit the family hard. Debbie was the target of racial slurs. Fearing something even worse, she didn't go anywhere without an escort for six months.

The New York Department of Education eventually turned to her for help at a high school in the heart of Brooklyn's Arab-American community, where racial tensions were high.

Ms. ALMONTASER: For me it was the most scariest thing.

GARRELS: Scarier still, though, was the government crackdown.

Ms. ALMONTASER: Right here in this community, Midwood, we started to see people literally disappearing. And families were going to their local mosques, going to local businesses and saying, my son hasn't come home, my husband hasn't come home. Or, you know, the police came and took them in the middle of the night. And we were like, what is going on? And it was as early as October that this started happening.

GARRELS: Debbie began to give classes on people's rights. She and Naji joined other activists, Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Every week for a year they protested the detention or interrogation of an estimated 8,000 Muslims.

Mr. ALMONTASER: If someone is guilty, you know, by all means, get them a trial, and, you know, let everybody, every single person see that this person is guilty. If you have credible evidence, fine. Do it. Then, you know, this is what America stands for. America stands for justice and freedom for all.

Ms. ALMONTASER: And due process. Yeah.

Mr. ALMONTASER: Yeah, due process.

GARRELS: Debbie's civil rights activities attracted attention. Someone who didn't approve of what she was doing reported her to the authorities. Like many of those she was defending, she fell victim to the government's TIPS program. Set up after 9/11, the Department of Justice had encouraged Americans to report suspicious activities. Nothing came of the subsequent investigation, but her family was shaken.

Debbie rethought how to proceed. She'd developed a network of contacts and skills as a mediator. In addition to work with the Department of Education, she became a liaison between the insecure Muslim community and the New York Police Department. She regularly works with interfaith groups.

Ms. ALMONTASER: I was driven to, you know, help people understand this culture that I come from and this religion that I deeply love and appreciate and would never, ever leave.

GARRELS: She had also become an example for some Muslim women, and Naji says he wouldn't have it any other way.

Mr. ALMONTASER: The man doesn't run everything. The prophet himself didn't run everything. He said he talked with his wives. He used to clean the dishes with them. He used to sweep with them. He used to do the laundry with them. He did everything with his wives.

Ms. ALMONTASER: He used to ask them for advice on serious issues affecting the community. You know, A'ishah was, you know, one of the most highly regarded scholars of her time, you know, after his death.

GARRELS: Their daughter, Shifa, who's about to head to college, has chosen not to hide her Muslim identity, but emphasize it. She too now wears a hijab, and unlike Debbie, who wears conservative suits, Shifa wears a long robe.

Ms. SHIFA ALMONTASER: I guess I wanted to portray that regular Muslim girl that they see, maybe even like with her face covered and they get so scared of her, you know. I want to take that step up and let them see that I'm educated and to educate them about Islam and to show them that it's not, you know, a religion of terrorism, rather a religion of peace. And I had to show them what we stand for and that's what my mom does.

GARRELS: A couple of years ago, Debbie collared New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg at an event for South Asians.

Ms. ALMONTASER: And I didn't let him go, because I was, like, okay, this is my opportunity to tell him the Arab American community deserves this, too. And his response to me was, there is nothing more that I would like than to do that for the Arab American community. Especially as a Jew, I want them to know that this is their homeland as well.

GARRELS: For the second year New York is celebrating Arab heritage this week, the project Debbie initiated. Her next goal: to have schools recognize Muslim holidays, as they already do Christian and Jewish ones. Though there are possibly as many as one million Muslims in New York, the school board this year scheduled key exams on one of Islam's holiest days.

The challenge, as Debbie sees it: to bridge the gaps between other communities and Muslims, and between Muslims themselves, to promote Islam that is compatible with American life.

She confesses to having a soft spot for country music. She does not agree with some Muslims that secular music is un-Islamic. The family has their Muslim favorites, too. As the sun goes down, Naji plays a song by Sami Yusuf.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. ALMONTASER: It's all about being productive and how to be positive and, you know, and stay focused.

GARRELS: Anne Garrels, NPR News, New York.


Undercover Work Deepens Police-Muslim Tensions
By ANDREA ELLIOTT
New York Times
May 27, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/27/nyregion/27muslim.html

It is no secret to the Muslim immigrants of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, that spies live among them.

Almost anyone can rattle off what they regard as the telltale signs of police informers: They like to talk politics. They have plenty of free time. They live in the neighborhood, but have no local relatives.

"They think we don't know, but we know who they are," said Linda Sarsour, 26, a community activist.

It is another thing for them to be officially revealed. Over the last several weeks, during the trial of a Pakistani immigrant who was convicted on Wednesday of plotting to blow up the Herald Square subway station, Muslims in Bay Ridge learned that two agents of the police had been planted in the neighborhood and were instrumental to the case.

They absorbed the testimony of an Egyptian-born police informer who had recorded the license plate numbers of worshipers at a mosque. They heard that an undercover detective, originally from Bangladesh, had been sent to Bay Ridge as a "walking camera."

The trial's revelations, and its outcome for the defendant, Shahawar Matin Siraj, have brought a bitter reckoning among Muslims in the city. Many see the police tactics unveiled in the case as proof that the authorities — both in New York and around the nation — have been aggressive, even underhanded in their approach to Muslims.

And despite the conviction of Mr. Siraj, who was found guilty on all four of the counts he faced, some Muslim leaders remain convinced that he was entrapped, including an imam who knew the informer and had found him to be suspicious.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly declared the verdict a milestone in the city's fight against terrorism. Muslim leaders say they support efforts to safeguard the country, but many believe that the Siraj case may have set back another battle that the police have been waging: to win their trust and cooperation.

In Bay Ridge, Palestinian, Syrian and Egyptian immigrants have long engaged in their own form of surveillance, trying to discern the spies in their midst. It is a habit imported from the countries they left behind, where informers for the security services were common and political freedoms curtailed.

In the years since Sept. 11, as word of informers spread among the smoky sheesha cafes and tidy mosques of Bay Ridge, a familiar fear has fallen over the neighborhood. It asserts itself quietly, in the hush of conversation and the wary stares that pass between strangers.

"It's like a police state here," said Omar Maged, 34, an assistant teacher at a public high school. "We do not feel that we are living in the most free country in the world."

In the wake of the trial, police officials sought to dispel the notion that they are taking aim at the Muslim community.

Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman, said undercover officers were used only to investigate reports of possible criminal activity. This was the case, he said, with the detective involved in the investigation of Mr. Siraj. The officer had been sent to live in Bay Ridge for two years.

"The notion that he was in there gratuitously observing the Muslim community is false," Mr. Browne said.

The relationship between law enforcement and Muslims has long been fragile.

After Sept. 11, Muslims came under immediate and intense pressure by the authorities. Hundreds of men were detained for questioning and thousands nationwide were placed into deportation proceedings.

Over time, a necessary, if uncomfortable relationship emerged between Muslims and the police watching over them. Efforts were made by both camps to cultivate trust.

"We've been repairing the cracks steadily and gingerly," said Wael Mousfar, the president of the Arab Muslim American Federation.

These days, police officers introduce themselves at Ramadan dinners and town hall meetings. Federal agents sit on committees with Muslim activists and hold workshops with imams.

Last month, the Police Department hired a Turkish immigrant to work as a full-time liaison with the Muslim community.

But the Herald Square case gave pause to some of the Muslims involved in the outreach.

"This is a real setback to the bridge building," said Michael Dibarro, a Jordanian immigrant who until recently worked as a clergy liaison with the Police Department. "We had meaningful meetings. We thought we were going somewhere with this."

Others complained of what they see as a two-tiered approach by the authorities: on one level it is public, and on another, it is hidden.

"They want to formally be introduced to the community but they don't need to be," Ms. Sarsour said. "They already have their informants among us."

On May 12, in the middle of the trial of Mr. Siraj, Mr. Kelly met with 150 Muslims at a youth center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He showed them a 25-minute video that the Police Department created to train new officers to be sensitive toward Arabs and Muslims. He said he was there to hear their "concerns about issues of public safety," according to a transcript of his speech.

Only after several questions did anyone mention the trial. Debbie Almontaser, a board member of a Muslim women's organization, told Mr. Kelly that she was saddened that the police had resorted to "F.B.I. tactics," and that she thought this was polarizing the Muslim community.

Applause swept the room.

Mr. Kelly told the audience he could not comment on the case.

Whether it will seriously hinder relations between the authorities and Muslims in New York remains to be seen. Some were doubtful.

"This is a chance to enhance our relationship with the police," said Antoine Faisal, the publisher of Aramica, an Arabic and English language newspaper based in Bay Ridge. "These people are being paid to do their job."

An air of suspicion hung over Bay Ridge well before Mr. Siraj was arrested in August 2004. Some people stopped attending the neighborhood's two major mosques, preferring to pray at home. Others no longer idle on the street after work.

"The vibe is not the same anymore," said Omar, 22, a Yemeni immigrant who works at a bookstore and gave only his first name. "We're exposed."

Conversations are often carefully scripted. Several people interviewed said they no longer discussed politics in public.

"When you sit down and politics comes to your head, you think, 'Who's around?' " said Mohammad Gheith, 17, a high school senior who often visits the smoke-filled Meena House Cafe on Bay Ridge Avenue.

Several blocks away, at a grocery store along Fifth Avenue, Mahmoud Masoud said he sensed the presence of informers.

"Sometimes you look a person in the eye, there's a feeling," said Mr. Masoud, 65, a Palestinian immigrant. "You can say anything you want, but don't curse the system. That's what they care about."

Others in the neighborhood said they understood the need for informers, and were not bothered by their presence.

"They have to watch the community," said Osama Elsakka, 41, an Egyptian immigrant who drives a limousine. Mr. Elsakka said that he would readily inform the police if he heard something suspicious, even if some of his friends considered this a betrayal.

"I'm trying to defend the image of my religion," he said, explaining that he thought that a person who entertains thoughts of terrorism is not a true Muslim. "If someone is doing that, they've been brainwashed."

On Wednesday afternoon, after Mr. Siraj's parents and uncle heard the verdict, they drove to the uncle's Islamic bookstore, on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge. It was there that their son first had encountered Osama Eldawoody, the informer, who lived on Staten Island and earned about $100,000 for his work with the police.

They pulled down the metal gate and locked the front door. It was hours before the store's regular closing time.

"They hate us Muslims," said Mr. Siraj's mother, Shahina Parveen, steadying herself on her husband's arm. "My son is innocent. Eldawoody is criminal," she said, yelling out the last word.

After they drove off, several men gathered for the afternoon prayer at the mosque next door, the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge. Mr. Eldawoody had often prayed with them.

The imam of the mosque, Sheik Reda Shata, said that he became suspicious after Mr. Eldawoody tried to draw him into an illicit business deal in 2003 — what he now believes was an effort at entrapment. Police officials said this was false.

When Mr. Siraj was arrested, Mr. Eldawoody disappeared from the neighborhood.

The imam said Mr. Siraj should have "cared more for the country he lived in," but did not deserve a lifetime prison term, which he could face at sentencing.

"He is a young man with very little experience in life and he was entrapped, and that's obvious," he said. "The informer tried to entrap me and it didn't work."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

US State News

--------------------------------------

October 17, 2005

BOROUGH PRESIDENT MARKOWITZ JOINS LOCAL PAKISTANI LEADERS TO ENCOURAGE BROOKLYNITES TO HELP EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Oct. 17 -- The Brooklyn Borough President issued the following press release:

On Friday, October 14, Borough President Markowitz and leaders from Brooklyn's Pakistani community encouraged New Yorkers to help those suffering due to the recent devastating earthquake in Pakistan. Initial reports indicated that more than 30,000 Pakistan residents were killed and 2.5 million left homeless by the 7.6 magnitude quake. Among the attendees at a Borough Hall press conference were Mohammad Razvi, Executive Director of the Council of People's Organizations; Muhammad Haroon Shaukat, Consul General of Pakistan, New York; Shahid Khan, General Manager of Pakistan International Airlines; Imam Hafiz Mohammad Sabir of Makki Mosque; Malik Sakhawat Hussain, Ph.D., Chairman of Al-Mahdi Foundation, New York; Asghar Choudhri, President of the Pakistani American Merchants Association and the Pakistani American Federation of New York; Debbie Almontaser of Women in Islam and Yemeni American Association; Richard Green of the Crown Heights Youth Collective; and Ali Mujahid Chaudary and Malik Nadim of the Kashmir Relief Fund.

"Brooklynites share a sense of disbelief at the magnitude of the destruction and loss of life in Pakistan -- and at the millions left homeless and hopeless across the region," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "This earthquake may have struck on the other side of the world, but so many of our families, friends and neighbors have lost loved ones or been affected, that it truly hits close to home. Our motto in Brooklyn is "In Unity There Is Strength," and in the face of a tragedy like this, we must remain united. Just as we did following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Tsunami, and the floods in Haiti and the Dominican Republic -- I call upon Brooklynites to respond as generously as possible to provide assistance to those impacted by this monumental disaster. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with those who suffered in Pakistan and South Asia, and with all those in Brooklyn whose families and loved ones have connections to that part of the world."

For information on how to donate the public should visit www.brooklyn-usa.org.

HTS ydyd 051018-232572 YDIXIT

Newsday (USA)

Copyright © 2003 Newsday Inc. All rights reserved.

July 27, 2005

Section: NEWS

PROFILE

Sheila McKenna


DEBBIE ALMONTASER

Coordinator of external programs, Region 8, Brooklyn, for the Department of Education. Coordinator of first Arab-American Heritage Week celebration (July 9-16). Member of boards of Park Slope-based Dialogue Project and of Women in Islam Inc. Co-founder of Brooklyn Bridges and founding member of We Are All Brooklyn Coalition.

BIOGRAPHY

38; native of Yemen. Raised in Buffalo; bachelor's from St. Francis College and master's in multicultural education from Adelphi University. Also received master's in leadership and administration from Baruch College. Has worked for the Department of Education for 14 years. Married, three children and lives in Midwood section of Brooklyn.

COMMITMENT

"My passion is to bring people together, to develop understandings and to be a bridge of understanding for all. One of things I did recently is take people from the Peace Boat - a Japanese NGO non-governmental organization) - to the Arab and Muslim communities in New York so that they will have a better understanding of the grass-roots community in the post-9/11 era. For the past three years, I've toured with them to Downtown Brooklyn to meet with Arab-American leaders and to have a discussion about what the issues are and how the community has moved forward ."

IMPACT

"At the Department of Education, I worked as a para-professional, teacher and principal. Then September 11th happened and my whole perspective on the world changed. I felt that I needed to be in a capacity where I could work 9 to 5 but have the flexibility and time to do my community work. My work is all about empowerment and building bridges between the Arab and Muslim and South Asian community, and the broader world. I also do a lot of interfaith work. In June, on Brooklyn-Queens Day, I helped organize the second annual Children of Abraham Peace Walk. We had over 300 people who joined us and walked from Brooklyn to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge to Trinity Church in lower Manhattan."

PROUD OF

"I am a Muslim woman and wear a hijab. I was selected to become a Revson Fellow and finished this past May at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College. I was very proud of getting such a rare and privileged opportunity. Now I plan to continue on for a doctoral degree in international and peace education."

NEWSDAY PHOTO / ALEJANDRA VILLA - DEBBIE ALMONTASER
___________________________________________________________________

PR Newswire

Copyright 2005 PR Newswire

July 11, 2005

NYC to Celebrate First Arab-American Heritage Week

What: Arab-American Heritage Week

NEW YORK, July 11 NEW YORK, July 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg will officially declare Arab-American Heritage Week during festivities taking place between July 9 and 16. New York City Arab-American organizations and museums will host events in order to introduce New Yorkers to the vast diversity of Arab people, their cultural traditions, customs, cuisine, art, music and dance.

Arab Americans have resided in NY since the 1800's and have contributed to New York and the rest of the country in many ways. Today, over 200,000 Arab- Americans populate New York City. The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs has established Arab-American Heritage Week as an annual event in order to commemorate the community's presence and contributions over the years.

"As an educator, Heritage Week has been a long-time dream that Arab- Americans and I have wanted to share with fellow New Yorkers," said Debbie Almontaser, one of the event's principal organizers. "The week will give New Yorkers a chance to learn Arab cultural traditions - food, music, dance - the elements of life that exemplify how we are more alike than we are different as human beings."

This year, Heritage Week will kick-off on Saturday July 9th with the 3rd Annual Arab-American Cultural Street Festival and the 7th Annual North-African Cultural Street Festival, hosted jointly by the Network of Arab-American Professionals of New York (NAAP-NY) and the Algerian American Cultural Center (AACC).

Other events include a stand up comedy workshop lead by comedians Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid, presented by the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival (7/12) and Arab American Community Tours by Marry Ann DiNapoli in Brooklyn (7/9, 7/11). The films "Return to the Land of Wonders" and "The Thief of Baghdad" will be shown at the Two Boots Pioneer Theatre and the Museum of the Moving Image (7/13 and 7/16), and music lovers may catch an evening of Iraqi music featuring Amir Saffar, at Alwan for the Arts (7/15). Finally, the week will close with the Arab American Heritage Park Festival, sponsored by the Arab American Association of New York and the Arab American Family Support Center (7/16).

Sponsoring organizations include: Arab American Association of New York, Arab American Institute, The Arab-American Family Support Center, Alwan for the Arts, Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, Mahrajan of Middle Eastern Churches, Yemeni American Association, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Arab Muslim American Federation, Salaam Club of New York, and the Network of Arab-American Professionals of New York.

For a complete listing of events or for more information about Arab- American Heritage Week, please visit: http://www.arabamericanheritage.net.

SOURCE Network of Arab-American Professionals

CONTACT: Debbie Almontaser, +1-917-559-8480, or Linda Sarsour, +1-917-306-3323, both for Network of Arab-American Professionals


Colorlines Magazine

Copyright 2005 Color Lines Magazine

March 22, 2005

Volume 8; Issue 1
Finding my religion.(American Islamic convert narrates happenings with him)

Almontaser, Debbie


About 20 years ago, I was walking along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. I had just gotten married and moved to New York City from Buffalo. Three African-American women were walking toward me wearing beautiful ong robes and hijab. I could see how at peace they were with their surroundings. No one stared at them. I asked if they were Muslim and told them the impact they had made on me, what a vision they were. They asked my name and said they were going to the mosque and if I was interested I could come with them. I felt like it would be inappropriate, I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. They said, "no one will judge you, come."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

There were a whole bunch of women sitting in a circle, all different ethnic backgrounds, all dressed differently. It was a very warm atmosphere, and the women introduced themselves and talked about what had brought them to Islam. I kept going every weekend for six months. I started to pray five times a day and wear the hijab. When I told my husband that I was converting, his mouth dropped and he said, "but you're already Muslim."

While I grew up we didn't fast, didn't celebrate the holidays, my mom didn't wear hijab. In my parents' village, the only people who used to pray and fast were the elders. My parents' main objective in Buffalo was to assimilate. My dad used to tell us to act like everybody else, talk like everybody else, don't talk about your religion, don't talk in Arabic outside the house. However, if you asked my parents or relatives, they would not have considered themselves secular.

I do feel I have a responsibility to challenge things people say. My activism started out of frustration with the community's attitudes toward women. I studied and started talking to the wives and daughters at social events about what the Qur'an really teaches, that women have the right to education, jobs and leadership.

A year after 9/11, my husband and I went to make the nightly Ramadan prayer. The last part is when you stand with your hands in front of you to make unified supplications where the imam asks God to strengthen those who are in struggle. He started to talk about those who are struggling in Palestine. Then, out of nowhere he said, "and those Jews, strike them and make them miserable."

After the prayer I told the imam. I can't take part while you say these things. I felt like all my prayers were abolished because I was engaging in wishing harm to other people. I want to hear prayers that empower people, not prayers that dismiss or degrade people. The imam was shocked that I shared all this with him. He said, "That was not my intention, I'm sorry that was the way you interpreted it, and I will make an effort not to let my emotions take me over."

After the massacres in Jenin, I went to pro-Palestine protests near the Israeli embassy. At one protest, we were marching toward the Israeli embassy, and it got really heated. They were a group of young men and an older gentleman who was egging them on. They were throwing Israeli and American flags on the ground and stomping on them, wearing kaffiyehs wrapped around their faces with only a little slit for their eyes. I walked over and told them to stop. At first they looked at me like I was crazy. I said "you are playing into the stereotypes that painted us as barbaric. You have the power to be saying whatever you want and doing whatever you want to do, but the tactic you are using is making people not want to listen. Find other ways to make this powerful. Reach out to people who are standing on the sidelines, help them understand what your cause is." The young men started listening, but the older gentleman said "they" would never understand our cause, we have to let them know that we're angry. But the young men said, "yes, we need to find other ways."

I realized I had to speak out in other settings too. Al Farook Mosque, where I started, was vilified after 9/11. The media does full-page spreads when people are investigated, but when they're cleared, there's nothing. I was at a gathering in Park Slope, and one gentleman was afraid to walk past the mosque. I had to tell him that the mosque was cleared, that the FBI found nothing, that that was the place where I found my roots in Islam.

Debbie Almontaser is coordinator of external programs in conflict resolution and multicultural education in the Brooklyn Public Schools.

Voice of America

Copyright 2004 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.

November 25, 2004

Radio Scripts - TV FEATURE REPORT 11-00356

People of Coney Island Ave: Debbie Almontaser (Pt.4)

Larry Clamage


Coney Island, New York City

RESTRICTIONS: none

NARRATOR: none

CAMERA: Larry Clamadge

TAPE EDITOR: Dick Maniscalco

TAPE NUMBERS: 04-113; 04-268

TRT: 3:53

Additional AUDIO and VIDEO INFORMATION is located at the end of this script!

(EDS NOTE: THIS IS PART 4 OF A 4-PART SERIES ON THE CONEY ISLAND NEIGHBORHOOD OF NEW YORK CITY)

INTRODUCTION:

Members of an organization called We Are All Brooklyn, in that borough of New York City, work for peace and understanding among peoples and the diverse cultures of the Coney Island area. Producer Larry Clamage found one such individual, who brings people of all different faiths and cultures together through both her community activism and her professional career.

TEXT:

DEBBIE ALMONTASER

"My name is Debbie Almontaser. My family emigrated from Yemen to America when I was three years old. I am an educator as well as a community activist. The past five years, I've been residing in Midwood, Brooklyn, in the Coney Island Avenue area of Brooklyn-which is a very diverse community, you know, Christians, Jews, Pakistanis, Muslims, Indians, people from all over the world. After September 11th, this very diverse community had fallen apart.

"So, I left my job as a classroom teacher, took a leave of absence, and traveled across the city to do Islam sensitivity training; Arab culture training, as well as presentations at churches, synagogues, community based organizations[degrees] wherever there was a need. There was such animosity and fear, that it was important for me to help people understand who Arabs, Muslims and South Asians were.

"Looking at my own personal family, each and every one of us had this horrible thing called racism happen to us because we are Arab and Muslim. It affected us, my husband and I, but the way that it affected my children was much more. It was devastating for them to think that some of neighbors hated us so much. Not only did we feel hated, but we also felt fear.

"I remember it was September 18th, that I had to come into the city to go to CBS studios for a quick interview. And people on that train were looking at me[degrees] People would look at my hijab (headscarf) and look at the size of my bag and the way I'm holding it. It was just a very uncomfortable feeling to have all eyes on you, treating you like you're a criminal.

"And it was then that I realized that people, the first thing they see is a Muslim woman. They don't see a woman who had been here all her life, who is an American as apple pie. And it was very difficult for me to be seen in that light[degrees] that I'm recognized first for religious background rather than for an individual.

"The fear and the hysteria within our community also existed in our schools. There were a few family members of either teachers or parents who died on September 11th. The Arab and Muslim and South Asian communities really feared having their kids go to school.

"So, they kept their kids home for weeks on end. Children didn't understand who their peers were, only what they've heard and read about through the media. In the midst of all this I realize there was a great need to develop a sense of understanding within our schools to really better to treat them as peers rather than enemies or kids to fear.

"So, we were fortunate to get the Christian Children's Fund to pay me a part-time salary. I was able to work part-time and also do this work for free in our schools.

"I did this though a great deal of workshop with teachers and students as well as with families, were we looked at ourselves as individual and shared our one personal stories in order to understand and develop a sense of respect for the culture of the other.

Through this training, we broke these barriers, where we started to make people feel comfortable to be part of the bigger community. And out of this we organized interfaith events around issues of discrimination, bias, etc.

"And you know, those issues do come up of people feeling solidarity with Israel or people feeling solidarity with Palestinians -- but people are strong enough not to let their views be acted out in the U-S. They understand that they have a lot to lose.

"The Coney Island area is really a living testimony that people are working quite hard to accommodate their neighbors.

One perfect example is the peace walk-over two hundred people walking side-by-side together to bear witness that people of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim background can to co-exist in peace.

"To see this unique diversity and people being able to coexist in a community is quite amazing. People of all different faiths and cultures can live together. I think it's really beautiful."


New York Times (NY)

Copyright (c) 2004 The New York Times. All rights reserved.

March 28, 2004

Section: 13

FOR YOUNG VIEWERS; Awards Gala,Wash-and-Wear Optional

Kathryn Shattuck


Nickelodeon's 17th Annual Kids' Choice Awards television program will be hosted by Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz; photo (S)

* * *

Cultural Differences That Need to Be Aired

In "Keeping Faith: Muslim Kids in America," a "Nick News" special that has its premiere tonight at 8:30 on Nickelodeon, Linda Ellerbee, with the assistance of Debbie Almontaser, a New York educator on Muslim cultures, guides a roomful of young people through pointed questions about Islam and religious acceptance in general.

"What inspired me? Well, sadly, in order: Sept. 11, the continuing war in Iraq, the continuing war in Afghanistan, the continuing problems in the Middle East," Ms. Ellerbee said. "It just occurred to a lot of people that Muslim kids here were having a difficult time hanging onto their faith, faced with a very 21st-century country, as this one is in normal times, and that all of this added pressure had created unique situations for them. I thought it would be good for us to learn from them what their lives are like, and how not to make a bad situation worse for all of us."

"We had some girls that wouldn't dance, and some boys that did," she said of the children, who practiced their religion with varying degrees of orthodoxy. "Looking through their eyes is always surprising. I found some of the young Muslim girls very different from some American girls at that age. Their calmness, their comfort level with doing things that are different at that age, their maturity in dealing with their lives. I don't know that I could do that."

Photos (Photo by Nickelodeon)

___________________________________________________________________--


Newsday (USA)

Copyright © 2003 Newsday Inc. All rights reserved.

November 17, 2002

Post-9/11 Immigrant Treatment Protested

Joshua Robin. STAFF WRITER


About 200 people marched yesterday in lower Manhattan against the government's post-Sept. 11 treatment of immigrants, in a short-lived rally that quickly melted in the cold rain.

Wearing signs such as "Stand Against Racial Profiling," demonstrators sloshed from One Police Plaza about four blocks to the Jacob Javits Federal Plaza, chanting against detentions and deportations.

"What we are witnessing today, with the massive arrests throughout the country - this too is rooted in the same racist, insensitive policies that have governed this nation from the very beginning," said Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, deputy leader of the New York-based Muslim Alliance in North America.

According to attorney Norman Siegel, about 2,000 people nationwide are still behind bars, after they were first detained following Sept. 11. Siegel estimated about 20 to 30 are locked up in New York City, mostly on immigration charges.

"History tells us that silence equals approval, so a day like today where it's cold and it's raining, New Yorkers must speak out," Siegel said.

Protesters first targeted Police Plaza, alleging cops racially profile against immigrants from South Asia and the Middle East - a charge officials flatly deny.

The rally then moved to the Javits Plaza, where the New York offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service are based. Shortly after their arrival there, however, the crowd dwindled to about 35 - about the same number as the coffee-sipping cops who ringed the protest.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has defended his war on terrorism, saying last September that "our critics seem to think that business-as-usual, doing what was done before - and nothing more - would keep America safe from terrorists."

But speakers - representing several ethnicities - said rights are consistently violated.

"I've been discriminated against) a great deal," said Debbie Almontaser, a Brooklyn member of Justice for Detainees, who traces her lineage to Yemen. Before Sept. 11, Almontaser wore her hijab - head scarf - without problems. But now passersby "look at my face, and look at my head, and I can sense that people are thinking of things, and making connections of the fact that I'm Muslim, and that Islam has been connected to terrorism - so-called terrorism."

Newsday Photos/Viorel Florescu - 1) Protesters rally in front of Police Department headquarters in Manhattan, 2) carrying signs and calling for an end to racial profiling, which they say has worsened since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

New York Daily News

Copyright 2002 Daily News, L.P.

September 22, 2002

Section: SUBURBAN

MUSLIM POLICE OFFICERS UNITE

LESLIE CASIMIR DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


Brooklyn cop Rafet Awad has had to respond to many calls of suspicious-looking men lurking about the 70th precinct, up to no good.

"And when we would get to the location, the suspicious male is an Arab changing the tire on his car," said the 25-year-old rookie of Palestinian descent. "I would look at my partner and say 'God, people are just ridiculous.' "

A year after the terrorist attacks, many New York Muslim police officers say they have been forced to take on a tough new role: responding to public misconceptions about Muslims, allaying the fears of their cop-weary Muslim peers.

Last December, six local cops and correction officers formed the American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers Association - the first nonfraternal organization in the city, they say. And their goal is no small endeavor: to serve as a bridge between Muslims and the police.

"We have our work cut out for us," said Adil Almontaser, 28, president of the organization, which held its first community event at Al Noor School in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, last month. "Many Muslims fear law enforcement and can't even look at a cop in the eye. It is because of where many of them come from - you can't even speak to a cop in many of these countries."

1,200 detained

But the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, made many Muslims - especially immigrants - fearful of law enforcement in America. About 1,200 people have been arrested and detained in connection with the Sept. 11 investigation. Most were held on immigration violation charges and many were plucked from New York City neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn.

"We knew that before Sept. 11, a lot of people in the Muslim community didn't know how to navigate the criminal justice system, didn't know how to file a complaint or report simple quality-of-life issues," said member Stacey Salimah-Bell, who has been a correction officer for 15 years. "Now they are even more hesitant."

Members of the Muslim law enforcement association, now 60 members strong, say the terrorist attacks propelled them to organize and join the ranks of other minority law enforcement groups such as 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and the National Latino Officers Association.

They are a diverse group, hailing from the occupied Palestinian territories, Yemen, Pakistan and Egypt. There are African-American members, as well.

All share one thing in common: the desire to educate minorities of their civil rights. The members have been visiting the city's mosques to spread their message. But some Muslims have been hesitant to welcome them, believing that they are serving as spies for the police. Others say the group has been ineffective and has not done much to address the massive roundup of Muslim and Arab immigrants.

Monami Maulik, director of the Jackson Heights-based group Desis Rising Up and Moving, or DRUM, an organization that has been protesting the detention of Muslims, Arabs and South Asians, said the new police organization has been slow to address this matter.

"My hope is that they will do more whistleblowing - so much is happening in secret that needs to come out in the public," she said.

Debbie Almontaser, a Muslim activist from Yemen, said the organization needs to address even more basic needs, such as educating the police force about the communities' customs and beliefs.

"There is a great lack of understanding, a lack of respect, for our cultural and religious nuances," she said. "Hopefully, they will develop a voice of reason and help raise the community."

New York Times (NY)

Copyright (c) 2002 The New York Times. All rights reserved.

August 19, 2002

Section: B


For Muslims, an Uneasy Anniversary; Urge to Speak Out Conflicts With Low-Profile Instincts

DANIEL J. WAKIN


Many American Muslims feel Sept 11 anniversary has extra layer of meaning for them; some are fearful of backlash against Islamic community, while others are concerned that there is still so much unknown and misunderstood about what Islam is; Talib Abdur-Rashad, imam of New York's Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, contends Muslims were severely affected by attacks but are being vilified in media; photo (M)

One day next month, when all of New York is draped in commemoration, many of the city's Muslims will be grieving and seeking solace; but some Muslims say that on that day, Sept. 11, they will feel resentment.

Still others will fear an echo of anti-Muslim backlash. Some will look to prove they are good Americans. Others will bristle that such a thing should even be expected of them.

However they react, many Muslims feel that the day has an extra layer of meaning for them.

"The events were probably more traumatizing to us as a faith community than any other single faith community," said Talib Abdur-Rashid, imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem. "On the one hand, we were victimized just like other people," because, he said, "there were a lot of Muslims killed, and on the other hand we are being blamed and vilified in the media and attacked in the streets."

At the same time, he said, "The non-Muslim public in America still wants to know 'What is Islam?' 'Who are Muslims?' and 'What do you all feel about Sept. 11?' These events coming up are going to be yet another opportunity for us to just tell our non-Muslim neighbors how we feel and how we have been affected," said the imam, who plans to take part in an interfaith service on Sept. 10 at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Imam Abdur-Rashid acknowledged that many Muslim leaders were less than forceful in condemning the attacks. "We haven't had a lot to say about it," he said. "Now we see we do have a lot to say about it."

In the weeks before the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center, the atmosphere has been complicated by statements and actions that many Muslims find offensive. Among them are the North Carolina Legislature's efforts to block the use of public funds for the assigned reading of excerpts from the Koran at the University of North Carolina unless other religions receive equal time; and comments about Islam by Franklin Graham, the evangelist and son of Billy Graham, who said that Muslims had not apologized for the attacks sufficiently, that terrorism is part of mainstream Islam, and that the Koran "preaches violence."

"I'm getting the sense more and more every day we almost have to apologize for our religion," said Moushumi Khan, a lawyer in solo practice who has many Muslim clients. "It bothers me a great deal. I've lived in this country my entire life, and I consider myself an American," she said. "I don't want to have to prove I am a good Muslim."

As she spoke, on her way to the airport to depart on her honeymoon, Ms. Khan's words come out in a rush. "We as Muslims have not done a good job at explaining who we are. But does that mean now we have to have a rally on Sept. 11 and say 'We atone'?"

Reflecting the prickle of emotions felt by many Muslims, Ms. Khan worried out loud that such words would obscure her central emotion: the deep pain she feels for the deaths on Sept. 11.

"I care about people. There is no 'but' to what happened," she said. "But why am I put in this position of justifying myself?"

Other Muslims are concerned that their genuine wish for remembrance will be overlooked.

"My fear is playing into those stereotypes, that Muslims and Arabs are not seeing this as something very important or compelling," said Debbie Almontaser, a public school teacher. She is helping to organize a candlelight vigil in Washington Square Park and a candlelight march from Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn to the East River promenade on Sept. 11.

"This is an automatic instinct for me, as well as many Muslims, Arabs and South Asians, that this is something we need to do on a personal level, a spiritual level and a human level," she said. "We need to reflect on what happened, to question our fate as human beings. This is a very spiritual and deep thing for many people."

But other Muslims are afraid, Mrs. Almontaser said. At a discussion session for children working on a mural at the Muslim Youth Center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, this month, she said some of the young Muslims expressed anxiety about what the commemorations might provoke.

"They're hoping there aren't going to be flashbacks in the community, and hate crimes," she said.

Parts of the official face of Islam -- the large mosques and prominent imams -- are planning a wide range of events. Many have the same underlying motive, as if to say, "we belong."

"I think there is definitely a feeling in the community that we have to be part of the American scene and do our share," said Feisal Abdul Rauf, imam of the al-Farah mosque in Lower Manhattan and founder of the American Sufi Muslim Association.

Such an attitude is reflected in the efforts by Muslim lobbying groups. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a lobbying group in Washington, has issued guidelines on how mosques can plan a "day of unity and prayer."

Relatives of Muslim victims will speak about their experiences during a three-hour program on Sept. 8 at the Islamic Center of Long Island, in Westbury. The program will also focus on how Muslim doctors and rescue workers responded, and on the detention of many Muslim immigrants after the attacks.

"Wherever we go, we get asked, 'What have you guys done?' " said Dr. Faroque Khan, the center's spokesman. "It's an added burden."

The flagship of the metropolitan region's Muslim community, the Islamic Center of New York, with its grand and imposing mosque on East 96th Street, plans to mark Sept. 11 modestly. After noon prayers, the imam will deliver a special discourse recalling the event and emphasizing condemnation of terrorism, said Mohammed Abdullah Abulhasan, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United Nations and the center's chairman.

"The lesson of it is we should not tolerate any inhuman act," he said, "particularly using the pretext of Islam."

The imam, Omar Saleem Abu-Namous said he had received only one invitation to speak at an interfaith service commemorating the attack. That may have to do with a taint from anti-Semitic remarks attributed to his predecessor on a Web site after the attack. But Imam Abu-Namous disputed the suggestion, noting that he had received many speaking invitations in the months that followed.

And there are those Muslims who are keeping the anniversary at a distance. Abu Mu'aaz B. Khan, whose travel agency in Queens arranges pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia, said his interpretation of Islam rules out commemorations of past events.

He said he would not even be thinking about Sept. 11, 2001, a year later. "There are so many important events or tragedies that happen in Islam -- we don't even commemorate them or think about them except in our studies."

Over the purr of water pipes at the Egyptian Coffee Shop on Steinway Street in Astoria, a growing center of Arab and Islamic life, George Badra expressed the sentiment heard often after the attacks: the hijackers did not represent true Islam.

"I don't believe Muslim people did this," said Mr. Badra, a retired Egyptian police officer. "I am feeling sick this happened." So he will go to the al-Iman mosque, across the street, on Sept. 11 with the tragedy in mind. There, he said, "I will pray to God for all people."

At the next table, Hussein Mohammed, a nightclub security guard who is also from Egypt, said he might go into Manhattan on Sept. 11 "to be with the American people," adding, "It's a special day, for all people."

Photos: Worshipers gather for midday prayers at the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, in Harlem. Reaction among Muslims in New York to the approach of Sept. 11 ranged from concern about a backlash to a desire to join in commemorations. (Alan Chin for The New York Times)(pg. B1); Talib Abdur-Rashid, imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, said that Muslims were severely affected by the terrorist attacks. (Alan Chin for The New York Times)(pg. B5)

August 24, 2002, Saturday - An article on Monday about Muslim attitudes toward the coming anniversary of Sept. 11 gave an incomplete context for a quotation by Talib Abdur-Rashid, imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem. He was referring to terrorism in general, not exclusively to the attacks of Sept. 11, when he said of Muslim leaders: "We haven't had a lot to say about it. Now we have a lot to say about it." And he acknowledged only that some Muslim leaders -- not many -- were less than forceful in condemning the attacks.

MPAC did INS training at the Arab American Family Support Center: Feb 21 and Mar 21, 2003:

Arab-American Family Support Center was a co-sponsor of MAS event: [NOTE: At this time, the Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Omar Mohammedi, was also a CAIR-NY official]

American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers Association

Council on American Islamic Relations in NY (CAIR-NY)

Council of Pakistan Organization

Islamic Society of the New York City Fire Department

Muslim American Society

NYC Commission on Human Rights

NY Area Muslim Bar Association

The Arab-American Family Support Center

present a

MUSLIM UNITY FORUM

*Muslim Participation In American Society*

*Immigrant

Employment Rights*

*Citizenship and Naturalization*

*Your Right to City Services*

*Health*

*Education*

*public Safety*

*Social Services*

MAY 13, 2004

6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Muslim American Soc

[see JPEG of flyer on next page]

[CAIR-NY] RALLY AND MARCH AGAINST RACIAL PROFILING AND POLICE / INS TARGETING IMMIGRANTS

cair-ny-announce@pairlist.net cair-ny-announce@pairlist.net
Thu, 14 Nov 2002 07:08:37 EST

 
RALLY AND MARCH AGAINST RACIAL PROFILING AND POLICE / INS TARGETING
IMMIGRANTS
 
When:=A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 This Saturday, November 16, 1 to 3 pm
Where:=A0 =A0 Gather at One Police Plaza and March to INS, 26 Federal Plaza
Subways:=A0 =A0 4/5/6 & N/R to City Hall
 
(One Police Plaza is located just east of NYC Municipal Building, 1 Centre
Street.)
 
Before 9/11, people of color and immigrants were regularly stopped and
searched by police for no other reason than their race.=A0 Too often, racial profiling left people dead or horribly injured - people like Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima and Anthony Baez.=A0 Since 9/11, police have joined forces with INS to carry out an aggressive campaign of sweeps and raids specifically targeting Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities, resulting in the detention and deportation of hundreds of innocent persons who have no connection at all with terrorism.=A0 Targeting people based on race, ethnicity, nationality or religion is profiling.=A0 It's discriminatory, it'=s
unjust, it's against the law, and it must stop now!
 
We demand that the NYPD and INS end this abuse of power now.
 
=B7=A0 =A0 Stop racial profiling.=A0 It's against NYPD written policy, and i=
t=20
violates
the rights of citizens and immigrants alike.
=B7=A0 =A0 Stop targeting immigrants.=A0 The police should not be enforcing
immigration laws.
=B7=A0 =A0 Stop the detentions and deportations.=A0 They are destroying fami=
lies and
destroying lives.
=B7=A0 =A0 Stop police violence.=A0 The police are sworn to "serve and prote=
ct."
Instead, they are sowing fear among immigrants and people of color
throughout this city.
 
Let's start protecting the civil rights of everyone living in this city!
 
This demonstration is called by the 9/11 Coalition for Constitutional and
Human Rights, which was formed by concerned civil liberties, advocacy, and
activist organizations in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. If you wish
to get involved in this campaign or endorse this action contact:
 
911 Coalition: <mailto:ny911Coalition@hotmail.com> or 212-870-2002
Coalition Member: Saurav Sarkar, AALDEF
=A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 ssarkar@aaldef.org, 212-966-6030 x 203
 
9/11 Coalition for Constitutional and Human Rights
 
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, NY Chapter (ADC-NY)
Arab American Family Support Center
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Campaign Against Racial Profiling - American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHRI)
Coney Island Avenue Project
Council on American Islamic Relations, NY Chapter
Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM)
Freedom Legal Defense and Education Project
Human Right, Education and Law Project (HELP)
Interfaith Center of New York
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Justice for Detainees
Muslim Community Support Services Inc
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
New York Immigration Coalition
New York Taxi Workers Alliance
October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality
Refugee and Immigrant Fund
South Asians Against Police Brutality and Racism
United Immigrants of America
Women In Islam
 
Cosponsors (list in formation)
 
Al-Noor School: Brooklyn Ethical Cultural
Arab Association of New York
Beit Almaqdis
Brooklyn Parents for Peace
Buddhist Peace Fellowship, NY Chap.
Cabrini Immigrant Services
Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE)
Center for Economic and Social Rights
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, NY
Council of Pakistan Organization (COPO)
First Unitarian Congregation, Brooklyn
Freedom Socialist Party
International Asia Forum, New York
International Socialist Organization
Islamic Center of Bay Ridge
Islamic Mission of America
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)
Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives
Labor-Religious Coalition of Greater New York
Makki Mosque, Brooklyn
Muslim American Society, Bronx & Brooklyn Chaps.
Muslim Women Help Network
New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)
Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines (NISPOP)
Not in Our Name (NION)
Park Slope United Methodist Church
People's Organization for Progress, NJ
Prospect Lefferts Voices for Peace and Justice
Radical Women
Sakhi for South Asian Women
Solidarity USA
South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association of NY (SALGA)
South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!)
Student Liberation Action Movement/USG Hunter College
United Muslim Women's Association
United Muslims Against Homelessness
Young Korean-American Service & Education Center (YKASEC)
War Resisters League, Brooklyn/Manhattan Chapter
Women For Afghan Women
 
 
--part1_c1.2a327452.2b04ec45_boundary
Content-Type: text/html; charset="ISO-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
 
<HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=
=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0">RALLY AND MARCH AGAINST RACIAL PROFILING AND POLICE /=20=
INS TARGETING<BR>
IMMIGRANTS<BR>
<BR>
When:=A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 This Saturday, November 16, 1 to 3 pm<BR>
Where:=A0 =A0 Gather at One Police Plaza and March to INS, 26 Federal Plaza<=
BR>
Subways:=A0 =A0 4/5/6 &amp; N/R to City Hall<BR>
<BR>
(One Police Plaza is located just east of NYC Municipal Building, 1 Centre<B=
R>
Street.)<BR>
<BR>
Before 9/11, people of color and immigrants were regularly stopped and<BR>
searched by police for no other reason than their race.=A0 Too often, racial=
<BR>
profiling left people dead or horribly injured - people like Amadou Diallo,<=
BR>
Abner Louima and Anthony Baez.=A0 Since 9/11, police have joined forces with=
<BR>
INS to carry out an aggressive campaign of sweeps and raids specifically<BR>
targeting Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities, resulting in the<BR>
detention and deportation of hundreds of innocent persons who have no<BR>
connection at all with terrorism.=A0 Targeting people based on race,<BR>
ethnicity, nationality or religion is profiling.=A0 It's discriminatory, it'=
s<BR>
unjust, it's against the law, and it must stop now!<BR>
<BR>
We demand that the NYPD and INS end this abuse of power now.<BR>
<BR>
=B7=A0 =A0 Stop racial profiling.=A0 It's against NYPD written policy, and i=
t violates<BR>
the rights of citizens and immigrants alike.<BR>
=B7=A0 =A0 Stop targeting immigrants.=A0 The police should not be enforcing<=
BR>
immigration laws.<BR>
=B7=A0 =A0 Stop the detentions and deportations.=A0 They are destroying fami=
lies and<BR>
destroying lives.<BR>
=B7=A0 =A0 Stop police violence.=A0 The police are sworn to "serve and prote=
ct."<BR>
Instead, they are sowing fear among immigrants and people of color<BR>
throughout this city.<BR>
<BR>
Let's start protecting the civil rights of everyone living in this city!<BR>
<BR>
This demonstration is called by the 9/11 Coalition for Constitutional and<BR=
>
Human Rights, which was formed by concerned civil liberties, advocacy, and<B=
R>
activist organizations in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. If you wish<B=
R>
to get involved in this campaign or endorse this action contact:<BR>
<BR>
911 Coalition: &lt;mailto:ny911Coalition@hotmail.com&gt; or 212-870-2002<BR>
Coalition Member: Saurav Sarkar, AALDEF<BR>
=A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 ssarkar@aaldef.org, 212-966-6030 x 203<B=
R>
<BR>
9/11 Coalition for Constitutional and Human Rights<BR>
<BR>
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, NY Chapter (ADC-NY)<BR>
Arab American Family Support Center<BR>
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)<BR>
Campaign Against Racial Profiling - American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)<BR=
>
Center for Constitutional Rights<BR>
Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)<BR>
Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHRI)<BR>
Coney Island Avenue Project<BR>
Council on American Islamic Relations, NY Chapter<BR>
Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM)<BR>
Freedom Legal Defense and Education Project<BR>
Human Right, Education and Law Project (HELP)<BR>
Interfaith Center of New York<BR>
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)<BR>
Justice for Detainees<BR>
Muslim Community Support Services Inc<BR>
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)<BR>
New York Immigration Coalition<BR>
New York Taxi Workers Alliance<BR>
October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality<BR>
Refugee and Immigrant Fund<BR>
South Asians Against Police Brutality and Racism<BR>
United Immigrants of America<BR>
Women In Islam<BR>
<BR>
Cosponsors (list in formation)<BR>
<BR>
Al-Noor School: Brooklyn Ethical Cultural<BR>
Arab Association of New York<BR>
Beit Almaqdis<BR>
Brooklyn Parents for Peace<BR>
Buddhist Peace Fellowship, NY Chap.<BR>
Cabrini Immigrant Services<BR>
Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE)<BR>
Center for Economic and Social Rights<BR>
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, NY<BR>
Council of Pakistan Organization (COPO)<BR>
First Unitarian Congregation, Brooklyn<BR>
Freedom Socialist Party<BR>
International Asia Forum, New York<BR>
International Socialist Organization<BR>
Islamic Center of Bay Ridge<BR>
Islamic Mission of America<BR>
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)<BR>
Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives<BR>
Labor-Religious Coalition of Greater New York<BR>
Makki Mosque, Brooklyn<BR>
Muslim American Society, Bronx &amp; Brooklyn Chaps.<BR>
Muslim Women Help Network<BR>
New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)<BR>
Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines (NISPOP)<BR>
Not in Our Name (NION)<BR>
Park Slope United Methodist Church<BR>
People's Organization for Progress, NJ<BR>
Prospect Lefferts Voices for Peace and Justice<BR>
Radical Women<BR>
Sakhi for South Asian Women<BR>
Solidarity USA<BR>
South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association of NY (SALGA)<BR>
South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!)<BR>
Student Liberation Action Movement/USG Hunter College<BR>
United Muslim Women's Association<BR>
United Muslims Against Homelessness<BR>
Young Korean-American Service &amp; Education Center (YKASEC)<BR>
War Resisters League, Brooklyn/Manhattan Chapter<BR>
Women For Afghan Women<BR>
<BR>
</FONT></HTML>
--part1_c1.2a327452.2b04ec45_boundary--
 
 

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