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We support the Students for Justice in Palestine UMN

By Signatories Below, Engage Minnesota

palestineWhen Fadi Alloun became the second Palestinian teenager in as many days to be killed by Israel, the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) re-posted a report by Electronic Intifada on their Facebook page. For this they were attacked as supporters of terrorism and “disgusting.” As this is only the most recent of attacks on SJP, several organizations issued the following statement:

For months the world has watched as the racial violence in Palestine perpetrated by Israeli civilians escalates while the Israeli government refuses to hold accountable those responsible. The extrajudicial execution of Fadi Alloun is a recent example. No attempt was made to arrest Alloun; he was killed by the military urged on by a mob of Israeli settlers. Only after his killing was he accused of having perpetrated a knife attack on an Israeli Jew, as if an excuse was needed to kill him without due process.

The accusation is typical of a mentality that claims victimhood for the oppressors. The world is slowly waking up to Israel’s human rights violations.

Members of the SJP student group at the University of Minnesota are helping Minnesotans wake up and learn about these human rights violations. But as any human rights activist knows, exposing Israel’s human rights abuses and international law violations makes one vulnerable to accusations of anti-Semitism from pro-Israel advocates. These advocates, bankrolled by wealthy right-wing neo-cons like Shelden Adelson, spend millions attempting to silence advocates for human rights, especially advocates for Palestinian rights, and most especially those on campuses in the US.

Recently, the SJP became the target of some of these pro-Israel forces and has been on the receiving end of threats and accusations.

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Islamic Awareness Week: Creating Da’wah

By Lolla Mohammed Nur, Engage Minnesota

n511868635_450695_4233.jpgThere is little doubt that many Minnesotans misunderstand Islam and the Muslim community. Misconceptions of Islam, however, did not arise out of empty air; the actions of a radical few have led people to see Islam as a barbaric religion. Although the frustration of “radicals” may be understood, there certainly are more peaceful ways of expressing one’s Islamic beliefs to the non-Muslim community, namely through spreading knowledge (da’wah).

Islamic Awareness Week is an example of such peaceful expression. The week includes a range of activities, from a simulation of “flying while Muslim” to a lecture on “Science in Islam.” The 2008 event is set to take place March 31 through April 4, and is sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Muslim Student Association and Al-Madinah Cultural Center. Read the rest of this entry