Tag Archives: Jerusalem

Omar Suleiman and the vile propaganda and incitement from American Muslims for Palestine

Almost two years ago, I noticed the group “American Muslims for Palestine” (AMP) thanks to their ardent support for convicted Palestinian terrorist and US immigration fraudster Rasmea Odeh. I didn’t cross-post the piece I wrote back then, but will do so now (see below) because the group has once again come to my attention, this time due to the support it has been getting from Omar Suleiman, a prominent American-Palestinian imam about whom I’ve written before (here and here and here).

Suleiman has recently been again in the news after he was invited to give a prayer in Congress; soon afterwards, the information I documented about his intense hatred for Israel was apparently unearthed and led to a controversy. Needless to say, Suleiman rejected the criticism as unfair and even claimed to fiercely oppose antisemitism. 

I plan to explain why I don’t think Suleiman’s claims and perfunctory expressions of vague remorse are all that trustworthy. While I have a hopefully soon to be published op-ed pending (now available here), I have much more material than I could present in the op-ed; therefore, I will also post some updates like this one, which focuses on Suleiman’s recent collaboration with AMP. 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) profiled AMP in a report that includes activities up to 2014/15 and describes the group as “the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organizations in the country. Founded in 2005, AMP promotes extreme anti-Israel views and has at times provided a platform for anti-Semitism under the guise of educating Americans about ‘the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination.’” 

The ADL report also notes that “AMP has its organizational roots in the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an anti-Semitic group that served as the main propaganda arm for Hamas in the United States until it was dissolved in 2004. Since its creation in 2005, AMP continues to work closely with some former IAP leaders who currently hold positions as AMP board members.”

Yet I found that in December 2017, Suleiman joined an AMP demonstration in front of the White House “in protest of Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.” This protest was held immediately after President Trump’s declaration that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there. Suleiman reacted to the announcement by posting an image of the Al-Aqsa mosque and tweeting: “Your embassy is as illegitimate as the occupation it seeks to legitimize.” #FreePalestine#Jerusalem

Later in December 2017, Suleiman wrote a fundraising appeal for AMP, describing the group as “a leader in the fight for justice in Palestine” and as “the only Muslim organization in the U.S. working exclusively on the issue of Palestinian rights.” Echoing his previous falsifications of history, Suleiman claimed that “Jerusalem historically has been a place of safety for people of all faiths,” and after emphasizing the special holiness of the city for Muslims, he asserted: “Palestine is a place from which many of us draw our history, and it is incumbent upon us to protect its sanctity and its native inhabitants who are being ethnically cleansed and their identity erased.”

Suleiman ended his appeal by admonishing his Muslim readers: “Resisting injustice and oppression is an integral part of our obligations toward God and humanity.”

[An archived copy of this text is here.] 

In late November of last year, Suleiman announced that he was on his way to attend an AMP convention. When you click on the attached image, you can see the poster advertising the AMP gathering.  The poster referred to Israel’s establishment in 1948 with the statement “70 YEARS LATER COMMITTED TO RETURN;” the demand was also presented visually by figures carrying Palestinian flags and walking towards a gate shaped in the outline of the area between the Jordan river and the sea, and leading to the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. AMP thus left no doubt that their conference advocated the elimination of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state from the river to the sea. 

A month later, Suleiman once again wrote a fundraising appeal for AMP, this time railing against “ridiculous and illegal” efforts to pass laws combating discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns targeting Israel. The text was illustrated with a photo of Suleiman speaking at the AMP conference in November in front of the poster advertising the conference.

[Archived here]

This clearly shows that less than half a year before Suleiman was invited to lead Congress in a prayer, he was agitating for BDS in co-operation with a radical group that rejects Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. 

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Here is what I wrote about AMP two years ago:

The vile propaganda and incitement from American Muslims for Palestine

Maybe I’m late, but I recently discovered “American Muslims for Palestine” (AMP) It’s not a particularly prominent organization: it was founded in 2006; its Twitter account has some 6,600 followers, while the Facebook page – which describes the outfit as a “Public & Government Service in Falls Church, Virginia” – has some 15K followers. I’d love to know which government is behind this “service”…

In any case, the main “service” offered at the time of this writing is a frantic effort on Twitter to promote the hashtag #HonorRasmea in support of convicted supermarket bomber and US immigration fraudster Rasmea Odeh. I have to confess that it strikes me as not terribly prudent when groups that surely oppose restrictions on Muslim immigration to the US cheer a convicted terrorist like Odeh – though I guess the Trump administration will only be too happy to have this kind of opponents.

Consider this tweet: “If more people were like her, we would live in a more just world #HonorRasmea and come to her farewell.” Yeah, if more people bombed supermarkets full of Jewish shoppers and then sneaked into the US by lying about their terrorist past, it would be really great, wouldn’t it.

Another “service” provided recently by AMP was a demonstration with “Friday prayers outside Israeli embassy;” the demonstrators were mobilized with the blatant lie “AQSA UNDER ATTACK” – with “Aqsa” referring to the entire Temple Mount.

Just how low AMP will go is nicely illustrated in a slideshow that is featured on the group’s website under the title “Jerusalem in the crosshairs.” 

We learn that it all started in December 1917, when the British marched into Jerusalem, “ending hundreds of years of Ottoman rule of Jerusalem, ushering in an era of colonization and dispossession. Despite Palestinians’ best efforts, the Judaization of Jerusalem has been ongoing since this period and exacerbated after the June 1967 war.” 

Right – who wouldn’t be sentimental about the good old days of “Ottoman rule of Jerusalem,” when the city became the ‘backwater of a dying empire’ – but at least non-Muslims “lived under numerous restrictions” and were “subject to special taxes” that had to be paid “both to the Turks and the local Moslem authorities.” Glorious!!!

And naturally, when such glorious times end and non-Muslims, especially Jews, are no longer treated as second- or third-class citizens, rampant “Judaization” sets in. Horrific!!!

The slides are full of distortions and outright lies, which are all too obviously meant to incite and justify Muslim rage and terrorism. 

The slide for June 7, 1967 is entitled: “Israeli forces occupy Al Aqsa;” the text mentions the raising of the Israeli flag on the Dome of the Rock – but not that the flag was quickly taken down; it also claims that Israeli soldiers “burned the Quran,” prevented worshippers from praying and confiscated the keys. Needless to say, there is no slide explaining that, in a concession that may have no precedent in history, Israel quickly handed control of Judaism’s holiest site back to the Muslim Wakf. 

The intentionally misleading use of “Al Aqsa” for all of the Temple Mount in many of the slides clearly serves to add fuel to the fires of religious passions; one example is the slide for January 28, 1976, which asserts: “Israeli Supreme Court rules that Jews have the right to pray in Al Aqsa.” The next slide claims that “Members of the extremist Temple Mount movement storm Al Aqsa and raise the Israeli flag with the Torah.” The accompanying image is taken from a 2015 Daily Mail article about renovations at the Dome of the Rock and shows the shrine with two regular Israeli flags (without Torah!!!) in the foreground, i.e. clearly not on the Temple Mount, let alone the Al Aqsa mosque. 

No less vile than the incitement propagated by AMP are the justifications offered for the murderous Al Aqsa intifada and the more recent “stabbing intifada.”

Since American Muslims for Palestine prominently emphasize that they want “to educate the American public and media about issues related to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage,” it’s a pity that the historic Palestinian leader who clearly inspires their efforts gets no mention in the slideshow. But at least Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas knows how to honor this important Palestinian hero: he has repeatedly paid homage to Haj Amin al-Husseini (a.k.a. “Hitler’s Mufti”), praising him for having “sponsored the struggle from the beginning.”

Global March to Jerusalem: denying Jewish rights and history

Last week, a panel devoted to the question of Jerusalem’s importance to Muslims highlighted a few politically incorrect truths: from the days of Islam’s founder Muhammad, Muslims have been “raising or lowering Jerusalem’s importance in accordance with [their] political concerns.” As a matter of fact, the city that has been holy to Jews for millennia is not mentioned even once in the Koran.

But while Muhammad decided to downgrade Jerusalem’s importance for the followers of his newly established faith when his hopes to be accepted as a prophet by the Jews of what is now Saudi Arabia proved futile, Ayatollah Khomeini concluded that the chances to export his “Islamic revolution” beyond Iran would greatly benefit from efforts to rally all Muslims – whether Shiites or Sunnis – around the city that the re-established Jewish state had re-united in 1967. Khomeini lost no time, and in August 1979, shortly after taking power, he called on “Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al-Quds Day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine.” Khomeini also expressed his hopes “for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels.”

Some ten years later, during the First Intifada in January 1988, the Jerusalem Committee of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference found it useful to follow suit and decided that “Quds Day” should be commemorated in public events throughout the Arab world.

By now, many in the Western media have dutifully taken to describing Jerusalem as Islam’s “third holiest city” – while mentioning Jerusalem’s status in Judaism and Christianity is somehow less popular…

To take matters a bit further, there are now efforts to popularize the rather ridiculous concept of the “Judaization” of Jerusalem. A recent conference on Jerusalem in Qatar ended with a (not entirely coherent) declaration that invokes this notion repeatedly.

Yet another effort to protest the “Judaization” of Judaism’s millenia-old spiritual capital is being planned for the end of this month, when activists hope to mobilize one million people to set out from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt to storm Israel’s borders and march on to Jerusalem.  Thanks to a great initiative by Cif Watch, all the relevant information about this planned “Global March to Jerusalem” (GMJ) is available on a special website.

The most recent post on the site’s blog provides a good idea about the people behind the planned march: as explained there, the official GMJ website has sided with Gaza’s terrorists by issuing a condemnation of what it termed “criminal Israeli assassinations of Gaza civilians.” Referring to the recent events in Gaza, the GMJ website declared:

 “We, the Global March to Jerusalem, condemn the Zionist campaign of killing Palestinian citizens and imprisoning the Palestinians of Gaza in an open-air prison, just as we condemn the continued occupation of Palestinian land and the intentional destruction and Judaisation of Jerusalem, as well as all of historic Palestine.”

Another recent post provides a comprehensive background paper originally published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. In addition to lots of interesting information on the already mentioned Qatar conference on Jerusalem and other relevant issues, you can find there gems like this declaration by the European Preparatory Committee for the Global March to Jerusalem:

“We say no to Zionism; and to an exclusive Jewish colonial state, which reacts to the legitimate struggle of the indigenous Palestinian people with the expansion of its Apartheid rule.”

It may sound like a lot of pathetic sloganeering, but the intent of the people who put so much energy into organizing this “Global March to Jerusalem” is clear enough: to “de-Judaize” Jerusalem and the Jewish state. And yes, we live in a time when such an odious idea attracts a lot of enthusiastic support – and very little official condemnation.

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Cross-posted from my JPost blog.

Addendum:

Here’s a great clip of an Al Jazeera interview where Professor Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University gets accused of rewriting the Koran because he points out to the interviewer that Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran.