December 27, 2011

"Muslim author carries a universal message"

Intelligencer editorial, December 27, 2011:
Muslim author carries a universal message

Lisa Abdelsalam was born in Lansdale, graduated from North Penn High School and became an author. She was scheduled to talk about her writing and publishing experiences to several classes at A.M. Kulp Elementary School in Hatfield earlier this month. She’s made such visits to other schools in the North Penn School District.

Her latest visit was canceled, however, when a few parents objected to her program and threatened to bring in an outside group to protest.

The principal at the school, Erik Huebner, told Abdelsalam she was welcome just the same. But in order to spare the young students from what might have been an unpleasant scene, the two of them decided it would be better if she didn’t come.

And perhaps prejudice claimed yet another victim.

October 26, 2011

Glenn Greenwald's new book released

Buy Glenn Greenwald's new book: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. Here's what he says about it in Salon tonight:
The book focuses on what I began realizing several years ago is the crucial theme tying together most of the topics I write about: America’s two-tiered justice system – specifically, the way political and financial elites are now vested with virtually absolute immunity from the rule of law even when they are caught committing egregious crimes, while ordinary Americans are subjected to the world’s largest and one of its harshest and most merciless penal states even for trivial offenses. As a result, law has been completely perverted from what it was intended to be – the guarantor of an equal playing field which would legitimize outcome inequalities – into its precise antithesis: a weapon used by the most powerful to protect their ill-gotten gains, strengthen their unearned prerogatives, and ensure ever-expanding opportunity inequality. . . .

October 14, 2011

Mosque invites public

"Lower Makefield: Mosque invites public to discussion of Islamic holy days"
By Joan Hellyer, Bucks County Courier Times, October 14, 2011
Members of the Zubaida Foundation are inviting people of all backgrounds to their mosque in Lower Makefield on Sunday afternoon to examine and discuss what is common between religious faiths, an organizer said.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have the same roots in Abraham, said Brother Mohammed Husain, a foundation member and organizer of the free event, which includes a discussion and lunch.

The ties to Abraham will serve as a focal point, he said.

“If you want people to understand each other, you have to explore what is common between them,” Husain said. “We have to sit down at the same table to get to know each other and then maybe some of the stereotypes will go away. We will be in a little better condition and maybe we will be able to trust each other.”

September 20, 2011

Letter to the Editor of the Intelligencer, 9/21/11

To the Editor:

Nothing has brought me closer to canceling our subscription to the Intelligencer than reading the venomous, error-filled hate speech you chose to publish entitled "No guilty feelings for treatment of Muslims." What were you thinking? You owe the Muslim community and your readers an apology.

Barbara Glassman

July 19, 2011

Palestine and the Arab Spring

Philly Against War forum with Vijay Prashad
Saturday, July 23, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Tabernacle Church, 3700 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
FLYER (location subject to change)

Dr. Prashad will speak about Palestine and how it relates to the revolutions in North Africa and across the Arab world.
Dr. Vijay Prashad, Professor of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT; author most recently of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World; regular featured guest on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.

May 16, 2011

Letter to the Editor re torture debate

That there is a torture debate in this country to be revived by bin Laden's killing is itself a measure of how far we have strayed from the wisdom and values of our founders. But the Cheneys must be answered.

Is it any wonder that the Pakistanis would hesitate to subject bin Laden's widows to a nation that has abused, tortured and indefinitely detained even those it knew to be innocent of any connection to terror? Should we be surprised that other countries would refrain from sharing intelligence with us? Should we expect people with knowledge of possible plots to come forward and tell us what they know when there is the possibility of their ending up at Guantanamo? How much sooner would we have learned the real name of bin Laden's courier if we were not known for our cruelty to detainees?

June is Torture Awareness Month. It's never too early to raise these issues.

Barbara Glassman

April 06, 2011

Grieving Palestinians & Israelis work for peace

On Radio Times, WHYY/NPR, April 6, 2011:
The Parents Circle – Families Forum is an organization of bereaved families on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle who are becoming a powerful force for peace there. Ali Abu Awwad is a Palestinian nonviolence activist who knows about loss: shot in the leg by an Israeli settler, he returned from a lengthy treatment to find that his brother Yusef had been killed by an Israeli soldier. So too has the life of Yuval Rahamim been touched by tragedy: His father was killed fighting for Israel in 1967’s Six Day War, and his desire for revenge led him up the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces, until his subsequent life and family convinced him that the tragedies, killings, and hate on both sides must stop and that he needed to play an active role in it. Together they are part of a group of 500 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost close family members and who work together for reconciliation and a just resolution to the conflict. They spoke at Villanova yesterday on a Catholic Relief Services-sponsored tour, and they're our guests today in our studio.

March 10, 2011

Letter to the Editor re PFC Bradley Manning

While claiming we were fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq in the cause of "freedom," President Bush and now Obama have used the War on Terror to drastically curtail our fundamental rights as American citizens. The slippery slope of torture for terrorists has brought us to the point where an American serviceman can be humiliated by our government with forced nudity and held in solitary confinement for months on end and where's the outrage? Imagine the outcry if PFC Bradley Manning were subjected to this abuse as a prisoner in a foreign country. Yet we've been conditioned to meekly accept such treatment of our own in the name of "security." As Ben Franklin warned, those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither.

Barbara Glassman

March 04, 2011

I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey...

On Radio Times, WHYY/NPR, March 3, 2011:
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish lost three of his daughters and his niece to a shell launched at his apartment in Gaza by Israeli Defense Forces in January 2009, while another daughter was critically injured. Moments later, Israeli TV viewers heard the desperate wails of Dr. Abuelaish live, as he called his TV correspondent friend for help finding an ambulance. Dr. Abuelaish had been providing frequent reports about the Gaza war for Israeli TV, as he was one of the few Hebrew speakers in Gaza. His Hebrew enabled him to work as an obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in infertility in Israeli hospitals, crossing checkpoints every day to go to work. And Dr. Abuelaish, despite his tragic loss, continues to cross barriers, overcoming grief to become an inspiring advocate for peace for people of many faiths. He created Daughters for Life in his daughters’ memory, a foundation dedicated to providing education and health services to women and girls throughout the Middle East. His new book is I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity.

February 10, 2011

Anti-torture protest at Rumsfeld's book tour launch

There were actually seven of us in total demonstrating at the Constitution Center last night. Thanks to Peter Crimmins of WHYY for the photo and story, as well as Jan Ransom of the Philadelphia Daily News for her coverage. Thanks most of all to Barbara Quintiliano of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture for organizing the protest. Will Bunch has a fine account of the event inside.

Reading Naomi Klein's article in the Nation "Goldstone's Legacy for Israel" on the train into Philadelphia, I was struck by this paragraph:
Goldstone’s contribution to building South Africa’s first multiracial democracy eventually took him to the international arena, where he sought justice for war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide as chief prosecutor of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. It was here that Goldstone began to dedicate his life to the post-Holocaust pledge of “never again”—never again to anyone. “If future perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious war crimes are brought to justice and appropriately punished,” he wrote in a 2001 essay, “then the millions of innocent victims who perished in the Holocaust will not have died in vain. Their memory will remain alive and they will be remembered when future war criminals are brought to justice. And, it is certainly not too much to hope that efficient justice will also serve to deter war crimes in the future and so protect the untold numbers of potential victims.” The judge was always clear that this quest for justice was deeply informed by his Jewishness. “Because of our history, I find it difficult to understand how any Jew wouldn’t instinctively be against any form of discrimination,” he told the Jerusalem Report in 2000.

I'm not Jewish, just married into a Jewish family. I'm a first-generation German-American, and the legacy of my father's homeland informs me too.

January 07, 2011