Open Letter to Anti-War Movement from Muslims

The anti-war movement in the USA is at a very crucial point, with several vital issues up for discussion and debate. In an effort to promote this dialogue, Left Hook is reprinting this open letter to the anti-war movement from "the Arab-American and Muslim community."

An Open Letter from the Arab-American and Muslim Community to the US Anti-War Movement

Dear peace and justice organizations and activists,

On March 20, 2004, the world will mobilize against war and colonial occupations. The significance of this historic day is evident to all and requires no further elaboration. The political clarity and character of this mobilization in the US, however, remains illusive.

This is where our community stands:

In confronting war, the people of Palestine and Iraq have paid dearly. They stand against the imperial project shoulder to shoulder with communities of color and the working class in the United States, along with great many subjugated peoples around the globe - from Afghanistan to Colombia, and from the Philippines to Vieques, and on. Without a doubt, the Palestinian and Iraqi people are both welded together in an inextricable unity at the forefront of the global anti-war movement, transforming themselves as a whole as its embodiment and paying in its defense with the dearest of all - their very existence. Yet, despite every home destroyed, child murdered, acre confiscated and tree uprooted, town colonized and ethnically cleansed, wall built, refugee remaining nation-less, and incremental robbery of their self-determination, they remain the very antithetical formulation of empire and with a vision of justice for all.

In the United States, we, Arab-Americans and Muslims have been maliciously targeted, stripped of our rights, and positioned outside the constitutional framework of this country. A new COINTELPRO has been unleashed against our homes and living rooms, as our fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters are plucked away and thrown into unknown prison cells. Thus, in a continuum of history, we stand with African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and all others in the painful struggle for justice. From them all, we take our cue, for they are our predecessors and our partners in this long march.

Accordingly, we the undersigned hereby declare that:

1. We do not accept delinking the struggle of the Palestinian people from the anti-war movement, and regard the struggle in Palestine, as it is viewed worldwide, to be central to any peace and justice mobilization.

2. We insist that the Palestinian right to return and to self-determination are the key anchors of the Palestinian struggle, and that organizations that attempt to diminish, sidetrack, or abrogate these rights, regardless of any other position they may take on Palestine, are acting contrary to the will and aspiration of the Palestinian people.

3. We view all attempts to relegate our collective presence to the margin and to tokenize our participation in the movement to be racist in character. In its attempt to silence the Arab and Muslim voices for decades, particularly that of the Palestinian people, the movement in the US has stood alone in the global movement for justice. We see ourselves as full partners in leading the movement as signified in the heavy price we continue to pay along the way, and reject any attempt to objectify our presence.

4. We regard the positions that the "colonial occupation of Iraq must be internationalized", or that ending the occupation must be conducted over a period of time until the "Iraqis are able to secure their democracy", as implicitly colonial and racist. These are positions that are rooted in the construct of "manifest destiny" and the "white man's burden" to "civilize".

5. We call on our people everywhere to hold all organizations accountable to the positions they take, especially those that depict racist attitudes towards us, implicitly or otherwise, particularly those that tokenize and objectify our struggle. Any organization or movement that finds it acceptable to minimize or disregard for political expediency the struggle of any people should not be allowed to function within the global justice movement. Justice is neither selective, nor partial or conditional.

We are firm on these principles for the March 20th mobilization and beyond as we call on all communities and organizations to mobilize and stand in force under the following unifying five slogans:

1. End all colonial occupations from Iraq to Palestine to everywhere!

2. Bring the troops home NOW!

3. No to internationalizing colonial occupations!

4. Stop the attacks on civil liberties!

5. Money for jobs, education, and healthcare not for war!

As we salute and stand empowered with sectors of the movement that have taken a principled stand on justice, we seek to participate in the empowerment of all as we call for a genuine global united front against war.

All out on March 20, 2004!

192 signatory organizations:
(List is still in formation. To be included, please
write to:
1. Act to Stop War Coalition, Omaha, Nebraska
2. Alaskans for Peace & Justice
3. Al-Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition - Los Angeles
4. Al-Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition - San Diego
5. Al-Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition - San Francisco Bay Area
6. Al-Awda: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition - National
7. Al-Bireh Palestine Society, California Chapter
8. Al-Moharer
9. Al-Qalam Institute
10. American Muslim Voice
11. American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ)
12. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - Greater Philadelphia Chapter
13. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Greater Sacramento Area Chapter
14. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter
15. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
16. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Seattle Chapter
17. Americans for Justice in Palestine-Israel
18. Arab Cause Solidarity Committee
19. Arab Center of Washington - Seattle
20. Arab Muslim American Federation
21. Arab National Conference (ANC - Al-Mu'tamar Al-Qawmi Al-Arabi)
22. Arab-American Community Center, Chicago
23. Arab-American Cultural Forum, Chicago, IL
24. Arab-American Forum, New Hampshire
25. Arab-American Press Guild
26. Arab-Palestine Association, BC, Canada
27. Arabs Building Community, SF Bay Area
28. ARA-LA/People Against Racist Terror
29. Asians 4 Jericho/Mumia
30. Bay Area United Against War (BAUAW)
32. Bend-Condega Friendship Project
33. Berkeley Women in Black
34. Black Coalition Against the War
35. Break the Silence Mural Project
36. Cafe Intifada
37. Campaign Against Occupation and for the
Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI)
38. Canada-Palestine Association
39. Canada-Palestine Friendship Society
40. Canadian Arab Federation
41. Charlotte Fellowship of Reconciliation
42. Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism (CCAWR)
43. Citizens for Fair Legislation
44. Citoyen Français Contre le Sionisme, France
45. Coalition for Equity-Restorative Justice
46. Coalition of Community Organizations (COCO), Del
47. Committee Against the U$ Empire (the CAU$E), St. Louis, MO
48. Committee for Democratic Palestine - Canada 49. Committee for Justice - USA
50. Comunidad Chileno-Palestina
51. Deir Yassin Society of New York
52. Divestment Resource Center
53. DuPage Against War Now
54. Filipino Workers Organizing Committee (FWAC), Seattle, WA
55. Florida Palestine Solidarity Network
56. Free Ahmad Sa'adat Campaign
57. Free Palestine Alliance - USA (FPA)
58. Freedom Socialist Party
59. Friends of Ghassan Kanafani, Toronto Chapter
60. Global Peace
61. Hammerhard MediaWorks, Chicago
62. Harlem Fight Back, New York City
63. Harlem Tenants Council
64. Hawaii Committee for a Free Palestine
65. Houston Coalition for Justice Not War
66. Incorruptible Media of Long Island
67. International A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition
68. International Solidarity Movement - Chicago chapter
69. International Solidarity Movement - Palestine
70. International South Asia Forum (INSAF), Montreal, QC, Canada
71. Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America (IRSCNA)
72. Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP)
73. Islamic Political Party of America (IPPA)
74. Jewish Voices Against the Occupation - Seattle
75. Jews Against Zionism
76. Jews for a Free Palestine
77. Justice for Palestinians
78. Kana'an Review
79. LAGAI -- Queer Insurrection
80. Land Minds Not Landmines
81. Louisville Committee for Peace in the Middle East, Kentucky
82. Louisville Committee For Peace in the Middle East/ISM Chapter
83. Mahina Movement, New York City
84. Marin Center for Peace and Justice, San Rafael, California
85. Masjid Al Qur'an of Philadelphia
86. Mexico Solidarity Network
87. Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA)
88. Middle Eastern Student Association of Loyola, University Chicago
89. Mideast: Just Peace, Northern Michigan
90. Midwest Unrest
91. Minority eXperience Network
92. Morton County Citizens for Responsible Government 93. Mother Seed
94. Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MAS Freedom Foundation) 95. Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA-National)
96. Muslim Students Association, California State University, Sacramento
97. Muslim Students Association, University of California, Davis
98. Muslim Voices for Justice & Peace, Mt. Rainier, Md
99. National Council of Arab Americans (NCAA)
100. Nebraskans for Justice in Palestine
101. New Jersey Solidarity - Activists for the Liberation of Palestine
102. Niagara Coalition for Peace
103. Nicaragua Network
104. No One Is Illegal-Vancouver
105. Northwest Suburban SUSTAIN - Chicago
106. Omega First Inc.
107. One World Society, University College Cork
108. Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
109. Palestine Community Center - Vancouver, Canada
110. Palestine House Educational and Cultural Center, Canada
111. Palestine Labor Support Committee, USA/Canada
112. Palestine Right of Return Congress - USA
113. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Los Angeles
114. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Pittsburgh
115. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Seattle
116. Palestine Solidarity Committee, Wisconsin
117. Palestine Solidarity Group - Chicago
118. Palestine Solidarity Group - Vancouver
119. Palestine/Israel for Peace and Justice Alliance
120. Palestinian American Congress
121. Palestinian American Women's Association (PAWA)
122. Palestinian Rights Committee, Albany, NY
123. Pan Arab Union For Peace
124. Partnership for Civil Justice
125. Pax Christi - Palm Beach
126. Peninsula Peace & Justice Center
127. Peoples Video Network
128. Philadelphia Committee to Free the Five
129. Poets for Peace - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
130. Progressive Workers Organizing Committee, Houston-Galveston, Texas
131. Pueblo Insurgente, Republica Bolivariana De Venezuela
132. PUSO Philippine-U.S. Solidarity Organization, Seattle, Washington
133. Queers For Peace And Justice
134. Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT)
135. Radical Women
136. Resident Peaceniks, Western Washington
137. Riverside Area Peace and Justice Action, California
138. S.U.S.T.A.I.N, Washington, DC
139. S.U.S.T.A.I.N. (Stop U.S. Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now!), L.A./Orange County
140. Sacred Heart Province JPIC Concerns, Countryside, IL
141. Sacred Roots
142. San Francisco Bay Area Palestine Coalition
143. Socialist Arab Coalition in North America
144. SOL Foundation
145. Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
146. Solidarity International
147. SOS Iraq
148. South Asian League of Artists in America (SALAAM)
149. South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
150. Students for Justice in Palestine, Bloomington, IN
151. Students for Justice in Palestine, California State University, Sacramento
152. Students for Justice in Palestine, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
153. Students for Justice in Palestine, University of California, Davis
154. Students for Justice in Palestine, University of Minnesota
155. Students for Justice in Palestine, Washington, DC (American University)
156. Students for Social Justice, Chicago
157. Students Organizing for Social Justice at Sarah
Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
158. The 8th Day Center for Justice Staff
159. The Adelaide Institute
160. The
161. The All India Peoples Resistance Forum (AIPRF)
162. The Canadian Palestinian Foundation in Montreal, Canada
163. The Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Québec in Montréal
164. The Chabot College Advocates for Peace, Equality and Social Change (APESC)
165. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR - LA Chapter
166. The Federation of Irish Republican Socialist Committees Abroad (FIRSCA)
167. The Independent Anglo-Catholic Church of America
168. The International Action Center
169. The Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)
170. The Islamic Egyptian Soc. of N.S.W.
171. The Knights of the Socially Conscious, Michigan
172. The Middle East and North African Student
Association, North Carolina State University
173. The Roots International
174. The Santa Fe Research Roundtable
175. The Savage Rose
176. The United Muslim Association of High Schools Club
177. The Writing Empowerment Project
178. Third World Forum
179. Tri-Taylor Neighbors for Peace, Chicago
180. Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, Minnesota
181. U.S. Citizens Against the War, Florence, Italy
182. Union of Palestinian American Women
183. US-Japan-China Comparative Policy Research
184. Vermonters for Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
185. Vets Against War, Asheville, NC
186. We the People, Del
187. Women In Black - San Francisco, California
188. World Constitution & Parliament Association (WCPA)
South African Movement in Solidarity:
1. Anti-War Coalition - South Africa (representing 70
social movements and civil society organizations)
2. Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa
3. Palestine Solidarity Committee, South Africa
4. Friends of Al-Aqsa, Cape Town, South Africa

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