About Me

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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Time to challenge political hypocrisy about and in the M.E.

Iraqi rulers: You are political hypocrites if you oppose Baath's repression in Iraq, but support it in Syria. 

Arab Nationalists and leftists: You are political hypocrites if you oppose brutal repression by Israel, but defend it in Syria.

Iranian and Hizbollah leaders: You are political hypocrites if you support freedom and justice in Bahrain, but oppose it in Syria.

Fellow Sunnis: You are political hypocrites if you support freedom and justice in Syria, but oppose it in Bahrain.

Fellow Westerners: You are political hypocrites if you support freedom and democracy in Libya, but fund occupation and apartheid by Israel.

Fellow Muslims: We are political hypocrites if we speak against Islamophobia, but not sufficiently challenge our own fanatics.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lowe's faces backlash over pulling ads from 'All-American Muslim'

Lowe's faces backlash over pulling ads from 'All-American Muslim'

Home improvement giant Lowe's Cos. continues to come under heavy criticism from activists, some politicians and customers after pulling its ads from a reality TV show featuring Muslim Americans.

The North Carolina company decided to stop advertising on the show "All-American Muslim," on Discovery Communications Inc.'s TLC channel, after complaints by the Florida Family Assn., a conservative Christian group that lobbies companies to promote "traditional, biblical values."

The association praised the move, but the decision sparked immediate backlash. State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) called the move "bigoted, shameful, and un-American." A petition on SignOn.org that calls on companies to keep advertising on the show has gathered more than 13,000 signatures. Activist and actress Mia Farrow joined the battle in a Twitter post and urged a boycott of Lowe's.

In its defense, Lowe's spokeswoman Karen Cobb said the company had a "long-standing commitment" to diversity and pulled the ads only after the show became "a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives." Other companies had also removed their ads from the show, she wrote in an email.

"All-American Muslim," which premiered last month, follows the day-to-day lives of five Muslim American families in Dearborn, Mich., a suburb of Detroit with a large Muslim population. Cast members talk about how their faith affects their actions and choices.

The conservative Christian group, based in Tampa, Fla., called the show "propaganda" that "hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values." The organization began an email campaign urging companies to yank their advertising off the show. The group did not respond to an email Monday requesting comment on the reaction to its effort.

Laurie Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the Discovery Network and TLC Network, declined to comment on whether any companies besides Lowe's had pulled their ads. "We stand behind the show 'All-American Muslim,' and we're happy the show has strong advertising support," she wrote in an email.

In a letter, Lieu, the state senator, urged Lowe's to reverse its decision and apologize to Muslim Americans.

"The show is basically about Americans who happen to be Muslim," Lieu said in an interview. "For Lowe's to say that the show is dangerous, or agree that it's dangerous or somehow showing anything other than American Muslims as normal, is quite outrageous."

Lieu said he would consider urging a boycott and drafting a legislative resolution denouncing the company's actions. He said he would give Lowe's until Friday to respond.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim American elected to Congress, issued a statement condemning Lowe's for deciding to "uphold the beliefs of a fringe hate group and not the creed of the 1st Amendment."

At a Lowe's store in Burbank, some customers expressed opposition to the retailer's actions.

"It's pretty ridiculous," said Nate Childress, 28, of North Hollywood. "The show has a great concept, and it's showing a different view of Muslims than what's constantly blasted at us in the U.S."

Childress said that even if the company had a "knee-jerk reaction" to the conservative group, that doesn't excuse its actions. "That just frustrates me, that a company would actually be afraid to advertise on a show about Muslims that aren't terrorists," he said.

Bob Clendenin of Burbank echoed that sentiment. "It just sounds like bigotry," said the 47-year-old actor. "When a company takes a stand like that, that just makes me angry."

He said he would boycott the chain until Lowe's reinstated its ads and apologized.

The broader Muslim American community is also considering taking action, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Muslim community leaders and interfaith groups were meeting to discuss boycotts, petitions, rallies and other forms of protest against Lowe's, he said.

"Hate groups are entitled to their bigotry — that is the beauty of America, people have the right to their own opinions," Ayloush said. "However, when a large corporation takes their side or caves in to the requests of hate groups, that is of concern."

Ayloush wondered what the public reaction would have been if a company had yanked its ads from certain now-classic programs.

"Imagine if Lowe's had decided many years ago to pull out its ads from shows like 'The Cosby Show' or 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' or 'Seinfeld' because they were deemed to portray African Americans and Jews as normal people," he said. "The American public would have been outraged by any corporation who did that."


Newt Gingrich may be able to occupy Palestine, but Israel can't

Haaretz, 12/13/2011
By Bradley Burston

Mr. Speaker, if for the sake of Jesus and the Resurrection, you want the territories to stay occupied forever, you and your Christian Zionist allies will have to do some homework before Inauguration Day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From his grave, Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish responds to Newt Gingrich's anti-Palestinian bigotry

Long before Newt Gingrich made his repeated bigoted statements that the Palestinian people are an "invented" people, renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish wrote two poems challenging this hateful genocidal rhetoric against the Palestinian people, their identity, their heritage, and their future.

Newt Gingrich is not the first nor is going to be the last person to engage in such Nazi-like revisionism that attempts to deny a people their existence, past, and dignity. As if robbing a people of their homes, land, freedom, and rights is not sufficiently immoral, Newt Gingrich and those who share his views want to intensify it  with an assault on their past and memories.

Mahmoud Darwish responded to the similar racist Israeli campaigns to erase the Palestinian identity and culture through his poems. The world lost this genius on Saturday, August 9, 2008. His poetry remains celebrated around the world by all those who value human rights and support justice and freedom for the Palestinian people.

Read and/listen to the two poems below and you will understand the pain, hope, perseverence, and aspirations of the great real and un-invented people called the Palestinians.

Passport - By: Mahmoud Darwish
(Song performed by renowned Lebanese singer Marcel Khalife)
They did not recognize me in the shadows
That suck away my color in this Passport
And to them my wound was an exhibit
For a tourist Who loves to collect photographs
They did not recognize me,
Ah . . . Don’t leave 
The palm of my hand without the sun
Because the trees recognize me
Don’t leave me pale like the moon!

All the birds that followed my palm
To the door of the distant airport
All the wheatfields
All the prisons
All the white tombstones
All the barbed Boundaries
All the waving handkerchiefs
All the eyes
were with me,
But they dropped them from my passport

Stripped of my name and identity?
On soil I nourished with my own hands?
Today Job (The Prophet) cried out
Filling the sky:
Don’t make and example of me again!
Oh, gentlemen, Prophets,
Don’t ask the trees for their names
Don’t ask the valleys who their mother is
From my forehead bursts the sward of light
And from my hand springs the water of the river
All the hearts of the people are my identity
So take away my passport!


Identity Card - By: Mahmoud Darwish
 (Arabic and English read by Souhad Zendah  - English begins at: 3:55)

I am an Arab
And my identity card is number fifty thousand
I have eight children
And the ninth is coming after a summer
Will you be angry?
I am an Arab
Employed with fellow workers at a quarry
I have eight children
I get them bread
Garments and books
from the rocks..
I do not supplicate charity at your doors
Nor do I belittle myself at the footsteps of your chamber
So will you be angry?
I am an Arab
I have a name without a title
Patient in a country
Where people are enraged
My roots
Were entrenched before the birth of time
And before the opening of the eras
Before the pines, and the olive trees
And before the grass grew
My father.. descends from the family of the plow
Not from a privileged class
And my grandfather..was a farmer
Neither well-bred, nor well-born!
Teaches me the pride of the sun
Before teaching me how to read
And my house is like a watchman's hut
Made of branches and cane
Are you satisfied with my status?
I have a name without a title!
I am an Arab
You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors
And the land which I cultivated
Along with my children
And you left nothing for us
Except for these rocks..
So will the State take them
As it has been said?!
Record on the top of the first page:
I do not hate people
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper's flesh will be my food
Of my hunger
And my anger!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Jon Stewart: Introducing a New Jewish Holiday (video)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Matzorian Candidate
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The Matzorian Candidate

At the Republican Jewish Coalition forum, Jews commemorate the miracle of incredibly religious Christian presidential candidates fighting over who loves Jews more.