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December 3, 2014

Calls for Violence against Israel at Annual AMP Conference in Chicago

bannerCalls for violence against Israel were heard at the 7th annual American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) conference, which took place over Thanksgiving weekend at the Hyatt Regency Hotel outside of Chicago. The conference, billed as “Rising from Ashes: Gaza Teaches Life!,”  addressed a number of topics, such as, “Do Occupied People Have the Right to Resist their Occupation?,” “Islamaphobia and Palestine,” and “Capitalizing on the changing American sentiment toward Israeli aggression.”

AMP is the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organizations in the U.S and its conference featured a number of U.S. and international anti-Israel activists as guest speakers, including Hatem Bazian, a co-founder of AMP; Josh Rubener, the National Advocacy Director for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; and Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and an Advisory Board member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

The most extreme comments at the conference came from Taher Herzallah, AMP’s national Campus Coordinator. During his remarks, Herzallah claimed that, “The State of Israel is a lie,” and spoke about how the “Israel lobby” works to ensure that Israel’s legitimacy is not challenged. He also claimed that the focus of anti-Israel groups should be on the younger generation and ended his comments with a call for violence, stating, “Israelis have to be bombed, they are a threat to the legitimacy of Palestine, and it is wrong to maintain the State of Israel. It is an illegitimate creation born from colonialism and racism.”

Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian triage specialist and professor of emergency medicine who recently was banned from entering Gaza by Israel, also supported a call for violence when claiming that the Norwegian people do not support Hamas or Fatah, but that they do “support the fight with arms.” Gilberts, added that the struggle in Gaza is one against racism, apartheid, and political Zionism, and he also spoke positively of rocket fire into Israel, claiming that, “When we heard of each rocket from Gaza [into Israel] that gave us hope and strength.”

One speaker, Sheikh Abdelfattah Mourou, a Tunisian lawyer who founded the Tunisian Islamic Tendency Movement, remarked that Israel was “defending itself by killing innocents” during the most recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He also stated that, “When an Israeli pilot kills a family of 25, when he knows the head of Hamas is not home, it is shameful of the whole world to accept this claim of self-defense…The claim of Israeli security is a shameful one.”

Other speakers at the conference discussed the “Israel lobby” and its alleged role in “looking to protect the Zionist narrative.” Israeli anti-Zionist author Miko Peled claimed that the lobby stretches far and that, “There are spheres of Jewish influence here in the U.S., like AIPAC and the Jewish Federation.” Following Peled’s comments, Dima Khalidi, Director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support and Cooperating Counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights, stated that, “Jewish Zionists are a powerful force, not just AIPAC.”

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October 8, 2014

Chicago Arrest Provides Example Of An American’s Detailed Plan To Join ISIS

The arrest of a Chicago man for allegedly attempting to join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) demonstrates the extent to which Americans attempting to join terror groups abroad are able to communicate with foreign contacts and formulate their travel plans.mohammed-khan-isis

Mohamed Hamzah Khan, 19, was arrested Sunday at Chicago O’Hare International Airport as he attempted to board a flight to Turkey.

While many of the Americans arrested for attempting to join terrorist organizations in the past two years – including fellow Chicagoan Abdella Tounisi – have not necessarily had a well-formulated plan, Khan’s case represents an example of an individual whose efforts seem to have been informed, if not directed, by members of the terrorist group itself.

In a notebook found in his home, Khan allegedly had drawn maps of the Syria-Turkish border, with arrows showing possible crossings. He also allegedly listed steps to take, including an itinerary for a trip by bus in Turkey that would get him to that border. His knowledge of what to do in order to join ISIS likely came from online sources. According to the criminal complaint, he had received phone numbers for contact people in Syria from an individual he was allegedly in touch with online. Khan had reportedly bought a round-trip ticket to Turkey, possibly to avert suspicion.

The search of Khan’s home also allegedly uncovered an ideological affinity for ISIS. Police reportedly found a farewell note in which Khan had written, “We are all witness that the western societies are getting more immoral day by day. I do not want my kids being exposed to filth like this,” and urging his parents to join him in Syria. According to the criminal complaint filed in his case, authorities also found a notebook in his home with a drawing of a fighter with an ISIS flag and the words “Come to Jihad” written in Arabic.

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August 26, 2014

Nation Of Islam Exploits Gaza Conflict To Spread Anti-Semitism

The Nation of Islam (NOI) is using Israel’s military response to Hamas in Gaza to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories suggesting that Israel was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The NOI Research Group (NOIRG), which claims to serve as the NOI’s “historical research department,” tweeted on August 24 that “Israeli airstrike in #Gaza levels 7-story building. Their last airstrike was on Sept 11, 2001.” The tweet is accompanied by a photo of smoke billowing from the World Trade Center. noi-tweet-gaza

This is not the first time the NOIRG has used social media to spread the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory blaming Jews for 9/11. In December 2013, for example, the NOIRG tweeted that “#Israel has an ugly his­tory of deadly false flag oper­a­tions, includ­ing 9/11…”

NOI leader Louis Farrakhan also weighed in on the current conflict in his August 17 sermon at Mosque Maryam in Chicago. Farrakhan juxtaposed the tense situation in Gaza with the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, interlacing his address with a number of anti-Semitic claims.

Farrakhan told the congregation that in Israel “there can never be any peace structured on injustice, thievery, lying, and deceit, using the name of God to shield your dirty religion.”

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