AAI launches voter drive in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day

Posted by on September 22, 2014 in News Clips

Organizations in key states will participate in the Arab American Institute’s Yalla Vote campaign in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day on September 23 to register voters and engage the public on issues important to our community. AAI Executive Director Maya Berry, says American Arabs will push voter awareness Sept. 26

National Voter Registration Day is tomorrow, September 23, and the Arab American Institute (AAI) is making sure our community remains a part of the national conversation. This week, Arab Americans across the country join thousands in hosting voter registration drives for the largest one-day effort of the year to...

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Islam not root cause of ISIS

Posted by Arizona Daily Wildcat on September 22, 2014 in News Clips

On 9/11 on the UA Mall, I encountered one of the ugliest displays of “Islamophobia” I’ve ever seen. Brother Dean, campus’ resident sensationalist, was wearing a fake beard and a shirt with “ISIS” written on it while he held a sign equating Islam with hate and terrorism. He was loudly shouting offensive slogans and confronting a woman in a headscarf, whom I overheard say she felt unsafe, when I first saw him. Her concern was not helped by the fact that the other side of his sign said, “You deserve to be gang-raped.”

But what’s even uglier than this individual...

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Deconstructing Disorder: Conversation with David Ignatius and Tom Friedman

Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Blog

By Kristyn Acho and Eddie Bejarano Fall Interns, 2014

On Friday, September 12, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted an event titled, “Middle East in Turmoil: Can it Recover?”

Karim Sadjadpour, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, moderated the affair, which featured Thomas L. Friedman, columnist for the New York Times and David Ignatius, the bestselling author of Body of Lies and The Increment and journalist who has covered the Middle East and the CIA for over twenty-five years.

The conversation covered a range of topics, including the origins of turmoil,...

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“Peace after Gaza”: Aspen Institute Hosts Dr. Fayyad and UN’s Feltman for Moderated Conversation

Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Blog

By Kristyn Acho Fall Intern, 2014

The Aspen Institute’s Middle East division hosted an event on Monday which addressed existing political challenges in Gaza.

Dr. Salam Fayyad, Palestinian politician and former Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority and Jeffrey D. Feltman, American diplomat and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, spoke with Aspen Institute President and CEO, Walter Isaacson in a moderated conversation.

To begin the discussion, Fayyad stated that two elements need to be addressed to ensure that the 51-day war in Gaza (known as Operation Protective...

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A World Not Ours: Fleifel Tells His Story

Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Blog

By Kristyn Acho Fall Intern, 2014

AAI is proud to sponsor the documentary A World Not Ours (2012) at the fourth annual DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival. Directed by Mahdi Fleifel, the film is a compelling and intimate portrayal of three generations in exile in Lebanon’s Ein el-Helweh refugee camp. Fleifel uses his own video recordings, family archives, and historical footage to tell his story.

Ein el-Helweh, which was established in 1948 to house displaced populations, currently holds nearly 70,000 Palestinian refugees. When Fleifel was still a child, his parents uprooted...

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What You Might Have Missed from the ‘In Defense of Christians’ Summit

Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Blog

By now, anyone who has heard of the “In Defense of Christians” (IDC) summit that took place in Washington, DC last week undoubtedly knows of the infamous incident involving Senator Ted Cruz. Type “In Defense of Christians” into Google, and almost every search result will mention the senator.

It is unfortunate that the only headlines out of the summit were Senator Cruz’s remarks and the audience’s reaction, as well as a few hit-pieces on the religious leaders in attendance. After Cruz got booed off stage, IDC’s Executive Director Andrew Doran exclaimed to the audience: “For the...

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For Obama and ISIL, Twitter is the New C-Span

Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Blog

By Dina Salah-ElDinFall Intern, 2014

From Washington, D.C. to Cairo to Hong Kong to Kiev, posting updates from a city square where tens, hundreds, or even tens of thousands are marching for or against a cause or a government has almost become the driving force for much of the activity on social media.  Over the past month, Twitter became the center stage from which the militant group known as the Islamic State declared its territorial gains in Iraq and its executions of two American journalists.

Last week, as President Barack Obama delivered a prime-time speech...

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What Ted Cruz Doesn’t Want to Hear About Arab Christians

Posted by on September 13, 2014 in News Clips

My mother was fond of saying, “If you want someone to hear you, you must first listen to them.” You must know them, understand the questions they are asking and be sensitive to their concerns. If you do this, she would say, “you will be able to speak with people and not at them.”

What happens when you don’t follow this simple rule of communication was on display during the “In Defense of Christians” (IDC) conference—an event put on to highlight the very dire plight of Christians in the Middle East—that was held this week in Washington.

Addressing an audience of 900 mostly Arab...

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Remembering Their Roots: The Itoo Society Reaches One Hundred-Year Milestone

Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Blog

By Kristyn AchoFall Intern, 2014

In northern Lebanon, there lays an old village named Aytou that rests on the side of a mountain. Like so many other immigrant populations, a large number of Aytou people came to the United States in the early 1900s in search of opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Aytou men and women settled primarily in Mankato and St. Paul, Minnesota; Buffalo, New York; and, Peoria, Illinois. In a recent edition of InterBusiness Issues magazine, Randy Couri, a Lebanese-American whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from...

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Why Ted Cruz Was Booed Off Stage at a Christian Event

Posted by TIME on September 11, 2014 in News Clips

While the nation watched President Obama primetime address the threat of ISIS Wednesday night, something else was happening in Washington: Senator Ted Cruz was getting booed off the stage of a

Cruz is often considered a rising darling of the American Christian right. He speaks at evangelical gatherings in the country, talks to groups of conservative pastors and headlines events with the Family Research Council. But Wednesday night, his Christian audience was largely Eastern and Arab. The brand of conservative, American evangelicalism that Cruz often champions—one that often aligns itself with the state of Israel’s interests—did not sit well with...

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