States Challenge Administration on Immigration

Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Blog

In an effort to combat the harsh immigration laws of states like Alabama and Arizona, the District of Columbia City Council recently approved legislation to limit the city’s Secure Communities program. Although each state must comply with federal immigration policy, some cities are fighting back by attempting to restrict the ability of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to detain illegal immigrants.

Under the Secure Communities program, local law enforcement must provide fingerprints to federal immigration officials, so that ICE can detain suspects who may be in the United States illegally....

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Souad Massi Performs in DC

Posted by on July 02, 2012 in Blog

By Nasser Siadat

2012 Summer Intern

The Kennedy Center in Washington DC should have prepared extra seats for last night’s Millennium Stage performance of the popular Algerian singer, Souad Massi. By the time Massi was testing the sound system more than an hour before show time, lines were already out the doors. Come show time, nearly one hundred were left standing to watch the performance from afar.

The performance was presented by the Embassy of Algeria and the US-Algeria Business Council to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Algeria’s independence this coming Thursday. After more than a century under French colonial...

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Reason vs Rhetoric: Understanding American Muslims

Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Blog

By Nama Khalil

2012 Summer Intern

The House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, led by Representative Peter King, held the fifth Congressional hearings on 'radicalization' in the American Muslim community. Though the Congressional hearings unfortunately did not present accurate information on American Muslims, other events inside the beltway tackled the issues facing the Muslim community with a little more finesse. The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding held a timely symposium, Reason vs Rhetoric: Understanding American Muslims, which featured leading experts on issues facing the American Muslim community, and their place in the broader national landscape.

Religious freedom was...

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AAI and PitaPolicy Host a #MENA Tweet-up

Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Blog

Yesterday, a few dozen people gathered at Paradiso Café in Washington, DC for a “Tweet-Up” happy hour, organized by PitaPolicy and the Arab American Institute (AAI). The event sought to gather people who regularly tweet about the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, and introduce them to one another on a more personal level. Among those present were renowned journalist Max Blumenthal, Arab American comedian Said Durra, and Al-Mubadarah President Hazami Barmada.

During the introductory remarks, AAI reminded attendees of an upcoming “Speed-Networking” event taking place on July 10, at Tsunami Lounge in DC. The event concluded...

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ADC National Convention Highlights Arab American Empowerment

Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Blog

By Nasser Siadat

2012 Summer Intern

A recent Congressional race in New Jersey’s 9th district and a newly-filed federal lawsuit challenging the NYPD surveillance programs testify to a new political reality – a growing cohort of Arab Americans are burying feelings of political marginalization and establishing themselves as a community of engaged and strategic voters.

In keeping with the momentum, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s National Convention (considered to be one of the largest political and social gatherings of Arab Americans in the country) could not have come at a more pivotal time. The convention began this morning at the Hyatt Regency...

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Watch: “Debating Taboos” Takes On Anti-Arab Racism

Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Blog

Is there a double standard in the response to anti-Semitism against Arab Americans compared with the response to anti-Semitism directed against American Jews? Because the question seems too controversial for most in the mainstream to want to touch, Ralph Nader’s “Debating Taboos” debate series is taking it on.

This Thursday, AAI President Jim Zogby will join renowned Arab American author and professor Jack Shaheen to debate the question with Josef Olmert, adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, and Kenneth Marcus of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights. The debate will be moderated by Patrick Sloyan, former Newsday...

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Panel: Gauging the Efficacy of NYPD Infiltration and Surveillance

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Blog

Today the New America Foundation hosted an informative discussion on the use of infiltration and surveillance by law enforcement in preventing homegrown terrorist attacks. The discussion primarily focused on the New York Police Department, and the efficacy of the vast counterterrorism unit which has drawn criticism since the Associated Press revealed that the NYPD was spying on American Muslims and Arab Americans. Two of the four Pulitzer Prize-winners of the Associated Press team, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, spoke on the panel. In addition, J.M. Berger, Author of Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam also...

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AAI Participates in 8th Annual Arab American Service Day

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Blog

On Saturday, May 19th, more than 20 Arab American organizations across the country took part in the 8th annual National Arab American Service Day. Organized each year by the National Network of Arab American Communities (NNAAC), National Arab American Service Day brings together Arab Americans for a day of giving back to their communities and building bridges with local charities and organizations.

The Arab American Institute partnered with NAAP - DC, AMIN, the ADC - DC Chapter, and ATFL: Project Cedar to organize four volunteer opportunities in Washington, DC. Nearly 40 Arab American volunteers served...

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2012 Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala

Posted on May 22, 2012 in Arab American Institute

The Arab American Institute Foundation’s fourteenth annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala was held in Washington, DC on April 18, 2012. More than 500 people—Ambassadors from throughout the Arab world, members of Congress and the Obama Administration, leaders of national NGOs and community organizations, business leaders from around the globe—all friends and supporters of the AAI Foundation and of the Arab American community, came together to celebrate the accomplishments of the evening’s honorees.

At the heart of the Gala was a tribute to two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid, whose February 2012 passing in Syria struck a fierce...

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DC International Human Rights Film Festival This Week

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Blog

From May 14th – 17th, the American Islamic Congress will once again host the DC International Human Rights Film Festival to show and discuss films on pressing social and civic issues from around the globe. Initially founded as the DC Muslim Film Festival, the event has expanded into one that offers annual free film screenings on human rights topics from countries and communities the world over. The goal of the festival is to “highlight international human rights issues and build understanding between cultures, exposing audiences to under-reported human rights challenges and underscore the universality of individual rights.”

This year’s films...

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