Copyright © 2003-2011, Aishah Schwartz. Permission granted to circulate among private individuals, groups, or in not-for-profit publications in full text and subject title. All other rights reserved.

June 29, 2010

JOIN MWA FOR WORLD HIJAB DAY JULY 1 IN MEMORY OF MARWA EL SHERBINI

The brutal killing of the pregnant Marwa Al Sherbini, 32, raised a lot of questions about the rise of right-wing fanatics in Europe. Al Sherbini was stabbed 18-times by a German man of Russian descent, formally identified only as Axel W, as she was about to give evidence against him as he appealed against his conviction for calling her a "terrorist" for her wearing the headscarf (hijab).


The war on Hijab (Muslim head covering and dress code) and Niqab (full body and face covering) is not just a war against Muslimahs and the global Muslim community. It is a war against women, and women's rights.

For centuries and centuries women have struggled against oppression - and finally today, in most countries worldwide, we have constitutional rights that protect us. The recent legislation drama in certain European countries, with regard to the Niqab and Hijab, represents a direct attack on women's rights.

As women, we need to realize that this is a war against US. No one else is going to fight it or stand up, unless we do! A woman with rights is a woman who may dress however conservatively she likes in public. No man can tell a Free woman to de-robe!

This is an appeal to appeal to all women, of all faiths, to stand up for Women's Rights, and for the rights of women that anti-Niqab and anti-Hijab legislation may affect.

Join the Facebook campaigns! These pages and information are not only for women who wear Niqab (or Hijab), they are for all women who believe that their right to cover should be protected and upheld.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118524418167383&ref=ts
http://www.facebook.com/defend.hijab

CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF GUARDIANSHIP REFORM IN SAUDI ARABIA CONTINUES JUNE 29 IN WASHINGTON, DC

This campaign is about REFORM NOT ABOLISHMENT
to accommodate extenuating circumstances.
If a woman/sister that YOU cared about
was in trouble, would YOU help?
We gathered in front of the Saudi Embassy
on Saturday
NOW JOIN US AS THE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES TUESDAY, JUNE 29 - 12 NOON to 3PM
 LAFAYETTE PARK, IN FRONT OF THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON, D.C.
MORE ABOUT EVENT (INCLUDING MAP





June 26, 2010

Aishah Schwartz to Saudi King Abdullah: End Modern-Day Slavery, Guardianship Reform Now!


Aishah Schwartz to Saudi King Abdullah: Free Nathalie Morin!


MWA Urges Support of Guardianship Reform in Saudi Arabia



Aishah Schwartz to Saudi King Abdullah: GUARDIANSHIP REFORM NOW!



June 25, 2010

Aishah Schwartz to Saudi Arabia: GUARDIANSHIP REFORM NOW!

PRESS RELEASE, PROTEST FLYER, AND TWO POSTERS HERE:
http://tinyurl.com/free-nathalie-morin


HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH cited the work of Muslimah Writers Alliance in support of Guardianship Reform in the 2008 report, "PERPETUAL MINORS: Human Rights Abuses Stemming from Male Guardianship and Sex Segregaton in Saudi Arabia"
http://tinyurl.com/mwa-hrw-ksa

June 20, 2010

BBC: NO GAZA OPTIMISM OVER EASING BLOCKADE

BBC: NO GAZA OPTIMISM OVER EASING BLOCKADE

"What about the blockade on people for starters?" - "One-and-a-half million people are trapped in a prison unable to leave."

Don't be duped by reports that students are being allowed to pass through borders!

Read this: GAZA STUDENTS: Gaza Border Crossing Media Double-Talk?

And then sign the petition and send your letter to President Obama today!

Here is MWA'S/my letter!

JUN. 20 Israeli 'internal' investigation result: "The investigation found that under the circumstances the officers acted appropriately..." duh huh...and we expected anything less? NOT...

ISRAELI/MAINSTREAM MEDIA: 'LETHAL WEAPONS DISCLOSED' - Laugh from the bottom of your heart, and don’t let your imagination take you so far...

AND SHARE THIS POST, INSHA'ALLAH!

June 17, 2010

GAZA STUDENTS: Border Crossing Media Double-Talk?

Today AP included this language in a report titled: Israel agrees to ease Gaza land blockade

"However, Egypt is only letting in people with special travel permits, such as students and Gazans with foreign passports. In the past two weeks, 10,000 Gazans have crossed into Egypt though many more want to leave. A senior Egyptian security official has said the loosened restrictions will remain in place indefinitely."

QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING A 'SPECIAL TRAVEL PERMIT'? Does this require an embassy visit? And if so, how does a non-permit holding student obtain permission to cross the border to get to an embassy to get a 'special travel permit'?

---------------

THE UK INDEPENDENT 

Published a story on June 12, 2010 indicating the following: "Although Egypt opened the crossing in the wake of the lethal Israeli commando raid on a pro-Palestinian flotilla last week, apparently to escape some of the blame for the closure, it has restricted passage mainly to students with visas to study abroad, serious medical cases, and those with foreign residency or passports." NOTE: "students with visas" - THAT IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THOSE STUDENTS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET TO EITHER CAIRO OR JERUSALEM TO COMPLETE REQUIRED PAPERWORK OR SECURE VISAS.

QUESTION: 'Students WITH visas' - how does a student get a visa in the first place? And if the student does not have the visa but needs to GET OUT to GET the visa, how does the student do that?

---------------

IN THE UK GUARDIAN June 11, 2010

The Egyptian authorities have restricted passage to Gazans who also hold foreign passports, those needing medical treatment and those trying to pursue studies abroad.

QUESTION: 'Those trying to pursue studies abroad' - is a broad statement, it does not specify, are they allowing students who NEED TO OBTAIN VISAS, or restricting it to students who ALREADY HAVE visas, and if they could not get out to get visas in the first place, how is it that any of them have visas??

---------------

BOTTOM LINE: Is the issue of students needing to cross the border to GET VISAS being lost in the double-talk about 'exceptions'?

---------------

LASTLY: All of the above relates to the border crossing at Rafah. What about those who need to pass through Israeli borders to reach embassies in Jerusalem? The border crossing issue may/does not necessarily to students residing in Gaza...

---------------

NO GAZA STUDENT LEFT BEHIND
Press Release

Also online at Congress.org
Also online at The American Muslim
Also online at MyCrescent
More at Aishah's Journey (enter GAZA in search box on right)
More at Facebook
ALSO CHECK EGYPT'S OCTOBER WEEKLY MAGAZINE (SATURDAY, JUNE 19)

Sign the 'No Gaza Student Left Behind' Petition 
http://tinyurl.com/sign-gaza-student-petition 

HOW TO SEND YOUR LETTER (OR A COPY OF MWA'S LETTER)
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
Fax: 202-456-2461
Email: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Email: http://www.emailthepresident.com

June 16, 2010

Sign the Muslimah Writer's Alliance (MWA) 'NO GAZA STUDENT LEFT BEHIND' Petition Today!


Muslimah Writers Alliance Launches
'No Gaza Student Left Behind'  Campaign
Press Release

Join the Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) NO GAZA CHILD LEFT BEHIND Campaign Today!



Muslimah Writers Alliance Launches
'No Gaza Student Left Behind' Campaign
Press Release

Muslimah Writers Alliance Launches 'No Gaza Student Left Behind' Campaign

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

Sign the 'No Gaza Student Left Behind' Petition
http://tinyurl.com/sign-gaza-student-petition

Students of Gaza need your support! Can they count on you to intervene on their behalf in guaranteeing their right to free passage between Israeli and Egyptian borders to secure exit visas needed to fulfill their aspirations for a brighter future?

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MWA-NET) June 15, 2010
- Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) urges all citizens of conscience to support the right of students in Gaza to freely pass through Israeli and Egyptian borders for the purpose of securing exit visas allowing them to pursue scholarship and enrollment opportunities afforded to them by universities abroad.

"As a returning Gaza Freedom March (Dec. 2009-Jan. 2010) delegate, I can speak first hand as to the intelligence and aspirations of students in Gaza. I met them; spoke with them; and carried back in my heart the memory of their smiling faces and bright, hopeful, soul-searching eyes. Let us join together in ensuring that their hopes and dreams are not in vain," stated MWA Director, Aishah Schwartz.

Sign the 'No Gaza Student Left Behind' petition today via either of two links: http://www.petitiononline.com/4gaza/petition.html or http://tinyurl.com/sign-gaza-student-petition, then deliver a copy of the letter provided below to President Barack Obama (details below). AND PASS IT ON!

To endorse the 'No Gaza Student Left Behind' campaign contact MWA: http://biz.prlog.org/mwa-net/contact.html

AN OPEN LETTER TO U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

NO GAZA STUDENT LEFT BEHIND!

June 15, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
Fax: 202-456-2461
Email: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Email: http://www.emailthepresident.com

Re: Supporting Students in Gaza Seeking Exit Visas in Pursuit of Higher Education

Dear President Obama,

The ongoing saga of Gaza scholarship-holding and international university-enrolled students waiting and losing hope of being able to secure exit visas that would allow them to fulfill their educational aspirations, is yet another heartless byproduct of the illegal siege and embargo on Gaza.

In a spring 2008 report, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Unit Director, Khalil Shaheen, indicated that nearly 700 students had been unable to pass through either Egyptian or Israeli borders to secure exit visas needed to pursue the dream of a brighter future through educational opportunities offered abroad.

Just over a year ago in an address you made at Egypt's Cairo University you stated, "Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations -- to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity."

President Obama, you also stated in your January 2009 inaugural speech that without the privilege of having obtained a University education you would not be where you are today.

Now, as a result of the tragic events of May 31, 2010 when the humanitarian mission of the Freedom Flotilla from Turkey was deterred by Israeli gunfire, resulting in 9 fatalities, including one American, we have begun, at long last, to see an ease on the restrictions imposed by the Israeli blockade of Gaza, to include Egypt's opening of the Rafah border crossing to those with special needs, etc.

In a June 14 report European Union (EU) envoy Tony Blair recommended that the flow of humanitarian relief and people with special needs being allowed to pass through Israeli and Egyptian border crossings should be facilitated by the opening of at least one large-scale commercial traffic border.

Additionally, and also on June 14, the otherwise neutral humanitarian agency, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), explicitly stated for the first time that the blockade on Gaza was in violation of international law.

In its five-page report an ICRC spokeswoman stated, "The whole of Gaza's civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law," including The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, banning collective punishment of a civilian population.

But it is not enough. If standing up for the rights of students in Gaza to pursue a higher education cannot be counted as humanitarian relief, then what is?

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both explicitly confirm the right of all people to freely travel to and from their own state; and guarantees the right of every individual to an education.

Sporadic intervention on behalf of a select few, as was the case in 2008 for a group of Fullbright scholarship hopefuls, is no longer acceptable; the students of Gaza have collectively and unnecessarily suffered long enough.

We call on you Mr. President to intervene on behalf of the students of Gaza, now, while the opportunity is ripe for inclusion of this issue on the current agenda of negotiations where lifting of the embargo on Gaza is concerned.

Students holding legitimate scholarship and university enrollment documentation have a right to guaranteed passage through open border crossings from both Israel and Egypt to secure exit visas to their future; and the future of Palestine.

In delivering your May 2010 University of Michigan commencement speech you stated, "When we don't pay close attention to the decisions made by our leaders; when we fail to educate ourselves about the major issues of the day; when we choose not to make our voices and opinions heard, that's when democracy breaks down. That's when power is abused. That's when the most extreme voices in our society fill the void that we leave. That's when powerful interests and their lobbyists are most able to buy access and influence in the corridors of Washington - because none of us are there to speak up and stop them."

So, Mr. President, we the people speak to you now.

It has been a year-and-a-half since your inauguration speech and a year since you addressed the global Muslim community in Cairo, Egypt. And I am sure you are well aware that within that period, as recent reports indicate, there is a sense of disappointment affecting us all.

While the list of options for lifting the embargo on Gaza continues to be ironed out, and humanitarian relief efforts between borders broadens, we hope you will embrace the opportunity to renew the faith placed in you by Muslims world-wide when you were elected as President of the United States.

The students of Gaza need your support. Can they count on you to intervene on their behalf in guaranteeing their right to free passage between Israeli and Egyptian borders to secure the exit visas needed to fulfill their aspirations for a brighter future?

In borrowing from the U.S. education policy otherwise known as, "No Child Left Behind", and in furtherance of the ideals you have previously so eloquently expressed in support of higher education, we implore you today to ensure that, "NO GAZA STUDENT IS LEFT BEHIND."

Sincerely,

SIGN PETITION HERE:
http://tinyurl.com/sign-gaza-student-petition
--------------
Aishah Schwartz
Founder & Director
Muslimah Writers Alliance
1808 Eye Street NW, Suite 147
Washington, D.C. 20006

---------------
THE INDEPENDENT published a story on June 12, 2010 indicating the following: "Although Egypt opened the crossing in the wake of the lethal Israeli commando raid on a pro-Palestinian flotilla last week, apparently to escape some of the blame for the closure, it has restricted passage mainly to students with visas to study abroad, serious medical cases, and those with foreign residency or passports." NOTE: "students with visas" - THAT IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THOSE STUDENTS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET TO EITHER CAIRO OR JERUSALEM TO COMPLETE REQUIRED PAPERWORK OR SECURE VISAS.
---------------

Sign the 'No Gaza Student Left Behind' Petition


Alternate link to Petition
http://tinyurl.com/sign-gaza-student-petition

DOWNLOAD HIGH RESOLUTION CAMPAIGN IMAGES:
FEMALE VERSION
2,348px X 2,599px (409 KB)
1,174px X 1,300px (160 KB)

MALE VERSION
2,480px X 2,637px (469 KB)
1,240px X 1,319px (187KB)

RELATED:
Obama Michigan Graduation Speech - Full Text & Video (May 2010)
Remarks by the President on a new Beginning - Cairo University (June 2009)
Inaugural Address of President Barack Obama (January 2009)

MWA PRESS ROOM

June 08, 2010

Muslimah Writers Alliance Press Room



# # #
Established in 2006, MWA is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on Internet sites and to publish in full text and subject title in not-for-profit publications. Contact author for all other rights, which are reserved.