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.

January 27, 2011

Egyptian or American: A lesson in understanding the difference and why Egyptians are protesting

Muslim American Activist, Aishah Schwartz offers a glimpse from the inside to her fellow country men and women on the Egyptian revolution.
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PRLog (MWA-Net) – Jan 27, 2011 – I had the opportunity to read something earlier today that left me more than a little disturbed. It was a Facebook comment written by a U.S.-based American expressing dissatisfaction with the customer service he was receiving from a sales person who happened to be Egyptian. The comment went like this: "OMG these fools in egypt get on my nerves... can we get some customer service in america please." Ouch! Can we let our prejudice and lack of understanding and compassion show just a little bit please?

Suffice it to say, being an American who happens to live in Egypt - and also happens to be an activist - I could not let the comment stand without correction.

So I replied, "Did you know that if you visited the home of an Egyptian, the hospitality that would be shown to you would extend to the point of your being offered the last morsel of food in their home; even if they were poor? It's true."

To which I added, "Did you also know that just one of the reasons why Egyptian 'fools' are protesting nationwide for the third straight day in a row with their lives right now, is because the minimum wage pays them only the equivalent of $200 U.S. dollars per month. Can you imagine living on that? I live in Egypt, and let me tell you, the rent alone that I pay for an extremely modest apartment is the equivalent of that base monthly salary, IF an Egyptian is fortunate enough to even have a job! If the average Egyptian lived in THAT kind of "luxury" - imagine that they would give you the last crumb of food from their kitchen for the mere sake of hospitality. From what do you think they would use to pay for their next meal after you left their home? The difference being that, Egyptians would not even think about it; they would only care if you left their home happy."

Not to mention the fact that the majority of Egyptians also happen to be Muslim; like me. And not coincidentally, Muslims are also instructed in the fine art of hospitality as being part of their faith tradition.

Which prompts me to further educate Americans just a tad more about why the Egyptians are currently embroiled in protests across their country.

Those participating in the uprising made the following specific demands:
  • An increase of minimum wages in Egypt to 1200LE (US $200);
  • An end to the special emergency laws;
  • An end to police brutality and the resignation of the minister of interior;
  • A two term presidency (never elected by the people, the current President has been in power for over 30 years);
  • Free and transparent elections; and,
  • A government that represents the people, respects its citizenry and acts as a caretaker, not usurper, of Egyptian civil rights.
Yea...check it out Americans...imagine you had to live on $200 per month; even those of you on government assistance (welfare), live on more than $200 per month.

There are Egyptians, like the hospitable sales person in this story, who migrate to the United States in their quest to live the "American Dream", but for those Egyptians who remain behind in their home country, they can only dream of a day when they can invest their energy trying to reach their potential in science, the arts, sports, and culture, rather than not trying to fight oppression and simply survive. Egyptians know what they are capable of, they just want a chance to prove it, once again, to themselves and to the world.

My guess is they won't rest until they see that day.

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Aishah Schwartz, an American Muslim revert to Islam since April 2002, is founder and director of the 2006 established Washington, D.C.-based Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and a retired 17-year litigation legal assistant. She is also a published freelance non-fiction writer/journalist and internationally renowned human rights activist with a focus on the rights of Muslim women and the plight of the Palestinian people affected by the Israeli imposed illegal embargo on Gaza. Full biography here.

American Activist, Aishah Schwartz on Tunisia's Revolution  
Aishah Schwartz on Gaza
Aishah Schwartz/MWA Dcumentary

January 24, 2011


Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and thousands of coalition members from 47 national and international cities are participating in the call for a National Day of Action to Stop FBI repression and grand jury witch hunts on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011.


PRLog (Press Release) – Jan 24, 2011 – WASHINGTON, D.C. - In December 2010, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the FBI delivered nine new subpoenas in Chicago to anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists. Patrick Fitzgerald’s office is ordering the nine to appear at a Grand Jury in Chicago on Jan. 25, 2011.

Accordingly, Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) continues its support of national and international coalition members against FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists and Harassment of Anti-War and International Solidarity Activists by joining in the call for protests on Jan. 25. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of people will be protesting at Federal Buildings, FBI offices, and other appropriate places, showing solidarity with the nine newly subpoenaed activists and with all the activists whose homes were raided by the FBI.

WHAT: National Day of Action to Stop FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists and Harassment of Anti-War and International Solidarity Activists

WHEN: Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WHERE: A City Near YOU! The Committee to Stop FBI Repression has posted a listing of events on their website If you are organizing a protest that is not listed, send the info to

U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald’s expanding web of repression already includes the 14 subpoenaed when the FBI stormed into homes on September 24th, carting away phones, computers, notebooks, diaries and children’s artwork.  In October, all fourteen activists from Chicago, Minneapolis, and Michigan decided to not participate in the secret proceedings of Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury.  Each signed a letter invoking their Fifth Amendment rights.  However, three women from Minneapolis - Tracy Molm, Anh Pham and Sarah Martin - are facing re-activated subpoenas.  They are standing strong and we are asking you to stand with them – and with the newly subpoenaed nine activists – by protesting Patrick Fitzgerald and his use of the Grand Jury and FBI to repress anti-war and international solidarity activists.

The subpoenaed activists said in a statement, "Those of us subpoenaed in December were ordered to appear before the grand jury on January 25th. This is the same grand jury that was impaneled by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in order to indict people from among those whose homes and offices were raided in September. We have made our decisions to stand strong with the other 14 subpoenaed activists from Illinois, Minneapolis and Michigan. We WILL NOT take part in this fishing expedition. "

Maureen Murphy, who was summoned to appear before the grand jury on January 25 added, "Despite this attempt to criminalize solidarity with the Palestinian people, we will continue to stand with them and work to end US aid to Israel. Those of us facing the grand jury and the movement as a whole will continue to build the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israeli apartheid and strengthen relationships between Palestinians living under occupation and their supporters here in the US."

Defend free speech!  Defend the right to organize!  Opposing war and occupation is not a crime!

At the time of this release 49 events had been organized in 47 national and international cities, including: Albany, NY; Ann Arbor, MI; Asheville, NC; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Brunswick, Victoria; Melbourne, Australia; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Colorado Springs, CO; Columbus, OH; Dallas TX; Detroit, MI; Dublin, Ireland; Duluth, MN; Fresno, CA; Gainesville, FL; Hartford, CT; Hilton Head, SC; Houston, TX; Kalamazoo, MI; Kiev, Ukraine; Long Beach, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; New Haven, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Provo, UT; Raleigh, NC; Rochester, NY; Sacrament, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; Springfield, MA; St. Louis, MO; Syracuse, NY; Tallahassee, FL; Tucson, AZ; Tuscaloosa, AL; Vancouver, Vancouver; and Washington, District Of Columbia.

For event details visit linked listing here.


>>>Tell Patrick Fitzgerald to call off the Grand Jury!
     United States Attorney's Office
     Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division
     219 S. Dearborn St., 5th Floor
     Chicago, IL 60604
     Phone: (312) 353-5300

     United States Attorney's Office
     Northern District of Illinois, Western Division
     308 W. State St., Ste 300
     Rockford, IL 61101
     Phone: (815) 987-4444

>>>Call the White House Comments Line: (202) 456-1111 or Switchboard: (202) 456-1414; or fax a letter to the White House at (202) 456-2461; or email the President at or at

>>>Call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at (202) 353-1555 or deliver a letter by email addressed to:

>>>Call Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine at (202) 514-3435 or (800) 869-4499; or fax a letter to (202) 514-4001; or send an email to

>>>Sign the Petitions.   
Stop FBI Repression's petition here.
International Action Center (IAC) founded in 1992 by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey ClarkIAC's petition here.

A leaflet about January 25 protests (with fill-in-the-blank event detail section) is available here

"The September 24 raids serve as a wake-up call. We must not remain silent as the First Amendment rights of all Americans are increasingly jeopardized. We must take action now in turning back the tide, by demanding that the trend of intrusive government surveillance and prosecution of progressive activists for protected political activity stand corrected," stated MWA director, Aishah Schwartz.

National Press Contacts: Maureen Murphy [630-290-0678] and Tom Burke [773-844-3612].

MWA Joins 45-Member Coalition Calling for Investigation into FBI Targeting of Activists

Coalition of prominent community, civil and human rights organizations delivers open letter to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., in follow-up to Sept. 24 FBI raids against activists and issuance of grand jury subpoenas.

Muslimah Writers Alliance Joins Oct. 4-5 National Call-In Days to End Repression of Anti-War and Int'l Solidarity Activists

Solidarity Statements - MWA #53 of 180 as of Jan. 23, 2011

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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.

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Visit the MWA Press Room

January 19, 2011

A Documentary for Al-Jazeera (Arabic) زمام المبادرة - عائشة شوارتز / Lead the Way - Aishah Schwartz, Director Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and MWA member, Rania Marwan of Cairo, Egypt

Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) Director, Aishah Schwartz, of Washington, DC and MWA Member/Newly Published Author, Rania Marwan of Cairo, Egypt meet one another in person for the first time when asked to participate in a short-documentary produced by iFilms of Cairo, Egypt for Al-Jazeera (Arabic) in the summer of 2010.

The program, originally aired December 1, 2010, sets out the basic concept behind MWA and showcases the works of just a few of its 200+ members, in addition to touching on Ms. Schwartz's use of writing as a form of activism. 

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.

PRESS RELEASE: Muslimah Writers Alliance Documentary on Al-Jazeera 
زمام المبادرة - عائشة شوارتز / Lead the Way - Aishah Schwartz

PRESS RELEASE: Muslimah Writers Alliance Member Rania Marwan of Cairo, Egypt Publishes First Book- 'Laila and Pesto the Fly" is a childrens adventure in learning that is equally as inspirational as Rania's success story!

Documentary Production Photo Album on Facebook (Public)

Aishah Schwartz on Facebook
(NOTE: This page has reached the FB default limit of 5,000 friends - Please join the Public Profile Page - see below)

NEW FACEBOOK PAGE: Aishah Schwartz-Activist/Writer

Rania Mawran on Facebook

To Learn More Visit the MWA Press Room

Words cannot express my gratitude to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala for the opportunity to participate in this project; nor are there words enough to say how much it meant to share this experience with my dear, sweet sister, Rania Marwan. ♥

January 16, 2011

American Activist, Aishah Schwartz on Tunisia's Revolution

We must stand in solidarity with the Tunisian people, who, in choosing to rise above 23-years of repression, share a glorious victory in delivering their oppressor to Saudi Arabia; the cradle of the religion of the people he sought to stifle.


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 16, 2011) – When 26-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi lost hope in the future and set himself on fire on December 17, no one expected it would be the undoing of the 23-year-long rule of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, 74, but the world's attention is now riveted on a revolution renewing hope for the 10.4 million beleaguered citizens of Tunisia.

‎"I believe as Muslims we must stand in solidarity with the Tunisian people, who, in choosing to rise above 23-years of repression, share a glorious victory in delivering their oppressor to Saudi Arabia; the cradle of the religion of the people he sought to stifle," stated American Activist, Aishah Schwartz.

Schwartz added, "May Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali find in the Creator of the land into which he has sought refuge, the mercy he withheld from the citizens of Tunisia, and may Allah (swt) facilitate the country's recovery with ease, insha'Allah."

Regarding Saudi history of offering sanctuary to indisposed leaders, Schwartz continued: "As Muslims we believe Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to be Most Gracious, Most Merciful and Oft-Forgiving, insha'Allah, and, that we should wish for others what we wish for ourselves. Therefore, if, insha'Allah, even one of those indisposed leaders were to repent and turn to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, perhaps it will also make a difference on the Day of Judgment for the harm Saudi leadership has also oft-times brought to the religion of Islam through its own errant leadership; or, at times, lack thereof. That said, I do, however, recognize that Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been diligent in striving to bring positive change and reform throughout his reign, and we must pray that his efforts continue to be facilitated, insha'Allah.

"Muslims, Saudi or otherwise, have a moral obligation and duty to stand in correction of themselves if they fear Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the Day of Judgment," concluded Schwartz.

Sunday's Washington Post reported that, as the ousted Ben Ali flew into exile in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the Saudi government issued a statement seemingly designed to forestall unwelcome comparisons between the new guest and the ruling Saudi monarchy.

"The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces that it stands fully behind the Tunisian people," it said.

A sentiment news reports indicate seems to be resonating across the Arab world and beyond, was offered by Rami Khouri of the American University of Beirut, "Tunis today may well go down in history as the Arab equivalent of the Solidarity movement in the Gdansk shipyard in Poland in 1980 that sparked wider protests that, a decade later, ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire."

After toppling his predecessor, Habib Bourguiba, in November 1987, Ben Ali scrapped the former's title of "president for life", limiting the number of presidential terms to three, but later consolidated his rule by muzzling the opposition, keeping strong control of the media and armed forces and gradually re-extending the number of terms allowed to the presidency under the constitution.

Selim Ben Hassen, the Paris-based president of the Byrsa citizens movement credits Facebook for spreading word of the unrest and bolstering timid citizens to break their traditional code of silence, "The psychological barrier of fear has fallen," Ben Hassen said. "People now know it's possible to go into the streets, cry 'Freedom!' and say 'We don't want a president for life."'

Aishah Schwartz on the Women's Rights Movement in Saudi Arabia
Aishah Schwartz on Gaza

January 10, 2011

In Memory of Mr. Saied Abd El Khalek - "Knight of the Word" - Editor-in-Chief, AlWafd News Journal - Cairo, Egypt and Champion for the Palestinian Cause

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High Resolution Download Here
PDF Download Here


Operation Cast Lead
(Dec. 27, 2008)
Gaza Freedom March Delegates Meeting at Al-Wafd
(Dec. 27, 2009)
Funeral of Saied Abd El Khalek
(Dec. 27, 2010)


AlWafd Article 1
AlWafd Article 2
AlWafd Article 3
English Post-Gaza Initial Report