Community News (V14-I1)

Muslim author’s appearance cancelled after complaints

HATFIELD,PA–A Muslim children’s author had to cancel her talk at an elementary school after reported complaints by some parents. Lisa Abdelsalam is a Muslim convert who has written a children’s book focusing on her son’s experiences at his school titled  “A Song for Me, A Muslim Holiday Story.”

The book has illustrations based on pictures of the York Avenue school and details a Muslim boy’s efforts to fit into the holiday spirit at Christmas time.

The principal, according to Abdelsalam, told her a few parents had complained about the program and threatened to bring in an outside group to protest if the classes went forward. “They did not want a Muslim or a Muslim book read in their classrooms,” she was told.

The principal told Abdelsalam that she can go ahead with the scheduled talk but that they mutually decided to cancel the event as she thought, “It’s not a battle that should be fought in an elementary school parking lot.”

Islamophobic individuals appear to be targeting authors these days. Recently, a campaign was unleashed by them to stop award winning author from speaking at the prestigious Mercersburg Academy boarding school in Pennsylvania. That event, however, was held as scheduled and the only complaints where from outsiders who had no relationship with the school.

Missing Muslim student found safe

OVERLAND PARK,KS–A missing Muslim student of a Kansas college was found safe and unharmed. She esd reported missing from a university library more than week ago but it was later found that she had left voluntarily.

Her family had announced a $10,000 reward for any information leading to her. Theey have now decided to donate it to the Overland department and a few other charities.

Family members posted a statement Friday on Facebook thanking the public for its support but asking for privacy as they try to heal.

San Bernardino Muslims feed one & all

SAN BERNARDINO,CA–First Islamic Healing & Wellness Centre reaches out to the needy by helping them with food and clothing requirements. Last week the group held its  first Community Give Back event at Seccombe Lake Park.

Malek Bendelhoum of the group said that they do all they can. In an interview to the Sun he said, he finds people who have just fallen on tough times and need a hand.

“We aspire to be the people who can reach out that hand,” Bendelhoum said.

Programs are available at the center to people of all faiths, including 12 Paths of Recovery each Thursday evening, Job Preparation and Training, Purification of the Self and Peer to Peer Counseling.


The Arabs and the Holocaust

Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands, by Robert Satloff.
New York: Public Affairs, 2006, 204 pages. Notes to 227.
Bibl. to p. 239. Index to p. 251. $26.00.

Reviewed by Joseph V. Montville

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, Robert Satloff was walking in the middle of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue which was devoid of traffic in a city stunned by the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers that morning. The question came into his mind: “Did any Arabs save any Jews during the Holocaust?” He judged, as did this writer after the second tower was hit, that Arabs were behind the deed. He wanted to teach Arabs about the Holocaust and the depths of its meaning for Israeli and Diaspora Jews. Satloff decided to answer his question, and this book is the result.

What establishes the nobility of Among the Righteous…is the conviction of its author, a historian, an Arabist and an American Jew, that there is much more to Arab and Muslim humanity than the destructive, suicidal rage that the 9/11 hijackers displayed that momentous day. While he had never heard of “righteous” Arabs—people who took great risks to protect Jews from the Nazis and their underlings–Satloff felt in his bones that he could find some. He did not believe that the apparent absence of knowledge or discussion about the Holocaust among Arabs was the complete picture.

The author thought that if he could prove that Arabs had saved Jewish lives during World War II, they might be induced to face the Holocaust squarely and understand its power in the final thrust to establish the Jewish state in Palestine. He hoped that the shared prosocial values of Islam and Judaism could induce Arab cooperation in his research and generate pride in Arab heroes. He cites Muslim and Jewish sacred literature to make his point. “‘Whoever saves one life saves the entire world,’ says the Qur’an, an echo of the Talmud’s injunction ‘If you save one life, it is as if you have saved the world.’” (p. 6.) In the process of searching for “righteous” Arabs in North Africa, Israel and Europe, Satloff has filled an important gap in the history of World War II, and he has also reflected the best traditions of Jewish humanism. It is not insignificant that Satloff is also executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy which the Jewish weekly, Forward, calls “a think tank known for its pro-Israel views and for its predominantly Jewish board.”1

The narrative concentrates on the North African states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya under French—the first three—and Italian and therefore fascist colonial rule during the Vichy and Mussolini regimes. Half a million Jews lived in these countries, and the Nazi policy of degradation and ultimately destruction was meant to apply also to these trans-Mediterranean people. There were also 30,000 Libyan Jews who faced danger and abuse.