ISNA Participates in American Muslims for Palestine Conference

Thanksgiving weekend, ISNA Secretary General Safaa Zarzour spoke at the American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) fifth annual Conference for Palestine in the U.S., focusing on the theme “A Movement United.” The conference gathered more than an estimated 2,000 attendees over the course of three days. Attendees listened to presentations on Palestine and the Arab Revolution, the crisis in Syria, Islamophobia and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, with specialized tracks for youth and campus activists.

Representatives from diverse groups discussed how to build strong coalitions and make the cause of Palestine relevant to the American public. “The movement for Palestine is not for Palestinians. The movement for Palestine is for all lovers of justice,” said ShakeelSyed, AMP board member.

“We have seen the power of Allah (SWT) when he places the steadfastness in our hearts,” said Zarzour, calling people to faith and hope during his presentation on the crisis in Syria. Zarzour also spoke during what many considered the most inspiring session of the conference, titled “A Movement United,” where representatives from more than 10 groups, as diverse as Zaytuna College and the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, spoke, calling for all organizations to work in concert, within their specialized areas. Each panelist spoke about how their organization’s work contributes to the cause, and how to broaden the effectiveness of the movement.

Islamic Horizons assistant editor Deanna Othman also presented in a session titled “Citizen Journalist: Media Activist” and focused on the emerging cadre of citizen journalists, especially within the Middle East, who are covering events in real time in Gaza and Syria. “Citizen journalists and bloggers in Gaza allowed us to experience the most recent bombing campaign in Gaza as it unfolded and provided us with verifiable information in real time, before any mainstream news outlet would or could,” Othman said. She also presented in the Campus Activism track on essential media skills for college students, focusing on messaging strategies via outlets such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

“This year’s Palestine Conference was successful in more ways than can be counted. Besides bringing together thousands of activists, speakers, community members and supporters of the Palestine solidarity movement, the conference succeeded in making the theme ‘A Movement United’ a reality,” Awad Hamdan, National Programs Director for AMP said.