MAS Puts out more important news on the Gaza Flotilla, etc.

MAS Freedom Expresses Concerns Over Human Right Flotilla to Gaza

News sources reported yesterday that Anne Wright, a retired Colonel in the United States Army and a former official with the U.S. State Department is one of several hundred activists aboard the flotilla of eight ships, now in the Mediterranean Sea, carrying tons of humanitarian and building supplies.

The ships, which departed from destinations in Turkey, Ireland, Algeria, and Greece, will converge at a spot in the Mediterranean and continue toward Gaza, where Israeli officials have promised to intercept the ships, possibly ram them on the high seas, and arrest the activists on board.

Ms. Wright, who is also a well respected writer and activist for peace, has stated that her participation in the humanitarian voyage is meant to bring attention to the ongoing crisis in Gaza, where more than 25,000 people were made homeless as a result of the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008-2009 that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,300 Gazans, including many civilian non-combatants.

She recently spoke at a public gathering of citizens in Alaska to explain the objective of the humanitarian shipment, and the larger issue of ending the economic blockade of Gaza.

MAS Freedom continues to support the human rights of the people of Gaza through our Let Gaza Live campaign, which focuses on three related actions: (1) Sending 500,000 post cards to President Obama calling for U.S. pressure to be applied to both Israel and Egypt to end the blockade of Gaza (click here to see the postcard), (2) creating an online petition to call for an end to the blockade, and (3) distributing lawn signs to religious institutions and communities throughout the United States that call for an end to the blockade.

The Let Gaza Live petition can be found at:

MAS Freedom is also sending a letter of protest to the Israeli Ambassador in Washington, DC, demanding that Israel not attempt to interfere with the arrival of these non-military humanitarian items to Gaza.

Help us lift the siege of Gaza now!  Donate to the Let Gaza Live campaign.  Make a donation today!

Please send your donations to:

MAS Freedom

1325 G Street NW, Suite 500

Washington, DC 20005

May 26, 2010

Gaza Humanitarian Convoy Approaches Showdown with Israel

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 2:10 pm


Words cannot express what I feel in my heart for the suffering people of Gaza. Check out the piece below.

Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day:

Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said, “Verily, there is a morsel of flesh in the body that if it is sound then whole body is sound, and that if it is diseased then whole body is diseased. Verily, it is the heart.”

Gaza Humanitarian Convoy Approaches Showdown with Israel

As eight ships, carrying some 10,000 tons of pre-fabricated homes and construction supplies, sail in the Mediterranean Sea toward Gaza, international news sources report that Israeli officials are preparing to intercept the ships and put the activists on board the vessels into custody in the southern Israeli port of Ashdod.  If this is the case, it would be the most Israeli serious response to date to the ongoing international struggle to lift the blockade of some 1.4 million Palestinians in the territory.

The supplies contained in the vessels are among materials that are banned by Israel from shipment into Gaza. Since 2005, the embargo on Gaza has led to the denial of many of the vital materials required to re-build the badly damaged Gaza civilian infrastructure.  Numerous international aid organizations, including the Red Cross and the United Nations Humanitarian Relief Agency, have documented the severe crises in Gaza related to lack of food, health care, sanitation, clean water, and electricity. The shipment contains no military supplies or weapons.

MAS Freedom is responding to the challenge of humanitarian support for the people of Gaza through its Let Gaza Live project, which calls on the President of the United States to use the influence of the American government to persuade Israel – and Egypt -to end the blockade. The Let Gaza Live project has assembled a broad based interfaith coalition committed to sending a half a million signed postcards to the White House that call for an end to the embargo. The campaign will also distribute Let Gaza Live yards signs for display at houses of worship throughout the nation.

We ask that you keep the courageous activists on these eight ships in your prayers-but more, that you join the Let Gaza Live campaign by signing our on-line petition and materially supporting our struggle to make the U.S. government accountable for helping to save the lives of 1.4 million people under lethal economic siege.

The Let Gaza Live petition is found at:

You can also support our campaign with a generous donation!  Please call MAS Freedom for details at (888) 627-8471.

May 25, 2010

MAS Freedom Launches On-Line Petition Drive for Let Gaza Live Campaign

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 12:42 pm


In the 21st century no human being should have to live like the people of Gaza. We can and we must lift the embargo of Gaza. Check out the action Item below.

Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the day: “There is a time when silence is betrayal.”

MAS Freedom Launches On-Line Petition Drive for Let Gaza Live Campaign

Muslim American Society Freedom-MAS Freedom- has now officially launched our Let Gaza Live electronic petition drive.  We encourage all of our supporters to go to our electronic petition on the internet, sign it, and forward this link to no fewer than 10 individuals and/or institutions in the community who support the human rights of the people of Gaza, and the positive engagement of the United States government in genuine support for the human rights of the Palestinian people.

This on-line petition drive is envisioned as a “viral” internet campaign – that is, one that can be transmitted electronically to hundreds, and thousands, of supporters.  The link to the petition can be found at:

Let Gaza Live has already attracted the attention and support of notable leaders in both the interfaith community and among organizations that support the human rights of more than 1.4 million Palestinians who suffer from the intentional economic blockade of the Gaza territory.  Already, leaders from the Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Unitarian communities have enrolled in the Let Gaza Live campaign as supporters.

The effort to end the economic blockade of Gaza has also enlisted the vigorous support of some 54 members of the United States Congress, who signed a letter in January, 2010 to President Obama, urging the president to use his authority to persuade both Israel and Egypt to end the blockade and to allow the free transport of humanitarian and essential goods into Gaza.

Ibrahim Ramey, the coordinator of this initiative at MAS Freedom, noted that “the end of the Gaza blockade is a necessary step in establishing not only justice for all the people of Palestine, but peace, justice, and mutual security for all the peoples of the region.  We sincerely believe that the Obama administration can become instrumental in ending this boycott, and in laying the groundwork for the eventual end to the cycle of violence that has plagues this part of the world for so many years.”

“If everyone who believe in universal justice, human rights, and an end to unjust collective punishment will send this petition link to all of their email contacts, we can build a huge popular base of support for this cause that the U.S. government cannot ignore”, Ramey continued.

Let Gaza Live also offers post cards for mailing to President Obama, and other materials that support the humanitarian response to the Gaza crisis.  For more information on how you can support the Let Gaza Live initiative, please call MAS Freedom at (888) 627 8471.

May 24, 2010

No Choice, No Voice

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 2:04 pm

I remember my grandparent’s house the night the Klan attacked.  There was fire, bullets and my grandmother and aunties body over us as a shield for protection.  I remember “cousin” Buddy beaten to death on a railroad track in North Carolina.  Believe it or not all this was happening to our elders, because they were registering people to vote.  If voting is so unimportant, why were some people in America denied the vote?  Why was violence used to stop some people from voting?  The price for voting in America has been paid in tears and blood.  I know the reality of what’s being described here is heavy, so I’ll lighten it up.  Check out below the recycled wacky video “No Choice, No Voice.”  It provides some comic relief around the issue.  But never forget someone paid a price for you and I to have the right to vote.  Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day: “Freedom ain’t free.”

No Choice, No Voice

MAS Freedom is gearing up nationally for its 2010 Voting is Power (VIP) Campaign.  VIP focuses on voter registration, voter education and voter mobilization.  Also, MAS Freedom is placing special emphasis on identifying the battleground states, districts and cities for 2010 in which the Muslim block vote could be a decisive factor in the electoral results.  If you are interested in volunteering for the VIP Campaign please contact us at 1888-627-8471Check out the wacky video featuring Mustafa Gatollari and Imam Mahdi Bray on voting rights.

Click to view video

Mutual Destruction or Mutual Respect? A Reply to Shaykh Anwar Al-Awlaki

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 2:02 pm

Mutual Destruction or Mutual Respect? A Reply to Shaykh Anwar Al-Awlaki

Last week, Western media publicized yet another video and statement from Shaykh Anwar Al-Awlaki, a U.S-born Muslim who is allied with Al Qaeda and other armed formations at odds with the United States and American military forces around the world.

Shaykh Anwar came to the attention of millions of people in the United States and the broader Western world when, some months. ago, his pronouncements against the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were connected to the killings in Fort Hood, Texas committed by Major Nidal Hassan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist and a Muslim.

Shaykh Al-Awlaki admitted his support for the killings, and his encouragement of Muslims in the United States to take similar actions against American service personnel. But in his latest pronouncement, he has sanctioned the killing not only of combatants, but of American civilians as well.  This proposed violence, according to Al-Awlaki’s logic, is justified because the United States has killed one million Muslim civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and because, in his own words, “American people, in general, are taking part in this, that they elected this administration, and that they are financing the war.”

True enough, in one sense:  U.S. military, political, and economic power has enforced lethal sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (1990-2003), spearheaded another war in that same nation from 2003 until the present, and engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and other places, that have killed untold numbers of Muslims civilians.

But is the answer to this horror the repayment, in kind, for mass bloodshed aimed at American non-combatants?  I would offer Shaykh Al-Awlaki two things to ponder.

The first, a statement from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the context of a metaphor, is that an eye for an eye leaves the whole world in blindness.  The cycle of mass violence directed against the Muslim world is concomitant with mass violence directed by Muslims against ourselves.  And if there is any profound lesson to be learned from the sad state of our world, it is simply that violence, perpetrated by any people against their “enemies”, will eventually consume the victims themselves.

But the second reflection, from the Holy Qur’an (5:32), contains the admonition from God Almighty that….”If anyone killed a person-except it be for murder of spreading mischief in the land-it would be as it he killed all mankind.”  The transliteration may vary a bit depending on the English-language translation from the Arabic that is used, but the essence of the divine injunction is clear:  Murder is an abomination and an evil, period.  It is not justified, and cannot be justified, by the political expedience of retaliation against either armed adversaries, or non-combatants who come from the nation with which a particular group of people is in conflict.

There is another reality that must be considered by the Shaykh, and all of us: Muslims in America are not a “Fifth Column” of dormant Jihadis, waiting for the command to strike terror in the hearts of their compatriots.  Rather, Muslims are an integral part of the society.  We are teachers, doctors, engineers, students, mothers and fathers.  American Muslims have been present here since before there was, officially, an independent United States of America.

Our role should not be to participate in armed violence-and Shaykh Al-Awlaki knows this.  But neither should we be seduced by the totally false idea that hatred, killing, and violence against America will bring justice to the Islamic world, or end the greater violence that some Muslims perpetrate against other Muslims, in the name of some ”correct” interpretation of the faith.

The injustice of killing any human being, or any mass of human beings, is a stain on the honor of those people who are part of the U.S. military and who claim to be “patriotic” Americans.  It is equally a crime and a sin for those who profess allegiance to Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabab, the Taliban, or any other Islamic formation that raises their sword against their co-religionists.

There is no doubt that Muslims, and all people of conscience, should oppose these wars.  But the naked retaliatory hatred of people in America, or the willingness to harm or kill them, is contrary to the principles of the Qur’an, and the understanding of the basic concept of Rahma (compassion) that undergirds the most precious and inviolable relationship that we have with our Creator and our fellow human beings.

No, Shaykh Al-Awlaki.  We will not defend the killing of innocent Muslims.  But neither will we, nor should we, call for the killing of anyone.  That is a commandment from our Lord-and the Lord of Creation that Shaykh Anwar Al-Awlaki professes to love and serve as well.

May 21, 2010

How Rand Paul’s civil-rights views escaped media scrutiny

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 12:41 pm

President of the Tea Party Express, Mark Williams, blogged that Muslims worshipped a monkey god. The ‘Tea baggers’ respond, “Oh, no we are not racist and prejudice. We are standing up for America.” Ok, I’ll give you that. But, what America are you standing up for? And who are you standing with? Is it the America of Joseph McCarthy? George Wallis? Lester Maddox? Bull Conner? Steve Emerson? Robert Spenser? David Horowitz ? (And the list of the bigots go on and on…) But maybe I am being unfair.  Let’s take a look at the darling of the Tea Party, the poster child for “taking America back,” Ran Paul. Say, what! Oh, no, you mean to tell me that Ran Paul opposes the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Ok, enough, check out the piece below.

Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day: “I am afraid the masquerade is over.”

How Rand Paul’s civil-rights views escaped media scrutiny

The editorial board of Louisville’s Courier-Journal didn’t mince wordsfollowing its sit-down with Rand Paul last month. Much of what the Republican Senate candidate supports, it wrote, “is repulsive to people in the mainstream,” including “an unacceptable view of civil rights.”

And yet Paul’s view that the federal government should not have the power to force integration on private businesses – part of 1964′s landmark Civil Rights Act – didn’t get the attention of the national press until Wednesday, following interviews with NPR’s Robert Siegel and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. (Watch the exchange with Maddow below. Paul subsequentlychanged his position Thursday, after an intense 24 hours of media fallout.)

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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3 Responses to MAS Puts out more important news on the Gaza Flotilla, etc.

  1. eslkevin says:

    American Near East Refugee Aid

    June 1, 2010

    Dear Kevin,

    The death and injury of humanitarian activists this weekend should not have happened. This needless tragedy is the direct result of the Israeli blockade that has caused enormous suffering for innocent families in Gaza. We at ANERA are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the Mediterranean this weekend — and we are extremely concerned that it will lead to further suffering for the men, women and children living in Gaza.

    Israel’s three year closure of Gaza has robbed 1.5 million men, women and children of everything from basic necessities like paper and pencils to essential life saving medicines and medical equipment. This has led to the loss of hundreds of lives in Gaza — and now, the blockade has caused even more deaths in international waters.

    ANERA is one among a small group of organizations allowed to deliver food and medical supplies into Gaza, but the widespread suffering means that many families can’t get the help they need. The World Food Program estimates that Gaza’s population needs at least 400 truckloads of supplies every day — yet an average of just 25 trucks are permitted by Israel. The difference means increased hunger and misery, the loss of life and human dignity.

    This tragedy may be turned into many things by pundits and politicians, but the basic reality of the suffering in Gaza must not be forgotten. Stand with the people of Gaza by signing your name to ANERA’s Humanitarian Pledge today, and tell the world: Feeding a hungry child is not a political statement — it is an act of compassion.

    Click here to learn more about life in Gaza, sign the pledge, and share it with your friends and family.

    I thank you for standing with us during this difficult time.

    Bill Corcoran Signature
    Bill Corcoran

    P.S. In the wake of this tragedy and with the continuing Israeli blockade, the people of Gaza need your support now more than ever. If you can, please make a donation to ANERA today so we can continue helping families in Gaza. Click here.

    AHS Velocity Letter Stationary divider

    1522 K Street NW, # 600
    Washington, DC 20005

  2. eslkevin says:

    Join our mailing list
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    To Donate to MASF

    MAS Freedom Calls for Week of Action in Response of to the Israeli Attack on Gaza Humanitarian Convoy

    Organizations to Host Major Press Conference at 10 AM on Wednesday, June 2 at the National Press Club the Murrow Room, in Response to Attack and Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

    The Muslim American Society Freedom is declaring the week of May 31st-June 6th, 2010, as a week of action, reflection, and solidarity with the people of Gaza and Palestine. The week of action is a response to the acts of piracy committed by Israeli forces on May 31st, in which unarmed convoy of ships carrying humanitarian and building supplies destined for Gaza was attacked, resulting in the killing of activists aboard one of the ships, and the confiscation by of the cargo by Israel.

    The week began on May 31st, with a large demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of activists converged to demand justice in the aftermath of the murders, which were committed by Israeli forces while the humanitarian aid ships were still in international waters. A second demonstration major demonstration of solidarity is scheduled for Tuesday, June1st, at 12:00 Noon, in front of the White House.

    [Edit Image]

    On Wednesday, June 2nd, MAS Freedom will also host a major press conference in the nation’s capital at the National Press Club at 10am in the Murrow room, featuring interfaith leaders and human rights activists who will voice their own responses to this grave international crisis.

    There will be a major rally and demonstration in front of the White House on Jun 4th at 5:00 P.M. Additionally, on the weekend of Friday through Sunday, June 4th through June 6th, MAS Freedom calls for a weekend of prayer, reflection, and solidarity with the Gaza humanitarian flotilla victims and their families and the entire population of Gaza and Palestine. This will involve congregational prayer and reflections in different faith communities throughout the nation.

    Also, during the week of action and solidarity, MAS Freedom will intensify our Let Gaza Live campaign, which centers on three specific actions: (1) disseminating an on-line petition which calls for action on the part of President Obama to press Israel to end the blockade of Gaza, (2) distributing half a million post cards to make the demand to the President to support the end of the embargo, and (3) distributing lawn signs to houses of worship that convey solidarity with the people of Gaza and Palestine, and demand that Gaza be free.

    Ibrahim Ramey of MAS Freedom states that the movement to end the embargo of Gaza has reached both a critical stage and a turning point as a result of the Israeli attack of the humanitarian shipment. “The whole world witnessed the naked and undeniable violence that Israel uses to oppress a captive population in Gaza”, he said, “but the international community is now rallying behind support for the basic human rights of the people. What remains is securing the commitment of the government of the United States to completely support the rule of law, and human rights for the people of Gaza and Palestine. This is the objective of the Let Gaza Live campaign, and the broader movement to support freedom and an end to occupation in Palestine.”

    “We are intensifying our call to the Muslim community, the interfaith community, and all people who poise oppression and injustice, to demand that this illegal and immoral blockade be lifted at once,” stated Imam Mahdi Bray.

    MAS Freedom urges you to generously support the Let Gaza Live campaign with your financial donations, your time, and your help with our ongoing outreach to people of faith and conscience throughout the United States. Please, pledge your monetary support today! Contact MAS Freedom at:

    1325 G Street, N.W., Suite 500,

    Washington, DC 20005

    Phone: 1-888-627-8471


    Donate to Let Gaza Live

    MAS Freedom (MASF) is a civic and human rights advocacy of the Muslim American Society (MAS), the largest Muslim, grassroots, charitable, religious, social, cultural, civic and educational organization in America – with 55 chapters in 35 states.
    —————————— —————————— –
    MAS Freedom
    1325 G Street NW, Suite 500
    Washington DC 20005
    Phone: (202) 552-7414
    or (703) 642-6165
    Toll Free: 1-(888)-627-8471
    Fax: (757) 299-9961

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