Quote: Arabs, Muslims, Moroccans and Palestine

Quote: Arabs, Muslims, Moroccans and Palestine

Karim Hassoun, head of the Belgian chapter of the Arab European League (AEL), in an interview with Indymedia (NL):

Q: You've been locally engaged in Willebroek, but where did your interest in the Palestinian issue and anti-colonialism come from?

A: As a Muslim and Arab I identified with the struggle of the Palestinians - with the injustice done to the Palestinians, and yet still being done.  It is a logical instinctive Arab and Islamic reactions to be in solidarity with Muslims and Arabs who are being oppressed.  On the other  hand, I simply also have a great feeling for justice.  This also for the struggle against racism and exclusion on the local level, as well as for solidarity on the international level with oppressed peoples.

Q: But: Why does the AEL fight out the conflict in the Middle East on the streets of Antwerp?

A: International solidarity has nothing to do with so-called 'importing' of conflicts.  We may be in solidarity with any struggle of oppressed people all over the world.  I have the right as a citizen to demonstrate for any issue which concerns me.  And I will remind you that the Europeans exported their conflicts to the third world (...)

Q: Arab nationalism is important for the AEL, but at the same time you identify yourself as a Muslim. What is the relation between Arab nationalism and Islam?

A: As a Muslim I feel concerned with other Muslims in the world.  But this does not exclude that I also feel solidarity with non-Muslims.  Take Palestine: there are not only Muslims living there, but also Arab Christians.  Therefore I see not only through Islamic glasses, but also through Arab glasses.  But it's true: Islam inspires us too.  Because Islam is also for justice and against racism.  But that doesn't mean that justice isn't a universal concept.  Everybody must be indignant regarding racism and the Palestinian issue.

But the AEL is a secular organization.  We work from an Arabic nationalist framework of thought against Western imperialism, and against colonialism in Palestine.  We also offer a framework for identity for Arab Muslims in Europe: they must realize that they're not only Muslims but also Arabs, that they have a culture and history.  For Moroccans, for that matter, the Berber identity is also important.  But the great majority of Moroccans are Muslims, therefore the Islamic component is important.  But that doesn't make the AEL into an Islamic organization.


Yassine Channouf on the AEL site (NL) regarding rioting by Moroccan youth after the Barça-Real Madrid game, while seeming indifferent to more important issues:

(..)  Dear brothers, dear friends, fear anybody who reads this and wants to read.  How low have we sunk, how low can we go?  I can continue, hours at a time, with citing examples where in the best case we'll lose half our sleep.  But I will try to address our youth directly.  Fuck Barça and fuck Real Madrid!  If you are reading this and continue to remain indifferent concerning your rights as an ethnic-religious minority, western policies vis-a-vis Israel and our Palestine, the lack of formal apologies for the reprehensible Western colonial history, your opportunities on the job market and in education, then I tell you frankly: Fuck you! (..)

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