28 April 2024

CT Muslim Leaders Stand in Solidarity with University Students’ Protests Against Genocide

We, the leaders and allies of the CT Muslim communities, after visiting the encampments at Yale University and the University of Connecticut at Storrs, unequivocally support and stand in solidarity with the brave students of all faiths, protesting the brutal war on the people of Gaza that has massacred more than 34,000 people, most of whom have been helpless, innocent women and children. Israel is also deliberately starving over 2 million people in Gaza, an act of collective punishment.

It is shocking to see university and college administrators abandon their students’ rights to free assembly and free speech in order to curry favor with interest groups and politicians. The interference of politicians and the intimidation of students by use of force in the United States of America is unimaginable. Hauling presidents of universities to congressional hearings and forcing some of them to resign for allowing these hallowed values of free speech and free assembly is truly diabolical. To likewise threaten students with eviction and suspension and even expulsion is truly un-American.

Seeing Jewish, Christian, Muslim and students of other religions or no religion, together with many faculty members standing up for their right to protest this unfolding genocide in Gaza is heartening. Student demands for divestment from Israel and from the military industrial complex complicit in this and other wars throughout our fragile world merit our staunch support

Instead of celebrating the actions of the students of conscience, external pro war groups have encouraged the universities to use heavy handed approaches against these students leading to a proliferation of Palestine solidarity encampments throughout this nation. Peaceful protest and standing up against immoral wars is a proud tradition of places of learning throughout our nation’s history. Here are some of their voices that inspired us.

“We, as Jewish students, standing up in solidarity against this barbaric massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, are speaking from teachings of our faith, particularly in this Passover period, when we are supposed to stand up for the freedom of us all. We celebrated our Passover seder in this encampment as an act of our Jewish faith,” said one Jewish student. Passover is a celebration of the deliverance and liberation of the Jewish people from the Pharaonic oppression (in Egypt) and enslavement and has huge significance to the struggle for liberation for all humanity. Many of the Jewish students did not want their names revealed as they felt intimidated by some groups within the university and beyond.

Palestinian and Muslim students in the encampments who were leading these peaceful sit-ins were keen to highlight the peaceful nature of their protest. “It is important that we do this with our other faith community colleagues.” “What was amazing was that we protected the Jewish students at their Passover seder event and then they all stood with us while we prayed the sunset prayer, Maghrib.” The atmosphere in the encampment was far from intimidating. There was a lot of food for everyone, and the mood was very collegial at UCONN and Yale, despite the presence of police close-by. There were some group teach-ins and group art classes as well as some dancing classes. The police action of manhandling students and confiscating their tents at UCONN was silly and counterproductive and exposed the students to the elements on a cold night, which was quite unnecessary. The names of students have been left out due to the threats to the students from some in administration.

Some students expressed “deep concern for the Palestinians suffering for over 6 months under this brutal massacre of innocent mostly women and children.” Others were concerned about “this brutal occupation with apartheid- type conditions that has gone on for decades and the fact that Israeli leaders have expressed no interest in giving the Palestinians their right to self-determination or a state of their own is completely unacceptable.” Palestinians have been struggling for nearly 8 decades and the university students and faculty member here in America and all over the world are demanding a resolution that must now be enforced on the warring factions.

Some students expressed optimism since student movements often spark societal change and that is why they are there. Some were very anxious at the rhetoric by some politicians of a culture war that does not allow for the understanding of the real problems in the Middle East. Student diversity has made it possible for the younger generation to understand each other much better than the politicians who have not embraced that diversity and have been attempting to restrict freedoms, especially for those of color. “How else can you explain the need to suppress free speech by those who would otherwise champion these values?”

We firmly support not only the rights of all people to express their political views, but we also strongly encourage all who can to join them in shedding light on the truth of the Palestinian dispossession and to demonstrate that we refuse to be complicit in this 21st century genocide.  Along with the university students, faculty, and all who actively exercise their constitutional first amendment rights to demand divestment of universities from Israel, a permanent and immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces and controls on Gaza, we proudly support the university and municipal protests. Furthermore, we condemn the university administrations that have called in municipal police forces against the student-faculty protesters, harming them and violently suppressing their efforts. We demand that the university administrations heed the call to divest from Israel and the military industrial complex immediately. It is vital that we not only allow university constituents their basic rights of self-expression, but that we join them in wholehearted support!

In solidarity with the students and faculty of our universities, we call upon all people of conscience to demand that the U.S. end its complicity with Israel’s genocide and dispossession of the Palestinian people. We demand an end to aid to Israel who breaks international laws and norms in its pursuit of genocide. We urge our universities to invest in their own cities and support the struggles of oppressed peoples in them.

As Senator Bernie Sanders a Jewish senator publicly said “It is not antisemitism to point out that in 6 months Israel has killed over 34,000 Palestinians, or that Israel has destroyed Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, or that the Israeli government has destroyed Gaza’s healthcare system, or that the Israeli government has destroyed all of Gaza’s twelve universities and fifty-six of its schools, or to agree with almost every humanitarian organization that the Israeli government in violation of American law has unreasonably blocked humanitarian aid coming into Gaza. It is not antisemitic to hold Israel accountable for its actions.”

As a holocaust survivor in Britain, Stephen Kapos, said, “The way that the Israeli government is using the holocaust to justify what they are doing to the Gazans is an insult to the memory of the holocaust. This survivor of the holocaust is against the genocide in Gaza. We demonstrate against the conflating of Jewishness with Zionism, which the State of Israel is trying to do, and this only increases antisemitism. When the right-wing section of the present government (in the UK), is trying to press for the banning of these marches on the grounds that they create “no go” areas for Jews, we know that this is complete rubbish. Quite the opposite is true. Today’s marches are having a very hopeful aspect. There was no parallel during the Jewish holocaust. In fact, there was great abandonment by the leadership. Most people looked the other way. There is a historic responsibility towards injustice, genocide, and fascism. If you are indifferent and don’t take a stand, you acquire a degree of guilt. It is imperative to assert opposition if you want to be guilt free.”

Mosque and Organization Endorsements:

Eman Beshtawii
President, Muslim Society of Greater Danbury

Ali A. Antar
Co-President, Islamic Association of Greater Hartfoed
Berlin, CT

Raafat Elfouly
Board Member & Imam, Islamic Center University of Connecticut

Reza Mansoor
President, Muslim Coalition of Connecticut

Khaled Elleithy
President, Bridgeport Islamic Community Center (BICC)

Khamis Abu-Hasaballah
President, Farmington Valley American Muslim Center

Kashif Abdul Karim
Imam, Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford

Ossama Elawad
Vice President, Waterbury Islamic Cultural Center

Youness Bakr
President, CT Muslim Civic Alliance

Ahsan Saghir
President, Islamic Center of Connecticut

Omar Scott Antar
Co-founder, Connecticut Palestine Alliance

Nageeb G Saleh
Member, Islamic Center of Windsor Locks, CT
Windsor Locks

Mahmoud Abbas
Vice President of Engineering, Thermatool Corporation
East Haven

Hend Elsantaricy
Member, CT Muslims and Friends for Palestine
Sandy Hook

Mohammad Asif Toor
President, Islamic Community of Fairfield County

Mohamed Almasri
Imam, Norwalk community Islamic centre

Shelly Altman
Member Leader, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven
New Haven

Fatma Antar
Member of Board of Trustees and Director of Education,
Islamic Association of Greater Hartford

Mongi Dhaouadi
Co-founder and CT-Chairman, AbandonBiden Campaign

Anis Shaikh
Executive Board of Directors/Treasurer,
Islamic Center Of Connecticut

Ahmed Bedir
Founder and President, Omar Islamic Center

Fadi Hammami
Co-President and Treasurer, Islamic Association of Greater Hartford

Tarek Ambia
Treasurer, Association of Muslim Community (AMC) , Buyt Ul-Mamur Mosque, Manchester, Connecticut

Omer Abdelgader
President, IACC
New Britain

Adam Antar
Volunteer, Bristol Anti Racism Brigade, CTPSC, IAGH, MICGH

Saladin A. Hasan
Resident Imam, AMKH Islamic Center
Greater New Haven

Naseem M Shaikh
Treasurer and Member of the Board of Trustees,
Farmington Valley American Muslim Center Avon

Magdy Galal
BOT Chariman, Islamic American Society of CT/Masjd Al-Mustafa
Waterbury, CT

Saladin A. Hasan
Resident Imam, AMKH Islamic Center
Greater New Haven

Naseem M Shaikh
Treasurer and Member of the Board of Trustees,
Farmington Valley American Muslim Center Avon

Magdy Galal
BOT Chairman, Islamic American Society of CT/Masjd Al-Mustafa

Mohamed Chaouki
President of the Board, Islamic association of southern Connecticut

Khuram Ghumman
Vice President, CT Muslim Civil Alliance
East Granby

Ghoufran Allababidi
President, Tree of Life Educational Fund
Old Lyme

Mohamed Mountassir
President, Islamic Center of Wallingford CT

Colleen M Keyes
Member, CT Leadership
East Haven

John Fussell
Board Member, WeWillReurn.org
South Windsor

Razwan Ahmad
President Board of Directors, Al Madany Islamic Center of Norwalk
Norwalk, CT

Mark Albertson

Mahmood Mohammed
Board Member, Islamic Center of Windsor Locks
Windsor Locks

Amena Khan
Teacher, Public Education

Dr. Syeda Hasan
Physician, Healthcare

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Endorsement Apr 2024
01 November 2023

Urgent Strong Demand for Justice and Humanity for Gaza


United in our commitment to justice and humanity, we, the undersigned leaders of mosques and interfaith organizations of Connecticut, express our profound concern for the people of Gaza. We condemn indiscriminate violence against all civilians. In Gaza, over 10,000 Palestinians, including more than 4,000 children, have been murdered with over 16,000 wounded. Hospitals are overwhelmed, and entire neighborhoods lie in ruins. Strikes on hospitals that shelter thousands of displaced and desperate people cause untold suffering for innocent Gazans.

Immediate Demands:

We demand our elected representatives call for an immediate ceasefire to end the violence in Gaza.We demand that they call for adequate water, food, medicine, fuel, and medical equipment to enter Gaza, in compliance with international law. We call upon the United Nations to intervene and to investigate the many war crimes being committed in Gaza.

Condemnation of Actions:

We strongly condemn Israel’s bombings targeting homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, an ancient church, entire neighborhoods, and border crossings. Civilians have been told to “leave now,” but there is no safe place for over a million civilians to take shelter. The cutting off essential supplies is a war crime, and we reject military aid to Israel as it implicates the US in war crimes.

Rejection of Claims:

We reject claims by Israel and the Biden administration that these attacks on civilians are simply “self-defense.” We are appalled at and condemn the lies and dehumanization of the Palestinian people by the media and our elected officials, including the President, which has tragically led to hate crimes, including the murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian child in Chicago.

Historical Context:

It has been 75 years, with more than 750,000 Palestinians who were made refugees and never allowed to return to their own homes. These displaced people have grown to seven million, in addition to the thousands more ethnically cleansed from their land. It has been 56 years since the illegal occupation that has robbed Palestinian lands for illegal Israeli settlements and has brutalized the civilian population. Israeli settlers, supported by an extremist far-right government and their occupation forces, continue to kill Palestinian civilians on their own land daily.

End the Inhumane Siege:

Gaza has been under an inhumane siege for 17 years. We demand our elected representatives push for an end to the siege of Gaza and an end to the occupation, working towards a just solution that upholds the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people, including their autonomy, security, and safety. Justice is the only road to peace.

Prayer and Call to Action:

Finally, we pray to God to protect the vulnerable and aid those who are oppressed and suffering from hunger, thirst, homelessness, and desperation. We call upon our leaders, and people of faith and conscience to remember our obligations to God and our ultimate accountability.

Mosque and Organization Endorsements:

Khamis Abu-Hasaballah, PhD. President, Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Avon
Kashif Abdul-Karim, Imam, Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford. Hartford
Raafat Elfouly, PhD. Imam, Islamic Center University of Connecticut
Mohamed Abdul Karim Turay, Masjid Al Islam, New Haven
Ali A. Antar, PhD, Co-President, Founder, Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, (Berlin
Reza Mansoor, MD, FACC, President, Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, Wethersfield
Ahmed Bedir, President, Omar Islamic Center, Middletown
Mohamed Chaouki, President, Masjid Al Rawda: Islamic Association of Southern CT, Meriden
Youness Bakr, CT Muslim Civic Alliance
Ahsan Saghir, President, Islamic Center of Connecticut
Muhammad Jamil, President, Islamic Center of Vernon
Saladin A. Hasan, Imam, Abdul Majid Karim Hasan Islamic Center Hamden
Muneeb Syed, President, MSA UCONN
Elmar Shakir, President, Islamic Center of Windsor Locks
Shazeeda Khan, President, Muslim Endorsement Council
Saidou Balogu, President, Masjid Salam, Hartford
Hussein Ahmad, Waterbury Islamic Cultural Center
Lyle Hasan, Imam, Al Aziz Islamic Center, Bridgeport
Masruk Siddique, President, Masjid An-Noor, Greater Bridgeport and Fairfield
Khaled ElLeithy, Ph.D. President, Bridgeport Islamic Community Center
Magdy Galal, M.D. President, Masjid Al-Mustafa (Islamic American Society of CT), Waterbury
Eman Beshtawi, President, Al-Hedaya Islamic Center and Mosque, Newtown
Mohamed Mountassir, President, Islamic Center of Wallingford
Akram Aljahmi, President, Tunxis Community College MSA, Farmington
Mohammed Al Masri, Imam, Norwalk Islamic Center
Omar Abdelgadir, President, Islamic Association of Central CT, New Britain
Khalid A. Mohamed, DVM, President, New Haven Islamic Center, Orange
Kemal Cecunjanin, Imam, Islamic Community of Fairfield, Monroe
Mohammad Akhtar, President, Islamic Society of Western CT, Danbury
Altaf Rasool, Islamic Center of New London, Groton
Shakoor Khan, President, Baitul Muharram Masjid, Danbury
Ahmed Baykar, Imam, Bloomfield Muslim Community Center, Bloomfield
Haydar Elevi, President, Diyanet Mosque of New Haven
Ali Shakabi, MD, BOT, Institute of Ahlabayt
Majeed Sharif, President, United Muslim Masjid, Waterbury
Razwan Ahmad, President, Board of Directors, Al Madany Islamic Center, Norwalk
Sheeba Farough, President, Mosque of Jafaria Association of CT, Middlefield

Interfaith and Multifaith Groups

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace, New Haven
Elizabeth Arohnson, Ph.D. We Refuse to Be Enemies, CT
Ghoufran Allababidi, President, Tree of Life Educational Fund, Old Lyme


Mirnes Mustafic, Wethersfield
Samreen Khan, West Hartford