American Muslims for Palestine inadvertently give Netanyahu a Thanksgiving gift
Demonstrators in Washington D.C. for Palestinian rights | American Muslims for Palestine/Facebook

TINLEY PARK, Il. – Women who don’t adhere to strict standards of clothing are to blame if they are assaulted by men. That is the opinion held by one of the speakers at last weekend’s convention of the American Muslims for Palestine.

AMP is a prominent pro-Palestine organization in the U.S. that has the ability to mobilize large numbers of people, especially youth, for its activities including protests and large meetings and conventions.

On November 24-25, AMP held its 16th Annual Convention for Palestine in Tinley Park, Illinois. This convention featured a wide range of activities and speakers, was attended by thousands of people, and a large sum of donations was raised.

There was lots of good work done but it was marred by remarks made by guest speaker Abdullah Rushdy, a mosque leader who came to Tinley Park from Egypt.

AMP introduced Rushdy as a “distinguished Islamic scholar and preacher.” His controversial and frankly, wrong-headed ideas have resulted, more than once, in his suspension from public preaching in Egypt.

On February 27, 2020, the Egyptian news Youm7 said “Abdullah Rushdy’s name has been associated with extremist opinions and fatwa, through which he attempts to create a state of intellectual terrorism among citizens.”

In some people’s opinion, Rushdy is an example of those who use their education and knowledge to mislead people and to defend dictatorship, not democracy, in the name of religion. Some objected to hosting Rushdy at the AMP convention. After finishing the first speech, out of three scheduled, Rushdy was strictly criticized by attendees. As a result,  security guards had to remove him from the hall.

Rushdy has displayed unpopular and repressive views regarding women, social justice, human rights, and Palestinian resistance.

Some of Rushdy’s speeches incite violence against women, depicting them as if they are sex objects and even slaves more than they are human beings. In his opinion, sexual harassment against women is justified if their dressing style is “improper.” Not wearing a head scarf (hijab) is nakedness, because it “shows off women’s charms that naturally provoke man’s masculinity.”  Rushdy then blames the victim, not the perpetrator, for sexual violence.

It was noticeable that although many female attendees were not wearing hijabs, neither Rushdy’s masculinity nor any other man’s was “naturally provoked” So, no sexual harassment was reported. thanks God!

Marriage rape is justified, in Rushdy’s opinion. “It is normal when a husband ties, humiliates, disfigures, and enslaves his wife.” He tweeted.  This is another opinion drastically at variance with the teachings of Islam. The Koran insists on treating women with respect. Islam also prohibits intercourse without the consent of the woman.

Rushdy-type opinions have resulted in crimes against women in Egypt, including the murder of Mansoura University student Naiyera Ashraf. On June 22, 2022, over a hundred Egyptian activists including feminists, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders filed a lawsuit against Rushdy and others for promoting violence against women.

In addition, Rushdy justified the massacre of Rabaa Al-Adaweya at an anti-government protest in Egypt in 2013. “There is nothing wrong with killing them, and Al-Sisi (Egypt’s murderous dictator) is not a killer,” said Rushdy of thousands of his victims. It makes no sense that the AMP  would bring such a man to advocate for genocide victims in Palestine.

Moreover, Rushdy considers Christians and Jews to be “unbelievers,” and prohibits congratulating them on their Holy Days. He also prohibited asking God for mercy on Shireen Abu Aqlah, the Palestinian-American journalist who was killed in 2022 and refused to call her a martyr because she was not a Muslim.

On the other hand, Rushdy allows asking God to inspire her family with patience, although they are not Muslims as well.

In his interview with Al-Mawaddah TV on February 11, 2021, Rushdy was asked about resisting oppressors, dictators, and occupiers which, of course, includes the Palestinian resistance. He said, “Resistance, Jihad in Arabic Islamic terms, should be only based on the ruler’s order. It is not allowed for individuals to resist, even with stones, without the ruler’s approval.”

This opinion also is odd, as the majority of credentialed Islamic scholars agreed that if an occupation of Muslim land occurs, resistance is obligatory for every able and responsible person. They don’t need the permission of leaders.

Neither AMP nor any other organization should host anyone who justified a massacre to advocate against genocide. They should not introduce a dictatorship supporter to lecture people on freedom and human rights.

AMP made a fatal mistake by hosting Abdullah Rushdy. This may indicate duplicity, lack of professionalism, or losing the moral compass. The invitation didn’t serve either AMP or the Palestinian cause; neither the Arab-American community nor U.S. society; neither democracy and liberation nor moral values.

It puts the professionalism and credibility of AMP itself at risk and can hurt fundraising. It increases division among the Arab-American community while they are in severe need of unity.

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Aboulfotouh Kandil
Aboulfotouh Kandil

Aboulfotouh Kandil is a freelance writer on socio-political issues and human rights with a main focus on the Middle East.