Remembering Rachel Corrie: Afterthoughts

A nation of people born from injustice
Causing great sorrow in all civilized among us
You claim your only concern to be your security
But your true intent is plain enough for everyone to see

There are Jews among you who detest what you do
But their voices are muffled and they seem to be few
You are proud and you’re arrogant, malicious and clever
You seem to think world sympathy is going to shield you forever

O but the bed is too short, and the covers too narrow
You can’t see the handwriting for your scope is too narrow
Aggressive you’ve been since the day you were born
From the anguish and misery of lives you have torn

Israel O Israel, where will you be
When the pages have dried on your history?

This poem (“Israel O Israel”) was composed in the aftermath of the Israeli siege on Lebanon in the summer of 1982. It constituted my formal awakening to the crisis of Palestine and its people on a far deeper and personal level.

What happened in short was that Israel launched an invasion into Lebanon code-named “Operation Pines” (aka, “Peace for Galilee“) with the stated intention of evicting PLO and Syrian influence from the territory, and then imposing Bachir Gemayel, head of the Christian Phalange Party, as president, in order to get Lebanon to sign a peace treaty with Israel and bring the country under Israel’s control. 

After a weeks’ long siege – during which Israel attacked Beirut by air, land, sea, and clandestinely used operatives connected to the Mossad to conduct bombings against civilian targets (with the cumulative loss of thousands of civilian lives) – PLO fighters were persuaded to leave their base in Lebanon and take up residence in other countries as part of the ceasefire agreement. Following that US brokered agreement an estimated 2500 international “peacekeepers” arrived in Lebanon.

Bachir Gemayel was killed in Eastern Beirut a few weeks after the withdrawal of PLO forces. Shortly thereafter, Lebanese Forces (“Christian Phalangist”) entered the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps with the approval and support of Israeli forces (who reportedly illuminated the kill zone with flares) and proceeded to slaughter almost two thousand Palestinian civilians; primarily women, children, and elderly men. Israeli troops later provided bulldozers for mass burials of the victims. This Israeli approved and facilitated massacre gave birth to “Israel O Israel.” 

I thought about this poem after the conversation with Cindy and Craig Corrie ended. I wished I had thought to share it during the broadcast; but that wasn’t my only regret. I regretted some of the more important things that were left unsaid by me, the host of that March 21st conversation; and I regretted being overly cautious in some of the things that I did say, out of a desire to protect my guests and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice from any opportunistic blowback. (I will come back to this later, in sha ALLAH.) 

The conversation on Sunday, March 21st -via the Salaamedia broadcast network out of Johannesburg, South Africa – was another installment in the promise I made to them when we first met in March 2003. We were introduced at a large protest vigil outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC. – just days after their daughter was murdered by an Israeli soldier in broad daylight. I promised that we would do everything in our power to help keep the memory of Rachel Corrie, and the enormous sacrifice she made, alive. Our first (and perhaps most significant) installment toward that end was a small book that we published later that same year titled, The Message of Rachel Corrie.

The conversation (18 years and five days since Rachel’s martyrdom) was informative on many levels. From the tidbits of personal information the Corries shared about Rachel’s creative and questioning personality growing up, to the varied influences that helped to shape and hone that uniquely beautiful personality. We also briefly examined Israel’s arrogant response to the quest for accountability and justice.

The final verdict from the Israeli high court in February 2015 concluded, “An explicit legislative directive of the Knesset takes precedence over directives of international law.” Craig Corrie noted that while we all know Israel acts as if international law doesn’t apply to it, “It was extraordinary that the [Israeli] high court would just come right out and say it.” (Exemplifying what the late US Senator J. William Fulbright termed, “The arrogance of power.”)

What follows is a short list of key elements from the Salaamedia broadcast:

  1. The program featured three video clips of Rachel. The first video was of her describing the appalling conditions in Gaza. She decried witnessing “the systematic destruction of a people’s ability to survive.” This is the working definition of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Today these conditions are even more appalling. As I write these words, another large swath of the Palestinian population are scheduled to lose their homes, in gross violation of clearly defined international law – and during a global pandemic, which takes the definition of “unconscionable” to a whole new level. 

(We are once again reminded of the Qur’anic verse that reads, “Oppression is worse than slaughter.”)

2. Rachel’s March 2003 critique (just days before her death) of the US political establishment’s description of then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a “man of peace,” was also on point. It is also worth noting that Sharon was the Israeli defense minister during the 1982 slaughter in Sabra and Shatilla.

3. The second video clip that aired in the program is even more graphic. It begins with a letter Rachel wrote to family and friends two weeks into her arrival in Occupied Palestine; and concludes with her brutal murder at the hands of an IDF soldier as she tried to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian family’s home in the Rafah refugee camp.

4. We began our conversation with the question of “Who was Rachel Corrie?” – beyond the public image that many of us have come to know. The response to that question was both tender and deeply evocative.

5. Cindy Corrie’s description of Rachel’s first international trip to the former Soviet Union is also quite revelatory. It showcased Rachel’s evolving personality and served as a reminder of a sterling quote of the noted 18th century freedom fighter Frederick Douglas: “A man [or woman] is worked on by what he works on. He may carve out his circumstances, but his circumstances will carve him out as well.”

6. The response of the Israeli government to Rachel’s March 2003 death speaks volumes – then and now. The case didn’t begin to be heard by an Israeli court until 2010. At the end of the day there was no legal accountability for her brutal murder.

7. We had a warm and enlightening discussion about the work of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice. At the heart of this elevating work is “education, advocacy, and maintaining connections.” This description brought to mind a prophetic hadith (a transmitted saying of Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him): “When the son [or daughter] of Adam dies nothing will be of greater benefit to him than three things: a continuous charity; some useful knowledge he has left behind; and a goodly child who will pray for him [or her].”

8.  The Corries haven’t been back to Gaza since 2012 because they no longer “meet the criteria” for entry. (Interesting to say the least.)

9. On March 16, 2021, the Foundation hosted an informative webinar titled, “Remembering Rachel,” featuring prominent voices from the Gazan community.  Among other things they spoke about what inspired the 2018-19 “Great March of Return” – a human rights initiative that resulted in the serious injury and death of unarmed Palestinians.

10. Reference was also made to the interconnected Black Lives Matter and Native American struggles.

11. A special surprise guest in the final 15 minutes of the program was Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who spoke of what Rachel’s life and legacy has meant to many Palestinians. He also shared the poem that he wrote when he was in solitary confinement, following her death.

It should be noted that Apartheid-Zionist Israel is one the leading human rights violators in the world today; but unlike most violators Israel is accorded a political air of bi-partisan legitimacy (and outright protection), in large part by its bullyish use of propaganda and threats, and the support that it receives from western governments and institutions of all stripes.

Case in point: “Saturday Night Live” came under recent fire for a comedic commentary on Israeli “vaccine policy.” (The date was Feb 20th, if I’m not mistaken.)    

Comedian Michael Che reportedly said, “Israel is reporting that they vaccinated half of its population. I’m gonna guess, it’s the Jewish half.”

The results of Israel’s vaccine policy are pretty well known. It’s been reported throughout mainstream media, through a largely complimentary lens. A few alternative media outlets have referred to Israeli policy as “vaccine apartheid,” stemming from its willful neglect of occupied Palestinians.  

Nevertheless, Zionist led condemnation against SNL was swift. A former Israeli military spokesperson remarked, “It’s all fun and games until you start promoting anti-Semitic myths.”

“Anti-Semitic myths” he called it. Following the backlash, executives at both SNL and NBC reportedly apologized. But for what?! For getting singled out for bringing discomforting attention to Israel’s “vaccine apartheid” policy in a humorous skit? This is the immoral absurdity of it all. When it comes to sacred political cows within a corrupt political system the message is loud and clear. You are not permitted to see what you see!

(Or as the old saying goes, “Hear no evil; see no evil; speak no evil.” This is what led me to mildly censor myself on March 21st. To avoid drawing my friends into a deeper critique on the evils of Zionism.)

In conclusion, on November 10, 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed UN Resolution 3379, which determined “Zionism” to be “a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution referenced the 1963 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the 1973 Resolution condemning “the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism” (it’s worth noting that our recent conversation took place during “Israeli Apartheid Week” in South Africa); and the August 1975 Conference for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries, which called Zionism “a threat to world peace and security,” and urged world capitals “to oppose this racist and imperialist ideology.”

On December 16, 1991 – after Israel agreed to engage the Palestine Liberation Organization at the so-called “Madrid Peace Conference” – the UN voted to repeal the resolution. An observation reportedly made by one of the repeal’s critics has proven to be prophetic.

Former Lebanon Ambassador Khalil Makkawi opined that the vote was a gift to the “Israeli extremists wishing to pursue their policy of creeping annexation.” He predicted that it would “fuel the passions” of Arabs “who believe the whole peace process is an exercise in futility that gives Israel more time to expand and achieve its revisionist Zionist project.”

How prophetic indeed. This is why the struggle against oppression must continue. May the martyrs of this struggle be blessed! Ameen.


El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan serves as Director of Operations for The Aafia Foundation, a Muslim led human rights-oriented education and advocacy organization based in Metro-Washington, DC.

E-mail: or

The Aafia Foundation, Inc.
11160 Veirs Mill Rd
LLH18, PMB 298
Wheaton, MD. 20902



To reach the Rachel Corrie Foundation:

Office: (360) 754-3998

Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
203 East 4th Ave, Suite 402
Olympia, WA 98501 

The International Ascent of a Socially Committed Artist

“Teachers affect posterity / They know not where their influence stops…”

These are the opening lines of a poem this writer was inspired to pen many years ago (titled, “The Teacher”). The eternal truths captured in this one poetic stanza were on full elegant display when the youngest national poet laureate in US history took center stage at a world event on January 20th – the inauguration of a US president.

Joan Wicks, the proud mother of 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, is a teacher by profession. According to reports the recommendation for Amanda’s inclusion in the inauguration program was made by another teacher (First Lady Jill Biden); and with her inauguration performance Ms. Gorman has now become a newly minted, internationally renowned teacher in her own right.  

The background of this deep chocolate African American beauty is inspiring. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and had to struggle early on (with the determined support of a single mother) to overcome a speech impediment. “It’s made me the performer that I am and the storyteller that I strive to be,” she noted in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Amanda became the youth poet laureate for Los Angeles at the tender age of 16. Three years later – while studying sociology at Harvard University – she was named “National Youth Poet Laureate.” Already a published author, she is said to be working on another book scheduled for release later this year, in shaa Allah (God willing).

According to reports, this talented young socially committed artist was about halfway through the composition of her poem for the inauguration when the violent January 6 insurrection took place on Capitol Hill. The shocking events of that day accelerated its completion. As she described the process in a CNN interview: “It was like someone pressed the on-switch in my brain. I finished the rest at home that night.” And further, “As I was crafting this piece, it was really trying to communicate a message of joining together and crossing divides.”

In “The Hill We Climb” she wrote:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

This is what makes this young poet so special; a wise, centered, activist-oriented idealism. When the changing of the political guard takes place in US presidential elections, the inaugural ceremony (more often than not coming in the wake of a bitterly contested political process) is traditionally billed as a “call to national unity.” While primarily symbolic, this year’s call carried far greater urgency!

The nation is dangerously divided, courtesy of a former US president (along with highly positined supporters) who deliberately incited “unprecedented” mob violence in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021; and then refused, in equally unprecedented fashion, to participate in the inaugural ceremony of the incoming president! If America is to have a real chance at changing the self-destructive course that it’s been on for far too long, it will be through determined, young, visionary activists.

Amanda Gorman is highly perceptive and very much aware of the intrinsic power of her people’s struggle. She reportedly recites the following mantra before every poetry performance to gather herself: “I am the daughter of Black writers, who are descended from Freedom Fighters, who broke the chains who changed the world. They call me.”

To be continued…

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan


Here are two short introductory clips on this exceptional young poetess:

“The Hill We Climb” (Poem)

The Two Americas: And The Question of Who We Really Are?

For me, the hordes of riotous “Make America Great Again” Trump political acolytes were reminiscent of the lynch mobs of yesterday – predominantly violent white men, with “law enforcement” officers often functioning as cheerleaders, sometimes frontline lynch mob participants, in the “land of liberty and justice for all.”

What happened in the nation’s capitol on January 6, 2021, goes beyond “unprecedented in modern history” to something far more consequential. Yes, it was the second time in American history the US Capitol was violently breached. However, the significance of what happened on that fateful day runs far deeper for me, both as a black man and student of history.

A wise man once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Indeed, the Trump inspired insurrection in the nation’s capitol caused echoes of Amerikkka’s past to come crashing into the present…for me. [Case in point: the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 – see end note.]

It wasn’t just the chickens coming home to roost syndrome (some might call it karma) resulting from decades upon decades of America destabilizing other “democratic governments” in Asia and Africa, Central and South America, the Middle East and other zones of influence. It goes much deeper than that!

For me, the hordes of riotous “Make America Great Again” Trump political acolytes were reminiscent of the lynch mobs of yesterday – predominantly violent white men, with “law enforcement” officers often functioning as cheerleaders, sometimes frontline lynch mob participants, in the “land of liberty and justice for all.”

What would have happened if the mob had come across Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez or Ilhan Omar? Would they still be with us today?

Something to think about; as we, as a country, take stock of who we really, really are.

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan


© 2021, All Rights Reserved

End Note: Check out the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898


As I compose these words, thousands of violent, flag waving “conservative” demonstrators continue to wreak havoc on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Who would have ever thought that in 21st Century America, a sitting (soon-to-be outgoing) president would incite his followers to engage in mob violence simply because he lost a re-election campaign?

There are two salient quotes that come to mind for this commentator. The first comes from J. William Fulbright; the late former chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee: 

“There are two Americas. One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson; the other is the America of Teddy Roosevelt and the modern superpatriots. One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.”

The second quote comes from our “Shining Black Prince” – as described by the late world-renowned socially committed artist, Ossie Davis – El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (aka, Malcolm X):


El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan

To be continued, iA.

Political Challenges

Five Keys to Constructive Political Involvement

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan 

This is our humble nasiha (sincere advice) to Muslims in America on one of the most challenging issues of our time.

1). Have faith in your Faith – not in any man-made political system (or it’s functionaries).

2). Avoid political appeasement. Political appeasement is like a drug. Once you start engaging in it, it’s hard to stop! Whether the impetus is rooted in self-serving material interest, emotional self-aggrandizement, or the psychological need to be close and accommodating to power (i.e. fear), once you allow yourself to become chained to that treadmill to nowhere it’s hard to break free! What is the solution? Get off, before it begins!

3). Recognize politics and political involvement in America for what it is. We must approach politics and political involvement within  America’s two-party  system as a necessary, howbeit distasteful, endeavor; as just one of many tools at our disposal with which to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.  Before we vote, we must always strive to be well informed and prepared to vote our conscience. 

4). We should  NOT  GIVE MONEY to politicians, nor to this corrupt  political party system. (Votes when elections!) Money has been the most corrupting element within the so-called democratic process. “We have the best democracy money can buy” – which is to say that fable  government of the people, by the people, for the people (or however that rhetorical formula goes) is more myth than reality – in a corrupted system! We should avoid this corruption like committed Muslims strive  to avoid riba (usury)! Our money would be better spent on social and political  organizations within  our communities that best represent our interests, serve the needs of the people,  and  warrant our  trust!

5). We should all be registered voters; and strive as much as possible to  follow thoughtful, constructive discussion and debate, with an aim toward casting our votes as a unified bloc. In unity there is strength!

Three classes of men [and women] are cut off from the blessings of Paradise: oppressors; those who aid and abet oppression; and those who tolerate oppression. [Ali ibn Abu’Talib].

Mother-to-Mother Petition regarding Aafia


Rabi Al-Awwal 1438 A.H. (December 2016)

Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):

On November 26, 2016, Sr. Ismat Siddiqui, the Mother of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, wrote a touching letter to “First Lady” Michelle Obama. A few days ago I made a request that the letter be made public through a petition drive. In addition to being first and foremost a Mother, Mrs. Obama is an accomplished and highly intelligent intellectual trained in the area of law; and thus, it is only fitting that this petition should come to the attention of the President of the United States through his beloved wife.


Introduction to the Change.Org Petition

The author of this introduction is an African American human rights advocate. I’ve been doing human rights work in America for over 25 years, and needless to say, I have seen and experienced much over the course of this time.

One of the most disturbing cases to come to my attention is the case of a young Pakistani woman by the name of Aafia Siddiqui. Dr. Siddiqui came to the US as an 18 year old student in 1990. She graduated with honors from MIT and Brandeis, with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. In addition to her academic prowess, her commitment to her faith (Islam) led her on the path of volunteerism for a number of noble causes.

In addition to the recognition and praise that she received for her extracurricular activity, a cloud of suspicion formed over the head of this exceptional young woman (Post 9/11). When she returned home in 2002 – after 12 exceptionally fruitful years in the US – that suspicion, based on bad “intelligence,” led to her being targeted for a rendition operation carried out by American and Pakistani agents. Dr. Siddiqui was kidnapped (with her three young children in March 2003) and disappeared for the next five years. In 2008 she was returned to the United States barely clinging to life, and was later put on trial for a manufactured offense.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has described the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui as “the worst case of individual injustice I have ever witnessed.” This writer wholeheartedly agrees with that assessment. Our hope is that President Barack H. Obama – via The Mother to Mother Appeal that follows – will use his powers to end this nightmare before he leaves office.

A special note of thanks to our Sr. Hena for getting the petition up on the platform; please share this petition (via the link below) with as many people of good will as possible!

In the struggle for peace thru justice,

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan


The Mother-To-Mother Petition:

Golden Minaret Awards

As salamualaikum,
Calling all Nominations!!!
Please make your nominations for the following categories by January 1st, 2017.
Awards Selection: Golden Minaret Awards winners are selected from across the country and represent a cross-section of the Muslim American diaspora.  Awardees are nominated by both the public and AMA.  Finalists are selected by a diverse panel of Golden Minaret Award judges.  We intend to recognize Muslims achievers in many categories including:

·         Abu Talib Muslim Ally Award

·         Muslim Business of the Year

·         Muslim Executive of the Year

·         Hon. Adam Shakoor Muslim Lawyer of the Year

·         Health Professional of the Year

·         Technologist of the Year

·         Best in Education

·         Philanthropist/Charity of the Year

·         Best in Social Service

·         Social Justice Advocate of the Year

·         Nelson Mandela International Humanitarian Award

·         Best in Fashion Design

·         Muslim Media Outlet of the Year

·         Best in Arts and Culture

·         Best in Athletics·

·         Posthumous Servant Award


People’s Choice Award Categories are

  • Social Justice Advocate of the Year
  • Youth Leader of the Year
  • Muslim Community/Masjid of the Year

Your vote counts.

To make a nomination, send the award category, nominee contact information (name, email, phone number) and a short bio to our Awards Committee Chairwoman, Raheemah Abdulaleem, at

Click here to purchase your tickets today! Ticket price (Early Bird $50 and $75/couple, $25 childcare)


Talib I. Karim, Esq.

(202) 256-0499

AMA Co-Founder

Click here to purchase your tickets today!
Ticket price (Early Bird $50 and $75/couple, $25 childcare)
For tickets, vending space contact Nisa (301.613.1316) or Talib (202.256.0499)
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The Malcolm X Defending Our Communities Initiative – 2016

On May 19, 2016, The Aafia Foundation (TAF) launched what was initially called The Malcolm X Campaign to Save Our Young – since renamed, The Malcolm X Defending Our Communities (DOC) Initiative. At the heart of this ongoing national campaign are community forums which involve the showing of a documentary on the life and legacy of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), followed by discussion on his rich and enduring legacy vis-a-vis the challenges that we are confronted with today.

By the end of this year-long campaign we hope to have visited every state in the US with one of these special forums. This of course will depend on the level of material support we receive towards this urgently needed project.

Otheaafiaparadigmn Sunday, October 23, TAF will host a very special day-long conference as part of The Malcolm X DOC Initiative. The working theme of the conference will be, “THE BLACK COMMUNITY, THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY, AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IN AMERICA: THE NEED FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT.”

This event will be held at THE DIYANET CENTER OF AMERICA in Lanham, Maryland, from 11 AM – 6 PM. The program is FREE and open to the public, all donations will be appreciated. The program will comprise a total of five dynamic panels involving activists, journalists, law-enforcement experts, lawyers, clergy, and Mothers who will deliver (what for some will be) eye-opening impact statements on very personal and traumatic loss.

The goal of this initiative will be to educate, activate and connect people of good will across racial, religious, and cultural barriers – with a shared desire for long overdue positive change!

Please make a donation toward this October 23rd  conference via the following link.

The Aafia Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3, and contributions to it are tax deductible (ID 47-4843512).

Remembering Malcolm


The Aafia Foundation Remembers Malcolm, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

Malcolm was born to Earl and Louise Little in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 19, 1925. He was the youngest of his father’s seven children (three of whom resided in Boston from his first marriage). After a growing pattern of racial turbulence that followed the Littles to different states, Earl Little, a Garveyite, was killed by white supremacists in Lansing, Michigan, in 1931. Malcolm later lost his mother to mental illness, which no doubt was triggered by the loss of her husband and the corrupt manipulations of an insurance company that left this vulnerable family destitute. The family was broken up. Despite being a bright student Malcolm would drop out of school at 15, and subsequently become involved in the underworld as “Big Red” and “Detroit Red.” Continue reading …

We hope enjoy and benefit from this short retrospective on one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century. The influence of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz / Malcolm X is still being felt throughout the world today; reminding committed Muslims of the Qur’anic ayah (verse):

Do not say of those who are slain in the way of ALLAH that they are dead. No, they are alive receiving sustenance from their Lord; though you perceive it not.


The Aafia Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3, and contribution to it are tax deductible (ID 47-4843512). To make a donation to this campaign via check or money order, send to:

The Aafia Foundation, Inc.
11160 Veirs Mill Rd
LLH18, PMB 298
Wheaton, MD. 20902

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