FMC Blog: Free Speech Zone

Miral: a Movie about Israel/Palestine Causes Controversy

Over the last few days, several pro Israel groups, and pro Palestinian groups have contacted the Free Muslims Coalition to support or oppose a new movie called Miral.

On March 15, 2011, the U.N. General Assembly hosted Julian Schnabel's film, "Miral" about a young Palestinian girl growing up in East Jerusalem. Miral is the first American movie about Israel-Palestine told from the perspective of Palestinian women.

Following the screening, journalist Dan Rather moderated a panel discussion on the movie where he called the film "moving" and then asked Schnabel, why a devout Jew would make a film about the difficult lives of Palestinians in Israel.

Schnabel noted that as a Jewish man, "I love the state of Israel" but "I think that if you listen to the other side there might be a chance of making peace.

The movie has caused enormous controversy. Some Jewish groups have called it anti-Israel and anti Semitic while other groups have supported it for depicting the reality of Palestinians living in Jerusalem without equality or citizenship.

The biggest critics of the movie have been the Israeli government, AJC and ADL. While the biggest supporters of the movie have been Jewish Voices for Peace, MPAC, J Street, AAPER, and AJJP.

"Miral" has been released in NY and Los Angeles, by The Weinstein Company. The Free Muslims Coalition has not had the benefit of seeing the movie to pass judgment and so we ask those who are able to see the movie to post a critique of the movie on the Free Muslim website at:

To see a Free Synopsis of the movie, visit:

For Tickets contact the Weinstein Company on 212.845.8650 or email at [email protected]

If you have questions contact Kamal Nawash of the Free Muslims at 202-776-7190, [email protected];

Posted March 28, 2011 by Kamal Nawash


By Kamal Nawash

These are new and exciting times in the Middle East and North Africa. The world has witnessed two nonviolent revolutions in Tunis and Egypt that brought down two powerful leaders in a matter of days. Other countries are experiencing similar calls for change and in the case of Libya, the call for change has turned deadly.

As was the case during the uprising in Egypt, many Americans requested the U.S. government to actively side with the demonstrators or those who want change. This is a MISTAKE. The U.S. should NOT attempt to influence the outcome in the changes taking place in the various Arab Countries.

To the extent that change occurs in Arab governments, it should be organic without any interference from outside powers. The United States is not popular in any Arab country. This is due to decades of American involvement in the Arab world that includes the Iraq war, Arab/Israeli conflict and numerous other strategic decisions taken by the United States since WWII. Consequently, any liberation or freedom movement that receives overt help from the United States will be delegitimized in the eyes of the people they are trying to liberate. This is why the Libyan rebels, who are desperate for help, specifically said they don't want American military involvement on the ground. The rebels know that if the U.S. joins the battle on their side, the rebels will lose most of their support from the Libyan people.

For the most part, the U.S. should be on the sidelines in the call for change in the Middle East. The U.S. can play an indirect role, however. One of the reasons that People like Qadaffi refuse to step down from power is because doing so could mean suicide. Qadaffi has nowhere to go and if he stays in Libya after stepping down, he will be killed, jailed or humiliated. The U.S. should sincerely suggest a way out for Qaddafi and other leaders who find themselves in the same predicament. It is not enough for a U.S. president to tell Qaddafi to leave Libya as Obama has done. The U.S. should try to convince rebels in Libya and the global community in general to guaranty Qaddafi's safety and provide him with immunity from future prosecution from any country. If such an offer was on the table then leaders such as Qaddafi of Libya and President Saleh of Yemen may seriously consider stepping down from power.

Any leader who faces danger to his life and his family's life is likely to fight to the end. The world would be better off by offering leaders like Qaddafi a safe and comfortable retirement.

Please respond to this article by posting your comments at:

For More information contact Kamal Nawash at the Free Muslims Coalition:; [email protected]; 202-776-7190

Posted March 15, 2011 by Kamal Nawash

Rep. King Hearings on Radicalization of Muslims--How should Muslims respond?

On March 10, 2011, Representative Peter King, R-N.Y., of the Department of Homeland Security Committee will hold hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in America. Not surprisingly, most Muslim organizations have accused Representative King of pursuing an anti Muslim agenda and of being a hypocrite since he was a strong supporter of the Irish Republican Army, which the United States labeled a terrorist organization. Representative King has fired back that the Muslim community has not done enough to assist law enforcement in fighting terrorism and that 85 percent of Muslim Mosques are controlled by radicals or the Muslim Brotherhood. Consequently, a controversy has erupted around the hearings and King's allegation that the Muslim community has a problem with extremism has received more media attention than any rational Muslim leader could possible want.

The Free Muslims Coalition does not know the intention of Representative King but we do know that the response of traditional Muslim organizations, in opposing the hearings, has done a disservice to the Muslim community.

It is a well known fact that American Muslims are perceived as extreme and radical by many Americans. Even if Representative King is insincere and has bad intentions, Muslim leaders should embrace the hearings and take the lead in understanding and eliminating the cause of radicalization, to the extent that it exists among Muslims in America. When Muslims take the lead in the fight against radicalism, extremism and terrorism then it will be difficult for their critics to cast the blame on all Muslims or Islam for the actions of a few deranged lunatics.

For this reason, the Free Muslims Coalition salutes Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, for taking the lead in the fight against extremism. We can only hope that other Muslim leaders learn from Dr. Jasser's initiatives.

Posted March 07, 2011 by Kamal Nawash