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Khaled Mouammar: Palestinian Activism and the Immigration Board

First, dad Khaled.

When interviewed, he expressed bitterness about the evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip because, well, it's an excuse to express bitterness to the press:

Khaled Mouammar, Richmond Hill. A Palestinian Christian from Nazareth, his family became refugees in 1948. He is a former president of the Canadian Arab Federation.

"Where were these 900 international journalists in the last five years while the entire physical infrastructure of Gaza was being destroyed?

"We see weeping settler girls and women being interviewed. But there were rarely any interviews with the thousands of Palestinian women and girls who've had their houses bulldozed, their family members killed or imprisoned."

He is a signatory to the petition against the 2003 Geneva Accord between Israel and the Palestinian authority because it nullifies the "right of return" for Palestinians. He signed a similar petition criticizing George W Bush.

He helped organize trips for Yasser Arafat:

In the 1970s, her dad helped organize Yasser Arafat's Canadian visits. (Leila Khaled Mouammar -- more on her later)

Finally, besides his support for the PLO, especially during the violent phase during the 1970s, Khaled is a supporter of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon and of Hezbollah:

The Syrian army came to Lebanon at the request of the Lebanese and was instrumental in ending the civil war that raged for 15 years. The enemies of Lebanon are trying to disarm Hezbollah to implement the US and Israeli hegemony of the Middle East but they will fail. Notwithstanding the opposition that many Lebanese have for Syria's continued presence in Lebanon, most Lebanese are united in supporting the Lebanese resistance and in maintaining strong brotherly relations with Syria.

Khaled Mouammar, Richmond Hill, Canada

Next, Randa Mouammar, who shares the same phone number as Khaled, and who I assume is his daughter. She is a law student at the University of Western Ontario, and also deeply engaged in the stuggle against Israel:

SPHR campaign director and second-year law student Randa Mouammar said the purpose of the display was to show students the damage the wall will inflict on Palestinian families. "Every[one] else, except North America, has focused on the construction of this wall. [The North American media] has been too nonchalant about this issue," Mouammar said.

The wall is being built to theoretically decrease or lighten terrorist attacks, [Hussam Ayyad, president of SPHR,] explained.

"The wall is a confiscation of Palestinian lands and is only increasing frustration, resulting in more terrorist attacks," Ayyad said. "It is not for security reasons; instead it is a way for Israel to separate and marginalize Palestinian identity, away from [their] land, [their] society and the people they belong to."

And she has a theory concerning the turmoil in the Middle East -- it would end once a Palestinian state is created:

The turmoil in the Middle East is largely the result of the Israeli occupation (of Palistine [sic]), and the politico-economic instability that has resulted from it. The threat of terrorism to Israel is the result of over 50 years of occupation directly and systematically destroying the cultural, economic and political integrity of the Palestinian people. It is the humiliation and denial of Palestinian dignity from daily military brutality, coupled with the socio-economic and political results of the occupation, that are responsible for the resistance known as terrorism.

The resistance known as terrorism? Sounds like she's a bit too comfortable with buses being blown up. But apparently Iran won't try to erase Israel off the map once the Palestinian state is in place.

Now daughter Leila, who lives in Montreal while attending Concordia University**. Well, sort of attending:

The second panelist, Concordia student and Palestinian activist Leila Khaled Mouammar, was suspended from Concordia for four months after the September 9, 2002 riot at Concordia that forced the cancellation of a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mouammar spoke against the general crackdown on student activism that she maintains is taking place in Canada and the US, pointing to the post-September 9 disciplinary measures at Concordia as one example.


Concordia rector Frederick Lowy said the university put students, faculty and staff in danger by failing to properly secure the downtown Hall building before the protests got out of hand. He also released a report that highlighted co-ordination problems between police and campus security before and during the skirmishes.

"We were not adequately prepared for the events of that day," Lowy told reporters. "The level of violence that we saw was unprecedented on this issue in Montreal and contrary to all the advance intelligence."

Jewish groups said the university didn't do enough to prevent the protesters from choking off free speech by disrupting the event.

Pro-Palestinian advocates, meanwhile, said Concordia should never have allowed such a controversial figure to deliver an address on a campus with a large Arab population.

The pro-Palestinian groups that organized the demonstration also came under fire in Concordia's report. Lowy said the groups had planned to shut down Netanyahu's speech from the very beginning.

Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, one of the protest organizers [and Leila Khaled Mouammar's organization], fired back at Concordia, saying over-zealous riot police and the university's lax security measures were responsible for the violence.

She was supported by the likes of Svend Robinson and Judy Rebick:

Respecting an injunction granted by the Quebec Superior Court, MPs Libby Davies and Svend Robinson, political commentator Judy Rebick and the CSU spoke on the Israel/Palestine conflict on Friday outside of the university.

The media and curious onlookers composed about half the crowd. Similarly, only a fraction of those assembled joined in the chants of "Free Palestine" and "Shame."

"It is supremely ironic and shameful that elected MPs and human rights [are not allowed] to enter a public university, but that a war criminal is [considered] A-OK," Concordia student Leila Khaled Mouammar told the crowd, referring to Netanyahu.

The demonstration was scheduled on the same day as fall convocation, a move that was criticized by university administrators.

[Leila] Khaled Mouammar accused the Board of Governors of "bullying and intimidation," adding that while Muslims and Arabs represent one-sixth of Concordia's students, they are absent from the Board of Governors.

Rebick subsequently called for the public administration of universities. Robinson said that he, the CSU and his fellow speakers would challenge the injunction in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Getting her degree is not a priority, it would appear, given that Leila seems to have little attachment to Canada, the country of her birth:

Leila Khaled Mouammar is a Palestinian, born-in-exile in the settlement of Toronto. She works on popular education and grassroots mobilizing around issues of self-determination, land, dignity, and freedom of movement with Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) and No One is Illegal.

I suppose her upbringing had something to do with that:

Mouammar was born in Canada, but grew up in an activist Palestinian family. Her grandfather, a stonemason, emigrated in 1967, but always looked back. In the 1970s, her dad helped organize Yasser Arafat's Canadian visits. That the 27-year-old would become active in the community herself seemed preordained. "I grew up surrounded by relatives who would show me the keys to their houses in Palestine and talk about the orange groves they used to walk through," says Mouammar. "It's a political act not to give up. People are unwilling to forget. It's this kind of stubborn resistance. If they give up, Israel gets away with what it did."

Mouammar describes it more as a shared sense of hopelessness and despair. "The fatalism gets deeper," she says, lighting yet another smoke. It's a burden the whole community carries. She talks about her own family, how the television is always tuned to CNN, how holidays have been ruined by events in the Middle East, how she spends so much time thinking about the crisis that she often can't sleep. "It taints the way I look at the world," she says. "Everything is political. Sometimes I think, wouldn't it have been nice to grow up an Anglo-Saxon and not care about anything?"

Not care about anything? Excuse me, but I care about a lot of things. Just not always the same things. There's a difference.

Do you get a sense that the Mouammar family, from Khaled on down, see everything through the prism of the Palestinian struggle, and I mean everything?

So here we have a family of Palestinians, many born in Canada, but feeling no particular attachment to what is refered to as the "settlement" of Toronto. They maintain a constant sense of being refugees, even as they pay for advanced university educations. The girls are immersed in the politics, and for Leila in particular, violently so.

So what does mother Mary do? She contributed to the campaign of Scarborough Centre NDP candidate Ali Mallah, president of the Canadian Arab Federation, who among other things, wants Al-Jazeera to be broadcast in Canada without restrictions, urged "caution" over celebrating the demise of Saddam's regime in Iraq and urged that the UN take over the country, and after 9/11, issued statements urging caution before blaming the events on Muslim terrorists but then seems not to have said anything to condemn Al-Qaeda (as best as I can tell, the CAF never acknowledges the existence of Al-Qaeda).

Oh, and by the way, Khaled Mouammar himself is a former president of the CAF.

That is not to say the Mouammar family was committed to the NDP. In fact, they gave quite generously to the Liberal Party, and no other party:

Khaled Mouammar (1993): $197.11
Randa B. Mouammar (1996): $127.00
Leila Khaled Mouammar (1996): $227.00
Mary Mouammar (1997): $200.00
Randa B Mouammar (1997): $240.46
Mary Mouammar (1998): $189.42
Mary Mouammar (2000): $253.50

I guess that sort of devotion earns you notice. From 1995 through 1997 (perhaps longer) 1989 through 1997 (confirmed), Mary was a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. I can only wonder how a member of a family dedicated to the goal of making sure Israel "didn't get away with it" while they passed the time in the settlement of Toronto would rule on every refugee claimant from the Palestinian territories, or any Arab for that matter.

Unfortunately, those records are not available.

But this one is. It is a list of the appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board, made in 2004:

Immigration and Refugee Board 2004-394

Full-time Members: Mouammar, Khaled L.

In fact, this blogger was able to cofirm that Khaled was a member of the IRB from 1994 through 2005.

As was mentioned earlier, Leila is a member of No One is Illegal, which is pushing for:

→ The regularization of all immigrants, refugees, migrants, and non-status people
→ An end to deportations and detentions of migrants, immigrants and refugees
→ An abolition of security certificates

I suppose if we can have a Governor General who dines with separatists and assures everyone she is "committed" to Canada, we can have a Refugee Board member who is the politically partisan patriarch of a clan of radicalized Palestinians whose only purpose in life is to do what needs to be done to support the Palestinians, who think of the country of their birth as a "temporary settlement", and who are committed to disassembling Canada's borders and immigration system.

Makes sense, right?

[** Leila earned a BA in Humanistic Studies. Her lack of a degree in microbiology or cytopathology has not stopped her from signing the petition that is calling on the AIDS industry to come clean about the lie that is the HIV-AIDS theory.]

[A piece of interesting trivia. I wonder if Leila Khaled Mouammar was named for Leila Khaled, the infamous Palestinian female hijacker from the 1970s. How does CSIS and the RCMP miss stuff like this? Thanks to an alert reader.]

[At least when the US administration makes a potentially bad appointment to their Immigration Service, people notice and try to do something about it. Same goes for a NYFD chaplain.]

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