Wednesday, March 6, 2024

North Carolina Civil Society Supports a Ceasefire


North Carolina civil society supports a ceasefire 

(This statement has been prepared by Muslims for Social Justice, Black Workers for Justice, People's Power Lab, NC Environmental Justice Network, and Jewish Voice for Peace - Triangle NC)

As labor unions and workers’ organizations, faith groups, community organizations, and nonprofits across North Carolina, we have come together in our recognition that all human life is precious and all are worthy of safety, dignity, and freedom. Since the targeting of civilians is a violation of international humanitarian law, we call for an immediate ceasefire to save lives in Israel/Palestine. 

The brutality of the recent violence in the Middle East

According to the Israeli Social Security Office, 1,139 Israelis, 695 of those being civilians, including 36 children were killed on October 7. At least 26,442 Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including over 11,000 children have been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as of January 28. “About 4% of the total population of the Gaza Strip—more than 90,000 people—are dead, wounded, or missing as of January 5 due to Israeli bombardment. An unprecedented number of journalists, healthcare workers, emergency service providers, and professors have been killed by Israel. Approximately “93% of the population in Gaza is facing crisis levels of hunger, with insufficient food and high levels of malnutrition” and hundreds of thousands are “experiencing soaring rates of infectious diseases.” 

Israel’s war on Gaza is a “genocide”

Collective punishment is a war crime under international law and refers to a form of sanction imposed on persons or a group of persons in response to a crime committed by one of them or a member of the group, and starvation, used as an instrument of war, is also a war crime

Over 800 scholars and practitioners of conflict studies, international law, and genocide studies, the United Nations; and more than 250 human rights organizations have warned of grave war crimes and genocide in Gaza. 

Our government should meet our needs here at home, not fund wars abroad

Martin Luther King Jr. challenged US militarism, poverty, and racism by remarking,  “I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such,” and that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death” (Beyond Vietnam Speech, April 1967).

The current war by Israel and the long-term US military support for Israel come at great expense to the American people. Israel is the largest recipient of US aid with more than $3.8 billion in annual foreign assistance, 99.7% going to the Israeli military. The state of North Carolina pays $91,775,098  in aid to Israel every year, when these funds could provide 10,910 households with public housing for a year, offer 31,932 children with free or low-cost healthcare, fund 1,002 elementary school teachers, provide 261,281 households with solar electricity produced for a year, 2,428 students with their loan debt canceled (source: US Campaign for Palestinian Rights).

Broader implications of the Israeli War 

The continued war on Gaza by Israel threatens the lives of the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza. Some Israeli hostages have been reportedly killed by the Israeli military war on Gaza. The continued escalation by Israel and the U.S. also could result in a larger regional war with devastating consequences to all in the region and beyond. This country has recently bombed Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria (all without congressional approval). Furthermore, the recent war in the region has led to an extreme rise in Islamophobia, anti-Arab bigotry, and antisemitism in the USA.

A vast number of Americans demand an immediate ceasefire

An overwhelming number of Americans from all backgrounds have demanded an immediate ceasefire to hostilities in Gaza. Two-thirds of Americans, hundreds of congressional staff and White House administration officials, and hundreds of congregations, associations, and unions have supported an immediate ceasefire. The following are some examples of unions, organizations, and legislators demanding a ceasefire.

United Auto Workers, with more than 400,000 US workers and 580,000 retired workers has called for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the second largest union in the country has called for a permanent ceasefire.

e United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union (UE) has called for an immediate ceasefire. In 2015, UE passed a BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) resolution against Israel in response to a campaign led by North Carolina chapter of the union, UE Local 150.

American Postal Workers Union, with more than 200,000 members across the USA, passed a resolution for an immediate ceasefire, the release of hostages, and the resumption of humanitarian aid for Gazans.

The American Federation of Teachers, representing the nation's 1.72 million educators and school employees, has called for a ceasefire and immediate humanitarian aid.

National Nurses United
, representing 225,000 nurses across the county, has denounced the targeting of healthcare facilities in Gaza and demanded an immediate ceasefire.

More than 900 Black church leaders have demanded a ceasefire and humanitarian assistance for Palestinians.

Thousands of Jews
in the USA have protested for a ceasefire in some of the largest pro-peace demonstrations in the last twenty years; 272 Rabbis and Rabbinical Students have called for a ceasefire; 879 workers at Jewish organizations have called for a ceasefire.

70 cities around the country, including Chicago and Seattle, as of January 31, have called for a ceasefire.

66 members of the US Congress
support the ceasefire.

Significance of International Court of Justice’s Ruling

On January 26, the International Court of Justice, the highest judicial court in the world, in response to  case brought by South Africa, ruled that Israel must prevent the following against Palestinians in Gaza: (1) killing Palestinians; (2) causing serious bodily or mental harm to Palestinians; (3) deliberately inflicting on Palestinians conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and (4) imposing measures intended to prevent births for Palestinians.

The ICJ ruled that “Israel must take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The United States is a signatory to the ICJ and is thus legally bound by its rulings. President Biden has referred to the ICJ as “one of humanity’s most critical institutions to advance peace around the world.”

Signatories to Ceasefire Statement

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations in North Carolina, demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire to the Israeli war on Gaza, and an ending of all US support for the Israeli war.

We recognize that Jewish, Christian, and Muslim people deserve to be safe here in North Carolina and we commit to working against Islamophobia, antisemitism, and all forms of discrimination and hatred against any religious, ethnic or racial group.

We demand our Senators and all members of the NC congressional delegation join representatives Valerie Foushee and Alma Adams in supporting a ceasefire, and that our representatives in DC vote no on any funding to Israel.

We also ask our congressional representatives to: 

Ask  the Biden administration to respect and comply with the legally binding ruling of the ICJ on January 26

Urge the Biden administration to call for an immediate cessation to all Israeli military activity in Gaza; 

Call upon the Biden administration to promptly send and facilitate the entry of humanitarian assistance -at the scale needed- into Gaza; and

Urge the Biden administration to work for the release of all hostages, the hostages held in Gaza, and the Palestinians detained by the Israeli government and military.

We support the implementation of international law, without exception and particularly when taxpayer moneys are given. 

We will continue organizing through protests, rallies, and voting to abolish what MLK Jr. called the Triple Evils of racism, militarism, and inequality!

Organizational Signatories
Muslims for Social Justice
Black Workers for Justice
People's Power Lab
Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center
North Carolina Environmental Justice Network
Jewish Voice for Peace - Triangle NC
NC Muslim Grassroots
Madinah Quran and Youth Center
North Carolina Public Workers Union - UE Local 150
Union of Southern Service Workers
Raleigh City Workers Union - UE Local 150
Durham Workers Assembly
Raleigh Wake Workers Assembly
Refund Raleigh Freedom Committee
NC BLOC (NC Black Leadership and Organizing)
Fayetteville PACT
United for a Fair Economy
Balance and Accuracy in Journalism
Southern Vision Alliance

People's Solidarity Hub
NC Disaster Response and Resilience Network
Sunrise Movement Durham Hub
North Carolina Green Party
Winston-Salem Democratic Socialists of America
Third Act North Carolina
Socialist Party USA Northern Piedmont Local
Art of Wellness
NC Triangle Democratic Socialists of America
Korea Peace Now North Carolina
NC Peace Action - Wake County Chapter
WNC Club of Communist Party USA
Better Fayetteville Project
Comite de Accion Popular
WILPF (Women International League for Peace and Freedom)
Parable of the Sower Intentional Community Cooperative
Southeast Immigrant Rights Network
Right Sides Facing

Individual Signatures
Manzoor Cheema
Erika Moss

Erica England
Ayesha Khan

Jackson Hewitt
Didem Miraloglu
Yakub Miraloglu
Sameer Cheema
Faris Soliman
Sadiya Maryam
Saliha Miraloglu
Sumeyya Miraloglu
Rayyanoor Jawad
Merve Rida Bayraktar
Hajra Shah
Ayah Dabbagh
Clair Cheu
Lauren Steiner
Julia Owen
Tauheedah White
Shifana Irfaan
Patricia Watkis Msay
Abdelrahman Aly
Ella Carter
Lucy Safir
Martha S Pentecost
Elena Ceberio
Joe Burton
Melissa Holmberg
Anthony Quartararo
Anna Ordoubadi
Anne Hemingway Feuer
Donna Russo
Karen Ziegler
Micah McLain
Nique Williams
Katherine Rays Rodriguez
Angela Tatum Malloy
Padma Dyvine
Vincent Russell
Jessica Gore-Pike
Anita Cunningham

Ruth Zalph
Aleta Toure
Terra Watley
Nayely Perez-Huerta
Viviana Jimenez-Macias
Susan Oehler
Thomas Preston
Eden Simmons
Tom Patteson
Timothy Jacob Hooker

Do you Wish to Sing this Statement? If so, visit

                                             Ceasefire Rally in Raleigh on November 24, 2024

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Hands Off Rafah / End the Genocide Rally in Raleigh (February 18, 3 pm)

Press Contact:

· Victor Urquiza, 404-662-7614,, Party for Socialism and Liberation

· Manzoor Cheema, 919-412-7008,,  Muslims for Social Justice, People’s Power Lab

     ·  Noor Abualhawa, 919-800-1378,, Palestinian community member

Hands of Rafah! Free Palestine! End the genocide!

Sunday, February 18th, 3 pm

Moore Square, Raleigh, NC

Over ten organizations, community members, and allies will gather at Moore Square this Sunday, February 18th, to protest against the ongoing genocidal escalations in Rafah, Gaza. Our movement will not rest or tire until we see a permanent ceasefire, an end to the continued colonization of Palestinian land, and a fully liberated Palestine. 

“This genocidal bombardment of Gaza has been ongoing for over 4 months. Over 30,000 Palestinians have been murdered, and tens of thousands more have been injured or are missing. Starvation and disease loom over the entire population with over 500,000 people at risk of dying due to lack of medical services or food.” Says Victor Urquiza, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. 

“This humanitarian crisis is already a crime against humanity being committed by the Israeli apartheid state, now Israel is indiscriminately bombing Rafah. Rafah, only 25 square miles big, houses over 1.5 million refugees who have fled northern Gaza. Israel claimed that Rafah was “safe” but on February 11th, the same day as the Super Bowl, Israel began bombing this refuge camp showing no regard for the civilian population”, said Manzoor Cheema from Muslims for Social Justice and People's Power Lab

“The bombs being dropped on these innocent civilians are being sent with our tax money, this is why we all have a moral and ethical obligation to speak out against the US war machine. Imperialism is the enemy of humanity and it is imperative to oppose it at all times. Our movement is internationalist, anti-imperialist, and for peace” said Noor Abualhawa, a Palestinian community member. “Only the Palestinian people, with the support and solidarity of the international community, will free Palestine. We will not tire and will continue to mobilize and organize!”



Saturday, January 13, 2024

Press release: Rally for Palestine and Yemen in downtown Raleigh. January 14, 3pm.


For Immediate Release:

Press Contact:

· Noor Abualhawa, 919-800-1378,, Palestinian community member

· Victor Urquiza, 404-662-7614,, Party for Socialism and Liberation

· Manzoor Cheema, 919-412-7008,,  Muslims for Social Justice, People’s Power Lab


Rally for Palestine! Rally for Yemen!

U.S. Out of the Middle East!

Sunday, January 14, 3 pm

Moore Square, Raleigh, NC

Over ten organizations and community members will gather in Moore Square for an emergency rally to raise their voice against the U.S. backed act of aggression on Yemen  aimed at helping Israel continue its assault on Gaza.

“The U.S. war machine wants to punish Yemen for refusing to allow the waters off their coast to be used to sustain the genocide against Palestinians”, said Noor Abualhawa, a Palestinian community member. “The U.S. and western imperial powers bombing Yemen is a direct violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and an extremely dangerous escalation.” It is clear that the Biden administration’s actions have raised the prospect of a devastating regional war. The Biden administration is threatening to escalate a regional war with this retaliation against Yemen’s principled solidarity with Palestine. 

“56 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. challenged the US war in Vietnam in his famous Beyond Vietnam speech. On this MLK Day weekend, we should follow his legacy and build a stronger anti-imperialism and anti-racism movement”, explains Manzoor Cheema from Muslims for Social Justice and People's Power Lab. “Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Christians, African Americans, workers, and people from other backgrounds in Raleigh demand a permanent ceasefire now. We demand the Biden administration and Israel to listen to the people of the world. We will continue to come out until the genocide stops, until Palestine is free!"

International solidarity is key to ending the genocide, to freeing all Palestinian prisoners, to ending the occupation and ultimately winning a free Palestine. "At this critical moment for the Palestinian struggle, the need is urgent for continued mobilizations and direct actions to confront Israeli Zionism in all its forms", said Victor Urquiza from the Party for Socialism and Liberation. "As Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza and the Palestinian people, we call on all conscience people to fill the streets, disrupt business as usual, and not stop until Palestine is free! Our efforts will only continue and grow stronger until all our demands are met: a permanent ceasefire, lifting the siege on Gaza, and ending U.S. aid to Israel!"

The people of Raleigh will gather to say, “HANDS OFF YEMEN” and  “U.S. OUT OF YEMEN!” We will continue to flood the streets of Raleigh with our unwavering support for the Palestinian people and their ongoing struggle for liberation!


Monday, December 18, 2023

Decolonizing Media Campaigns in November/December 2023

Triangle, NC, based People's Power Lab (PPL) has organized media justice workshops titled "Decolonizing Media" to hold the media accountable on biased reporting on Palestine, racism, inequality, and other fronts. Muslims for Social Justice co-sponsored these workshops. Three media workshops were organized in November and December 2023. 120 participants, who mostly participated in Palestine Freedom rallies, attended these workshops. These workshops provided political education on intersectionality of our struggles where Palestine Freedom is deeply interconnected with Black Freedom, workers rights, anti-war, women rights, and other movements. Local organizers from PPL, MSJ, Refund Raleigh, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Jewish Voice for Peace - Triangle NC provided context to political education, and explored media strategies to hold local to national media accountable for biased coverage of the recent Israeli genocidal war on Gaza.

Flyer for Decolonizing Media workshop on December 5, 2023


Decolonizing Media workshop flyer. December 13, 2023

Check out letters-to-editor submitted by our volunteers in the local and national media. 

Laura Gibney responded to an op-ed titled "Progressives' line in the sand for Biden on Israel shows a party that's lost its mind", as published in the News and Observer on December 20, 2023.

'On December 20, David Mastio published an opinion piece in The N&O in which he castigated junior appointees and interns in the Biden administration for protesting Biden’s failure to work for a ceasefire in Gaza. He opined on their arrogance in thinking they know how to run things better than the Biden-Harris duo elected to do the job. I contend that their horror at the slaughter in Gaza and desire for a ceasefire suggests that they are infinitely wiser and more humane than the President who greenlit what Israel is doing and who has been involved in taking the U.S. into so many ill-advised and destructive wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the destruction of Libya etc.  There is a difference between experience and wisdom. While Biden has the former, he clearly lacks the latter. And it is ludicrous that Mr. Mastio labels these staffers and interns as ‘far left’ based on their desire for urgent actions to end the devastation of Gaza, which the U.S. could do by stopping its provision of munitions and diplomatic cover to Israel.'
Laura Gibney, Durham


Roshni Pattath submitted the following letter-to-the-editor in response to an op-ed in The News and Observer titled "As an NC woman with deep ties to Palestine, I''m haunted by one image from Gaza" (published on December 15, 2023).

"Rose Hamid’s opinion piece gives the perfect response to anyone who seeks to learn beyond the question of “What about the attack on Oct 7th by Hamas?” and why millions of people around the world are demanding a ceasefire. Generations after generations of Palestinians have stories to tell about deep trauma. I don't even know if the fields of Psychology and Psychiatry are developed enough to treat this level of trauma affecting the children and youth living through these violent attacks by Israel and the ongoing violence of an apartheid system."


Roshni Pattath responded to an opinion titled "Antisemitism on elite campuses like UPenn threatens America's democratic future" in The News and Observer published on December 11, 2023. This letter was published in the N&O on December 24, 2023.

"In his Dec. 11 op-ed David Mastio said there are two ways America’s story can be taught, “ tale of hate and oppression still embodied in the very foundations of our society — or as American patriots see it — a saga of hope and progress..."

"When there is an American history of oppression, slavery and racism and the systems we navigate in the present day have this history embedded in it, I would want my kids to learn about it. If they only learn about the American hope and prosperity with no connection to the systemic oppression in real life, they would have to spend the rest of their life unlearning."


Loz Wanner responded to a news story in the News and Observer titled "Most in new poll support Israel's military action against Hamas" published in The News and Observer on December 11, 2023.

"In the summation of the WSJ poll Lauren Sforza leaves out much context. If skimmed, it implies that a majority of Americans are in support of Israel’s decimation of Gaza and Palestinian people. Although mentioned in the article, the poll only questioned 1500 registered voters, which is less than 1% of the people who are registered to vote. With only 1% of respondents seeing race as an issue in the United States despite Racism having been declared a public health crisis by the CDC in 2021, it is not surprising that respondents may not see an issue with an ongoing ethnic cleansing. 

Since the publication of this article, the death toll from October 7, 2023, of over 1200 people, as stated in this article, has been corrected to below 1200 people. Yes every death is one too many, but we must also apply this logic to the deaths of over 20,000 Palestinians. On December 13th, 800 White House staffers, more than half of the number of poll respondents, signed a call for a permanent ceasefire, stating, “The American people and respected institutions like the United Nations are pleading for a ceasefire, but this administration has yet to listen.”


Laura Gibney responded to a news story titled "Widening Israeli offensive in southern Gaza worsens dire humanitarian conditions" in the News and Observer as published on December 8, 2023 by submitting the following letter to the editor. As edited version of this letter was published on December 17, 2023.

‘Your updated December 8 article, ‘Widening Israeli offensive in southern Gaza worsens dire humanitarian conditions’, noted the high death toll in Gaza and likely targeting of journalists.

Indeed, the death toll of civilians broadly, and of journalists specifically, is staggering. But the targeting goes beyond journalists. Academics/writers, doctors, hospital administrators and other professionals, and their families, also appear to be targeted. One assumes that the purpose of targeting the most educated and skilled is to deprive Palestinians of social and intellectual leaders, those able to tell their stories and history, to plan their future, and to provide vital life-sustaining services.

Israel has also targeted civilian infrastructure (hospitals, schools, housing) and cultural, heritage, religious and archival sites.

We appear to be witnessing the attempted erasure of a society. If we allow this to continue, it will not only have horrific consequences for the Palestinians (and likely Israel) but will badly affect our standing in the world and how history judges our role in this tragedy. We must call for a ceasefire now and stop our ongoing, unconditional provision of bombs and other munitions that make possible this continued devastation.’ 


Heather Vann responded to the same story by submitting the following letter to the

To The Editor: 

The article “Widening Israeli offensive in southern Gaza worsens dire humanitarian condition” mentioned U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating to Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs that the civilian casualties are ‘too high’ and Israel must ‘step up its efforts to reduce them’. Firstly, this seems contradictory considering that the US has pledged over $14 billion in military aid. Secondly, the Center of Constitutional Rights has already defined the actions of Israel as genocide and the United Nations Security Council invoked Article 99 after 34 years to call for a ceasefire, so Blinken’s stance sounds inconsequential at best. There is strong support from the American people calling for a ceasefire and yet these leaders continue to disregard the voices of the people they are supposed to represent while minimizing the nature of genocide. Requesting that Israel ‘reduce civilian casualties’ when, according to the UN, Israeli forces have destroyed over 60% of Gaza’s housing, over 330 education facilities, 26 hospitals, and over 50 healthcare facilities, is willful ignorance. It is time for the US leaders to prioritize humanity first and foremost, and call for a ceasefire. 



Laura Gibney responded to an op-ed in The News and Observer titled "If only our leaders could be as thoughtful as these NC students on the Israel-Hamas war" (published on December 7).

 “Isaac Bailey’s Dec. 7 opinion piece discussed Davidson College students taping names of Palestinian and Israeli victims in the current conflict on school infrastructure. This reminder that victims are individuals, not simply numbers, humanized them. At a recent rally in Raleigh, a Palestinian-American also humanized them by speaking movingly of 22 members of his family killed in the offensive.

Such humanization reached a crescendo this week when a massive howl of despair was heard around the world at Israel’s targeted killing of renowned Palestinian educator/writer, Refaat Alareer.  Amidst all victims, his death stood out, in part, due to the achingly heartbreaking poem he wrote shortly before his death (‘If I Must Die’), addressed to children in Gaza who would lose fathers like him in this conflict.

In the final lines of his poem, read at several North Carolina events in recent days, Alareer said ‘If I must die, let it bring hope, let it be a tale’.  I say let it also be a call to action to stop the massacre. We must demand that our government stop opposing a ceasefire and cease its ongoing supply of military aid to Israel, including massive bombs, which make the continued massacre possible.”



Manzoor Cheema responded to an op-ed in the News and Observer on December 4th titled "Terrorist: My son and I experienced Islamophobia in Charlotte". The N&O published excerpts of Manzoor's letter on December 17 (read HERE). 

"A recent op-ed by Hadia Mubarak ("‘Terrorist’: My son and I experienced Islamophobia in Charlotte”, December 4, 2023) provides context to dramatic increases in anti-Muslim bigotry or Islamophobia as well as anti-Semitism. A similar alarm over the dramatic rise in anti-Muslim attacks is issued by the US-based Council on American Islamic Relations, which has received 1,283 reports of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry in the last few months. Mubarak is correct in emphasizing the need to move beyond the individual responsibility to violence and address the systemic roots of oppression. The US foreign and domestic policies have played an essential role in demonizing and dehumanizing Muslims over decades. I witnessed anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred in the wake of 9/11 and during the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Similarly, the current Israeli war on Gaza, through US military and diplomatic support, is responsible for the dramatic rise of hatred and violence in the USA. Millions of people of all backgrounds, including Jews, Christians, and Muslims, are organizing at home and abroad to end the Israeli war and end US militarism. We should join this movement to abolish the cycle of violence and promote peaceful coexistence."


Emails and statements at local seats of power 

1) Laura Gibney sent the following email to Durham City Councils on Dec. 26, 2023.

Greetings Council Members,

Thank you so much for considering the request by community members for a ceasefire resolution for Gaza.  Like so many I have found it hard to feel cheer this Xmas holiday with the extraordinary slaughter of innocents in Gaza. On Xmas day alone an estimated 250 civilians were killed in Gaza.  A huge number of those killed were children. It was, as Pope John Paul decried in his Xmas message, an “appalling harvest” of civilian deaths. Between deaths known and those missing under the rubble, the numbers killed overall in Gaza in the past 80 days may have reached a staggering 30, 000.

This has occurred with U.S. weaponry, funds and diplomatic cover for Israel at the UN.  The fact that my taxpayer dollars are funding this carnage is such a source of shame as well as anger at the missed opportunities in our community where those funds could be used for local social betterment.

We request that Durham make us proud (as it did previously in banning military style training between Durham and Israel) by being amongst the communities across this country calling for a ceasefire to stop the genocide. While symbolic, such a gesture would be part of national efforts to influence the Biden administration to take action to stop the carnage. It could certainly do so by ending its steady supply of weaponry to Israel, including 2,000-pound bombs.

As you may know, our congressional representative Valerie Foushee has joined the call for a ceasefire.  According to a poll earlier this month by Data for Progress, she joins the majority of Americans in wanting a ceasefire (61% of likely US voters, 76% of Democrats, 57% of Independents, and 49% of Republicans).

Thank you kindly for giving serious consideration to our request for a ceasefire resolution. And may I wish you a happy and productive year ahead.
Note:  Should it be of interest to you, I have attached two recent letters to the editor that I submitted to the News and Observer, one of which was published in part by them. They are my responses to other pieces published in this newspaper about the conflict and contextualize my desire for an immediate ceasefire.

Dr. Laura Gibney
Longtime Durham resident


2) Munir Abdul Hakim (James Perry) submitted the following email to Knightdale 
Town Council on  December 22, 2023.

Subject: Knightdale Town Council Resolution: A Call for Ceasefire in Gaza

Dear Mayor Day and Esteemed Councilors,

In the spirit of justice and humanity, I reach out to you with a request imbued with the urgency of our times and the moral clarity that our shared humanity demands. I urge the Knightdale Town Council to emulate the courageous step taken by the Town of Carrboro by introducing a resolution advocating for a ceasefire in the conflict in Gaza. This resolution should not only call for an immediate cessation of hostilities but also demand prompt humanitarian aid and express opposition to the allocation of our tax dollars to wars and occupations.

The current situation in Gaza, as described by the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights and other organizations, has been alarmingly termed as "genocide". This crisis is not just a distant conflict; it reverberates globally, escalating Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, including here in the United States.

A recent national poll by Data for Progress reveals a telling truth: a majority of voters, including a resounding 80 percent of Democrats, advocate for a ceasefire. This is not merely a political stance but a reflection of a deep-seated yearning for peace and justice.

As leaders entrusted with the welfare of the Knightdale community, you bear a moral responsibility. This is a call to stand in solidarity with the innocent civilians of Palestine, where children constitute over half the population, and to actively seek peace. 

By adopting a resolution for a ceasefire, Knightdale will not only extend its support to the people of Gaza and Palestinians.Citizens of  Wake County who want to see an end to the violence, including residents of Knightdale. Such a resolution could potentially influence other cities in North Carolina, as well as our congressional representatives, to take decisive action in addressing this humanitarian crisis.

As we approach a season of reflection and familial bonds, I implore you to consider the plight of those enduring unspeakable suffering. It would be my honor to discuss this matter further in person at an upcoming town council meeting.

I thank you sincerely for your time and earnest consideration. May our collective efforts lead us towards a world where peace and justice are not just ideals, but realities.

With hope and determination,

James Perry 



3) Roshni Ibrahim submitted delivered the following speech at Holly Springs City Council on December 20, 2023.

Salaam or peace to respected Town Council members. My name is Roshni and I am a South Asian Muslim woman. Firstly I would like to thank my neighbor and town council member Chris Deshazor for responding to my email and inviting me to give a public comment today. Secondly, I would like to thank Annie Drees for responding to my email and offering to help with my concerns. I have been a resident of Holly Springs since 2016 when it was a relatively smaller town. My kids go to one of the public schools in Holly Spring and my family have been consistent and active participants in services offered by the town like the farmers market, hunt recreation centre, community library, recreational activities and so on. I also lead a Girl's scout troop and a kids’ book club which are attended by kids from this town.

This is usually the favourite time of the year for me personally seeing the town and nearby cities all lit up and in festive mood. Friends and family getting ready to celebrate Christmas and to bring in the New Year.

This year the feeling has not been the same, well it hasn’t been so since the last 70 days since Israel has re-started aggressive and violent attacks on the Gaza strip occupied by 2 million civilians. The US based Center for Constitutional Rights has termed Israeli war on Gaza as genocide because of mass scale attack on civilian population, hospitals, journalists, and restricting relief to the Palestinians living in Gaza. It has been heartbreaking to see more and more dead people each passing day since Oct 7th, 70% of which are women and children. The Israeli defence forces have targeted and killed Palestinian journalists, health care workers, teachers, poets, authors and so on. They have not spared schools and hospitals from bombing. People who are alive are mostly homeless and are having to endure the harsh weather and rapidly spreading diseases with minimal access to food and clean drinking water. How can one be joyous when this is happening in the same world we live in?

Instead this year I feel anger and helpless knowing that all of this violence is sponsored by the US government with the tax money I pay. Palestinians living in Gaza are not numbers of dead people, they are just like us, they're babies, children and families who have names and stories.The anti-Muslim stand taken by the US government has started to reflect locally in the form of attacks on Muslim citizens or residents of this country. Let alone the feeling of joy when one does not feel safe to be out and about with family.

It is the responsibility of elected town council members like you to ensure that the taxpayer money is used for the betterment and safety of the people of your town and not for supporting genocidal wars. Today I request the council to sign a ceasefire resolution against the on-going Israeli attack on Gaza to show that this town does not stand on the side of a Genocide.


4) Sameer Cheema's speech at Raleigh City Council on December 12, 2023.

“To pursue world-class quality of life by actively collaborating with our community towards a fulfilling and inspired future for all.”

Well, your community has spoken. Those that spoke earlier do not believe in equality for all. You are enabling a the narrative of a false victim. This perpetual silence in the face of repeated human rights violations against Palestinians is disgusting. Men, women and children are dying in droves.

We need to break this chain of silence of our so called leaders that have been elected by us but no longer are willing to represent us.  You represent your wallets and special interests no matter what. The Declaration of Independence stated that life liberty and the pursuit of happiness has to be protected. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to Palestinians only to those that line your coffers. Your inaction to call for a ceasefire frankly is disgusting and inhumane."




5) Manzoor Cheema sent the following email to members of the Raleigh City Council on December 12, 2023.


Greetings Raleigh City Council Members,

   I hope you are well and taking care of yourselves. I am a resident of Raleigh, NC, for the last 23 years. I live in Raleigh's City's District B, and Megan Patton is my representative. I organize local social justice movements to advance racial and economic justice, healthcare for all, and ending wars and occupations. I thank the Raleigh City Council for supporting a community-centered Crisis Response Team. Such a measure will significantly advance the safety and security of our people. 

   I am contacting you to draw attention to a similar safety issue for our people. The current Israeli war in Gaza has been characterized as "genocide" (not to be used lightly) by the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights and other organizations. This war has also led to a dramatic increase in Islamophobia as well as anti-Semitism in the USA. I urge the Raleigh City Council to introduce a resolution for a ceasefire in Israel's war on Gaza and oppose Raleigh tax money spent on wars and occupations. Raleigh City Council has taken such actions in the past. These symbolic measures represent the will of our people (the majority of Americans support a ceasefire) and put pressure on our congress members. I also urge city council members to introduce a future resolution to end the future partnership between Raleigh Police and the Israeli forces. The City of Durham was the first city in the country to introduce such a measure in 2018 successfully.   

  Lastly, I am including my letter to the editor responding to a powerful op-ed in the News and Observer on the topic of rising Islamophobia. 

A recent op-ed by Hadia Mubarak ("‘Terrorist’: My son and I experienced Islamophobia in Charlotte”, December 4, 2023) provides context to dramatic increases in anti-Muslim bigotry or Islamophobia as well as anti-Semitism. A similar alarm over the dramatic rise in anti-Muslim attacks is issued by the US-based Council on American Islamic Relations, which has received 1,283 reports of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry in the last few months. Mubarak is correct in emphasizing the need to move beyond the individual responsibility to violence and address the systemic roots of oppression. The US foreign and domestic policies have played an essential role in demonizing and dehumanizing Muslims over decades. I witnessed anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred in the wake of 9/11 and during the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Similarly, the current Israeli war on Gaza, through US military and diplomatic support, is responsible for the dramatic rise of hatred and violence in the USA. Millions of people of all backgrounds, including Jews, Christians, and Muslims, are organizing at home and abroad to end the Israeli war and end US militarism. We should join this movement to abolish the cycle of violence and promote peaceful coexistence.

Best wishes,

Manzoor Cheema