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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Event provides insight into Mideast conflict

The Muslim Student Association is presenting its Gaza awareness program Wednesday in an effort to promote understanding about the conflict in the Middle East.
The event will feature Alison Weir, a freelance journalist who has traveled and covered the Gaza area. Weir is the founder of “If Americans Knew,” a nonprofit organization that undertakes independent research and information-dissemination. It focuses particularly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. foreign policy regarding the Middle East, and media coverage of this issue.
“We wanted someone who has a strong grasp of the historical and political aspects of the conflict. However, we also wanted someone who is not biased towards a certain religion, sect or political denomination,” said Anas Safwat, chairman of Gaza awareness program and social officer for MSA.
Safwat said the massacre in the Gaza area triggered the urgency of organizing such an event. He said Aggies need to be aware of all sides of the story.
“It is critical that they [Aggies] grasp the Israeli-Palestinian issue since it matters to many people all over the world,” he said. “Moreover, it is a humanitarian issue that any human should care about. In today’s globalized world, it should worry us all that injustice is occurring somewhere, because we are not living in an isolated vacuum anymore.”
Safwat said the terrorist groups who perpetrated the attacks of Sept. 11 were driven by hatred toward the American government for its biased stance toward Israel.
“This issue is one that Americans should care about and understand thoroughly,” Safwat said.
Zain Haq, the MSA education officer, said Aggies need to know about humanitarian crisis because it has been an ongoing issue for 60 years.
“Weir is going to provide a well-documented view of this ongoing situation in the Middle East,” said the junior petroleum engineering major. “This will be an intellectual and thought provoking presentation for all.”
Safwat said he invited faculty members and received some interesting responses.
“One professor responded that he feels this would be a one-sided presentation,” Safwat said. “Another professor simply sent me an e-mail saying; ‘Oh, please. Any mention of Hamas using children as human shields, or its desire to exterminate every last Jew in the Middle East?'”
He said he replied back that Weir would present all sides of the situation objectively because she was a journalist.
“I told them that she is [an] American journalist that has no political agenda and all she is doing is what any journalist tries to do; seek the truth. I also said that if they had any questions, they will all be addressed during the Q&A session.”
Palestinian-American Mohamed Zebda, a graduate assistant in the Department of Health Policy and Management, said the most important element for people to understand was how Palestinians were suffering on a daily basis.
“Often times the conflict is presented from only one perspective and the Palestinian side is largely ignored,” Zebda said. “Often times, many people limit the conflict to the recent outbreak of violence, however, the Palestinians have been denied basic human rights. So the basic take home message is there are two sides to every story – and there is more to the story than the Fox News version.”
The event will feature a 50-minute presentation by Weir, followed by a one-hour question and answer session.
Event informationThe event will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today in Memorial Student Center Room 224.

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