(CHICAGO 07/04/2014) â€“ A coalition of national and local Chicago-area Islamic institutions today sent a letter of gratitude and support to leading members of the Presbyterian Church(USA) in response to the 221st General Assemblyâ€™s vote to divest from three companies profiting from Israelâ€™s occupation of Palestine.
The vote, which passed by a close margin of 310-303, came after much debate and pressure from outside sources, particularly pro-Israel organizations that have worked for years to defeat divestment efforts within the church.
The Presbyterian divestment resolution made clear a successful vote was not an endorsement of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel, a tool to pressure Israel to abide by international law and end its occupation of Arab lands. But many are hopeful the vote signals a new era in the movement for Palestinian human rights and self-determination.
â€œJustice is a strong tenet that runs through our faiths â€“ Judaism, Christianity and Islam. â€¦ We write to assure you that affording Palestinians their inherent human rights will not detract from the human rights of Jews or Christians living in the region,â€ the letter states. â€œWe write with great hope that one day we will see a free Palestine and that all people, regardless of creed or heritage, will live in peace, security and with equal rights in the Holy Land. The Presbyterian Church (USA)â€™s divestment vote means this dream is one step closer to reality.â€ The coalition was led by the national education and advocacy organization, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which played an integral role in the interfaith effort supporting Presbyterian divestment.
Other co-signers include: Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); Muslim American Society – Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (MAS-PACE); Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA); Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC, representing more than 60 Islamic organizations); Mosque Foundation; Islamic Community Center of Illinois (ICCI) and the Muslim Educational and Cultural Center of America (MECCA).
The American Muslims for Palestine is a national grassroots organization, whose mission is to educate the American public about issues related to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage. For more information, go to www.ampalestine.org.