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Turkish University to Hold Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood Affiliated Conference

The Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at the Istanbul Zaim University in Turkey will be hosting its second International Conference on Palestine this week.The conference, scheduled to take place between June 18-23, will be held under the theme “Challenging Apartheid in Palestine: Reclaiming the Narrative, Formulating a Vision.”

According to CIGA’s website, “the conference will examine many aspects of the Palestinian issue with emphasis on how to challenge and dismantle the racist system of structural colonization and control in the historical land of Palestine.The conference will also attempt to present a comprehensive analysis of the many dimensions of the Israeli Apartheid regime implemented in Palestine.”The conference’s list of speakers features a variety of American and British academics as well as senior figures from NGOs.

The conference is hosted by Sami Al-Arian, the founder and director of CIGA. Al-Arian pled guilty in 2006 for his affiliation with the US-designated terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and was sentenced to time in prison and deported to Turkey.

Among the sponsors of the conference is the Global Coalition of Quds and Palestine (GCQP), a group based in Turkey. The GCQP has ties both to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, featuring speakers from both groups in their events as well as extending membership from both groups among their leadership.

GCQP’s Secretary, Mohammad Akram Al-Adlouni is among the speakers at the conference. Al-Adlouni is also the former secretary general of the Al-Quds International Institution, which has been sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury for its affiliation with Hamas.

Other sponsors include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey as well as the American University of Denver.

Among the speakers listed is Omar Shakir, the director of Israel and Palestine at Human Rights Watch (HRW). Shakir was deported from Israel in 2019 after the Supreme Court ruled that he violated a 2017 amendment to the Entry to Israel Law which allows for denial of entry to foreigners who call for a boycott of Israel. Shakir described his expulsion as “an attack on the human rights movement.” He will be speaking at the conference on “Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution: What does the HRW Report Reveal?.”

Another speaker, Estee Chandler, is the founder and head of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an American anti-Israel organization. The organization describes itself as the “Jewish wing” of the pro-Palestinian movement and seeks to “end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.” JVP strongly endorses BDS and has featured speakers such as Rasmea Odeh, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who was convicted for involvement in the 1969 Jerusalem Supermarket bombing that killed two students.

Chandler is vocal in her criticism of Israel and will be speaking at the conference on “Unholy Alliance: Exposing US Right Wing Movements in Supporting Israeli Apartheid.”

Other speakers include Osama Abuirshaid, the executive director of American Muslims for Palestine and a former member of Hamas-linked Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine (2008-2014).