Muslim Ousted from City Group

October 28, 2006

Author: Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor

Source: The Arizona Republic

Tensions in the Middle East are manifesting themselves on a Phoenix commission that is supposed to foster unity among people. Phoenix City Council members last week removed Marwan Ahmad, a Palestinian and Muslim, from the Human Relations Commission after more than five years of service, saying he was promoting messages of intolerance against Israel, the Jewish community and at least one member of the Islamic community.

Mayor Phil Gordon didn't give a specific reason why Ahmad was ousted. Ahmad's monthly newspaper, Muslim Voice, has come under fire.

In the newspaper, Ahmad depicted a member of the Islamic community as a dog in an editorial cartoon. Ahmad also publishes the Multicultural Yellow Pages, which excludes references to the area's Jewish cultural institutions and replaces Israel with the name Palestine on a Middle East map. He omits area codes, airlines and restaurants associated with Israel.

Bill Straus, Arizona regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, called the book "one of our community's most glaring examples of cultural division."