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Mideast Changes, US Foreign Policy Tops at Arab-American Conference

posted on: Sep 30, 2011

Changes in the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy will top the agenda today as Arab-Americans nationwide meet for the 10th annual National Leadership Conference at the DoubleTree Hotel on the Dearborn/Detroit border.

James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C., said U.S. policy hasn’t changed to reflect Arab Spring, a series of uprisings that have toppled governments throughout the Mideast.

“The changes taking place across the Middle East are not taking place here,” said James Zogby, whose group is sponsoring the conference that runs through Sunday along with the National Network for Arab American Communities

“That is dangerous. We keep making this big mistake. We are alienating ourselves from the Middle East.”

Zogby also said there will be discussion on last’s week request for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations and the United States’ expected veto of the initiative.

About 200 are expected to attend the conference, which also will feature discussions about civil rights, Islamophobia, the 2012 U.S. elections and complaints about border security.

Imad Hamad, the regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said the conference “brings all the voices together.”

“It helps us mobilize the community and to have a more unified vision,” said Hamad.

“We’re in a stage of defining ourselves and the challenge before us is we either define ourselves or others will define us for us.”

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News