Muslim community organizations are presenting a Palestine solidarity week of action, in response to the occupation of Palestinian land as well as the oppression and genocide against Palestinian people.
The week kicked off over the weekend with a Fair Trade Holiday Festival on Saturday at the Monona Terrace where community members had the opportunity to buy jewelry, crafts, and other products that support Palestinian-owned businesses from Gaza, West Bank, and Hebron. Other events throughout the week will include educational spaces for all ages as well as creative spaces geared towards uplifting Palestinian communities.
Engaging with the guest speakers from Milwuakee4Palestine is just one example of the ways community can learn from leaders across Wisconsin. Solidarity is the main theme of the week of action and on Friday, Dec. 8, there will be a community dinner, open to all, to encourage collaboration within Madison. Maira Ahmad, an organizer of the week of action tells Madison365, “Our hope is to free Palestine but even after that there is still more work that is going to need to be done.”
Organizers of the week of action, Mouna Algahaithi and Maira Ahmad, have a history of rapid response mobilization and have used their networks to strengthen their relationships with each other and their various Madison communities.
“Those who are standing up for Palestine right now you can see that it is not performative, because it is so scary,” Ahmad tells Madison365. “You may get fired, you may not get the next job, you may get a bad grade because of what you’re wearing that says Palestine on it.”
These events also centers the Palestinian families here in Madison who are being affected by the occupation. As a kindergarten teacher at the Madinah Academy in Madison, Ahmad speaks on how children are processing what’s happening around the world. “In this classroom, we recently had Thanksgiving, and it’s my job to teach to teach them. So if I’m able to tell them about the truth about Thanksgiving and what happened on this land, they’re the ones making the connection,” Ahmad says.
“A lack of willingness to speak up for Palestine is definitely rooted in anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism, undoubtedly,” Algahaithi, tells Madison 365. She appreciates partner organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine and the Rafah Sister City Project which provided strong bases of community support for Muslim communities in Madison. The week of action is rooted in education, which also included learning new ways to hold elected officials accountable, and how community members can utilize social media and news outlets to educate themselves outside of mainstream media.
“It’s okay if you didn’t know, come so you can learn,” Ahmad says. “The education piece is real. Not everyone is going to understand everything about every injustice that is happening, but that is not an excuse to say that this issue is too complicated.”
Visit the Madison-Palestine Solidarity Week linktree to see a more comprehensive schedule of the events. Registration is required for most events and waitlists are available for spaces that meet capacity. Selected events require a cover fee, but donations can be made regardless of participation status.