Tareq Al Suwaidan defends charges of anti-semitism
Kuwaiti international speaker and management expert, Dr Tareq Al-Suwaidan, visited Sydney and Melbourne over the past two weeks to deliver a series of seminars and lectures as part of a tour organised by Human Appeal International.
During his visit, at least three pieces were published/broadcast by Australian media commenting on his visit. An article by Australian Jewish News referred to concerns in the Jewish community that Dr Al-Suwaidan is anti-Semitic. The Australian published an article that linked him to the Palestinian cause and more particularly to Palestine’s Hamas movement.
Finally, Dr Al-Suwaidan’s visit featured briefly on the Bolt Report last weekend using clips of his previous lectures that quoted him stating the same statements that featured in the Australian Jewish News piece to label him “anti-Semitic”.
Dr Al-Suwaidan responded to these allegations in his final lecture of the tour. The following is the transcript of his statement:
Dr Tareq Al-Suwaidan’s Statement
There has been some comments on some of the newspapers and magazines about my trip and about my views and I would like to take… this opportunity to respond…
Anybody who would follow my work clearly will see that I have very clear views. They attack me by saying double standards, double messages. I don’t have double standards, double messages. It is one message, it is one standard. I believe in freedom for every human being. I will defend freedom. And I will refuse oppression I will refuse injustice. Whether it’s done to a Muslim or done to a Jew, I will refuse injustice.
I refuse dictatorships. I am for the freedom of religion; I am for the freedom of speech for everyone. I am for the participation of women in building the society and for them taking all positions including the presidency of a country. These are my religious views and I don’t hide them.
I am against oppression and I am against oppression all over the world. I have been and still am against the oppression of the Arab people by our dictators. And Alhamdulillah (Thank God) we are getting rid of many of them. Not all, but inshallah (God Willing) soon.
And I am against the oppression that is being done to the Palestinian people in Palestine.
And when I talked about the Jews let it be very clear that we are not anti-Semitic. That is absolutely untrue.
What is Semitic? Semitic if you go back to the roots of the word, they are the descendants of Sam the son of Noah. Arabs are the descendants of Sam the son of Noah. I am and Arab and I am proud to be an Arab. I am Semitic and I am proud to be Semitic. To say anti-Semitic is anti-Jewish, that is not true because we are also Semitic.
And we are not against the Jews let this be very clear.
It is very clear in Islam that we are not anti-Jewish. The Prophet Peace be Upon Him (PBUH) married a girl who was Jewish, Safiyyah the daughter of Huyai ibnu Akhtab. And when another woman criticised her that she is not an Arab and she complained to the Prophet PBUH, he said reply by saying, “My father is Moses and my uncle is Aaron.”
We are proud of Moses, we are proud of Aaron. These are the children of Israel. Israel by the way is one of our great messengers. Yaqoub (Peace be Upon Him), Jacob, is Israel.
So we are not against the religion itself, we are not against the people itself.
When we speak in Arabic and we say Jews, it is very well understood among Arab people that we do not mean the religion and we do not mean the people of Israel. We are talking about Zionism. As much as when I say the West. Now Australia is in the East, but we include Australia when we say the West. So we have these words that are common. So none of our words mean anti-Jewish or anti the Children of Israel as a nation.
We lived with them. I’m from Kuwait and when I was in Kuwait in the 50s and 60s there were Jews among us. Jews lived with the Arabs in peace. It is only when the oppression by Israel started on the Palestinian people that we had problems.
And looking at the details of this attack on me it is always based on reports by an organisation called Memri. And Memri is a Zionist organisation in the US funded by the Zionists and on the board of it is an Israeli intelligence officer. And it was attacked by The Guardian as not being neutral. It is a biased organisation towards Israel. And they take our words, they cut and paste and they show the world this.
So I just wanted to emphasise – and by the way this is not something that is double standard. My most famous work is The Stories of The Prophets. Everyone knows that. Go back to it. You will see the glorious story of Moses and the glorious story of Aaron (Peace be Upon Them) and the glorious story of Yusuf (Joseph) and many others. And Solomon and David. These are great messengers of God, so how can they call us against the Children of Israel? We are not.
We are against oppression. We are against injustice and there is no greater injustice in the world today than the one that is done in Palestine by Israeli Zionists. And that is why I am against it and I continue to be against it because that is injustice.
And by the way, look at all the resolutions of the United Nations and you will see that it is called the Occupied Lands. This is the international stance, this is the UN stance. This is not only a Muslim or an Arab stance.
So please, let’s all work together to relieve injustice from the world and don’t have double standards.
I am not against the West. I’ve been in the West; my children were born and educated in the West. I am the co-founder and the chairman until today of an organisation called AWARE – please look it up. AWARE stands for Advocates for Western-Arab relations. I am leading the way in building the relationships and bridging between the East and the West. And I know the West so much. And nobody can claim we are against the West.
We are against injustice. We are against corruption. We are against unethical leadership, whether it comes from our Arab dictators or it comes from any source in the world we are against that. And I don’t think that is double standards. It would be double standards if we accept unethical behaviour from our Arab dictators and then we refuse it from Israel or the West.
So I would really appreciate if the media that is so much influenced by money and unfortunately – see they have a huge machine, media supported by billions. And we have a very small machine.
So please don’t be biased. Please don’t have double standards. So the attack is not on me. It should be on those who are biased. Those who would have double standards and refuse injustice in the world and are quiet about the injustice that is done in Palestine.
So these are my views and I just wanted to clarify them.
Dr Tareq Al Suwaidan completes successful Australian tour
Human Appeal International Sydney, Wednesday 20 June 2012
After a successful tour in 2010, Human Appeal International Australia once again invited Dr Al Suwaidan to provide a series of lectures and conduct training courses in leadership skills in order to enrich the community in Australia.
Dr Tareq Al Suwaidan from Kuwait is an expert management trainer with more than thirty years experience and is the founder of over eighty organisations.
Arriving in Australia on Saturday 9 June, he started his tour in Melbourne with a public lecture at Monash University titled “Our Identity” and was welcomed by an audience of nearly 700 people.
For the first time in Australia, Dr Al Suwaidan conducted a 2-day training course called “Discover and Train Future Leaders.” The course was delivered on 10-11 June at the Novotel Melbourne Hotel with over sixty participants in attendance. They came from various fields including community and organisational leaders, school teachers, business people and students. A similar course was held in Sydney on 16 and 17 June attended by over seventy participants.
“Feedback from attendees was extremely positive with most requesting similar high quality events in the future,” said Bashar Al-Jamal, the regional director of Human Appeal.
Another course conducted by Dr Al Suwaidan during the tour was titled “Plan Your Life” and was exclusively for women. In total more than 130 participated in this course in both Melbourne and Sydney.
A series of public lectures on various topics were also held in Sydney attracting a combined audience of more than 3,000 people.
Dr Al Suwaidan was a special guest speaker at fundraising dinners held in Melbourne and Sydney and was also invited by a community organisation in Adelaide to raise funds for the Syrian refugees. Mr Bashar Al-Jamal reported that, “Through these fundraising events, Human Appeal International was able to raise over $1 million dollars for the victims of the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria. We were overwhelmed by the tremendous expression of generosity from the community.”
The 10-day tour concluded on Tuesday 19 June 2012. Human Appeal International Australia would like to extend a sincere vote of thanks to all its donors and supporters.