Syria’s Delicate Transition: An Interview with Ammar Abdulhamid

On November 19, 2012, Sharnoff’s Global Views interviewed Ammar Abdulhamid. Ammar is a Syrian dissident and founder of the Tharwa Foundation. He is currently a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

SGV: On your Website, the Syrian Revolutionary Digest, you are described as “a liberal Syrian pro-democracy activist.” How do you define liberal with respect to freedom, democracy, human rights, minority rights and women’s rights?

AA: I believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international conventions on human rights, such as the Convention Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Inspired by my liberal values I started my “career” as an activist by launching the Tharwa Project in Syria as an initiative meant to facilitate the processes of democratization in the country and the wider region by addressing the issue of minority rights and improving inter-communal relations in the country.

My liberalism also includes a belief in the free market system, albeit my faith is balanced by an equal commitment to union rights and universal healthcare among other checks on the system.  Continue reading “Syria’s Delicate Transition: An Interview with Ammar Abdulhamid”

How the Rushdie affair has inspired some fine Arab writing

A mention in the Daily Telegraph:

As it happens, it was the Rushdie affair that inspired the book in the first place. The essay writing contest was the idea of the Ammar Abdulhamid, a US-educated Syrian who became disillusioned with radical Islam after the fatwa issued against Rushdie by Iran. He pointed out to the American Islamic Congress that while the Muslim world had vast, well-organised networks of people pushing extremist visions, nobody was doing the same thing for liberal ideas. “What we need is an essay contest on liberty with significant cash prizes,” he said.

I Am Syria! How About You?

On July 29, 2012, the “I am Syria” campaign was launched as “a neutral campaign, politically, religiously, and militarily, to express support and solidarity for the people of Syria and victims of the conflict in the area.” The campaign was launched as a joint effort between the the Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies in Buffalo. Impunity Watch, and the Tharwa Foundation. You can follow the Campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Though I was chosen as the President of the Campaign, it is in fact the brainchild of my vice-president and friend, Professor David Crane, the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2002-05). Video below.

Ammar Introduces President Bush!

On May 15, and as part of the program for launching the Freedom Collection in Washington, D.C., I was invited by the director of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, to introduce President Bush by way of highlighting the tragedy currently unfolding in Syria. This was my introduction:

Continue reading “Ammar Introduces President Bush!”