The Israeli assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh is yet another example of Zionist oppression against Palestinians, especially those who speak truth to power and resist their illegal occupation. Muslims and supporters of Palestine around the world can draw inspiration from her incredible work.The Israeli #assassination of #ShireenAbuAkleh is yet another example of #ZionistOppression against Palestinians, especially those who speak truth to power and resist their illegal occupation. Muslims can draw inspiration from her incredible work.Click To Tweet
A Palestinian Icon
Shireen Abu Akleh was born on May 3, 1971, in Jerusalem. Her family were Catholic Arab Palestinian Christians from the holy city of Bethlehem. In an interview shortly before her death, she described herself as a “product of Jerusalem.”
When Shireen’s mother migrated to New Jersey, Shireen obtained U.S. citizenship during the 70’s and 80’s. She spent time in the US when she was younger and often visited America during the summer months. Shireen herself grew up in Jerusalem where she graduated from the Catholic Rosary Sisters’ High School before moving to Amman, Jordan for university.
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She initially studied architecture at the University of Science and Technology before switching to study journalism at Yarmouk University. When she returned to Palestine she worked with a variety of agencies including UNRWA and the Voice of Palestine radio station. She later joined Al Jazeera in 1997 and quickly became a household name as she covered the second Palestinian intifada from 2000-2005. Journalist Muhammad Daraghmeh, a close friend of hers who teaches at Birzeit University in the West Bank, said Abu Akleh was “one of the strongest journalists in the Arab world.”
Early Wednesday morning, according to Al Jazeera, Shireen was reporting on the Israeli military raid of the Jenin refugee camp with three other journalists. Her last correspondence sent to her colleagues at Al Jazeera was “There’s a raid in Jenin. We are heading there now. We will let you know.”
Shatha Hanaysha, one of the four total journalists who went to report on the scene, said, “We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming.”
Abu Akleh was shot in the face. She was rushed to a hospital in Jenin in critical condition, where she was declared dead shortly after, according to the Palestinian health ministry. She was murdered in cold blood, in her press vest, by the Israeli Occupation Forces.#ShireenAbuAkleh was shot in the face. Israeli Occupation Forcers murdered her in cold blood while she was in her press vest. #IDF #Israel #Zionism #Zionist #AntiZionist #Occupation #Palestine #FreePalestineClick To Tweet
Standing Firm Against Oppression
In the Quran, Allah reveals in Surat al-Nisa:
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allāh, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allāh is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allāh is ever, of what you do, Aware.” [4:135]
Allah commands believers to stand firm in justice — to be grounded in truth, bear witness honestly, and to maintain a position of justness even against ourselves and our loved ones.
To live in Palestine under occupation, with the most powerful countries and entities funding the destruction and colonization of your homeland, is an extremely difficult feat in itself. Shireen survived that unimaginable difficulty, and even risked her life to report the truth to the world. She bore witness to and reported on the horrific and continuous operation of the colonization of Palestine and the Palestinian resistance. Shireen’s purpose as a bearer of truth, even in the face of oppression and injustice, was beautifully manifested in the global success she had as a journalist, and the stellar reputation she had amongst her similarly-aligned colleagues.#ShireenAbuAkleh risked her life to report the truth about #IsraeliOccupation to the world. She bore witness to and reported on the horrific and continuous operation of the colonization of #Palestine and the Palestinian resistance. #FreePalestine #IsraelClick To Tweet
An Example to All
I heard the Messenger of Allah say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]
Shireen grew up in occupied Palestine and witnessed evil on a daily basis. In her pursuit of a journalism education and exceptional career, she used her tongue to speak out against the injustices she reported on.
She used her hand to do so as well in the production and execution of those reports with her fellow journalists and Al Jazeera team. And in the words of Israeli Military Spokesperson Ran Kochav, she worked against injustice by being “armed with cameras.”
Shireen left a deep impression on the world with the ways in which she spoke out and actively worked against injustice. Her life story serves as an inspiration to women, men, and children around the world in pursuit of a meaningful life and a purpose around Palestine. Shireen Abu Akleh will always will be remembered as an icon to the Palestinian liberation movement, and her words and actions, grounded in justice and truth, will forever be archived in history.