Millions of people across the Mideast are denied basic rights, yet new pockets of activism are bubbling across the region. The Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance (HAMSA) was launched in the belief that Americans can leverage their liberty to hold Mideast leaders accountable and assist indigenous reformers secure universal civil liberties. HAMSA is non-sectarian and appeals to all people of conscience.

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is an initiative of the American Islamic Congress, a non-profit civil rights organization. HAMSA works to bridge activist efforts in America and the Middle East, partnering with indigenous civic groups and activists. HAMSA is non-sectarian and appeals to all people of conscience. Inspired by the American civil rights movement, we are committed to non-violence.

Our flagship initiatives inspire, train, and support young activists. These include: The "Dream Deferred Essay Contest"; the bi-weekly e-alert C.R.I.M.E. Report (published in English and Arabic); the "Protect Network" to assist reformers under fire; and training workshops on nonviolence & civil rights for young activists.

In addition, we regularly published editorials and educational materials, including "The Montgomery Story" comic book, an Arabic translation of a 50-year-old lost classic on nonviolent reform.


Zainab Al-Suwaij
, the executive director of HAMSA's parent organization AIC, has assembled progressive Muslims to counter extremism in the US and worldwide. Part of an established Iraqi religious family, Al-Suwaij participated in the failed 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein and later fled to the US. She has published in the New York Times, appeared ABC’s 20/20, and met with the President. Today, she collaborates with the genocide education project Facing History and Ourselves and is an expert on women’s rights in the Middle East.


Jesse Sage is HAMSA’s program director. A leader in the modern-day anti-slavery movement, Sage has appeared on NPR, the BBC, and Black Entertainment Television; published in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and International Herald Tribune ; and is editor of the anthology Enslaved (featuring a foreword by Gloria Steinem). Recognized as one of Fast Company Magazine’s “Fast 50” social innovators, Sage serves on the advisory board of the Committee to Protect Bloggers and is a director of the Human & Civil Rights Organizations of America. He oversees HAMSA's "Dream Deferred Essay Contest" and bi-weekly CRIME Report e-alert.


NasserNasser Weddady directs outreach for HAMSA. A native of Mauritania, Nasser grew up in Libya and Syria, traveling extensively through the Middle East. A long-time activist in the struggle to end slavery in his homeland, Nasser has organized conferences for young activists across the Middle East; published in the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Baltimore Sun; appeared on Fox, BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, and Radio Liberty; and testified to Congress’ Human Rights Caucus. Fluent in five languages, Nasser has lectured at the US Institute of Peace and diverse interfaith settings.

DaliaDalia Ziada facilitates HAMSA's regional efforts as director of AIC-Egypt. A poet and translator based in Cairo, Dalia first came to AIC’s attention after participating in the “Dream Deferred Essay Contest” on civil rights. Dalia, who runs AIC’s office in Nasr City, is a survivor of female genital mutilation and a blogger-activist. As an organizer of solidarity campaigns for jailed bloggers, she has been interviewed by international media outlets, including the BBC, and published in the International Herald Tribune. Dalia translates the bi-weekly CRIME Report.


Ammar AbdulhamidHAMSA’s co-initiator and regional partner is The Tharwa Project, a daring Syrian NGO founded in 2004 to promote civil rights and minority rightsin the Middle East. Tharwa is Arabic for “wealth”, and the organization’s motto – “Difference is Wealth” – reflects a concern for diversity: intellectual, ethnic, and religious.Tharwa’s founder Ammar Abdulhamid, son of superstar Syrian actress Muna Wassef. He is an expert on Middle Eastern minorities.


HAMSA (Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance) unites people of conscience to support the movement to secure civil rights in the Middle East.


HAMSA is an initiative of the American Islamic Congress.
For more information, see www.aicongress.org.

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