View a letter from the editor on this piece here.
Fadi Quran ’10 – a Palestinian-American Stanford alumnus who was arrested by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on Friday, was brought to trial Monday morning in Jerusalem, his sister, Semma Qura’an, told The Daily.
Quran’s sister tweeted following the trial that Quran was not released and was moved to Ofer prison in the West Bank. He will face a second hearing Tuesday morning, she said.
As reported by PolicyMic co-founder and reporter Jake Horowitz ’09, Quran was initially held in Al Maskubiyeh Prison in Jerusalem, not Ofer, as previously reported by several sources, including The Daily. Hurriyah Ziada, a student at Birzeit Unviersity in Palestine, who was with Quran moments before his arrest, confirmed this information.
Quran’s release and trial were not guaranteed, according to his sister.
“We do not know if he will be released today. We only hope for it,” Semma Qura’an wrote in a Facebook message to The Daily from the West Bank, before Monday’s trial. “No one is allowed contact with him other than his lawyer – even he has limited access.”
Quran, a Palestinian American from El-Bireh, West Bank, graduated from Stanford with a double major in international relations and physics and returned home to work in the alternative energy field while advocating nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Quran served as president of Students Confronting Apartheid by Israel, which renamed itself Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights (SPER) at the beginning of the current academic year, during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 academic years.
He was arrested Friday in Hebron, West Bank, for allegedly pushing an Israeli soldier during a protest against the 18-year Israeli-enforced closure of Hebron’s main street to Palestinian citizens.
Stanford students and graduates quickly organized around supporting Quran.
Imran Akbar ’07, a SPER co-founder, wrote to the group late Saturday morning that he alerted the American consulate of Quran’s detainment.
“I’ve spoken to the American consulate in Jerusalem,” Akbar wrote. “I gave them Fadi’s information, told them what happened and asked for a consular officer to visit him in prison and ensure that he’s safe and has access to his lawyer. The duty officer said he’d pass the information along to the consular tomorrow and get back to me.”
Akbar said in an email to The Daily that the consulate cannot give him more information about the case because he is not a family member. The American consulate was closed and unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Assaf Sharon Ph.D. ’09, an organizer of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement -a”grassroots organization working towards civil equality within Israel and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” according to the group’s site – encouraged the group in an email to mobilize the Stanford community to spread the story of Fadi’s arrest and of the larger conflict in Palestine.
The Israeli Defense Force and Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not answer requests for comment.
There are currently two videos online – one posted on Friday that shows the protesters’ interactions with Israeli forces before and after Quran’s arrest and a second, released on Sunday, that concentrates solely on Quran’s encounter from a new camera angle.
The first video demonstrates a visibly and audibly upset Quran gesticulating and speaking to Israeli soldiers before being grabbed by multiple soldiers and pushed toward a police van. The clip then shows an officer pepper spraying Quran’s face, followed by Quran’s head and abdomen hitting the rear bumper of the van as soldiers attempt to arrest him.
Quran is then briefly shown lying in the street behind the van as journalists and soldiers stand around him. The videographer of the original video then retreats from the scene with his camera, as his footage shows soldiers shooing the press away.
The last footage of Quran shows him still lying in the street.
The second video was shot from behind Quran, showing him yelling and motioning at officers, being grabbed and pepper sprayed. Members of the press block footage of Quran’s body hitting the vehicle, and the video culminates with Quran lying in the street, surrounded by soldiers and journalists.
In addition to posting and sharing links to the photos, tweets and videos, members of the Stanford community initiated a petition to the Israeli government demanding Quran’s release.
Stanford graduate Lila Kalaf ’10 created the petition Saturday afternoon.
“Fadi should not be detained for an indefinite period of time on false charges,” the petition reads. “It is imperative that the Israeli government release Fadi so that he may continue to speak for his people and PEACEFULLY push for basic human rights.”
Members of SPER, the Muslim Student Awareness Network (MSAN) and other community members forwarded the petition to campus mailing lists and to specific members of the faculty and administration.
“We emailed [professors] who had previously signed SPER’s petition, as well as those in the physics department,” wrote Mohammed Ali ’10 M.A. ’10 J.D. ’14 in an email to The Daily. “I also emailed Provost Etchemendy and Professor [Allen] Weiner, whose class Fadi took as an undergrad. Others emailed other professors that he may have known.”
Ali was an ASSU Undergraduate Senator during the 2009 to 2010 school year and also served as president of MSAN. He worked with Quran on Campaign Restore Hope.
Among the signatories on Kalaf’s petition are Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute; Weiner, co-director of the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation; Joel Beinin, professor of history; Khalil Barhoum, lecturer in Arabic; Eva Silverstein, professor of physics; Rega Wood, professor emerita of philosophy; Shamit Kachru, professor of physics; and Franco Moretti, professor of comparative literature.
Carson wrote in an email to The Daily that Quran was one of his students during a 2008 Overseas Seminar trip to India, co-taught with Linda Hess, senior lecturer in religious studies.
“I had many opportunities to talk with him about Gandhian concepts of nonviolent resistance and about how Martin Luther King, Jr., and other African-American activists adapted these ideas for use in the southern civil rights campaigns of the 1960s,” Carson wrote. “I was impressed by his seriousness and his interest in talking with contemporary social justice activists in India who were seeking to address the explosive issue of Hindi-Muslim relations in India.”
Carson wrote that he then traveled to Quran’s hometown in Ramallah, West Bank, in March 2010, met Quran’s family and witnessed Quran participate in a hunger strike and demonstration.
Moretti, who said in an email to The Daily that he had never interacted with Quran personally, wrote, “I have never met Fadi; but I have watched a video, and I believe what I see with my own eyes.”
At the time of publication, the petition had over 1,400 signatories.
Akbar and Ulugbek Baymuradov ’10, currently a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, created freefadi.org on Sunday, which features the names of Stanford faculty who signed the petition, an embedded copy of the video documenting Quran’s arrest, links to past media coverage about Quran, current articles on his arrest and a link to the petition.
Current ASSU Undergraduate Senators are working on legislation to mobilize community support for Quran.
Senators Samar Alqatari ’14, Alon Elhanan ’14 and Janani Ramachandran ’14 and ASSU Executive President Michael Cruz ’12 met Sunday evening in Old Union to draft a bill in support of Quran. [See "ASSU senators may urge Etchemendy to support Fadi Quran"]
Quran in the Middle East
Quran was arrested Friday during a protest against the Israeli-enforced closure of Shuhada Street, the main thoroughfare in Hebron that has been closed to Palestinians since the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, in which an Israeli gunman killed 29 Palestinian Muslims and injured 125.
According to the website of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) – a Palestinian-led movement committed to “resisting the Israeli apartheid in Palestine by using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles” – Quran was protesting along with the “Youth Against Settlements” movement, though he is not a member. Six demonstrators were arrested Friday, including Quran, according to ISM.
Youth Against Settlements is a Hebron-based movement that is “a national Palestinian non-partisan activist group which seeks to end Israeli colonization activities in Palestine (building and expanding settlements) through non-violent popular struggle and civil disobedience,” according to its website.
Upon graduating from Stanford, Quran became part of a loosely associated group of activists. He identified the group as a collection of “bubbles” waiting to congeal in a March 2010 Time Magazine feature on him.
Time Magazine called Quran “the face of the new Middle East,” describing his allegiance to broader movements organized around social-networking sites, rather than to the two largest Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah.
Quran at Stanford
Quran was an active participant in campus dialogue and action surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict during his undergraduate career.
He was an organizer for Campaign Restore Hope (CRH), a coalition of students who worked to raise awareness about perceived human rights violations in Israel and Palestine and encourage divestment from four specific companies: Elbit Systems Ltd., Hadiklaim Ltd., Tarifi Cement Ltd. and Dar Alnashr Lilhaya’a Masria Iilijaz AlIlmi.
With CRH, Quran distributed petitions across campus to encourage the ASSU Undergraduate Senate to pass legislation urging the University to divest from the four companies.
CRH eventually dropped its campaign for student legislation, with Quran saying in an interview with The Daily, “Going through the Senate led to too much emotional backlash, so we changed direction.”
“One of the things I learned at Stanford, an intrinsic American value, is that we should never turn our backs to an issue because it’s too complex, difficult or divisive,” he wrote.
Kristian Davis Bailey signed a SPER petition this year calling for Stanford divestment from eight companies operating in Israeli settlements.