Main Content Region

Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds

"The Meaning of Gaza" 
A Lecture by Prof. Saree Makdisi
Monday, Feb. 26, SMSU North, Conference Center
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Meaning of Gaza


"Gaza Unveiled" Virtual Reality Expedition
SMSU North Conference Center A & E, 2/12/24 and 2/13/24
12 pm to 5 pm

Gaza Virtual Reality

Take a step back in time and relive the happy moments that no longer exist in the tangible world.

Witness the extraordinary efforts of The Phoenix of Gaza XR team as they, with the support of Xreal Lab, skillfully documented the daily transactions, resilience, and resistance of the remarkable people living under a 16-year-old blockade.

Immerse yourself in the vibrancy of life as it once thrived in Gaza. Yet, be prepared to witness the aftermath of destruction that continues to unfold, offering a sobering reminder of the challenges faced by this resilient community. 

Step into a world where places and faces that have vanished are well-preserved in virtual eternity. Explore iconic sites like the Orthodox Church, the Omari Mosque, the bustling streets of the Beach Camp, and the solemn Unknown Soldier Square. These virtual portals allow you to experience the rich history of Gaza, transcending time and physical limitations. These are not just images; they are portals to moments that have become fragments of a disappearing past. 

Let us come together to honor the spirit of resilience and immerse ourselves in the untold stories of Gaza – an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and mind.

For more information or to bring students/classes to the event, please email 

CFA's Palestinian Arab & Muslim Caucus
The Center for the Study of Muslim and Arab Worlds
invite you to attend a film screening and discussion

GAZA: Fights for Freedom

Tuesday, January 9, 2024
2:00  pm to 4:00 pm

To Register, Click Here

Gaza Fights for Freedom
Gaza Fights for Freedom


CFA's Palestinian Arab & Muslim Caucus
The Center for the Study of Muslim and Arab Worlds
invite you to attend a lecture on

Weaponizing Anti-Semitism
Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023
2:00  pm to 4:00 pm

on Zoom

Weaponizing Antisemitism


The Critical Refugee Studies Collective
invites you to attend a film presentation and a discussion about 
The History of the Palestinian Israeli Conflict 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023
3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

On Zoom

Film Screening


CFA's Palestinian Arab & Muslim Caucus

invites you to a screening of the award-winning film
The Truth: Lost At Sea
depicting the Israeli attack on the 2010 Freedom Flotilla, a convoy of international humanitarian ships which tried to highlight the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and break its blockade. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Muslim and Arab Worlds

Thursday Nov. 9, on Zoom, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm 

Truth: Lost At Sea


Film Presentation Followed by Discussion

To watch the film, please click on the poster below (1948)

To listen to the discussion after the film, please click on the discussion link below the poster  

Film Presentation:  1948: Creation and Catastrophe

Gaza-Teach-In-1948: Creation and Catastrophe

Discussion of the Film
Professors David Yaghoubian and Ahlam Muhtaseb (Also, Producer of Film)
A Webinar Presentation - Teach-in: October 26
California Faculty Association's Palestinian, Arab and Muslim Caucus and Allies
Co-Sponsored by CSMAW


Contextualizing Current Violence in Gaza:
Professors Farid Abdel-Nour and Hatem Bazian
A Webinar Presentation - Teach-in: October 19, 2023


Contextualizing Current Violence in Gaza


CSMAW Statement and Teach-In on the Current Violence in Gaza
OCTOBER 16, 2023

Dear fellow CSUSB community members,

We at the Center for the Study of Muslim and Arab Worlds (CSMAW) are writing to you with broken hearts over the horrific state of violence in Gaza and the reprehensible and grossly unjust continued genocide of Palestinian people by the state of Israel.

We urge our colleagues and the entire campus community to view the current situation within a broader historical context. Violence against civilian populations cannot be justified. However, it is crucial to recognize that the ongoing crisis is not a recent development but rather the consequence of 75 years of Israeli military occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid, which has been financially supported and aided by the United States government. This prolonged history has resulted in a dire environment where a significant portion of the Palestinian population is living in poverty, deprived of fundamental human rights and dignity. It is a necessary reminder that Palestinians in Gaza were already living in what many have called an open-air prison long before the events of this week. Thus, to call this “war” fails to recognize the scale of disparity between Israel and Palestinians given that Palestinians in Gaza do not have comparable military and that the greatest number of losses have been experienced by Palestinian civilians, families, and children. Unfortunately, the US government has turned a blind eye on the Palestinian suffering, sending more weapons to fuel the war on Gaza instead of de-escalating, calling for a ceasefire, and attempting to mediate a just and lasting peace in the region. 

According to latest reports out of Al Jazeera, in less than one week, over 1 million Palestinians have been displaced from their land and their homes in Gaza , and 2,723 Palestinians have been killed, 1000 of whom are children, as a result of the Israeli nonstop indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza. Close to 11,000 have been injured, many in critical condition, and it is estimated that about another thousand people are stranded under the rubble and can’t be pulled out. Israel announced complete closure of Gaza preventing entry of even food and water into the most densely populated area in the world. Hospitals have been the strategic target of air strikes, evacuation routes have been bombed, and electricity and Internet have been shut. All this has resulted in the heart wrenching cost of the living generations of 47 Palestinian families having been wiped from the Gaza civil registry. This ethnic cleansing has been sanctioned by the Israeli state with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announcing  last Tuesday that  “we are fighting human animals.” We know as scholars that the use of this racist language traces back to Islamophobic and Orientalist tropes of the Arab and Muslim as uncivilized barbarians and that is why we must jettison neutrality to instead come forward with complete and steadfast condemnation of this asymmetrical violence against the Palestinians. Killing civilians, depriving them of food, water and electricity, bombing hospitals and forcible transfer are all war crimes that the Israeli government is currently committing against the people of Gaza, and cannot be justified as self-defense. 

The Center has compiled a list of actions that our community can do now to address this crisis as well as a list of resources for us all to critically examine and nourish each other as we grow in our compassion and commitment to a free and just world.  

What we can do NOW: 

Attend the CSU San Bernardino online teach-in that will take place on Thursday, October 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 pm. The Center will be hosting scholars and a campus-wide discussion centering the devastation in Palestine.

Visit Jewish Voice for Peace now and use their guide and template to call your local representatives and urge them to stop the US from using taxpayer dollars to fund the genocide in Palestine. 

Be critical and attentive to the propaganda being spewed by some mainstream media channels. This Democracy Now segment explains how Western media have mobilized Islamophobic and racist tropes to justify Israel’s war crimes.

If you have the means, you can donate to the following organizations that are trying to send aid and provide relief for the victims in Gaza: The United Nations Relief & Works Agency For Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Palestinian Children Relief Fund (PCRF), Gaza Mental Health Foundation (Boston-based), or Oxfam America.


Additional resources because knowledge is power!: 

Human Rights Watch Report: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution 

Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’tselem) Report: A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is Apartheid

Amnesty International Report: Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: A look into Decades of Oppression & Domination

International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) Statement on Investigating Israeli War Crimes.

AJ+: How Israel Made Gaza The World’s Biggest Prison

Al Jazeera Plus: Is Israel Guilty Of Apartheid Against Palestinians? 

1948: Creation and Catastrophe documentary by CSUSB Professor Ahlam Muhtaseb 

Book: Rifqa by Mohammed El-Kurd

Book: Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics by Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick 

Book: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappé

Visit Haymarket Books for additional free books for a free Palestine!



CSMAW Statement On the Earthquake in Turkey
February 6, 2023

The Center for the Study of Muslim and Arab Worlds at CSUSB expresses its deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the deadly earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria last Monday (Feb 6, 2023). At the time of drafting this message, the earthquake had resulted in the death of more than 36,000 people, the injuries to more than 90,000 people, and the displacement of more than a million residents. Sadly, casualty figures are still rising.

Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones and those who were left without shelter in near freezing temperatures. We understand that these events, while far away in distance, are close to the heart of many of our own students, staff, and faculty from Turkey and Syria whose families and friends may have been directly impacted by the calamity. If you are a member of our campus community who has been affected by this earthquake, please know that our Center and our Campus community are here to support you and assist during these tragic times. As the magnitude of the disaster is still unfolding, our thoughts will continue to be with all of those affected. 

Our Center is not equipped to collect and distribute donations. However, after consultation with members of the Center who are familiar with what is happening on the ground and how aid is being distributed, here are some suggestions for individuals who are considering to help out. The list below is not comprehensive and we understand that there are other organizations worthy of supporting. 

Research Institute on Turkey 
Doctors Without Borders 
The United Methodist Church   

Canadian Red Cross
Molham Volunteering Team

While monetary donations are much needed, we understand that some people prefer donating in-kind. If that is the case, the local Islamic Community Center of Redlands is collecting donations that are delivered to the Turkish Consulate in cooperation with Turkish Airlines.

In solidarity, prayers, and sympathy,

Center for the Study of Muslim and Arab Worlds




Prof. Joseph Massad
"Independence: The Ruse of Settler-Colonialism"

Thursday, October 13, 2022 6 p.m.
SMSU North Conference Center


This lecture will also be streamed live online

Prof. Joseph Massad - Columbia University

Joseph Massad is a Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University. He is the author of several books, dozens of scholarly articles, and hundreds of op-eds. His books include Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan, The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, Desiring Arabs, and Islam in Liberalism. His forthcoming book is tentatively titled The Age of Independence: A Settler-Colonial History of the World. He is a recipient of a number of research and teaching Awards, including the Lionel Trilling Book Award for his book Desiring Arabs, The Scott Nearing Award for Courageous Scholarship, and The Columbia University Faculty Mentoring Award. Prof. Massad's works have been translated to more than a dozen languages including Arabic, Turkish, Persian, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Chinese, German, and Indonesian.


Mission Statement

The Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds (CSMAW) is dedicated to broadening and decolonizing knowledge of the Muslim, Islamicate, and Arab worlds through teaching, research and community outreach.

The Center is dedicated also to be inclusive of the study of all ethnic, religious, and cultural populations in the what has been historically known as the Islamic (Islamicate) and Arab worlds.

The Center serves as a flagship for international dialogue and academic excellence for students and faculty as well as the local and international communities. The Center supports research, lectureships, curriculum development and community outreach.



The Center offers an interdisciplinary minor and certificate program in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, including the instruction of languages in the region. CSMAW faculty members also teach and supervise our internationally respected and award winning Model United Nations and Model League of Arab States programs. The Center continues to encourage, support and assist our students in study abroad and student exchange programs focused on the the Middle East and the Muslim world.


CSMAW faculty have been active in a wide range of activities including hosting and participating in national and international scholarly conferences, serving in editorial roles for scholarly journals and periodicals, publishing co-authored research findings with Middle Eastern scholars, and working toward broadening our shared interests in higher education with universities and institutes in the Middle East and Muslim world. The Center contributes to research and scholarship by housing and contributing to the peer-reviewed journal, Arab Studies Quarterly.

Partnerships, Collaborations and Community Outreach:

CSMAW faculty serves both CSUSB and the local community by offering seminars, panels, lectures, art exhibits, film and documentary screenings, and other public events. The latter includes sponsorship and organization of events which focus on inter-faith dialogue. The Center continues to be a leader in establishing dialogue with its partner universities in the Middle East as well as with institutions and organizations in Southern California, such as the World Affairs Council of Inland Empire and The Morrow McCombs Memorial Lecture Series Committee. The CSMAW also faculty works closely with the university’s International Institute and local chapter of Phi Beta Delta (Honor Society of International Scholars) to enhance public awareness, and student and community participation in international education.

Library Expansion: 

Through grants and gifts, the Center faculty has been instrumental in the selection and addition of hundreds of texts and audio-visual materials to the university library. One of the goals of the Center is to offer students, researchers and the wider local community access to one of the largest collections of Islamic and Middle East holdings in the California State University system.


CSUSB Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds’ Statement for Palestine

The Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds at California State University, San Bernardino expresses its sadness about and condemnation of the Israeli racist and colonial violence against and oppression of the Palestinian communities under its control. Palestinians in Israel live as second-class citizens under more than 65 laws that discriminate against them. In the West Bank, Israelis inflict the violence of a settler colonial state through brutal military occupation, home demolitions, policing and surveillance, as well as through the construction of a wall that runs deep through Palestinian territory, cutting Palestinians off from their land and their families. In East Jerusalem neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah, the Israeli government forces Palestinians out of their homes under the guise of a “real estate dispute” and has targeted mosques where Palestinians gather to pray.

In particular, we are shocked at the level of violent retaliation against Palestinians in Gaza, the most densely populated area in the world, which has resulted in the brutal killing of over 240 people, mainly civilian, including 66 children, 39 women and 17 seniors, according to the latest report from Haaretz newspaper. All of these lives were taken in a mere 11 days as Gazans continued to pull the dead from under the rubble. Additionally, close to 2000 people were injured as a result of ongoing Israeli air, land, and sea shelling. In a horrifying statistic, it is estimated that 20 families in Gaza have been completely eradicated by Israeli aggression. In addition to the loss of human life, The New York Times reported that the Israeli bombardment has damaged 17 hospitals and clinics in Gaza, including its only coronavirus test laboratory. Those bombardments sent fetid wastewater into the streets and broke water pipes serving at least 800,000 people. Sewage systems inside Gaza have been destroyed and a desalination plant that helped provide fresh water to a quarter of a million people in the territory is currently offline.

Israeli attacks, including air strikes and tank shells, resulted in the damage of at least 51 educational facilities, including 2 kindergartens, 46 schools, 1 university, 1 vocational training center, and 1 Ministry of Education facility among other vital infrastructure, according to the United Nations. In addition, Israeli military strikes internally displaced at least 66,000 Palestinians who have since had to seek refuge in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), causing further disruptions to the Palestinian people’s education and their lives.

Unfortunately, the current ceasefire will not end the brutal siege on Gaza that has been going on since 2007, effectively transforming Gaza into an open-air prison or concentration camp, controlled by Israel from land, sea and air. Since 2007, the people of Gaza have been put on a forced diet by the Israeli government’s practice of calorie count based on their control of the population registry. More than half of the population of Gaza, some 56%, live below the poverty line. 70% of the population is receiving aid according to estimates by the United Nations, and food rations constitute most of that aid. Unemployment in Gaza is around 45%, while 48% of the population is under the age of 18 and 70% of the young people in Gaza are unemployed with no hope for the future. We share these statistics and data to illustrate the realities of institutional settler colonial violence that has resulted in these conditions under which Palestinians are forced to live. A year after the brutal murder of George Floyd, we condemn all state-sponsored violence and terrorism.

It is also important to note that this latest episode of Israeli state violence should not be discussed in isolation of its history of colonial practices against Palestinians, especially since the majority of Gazans are refugees who were ethnically expelled from their homes and lands by the Zionist militias that created the state of Israel. The recent 213-page report from Human Rights Watch detailing “crimes of apartheid and persecution” by Israeli authorities highlights myriad ways in which Israel continues to push Palestinians their homes. Before HRW, the Israeli human rights organization, B’tselem, issued a similar report about Israel’s war crimes.

As a center committed to the study of Muslim and Arab worlds, we cannot be silent. We issue this statement in support and solidarity with the colonized people of Palestine and their resistance to the military and apartheid state of Israel. We understand that this is not just a Palestine-Israel “conflict,” but it is a one-sided humanitarian crisis fueled by US military aid to Israel as well as the circulation of biased mainstream propaganda that dehumanizes Palestinians on a daily basis. We also firmly believe this affects all of us and that our own liberation is tied to the liberation of all oppressed people around the world, including our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Immigrant, Undocumented, and all other marginalized brothers and sisters. We salute the bravery and resilience of the Palestinian resistance in the face of colonial violence and call on our government to stop its complacency in yet another capitalist imperialist atrocity.

Executive Board of the Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds

Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds Statement for Palestine




CSMAW’s Statement in Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement

The The Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds (CSMAW) at California State University, San Bernardino is saddened and outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black individuals. We recognize the deplorable systemic racism that permeates the past and present of the U.S. and stand in strong solidarity with those who seek to make fundamental changes to the system. CSMAW is part of a global movement that advocates for peace and justice. Our commitment at CSMAW is to strengthen our solidarity with those of MENA (i.e., Middle East and North Africa) and BIPOC (i.e., Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) in North America and globally through our teaching and community outreach.

CSMAW also recognizes the contribution of Black Muslims who comprise a third of the American Muslim population in our nation’s civic, athletic, artistic, and civil rights movement, with leaders such as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Keith Ellison, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Ahmad Jamal, Art Blakey, T-Pain, to name a few. At CSMAW, we organize events to raise awareness about the struggles of Muslim populations and other religious and/or indigenous groups in MENA, most of whom are people of color and live in Global South. We acknowledge the similarities between their plight and those of people of color everywhere, including the Black Lives Matter movement. We condemn racism, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy in all of their forms and are committed to fighting to dismantle them. An injustice to our Black siblings is an injustice to all of us. We declare unequivocally that Black Lives Matter in this country and around the world.

CSMAW Quick Links

Latest News

Rashid Khalidi

Book Discussion: The Hundred Years' War on Palestine

with Dr. Rashid Khalidi, The Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University

February 25, 2021|  12 - 1:30 pm

Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, discussed his latest book, “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017,” during a livestream that was viewed by more than 100 people worldwide.

Read more about Dr. Khalidis book discussion    Book Discussion Event Flyer   View the Book Discussion Event on YouTube


Ahlam Muhtaseb

Director of CSMAW, Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb, wins the CSUSB 2019-2020 Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activities Award

June 12, 2020

Read the full article on Dr.Ahlam Muhtaseb

David Yaghobian

Dr. David Yaghobian, Associate Director of CSMAW, has been widely interviewed by the media about many issues related to Iran and Palestine

Read more about Dr. David Yaghobian

Parastou Feizzaringhalam

CSMAW member, Dr. Parastou Feizzaringhalam, wins the 2019-20 Golden Apple Award

June 8, 2020

Read more about Dr. Parastou Feizzaringhalam

Dr. Gareth Porter

The United States & Iran: From Manufactured Crisis to the Brink of War’

February 6, 2020

Author and journalist Dr. Gareth Porter is the featured speaker at the talk sponsored by CSUSB’s Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. The event is free and open to the public.

The United States & Iran ArticleThe United States & Iran Flyer  The United States & Iran YouTube Video

Ahlam Muhtaseb

Director of CSMAW, Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb, was selected by the CSUSB Office of Student Research as one of 2020 Research and Creative Activity Faculty Mentor Awardees.

Faculty selected for this award have shown exceptional dedication to student’s success for careers in research, teaching, and preparing them to meet the highest professional and ethical standards as scholars. As a recipient of this award, you will receive $2,000 towards your professional development funds.

Read more about Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb