WASHINGTON, April 30, 2012 – The American Islamic Congress (AIC) today celebrated the publication of Arab Spring Dreams: The Next Generation Speaks Out for Freedom and Justice from North Africa to Iran. With a foreword by Gloria Steinem and praise from Nobel Laureate Lech Walesa, the collection is a testament to the aspiration for freedom that propelled ‘the Arab Spring.’ Featured essays on individuality were penned between 2006 and 2010 by young Middle Easterners for AIC’s annual “Dream Deferred Essay Contest.”

“In 2006 AIC launched the ‘Dream Deferred’ contest precisely to encourage young people growing up under repression to share their repressed dreams,”  AIC’s Executive Director Zainab Al-Suwaij said. “The book’s contributors offer a moving call for greater freedom at a crucial moment in the Middle East.”

Arab Spring Dreams is published by Palgrave-Macmillan and co-edited by Nasser Weddady, AIC’s Civil Rights Outreach Director, and Iranian-American writer Sohrab Ahmari. The book offers a first-hand account of life under oppressive regimes and covers a range of hot-button issues, including sexuality, racism, and women’s equality.

“The real struggle in the Middle East is the struggle for individuality,” noted AIC’s Nasser Weddady. “Will young Middle Easterners be able to express themselves and lead their lives as they want? While that question remains unresolved, the writers in Arab Spring Dreams give voice to region’s diversity and underlying liberal spirit, which has been obscured for too long.”

The anthology has been hailed as “an essential portrait of a generation” by ABC News Correspondent Lara Setrakian, a “wonderful book” by Reading Lolita in Tehran author Azar Nafisi, and an “important testimony” by Lech Walesa for spotlighting “young courageous people who dare to dream of the things their parents never dreamt of.”

Information on AIC’s annual Dream Deferred Essay Contest can be found at .

The American Islamic Congress is a civil rights organization promoting tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslims and between all peoples. See http://aic.craftedenterprises.com to learn more.




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