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Event honoring Palestinian refugees forced to relocate

(Courtesy of CAIR-MN)

Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, was supposed to speak tonight on the University of Minnesota campus. But according to the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), the University of Minnesota retracted its offer to host the event after receiving an online threat.

The event is now taking place at CAIR-MN’s offices, located in the same building as Bethany Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

Mandela is in town to mark the 75th anniversary of Nakba, also known as the “Palestinian Catastrophe. Nakba marks the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, which forced 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. An estimated five million refugees and their descendants are still displaced today.

CAIR-Minnesota, the Antiwar Committee, and Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar Clark released a press release condemning the University of Minnesota for canceling its commitment to hosting the 75th anniversary of Nakba, honoring millions of refugees displaced from their home in 1948.

When contacted by BLCK Press for comment, the University of Minnesota’s public safety office said it was unaware of the event.

“Regrettably, the cancellation of the event featuring the grandson of Nelson Mandela is an embarrassment for the University of Minnesota, which possesses the resources needed to protect speakers from such threats,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein in a statement to the media. “This unfortunate decision conveys an unwelcoming message and emboldens those who seek to intimidate. However, we take pride in offering our offices as an alternative venue for the event. To ensure the safety of all attendees, we have implemented robust security protocols."

Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela will speak tonight at 7pm at 2511 East Franklin Ave.

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