Community leader Muhammad Salah passes, legacy lives on
Muhammad Salah, Palestinian-American grocer and prominent member of the Palestinian community in Bridgeview, IL, passed away after his battle with cancer, on April 23.
Salah endured twenty years of opaque terrorism-related charges, starting in 1993 when he attempted to cross into the Gaza Strip as part of a humanitarian trip to the region and was interrogated and tortured for fifty-four days by the Israeli military. The military obtained a confession through torture in Hebrew, a language he did not understand, and Salah was subsequently imprisoned in Israel for five years.
In 1995 the Clinton administration deemed Salah a “specially designated terrorist,” which gave the U.S. Department of the Treasury absolute control over all of Salah’s expenses upon his return in 1997, making it difficult to not only receive treatment for cancer but also to pay rent, finance his children’s education, or buy groceries for his household. After a thirteen-year long period of enduring false accusations and political repression, in 2006 Salah was indicted on several counts, including material support for terrorism–despite these accusations, Salah was acquitted of all charges but one, obstruction of justice. In 2012 his status as “specially designated terrorist” was absolved.
Throughout this journey, Salah remained an inspiration to everyone in his community, serving as a figure of resilience, fortitude, and bravery. Salah’s name lives on as a family member, community member, and hero of Palestinian survival in the face of political repression by the American and Israeli governments against Palestinian-American diaspora.
Funeral processions will take place at the Mosque Foundation (7360 W. 93rd St. in Bridgeview) today, April 23 at 1 PM. The burial procession will take place at Parkholm Cemetery (2501 N. La Grange Road in La Grange, IL) and will begin right after the funeral. Following these processions, the Beit 3azza (condolences to the family) will take place at Aqsa School (7361 W. 92nd St. in Bridgeview) between the hours of 6 and 10 PM.