Mohammed Dajani Daoudi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi (Arabic: محمد الدجاني الداودي‎; born March 19, 1946) is a Palestinian professor and peace activist. Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi has gained international recognition for his extensive record in helping to raise awareness concerning the Holocaust. He has done this educational campaign through TV interviews, books, documentaries, articles, conferences, workshops, magazines, Facebook groups, websites, etc. Dajani has also been active in forming good relationships with Jewish and Christian religious leaders and peace activists to spread the Wasatia message of understanding, tolerance, coexistence and brotherhood. In his Wasatia ideology, Dajani is tackling the ideological roots of extremism. In 2014, he became the center of a controversy when he led a group of students from Al-Quds University to Auschwitz.

Early life[edit]

Dajani was born to one of Jerusalem's historic Arab families.[1] The honorific "Daoudi" was added to the family name in 1529 when Suleiman the Magnificent designated an ancestor keeper of the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion.[2] His family fled to Egypt when Israel declared its independence in 1948, but returned to the Old City of Jerusalem the following year (then under Jordanian rule).[2]

Dajani's parents, well-educated secular Muslims, sent him to English-speaking Quaker-run schools.[2] As an engineering student at the American University of Beirut, Dajani joined Fatah.[2] Although he received military training, he was put to work in the English-language public relations department of the Palestine Liberation Organization.[1]

In 1975, Lebanon deported Dajani.[2] Banned from both Israel and Jordan because of his Fatah activities, he decided to travel to the United States to continue his education.[2] He eventually earned a Ph.D. in government from the University of South Carolina and another Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Texas at Austin.[1]


By this time, Dajani's father was successful in getting his son a pardon from King Hussein of Jordan.[2] Dajani was hired by the Applied Science Private University in Amman, where he created and chaired the political science and diplomacy department.[2] In 1993, his father won permission from Israel for Dajani to return to Jerusalem.[1]

Dajani accompanied his father to chemotherapy treatments at Ein Kerem, an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem, where the younger man was surprised at the way his father was being treated: "I was expecting that they would be treating him differently—with discrimination—as a Palestinian, as an Arab, as a Muslim. I found out that this was not the case. They were treating him like a patient."[2] Dajani saw many other Palestinians receiving medical care from Israeli doctors.[2] Several years later, a second experience with Israeli health care affected Dajani; his mother became ill near Ben Gurion Airport.[2] "I did not believe that anybody would help her, being an Arab and coming to an airport where Israelis are very keen about security."[2] Dajani was surprised when an ambulance was called and paramedics tried to revive his mother for more than an hour.[2] "I became confused about my enemy, who did their best to help my father and my mother. I started to see the other side of my enemy, which is the human side."[1]

During the late 1990s, Dajani trained Palestinian civil servants for the United Nations Development Programme and various Palestinian organizations.[2] In 1999, he was invited to Turkey to lead a program for Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders, which he developed into a conflict-resolution model called "Big Dream, Small Hope".[2]

Dajani was invited to join the faculty at Al-Quds University in 2001, and the following year he established its American Studies Institute.[2] In 2007, with his brother, Munther Dajani Daoudi,[2] he co-founded Wasatia ("Moderation"), an organization that promotes the Islamic traditions of nonviolence and compromise.[1]

Auschwitz trip[edit]

In March 2014, Dajani took a group of 27 students from Al-Quds University to visit the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz.[2] They are believed to be the first group of students from Palestine to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.[1][3] The trip to Auschwitz was part of a joint project with the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, whose purpose was to teach Palestinian and Israeli students about the "suffering that has helped shape the historical consciousness of the other side".[3] (For their part, the Israeli students visited the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem.[3])

After the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote about the trip, and the Hebrew article was mistranslated into Arabic,[4] Dajani was vilified as a "traitor" and "collaborator" by some Palestinians.[5] Al-Quds University issued a statement saying Dajani and the students were acting in a "personal capacity",[5] and the faculty union expelled Dajani.[5] On May 18, he submitted a letter of resignation, "hoping the university authorities would reject it and denounce the campaign against him. Instead, he received a response from the university personnel department that his resignation would take effect on June 1."[6]

In January 2015, Dajani's car was set on fire and destroyed in front of his home.[7][8] Dajani told The Times of Israel that the attack saddened him more than it frightened him.[7] Later that year, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he served as a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.[9]

In September 2016, Dajani told Haaretz he was moving back to Jerusalem and that he was "hoping and thinking about organizing" another trip to Auschwitz, but he didn't want the details published.[9]

Published works[edit]


  • The Meaning of Kahlil Gibran (Secaucus, N. J.: Citadel Press, 1982)
  • Economic Sanctions: Ideals and Experiences (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983) with M. S. Dajani
  • Economic Diplomacy: Embargo Leverage and World Politics (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1985) with M. S. Dajani
  • Politics: Theories and Concepts (in Arabic) (Amman: Palomino Press, 1986) with M. S. Dajani
  • An Introduction to the Jordanian Political System (in Arabic) (Amman: Palomino Press, 1993) with M. S. Dajani
  • Democracy in Palestine: Palestinian General Elections 1996 (in Arabic) (Ramallah, Palestine: Palestinian Central Elections Committee, 1997)
  • Research Methodology in Political Science (in Arabic) (Jerusalem: Al-Quds University and Palestinian Center for regional Studies, 1997) with M. S. Dajani
  • Democracy and Political Pluralism (in Arabic) (Al-Bireh: Palestinian Center for Regional Studies, 1998) with M. S. Dajani
  • Palestine: The Holy Land (PECDAR: Emerezian Press, 2000)
  • Al-Quds Glossary for International Terms (in Arabic) (Jerusalem: Palestinian Center for Regional Studies, 2001)
  • Governance and Administration (in Arabic) (Jerusalem: Al-Quds University, 2001) with M. S. Dajani
  • The Strategy of Palestinian Monetary Policy (Jerusalem: Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, 2001) with others
  • Yes PM: Years of Experience in Strategies for Peace Making, Looking at Israeli-Palestinian People-to-People Activities, 1993-2002 (Jerusalem: IPCRI – Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, 2002) with Raviv Schwartz
  • Biblographia Al-Quds (Jerusalem Bibliography) (in Arabic) (Jerusalem: Al-Quds University, 2003)
  • Wasatia (in Arabic) (Jerusalem: Wasatia Publications, 2007)
  • Wasatia: From Theory to Practice (in Arabic) (Jerusalem: Wasatia Publications, 2008)
  • A Bibliography of Arab Books on American Affairs (in Arabic) (Jerusalem: Al-Quds University, 2009)
  • Introduction to Political Science (is Arabic) (Jerusalem: Al-Quds University, 2009)
  • Wasatia: The Spirit of Islam (in Arabic) (Jerusalem: Wasatia Publications, 2009)
  • Jerusalem from the Lens of Wasatia (Jerusalem: Wasatia Publishing, 2010) with others
  • Readings in American Democratic Culture (Jerusalem: Al-Quds University, 2010) with other editors

HOLOCAUST: HUMAN AGONY: IS THERE A WAY OUT OF VIOLENCE.With Zeina Barakat and Martin Rau. Jerusalem: Dar al-Mishkat Publishing, 2012. (in Arabic); EXPLORING AMERICAN STUDIES: A SUCCESS STORY. Jerusalem: Al-Quds University, 20123. DAJANI GLOSSARY OF ISLAMIC TERMS. Jerusalem, Wasatia Publishing, 2015. THE HOLY BOOKS AS GUIDING LIGHTS. Jerusalem, Wasatia Publishing, 2015. TEACHING EMPATHY AND RECONCILIATION IN MIDST OF CONFLICT. Jerusalem: Wasatia Press, 2016.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kalman, Matthew (April 20, 2014). "Palestinian Teaches Tolerance via Holocaust". The New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Epstein, Nadine (July–August 2014). "Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: Evolution of a Moderate". Moment. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Kalman, Matthew (March 28, 2014). "Palestinian Students Visit Auschwitz in First Organized Visit". Haaretz. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  4. ^ Kalman, Matthew (April 10, 2014). "Palestinian Professor Who Took Students to Auschwitz Responds to Threats". Haaretz. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Lazareva, Inna (June 10, 2014). "Palestinian professor resigns over students' trip to Auschwitz". The Telegraph. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  6. ^ Kalman, Matthew (June 8, 2014). "Did Auschwitz Trip Lead to Palestinian Professor's Resignation?". Haaretz. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Ghert-Zand, Renee (January 20, 2015). "Car of Auschwitz-Trip Palestinian Professor Torched". The Times of Israel. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  8. ^ "Arsonists Torch Car Belonging to Palestinian Prof. who Led Auschwitz Trip". Haaretz. January 18, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Alexander, Neta (September 15, 2016). "The Palestinian Professor Who Took Students on Auschwitz Trip and Paid a Heavy Price". Haaretz. Retrieved September 22, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]