The Khojaly Tragedy occurred on 26 February 1992 when Armenian military forces killed 613 Azerbaijani citizens in the town of Khojaly, Azerbaijan. This year, MALA and ASF will commemorate Khojaly by creating a space for learning, remembrance, and dialogue about ending Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide of all kinds.

The event will take place at the Center for Jewish History, and will coincide with the American Sephardi Federation’s American Sephardi Music Festival, which runs February 24-26. MALA and ASF will bring in a panel of guest speakers to facilitate a discussion about identity, erasure, genocide, and memory in the light of the 27th Anniversary of the Khojaly Tragedy.

Genocide and Ethnic Cleansings so often begin with the erasure of histories, heritage, and the silencing of voices. MALA and the ASF are committed to building platforms for individuals and communities to share their histories, and learn collectively through our profound individual stories. By holding in memory some of the most somber moments in history, we increase our ability, as a community, to work towards a unified future.

Please join us as we stand in solidarity to remember those whose lives were lost. Let us strive to build our communities with an understanding of the past to ensure a better tomorrow.


Interfaith Prayer Commemoration:

Rabbi, Haim Ovadia and Imam, Dr. Tahir Kukaj


Anar Usubov: Anar Usubov was born in 1981 in Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabakh. He majored in International Relations and got his Masters degree at Baku State University in Political Science. He has been representing Khojaly of the Nagoro-Karabakh Community and has been a board member of the Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijani Community since 2003. He started his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Azerbaijan Republic and then served as Host Family Coordinator in the Peace Corps. He is a peace activist and has been actively dealing with conflict prevention and dialogue between the two Communities, and currently works as a Political analyst at the Effective Initiatives Center. He was an eye witness to the Khojaly massacre committed on 26 February, 1992 by joint Armenian-Russian military forces against civilians and is temporarily settled in Baku.

Dr. Danielle Knafo: Dr. Danielle Knafo is a professor in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Long Island University and in NYU’s postdoctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. She is also a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in NYC and Long Island, and an author of 8 books and 60 articles. Dr. Knafo was born in Morocco and she lived in Israel for twelve years. Her book, Living with Terror, Working with Trauma, has been used as a textbook for mental health professionals who treat terror-related trauma.

Ahmed Flex Omar: A survivor of the Somalian genocide, Ahmed is the Deputy Director for MALA. Ahmed was also the recipient of the Presidential Service Award, bestowed in both November 2016 and December 2017. Passionate about youth mentorship and cultural heritage, he grew up in the UAE before immigrating to Chicago as an adult. In 2015, he co-founded the Muslim American Leadership Alliance and was a delegate at the 2015 United Nations NGO conference. He was also a speaker at the UN Women’s Commission on the Status of Women, 60th and 61st Session. Ahmed coordinates MALA’s oral history programs nationwide.

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