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Houstonian Corner (V9-I45)

November 1, 2007 by  


North American Imams Federation (NAIF) Met In Houston

One of the largest associations of Muslim Scholars and Imams in North America called the North American Imams Federation (NAIF), met over the last weekend for their annual meeting in North Houston Sheraton near IAH. This was a significant event as two Congresspersons Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee and Hon. Nick Lampson as well as the City of Houston Councilman M. J. Khan spoke during this meeting. Congresspersons emphasized on the need of pro-activeness of Muslim Imams in the societal issues, while M. J. Khan said Imams need to be part of several neighborhood upgrading and cleanliness projects around their Masajids.

Special topics discussed included use of latest technology and Muslim media sources to deliver the true message of Islam to general masses in North America. Also all the Imams were encouraged to devise humanitarian and social uplifting programs in their cities to serve the humanity at large. Also since most of the Imams are employed by various organizations and Islamic Centers, special discussion forum was held on creating a better relationship between the Imams and the Centers and improved benefit packages for Imams, so that Imams are able to fully devote their attentions on the issues being faced by the society.

It has been a general trend that Islam is being attacked from various directions, especially the personality of Messenger Mohammad (Peace Be Upon him): Imams discussed in details how in an intellectual and pro-active manner these issues can be dealt with. If Imams and Muslim Community is actively doing the Dawah Work and properly use the different medium in bringing out the Muslim View-Point, no body will able to say anything against the Muslims. There is need to expand the horizon of outreach.

Following were elected as Board of Trustees (BOT) for NAIF:

Dr. Omar Shahin President ( Arizona ) – Dr. Waleed AL-Menese Vice-President Minnesota, Dr. AL-Tayeb Abo AL-Yamen (Illinois) – Imam Siraj Wahhajj (New York) – Imam Bassam Obeid (North Carolina) – Imam Johri Abdel Malik (D.C.) – & – Dr. Muvfak AL-Agalieni (Michigan).

For more information about NAIF and the various activities, visit http://imamsofamerica.com/

CAIR-Houston Meets With Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

CAIR-Houston Director Shariq Abdul Ghani conducted a question and answer session with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) management staff of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The purpose of the session was to inform them about cultural habits and practices of Muslims and to also answer any and all questions they might have so they could better understand the Muslim community.

The session was very productive and many questions were answered about Islam and Muslims. Amongst the many subjects discussed was the modesty of Muslim women, the adornment of a niqab (face veil) and hijab, handling of the Quran.

At the same time, the TSA managers provided CAIR-Houston with valuable feedback as to what our community can do to prevent negative experiences with airport security.

Please take the time to read through the brief points and also visit TSA’s website for policies on the items below. When reading through the list, please remember that it is TSA’s duty to protect the airways and make absolute sure that everyone’s family stays safe while traveling. It is also their intent to ensure that those traveling are who they say they are by positively matching Identification media with the person presenting it. TSA also intends to be flexible and unpredictable to protect you as a traveler and is committed to providing non discriminatory customer service with security always being its primary goal.

If a sister chooses to wear very loose clothing she might be asked to go through secondary screening. The sister will be escorted to a private area by a female Transportation Security Officer (TSO) and she may go through some additional screening including any carry-on luggage, personal screening and/or asked to remove her jilbab. The process should take under 5 minutes.

If a sister chooses to wear niqab she may go through secondary screening to verify her identity. This will likely happen at the first checkpoint. The process may be the same as listed above, including secondary screening. Thought, the sister isn’t marked for secondary screening, she may still go through it because of current procedures. This is a policy we are reviewing with TSA.

If a bag containing a Quran is to be inspected, make TSO aware they Quran is packed so that they may handle it in a respectable manner.

Multiple metallic pins in a hijab will set off alarms. Try to use plastic pins or the bare minimum when flying to prevent any delays.

Review the standard guidelines for carry-on and the policy on liquids by clicking here.

Review the guidelines for permitted and prohibited items by clicking here.

Review the guidelines for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions by clicking here.

Remember to stay patient when your or your loved ones are being inspected. They are only doing this for everyone’s safety. If you feel that you are being subjected to a discriminatory search, please report the incident immediately on our website at http://www.cairhouston.org. This initiative is a part of CAIR-Houston’s “Flying While Muslim” Campaign and can be checked on the same website.

CAIR-Houston has pledged to continue to work with TSA and other agencies to increase outreach to the Muslim community and assist Homeland Security with increased understanding about the Muslim community and Islamic religious practices.

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