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Community News (V10-I6)

January 31, 2008 by  


New President for Chicago’s oldest mosque

CHICAGO, IL–Tariq Malhance, City of Chicago’s former comptroller, was elected as the president of Muslim Community Center of Chicago. In a contentious vote process, which led to some members boycotting the election, Malhance emerged as a clear winner. The outgoing president Dr.Abdul Sattar, who had urged the boycott, has now offered his support to Mr.Malhance.

Tariq Malhance, an Islamic banker, brings decades of experience in the financial and administrative fields. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Private Equity of Unicorn Investment Bank and President of UIB Capital in Chicago.

Mr. Malhance retired from the City of Chicago on November 30th, after an illustrious 25-year career, during which time he served in various positions in City Government, including City Comptroller, three years as First Deputy City Treasurer, Managing Deputy Comptroller for Debt and Asset Management, and Deputy Comptroller for Financial Policy. As City Comptroller he was tasked with managing the City’s cash flow, debt, and credit activities. He also had responsibility for the City’s accounting, auditing, and financial and compliance reporting. Mr. Malhance was responsible for overseeing the issuance of approximately $40 billion in bonds to support various City projects, such as the airport revenue bonds, water and sewer bonds and other specialised financing arrangements. Recently, he led the securitising of the Chicago Skyway, which is a seven-mile toll-way, for about $1.8 billion to Macquarie Bank of Australia and Cintra of Spain. This transaction was the first of its kind in the US. Mr. Malhance was an active trustee member of four of the City’s pension funds, which together control about $13 billion and invest in a variety of investment funds, including private equity funds.

Mr. Malhance is a graduate of the University of Karachi, Pakistan, where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Subsequently, he earned a B.S. B.A. in Finance from Roosevelt University in Chicago, and two graduate degrees (an

M.B.A. in Finance from Roosevelt University and an M.A. in Economics from the University of Illinois, Chicago). He has also completed his post-graduate course work studies as a Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy Analysis at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Student introduces Halal foods University of Pennsylvania

University Park, Pa., Jan.24, 2008 (Press Release) — Starting this month, Muslim Penn State students can dine on Halal certified food weekdays on the University Park campus, a press release from the university

Similar to kosher foods, Halal foods have restrictions regarding proper preparation, cooking and serving. Assisted by graduate student Muhammad Atiyat and other representatives of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), Penn State’s Campus Food Services will offer Halal sanctioned foods in Warnock Commons.

“It has been a group effort,” said Lisa Wandel, director of Food Services. “Muhammad has worked with us and we are excited to see how it works.”

Atiyat said that everyone from Food Services has worked very hard to put the program together, and he is pleased with the progress. As an undergraduate, he was involved in a similar program at Stony Brook University in New York. When he came to Penn State, he noticed there was only one restaurant in the area that sold Halal foods. He felt inspired to make a change.

“It’s an additional incentive for Muslim students to attend Penn State,” he said. “This highlights the importance of Halal foods for the students.”

The program will begin with a trial period during spring 2008. The World Beat station at BlueSpoon Deli will serve Halal dinners Sunday through Thursday. The World Beat is an a la carte eatery that specializes in international foods. Wandel said adding Halal dinners will be a welcome change for BlueSpoon.

“At night we are repeating the same meals from lunch,” she said. “With the Halal dinners, we can have Mediterranean menus at night — something different.”

Although restrictions in serving Halal foods are not as strict as kosher, a few challenges remain for Food Services. Wandel said Halal-approved products are not labeled like kosher foods are. This means Food Services must communicate with vendors to make sure they sell Halal certified food and follow approved procedures.

Meats that are Halal certified follow Islamic law regarding how livestock is slaughtered. In any Halal food, no pork and no items with alcoholic ingredients are allowed.

Atiyat said promoting diversity at Penn State is important for everyone. By offering these dining options, students can be exposed to a culture that they might not understand or know much about.

University employees have benefited from the change as well. “It’s a great learning experience,” said Curt Weisner, assistant manager of Warnock Commons. “We haven’t even made the Halal food yet and our cooks have learned a lot already.”

Not only does the program offer a change on the menu, but it also introduces a new way of cooking to those who work in the kitchen.

“This program benefits Penn State because it’s education,” Wandel said. “It educates other students that are not familiar with these lifestyles.”

Both Wandel and Weisner said working with Atiyat has been excellent and has done wonders for the program’s progress, and Atiyat said it would have not been possible without the help of Food Services — a true sign of teamwork, with results to show for it.

Muslim good samaritan attends Bush speech

WASHINGTON, D.C.–A Muslim teenager who came to the aide of a group of Jewish men from when they were being attacked in a New York subway attended President Bush’s state of the union speech. The incidence took place on the Q train in New York City on the night of December 7, 2007.

Askari has received numerous honours from officials in New York and US Congress earlier. The State of the Union feature is the first time for any Bangladeshi-American. Askari was invited by Queens Congressman Rep. Joseph Crowley.

Askari, a Bangladesh native, received two black eyes and a split lip while aiding the Jewish riders after they were attacked by 10 men and women who were insulted by their greeting of “Happy Chanukah.”

Crowley delivered a speech about Askari’s actions on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Minnesota mourns bridge builder

MINNEAPOLIS, MN– Hesham Hussein was a father, teacher, engineer, imam, founder of two Arab-speaking Islamic schools, spokesman for the state’s Muslim community and a man who could bring Muslims and Christians together for a potluck.

The 44-year-old Inver Grove Heights resident died Saturday in a car accident in Saudi Arabia, where he was visiting family, the Star Tribune reported.

He had been driving alone between Medina and Jedda when the accident occurred, said his cousin, Khalid Elmasry. Hussein, president of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, was a major figure in shaping understanding of Muslims in Minnesota, say those who knew him.

Hussein founded a program called Taking Hearts that brought people from Twin Cities metro-area churches and mosques together to carry out service projects. Along the way, they learned that they shared similar perspectives on many topics, such as poverty.

Despite SeaTac Mosque concerns, shared parking for nonprofits approved

SeaTac, WA–Despite concerns about parking at a local mosque, SeaTac City Council members voted 4-2 on Jan. 22 to allow nonprofit organizations to share parking.

An amendment by Deputy Mayor Gene Fisher that would have postponed consideration of the parking ordinance for 30 days to allow city leaders to further negotiate with SeaTac Mosque officials was defeated by a 4-2 vote.

Action already had been delayed two weeks.

City Manager Craig Ward said city staffers have been talking to mosque officials about a use permit for parking at the old school site and other possible code violations. The city recently bought the property from the Highline School District.

While it was owned by the school district, people attending afternoon prayers at the mosque next door to the school at South 150th Street and 30th Avenue South parked on school grounds. That practice has continued since the city purchased the property.

Mosque officials had expressed interest in buying the school property before it was sold to the city.

Even with the new shared parking ordinance, mosque members must negotiate an agreement with the city to legally park at the school.

“The negotiations have not produced a fruitful outcome,” Ward noted. “ (A 30-day postponement) may help light a fire under negotiations that have stalled out.”

However, in an interview, mosque spokesman Aziz Junejo countered, “We thought our cooperation was pretty good.”

On Sundays, youth pick up litter at the school site left by mosque members and neighborhood residents who use the playfield.

The mosque also hosts a picnic every year at the school and invites neighbors and SeaTac officials. SeaTac police officers and firefighters have attended but no council members have accepted an invitation, according to Junejo.

The only time parking is a problem in the area is around noon on Fridays, Junejo, a Seattle Times religion columnist, said.

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