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Community News (V10-I22)

May 22, 2008 by  


Hiba Khan wins at state level business competition

KIGMAN, AZ-Hiba Khan, a high school senior, at the Kingman Academy of Learning High School came second in the state level competition of Future Business Leaders of America in the “Business Procedures” category. She will now compete in the national competitions.

Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and moved to the United States at the age of four along with her parents and siblings. She maintains an A average and challenges herself with Advanced Placement classes. She has been involved in Student Council since her freshman year and has been the Student Body Administrator. She also manages the Kingman Tigers Basketball Team and is a member of Key Club and National Honor Society.

Muslim funeral home to meet the needs of growing community

MINNEAPOLIS,MN-The Islamic Institute of Minnesota has drawn up plans to open a funeral home to meet the needs of a growing Muslim community. The new facility will come up in Burnsville and the City Council last week unanimously approved a conditional use permit.

The new facility will be helpful as the Garden of Eden Cemetery, which has a Muslim section, is located just two blocks away. Mohamed Elakkad, director of the Islamic Institute of Minnesota, said that there are estimated

1420,000 Muslims in the state.

“When there is enough population, we will open a second [Islamic] cemetery,” he said after the City Council meeting in an interview to the Star Tribune.

The institute also owns a cemetery in White Bear Lake but doesn’t use it yet.

The institute also owns two cemeteries that are used by all denominations:

Pleasantview Cemetery, next to Garden of Eden in Burnsville, and Evergreen Cemetery in Roseville.

First Muslim woman graduates from Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union

CHICAGO, IL-In what is being described as a historic commencement ceremony a Muslim woman for the first time received a Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Catholic Theological Union. Syafa Almirzanah, a native of Indonesia, came to Chicago six years ago to pursue studies on interfaith relations at the invitation of Harold Vogelaar, a retired professor who founded the Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice at the Lutheran Seminary.

In her dissertation, she explored the similarities of mystic traditions as a way of transcending barriers to interfaith conversations. She describes true interfaith exchanges as journeys “from the Motherland to the Wonderland.”

Each journey has the potential to deepen one’s own faith, she told the Chicago Tribune.

Almirzanah says her passion to bridge divides is more than a scholarly pursuit. It is a personal conviction.

“For me as Muslim, I have to do that,” she said. “Serving humanity means serving God. Speaking about God is OK, but never speaking for God. This is my responsibility. That is what I have to do. Honor other people. Respect other people because diversity is designed by God.”

In addition to receiving a doctor of ministry degree with a focus on Christian-Muslim relations from Catholic Theological Union, Almirzanah will receive another doctorate Sunday from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Florida Muslim leader to lead new organization

TAMPA,FL-The most visible Muslim spokesperson in Florida state has resigned from the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Ahmed Bedier was the executive director of the chapter. He said that he is planning to launch a new peace-building initiative.

“I’m going to expand on and build upon my work as a civil rights and human rights leader into broader areas of peace building, interfaith dialogue and reconciliation,” Bedier said Monday.

He did not give details about his new initiative or what the organization will be called, except to say he will remain in the Tampa Bay area while doing work on a local and national level.

“The details of it will soon be announced,” said Bedier, who also serves as president of the Tampa/Hillsborough County Human Rights Council.

Muslims donate time on Mitzvah Day

NEW YORK,NY–Western New Yorkers were donating their time at 28 locations across western New York Saturday.

A volunteer effort known as Mitzvah Day encourages people to spruce up project sites or provide an extra hand for a non-profit organization.

The collaboration stretches across many religious backgrounds. The faithful from Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities all took part in Saturday’s activities.

New mosque to come up in New Jersey

VINELAND,NJ-A full size mosque complete with a minaret might come up on a vacant site in West Vineland in the next three years if everything goes according to plans. The Garden State Islamic Center has submitted conceptual plans to the site-plan reviewers so that he could gauge initial feedback on the scale of the estimated $11 million project before planning further.

Educational facilities would be used for religious instruction of children, but also for classes, for example, in Arabic.

Sizable congregation gather at mosques around the region. In Atlantic City, the Masjid Al-Taqwa mosque typically hosts about 500 people for Friday night prayers. However, officials with that center learned this year that its building sits on a site under consideration for casino development. The Masjid Muhammad mosque also has a large following in Atlantic City.

Neighbors oppose mosque in Connecticut

WALLINGFORD – The clash between a proposed Islamic mosque on Leigus Road and nearby residents has intensified in recent weeks, making the future of the plan uncertain. Even if the mosque receives approval from wetlands and zoning authorities, legal appeals would likely ensue to overturn the decisions, the Record Journal reported.

At a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week, more than 100 residents showed up with signs reading, “No mosque on Leigus.” Many residents say they oppose the mosque because it is a non-residential building being proposed for residential property. Two houses sit on the proposed site.

“We’re definitely not against any mosque in Wallingford,” said Joe Celotto, of Coventry Court. “We’re just against anything being at the end of Leigus.”

Tariq Farid, who is proposing the mosque, said the opposition has become absurd and he fears there is a “sad agenda” at work.

“I think there is a motive that is a little more than just traffic,” he said.

One neighbor, in a letter to zoning officials and the mayor, raised fears about Islam’s stance on women after voicing concerns about traffic and parking.

“I foresee many worshipers parking in front of my house or walking through my yard to attend worship,” wrote Beth Kennedy. “I would prefer my daughters not be presented with ill treatment of me or any other woman in this neighborhood.”

Dr. Reza Mansoor, president of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, said Muslims around the state are trying to combat stereotypes that are heightened by sensational media accounts. He said the proposed mosque is receiving biased opposition.

Dr.Inayat Malik to be honored at dinner

Indian Hill, OH–Four people will be recognized for distinguished service at the 58th annual dinner of Bridges for a Just Community on June 8 at Duke Energy Center.

Honorees are Lee A. Carter, Inayat K. Malik, Harry H. Santen and Phyllis S. Sewell.

Malik, of Indian Hill, is a urologist and has served as president of Bridges for a Just Community, 2003-05 He is a co-founder of the Bridges’ Muslim-Jewish Dialogue Group of Cincinnati and a member of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Trialogue Group.

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