North American Community News (vol 8 iss 31)

July 27, 2006 by  


Muslim Film Festival on July 29th in Fremont

FREMONT, CA—The Muslim Film Festival will open on Saturday July 29, 2006 at Naz8 Cinema in Fremont, California. This year features a diverse selection of films from Europe, Africa, South Asia, Middle East, America, Canada and elsewhere.

The highlight of the film will be the sneak preview of a Turkish film, “Valley of Wolves.” The 2006 Golden Globe nominee is critical of the American presence in Iraq.

Here is the schedule for the festival (the first two films may be seen for one $5 ticket):

-1 p.m. — “Whose Children Are These?” a 27-minute documentary by Theresa Thanjan telling the stories of three Muslim youths, an honors student whose father was put into a detention center, a popular high school athlete who confronts pending deportation, and a youngster who finds a new life’s calling as a youth activist combating bias crimes in New York City.
-1:30 p.m. — “Muslim Boarders,” a 20-minute documentary by Omar Mahmood.
-2:30 p.m. — “Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness,” an 80-minute documentary byOvidio Salazar exploring the life and impact of an Islamic spiritual and legal philosopher.
-4:30 p.m. — “Me and the Mosque,” a 53-minute documentary/comedy by Zarqa Nawaz, who visited mosques throughout Canada and talked to scholars, colleagues, friends and neighbors about equal access for women.
-6 p.m. — “Le Grand Voyage,” a 108-minute feature film by Ismal Ferroukhi. A winner at the Venice Film Festival and the Official Selection at the Toronto and Seattle international film festivals, it tells the story of Rda (Nicolas Cazale), a young man living in the south of France who finds himself obligated to drive his father to Mecca.
-9 p.m. — “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq,” a 120-minute feature film by Serdar Akar and Sadullah Senturk. Billy Zane (Titanic) stars as Sam William Marshall, a profiteering CIA officer stationed in northern Iraq. Gary Busey is cast as the sinister “Doctor,” a surgeon secretly involved in the black market trade of human organs.

The Naz is at 39160 Paseo Padre Parkway, between Capitol and Walnut avenues.

Call for prayer from the streets of Madison

MADISON, WI—There was a time when one would find very few Muslims in Madison. But now you can hear the adhan from a sidewalk in a busy business district. The Madison Muslim Dawa Circle, located on East Washington Ave and Milwaukee Street, is a converted meat market from where you can hear the call to prayer five times a day.

Salih Erschen, the director of the Dawa Circle, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the reaction to the public adhan is “much more positive than negative.”

“We occasionally will get a couple of stares,” he said. “We see people across the street – they’re like, ‘Is he yelling at me?’”

The center is located in space formerly occupied by Yasmin’s Meat Market, a couple doors down from the Union House Tavern and across from a plaza housing Papa John’s Pizza, Tobacco Deals, and other businesses.

Many of the nearby business are owned or run by Muslims, some who come to the center, Erschen said, adding, “This is one of the highest concentrations of Muslim-owned business in Madison.”

Gov. Shwarzenegger criticized for his support for Israel

LOS ANGELES, CA—Muslims leaders have criticized California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his clearly divisive decision to attend a pro-Israeli rally in Los Angeles. LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also participated in the rally which drew some 10,000 people, according to CBS news.

“We are all here to do one thing,” said Schwarzenegger, “and that is to support the state of Israel—every nation has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks.”

“I have been to Israel many times,” he said. “I started in the ’70s as a body-building champion. I went back in the ’80s as the Terminator. I went back in the ’90s to open my Planet Hollywood restaurant, and Israel was the first country that I visited after I became governor of the great state of California.”

The governor ended his speech with his often-used line from the Terminator movies—“I’ll be back.”

Villaraigosa greeted the crowd with the Hebrew word for peace, shalom, and also voiced his support for the Jewish state.

“We take issue with the governor and the mayor taking sides on this issue—the pro-Israeli side—without consulting residents of California and Los Angeles,” said Salam Al-Marayati of Muslim Public Affairs Council. “The mayor and the governor should not drag us into this foreign conflict.”

Al-Marayati said the council invited Villaraigosa to an interfaith vigil last Sunday, but that the mayor’s office did not respond until last Friday, declining.

“The mayor either needs to meet with us or we go to City Hall,” said al-Marayati.

“People keep casting us as if we are representing foreign groups,” said al-Marayati. “We are here to represent Americans.”

Arizona communities pray for peace in the Middle East

TUCSON, AZ—More than a hundred Muslims, Jews, Christians and people of other faiths joined at Saint Francis in the Foothills Church to pray for a quick resolution of the escalating conflict in the Middle East.

Rabbi Shafir Lobb, of Congregation Ner Tamid, said, “We are coming together to say that we need to mourn the people who have been lost. We need to be conscious of the destruction that’s happened. We need to call upon people to find a way to work things out.”

Muhammad As’ad, a Muslim, said, “We deplore the continued loss of life, the heedless, wanton destruction on both sides and urge the fighting to stop.”

Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa, a Sikh, said, “We may be powerless at times to stop injustice, but we must never be silent. We must always speak out.”

The participants prayed for the dead and those left behind. They also donated money to groups working to provide humanitarian relief in the Middle East. They also signed up to keep Tucson’s different faiths together, no matter what happens on the other side of the world.

Mutual respect prevails in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, PA—The American Jewish Committee held an emergency meeting with Jewish, Christian and Muslim community leaders to discuss the latest conflict in the Middle East. They agreed to respect each other’s opposing views on the bloodshed and strife occurring on the other side of the world.

“The most dangerous thing anyone can do in these most dangerous times is talk only to people who think what they think,” said Lisa Steindel, area director of the American Jewish Committee—or AJC. “If you do that, it becomes so easy to dehumanize the other and in all our religions that’s a terrible sin.”

Three members of the Islamic Center attended yesterday’s meeting, including Farooq Hussaini, its director of interfaith relations.

“What people feel is that Israel can do anything it wants,” he said. “There is a disconnect. There are very raw feelings.”

Nusrath Ainapore, director of outreach for the Islamic Center, said she was 6 years old when the Lebanese conflict started in 1982 and she didn’t know what was happening.

“Unfortunately, in this generation I feel the sins of our fathers are being visited on the children,” she said. “So, just as this is equally confusing to people of your generation, it is for our generation.

Rabbi James Gibson, spiritual leader of Temple Sinai, read a prepared statement to the audience.

“We utterly reject the notion that mass suffering is pleasing to our God,” Rabbi Gibson said. “God tolerates it only because we do. May no one invoke the Gospel, Qur`an or Hebrew Bible to justify the horror we have all witnessed.”

Saudi woman joins NASA

The first Saudi Arabian citizen to work for NASA in the United States is a woman, reported the Kuwaiti paper Alseyassah July 18. Machael el-Shamemre, 22, just graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, with a degree in astronomical engineering. Shamemre will work in a team producing a rare and precise weather satellite for meteorological information.

“I will do my best in order to show the world that the Saudi Arabian woman is capable of doing a great job in different fields of work for her strong will and her ambition,” Shamemre said. “I want the girls of my country to know that nothing can stand in front of their success as long as they want to prove themselves within their traditions and their religion.”

Volunteer opportunities at federal prison in Texarkana

TEXARKANA, TX—Federal Correctional Institution needs faith representative volunteers from Islam, Native American faiths, Rastafarian, Nature-based, Eastern and Christian Spanish religions; it also needs volunteers for physical fitness classes and hobby/craft activities. Also need help with outside male sports teams for volleyball and basketball. Call Bobby Kidd at 838-4587 ext 249.

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