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Community News (V13-I12)

March 17, 2011 by  


Cornell’s Muslim culture committee wins prize

CORNELL,NY–The Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Culture won the 17th annual James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial Harmony and Understanding on Tuesday.

The committee is a student-run group at Cornell University.

Sara Rahman,  president and founder of the Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Culture, who accepted the award on behalf of the committee, noted in her application that the committee recruited a diverse group of 50 Muslims and non-Muslims to promote its mission of advocating for a space on campus “where students can come together to network, socialize and discuss the challenges Muslim Americans face in the post 9/11 world.”

She wrote: “The word ‘Muslim’ is synonymous with ‘terrorist’ and ‘extremist’ in the minds of many Americans. This is an unfair and unjust burden on all Muslim Americans, a label that is not easily lost.”

To date, committee members have spoken with professors, trustees and faculty members to create support for their cause. Their weekly Business and Bonding gathering “sparks dialogue between many groups on campus, creating a dynamic cultural community that is inclusive for those who identify as Muslim, educating all students, regardless of faith or culture, about the Muslim world, an invitation to dinner by President [David] Skorton to discuss the importance of a Muslim Cultural Center on campus, and conversations with the Diwan Foundation to fund an Islamic chaplaincy,” she wrote.

Columbia University students asked to sign up for halal meals

NEW YORK, NY(News Agencies)–The Muslim Students Association at Columbia University is taking proactive measures to educate its members about halal foods. In a recent email to members, it has asked them to sign up for halal meal plan. The exercise is intended to give an exact figure of students requiring halal meals to the campus dining services.

The MSA has also informed its members about desserts containing alcohol extracts. In the email it said, “It has come to the attention of the MSA that alcohol-containing vanilla extract is used in Hewitt Dining Hall’s desserts. We are working with the administration to begin using powdered, alcohol-free vanilla, but until then, all desserts in Hewitt may contain alcohol. If you are unsure of anything, ask a staff member.”

The MSA’s initiative is indicative of the growing relevance and importance of halal for Muslim youth in America.

Muslims, Catholics of Astoria unite

QUEENS,NY–Catholic parish pastors of Astoria have initiated a series of dialogue meetings with local Muslim leaders to establish relationships and lay a foundation for improved communication between the two communities,the Queen’s Gazette reports.

The meetings alternate between a Catholic parish and a Muslim center. Those in attendance included Dr. Ibrahim Elterkawy, Monsignor Fernando Ferrarese of Immaculate Conception Parish, Hatem Gawaly, Professor Abu Asad Haque, Ahmed Jamil, Reverend William Krlis of Most Precious Blood, Monsignor Sean Ogle of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Mahbubur Rahman.

New Jersey City University students complain of not having halal food

JERSEY CITY, NJ(News Agencies)–Muslim students at New Jersey City University do not have access to halal foods despite forming a significant community. In an article in the student newspaper, The Gothic Times, student Haneen Salem complained of the hardship that this imposes on the students.

“ The fact that NJCU does not serve halal food can be construed as an insult to the Muslim student body because there is a substantial number of Muslims who attend NJCU and are proud of the diversity and acceptance it offers. Leaving students without a viable option when they want a bite to eat is not acceptable,” she wrote.

“Halal food plays a big role in or religion. Our university is bent on educating students about all individual religions, backgrounds, and culture. I do not understand why the cafeteria finds it difficult to be open towards all different eating habits and choices,” said student Maysa Abdelrazeq.

The students hope that the campus dining services will soon accommodate not only Muslims but also other students who have dietary restrictions.

Muslim teacher spreads the message of peace

SOUTH HADLEY FALLS, MA–Even as the Cong. Peter King’s hearings on radicalization and Muslims continue, Muslim Americans are reaching out to the public with Islam’s true message. In Massachussets Dr. Reza Mansoor has been travelling speaking at churches and demystifying Islamic beliefs, WWLP TV reported.

“We’re trying to get the Muslim community in America a strong identity as Muslims and Americans. If you try to put a split between that, that’s when unfortunately, there is more likelihood for there to be radicalization,” said Dr. Reza Mansoor, a religious teacher.

Dr. Mansoor says he anticipates the hearings in D.C. will only make this September 11th even more difficult on the Muslim community and Americans in general, creating more of a need for religious talks like this one.

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