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April 26, 2007 by  


Virginia Tech Memorial Service in Berkley

Berkley–April 20–Imam Mardini of the American Muslim Center spoke at a one hour memorial ceremony “candlelight prayer vigil and memorial service” to honor those murdered in Virginia during the recent horrific massacre there–especially the two victims who had Lebanese ancestry, Ms. Reema Samaha and Mr. Ross Alameddine.

About 200 people attended the event.

The event was held at 7:30 pm and was organized by the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce (LACC) at the St. Mary Antiochian Churge (3212 W. 12 Mile Rd).

The LACC was founded about two years ago, is headquartered in Detroit, and has offices in Houston, New York, Chicago and Washington.

Mr. John Akouri (R) City Councilman of Farmington Hills, and who serves also as the Chairman of the LACC, organized the memorial service. He said in an interview with TMO on Monday that one prayer from the service had stood out in his mind, that of Imam Mohamed Mardini (American Muslim Center) who said during his prayer that “None of us is promised tomorrow on this Earth.”

Mr. Akouri said that although he knows of no direct links between the two Lebanese victims and Dearborn, every Lebanese person feels a family connection to the victims, who could easily have been cousins, siblings, family members of any Lebanese person. He said that the people at the memorial service were a very diverse crowd filled with Muslims and Christians, with representatives of the Sunni, Orthodox, Chaldean, and the Melkite Greek Catholic faiths.

Mr. Akouri explained that the Lebanese community is only 3 million in Lebanon, but that there are 18 million outside of Lebanon–3 million of whom live in the US, 6 million in Brazil, millions in Australia. He explained that only Ireland has a similarly disproportionate diaspora population.

During the 45 minute service, the church was filled with candlelight and incense, and prayers were read by the representatives of different faith groups. All the names of the victims were read. Mr. Akouri explained that it was very gratifying to him that so many people came to the service on such short notice, on a beautiful Friday afternoon after working a full day.

The vast differences in the ethnicities and backgrounds of the victims is a positive reflection on America, despite the divisive events beginning September 11, 2001–the victims were black, white, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and from as far away as Indonesia.

Participants in the memorial service included Rev. George Baalbaki, pastor of the St. Mary Antiochian Church, Imam Mohamad Mardini of the American Muslim Center, Rev. Manuel Boji of Our Lady of Chaldeans Cathedral, and musical memorials were provided by acoustic vocalist Steve Acho and Oud virtuoso Kareem Badr. There was also a formal presentation by the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard.

Also present were Ambassador Dr. Ali Ajami and the consul, Bachir Tawk. Judge David J. Allen and Lawrence Tech U. provost Dr. Maria Vaz, as well as Miss Michigan, Angela Corsi and Dearborn city councilwoman Suzanne Sareini were present.

Moneys collected at the gathering were sent to the families of Reema and Ross.

Many corporations and NGO’s supported and/or sponsored the event, including the Lebanese clubs of several prominent universities including UM Ann Arbor and MIT, as well as the Lebanese American News Agency.

Keith Ellison and Imam Warith Deen Mohammed at Cobo Hall Detroit

Detroit–April 22–Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN-5th) spoke at Cobo Hall this past Sunday. Our reporter was not given admission to the event, despite waiting for 2 and one half hours for permission to enter and despite providing proof of his identification as a TMO reporter to a woman who was in charge of admission for the event.

ADC Greater Detroit Chapter Elects its Executive Committee

The ADC Greater Detroit Chapter Board held its first meeting on April 18, 2007 and elected its Executive Committee. The results are as follows: Attorney Mona Fadlallah (President), Mr. Abed Ayoub (Vice President), Ms. Delia Habhab (Treasurer) and Mr. Ali Chami (Secretary). ADC Michigan congratulates the new executive committee and looks forward to working with the newly elected Detroit Board, under the leadership of President Mona Fadlallah. For more information on the Board’s initiatives, please contact Delia Habhab at 313-581-1201.

52nd Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner – April 29, 2007

On Sunday, April 29, 2007 at 5:00 PM, the Detroit Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will host its 52nd Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner at the Cobo Conferece Center in Detroit. As in past years, ADC Michigan is a proud sponsor of this event. The keynote speaker for this event is former President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton. To learn more about this event, please call: 313-871-2087.

19th Annual Arab American Scholarship Foundation Dinner – May 17, 2007

On Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 7:00 PM, the Lebanese American Heritage Club (LAHC) will host its 19th Annual Arab American Scholarship Foundation Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dearborn. In addition to awarding over 70 students, this year the LAHC will also honor the legendary Lebanese performer Magida El Roumi, who will be presented with the Cedar Award for Excellence and Great Achievements during the event. Over the years, the LAHC has awarded over one and a half million dollars in scholarships to deserving Arab American Students. For more information on this event, or to purchase tickets, please call the LAHC at 313-846-8480. ADC Michigan is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

Internships to be Given to Arab Students by a Major Hollywood Studio

ADC Michigan commends Marvel Studios, a prestigious world renowned character-based entertainment company, for opening student internships to members of the Young Arab Leaders (YAL) in Dubai, UAE. Marvel Studios will offer internships allowing young Arab students to directly work under Marvel staff in different areas including but not limited to editing, directing, publishing and film studio production. The YAL is primarily made up of a group of Arab men and women who have sustained exceptional amounts of success and achievements for their age and are continually working towards creating a better future of Arabs through their work and efforts. To read the entire article, please visit: http://www.arabamericannews.com/newsarticle.php?articleid=8258.

ACCESS Board Member Appointed as State Director of Appointments

ACCESS Board Member James R. Stokes was appointed as State Director of Appointments by the Honorable Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. In his new position, Mr. Stokes will oversee all appointments to state boards and commissions, one of the highest positions in the Governor’s office. Mr. Stokes, of Lebanese heritage, has more than 20 years of experience in the public sector, including 17 years with the State of Michigan, Department of Labor and Economic Growth. His personal vision for Michigan is to promote the Governor’s philosophy of working together cooperatively as “ONE MICHIGAN.” ACCESS congratulates Mr. Stokes on his appointment and applauds his continued service to the state of Michigan.

NNAAC Member Organization Receives $50,000

Arab American Family Services, an Illinois based social services organization, was awarded $50,000 by the Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Women’s Health “Ticket for the Cure” Breast Cancer Initiative. AAFS is the only Arab American organization and one of only a handful of non medical ethnic community organizations in the state to receive this grant. This initiative is vital to the Arab American/Muslim community because it will provide breast cancer awareness to these populations which are normally are not served by mainstream campaigns due to religious, language and cultural barriers. In an effort to reach the Arab American community, AAFS has planned a year-round campaign of breast cancer awareness and prevention.

AAFS is a member organization of the National Network of Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a national network of independent Arab-American community-based social service organizations. The Network’s primary mission is the development of grassroots institutions that can meet the needs of and represent the concerns of Arab Americans at the local level and collectively raise these concerns on the national stage.

Ralph Nader Visits Detroit

He is one of the leading Arab Americans whose accomplishments are chronicled at the Arab American National Museum. Meet attorney, advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader this Thursday, April 19, at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Nader’s appearance, 1-3 p.m. at the Fairlane Center South Dining Rooms B &C, is presented by the school’s Center for Arab American Studies and sponsored by the AANM, ACCESS, and other local organizations.

Nader will sign copies of his books, available for sale on site. For more information, contact 313-583-6334 or ngalusha@umd.umich.edu. That evening at 7:30 p.m., Nader appears at the Detroit Institute of Arts for Q & A following a screening of the 2006 biographical documentary An Unreasonable Man. Click here to watch a trailer. The film also screens on Friday and Saturday evening at the DIA’s Detroit Film Theatre; click here for ticket information.

Project Healthy Living

The ACCESS Community Health & Research Center urges you to stay healthy. That’s why we’re offering free medical services on Wednesday, April 25 between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Services include: blood pressure, cholesterol & glucose screening, oral and dental screening, medication counseling, stroke awareness & prevention, lead screening, tobacco use prevention, and much more. Blood tests are also available for a nominal fee. For more information, or to make appointments for a mammogram or Pap smear, please contact Mona Farroukh at 313-216-2208 or mfarroukh@accesscommunity.org.

Arab American Writers Meet at AANM

“Writing While Arab: Politics, Hyphens and Homelands” is the theme for the second national conference of RAWI, Radius of Arab American Writers, to be held May 17-20 at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. The conference comprises a series of panel discussions, films, readings and other live performances, as well as an awards ceremony. Among the panelists and moderators is Dr. Steven Salaita, right, RAWI’s executive director and author of Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where It Comes From and What It Means for Politics Today, the title for the AANM’s upcoming Library Book Club meeting on Sat., April 28. For registration information, visit www.rawi.org or email Rola Nashef at rawicoordinator@gmail.com. Learn more about the AANM Library Book Club at www.arabamericanmuseum.org.

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