Community News (V9-I21)

May 17, 2007 by  


NY state jail hires Muslim chaplain

NEW YORK, NY–The county jail where a Christian minister handed out anti-Islamic cartoons announced it will hire an imam for its Muslim inmates.

The Rockland County Jail also said it will provide religiously appropriate food.

Rockland Undersheriff Thomas Guthrie said Tuesday that the imam will work one day a week, joining the jail’s priest and rabbi.

The Christian chaplain, the Rev. Teresa Darden Clapp, was suspended with pay last month after inmates complained she was passing out anti-Islam booklets.

Pakistani-Americans plan to build cultural center

CUPERTINI, CA– Pakistani Americans in California are planning to build a community center that will feature the art and culture of Pakistan. The idea is still in its infancy but its promoters have been meeting monthly since last year to draw plans for the proposed center. Initially they want to raise about $200,000 to rent out satellite spaces in various South Bay sites, mostly for Urdu language and other cultural classes. In the long term they want to build the center of their own from scratch.

Unofficial estimates put the Bay Area’s Pakistani-American community at 6,000 to 10,000 residents.

To learn more about the center, visit http://www.pcc-ca.org or call (408) 426-4481. To meet community members online, visit groups.yahoo.com/group/PCC-CA.

Salt Lake Muslims get new imam

SALT LAKE CITY, UT–The Muslims of the greater Salt Lake area have a new spiritual leader. He is a medical doctor and is putting that career on hold to care for people of his faith in a different way.

Imam Farid Farooqi is from Pakistan, has an MD and was trained as a veterinarian. But this position, leader of a mosque, he says he has wanted for a long time.

Imam Farooqi told KSL, “From the very beginning, that was my desire from my childhood, that I should receive two types of knowledge. I believe, and also this is the belief of Muslims, that two types of knowledge are very holy knowledge; and the second knowledge is knowledge of bodice, which is, you can call knowledge of physical or medicine or physical knowledge.”

The worshipers at his mosque have come through a very difficult time, their previous imam was fired after he pleaded guilty to domestic abuse.

Imam Farooqi says his greatest desire is to instill knowledge of true Islam into those of the Muslim faith. He wants to help people of other faiths to understand his religion. The first meaning of Islam is total submission to God, and the second meaning of Islam is establishment of peace on the earth. And whosoever carries these qualities, they’re called Muslims,” Imam Farooqi said.

The imam is married. He and his wife moved here from Arizona with their three children and another on the way.

Students tour religious sites in Dallas

Harding University students Randall Baber, Michael Kee, Kreg Kell, Seth Neller and Bennett Ritchie, all of Searcy, are among the 57 students who participated in an educational tour of several religious establishments in Dallas April 19-22.

The trip is the culmination of the class, “Living World Religions,” taught by Dr. Monte Cox, director of the Center for World Missions at Harding. The group visited a Baha’i Community Center, a mosque, a Soka Gakkai Buddhist center, a conservative Jewish Synagogue, a Hindu temple, and a Sikh temple.

The students spent time learning about each religion and place of worship from adherents of each faith. They observed various rituals and practices and had opportunities to ask questions.

Cox said that by exposing students to firsthand interaction with people of different faiths, they gain a better understanding of and respect for other religions.

“There are limitations to what you can learn from a textbook,” he said. “I think it’s important for the students to be able to engage in conversation with other religious people.”

This was the first time Cox has taken a group to Dallas. Each fall, students in the class visit similar religious institutions in Chicago. Cox said he plans to lead one more spring trip to Dallas before taking groups to another major metropolitan area in the south.

Harding had a record enrollment this year of more than 6,100 students from 49 states and 53 foreign countries. It is the largest private university in Arkansas and attracts more National Merit Scholars than any other private university in the state. Harding also maintains campuses in Australia, Chile, England, France/Switzerland, Greece, Italy and Zambia.

Man files lawsuit to halt Mosque construction

POMPAMO BEACH,FL–A man fighting the opening of a mosque in his suburban neighborhood filed a lawsuit Tuesday to try to halt construction. It’s a move Muslim leaders say is anti-Muslim. Rodney Wright claims the relocation of the Islamic Center of South Florida to a new, larger building in his Pompano Beach neighborhood “presents a substantial harm to the well-being, safety and health” of the community.

Wright who calls himself a Christian claims that the leader of the mosque has alleged links with extremist organizations. However, the connections outlined in the filing appear loose and there is no accusation of direct wrongdoing.

The Imam has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing and neither he nor his mosque have been the target of any publicized investigation.

Ali-Zaidi award nominees recognized

Attending the Ali-Zaidi Award reception were from left: President Joseph Grunenwald, Ryan Hassler, Kathryn Magnuson, Sara Sesack, Katerine Jarzab, Amber Faulhaber, and Dr. Syed Ali-Zaidi.

Katie Jarzab was selected as the Clarion University nominee for the 2007 Dr. Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence.

She was announced as the Clarion University nominee during the Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence reception for outstanding graduating seniors held in Carlson Library. Clarion University President Joseph Grunenwald and Ali-Zaidi, a Clarion University Trustee, attended the reception.

Jarzab, a mathematics major, a daughter of Thomas and Cynthia Jarzab of Oil City and a graduate of Oil City High School was selected based on outstanding academic performance, recognition of scholarship by members of the university faculty, participation in extra/co-curricular activities during the undergraduate years; and the quality of an essay on how the university prepared her for the next career step.

Each of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Universities nominate a graduating senior for the Ali-Zaidi Award. A committee headed by the System’s Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs reviewed the nominations materials and selected three finalists. The Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Governors made the final decision.

The other students recognized at the reception included:

Annie Bria, a mass media arts and journalism major, a daughter of Jinny Bria of Aspinwall and a graduate of Fox Chapel High School.

Amber Faulhaber, a music education major, a daughter of Samuel Faulhaber of Waterford and a graduate of Ft. LeBoeuf High School.

Ryan Hassler, a secondary education/mathematics major, a son of Randolph and Lynne Hassler of Denver and a graduate of Cocalico High School.

Kathryn Magnuson, a music education major, a daughter of Timothy and Andrea Magnuson and a graduate of Jamestown High School.

Sara Sesack, a music education major, a daughter of Steve Sesack of Central City and a graduate of Shade High School.

Jamie Wolf, a molecular biology major, a daughter of Patrick and Patricia Wolf of South Park and a graduate of South Park High School.

Throughout his lifetime, Ali-Zaidi has followed a vision and dedication to higher education and academic achievement instilled by the example of his grandfather, who graduated from college in 1885 in India. Understanding the connection between inspiration and achievement, Ali-Zaidi wished, by means of this award, to provide recognition to PASHEE students who exhibit excellence in their pursuit of knowledge.

The Ali-Zaidi Award reception was part of Clarion University’s 2007 Academic Excellence Series. The other activities included: the Undergraduate Research Conference, where students presented the results of their research; the faculty and staff scholarship recognition reception, recognizing faculty and staff research, scholarship, professional development, external grants, and creative endeavors; Senior Honors Presentations, featuring presentations of their capstone projects by Honors Program students; Academic Convocation, recognizing scholarship winners and outstanding academic achievement; and the Graduate Research Seminar and Reception, where graduate students present their research.

CANADA

Ismaili mosque revamps plans

VICTORIA, BC–Local Ismaili Muslims have revamped plans for a new mosque in an old bank building on Esquimalt Road, after running into escalating construction costs.

But the application to change some of the finishing touches on the former Bank of Montreal building at 1250 Esquimalt Rd. concerned some councillors this week.

The building was supposed to include a paved courtyard and fountain adjacent to Grenville Avenue, as well as lattice window screens and a canopy at the Esquimalt Road entrance. Under the proposed changes — approved by council, with Coun. Barbara Desjardins and Coun. Don Linge opposed — the courtyard would include a lawn and flowering trees.

Desjardins said the mosque’s exterior amenities were a key part of the project when it was approved in October, amid concern from some residents about a building on a commercial strip being used for religious purposes. The 150-strong local Ismaili Muslim community previously rented space.

If changes are accepted so soon after approval, developers might get the idea they don’t have to stick with commitments, Desjardins said.

Desjardins, who voted against the rezoning to allow the facility, and Linge said the group should have had a better idea of costs when the proposal was made.

But Coun. Hy Freedman disagreed. “All the requests are eminently supportable and I don’t understand the nitpicking going on,” he said.

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