Election Results Sadden All Three Michigan Candidates

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

Farmington–November 9–Yesterday’s election tallies are in and unfortunately the three local Muslim candidates all lost their elections.

The three were Ahmar Iqbal, running for the Ann Arbor School Board, Amin Hashmi, running for the Troy City Council, and Abdul Latif Muhiuddin, running for the Plymouth-Canton School Board.
The three Muslim candidates were in widely divergent districts, with sparse voter turnout in an election which had no national or statewide elections–an election which determined the face of Michigan’s local politics but did not affect the exciting higher levels.

The minimal voter turnout meant that Burton’s Paula Zelenko would secure her seat as mayor in a hotly contested race with a well-known city councilman–and she would do so winning only 2,500 votes.  The mayor of Burton earns approximately $70,000 annually.

The same race saw a Flint mayor who won an election with only 9,000 votes.  The salary of the Flint mayor is about $91,000.

Iqbal won about 3,500 votes, earning fifth place out of six.  Muhiuddin won about 2,900 votes, placing 10th out of 15.  Amin Hashmi won about 1,400 votes, placing last in his election bid.

Iqbal wrote a very gracious concession letter which expressed his belief that 3,000 voters had chosen him “on merit,”  because he only shook hands with 500 voters and he won 3,500 votes.

Iqbal expressed that he had learned many lessons through the campaign, and had learned strategies, local politics, and about his own identity, and other important measurements of his own strength as required for a political campaign.

“The best is yet to come for all of us,” said Mr. Iqbal.

“Again, thank you for standing by me and I look forward to growing our relationship especially for important community causes.”

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Michigan Education Association (MEA) Endorses Abdul Muhiuddin (Muhi)

November 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer

215007_108031785964365_108030909297786_38878_3037846_nOne up and coming Muslim may soon join the Plymouth-Canton school board.  Abdul Latif Muhiuddin, known to Muslims as “Muhi” and to the electorate as “Abdul Muhiuddin” is one of the 14 candidates remaining in the race for November 8th’s election to the board.

16 candidates began the race and 14 of them remain, vying for four seats on the school board, unpaid positions with three incumbents in the mix.

Muhiuddin won the MEA endorsement after appearing at a panel discussion where MEA staff interviewed the 16 candidates and asked them all the same questions.

Muhiuddin explains that only one of the incumbents in the race was endorsed by the MEA; the other two were not.

While this is a somewhat intimidating field, the candidate explained in an interview with TMO that “being endorsed by the Michigan Education Association I have a really good chance,” explaining that the MEA comprises unions of teachers, food services workers, cleaning services, bus drivers, “a large network, and with their support” absentee ballots were mailed out. 

About 2700 absentee ballots, Muhiuddin explains, have already been turned in, therefore his name likely is already among the frontrunners in the election.

Muhiuddin spoke to Ghalib Begg, another prominent Muslim who was elected to a local school board, and was advised by other Muslims as well.  “It was helpful in getting motivated and getting my strategy together.”

He emphasizes the strong skillsets that the Muslim community has to offer to the school board, especially tutoring services and bilingual services that Muslims could volunteer to offer to the school system.

Emphasizing his ability to contribute, Muhiuddin points to his past experience working with ISPU, which gave him to understand the alternative means of funding that are available that might support the Plymouth-Canton school system beyond the amount the system wins from the state. 

“We can supplement funding from the state budget, going to foundations, corporations (which have philanthropic sectors); we can apply for grants, whether for special ed or for vocational training or teacher resources to enhance existing resources.”  As evidence that this plan may work, Muhiuddin cites a recent donation by GM of $31 million to the United Way to support its educational efforts.
“I wanted to go let people know what my views on issues were, and why I wanted to get involved.  I received warm feedback, and some criticism as well.  I want to get involved in the local community.”

To learn more:  tinyurl.com/muhionlineresume; facebook.com/friendsformuhi; twitter.com/criendsformuhi. 855-411-MUHI.

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3 Muslim Clerics Barred from US Flights

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON, USA – Three imams including a US-born Muslim bound for a conference on Islamophobia were kicked off US domestic flights out of security fears, clerics and an airline said Saturday.

Two imams boarded a flight from Memphis, Tennessee to Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday only to have it return to the terminal so they could be put through “additional screening,” said a spokesman for Atlantic South Airlines (ASA), the Delta Connection airline operating the flight.

“We take security and safety very seriously, and the event is currently under investigation,” said spokesman Jarek Beem, adding that the men were put on the next available flight.
ASA is investigating the incident, “and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused,” Beem said.

US-born imam Al-Amin Abdul-Latif of Long Island was barred from boarding an American Airlines flight from New York to Charlotte late Friday and told to return to LaGuardia airport for a morning flight Saturday, only to be refused boarding again, without explanation, his son said.

“This morning we get to the airline, and the ticket agent told my father that the airline does not want him to fly. Those were her exact words,” Abu Bakr Abdul-Latif told AFP.

“There was nothing he could do,” said the son, who traveled on to the Charlotte conference without his father.

Masudur Rahman, a permanent US resident from India and former Memphis imam who teaches Arabic at the University of Memphis, said he and another cleric, a US permanent resident from Egypt and dressed in a shoulder-to-ankle Islamic robe, were pulled off ASA flight 5452 and cleared through new security checks.

“But when we went to re-enter the plane, the Delta supervisor said ‘Sorry, the pilot is not allowing you to enter,’” Rahman told AFP.

Delta negotiated at length with the pilot, noted Rahman, who said he was told that “some passengers might be uncomfortable” with their presence on the plane.

“I think they were obviously upset to the extent that they were inconvenienced, but, you know, they understand what’s going on in the world and particularly in the heightened sensitivities after the death of Osama bin Laden,” Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told CNN.

Bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda chief who orchestrated the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States was killed Monday by US commandos in a daring raid deep inside Pakistan.

Al-Qaeda acknowledged their leader’s death, and has vowed revenge on America for the killing.

The imams were heading to the North American Imams Federation conference entitled “Islamophobia: Diagnosis and Treatment.”

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Imam Latif Speaks at Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer

latif

April 17, 2011, Bloomfield Hills–Imam Al-Amin Abdul Latif, is a leader of the Islamic Leadership Council of NY, was the guest speaker for the evening program on April 15, 2011 at the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills MI. Imam Almasmari, the current imam of the center, introduced him.

The theme of his speech was on Mercy, Compassion and Guidance based on the life of our beloved Prophet (s). And through this he said, “I want to present to you the true picture of Islam”.

Giving examples from the life of Prophet (s) he said in a forceful and convincing way that we as a Muslim, respect life, but there are people in the east and the west who believe in destroying life with impunity.

This gives a bad name to Muslims all over the world.

A real Muslim is the one with whom the world feels blessed and safer, who believes in Mercy to the Muslims and to the non Muslims.

We are living in a difficult time, he said, but if we follow the path of our Prophet (s) in dealing with our women, children, neighbors, and those who disagree with us, we will make our communities and societies rise to a higher degree than what we are today. We must continue to strive for a better and safer world.

America is the only country in the world where people can exercise their rights freely. Giving the example of recent huge rally in NY he said, “Look, how people mingled, talked, shouted slogans and moved about fearlessly.” People in the rally hailed from all sorts of backgrounds, they hailed from different ethnicity, different countries, with different cultures, old, young, and some parents with their babies in strollers moved freely, talked and chatted with people unknown to them and even with the people from the law enforcement agencies, in spite of the fact that the whole atmosphere appeared to be highly charged.

He concluded by saying, “American society is an open society and because of current degradation of moral and social values the door for Dawah is wide open. We must utilize this opportunity by remaining on the path of Mercy and Compassion towards all as shown to us by our Prophet (s).

Imam Almasmari thanked the speaker for enlightening the audience and entertained questions from the audience.

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SE Michigan Events Volume 8 Issue 17

April 24, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Mawlid Fills Hearts of IIK Worshippers with Love for Prophet (s)

Dearborn—April 15—The Islamic Institute of Knowledge (IIK) in Dearborn celebrated the blessed birth of our holy Prophet (s) this past weekend at a very popular meeting attended by about a hundred Muslims who sang praises and rejoiced at his coming into this world with the message that is the light of our lives.
The event was by open-invitation to the community. There were three main speakers at the event, being Imam Abdul Latif Berry, Imam Baquir Berry (the son of Imam Abdul Latif Berry), and the Chairman of the IIK, Dr. Ali Sobh.
The elder Imam Berry spoke on the importance of education, emphasizing that the first revealed verse was “Iqra,” read. He also spoke on world events, discussing the impact of Islam on those events, and saying that it is important for Muslims to be educated, to participate in politics, education, and the media. In support of this he quoted Qur`an and `ahadith.
Imam Baquir Berry and Dr. Sobh echoed this theme, the first saying that those closest to God are those who are well-educated, and the doctor emphasizing the hadith to “seek knowledge even if it is in China.” Imam Baquir Berry said that it is important to raise children in the ethnical and moral way that Islam was founded on. There were many children at the event, and one of the speakers mentioned a hadith that when your children look at you with love in their eyes, it is as if you are paying charity. Candy bags and balloons were given to the children to make them happy on the blessed occasion of the birth of the holy Prophet (s).

Women’s Mawlid at IIK Dearborn Heights

April 12—The women of several mosques gathered at the IIK to celebrate Mawlid together on Friday. About 75 women were in attendance at the event, at which Imam Baquir Berry spoke.
The event began with a brunch of fruit and other nice food. Then Imam Baquir Berry spoke.
He spoke on different issues of how Prophet (s) was—as a role model, how forgiving and compassionate and understanding he was. He spoke for a few minutes.
Then two women, Linda and Hanan, read anthems or songs of praise including Tala’al Badru ‘Alayna and other songs. A first-grade class from the neighboring Islamic academy also sang songs of praise for Prophet (s).
Following this, the ladies had a raffle event, for which they competed in answering questions about the life of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Companions, wives and descendants—the winners receiving different prizes.
Hajja Khalida Beydoun, when asked about the event, quoted a hadith of Prophet (s) that “Live howsoever you like but you will surely die; love whatsoever you like but you will surely depart from it; do whatsoever you like but you will certainly meet it (and receive its reward). The honor of a Muslim believer is his midnight prayers, and his nobility is his refraining from ruining the reputations of people.”

Sunni-Shi’a Dialog

Canton—April 15—A packed house greeted IIK’s Imam Baquir Berry this past weekend in celebration of Shi’a-Sunni unity.
This event was held at the Canton Mosque, the Muslim Community of the Western Suburbs, on 40440 Palmer Avenue, in Canton. This mosque is a huge and sprawling center with a large mosque, cafeteria, and school, with until now signs of recent construction—unfinished landscaping and some building debris close to the mosque.
About 130 people were in attendance in total, roughly evenly split between men and women. MCWS is primarily considered, in its community’s eyes, as a south-Asian mosque composed of peoples from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.
The evening began with words of welcoming and an introduction of the evenings main speakers, firstly MCWS’s own imam, Shaykh Ali Suleman Ali, and then of the visiting imam, the guest of honor at the evening, Shaykh Baquir Berry, the son of Imam Abdul Latif Berry and an imam in his own right at the Islamic Institute of Knowledge in Dearborn. Their topic, chosen by the mosque, was “Shi’a-Sunni relations—how to keep unity.”
Imam Berry spoke first at the behest of MCWS. He said that he was impressed by MCWS, and reflected that it is the result of 100 years of hard work by Muslim immigrants to this country. He quoted an ayah of Qur`an that Allah made Muslims the best nation to grace human beings. He said that Allah made this ummah appear as the best. He said that Prophet (s) had one mission, which Imam Baquir Berry emphasized was to lead people from “dhulumaty `ila nur” to guide people from darkness to light.
In view of this single mission that Prophet (s) did, we must continue his work of bringing guidance and nur to humanity. He said that in order to accomplish this we must work, hand in hand with other Muslims—by means of this ayah he emphasized the importance for all Muslims of all different forms of practice to come together to further this message.
He emphasized Prophet’s (s) example of bringing brotherhood between people by means of pairing the ansar with the muhajiroon. He emphasized that although the Companions disagreed over things at times, they would set aside their disagreements in light of their respect for and love of the Holiest Messenger (s).
He emphasized that we should, firstly, focus on this overriding mission rather than on the minor differences between Sunni and Shi’a, and secondly, that we should come closer together in order to know one another because just opening enough knowledge to bridge gaps of ignorance will solve by itself many problems.
He minimized differences of practice between Sunni and Shi’a, saying that even the differences between the Ja’fari madhhab and the Sunni madhahib is not that much, and emphasizing that the founders of the madhahib used to keep mutual respect and used to pray behind each other without disputing differences of practice—even following the practices of another madhhab’s imam when in his presence rather than arguing with him.
Imam Ali Suleman Ali also emphasized similar issues. Imam Ali is a Ph.D. holder who received his doctorate from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.
He emphasized that in his early days in Michigan, decades ago, he and other Sunni imams including Shaykh Musa, now of the Bloomfield Unity Center, used to visit Shaykh Berry’s father on Fridays and sit and joke together and spend pleasant time with one another.
He said that in fact there are no problems between Sunni and Shi’a here in the US, but that historically there have been some differences. He said we should bury these issues and focus on what’s good for Muslims as a community. He emphasized shahada, of clinging to “hablil Lah jami’an,” and emphasized that there are many efforts today to divide Muslims based on sex, race, and differences of practice and belief like Sunni and Shi’a.
He thanked Shaykh Berry for coming, and emphasized several definite plans for Sunni Shi’a cooperation in the immediate future.
In their questions and answers the people of the mosque asked questions for which there are not easy and clear-cut answers, (1) trying to establish universal acceptance of an ‘ied day, (2) to establish that Sunni and Shi’a zabiha-halal meat is mutually acceptable (Shaykh Ali said unequivocally that Shi’a zabiha halal meat is acceptable for Sunnis), (3) how to prevent the terrible division between Sunnis and Shi’a in Iraq from spreading here and to other places (Shaykh Berry said that in fact America is the shining example for the rest of the Muslim world, because we have held so many mutual Sunni-Shi’a gatherings since the terrible Samarra boming, and Shaykh Ali said that no Muslim could have bombed that shrine), (4) what we can do as Muslims to come together (Shaykh Berry said that religious people are open to come together, but that some people in the community are not religious and therefore not open to relations with people of different ethnicities), (5) asked whether Sunnis and Shi’a can pray behind each other.
Shaykh Berry’s response to this last question was very nicely worded, emphasizing again that the founders of the madhahib used to show respect to one another by following the rulings of the other major jurists when in their presence in order to show respect and mutual love and honor, and would pray behind one another even in a manner out of keeping with their own practices for the sake of mutual respect—therefore we also should adhere to this practice of mutual respect despite differences of opinion and law.