Cheikh Mbodj Fighting for his Place

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

cincygatesx-largeUniversity of Cincinnati men’s basketball player Cheikh Mbodj is in his first year with the Bearcats. The 6-10, 245 lb junior spent his first two college years at North Texas Junior College. And he has been a big part of the Cincinnati team thus far. However, this week he was part of an ugly on-court brawl with Xavier University that earned him and a pair of teammates a six game suspension.

The 24-year-old Mbodj was born in Dakar, Senegal before ultimately coming over to the United States. At North Texas Junior College he earned 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association All-America honorable mention honors as well as being named 2011 North Texas Junior College Athletic Association co-player of the year. At NTJC he averaged a team-leading 14.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks, and his team posted a 20-11 mark. He ranked No. 24 in the NJCAA Division I statistical rankings in blocks per game, and he shot 50.8 percent from the field (152-of-299). He was ultimately listed as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, and subsequently chose the University of Cincinnati over San Diego State. He currently majors in General Studies at Cincinnati. For the basketball team he plays the center position.

Mbodj is the son of Asta Khaly Welle and Ousmane Mbodj. He has two brothers, Yerim and Massaer, and four sisters, Ndeye, Fatou, Aminata and Fanta. Cincinnati’s next four games — against Wright State, Radford, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Chicago State — are not expected to test the Bearcats. But the fifth and sixth games of the suspensions handed down to Mbodj and his teammates are a stiff non-conference test against Oklahoma as well as Cincinnati’s Big East opener against the University of Pittsburgh.

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Turk Is Best Center in 2011 NBA Draft

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

photo dayTurkish basketball player Enes Kanter was one of a dozen players who met the media in mid-town Manhattan Wednesday to discuss the 2011 NBA Draft, which takes place Thursday June 23rd. Kanter told the throng of reportes that he expected to go in the first three picks Thursday night, which are held by Cleveland, Minnesota and Utah in that order. While Cleveland is almost a lock to take Duke point guard Kyrie Lewis with the first pick, Kanter’s name will be in play almost immediately after that. While Minnesota has not shown much interest in the Turkish center, a number of teams have been rumored to be angling to trade into the second or third position to nab him. Utah at the third position is reportedly leaning toward Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight, but they also have Kanter in the back of their minds, as do the Cleveland Cavaliers who pick again at number four.

Kanter, who just turned nineteen years old on May 20th, was recruited to play basketball for the University of Kentucky. However, the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible for inter-collegiate athletics because he received approximately $33,000 from the Turkish professional team Fenerbahçe Ülker. The NCAA ruled that this amount was above and beyond what was considered acceptable. On January 7, 2011, the NCAA rejected Kentucky’s appeal, rendering Kanter permanently ineligible. As a result, he declared for the 2011 NBA Draft. His amateur accomplishments include being named the Most Valuable Player in the 2009 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, averaging 18.6 points and 16.4 rebounds while leading Turkey’s junior national team to the bronze medal.

Kanter, whose father Mehmet is a professor at Trakya University in Turkey, told the reporters that if would have been cleared by the NCAA to play college basketball last season that not only would the University of Kentucky have won the national title, but that he would clearly be the number one pick in this draft.”Because I believe I am the best player in this draft,” Kanter remarked. Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal asked Kanter if he believed he would have dominated in college basketball last season? “Yes,” he said, shaking his head. “We would have won the national title.” “Easily?” replied Bozich. “Yes,” retorted Kanter. Hopefully that confidence is borne out in Thursday’s draft.

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Kenneth Fareid Waits for the NBA’s Call

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

1300832190Kenneth Faried, a native of Newark native, will be just around the corner in mid-town Manhattan for Thursday’s NBA Draft, where he is expected to be a first round draft pick. “The area I grew up in was pretty bad, so it means so much more,” Faried told The Newark Star-Ledger. “I got a cousin and little brother and family who can say, ‘Hey, Kenneth made it out. Why can’t we?’ ”…“I grew up around this area,” Faried said. “It’s my home.”

Faried played at tiny Morehead State in the Ohio Valley Conference, because his parents wanted to get him out of the hood and further into his education. And with this renewed ability to focus in the hills of eastern Kentucky, he went on to become the leading career rebounder in college basketball’s modern era, eclipsing Tim Duncan’s post-1973 record of 1673 career rebounds. But Tim Duncan is a seven-footer who has gone on to an All-Star NBA career. Kenneth is only six foot eight, 225 pounds. That is why Faried evokes so many comparisons to one of the most ferocious, yet undersized, rebounders in NBA history, the mercurial Dennis Rodman. Faried attributes his tenacity to growing up playing basketball in Newark, “It was either wilt and cry, or just go out there and show them I can play. It made me tougher, because I wasn’t backing down,” Faried said.

“He wasn’t going to stay in Newark. That wasn’t going to happen,” Waudda said. “And it wasn’t like I was trying to push him away or anything. It was just the way I felt. I told him there’s a better world out there and this ain’t the only world.” He eventually ended up averaging 16 points and 13.5 rebounds over his final three seasons. He helped Morehead State upset Louisville in the first round of the 2011 NCAA tournament. But, most importantly to his parents, he graduated from college this spring.

But that doesn’t mean that they are not excited about Kenneth’s draft prospects. “We could jump on the bus and go downtown,” his mother Waudda told the Star-Ledger. “It’s just really amazing that [the draft] is actually in Newark this year.” Right now Faried is projected to be taken inside of the draft’s top 20 selections.

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Kareem Abdul Jabbar Feels Wronged by Lakers

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

kareem_abdul-jabbar-797Only in LA, can a basketball great like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar feel that he isn’t recognized like he should be. The form of recognition that Abdul-Jabbar is looking for is a statue of himself in front of the Staples Center. Today, the current collection of statues include Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Wayne Gretzky, Oscar De La Hoya and broadcaster Chick Hearn.  Abdul-Jabbar told The Sporting News, “I don’t understand. It’s either an oversight or they’re taking me for granted. I’m not going to try to read people’s minds, but it doesn’t make me happy. It’s definitely a slight. I feel slighted.”  And in a statement he added:  “I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgment of my contribution to Laker success. I guess being the linchpin for five world championships is not considered significant enough in terms of being part of Laker history.”

It seems like things have not been good between Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers, since he feels slighted when asked by the Lakers to take a salary cut while the team was paying Phil Jackson more than $10 million to coach and was also offended by getting seats on Lakers flights in the back of the plane when spacious seats were available up front.1106-GQ-PF09.01

“It’s just about a whole lot of smaller incidents that, as they pile up on you, you get the feeling you don’t mean anything to them,” he said.”I’ve never been this vocal about anything,” he said. “I’ve always tried to stay out of the fray and not be an object of controversy.”

And Kareem made it clear he feels the Lakers have taken care of Magic Johnson, but not him. Asked about his relationship with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, he answered: “It’s okay . . . When you look at what he did for Earvin and what he did for me, big disparity there.”

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Georgia Hoopster Gets His First College Letter

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

ScreenShot146Atlanta area boys’ high school basketball player Tahj Shamsid Deen won’t be graduating until 2013. But he can already rest assured that he is wanted. This week received his first college scholarship offer, and it was from the prestigious academic institution Northwestern University in Chicago. Not bad for a 15-year-old kid who stands at only 5 foot 8 inches and 160 pounds. And Northwestern is not alone, as basketball powerhouse programs Connecticut, Florida, and Memphis are reportedly also interested in the young man.

“He’s a 50-year-old midget,” says his high school coach, Columbia High’s Phil McCrary, “It speaks to his maturity level. He thinks way beyond his age,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s a compliment, not at all meant in a derogatory way. It’s just that most kids his age make simple and minor mistakes on the floor. It’s rare for Tahj because he’s more mature than most of the point guards he plays against.”

He added, “How many 15-year-olds do you know that are constantly looking up at the clock, knowing the situation they are in? How many always know where to go with the basketball? Know when to shoot? When to slow it down? And when to take over a game? All that stuff, Tahj has already learned. That’s why I call him a ‘50-year-old midget’ because his knowledge is way beyond his age.”

ESPN.com rates Tahj as the 37th best point guard in the nation in the class of 2013 and offers the following scouting report: Tahj pushes the ball with good pace in transition and displays the ability to hit the stop and pop mid range pull up around the foul line. Shamsid-Deen is a lefty with a smooth stroke. He can hit the open three and runner in the lane as well. Shamsid-Deen has a tight handle and does a good job of drive, drawing and kicking to open teammates when he draws a second defender. He can pressure the ball with his excellent lateral foot speed and quick hands as well. Tahj must add strength and continue to develop his game but Shamsid-Deen is definitely on to keep a close eye on this spring and summer.This young lead guard had some very impressive possessions. He competes and plays with confidence. He also does a nice job of running the offense and keeping the team organized.

And to top it off, Tahj is a stellar student as well. He already posted a qualifying SAT score for college while only in the seventh grade. He has nearly a 4.0 GPA in high school and is a finalist for the Governor’s Cup in math. Inshallah there are big things in store for this little fellow.

13-21

Houston Baller Commits to Duke

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

17USulaimon1AAU201020Houston, Texas boys’ high school basketball player Rashad Sulaimon has committed to Duke University, a school known both for its top-tier men’s basketball and for its top-notch academics. Sulaimon is a shooting guard, and is rated by Rivals.com as the 24th best player in the nation in the class of 2012. The 6 foot 4 inch Sulaimon plays for Strake Jesuit high school.

ESPN.com offers the following scouting report on Sulaimon: Sulaimon is a high energy shooting guard the can score in a variety of ways. He can get to the rim in transition or stop and knock down a pull up jumper. He has three point range and although he is streaky the defense must respect the fact that he can go on roll and knock down two or three in a row. From the wing Sulaimon probes the defense looking for an opening to attack to score or draw and kick to an open teammate. Sulaimon has a great first step and uses a quick catch and go move as well. If the player defending him does not match his energy level Sulaimon will have a big game. This young guard is versatile enough to help at the point because he is a smart player that can handle and pass the ball. Sulaimon is capable of defending both guard positions and could develop into a lock down defender in the future because of his size attacking style of play. Sulaimon is a capable defender but tends to loose focus at times which gets him out of position or he will gamble and pick up a cheap foul. He also has the ability to be more of a factor on the glass on both ends of the floor because of his consistent energy and effort. Sulaimon can make threes but must work for consistency. He can be streaky bad or good. From time to time Sulaimon will rush or get into a hurry which may result in a turnover. Sulaimon is a long and very skilled wing. He has tremendous upside with his skills, athleticism and great energy and effort that he plays with on a consistent basis. He is a natural wing guard that can get on a roll from behind the arc or off the bounce. Sulaimon has all the tools to be a special college player.

Sulaimon also had college offers from other big schools, including Baylor, Indiana, Georgetown, and Georgia Tech. He also had an offer to play for President Obama’s brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, the head men’s basketball coach at Oregon State University. However, in the end, Rasheed chose to play for one of the most revered men’s basketball coaches of all time, Mike Kryzewski.

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All Eyes on Shabbazz Muhammad

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

SHABAZZ-MUHAMMADSmall forward Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman high school in Las Vegas, Nevada is virtually a unanimous national top-5 recruit in the boys’ basketball class of 2012. That makes for a nice subjective analysis of his talent. But how about an objective measure of his abilities: he has no less than 16 big-time college scholarship offers, including offers from such elite programs as Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, and USC.

It was originally thought that the home town UNLV team would have long odds in securing Muhammad’s services amongst the big boys that are after him. But those odds improved after Dave Rice was hired as UNLV’s new men’s basketball coach last month. Rice just happens to be the brother of Shabbazz’s high school coach, Grant Rice. Shabbazz’s father, Ron Holmes, heard the new coach speak and was impressed, and he told the Las Vegas Sun this his son will indeed take a recruiting trip to UNLV. “Without a doubt, UNLV will be right there,” Holmes said of UNLV’s chances to sign his son.

Muhammad averaged 25 points per game this past winter and was named the Sunset Region’s Player of the Year. The 6 foot 6 inch wing player just may be the biggest recruit in Southern Nevada history, and that is saying something.

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Community News (V13-I17)

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Islamic Center of Augusta breaks ground for new facility

AUGUSTA, GA–The Islamic Center of Augusta is building a new facility to accomadate the growing needs of the congregation. Last month, crews broke ground on an eight acre sight for the construction which is scheduled for completion by next March.

The $3.5 million project will feature prayer area, soccer fields and indoor basketball courts.

A spokesman for the center told the WJBF TV:  “There’s a growth in the Muslim community in Augusta and in surrounding areas. We felt that we need a youth center and youth activitIes that are more open to the community.”

Madina Ali wins leadership award

MORGAN TOWN, WV–Women’s basketball star Madina Ali of West Virginia University has been named by the university for this year’s Leland Byrd Basketball Leadership Award. The award is given to student athletes who outstanding team leadership on and off the court.

Ali, a Williamsport, Pa., native, earns the leadership honor for the second consecutive season. As co-captain of the women’s basketball team for two straight seasons, Ali earned second team all-BIG EAST honors and was a four-time BIG EAST honor roll recipient.

As a senior leader, Ali was one of only 10 total BIG EAST players to record 30 points in a game and led the team’s rebounding efforts, averaging 7.1 rebounds a game to rank 10th in the BIG EAST. At forward, Ali totaled 241 boards, including a team-leading 98 offensive rebounds. As an offensive threat, she recorded a 53.4 field goal percentage on 159-of-298 shooting, which ranked as the seventh highest in the league. Ali also held the teams’ second-highest scoring average of 12.4 points per game, recorded the second-most points for the season with 421 and led the team with nine double-doubles.

Madina Ali is the daughter of Abdul-Rahim and Atiya Ali.

Studies submitted for New Castle mosque

NEW CASTLE,NY–Plans to build a mosque and Islamic center in the west end of New Castle are moving forward with the submission by the Upper Westchester Muslim Society of an updated series of environmental impact studies, lohud.com news portal reported.

The Muslim Society now holds services and classes in a rented space in Thornwood but has outgrown it. The group wants to build a masjid, or mosque, and community center on Pines Bridge Road in a residential area. It needs a permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals to build the 24,690-square-foot structure on 8 acres.

With the second version of the draft environmental study, the Muslim Society submitted more information on traffic and the timing and scope of the activities at the center. If the zoning board decides the document is complete, it will move on to public hearings. The board is expected to discuss the issue at its April 27 meeting.

Muslim conference held at University of Missouri

COLUMBIA,MO–The Muslim Students Organization at University of Missouri organized an Islamic conference recently on the theme “Pursuits of this World — Beyond Material Gains.” I mam Siraj Wahaj and Ustadha Tahera Ahmad (chaplain from Northwestern University) were the keynote speakers at the weekend conference.

MSO spokesman Mahir Khan in an interview to the student newspaper provided a summary of the speeches. “His topic was just to give back, not just to the Muslim community but to the community at large,” Khan said. “He kind of expanded on that in Friday’s sermon about Muslim’s footprint in America and it got me thinking, ‘What have I done to give back, not only to the Muslim community but to the entire country?’”

Ustadha Ahmad talked about achieving balance in one’s life. MSO President Arwa Mohammad said Ahmad’s experience as a university chaplain made her interaction with the students lively and entertaining.

“She threw tennis balls and basketballs and made us do complex tasks with them to show that if you’re trying to do too much, or if you’re trying to juggle too many things at once, you’re not necessarily going to be successful at those tasks,” Mohammad said.

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Al-Farouq Aminu: The Chief Has Arrived

May 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

al-farouq_aminu

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Al-Farouq Aminu represents the greatest hope for the Muslim world in the upcoming National Basketball Association draft of college players, to be held in New York City next month. Aminu just completed his junior season at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And, he is currently projected to be a top 10 pick in the draft. Al-Farouq grew up in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, and after an illustrious career at Norcross High School, he was given the prestigious honor of being named the state of Georgia’s “Mr. Basketball.” Rivals.com rated him the top small forward coming out of high school. And, he played in the 2008 McDonald’s All-Star Game for the nation’s best high school basketball talent.

The son of Aboubakar and Anjirlic Aminu, Al-Farouq and family are reportedly descendents of Nigerian kings. They are establishing themselves as kings of basketball as well. His brother Alade, 3 years his elder, played for Georgia Tech University and currently plays in the NBA. And, their 11-year-old younger brother, Al-Majid, appears to be following in their basketball footsteps as well. Alade told the Winston-Salem Journal, “I think he’s going to be the best Aminu.”

At 6 feet 9 inches and 215 lbs, Al-Farouq Aminu is surprisingly agile for his size. NBADraft.net describes him as, “a huge leaper with freakish athleticism, explosiveness and solid length, Aminu uses these 3 strengths to make him an excellent rebounder and defender.” With a 7 feet 2 inch wing-span, he demonstrates tremendous reach and shot-blocking ability. And, his lateral quickness is such that he can also guard smaller, faster players, while still having the strength and size to bang with the big boys.

A blemish on Al-Farouq’s record came just prior to his high school graduation in 2008. Through a combination of boredom, peer pressure, and teenage bravado, he and two friends fired a BB gun at an Atlanta woman. Aminu had nothing close to a criminal record prior, and has had no brushes with the law since. And, his remorse and stellar record were so strong that the woman herself requested leniency for the boys, and the charges were reduced to three misdemeanors. Al-Farouq and his two friends were given probation. He still remembers the impact of that brush with the law, and admits to becoming more of an independent thinker as a result. “…I guess it humbled me even more. It doesn’t matter who you are. The world looks at you just the same,” he told the Winston-Salem Journal.
Al-Farouq is a good enough basketball player to begin his professional career after only his sophomore year of college. But with the dedication he has shown on the court, and as a Muslim, the communications major will, by all indications, be returning at some point to complete his degree. Draftexpress.com asked him what a typical off-season day for him was like. He responded, “I pray, work out in the morning, and then have a pretty normal day.” That is the type of answer we would like to hear from all of our kids. And when Al-Farouq’s parents watch him take the stage next month after being selected early in the NBA Draft, they will be seeing further attestation to the translated meaning of the name Al-Farouq: The Chief has arrived!

12-20

Omar Samhan: A Big Fish Seeks a Bigger Pond

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

omar-samhan Omar Samhan has always been a man amongst boys. At 6 foot 11 inches, he sticks out even on a college campus. But, as a basketball star for St. Mary’s University, he sticks out even more. And as a Muslim-American now in the national spotlight, there is no ignoring him.

Samhan grew up in San Ramon, CA, only minutes from the St. Mary’s campus. He is the son of an Egyptian father and an Irish mother. And he is also a Muslim student at a Catholic university, not to mention a basketball player with heritage from a country where soccer rules all sports. The paradoxes abound with Omar (not the least of which is his pre-game ritual of listening to the music of teeny-bopper Taylor Swift, as reported to Sports Illustrated!).

But when it comes to his game, everything is straightforward. Draftexpress.com writes, “Few players at the college level boast Samhan’s combination of touch and post instincts.” NBADraft.net describes him as “…A late bloomer that has shown steady development throughout his college career.” The other teams in the NCAA Tournament found this out first hand, as he put up 29 points and 32 points respectively, against higher-seeded Richmond and Villanova. And he’s no slouch on the defensive end either, as he was voted the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Omar Samhan will spend the next few weeks helping NBA scouts figure out his pro potential. But Omar, a graduating senior, seems to have already figured out how to accomplish what his fellow Arab-American, radio personality Casey Kasem always preached, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”

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Ali Farokhmanesh on Sports Illustrated

March 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

756A CEDAR FALLS, IA–Ali Farokhmanesh, the University of Iowa basketball guard, who led his team to win over No.1 Kansas will be on the cover page of the Sports Illustrated magazine.

he honor comes after UNI’s victory over the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Farokhmanesh’s critical three-pointer in the last minute as well as two game-icing free throws led the Panthers past Kansas and into tourney history.

Sports Illustrated’s cover story is about several surprising upsets in the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Farokhmanesh’s Iranian born father, Mashallah, was also a member of the Iranian men’s national volleyball team, before immigrating to the US in 1977.

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Azeez Ali Named Assistant Coach at IPFW

August 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Azeez Ali FORT WAYNE, IN–Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) has announced the addition of Azeez Ali to its men’s basketball coaching staff.

Ali just completed his second season on John Shulman’s staff at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He served as the Director of Basketball Operations and managed travel, film exchange and the support staff.

“I’m excited to be here, excited to work with Coach Fife and his staff, and am very thankful for the opportunity,” Ali said.  “Hopefully I can contribute and be part of Coach Fife’s vision for winning the Summit League. I’d also like to thank Coach Shulman for the opportunity he provided me at UTC.”

“Azeez brings a wealth of experience and a winning mentality to our program,” Fife said.  “’Z’ has won at every level, including an NCAA berth with Chattanooga this past season.  He will be really good with our young guys as well as on the road recruiting.  We are very pleased to have him become part of our program.”

Ali helped lead the Mocs to the 2009 Southern Conference (SoCon) crown.  Before landing in Chattanooga, Ali worked at Cecil Community College (2005-07) in North East, Md. His duties included advance scouting and serving as the recruiting assistant. CCC had a record of 66-5 during his tenure. It won the 2006 NJCAA Division II National Championship and finished fifth in 2005, while also capturing two Maryland state championships and two region titles.

Ali is a native of Wilmington, Delaware. He helped lead Howard H.S. to the Blue Hen Conference title and the state final four in 2000. He is a 2004 graduate of Maryland-Eastern Shore with a degree in Business Administration.  He will graduate in December with a master’s degree in Special Education from UTC.

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Houstonian Corner for Volume 8, Issue 17

April 24, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

First-Ever Mawlid Procession in Downtown Houston
“This effort is being done to show intense love for our Beloved Messenger Mohammad (Peace Be Upon him): Also this peaceful walk through the blocks of downtown calls all the world especially our neighboring Americans of all backgrounds to appreciate by learning and knowing about the humanity-loving personality of Messenger Mohammad (s),” said one of the organizers of this first-of-its kind march in downtown Houston, which was held in the honor of the glorious Messenger Muhammad (s) during this blessed hijra month, Rabi-ul-Awwal.
Many Muslims came to the event, where the atmosphere was buzzing with nasheeds and with Islamic Poetry sung in both English and Urdu. Slogans of “Allah Is Great” and “Naray Risala” were showered on the holiest messenger Muhammad (s).
The peaceful parade started at Market Square in downtown Houston, went up about four to five blocks along Milam, and then circled around back to the starting area.
There under tents all the participants listened to stories related by imams of the many beautiful aspects of the life of Messenger Muhammad (s).
The Shahnai Restaurant provided free food to show their love for the most beloved Messenger for the occasion.
For more information on similar programs, please call 713-779-1304. -
MYBA All-Star Basketball Benefit!
Don’t Miss This Treat Next Time
By Coach
Jamaaluddin J. Al-Haidar
On Sunday, April 2nd, a small but vocal group of supporters and basketball fans filed into Northwest Houston’s spacious air-conditioned Del Mar coliseum in anticipation of an afternoon of excitement and entertainment as six Muslim All-Star basketball teams took to the court for three highly-competitive games. Indeed these were the fortunate ones for they were to be a part of making history as the Muslim Youth Basketball Association (MYBA) held its first-ever-in-Texas-of-its-kind youth and young adult basketball competition.
The afternoon started with congregational dhur prayers followed by the first game of the afternoon, between the Mecca and Medina squads at the 14-and-under age division. This game was followed by the Mecca and Medina squads 18-and-under players, and then the main event, the ever popular and exciting 19-and-older young adult division.
Over the course of two months, tryouts were held at sites on the North and South sides of the city. The six 8-man rosters included some of the best talent from across the many ISGH-affiliated masajid and centers, as well as from Masjid Al-Farouk, Madrassa Islamiah, the Islamic Education Center, and the Nigerian-American Muslim community.
MYBA Commissioner Jamaaluddin Al-Haidar was himself very involved in the talent selection process. “While we wanted to access the best basketball talent available, we went out of our way to build Mecca and Medina teams that would showcase our ethnic and cultural diversity while developing strong bonds of kinship between brothers who under most scenarios would not likely be teammates or even attend the same Masjid.”
At times, the coliseum sounded like a Rockets game at the Toyota Center. MC and play-by-play announcer Badar Alam set the stage as he introduced the starting lineups at the start of each game.
As players jogged out to center court one-by-one, acknowledging and tapping fists with the three uniformed licensed referee officials along the way, it was truly a wonderful sight to see two teams of Muslims wearing the names of these two historic Islamic cities. Team Mecca wore white jerseys with black trim, while the Medina squad wore black jerseys with white trim.
Despite disappointing ticket sales and gate receipts, MYBA Treasurer Aijaz Ahmed was optimistic about the future of these kinds of events in the local Muslim community. “This is just the beginning. This is something very new for our community. Those who were here at the event can now go back and tell others how well-organized the event was, how clean and comfortable the facility was, and certainly how exciting and competitive the games were. Insha`Allah, with more planning and marketing, the next one will be much bigger.”
The excitement on the faces of the many young children who were in attendance and the cheers from their parents as their adopted teams scored points was something new….something that hasn’t happened in a long time in this community…..something that MYBA hopes to make happen with regularity.
MYBA wishes to express its special gratitude for the efforts of dedicated volunteers and donors like Latif Bhegani, Nazeer Malik, Shabana Motors, and event sponsors, Jerusalem Halal Meats, Shahnai Restaurant and Payless/Affordable Auto Glass.
Proceeds from the event after expenses amounted to $1,200 and were presented to ICNA Relief for its Helping Hands Relief work in the earthquake-stricken regions of South Asia.
Plans are underway for a super tournament featuring Muslim teams from the Dallas Ft-Worth and Austin communities as well as our local Houston teams. The spring leagues as well as the annual MYBA Hoopfest summer-long basketball development camp, league, and tournament are currently under development as well.
Stay updated by joining the MYBA mailing list at www.mybausa.org. -