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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Experience of a lifetime

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Internship with the Center for Global Understanding

By Moshtayeen Ahmad

Moshtayeen_Ahmad_120811So basically, all interns come to the District of Columbia because they are trying to save the world. If not that, it is all about resume boosters and looking good on paper. In reality, let us hope that an intern’s intentions match that of the first motivation over the latter.

Before I began my internship, I definitely saw myself saving the world one day and getting involved in activities for the greater good. But I guess the world was too much for me to tackle, so I decided to conquer D.C. first. Don’t worry world, I’ll be there one day.

When I embarked on my journey to D.C., I was a bit all over the place.

I’m a senior at Florida State University majoring in International Affairs and Middle East Studies, with a minor in Urban & Regional Planning. With the thought of graduation so near, before I left for D.C., I was rushing to take the GRE, finishing up the first chapter in my honors thesis and getting more and more excited to get into the city. I imagined running into Obama where we would become great friends on a level where I could say “I’m in the hizhouse,” more commonly known as the White House. I also fantasized about running into Hilary Clinton at the Department of State where we would be drinking coffee as we discussed the next move in America’s foreign policy and I would lightly mention how I read her memoir in the eighth grade and that I loved her since! It is good to dream, especially when D.C. is filled with infinite possibilities.

With all the craziness set aside, I packed my bags and left for our nation’s capital. When I arrived, I was seeing exactly what I was expecting to see, everyone running around in suits looking very professional. I arrived to the housing facility and loved my new home right away. I was a very fortunate person and got stuck with the ideal roommate and we both aided each other through the process of adjusting to the city, internship, and classes. With this program, I not only networked with higher officials, but I made relationships with my peers that will be lifelong and valuable.

Having an internship is a great  experience, but it is programs like The Center for Global Understanding (CFGU) that really enhances it.

Their mission is “to provide a platform to cultivate the next generation of American leaders through internships in Washington D.C.

and continued training and education on leadership development.” CFGU provided a scholarship to me and 17 other students from across the country in the summer of 2011 to be part of this once in a lifetime experience. For summer 2012, CFGU is offering 25 scholarships for Muslim American college students to intern in Washington D.C.  You must be a college sophomore in an accredited college or university to participate in the program.

Because of CFGU, I attended lectures at various embassies, networked with potential employers, and met prominent figures in our community, as well as the Muslim American community. I did not just meet the stereotypical “political representatives,” but I got perspectives from leaders of all ages with various backgrounds dealing with issues ranging from improving a community to global health. We had discussions with well known Muslim American Leaders such Ambassador Rashad Hussain  from the State Department, Ambassador Islam Siddiqui from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Noosheen Hashemi, former Oracle Corporation executive and a Social Entrepreneur among others. It is extremely important for minorities to foster skills to become future leaders of America, which is the main mission of the Center for Global Understanding.

Through my experience in D.C., I attained hands-on experience with things I never expected to have. I saw myself making a difference as I got more civically engaged. I lobbied on the hill, volunteered at a homeless shelter, and made a stance on issues I believed in strongly, such as women’s rights. I contacted people of prestigious titles and spoke to various officials from several embassies as if they were my colleagues. Not many twenty-one year olds are blessed with such amazing experiences. Words cannot fully describe the thrills of Washington D.C.

So it isn’t really the world that I’ll be saving, but I do see myself impacting our community. This past summer gave me the confidence to feel this way, and encouraged those that I work with to be confident in me. The Center for Global Understanding guides their interns towards a more successful future and endless opportunities. You can visit http://www.centerforglobalunderstanding.org for more information or contact me, Moshtayeen, at mba08c@my.fsu.edu.

Moshtayeen Ahmad is a senior at the Florida State University majoring in International Affairs.

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529 Plans

September 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq. 

The-Benefits-of-a-529-Savings-Account-Daniel-Stoica-Accounting-ProfessionalA major focus of many estate plans is reducing federal estate tax liability.  Currently, the federal estate tax imposes a 35% tax on any estate exceeding $5 million, or $10 million for married couples.  For example, if you are a single person and your estate is worth $6 million, $1 million of your estate is taxed at 35%.  Instead of your chosen beneficiaries enjoying the fruits of your labor, the government will enjoy $350,000 of your hard earned money.  This exemption amount may not be a problem now; however, many speculate that the limit will be reduced in the next few years from $5 million down to $1 million, causing many savvy individuals to plan ahead. 

How do you reduce the amount of your estate?

Fortunately, many tools exist for reducing the size of your estate.  One such tool is a 529 plan.  A 529 plan is a college savings plan that not only reduces the amount of your estate that will be subject to the federal estate tax but also provides a means of financing your children’s (or grandchildren’s) education. 

How do 529 plans work?

A 529 plan is an investment option whereby the funds that you place into the plan grow tax free and are managed by brokers and other investment professionals.  More importantly for estate tax purposes, a 529 plan can be frontloaded, i.e. five years’ worth of tax free gifts ($13,000 x 5 = $65,000) can be immediately placed into the plan without tax consequences.  However, if you frontload your plan, you may not put in anymore money (that will be tax deferred) for five years.  But because you are able to put $65,000 into the plan right away, waiting five years is rarely a problematic issue.  

529 plans are created for a limited purpose (i.e. college savings) and, as such, the plan’s funds may be used only for limited purposes (without being subject to tax consequences):  qualified educational expenses, such as tuition and room and board.  If you create a 529 plan for your child and they decide that college is not in their future, you may change the beneficiary (the person who is to benefit from creation of the plan) or you can withdrawal the money but you’ll have to pay taxes on the amount withdrawn.   The person who puts money into the plan controls the plan and may choose which state in which to create the plan—you do not have to live in the state where the plan is created. 

How is the amount of the plan removed from your estate?

The amount of the plan is removed from your estate when you place the 529 plan into a trust.  After placing the plan into the trust, for estate tax purposes, the amount of the plan is considered outside of your estate; even though the creator of the plan controls beneficiary designation and has the power to withdraw the funds.  Therefore, you’ll want to contribute as much as you can to these plans.  The higher the plan, the lower your estate tax liability and the more financially secure the future of your beneficiaries.  Plus, in this day in age, if you are going to succeed in this world, education is almost always necessary.  Create a 529 plan today for the well-being of your children tomorrow. 

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, and Family Law. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

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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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Fazlur Rahman Khan

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Syed Aslam

File-FRKhanFazlur Rahman Khan was born in  1929, in Dhaka, Bengal now Bangladesh. His father, Khan Bahadur Abdur Rahman Khan, was a renowned educationists.  Khan passed the Matriculation Examination from Calcutta in 1944 and was admitted to the Presidency College. He obtained the Engineering Degree securing first position  from Shibpur Engineering College of Calcutta in 1950.  He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Scholarship in 1952 to pursue higher studies in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received his PhD degree in Structural Engineering .  In 1955, employed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, he began working in Chicago. During the 1960s and 1970s, he became noted for his designs for Chicago’s 100-story John Hancock Center and 108-story Sears Tower, the tallest building in the world in its time and still the tallest in the United States since its completion in 1974. He died in 1981 at the age of 52 in Chicago.

Dr. Khan is called the Einstein of Structural Engineering and here is why.  His contributions to the field- developing the shear wall frame interaction system, the framed-tube structure, and the tube-in-tube structure-led to significant improvement in structural efficiency. This kind of design  made the construction of tall buildings economically viable. The framed-tube structure has its columns closely spaced around the perimeter of the building, rather than scattered throughout the footprint, while stiff spandrels beams connect these columns at every floor level.   Khan realized that the rigid steel frame structure that had dominated tall building design and construction so long was not the only system fitting for tall buildings is not suitable any more.  His idea  brought a new era of sky scraper evolution in terms of multiple structural systems.

Dr.  Khan’s design innovations significantly improved the construction of high-rise buildings, enabling them to withstand enormous forces generated on these super structures. These new designs opened an economic door for contractors, engineers, architects, and investors, providing vast amounts of real estate space on minimal squire feet  of land.  His tube concept, using all the exterior wall perimeter structure of a building to simulate a thin-walled tube, revolutionized tall building design. The constructions of most super tall skyscrapers since the 1960s, including the construction of the World Trade Center. Terminal Building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is based on a tent-like structure – to afford optimum shade for up to 80,000 pilgrims. Khan used fiberglass and cable to combine the practical with the modern to create the tent like structure which is fully functional for the last 25 years.

The cornerstone of Khan’s approach was that science  in fusion with creativity, can create a design affordable  also in the less affluent parts of the world. Until his death in 1981,  Khan was profoundly concerned with the rapid urbanization of developing countries and called for the application of workable and appropriate forms of technology. He will be remembered for his contributions to the human civilization.

Aslamsyed1@yahoo.com

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Jersey 15-Year-Old to Go to Harvard

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Kelly Heyboer

9545035-large

PISCATAWAY — Saheela Ibraheem wasn’t sure any college would want to admit a 15-year-old. So the Piscataway teen hedged her bets and filled out applications to 14 schools from New Jersey to California.

“It’s the age thing. I wanted to make sure I had options,” said Saheela, a senior at the Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison.

In the end, 13 colleges accepted her — including six of the eight Ivy League schools.

After weeks of debate, Saheela settled on Harvard. She will be among the youngest members of the school’s freshman class.

“I’ll be one of the youngest. But I won’t be the youngest,” the soon-to-be 16-year-old said.

Saheela is among the millions of high school seniors who had to finalize their college decisions by Monday, the deadline for incoming freshman to send deposits to the school of their choice. Nationwide, this year’s college selection process was among the most competitive in history as most top colleges received a record number of applications.

Saheela joins a growing number of New Jersey students going to college before they are old enough to drive. Last year, Kyle Loh of Mendham graduated from Rutgers at 16. In previous years, a 14-year-old from Cranbury and two of his 15-year-old cousins also graduated from Rutgers.

For Saheela, her unusual path to college began when she was a sixth-grader at the Conackamack Middle School in Piscataway. Eager to learn more about her favorite subject, math, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants asked to move to a higher-level class. The school let her skip sixth grade entirely.

By high school, Saheela said, she was no longer feeling challenged by her public school classes. So, she moved to the Wardlaw-Hartridge School, a 420-student private school, where she skipped her freshman year and enrolled as a 10th-grader. Her three younger brothers, twins now in the ninth grade and a younger brother in second grade, all eventually joined her at the school.

School officials were impressed Saheela, one of their top students, didn’t spend all her time studying.

“She’s learned and she’s very smart. But she keeps pushing herself,” said William Jenkins, the Wardlaw-Hartridge School’s director of development.

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Aaron Houston/For The Star-LedgerSaheela Ibraheem, a 15-year-old senior at Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, has been admitted to 13 colleges, and chose to attend Harvard this fall. Photo taken during a Wardlaw-Hartridge softball game in Piscataway.

Saheela also excels outside the classroom. She is a three-sport athlete, playing outfield for the school’s softball team, defender on the soccer team, and swimming relays and 50-meter races for the swim team. She also sings alto in the school choir, plays trombone in the school band and serves as president of the school’s investment club, which teaches students about the stock market by investing in virtual stocks.

Saheela began applying to colleges last fall. Her applications included her grade point average (between a 96 and 97 on a 100-point scale) and her 2,340 SAT score (a perfect 800 on the math section, a 790 in writing and a 750 in reading).

She was delighted when she got her first acceptance in December from California Institute of Technology. “I was so excited. I got into college!,” Saheela said.

More acceptances followed from Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Williams College, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis.

On March 30, she got her sole rejection letter — from Yale. Saheela isn’t sure why the Ivy League school didn’t want her.

“My parents were thinking it was the age thing,” she said.

Saheela was torn between going to MIT and Harvard. A visit to both campuses last month made the choice easy. “She went to Harvard and she fell in love with the place,” said Shakirat Ibraheem, her mother.

Saheela said she wants to major in either neurobiology or neuroscience and plans to become a research scientist who studies how the brain works. As for her own brain, Saheela insists she is nothing special.

She credits her parents with teaching her to love learning and work hard. Her father, Sarafa, an analyst and vice president at a New York financial firm, would often study with her at night and home school her in subjects not taught at school.

“I try my best in everything I do,” Saheela said. “Anyone who’s motivated can work wonders.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported the number of Ivy League colleges. There are eight. Saheela Ibraheem did not apply to Dartmouth College.The Star-Ledger

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Honor for Prof. Barlas

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

asma-barlas ITHACA, NY—Longtime faculty member and administrator Asma Barlas has been named director of Ithaca College’s Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity (CSCRE). She served as the founding director of the CSCRE from 1999 to 2002 and returned to the position for a three-year appointment in 2006.

A member of the faculty since 1991, Barlas is a professor in the Department of Politics in the School of Humanities and Sciences. She has focused her research on Islam and on how Muslims interpret and live it in accord with the Qur’an, particularly with regard to women.

The CSCRE is a campus-wide interdisciplinary unit within the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies (DIIS). It offers courses that engage with the experiences of ALANA people (African-Americans, Latino/a-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Native-Americans), who are generally marginalized, under-represented or misrepresented in the U.S. as well as in the curriculum. The center hosts an annual year-long discussion series to promote meaningful dialogue on themes that may not be well covered in the college-wide curriculum.

“Dr. Barlas is noted for her intellectual accomplishments, advocacy on behalf of ALANA people and commitment to considering the connections between the domestic and the international,” said Tanya Saunders, dean of the DIIS. “We are delighted that she will continue to lead the center, contribute to the college’s plan for diversity, support student and faculty engagement with life in a dynamic multiracial and polycultural world, and strengthen the understanding of how race and ethnicity shape an individual’s identity and life chances.”

Barlas has authored the books “Islam, Muslims, and the U.S.: Essays on Religion and Politics,” “‘Believing Women’ in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an” and “Democracy, Nationalism and Communalism: The Colonial Legacy in South Asia.” In the spring of 2008 she held the prestigious Spinoza Chair at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where she delivered public lectures, discussed her work in progress with faculty, taught a course for graduate students on Islam and pursued her own research.

A Muslim and a native of Pakistan, Barlas was one of the first women to join the Foreign Service and later became assistant editor of a leading opposition newspaper. In the mid-1980s she came to the United States, where she eventually received political asylum. She holds a Ph.D. in international studies from the University of Denver, an M.A. in journalism from the University of the Punjab, Pakistan and a B.A. in English literature and philosophy from Kinnaird College for Women, Pakistan.

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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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Community News (V12-I7)

February 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Ivy Muslim students conference held

Muslim students from top universities gathered at Yale last weekend for the first Muslim Ivy conference. About 120 delegates from each Ivy League school attended, with 30 delegates from Yale.

The conference was the brainchild of Omer Bajwa, the Coordinator of Muslim Life on campus. The Yale MSA worked in conjunction with the University Chaplain’s Office to organize the event.

The conference began Saturday with a Dhuhr prayers and addresses by Bajwa, Tariq Mahmoud ’11 president of the Yale Muslim Students Association, and University Chaplain Sharon Kugler. Throughout that day and the next, students attended panels and small group discussions on topics including post-graduate experiences, gender dynamics, campus activism, community activism and life as a Muslim-American.

Hamid said that because this conference was largely organized by the Yale chapter of MSA, he thinks more inter-Ivy League collaboration would greatly improve future events.

The Yale MSA, which has around 200 members, kicked off Islamic Awareness Month at Yale with a meet and greet with members and guests on Friday.

Mosques offer reward for leads in Muslim man’s death

CHESTER, PA– Philadelphia area mosques are offering a $5,000 reward for information that they hope will lead police to the killer of a local Muslim man.
Abulaash Ansari, 57, a much respected community member, was shot and killed on Dec. 12.

Chester police say that the investigation is ongoing and that there is a person of interest.

“There were some domestic issues that took place prior to the shooting,” said Darren Alston, deputy chief of police. “We can’t say for sure whether that is connected or not.”

Ansari was a familiar face in Chester. A native of Ahmadabad, India, he moved to the United States about 20 years ago with his four children.

An electrician, he often worked for free on projects at his mosque.

Discrimination lawsuit against Illinois college dismissed

BENTON,IL– A federal judge has dismissed  a lawsuit against a southern Illinois college by an administrator who claimed he was passed over for the school’s presidency because he’s an Iraq native and Muslim.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon dismissed Salah Shakir’s lawsuit against Rend Lake College on Monday in Benton.

Herndon ruled that Shakir lacks evidence supporting his contention that he was discriminated against. He was the college’s vice president of information technology, but he wasn’t hired to fill a vacancy in the college’s presidency.

Free dinner-lecture on Islam at Western

KALAMAZOO–Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah will discuss similarities among the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths during the semiannual installment of a free dinner-lecture series sponsored by the Muslim Students Association of Western Michigan University.

In addition to the keynote address, “One God, Many Names: Muslims, Christians and Jews all Call Upon the Same God,” the evening includes a multicultural dinner and multiethnic exhibition. Events begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, in the Bernhard Center Ballroom.

The dinner-lecture is open to the public free of charge, but reservations are required. They must be made online at www.rso.wmich.edu/msa by Wednesday, Feb. 17. The popular event typically attracts capacity attendance, and those wishing to attend are encouraged to register early. A waiting list will be maintained for late registrants.

The Muslim Students Association, in collaboration with the Arab Student Association, sponsors the dinner-lecture series once each fall and spring semester.

For more information, visit WMU’s Muslim Student Associationonline, or contact Samira Shammas at rso_msa@wmich.edu.

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US Students Rejoice Over Israel Boycott

December 27, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

By Hena Ashraf, IOL

WASHINGTON—Pro-Palestinian students in a US college are celebrating its decision to divest from firms serving the Israeli occupation of Palestine, a decision that has sparked a raging controversy.

“We were able to educate and mobilize an entire community, the majority of our community,” Aidan Kriese, an organizer from the Students for Justice in Palestine group (SJP) in Hampshire College, Massachusetts, told IslamOnline.net.

“And the majority has made a decision.”

On February 7, Hampshire College became the first US institute of higher education to divest from companies involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The groundbreaking decision was taken by the Committee on Investment Responsibility and approved by the College’s Board of Trustees.

The six companies are Caterpillar, Terex, Motorola, ITT, General Electric, and United Technologies.

They are believed to be directly providing the Israeli military with equipment and services in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

“We were interested in looking at the specific relationships that our particular institution had in the occupation,” Kriese said.

“We found we were linked specifically to the occupation through these corporations.”

Over 800 students, professors, and alumni have signed SJP’s “institutional statement” calling for the divestment from these firms.

Divestment efforts and academic boycotts of Israel have largely gained ground in the past few years.

The United Methodist Church has received five separate petitions calling for divestment from companies that support or profit from the Israeli occupation.

Victory

The divestment, widely covered in national media, has stirred a firestorm controversy leading the college’s administration to deny the issue had anything to do with politics.

But the students’ association insists that breaking ties with the six firms was specifically linked to helping the Israeli occupation.

“The SJP was asked by the administration what companies to avoid in the future in terms of the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” Kriese said.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a well-known supporter of Israel, has called for donors to divest from Hampshire College and halt contributions to the college until it clears up the situation.

After his column in the Israeli Jerusalem Post daily stirred a sandstorm, Hampshire College issued a statement acknowledging that the process was launched in response to the SJP proposal, but denied that the final decision had anything to do with Israel.

“For eight and a half months the only specific companies…that were discussed were the six companies SJP targeted,” the SJP said in a later statement.

“These facts prove that the decision was made on the grounds of the six companies’ involvement in the occupation of Palestine.”

Despite the controversy, the SJP still sees the college’s decision to divest from the pro-occupation companies a victory.

“It’s really clear to us that we’ve done our part in raising concerns about the occupation,” boasts Kriese.

For more info on the divestment project visit:

http://www.divestmentproject.org/

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Here’s an interview with on of the organizers in which he clearly explains the reasoning behind the project, something which is missing from this article.
(Part1)
http://www.iamthewitness.com/audio/Somerville.Project/CII.2008.11.28.Fri.1of2.Somerville.Project.mp3
(Part2)
http://www.iamthewitness.com/audio/Somerville.Project/CII.2008.11.28.Fri.2of2.Somerville.Project.mp3

Syed Adil Husain Wins MIT Business Award

February 14, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Award Recognizes Student’s Company for Top Consumer Service

By Rabiah Ahmed and Adil James

Cambridge, MA–Syed Adil Hussain, a Harvard graduate student, is a recipient of the world-renowned MIT $100K Executive Summary Competition (ESC) award in recognition for the high-quality online tutoring his company, uProdigy, begins delivering this week to American college students.

The MIT $100K ESC award is one of the world’s leading entrepreneur competitions and is designed to encourage students and researchers to act on their talent and ideas. It has produced hundreds of successful ventures since its establishment in 1990.

The winners of the ESC competition were announced Friday, February 8, at the Business Plan Competition kick off held at the Strata Center. Eight student-managed companies were selected from over 100 entries and were awarded cash prizes.

“I started this company because as an undergrad student, I could never afford the $60-$70 normally charged for help in higher-level math,” said Hussain, 26, CEO of uProdigy. “The MIT award recognizes the important social impact uProdigy can make by delivering quality and affordable academic tutoring services to American college students.”

Hussain’s company, based in Massachusetts, was selected from a panel of judges from the MIT and Boston venture communities. Judges were asked to select business plans that showed high growth potential, market leadership potential, stage of idea development, and quality and breadth of team among other things.

As part of it services, uProdigy offers live, around-the-clock homework assistance from highly educated, English-speaking tutors in South Asia.

The niche for uProdigy is college students who need low-cost emergency one-on-one help with understanding concepts from very qualified people. Mr. Husain explained that “We are just launching the business to the public–we just launched yesterday. We had an alpha release in November.”

He explained that “In India, there is so much talent, so many brilliant people. Most of the people we selected as tutors are professors at universities. There is really no shortage of them at all. We accepted only about 5% of those who applied to be tutors.”

As for the future, Husain explains that “this is really a huge huge market–what we are seeing now is only the beginning.” The biggest player in online tutoring now, he explains, is Tutorvista, which focuses on elementary school and middle school tutoring rather than the college students that uProdigy aims to serve.

Students will be able to use uProdigy’s services for only $15 per hour–and the first hour is free. People who join uProdigy as members will also (in the future) have access to general academic instructional videos. Visit their website to learn more.

For more information on uProdigy, visit www.uProdigy.com.

10-8

Muslims Among Highest-Achieving American Women

April 24, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Muslims Among Highest-Achieving American Women
Courtesy Donna Gehrke-White, Miami Herald
April 17, 2006
She should be one of those red-white-and-blue success stories: An immigrant, she worked her way through med school and now directs the laboratories of two Florida hospitals. She passed her career drive on to her daughters: One just graduated from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing; the other is an investigator for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
This feminist vision of a successful family, though, has a flaw: Shahida Shakir and her daughters, Sadia and Sofia, are Muslim.
They’re supposed to be downtrodden. Or so that’s what most Americans think.
In a Washington Post/ABC poll last month, nearly half of Americans admitted that they have a negative view of Islam. In a poll conducted for the Council of American-Islamic Relations, most people also said that they would feel better about the religion if they thought Islam treated women better.
The evidence is in our own back yard: While researching my book, “The Face Behind the Veil: The Extraordinary Lives of Muslim Women in America,” I found Muslims are among the most achieving women in the United States. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors, social workers and artists.
Indeed, we should be exporting the success story to the rest of the world.
I found Muslim women achieving from coast to coast. They are leading worldwide humanitarian groups in Washington, presiding over juvenile court in Baltimore, delivering babies in Los Angeles, teaching in Miami and helping the homeless in Las Vegas.
Just like other American women, the Muslimah — or Muslim women—have made startling progress in the workplace in the last 30 years. In fact, except for the recent refugees, Muslim women are among the most educated in the United States. Most of the 50 women profiled in the book have at least college degrees. And they are far from the stereotype of the secluded Muslim woman. One ran for county office in northern Virginia while a University of Louisville professor crusades against “honor killings” of Third World women suspected of adultery or premarital sex.
Another risked her life to help women under the thumb of Afghanistan’s oppressive Taliban.
These women should reassure many Americans in these anxious times. They are intensely achieving — as well as patriotic. After all, they have as much to lose as any other Americans if our economic and political systems come under attack.
Since 1990, the United States has welcomed more than 300,000 Muslim refugees fleeing war and persecution. They have come from 77 nations.
Unlike the poor North Africans who went to Europe for a better life, our Muslim poor have been given more opportunities to better themselves, and have become part of the American fabric. The Arizona Community Refugee Center in a Phoenix suburb, for example, teaches many women to read and write for the first time. The center also provides programs for their children.
The great majority of these new refugees insist that their children study hard. Batool Shamil is an Iraqi Shiite single mom working two jobs in Phoenix. She demands A-studded report cards from her teenage son and daughter.
“I am working so hard,” she told me. “My dream is for my children to go to college.”
In Erie, Pa., Senada Alihodzic, a refugee from the Bosnian violence, is just as determined that her two sons and daughter will go to college.
“They can have a better life here,” she said.
Meanwhile, more American mosques are making an effort to ensure women are treated equally. In northern Virginia, Cathy Drake, an
American-born, home-schooling mom, told me that she would not have converted to Islam had she not felt comfortable.
Does more work need to be done? Yes, judging from several Muslim women who have come up to me while on a recent book tour to complain about their own mosque’s inadequacies. But Ingrid Mattson, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America, promises that change is coming.
“I believe,” she said, “the struggle is now out in the open and that it will get better soon.” –
Donna Gehrke-White is a features writer for the Miami Heral and the author of “The Face Behind the Veil: The Extraordinary Lives of Muslim Women in America” (Citadel). Write to her in care of the Free Press Editorial Page, 600 W. Fort St., Detroit 48226 or oped@freepress.com.

Adil James—Profile

November 18, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

justme

Adil James graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in American Literature in 1989 and from Columbia University School of Law in 1994.  His father was a career foreign service officer whose career culminated in being ambassador to the West African nation of Niger.  He is descended from Quaker families who emigrated to the American continent in the 1600s, including two of the founders of New Jersey.

He is the Managing Editor / General Manager of TMO, whose primary duties include managing the TMO office, its website, laying out the print newspaper, writing articles, and advising TMO’s CEO on content and strategic direction for TMO.

Adil has worked at The Muslim Observer since November of 2004.