Youngstown Ohio Remembers 9/11

September 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jessica Valsi

027This year marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The attacks took the lives of many, and shook the hearts of all Americans. Ten years later, the impact of those attacks echoes in lives, fears, and prayers in our communities. A large and diverse group of Youngstown community members gathered to reflect on the September 11th attacks of 2001, and to pray for peace and reconciliation. The prayer service was organized the Mahoning Valley Association of Churches and co-sponsored by the Interfaith Youth Core of Youngstown State University. Prayers were offered by Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde of Congregation Ohev Tzedek in Boardman, Julie Thomas of the Mahayana Tradition, Walid Abuasi of the Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown, and Rev. Bob Bonnot of the Christ our Savior Church in Struthers. Cary Dabney, president of the Interfaith Youth Core of Youngstown State University spoke, and the Youngstown Connection performance group provided musical entertainment. The event was attended by nearly 100 people of various faiths who joined in prayers and hymns together during the service. The service was held in the Butler North Church, Wick Ave., on the city’s North side.

IFYC president Cary Dabney addressed the audience with his heart on his sleeve as he appealed to the group for cooperation and reconciliation on the tenth anniversary of September 11th and every day onward.  “My grandfather told me when I was young that he had a dream that I was sitting in a room surrounded by great and honorable people. I have walked through life wondering at different times: Is this that moment? Is the moment my grandfather predicted? I know now for certain, that today is the day he dreamed about so long ago. I am so honored to be in this room with you all.”

1539246Each faith tradition took time to pray for the moral fortitude to face the world of intolerance and hatred that can at times be so overwhelming. They asked for patience, understanding, hope, and love to prosper in this time of deep sadness and reflection, and for the families personally affected by the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.

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Americans & America’s National Interests

July 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor in chief

For almost 40 years, we Americans are being led to believe that Israel is a Western outpost in the Middle East and it is the only democratic country in the region that looks West. We are being led to believe that only Israel can defend out interests in the Middle East.

What are our interests in the Middle East? What are our core values?

In one simple word, our interests are in oil and in capturing a market share that would sustain our jobs and economy.

What are our core values?

In one simple word, our core values are defined by free market and unbridled capitalism.

We have rarely stood for democracy and democratic values. We have supported dictators and we still support them. We have supported movements that destabilize democracies primarily to ensure that our market interests are shared. Out interests are not determined by our people who vote in every election. Rather they are determined by those who influence our representatives through money and intimidation.

Our power elite has a grudge against Islam and Muslims. It does not view Islam a credible force in the world. In its view, Islam is a regressive ideology that dictates its draconian laws through the instrument of state. Our power elite relies on the medieval understanding of Islam for this perspective. Regardless of its leanings towards liberal or conservative thoughts, it believes that a religion that cannot change according to the will of those who produce capital is not worthy of anything.

The power elite is supported at least in action by Muslim monarchs, dictators, and Muslim political entities who have yet to provide a blue print for a society where human beings can live with dignity and freedom. On the contrary, they have projected Islam as a faith that is intolerant towards all those who are not willing to listen to its call. The way religious opposition is dealt in Muslim majority countries is a living proof of that.

Regardless of what the power elite tries to dictate, we Muslims must make every possible attempt to connect people and identify with their interests. We must present our perspectives of national interests to them without being intimidated. Otherwise, we would remain a pawn in this ponzy politics that legitimizes double standards in every policy issue. We the people have a right to determine our national interests collectively. We must never allow any lobby to dictate its terms on us. We are a democracy that are led by lobbyists and not by people. We claim that we believe in a government of the people, by the people for the people. But we tend to promote a government of the people, by the lobbies and for the lobbyists.

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