Community News (V13-I47)

November 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Howard gets women only swim times

HOWARD, MD–Women living in Maryland now have access to their own swim times at swimming pools. The accomodation was made after members of the Dar al Taqwa mosque in cooperation  faith-based county group, People Acting Together in Howard, met with the Columbia Association to create a twice-weekly, women-only swim time, a trial that is scheduled to be announced Tuesday.

The Columbia Association, which operates 23 pools in Howard, will join other communities that have made similar accommodations to create a more welcoming atmosphere for Muslims and other female swimmers.

The change has been welcomed not only by Muslim women but also others. Katlin Lampke, for instance, told the Baltimore Sun, “During puberty, my body was changing. I was getting made fun of or hit on,” she said. “It was very embarrassing.” She stopped going.

“She was really uncomfortable,” said her mother, Amy Lampke, 46. “We both love the water, but the experience changed. When this came up …, I thought, ‘What a great idea.’”

Ali Khademhosseini honored with presidential award

Using fish cells to generate artificial muscles, a Harvard University professor is aiming to create functional tissues that could one day help robots move like living creatures.
Dr. Ali Khademhosseini’s work for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has earned him a spot among 94 scientists and engineers recently recognized by President Obama with the highest government award for young professionals on the cusp of promising independent research.

Coordinated by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is conferred annually upon researchers who are nominated by 16 federal agencies and departments.

Khademhosseini was one of nine PECASE selectees contributing breakthrough advances to ONR-funded programs. They each received a citation, a plaque and an opportunity to meet with the president in a ceremony at the White House on Oct. 14. The award comes with a potential five-year grant worth $200,000 annually to continue their research efforts.
“The most amazing part was meeting the president and getting to shake hands with him, and spending a few minutes talking with him. It was a totally unbelievable and unforgettable experience,” Khademhosseini said.

Faisal Khan named Chicago city council’s new legislative inspector

CHICAGO,IL–Chicago’s City Council has chosen Faisal Khan as its new legislative inspector.

Khan, 37, spent four years as a senior investigator for the Big Apple’s version of the Independent Police Review Authority and seven more as an assistant district attorney in Queens County. He served as New York City’s inspector general until September 2010.

He was selected after a rigorous process which initially had 170 applicants. 44 passed muster with the Department of Human Resources and 30 candidates were interviewed by a blue-ribbon selection committee that subsequently settled on Khan.

“You’ll be very surprised by him. He’ll be a very independent inspector general,” Ald. Dick Mell said after introducing Khan’s appointment at last week’s City Council meeting.
Khan has a bachelors degree in criminology from the State University of New Jersey and a JD from Brooklyn Law School.

Saba Ahmed switches support to Republican Party

Saba Ahmed, who recently ran in the Democratic primary for Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, has switched her support to Republican Party. Explaining her switch on her facebook page she wrote:
“(M)y conservative Islamic values (pro-life, pro-family values, pro-business) made it very hard for me to defend myself as a Democrat. George Bush advocated water boarding torture just like Obama advocated drone missiles. Both parties treat Muslims badly, which is why American economy is going bankrupt fighting Islam. Inshallah, I look forward to helping foster a better understanding of our faith…

And yes I was banned from the Oregon Tea Party and Washington County Republicans earlier this year because of my Islamic beliefs, but I have to believe there is room for learning. I have to try and make a place for myself even if i’m unwelcomed. I know several tea party republicans hate me because they somehow blame me for 9/11. But I know once we talk to each other, get to know one another, we can all heal together. Inshallah!”

Students demand resignation of professor for alleged remarks

CALUMET,IN–Students at Purdue University Calumet are asking for the resignation of one of the faculty members for his alleged anti-Muslim remarks. According to published reports Maurice associate professor of political science Moshe Eisenstein posted comments attached with a link to a YouTube video on his Facebook page on Nov. 6, where he asked for justice for the killings of black Christians in Nigeria while lashing out towards Muslims.

The video link was found by another PUC professor, which then started a heated debate between Eisenstein and PUC students via Facebook. On one of Facebook comments,Eisenstein allegedly  wrote that “Muslims are barbarians and that they are nothing more to me than dogs.” He further wrote that Muslims are “out to kill him,” the Chronicle reports.

Eisenstein has taught at PUC since 1993 and received tenure in 2000.

Students have also complained that he has a history of making such remarks and complaints were filed in the past.

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Community News (V13-I24)

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Sarrah Shahawy, Valedictorian at USC

shahawyLOS ANGELES,CA– Sarrah Shahawy  graduated at the top her class from University of Southern California obtaining the coveted valedictorian status.

Shahawy is a graduating senior in USC’s honors general education program, Thematic Option, majoring in biological sciences and French in USC Dornsife. She is president of USC’s Student Interfaith Council and was instrumental in getting the Dalai Lama to speak in May at USC for the first time.

Shahawy was born in Orange and raised in Pasadena and is first generation Egyptian American. Fluent in Arabic and French, she will attend Harvard Medical School in the fall.

In her recent commencement baccalaureate ceremony speech, she said that interfaith work, while celebrating differences, reminds us of our common goals, such as working to eradicate hunger, poverty, disease and corruption.

Nabeel Rahman: top ten of Spelling Bee

Nabeel Rahman, 13-year-old spelling superstar made it to the second round of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals last weekt. Rahman was done in by “dockmacky” after incorrectly spelling the word “dockmackie. ”  Rahman ended up tied for ninth place out of 275 competitors and only 13 who made it to the finals. The winner of the spelling bee, Sukyana Roy, received more than $40,000 in cash and prizes in the annual contest by correctly spelling the world “cymotrichous,” which means to have wavy hair.

Dr. Ali Shirani Donates Dental Care to Antioch Children in Need

ANTIOCH,CA–Many of California’s children today are suffering from dental problems because their family is uninsured and they are undereducated about proper dental care. Dr. Ali Shirani, a general dentist practicing in Antioch, California, is doing his part to help by volunteering his time to treat local children who don’t have insurance. Most of the children have never visited a dentist, so Dr. Shirani uses humor and rewards to calm them down. He hopes his generosity will inspire other dentists to volunteer their services to kids in need.

Dr. Shirani has been volunteering his services since he was in dental school at USC, including trips to treat needy patients in Tijuana. He made this service part of his Antioch practice because he wanted to help local children whose families lack the means to bring them to a dentist. He recently told the Contra Costa Times that for a lot of the families, the choice is, “Do I feed my kids or take them to the dentist?” Now these kids have access to his state-of-the-art facilities, and receive the highest level of care.

The kids who visit his practice are in need of serious dental care; root canals, extractions, fillings, or multiple procedures. He is friendly and gentle as he talks the kids through the process, and he rewards kids who keep their mouth open with toys and stickers. He also teaches them about the importance of brushing and flossing. Dr. Shirani usually treats eight to ten needy children each month. The children are referred to Dr. Shirani by Contra Costa Health Services.

The Contra Costa Times noted the dire state of pediatric oral hygiene in California, stating that “one out of four children in the state’s elementary schools have untreated tooth decay, according to a recent study. Four percent of elementary school students are afflicted with pain from rotting teeth, abscesses and infections.”

Dr. Shirani is fighting to change those numbers, but he knows how big the problem is. “The most frustrating part is no matter how much I do, it’s not enough,” he stated. He hopes other dentists will view his practice as a model.

Amena Ali appointed as CMO of Earth Networks

Earth Networks™, the owner of the WeatherBug® brand and operator of the largest weather observing and lightning network, announces the hiring of Amena Ali as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In this role, Amena will oversee the development and implementation of worldwide marketing and product initiatives, and will be responsible for advancing strategic programs involving the company’s enterprise solutions for commercial and public-sector markets and the popular WeatherBug consumer brand. She will also drive Earth Networks’ expansion into new markets and support the company’s mission to “Take the Pulse of the Planet” by deploying environmental networks – including the largest and first privately funded global greenhouse gas (GHG) observation network – that provide weather and climate intelligence through precise observation, actionable information and advanced alerting.

A skilled leader, Amena brings to Earth Networks more than 20 years of management experience with innovative high-tech firms ranging in size from $10 million to $30 billion. Prior to joining Earth Networks, she served as CMO at Bethesda, Md.-based Arxan Technologies, a leading developer of application security solutions. Amena’s experience includes senior marketing positions at Softek Storage Solutions (now a part of IBM) and EMC Corporation. Prior, Amena held similar positions at Legato Systems and OTG Software, both of which were acquired by EMC. She also held executive-level consumer marketing and finance positions at MCI, and was a management consultant with Bain & Company. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale University.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Amena Ali to Earth Networks,” says Earth Networks CEO Bob Marshall. “Her depth and breadth of experience in both consumer and enterprise marketing, with notable accomplishments in market expansion, product positioning and partner relationships, as well as branding and go-to-market strategies, will be invaluable as we increase our business globally. Her insight, creativity, and leadership will be essential as we rapidly grow our business to provide global weather, climate and GHG intelligence to businesses, governments and consumers on a scale that has never been done before.”

Cultural awareness overcomes lies and misconceptions

BOSTON,MA–Many Americans have adopted false impressions of Muslims, said Muhammad Ali-Salaam, the former deputy director of special projects for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, who converted to Islam in 1975.

Speaking at the Arab, Muslim and Sikh Cultural Awareness Program in the Behrakis Health Sciences Center on Tuesday, Ali-Salaam told some two-dozen members of the Northeastern University community, “People thought all Muslims wore turbans, had brown skin and were most likely associated with Afghanistan or the Middle East.

“The stereotype of what a Muslim is,” he said, “doesn’t hold water.”

The event provided insight into the cultural, religious and historical traditions of Arabs, Muslims and Sikhs, said Naomi Thompson Hall, the associate director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, which sponsored the program.

“The presentation,” she said, “is part of an on-going discussion about diversity, religion and being respectful.”

Sara Rivera, an administrative assistant for the Latino Student Cultural Center, learned that Islamic women are allowed to vote and required to pursue an education.

“Now, when someone makes a false statement,” she said, “I’ll be able to say, ‘that’s not true.’”

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Cancer – The Deadly Legacy of the Invasion of Iraq

January 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

New America Media, News Digest, Jalal Ghazi

Forget about oil, occupation, terrorism or even Al Qaeda. The real hazard for Iraqis these days is cancer. Cancer is spreading like wildfire in Iraq. Thousands of infants are being born with deformities. Doctors say they are struggling to cope with the rise of cancer and birth defects, especially in cities subjected to heavy American and British bombardment.

Here are a few examples. In Falluja, which was heavily bombarded by the US in 2004, as many as 25% of new- born infants have serious abnormalities, including congenital anomalies, brain tumors, and neural tube defects in the spinal cord.

The cancer rate in the province of Babil, south of Baghdad has risen from 500 diagnosed cases in 2004 to 9,082 in 2009 according to Al Jazeera English.

In Basra there were 1885 diagnosed cases of cancer in 2005. According to Dr. Jawad al Ali, director of the Oncology Center, the number increased to 2,302 in 2006 and 3,071 in 2007. Dr. Ali told Al Jazeera English that about 1,250-1,500 patients visit the Oncology Center every month now.

Not everyone is ready to draw a direct correlation between allied bombing of these areas and tumors, and the Pentagon has been skeptical of any attempts to link the two. But Iraqi doctors and some Western scholars say the massive quantities of depleted uranium used in U.S. and British bombs, and the sharp increase in cancer rates are not unconnected.

Dr Ahmad Hardan, who served as a special scientific adviser to the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, says that there is scientific evidence linking depleted uranium to cancer and birth defects. He told Al Jazeera English, “Children with congenital anomalies are subjected to karyotyping and chromosomal studies with complete genetic back-grounding and clinical assessment. Family and obstetrical histories are taken too. These international studies have produced ample evidence to show that depleted uranium has disastrous consequences.”

Iraqi doctors say cancer cases increased after both the 1991 war and the 2003 invasion.

Abdulhaq Al-Ani, author of “Uranium in Iraq” told Al Jazeera English that the incubation period for depleted uranium is five to six years, which is consistent with the spike in cancer rates in 1996-1997 and 2008-2009.

There are also similar patterns of birth defects among Iraqi and Afghan infants who were also born in areas that were subjected to depleted uranium bombardment.

Dr. Daud Miraki, director of the Afghan Depleted Uranium and Recovery Fund, told Al Jazeera English he found evidence of the effect of depleted uranium in infants in eastern and south- eastern Afghanistan. “Many children are born with no eyes, no limbs, or tumors protruding from their mouths and eyes,” said Dr. Miraki.

It’s not just Iraqis and Afghans. Babies born to American soldiers deployed in Iraq during the 1991 war are also showing similar defects. In 2000, Iraqi biologist Huda saleh Mahadi pointed out that the hands of deformed American infants were directly linked to their shoulders, a deformity seen in Iraqi infants.

Many US soldiers are now referring to Gulf War Syndrome #2 and alleging they have developed cancer because of exposure to depleted uranium in Iraq.

But soldiers can end their exposure to depleted uranium when their service in Iraq ends. Iraqi civilians have nowhere else to go. The water, soil and air in large areas of Iraq, including Baghdad, are contaminated with depleted uranium that has a radioactive half-life of 4.5 billion years.

Dr. Doug Rokke, former director of the U.S. Army’s Depleted Uranium Project during the first Gulf War, was in charge of a project of decontaminating American tanks. He told Al Jazeera English that “it took the U.S. Department of Defense in a multi-million dollar facility with trained physicists and engineers, three years to decontaminate the 24 tanks that I sent back to the U.S.”

And he added, “What can the average Iraqi do with thousands and thousands of trash and destroyed vehicles spread across the desert and other areas?”

According to Al Jazeera, the Pentagon used more than 300 tons of depleted uranium in 1991. In 2003, the United States used more than 1,000 tons.

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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.