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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Southeast Michigan (V11-I38)

September 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

BMUC Sunday School Opens

bmuc sunday school

Bloomfield Hills–September 9–Imam Hossameldin Musa welcomed 133 students to the Bloomfield Unity Center’s first Sunday School session last Sunday, September 6th. 

The Sunday school will be open 10AM to 2:45PM each Sunday except for ‘eid, Sept. 20th.

The imam was excited to tell TMO also about the hifz program which is beginning this year at BMUC, patterned on the extremely successful and powerful similar program at the Tawheed Center (which already has several graduates back in Western style schools)–the BMUC hifz teacher is Shaykh Ahmad Mabrook.

Imam Musa explained “we have a friendly school, it’s very clean, we have AC in every room, top of the line teachers–some of them with MBA’s–many were raised in this country.”

The Sunday school hopes to welcome many more students this year–so please consider joining the program to secure for your children a basic knowledge of Islam in a warm environment.  Imam Hossam emphasizes that one of the goals of his school is to give “warmth, love, and caring” to the students–nothing less than what they receive in their mainstream schools during the week.

The price of the school is $650 per year for BMUC members, and $750 per year for nonmembers–which is an amazing deal if you consider that for that price students receive food, books, and tuition for the program. 

Explains the younger imam Musa, “We use the I love Islam series–it’s really good.”

Most of the students in the program are from local public schools, some from Huda.

In school, children also pray dhohr in jama’at behind the elder Imam Musa, who is now the longest-serving imam in Michigan.

Michigan Food Pantry Program

Please support this program. The Islamic Shura Council of Michigan is supporting Gleaners Food Bank to buy food at a discount and distribute it throughout Michigan.  The program is year-round. 

www.zakatzone.com

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-12th) Needs Your Support

The only Muslim legislator in Michigan is under fire from political opponents after opposing a bridge project by Matty Moroun.  Apparently in collaboration with Moroun, political consultant Adolph Mongo has filed multiple recall petitions against Tlaib.

Tarek Baydoun is spearheading an effort to defend her.  To join the effort to defend and help her you can contact 313-297-8800.

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Southeast Michigan (V11-I36)

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Bloomfield Unity Montessori and Daycare

Farmington–August 25–Ms. Ayesha Ali, co-principal of the Bloomfield Unity Montessori and Daycare took some time to talk with TMO about her school this week.
This Montessori school is in fact not a direct competitor with most of the other Islamic day schools that TMO has interviewed in the past years, as it is a preschool–in fact it is a feeder for the other Islamic schools, like Huda and others.

The Bloomfield Montessori school has about 30 students, and is based inside the BMUC mosque.  The Montessori program focuses on children up to six years old, and has accepted children as young as 8 weeks.

Inspired by the success of the Tawheed Center’s hifz program, which has really become the gold standard for local mosque’s religious instruction, Ms. Ali explained to TMO that the Bloomfield Montessori preschool will offer a hifz program patterned on Tawheed’s–with reliance on Calvert’s home school curriculum, and reliance on Shaykh Ahmad, a trained qari–to instruct the children in tajweed and memorization.

The hifz program at Bloomfield will be for 1st and 2nd grade students.  Ms. Ali explained that “three or four” students have enrolled in the hifz program so far, and that the class will be capped at ten.  The hifz program will cost $600 per month.  The regular Montessori program is $700 per month.  Preschool is $550 per month, and the school is available to parents for the entire year if they want.

Local Mosques and Ramadan

Farmington–August 26–FCNA calculations this year coincided with the Saudi ruling regarding the beginning of Ramadan, leaving most Southeast Michigan Sunni mosques on the same note with regard to the beginning and perhaps also the ending of Ramadan.

FCNA, the Fiqh Council of North America, which calculates based on the physical visibility of the moon in Mecca, determined that the Ramadan moon, which entered early Thursday morning, would not be visible after sunset in Saudi on Thursday therefore the Ramadan month was said to begin Saturday.

The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia in somewhat of a surprise announcement on Thursday said also that fasting would begin Saturday.

Other nations fasting Saturday included Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei–the majority of Sunni nations.  Four nations however began fasting Friday, including Turkey, Albania, Bosnia, and Libya. 

Shi’a followers of the Lebanese marja Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah also began fasting Friday, relying also on calculations.  However, followers of other Shi’a maraja began fasting Saturday.

Local Michigan mosques mainly began fasting Saturday, however with varying reasoning.  The Tawheed Center of Farmington, the Muslim Center of Detroit, and Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center all began Saturday based on following the recommendations of FCNA.

The Flint Islamic Center, MCA of Ann Arbor, and the Grand Blanc Islamic Center began Saturday as well, but for the reason that Saudi Arabia had announced it would begin fasting on Saturday.

MCWS, the Canton mosque, also following FCNA.  ‘Isha and tarawih at MCWS will begin at 10 for the first 10 days, then 9:45 for the second 10 days, and 9:30 for the final 10 days.

Dr. Saleem of the Flint Islamic Center on Corunna explained that ‘Eid will also be based on the Saudi ‘Eid.  ‘Isha and tarawih at FIC will be at 10pm for the first 2 weeks and at 9:30pm for the final 2 weeks.

Flint is having a community dinner every Saturday night, with about 500 people, Dr. Saleem explained to TMO. 

After Ramadan many of the local mosques likely including Flint, intend to participate in the mass ‘Eid celebration at the Rock Financial Showplace, continuing last year’s beginning of the tradition.

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The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund Fundraiser

August 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) will hold its yearly banquet and fundraiser October 17th at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, Ca. The event will feature Ralph Nader, presidential candidate, peace worker and consumer advocate as the keynote speaker. The event will begin at 6:00pm.

The gala will also be a tribute and a memorial to the late Huda El Masri Sosebee, wife of PCRF’s CEO, Steve Sosebee. Huda died on July 15 of this year after a courageous battle against Leukemia. While she held the title of Director of Social Work, her contribution to the PCRF defied parameters. She was a courageous and proud Arab Palestinian who fought for the health and well being of children even in her last weeks of life.

Featured also will be one or more of the children that the PCRF has sponsored for treatment..

The PCRF was founded in 1991 to address the medical and humanitarian needs of children in Palestine. The venue has been expanded to include Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. The PCRF often brings children out of Palestine if their needs cannot successfully be met in their home city. While undergoing treatment the child is placed in an Arabic speaking home until his return. There is no charge for the child’s treatment.

The group sends medical missions to Palestine with specialties to treat young patients in local hospitals, and, at the same time, to provide teaching tools to local doctors.

In addition, the PCRF has implemented a program for wheelchair distribution, providing mobility for young people who otherwise would be homebound. A program of eye glass distribution has also been instituted, allowing the young people of the oPt a higher quality of life and an opportunity to optimize their school years.

The PCRF has a Women’s Empowerment Program which provides start-up economic grants to women in Gaza and the West Bank

A summer camp for disabled children is yet another project of this organization.

Makassad Hospital in East Jerusalem has the first Intensive Care United for pediatric heart patients in Palestine due to the efforts of the PCRF.

The PCRF has (501)(c)(3) status and is the only charity permitted by the Department of Homeland Security to have access to Gaza.

Tickets are $100 per person and may be obtained by calling: (562) 432-0005 or writing to: PCRFsc, P. O. Box 791, Palos Verdes Estates, Ca. 90274.

It is suggested that tickets be purchased if possible in advance of the event.

The above mentioned successes of the PCRF are but a small portion of the totality of their work. For more information about the PCRF, please access the web site at: www.pcrf.net.

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Huda El Masri Sosebee

August 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, MMNS

Readers of The Muslim Observer are familiar with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), a humanitarian, charitable organization which addresses itself to the needs of Palestinian children in the Middle East.

On July 15, Huda El Masri Sosebee, the wife of Steve Sosebee, President and CEO of the PCRF, passed away after a brave battle with cancer. She was 46. Huda has left behind a grieving husband and two daughters, 12 year old Deema and 2 year old Jenna.

While Huda held the title of Director of Social work, she dedicated herself to the PCRF in its entirety and to the suffering children in the Middle East. Those who met her even briefly were inspired by her love, her energy, and her enthusiasm.

Huda was a proud and brave Palestinian Arab woman who herself to her work, even sending emails in her final weeks to insure that the work of the organization would not suffer.

Those who knew her feel blessed by their association.

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Highway Cleanup / HUDA Medical Clinic / Soup Kitchen at Detroit Muslim Unity Center

April 27, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Highway Cleanup by Canton Mosque

Canton—April 22—Several representatives of the Canton mosque (Muslim Community of the Western Suburbs) participated in a 2-hour cleanup of Rte. I-275 between Ecorse and Michigan Avenue as a part of MCWS’s “Adopt-a-Highway” program.
This year about 5 members of the community picked up trash alongside route 275, working from early in the morning until about 10 a.m on Saturday. Said Mr. Ahmad Siddik, an MCWS member who helped start the program, “At this point it is hard to get patches of highway that are close to urban areas—mostly what is available is far off the beaten track.” MCWS, however, was fortunate enough to obtain a prime patch of highway, only a few minutes’ drive from the mosque, convenient for the community and highly visible to the many commuters who use I-275.
The procedure for obtaining a patch of highway to care for is fairly simple: fill out an application and file it with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Thereafter, MDOT approves the application, issues a safety video and trash bags and hi-visibility fluorescent vests, and the group can begin to pick up trash along the highway at three designated two-week window-periods during the year. After each trash pickup session, the volunteers fill out a report and give that to their MDOT handler.
The government advises volunteers to use work gloves and workboots, to avoid stepping in bodies of water, and to avoid picking up very large or heavy pieces of debris, but to only mark those pieces for later pickup by MDOT personnel.
MCWS is responsible to pick up trash along their patch of highway in April, July, and September. They have maintained this program for two years, and have received a good response from the Muslim community for the event. During their last pickup session, about 15 volunteers spread the work over more hands and made the load somewhat lighter than this weekend’s effort. Still, this week’s effort was a successful one that resulted in dozens of white MDOT Adopt-a-Highway bags of litter being set aside for MDOT pickup.
For more information, contact MCWS at 734-467-7704 and leave a message for Ahmad Siddik.

HUDA Clinic Stretches Out a Hand to Those in Need

Detroit—April 22—The HUDA Clinic, in downtown Detroit at the Detroit Muslim Unity Center on Davison, has been in operation for about two years.
The clinic now sees about 30 patients a day, performing blood pressure checks, giving antibiotics, helping people with colds, with a staff of five to six rotating physicians. The clinic is open only on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm.
The main group of five doctors who are involved are of many different ethnicities: African American, from the subcontinent, Arabs. Other doctors come on a more occasional basis.
On a visit this past Saturday, about 15 patients of many different backgrounds—some Arabs, some Indians, some African American, some Muslim, some non-Muslim—were all waiting patiently to talk with local doctors.
According to third-year medical student Yusuf Qamruzzaman, who volunteers his services at the clinic, the clients are “mostly walkins,” who have heard about the clinic through word-of-mouth or through advertising in local newspapers. He explains that the budget of the clinic is between $20,000 and $40,000 annually, which pays for medications, rend for the building, and more. The money comes mainly in the form of grants, he explained, from the state government. He explained also that HUDA has a deal with the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) labs to do lab tests at reduced cost.
“I’ve been here since it started about two years ago,” says Qamruzzaman, “It’s very different now from how it was—we used to work a four-hour shift and maybe two or three people would come all day. Now we see maybe twenty or thirty patients a day.”
For more information about HUDA, please visit www.hudaclinic.com, or contact 248-470-3688.

Soup Kitchen Serves 125 People Every Week

Detroit—April 22—Very few mosques provide soup kitchens and free food to local people, but the Detroit Muslim Unity Center has that unique good quality among American mosques.
The program is run by Kabah Muhammad and Adel Muhammad, who serve about 125 people every week, giving that many boxes of food. The program is one that provides donations in two ways. First, visitors receive a warm meal prepared by Ms. Muhammad the previous evening, then, the visitors receive a box full of groceries donated by local grocery stores.
Ms. Muhammad is a kindly woman who radiates a sense of motherhood and warmth. Her husband Adel Muhammad is a dignified and quiet man who also provides security for the Detroit mosque.
Friday afternoons, several local grocery stores (Kroger, Farmer Jack) deliver food to the mosque. Mr. Adel Muhammad and his son Omar bag bread and fruit and vegetables, separating the food into different cartons.
At 11:30 am on Saturday, people come to the mosque and she serves lunch, including stir-fry halal beef, vegetables, chili, chicken, string beans, salad, meat from Sad’s halal meat market, and fruits and vegetables from different markets.
Then, after all have eaten a wholesome meal by Ms. Muhammad, they go home with a carton full of donated groceries from Kroger or Farmer Jack. -