Community News (V13-I46)

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Davidson students hear lecture on Islam

DAVIDSON,NC– Middle and high school Students at Davidson Day  School in North Carolina learnt about modern day Islam last week. The guest speaker Ahmad Shakur is the founder and director for the Center for the African Diaspora in Charlotte and director of development for the Museum of Muslim Cultures.

He discussed misperceptions of Islam, its history, and how some modern day conflicts are based on that history. He also visited an Islamic history class at the school and in which the students for their final projects are researching how Islamic history is impacting modern global issues.

“Middle school students really thrive in an environment that allows them to think about the world around them,” Mr. Coddington,a teacher, told the Davidson News said. “It allows them to think about themselves, take an issue that is relevant to their lives, and gain an educated perspective.”

Fast-a-thon held at Southern Methodist

DALLAS,TX–The Muslim Students Association at Southern Methodist University held its annual fast-a-thon on Nov.3. The funds raised this year for orphans around the world.
MSA President Khurram Taufiq told the student newspaper that  Fast-a-Thon allows college students to make a difference.

“We as students oftentimes can’t do a whole lot of donating to charities,” Taufiq said. “But Islam teaches us to always give back to the community what we can, regardless of the amount.”
According to MSA reps the SMU MSA has raised close to $1.2 million for various charitable activities in the last eleven years.

Fire doesn’t stop Wichita mosque

WICHITA,KS–A fire which gutted a Wichita mosque couldn’t deter are Muslims from holding their prayers.

The Islamic Association Mosque held its friday prayers outside the burned facility.  Its caught fire last Monday morning and flames gutted the inside.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Federal agents are leading the investigation to determine if the fire was an accident or a hate crime.  The Islamic Association had received threatening letters prior to their building catching fire.

Purdue holds Islamic Awareness Week

The Muslim Students Association at Purdue University held its second annual Islamic Awareness Week by hosting a variety of activities last week and its theme was “Exploring the Muslim World.”

The Muslim Student Association was excited to see a large increase in visitors this year compared to last, with more than 1,250 people visiting throughout the week.

The event aimed to educate others about the fundamentals of the Muslim culture and Islam, as well as correct common misconceptions, which revolved around theology and fine details. The bazaar, located in Memorial Mall throughout last week, hosted a variety of booths displaying different aspects of Islamic culture including food samples, henna tattoos and boards explaining the basics of Islam.

Boston University gets footbaths for Muslim students

BOSTON,MA–Muslim students at Boston University don’t have to worry about spilling the water while they do wudu on campus. The university’s Center for English Language and Orientation Programs has installed footbaths in its bathrooms, the BU Today reported.

Designed to accommodate Muslim students who must wash before prayer five times a day, the footbaths are available to everyone.

Elsie El Dayaa, CELOP’s operations manager, says the decision to add the footbaths fit nicely with the office’s planned remodel and its desire to meet the needs of its growing Muslim student population.

The number of Middle Eastern students enrolled at CELOP—many of them Muslim—has grown by 175 percent in the past four years and Middle Eastern students now comprise nearly 40 percent of the program’s total population, according to El Dayaa. That is due in large part to a significant increase in enrollment of Saudi Arabian students sent by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. Several other Muslim students come from Africa and Asia.

CELOP is so proud of its new facilities, El Dayaa says, that “now we’re known as the office that shows you its bathroom.”

The footbaths are a first for the University.

13-46

Community News (V13-I410

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Ali Asani named head of Islamic Studies program at Harvard

092409_Asani_015.jpgCAMBRIDGE,MA–Ali Asani, professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic religion and cultures and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, has been named the director of Harvard’s the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies.

Established in 2005, the program aims to foster understanding between the Islamic world and the West through scholarship, teaching, and educational programming. As director, Asani will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the program, proposing outreach efforts to promote informed education about Islam and providing overall direction with the help of the program’s steering committee.

A world-renowned scholar on Islam and Muslim cultures, Asani has worked with students and educators from Texas to Pakistan and served on theAmerican Academy of Religion’s task force on religion in schools. He lectures extensively on various aspects of the Islamic tradition. At Harvard, in addition to seminars for graduate students, he offers several general education courses on Islam and Muslim societies designed to educate undergraduate students about the dynamic relationship between religion and the complex contexts in which it is embedded. In 2002, Asani was awarded the Harvard Foundation medal for his efforts to improve intercultural relations through a better understanding of Islam and Muslim cultures.

Ali Shakouri appointed director of Purdue Center

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN– A leading researcher advancing efforts in thermoelectric energy conversion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been selected as the new Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University’s Discovery Park.Ali Shakouri, a professor of electrical engineering at UCSC, succeeds James Cooper, who has served as Birck’s interim director since March 2010 when former director Tim Sands was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue.

“Professor Shakouri is an internationally recognized leader in his areas of specialization in the research field of nanotechnology,” said Alan Rebar, executive director of Discovery Park and senior associate vice president for research at Purdue. “We are very pleased and excited to welcome him as the director of Birck, one of our cornerstones for interdisciplinary research here at Purdue.”

In addition to leading the Birck Nanotechnology Center, Shakouri will serve as professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“Birck Nanotechnology Center has propelled Purdue into the top tier of this exciting research field in just a few short years,” Shakouri said.

“The facility has been a major resource for recruiting some of the best and brightest faculty members and researchers to advance how nanotechnology can improve our lives. What an honor and a privilege to be joining an internationally renowned research university like Purdue and to lead one of the most advanced nanotechnology facilities on a university campus anywhere in the world.”

Shakouri has focused his research on nanoscale heat and current transport in semiconductor devices, high-resolution thermal imaging, micro refrigerators on a chip and waste-heat recovery. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the California Institute of Technology in 1995 and his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Telecom ParisTech in France in 1990.

He directs the Thermionic Energy Conversion Center, a multiuniversity collaboration including Purdue that is working to improve direct thermal to electric energy conversion technologies. This project is funded by the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Sciences Office at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA.

A part of the Quantum Electronics Group at UCSC, Shakouri also is working with colleagues in engineering and social sciences on a new sustainability curriculum. He initiated an international summer school on renewable energy sources in practice. Shakouri received the Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering in 1999, a National Science Foundation Career Award in 2000 and the UCSC School of Engineering FIRST Professor Award in 2004.Project researchers are exploring the capacity of nanostructured materials to channel the random jostling of heat energy into the orderly flow of electricity. The research has applications in advancing technology for electric-powered ships and other electric vehicles.

Murfreesboro mosque breaks ground

MURFREESBORO,TN– After years of controversy, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro broke ground on a new $1.8 million mosque on Wednesday,Channel 5 reports.
It may only look like a few shovels full of dirt, but to the members of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro it represents a new beginning.

“Murfreesboro is our town and I’m so happy we reached this point,” said supporter Safaa Fathy.

“We believe that if you love God you cannot hate anyone,” said Imam Osama Bahloul who has always known they would get here. “If you do what’s right you will achieve what you want,” he said.

13-41

Making Sense Out of Christian Evangelism

July 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

There are many Christian missionaries that are trying win souls to Christianity. One of them is Rev. Hicham Chehab, head of the Chicagoland Lutheran Muslim Mission Association (CLMMA). He is based in Chicago and is heading a campaign to convert Muslims in to Christianity. I have not been able to easily uncover any Zionist connections, which are obvious in the case of several other “former Muslim” spokespersons for pro-Israel organizations. In his facebook bio, Chehab does not state the Lebanese militia to which he belonged (or for which he was trained). It is critical information, and its absence could make all his claims dubious. It is certainly profitable to claim to be a former Islamic extremist now taking shelter in Christianity. However, nothing that I can find in the immediately accessible data can prove that his conversion was not sincere. His problems with Islam seem to be a result of upbringing and are very similar to other complaints among Muslims in Muslim cultures throughout the world.

Chehab attended the Islamic and Arab/Lebanese Nationalist Makased school system. His main issue with their approach to religion was this:

“After a few weeks in my Muslim school the teacher started giving us books that today we call political Islam. They said, the world is divided into two parts, the world of Islam and the world of Infidels.”

To be honest, it’s kind of hard to argue with this because there is at least one hadith saying as much. The issue of concern is interpretation and context. In my experience with Arab immigrant Muslims, their cultural interpretation of such verses tends to be vastly different than the way a college educated American Muslim would interpret it. It is possible, within the context of his political and educational status, that this type of teaching could have been perceived negatively by a sensitive person seeking higher truths. He may not have realized that there are other ways to interpret Islam.

When we hear about a Jew, who is tired of the “us versus them” mentality of the synagogue, accepts Islam, we rejoice. And yet, when a Muslim, who is tired of the “us versus them” mentality of the mosque, accepts Christianity, we grieve. I am not sure that we are in a position to judge in these matters, in many cases. If the person’s personal healing path leads them in a certain way, and inspires them to be a better person, only God truly knows if that is the path most suited to accessing God, given that person’s personal peculiarities. Chehab was clearly an emotionally conflicted individual, who made a choice to reject what his parents taught him and embraced a new spiritual path as a conscious choice. Maybe the version of Islam that his parents taught him was worthy of rejection. We can’t know. What we can’t deny is that Muslim activists study Bible verses to help them approach Christians with the intention of converting them to Islam.

I think every Christian has the right to preach the Gospel to anyone that is willing to listen just as every Jew has the right to preach the Ten Commandments and every Muslim has the right to teach about Islam. We argue with the best of arguments, and he who makes the most sense will gain the largest following.

The issue with this Muslim-Turned-Christian-Minister is that he was given a job to train immigration officials and also taught an anti-terrorism course to the Army Reserve. His connection with the government creates questions as to his actual motives. I think, as a majority Christian nation, it probably does help the US understanding when a former Muslim can explain Muslims to Christians using Christian language. But if you truly want to understand Islam, you also have to talk to someone who believes in it. That is where the CAIR complaint comes in. Maybe it’s not so much an issue of getting rid of the evangelist but of including more voices in the debate.

Islam is a beautiful religion. Christianity is also a beautiful religion, and they are intertwined. The interesting thing is, when you go to Palestine and observe the oldest Christian community in the world, you don’t see these boundaries between Islam and Christianity. Muslims and Christians intermarry, they give each other gifts on their respective holidays. When the Christians parade down the street in honor of the Virgin Mary, their Muslim neighbors join in. The Christians are as happy on Eid as anybody else. There is no conflict. Christianity is a very broad belief spectrum, in fact there are sects of Christianity that believe like Muslims do, that Christ did not die upon the cross.

It is so important for Muslims to love Jesus as all prophets, and especially the five holiest prophets, Prophet Muhammad (s) who is the best of them, and Jesus (as), Moses (as), Ibrahim (as), and Nuh (as).

13-31