‘Eid in America!

September 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Staff

Eid_017

Most of the mosques in the US celebrated ‘Eidul Fitr on Tuesday August 30th, 2011, finalizing the festival of worship and celebration that was Ramadan of AH 1432.

In this issue is a series of reports from around the USA, where TMO reporters describe their own ‘Eid experiences.

The Bloomfield Hills’ Muslim Unity Center celebrated ‘Eid on Tuesday, filled to overflowing and forced to have three separate celebrations (at 8AM, 10AM, and 11AM).  These ‘Eid khutbas focused on keeping Allah in mind “whatever you do,” the imam arguing that if you keep Allah in your mind, that will prevent you from doing wrong.  The khutbah also focused on Tawhid. 

Children at the center had a very good time, as there were rides and slides, and plenty of good food, and a festive atmosphere permeated the atmosphere of this suburban mosque.

Other reports in this issue of TMO!

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Imam Latif Speaks at Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer

latif

April 17, 2011, Bloomfield Hills–Imam Al-Amin Abdul Latif, is a leader of the Islamic Leadership Council of NY, was the guest speaker for the evening program on April 15, 2011 at the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills MI. Imam Almasmari, the current imam of the center, introduced him.

The theme of his speech was on Mercy, Compassion and Guidance based on the life of our beloved Prophet (s). And through this he said, “I want to present to you the true picture of Islam”.

Giving examples from the life of Prophet (s) he said in a forceful and convincing way that we as a Muslim, respect life, but there are people in the east and the west who believe in destroying life with impunity.

This gives a bad name to Muslims all over the world.

A real Muslim is the one with whom the world feels blessed and safer, who believes in Mercy to the Muslims and to the non Muslims.

We are living in a difficult time, he said, but if we follow the path of our Prophet (s) in dealing with our women, children, neighbors, and those who disagree with us, we will make our communities and societies rise to a higher degree than what we are today. We must continue to strive for a better and safer world.

America is the only country in the world where people can exercise their rights freely. Giving the example of recent huge rally in NY he said, “Look, how people mingled, talked, shouted slogans and moved about fearlessly.” People in the rally hailed from all sorts of backgrounds, they hailed from different ethnicity, different countries, with different cultures, old, young, and some parents with their babies in strollers moved freely, talked and chatted with people unknown to them and even with the people from the law enforcement agencies, in spite of the fact that the whole atmosphere appeared to be highly charged.

He concluded by saying, “American society is an open society and because of current degradation of moral and social values the door for Dawah is wide open. We must utilize this opportunity by remaining on the path of Mercy and Compassion towards all as shown to us by our Prophet (s).

Imam Almasmari thanked the speaker for enlightening the audience and entertained questions from the audience.

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Bloomfield Imam Gives Lecture on Things Liked and Disliked by Allah

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

Bloomfield–April 16–Imam Al-Masry of the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center gave an educational lecture Saturday evening about the things that Allah likes and dislikes. 

The imam focused on honoring and respecting parents, neighbors, saying that Prophet (s) had said that being good to a neighbor was a clear sign of iman.  The imam spoke about avoiding pride and arrogance, saying that harsh proud men are men of hellfire. 

He gave the example of a man who in the time of Prophet (s) evicted another man from his home for not paying rent, and threw all of his furniture into the street–the man who evicted the renter complained to Prophet (s) because people were cursing him as they encountered the furniture in their way in the street, and Prophet (s) said that Allah had cursed him first for what he had done.
Another good characteristic the imam emphasized was that of serving others–he said that “we should not be embarrassed to serve others,” illustrating this with an example from the Prophet’s (s) life of when he helped an old woman by carrying her belongings.  When she spoke against him (not knowing who he was) and then realized who he was, she said “You were given the best of manners,” and immediately said shahada.

The imam encouraged people not to expose the good that they do, saying Allah doesn’t like that.  He said the hadith that seven will be shaded on the Day of Judgment, including those whose left hand doesn’t know what the right hand does,” meaning they hide their sadaqa.

The imam also quoted a hadith showing that hidden sadaqa is extremely powerful.

Another disliked action, the imam explained, was transgression–he said there is a line beyond which you must not go.

The imam spoke at length against betrayal.  He also spoke against waste and extravagance, and against looking slovenly.

Throughout his lecture the imam illustrated his arguments with examples.

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Day of Goodness

April 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, MMNS

P4178782 Southfield–April 21–Small fundraiser highlights up and coming local Muslim organizations, delivers goodness despite missing keynote speaker.

The Islamic Shura Council of Michigan’s “Day of Goodness” last Saturday night was deprived of its keynote speaker due to a problem with specialized visas. 

However, many prominent and active Muslims from local organizations still attended, perhaps showing more in quality than in quantity, with about 100 people present, but among those people perhaps 10 imams, and the leadership of the many organizations associated with the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan.

The event is essentially a fundraiser, and by the end of the evening it had earned approximately $75,000 towards its stated goal of $150,000.  The event was in a conference room at the Southfield Westin hotel on Town Center Drive.

ISCOM Chair Dr. Mouhib Ayas explained that intended keynote speaker Jamal Badawi’s visa did not permit him to speak at Not-for-profit fundraisers.  So Badawi was not able to speak despite his coming to Michigan from Canada, and despite his having given the khutbah at the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center earlier in the day.

ISCOM was established in 2005 as a non-profit umbrella organization with, according to the dayofgoodness website, “the mission of providing coordination between and building cohesiveness among the Islamic centers mosques, and organizations in Michigan.  The council works for the betterment of all Muslims, to advance Muslim interests, and to promote Islamic values.”

The chairman of the Board of Directors is Mouhib Ayas, and its Vice Chair is Arif Huskic.  Attorney Misbah Shahid is the Secretary, and several other prominent Southeast Michigan Muslims are also on the board–the executive assistant and first employee is Reheem Hanifa.

20 different mosques, comprising the majority of the major mosques in Southeast Michigan, including the biggest Shi’a mosque and most of the big Sunni mosques, are involved.

Dr. Ayas gave a long but interesting presentation with a slideshow demonstrating the accomplishments of ISCOM.  He pointed out the association of ISCOM with Gleaners Food Bank, and also showed the institutional progress the organization has made by hiring a grant writer to apply for available grants–this alone has netted thousands of dollars in projects and may likely bring more projects in the near future.  One project the grant writing process obtained was a $25,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield project.

One program he spoke about was the “Maintaining Houses of Allah” program, which is designed to address the disparity between the wealthy mosques and the mosques with less money that are sometimes dilapidated and run down for lack of funds.

In a moving presentation Dr. Ayas pointed to pictures, first of a wealthy mosque then of a more destitute mosque, saying “This is a house of Allah, and this is a house of Allah,” driving home the point that ISCOM is working to benefit Muslims who really need help in order to worship Allah in clean and nice mosques.

P4178785 Another ISCOM project is working with MSA’s, using them really as a lever to connect to non-Muslims in universities–”we need to start influencing minds when people are young.”  He explained the goal is to meet future leaders of this country early on, and Dr. Ayas gave examples of programs where non-Muslim students fasted (not during Ramadan) in order to understand the effects of fasting on Muslims.

Dr. Ayas explained also that in order for the institution to move forward, ISCOM needs to start hiring professional full-time people, and he gave the example of Mr. Reheem Hanifa who has begun working full-time for the organization.

Dr. Ayas also showed a fairly inspiring diagram which showed ISCOM as the hub of a wheel reaching about 15 different important Muslim organizations in Southeast Michigan, including Muslim Family Services, MSA’s, the Huda Clinic, Islamic schools, and more.

There was a presentation by a relatively new organization called Muslim Social Services, www.muslimsocialservices.com, whose mission is to extend the reach and value of social services to Muslims in Washtenaw County, Michigan. 

There was a strong fundraising effort by a young but dedicated medical student, Farhan Abdul Aziz.  He told a beautiful story of a Chinese Muslim who travelled to the United States and passed away knowing nobody, but who was able to be buried by Muslims because of the social service institutions that had been set up in the city in which she died, which drove home the vital importance of such institutions.

For more information about ISCOM, you can visit either www.islamicshuracouncil.com or www.dayofgoodness.com.  You can also contact Dr. Ayas at 248-705-9137.

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Stories of Friendship & Faith: The Wisdom of Women Creating Alliances for Peace

April 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

opening hearts, opening minds, opening doors

By Brenda Naomi Rosenberg

WisdomWomen_PROMOcover In Metro Detroit, a mostly segregated area of isolated and sometimes hostile communities, with almost every person affected by the failing economy, a devastated auto industry, sky- rocketing unemployment, an area where homes have been devalued by as much as 50%, I saw a spark of hope. A spark ignited with my friends from WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit), women who share my passion for opening hearts and opening minds, women who dare to cross boundaries to make friends. Together, we created FRIENDSHIP and FAITH; the WISDOM of women creating alliances for peace, a book that offers hope and the possibility of how we can create peace if we are willing to extend our hands in friendship and formulate meaningful connections.

Twenty nine of us, ages 20 to 80 from seven different faiths -Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i, Sikh, and Buddhist-collaborated for a year to produce a collection of inspiring stories, stories of creating friendships across religious and cultural divides. Stories that describe everything from surviving flat-out hatred—to the far simpler challenge of making friends with someone of a different religion and race when you share a hospital room; stories that describe making friends at school, overcoming misunderstandings with colleagues at work and even daring to establish friendships that circle the globe; stories that will lift spirits—perhaps even inspire people to spark a new friendship wherever they live.

Our Journey to create Friendship & Faith began on January 24, 2009, when 14 WISDOM leaders gathered for a retreat at the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, led by the Rev. Sharon Buttry, whose story appears in the book. The retreat was called “Building Bridges”. Together we explored ways to strengthen relationships between women and create innovative projects for the future. To deepen our reflections that weekend, we divided into pairs— I teamed up with Gigi Salka, a Muslim friend and board member of the Muslim Unity Center. Our first exercise was to draw the bridge that connected us. Our bridge was a beautiful rainbow of colors; filled with many of the interfaith and educational projects we had worked on together, including placing a mini Jewish library, a gift of the Farbman family, at the Muslim Unity Center.  I wanted to share not only our bridge-building efforts but all the stories in the room. I proposed a book of our personal stories of how we built bridges across religious and cultural divides, with the hope to inspire others to reach out and to expand the circle of WISDOM.

The group’s enthusiastic response led to a task force focused on gathering stories from dozen of women from diverse backgrounds. Our task force includes WISDOM members Padma Kuppa, Sheri Schiff, Gail Katz, Trish Harris, Ellen Ehrlich, Judy Satterwaite, Paula Drewek and me. We turned to another friend: David Crumm, (founding editor of Read The Spirit www.ReadTheSprit.com, an online magazine, and publisher of ReadTheSpirit Books. David not only published our book, but helped us expand our creative circle. We invited writers from a similarly wide range of backgrounds to help us. Some of the writers are still in college—and some are veteran, nationally-known writers.

As you open the book, you’ll meet my three dear friends; Gail Katz, (Jewish) Trish Harris, (Catholic) and Shahina Begg, (Muslim) who will invite you to sit down with them around a kitchen table. They’ll tell you about the creation of WISDOM – their meeting at an interfaith event, the documentary premier of “Reuniting the Children of Abraham” at Kirk in the Hills Presbyterian Church, and how WISDOM has developed into a dynamic women’s interfaith dialogue organization hosting many successful educational and social-service programs.

Many stories will feel like you’re witnessing events unfolding in your back yard – stories about overcoming tough problems with relationships at school—or finding solutions when families suddenly encounter friction over interreligious marriages. Other stories take you to times and places around the world that you’ll find so compelling—so memorable—that you’ll want to tell a friend – two girls in Iran risking the wrath of religious authorities with their interfaith friendship,  a Jewish woman, child of holocaust survivors, who finds an unexpected friendship when a German couple moves in next door – a Muslim-Hindu marriage that raises cross-country anxiety in India—and a rare true story about an innocent Japanese girl who bravely faced hatred  in an internment camp here and also in Japan during World War II.  You will read the heartfelt stories of personal struggles. One Muslim woman shares her story of how challenging it was for her to start wearing a head scarf after 9/11, and another about how she ended an abusive marriage, stopped wearing her head scarf and started helping other Arab woman in all their relationships. And, some stories like mine show how a lunch with an Imam led to creating an interfaith project  “Reuniting the Children of Abraham”  that has crossed race, faith, cultural barriers and  international boundaries.

Read our book with a friend or neighbor. Meet us online at our www.FriendshipAndFaith.com web site.  Look for our stories on www.ReadTheSpirit.com.,and our book on www.Amazon.com.  We would love to come to your congregation or organization and present our program 5 Women 5 Journeys, an insightful exchange about our faiths, beliefs and challenges as women. If you are interested in organizing a congregational –wide “read” of this book contact: Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net

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Southeast Michigan Upcoming Events

April 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

ACCESS:

Mark Your Calendars! Arab American Service Day is May 15

access Arab American Service Day 2010For the sixth year in a row, thousands of volunteers across the nation will come together on Saturday, May 15 to give back to their communities through service projects. You can be a part of this amazing event by joining ACCESS staff, volunteers and AmeriCorps to demolish a blighted house in the Old Redford neighborhood in Detroit, paint a mural and clean up a park. There also will be a Free Market with household items, perishables and clothing. ACCESS is partnering with Motor City Blight Busters and Lowe’s for Service Day. All ages are welcome. Contact Sue Makki, 313-842-1933 or smakki@accesscommunity.org or Arwa Algharazi, 313-843-2844 or aalgharazi@accesscommunity.org to sign up. See you there!

ACCESS 39th Anniversary Dinner

ACCESS intends to host its 39th annual anniversary dinner on May 1, 2010.  The event will show many of ACCESS’s sponsors and will host political  leaders from all levels (national, state, and local).  For questions, contact Rose Assi at rassi@accesscommunity.org or 313-842-4749.

ACCESS will honor Peter Tanous, founder of the American Task Force for Lebanon, at their dinner, with the Arab American of the Year Award.  He is an accomplished author and is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Other ACCESS Events

ACCESS sponsors many free and useful events, hosted mostly at their center in Dearborn on Sheaffer Street, which you can see on their calendar at (http://accfea.convio.net/site/Calendar?view=MonthGrid).

 

Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center

Monthly Dinner and Friday Night Lecture Combined:

Citizenship and Civic Engagement in a Non-Muslim Society, with speaker Jamal Badawi.

Bring your family Listen to Br. Gamal Badawi’s lecture and join other Muslim Unity center families

For: Our Monthly Dinner; April 16th; 7:00-9:00 P.M.; Pre- Registration is required; Advance Purchase Ticket Prices: $10/ Member, $12/ Non- Member; At the Door: $15.

BMUC Fundraiser

On April 24th, 2010, BMUC will hold a fundraiser.

* Tickets are available for sale at the office and with Br. Samer Soukfeh

* Ticket Prices: $500/ adult and $200/student

* No other fundraising activities will take place.

Artists!

The BMUC is seeking artists to display their work at the Open House this year.  For information, call 248-857-9200.

 

Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio to explore life of “Muslims in Michigan”

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan Radio is partnering with the University of Michigan Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies to launch a new project examining the religious, ethnic, and social lives of the state’s diverse Muslim population. This “Muslims in Michigan” initiative will consist of a five-part radio series, film events, speakers, and a community conversation.

The Muslims in Michigan radio series, which airs April 12-16, will explore topics such as sharia law, halal meats, and the construction of a new mosque in Grand Rapids. Additionally, Michigan Radio’s reporters will profile individual Muslims who have recently converted to Islam. The series will include contributions by reporters Jennifer Guerra, Sarah Hulett, and Dustin Dwyer. The station will broadcast these reports all next week during Morning Edition at approximately 6:20 and 8:20 am, and during All Things Considered between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

The Muslims in Michigan Community Conversation supplementing this radio series will take place on Thursday, April 15, at 7 pm at the Arthur Miller Theater on the University of Michigan’s North Campus. This event will be an opportunity for listeners and members of the community to learn more about Michigan’s Muslim population. Information about this event, and others associated with this project, can be found at muslimsinmichigan.org.      

 

CIOM

MuslimFest, presented by Soundvision

On April 11th at 4PM, there will be a large event insha`Allah at Burton Manor in Livonia.

Soundvision is sponsoring “Muslimfest,” with keynote speaker Tariq Ramadan, who will speak on the subject of “Jihad within Young Hearts:  Toward a Positive Engagement.”

The event is billed as “an inspiring family evening to think together for our future in America.  This fundraising dinner will include a multimedia presentation on the alarming findings of latest research regarding Muslim youth in America and some innovative strategic thinking to meet the new challenges.  Tariq Ramadan books will be available as well.

All those purchasing admission will also receive a Tariq Ramadan book.  Ticket price is $100 per adult, student discount is $50.  Children 2-9 can enter for $15 per child.

For more information, see www.soundvision.com/TariqRamadan.

There will also be a Mini MuslimFest for Muslim children, with the mascot Adam from Adam’s World.  There will be live interactive storytelling, film clips on a 96 sq. ft. screen, dinner, and “much more.” 

For more information please see www.soundvision.com/Muslimfest.

You can also volunteer for the event:  www.soundvision.com/about/volunteer.asp

Obama’s America & the Muslim World

ISPU is hosting a dinner on April 24th at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn (600 Town Center Dr., Marquis Ballroom) at 6PM.  The keynote speaker is Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan.  His most recent book is Engaging the Muslim World, and he also recently authored Napoleon’s Egypt:  Invading the Middle East.  He has been a regular guest on PBS’s Lehrer News Hour and has also appeared on ABC Nightly News, Nightline, the Today Show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, Countown with Keith Olbermann, Democracy Now! and many others.

He has appeared several times in The Muslim Observer as well.

For more information you can contact Sadia Shakir at 1-800-920-ISPU or 1-800-920-4778.

Al-’Aqabah Islamic Community Center

Al-’Aqabah Islamic Community Center (AICC) announces that their offer to purchase a 6,308 ft2 building in central Detroit was accepted.  The building is intended as a Musalla and a social hall for the community.

According to the CIOM email statement, “AICC was founded by Imam Mika`il Stewart Saadiq (an educator for over ten years and student of the late Imam Luqman Abdullah).  Masjid Al-’Aqabah is committed to serving the social and religious service needs of the people.  AICC has a critical program with practical objects.  AICC is currently raising funds to purchase the new building; the total price is $275,000 minus the $76,000 needed to occupy the space.”

You can speak with Imam Mika`il at 313-717-8921.

Islamic House of Wisdom Fundraiser

The Islamic House of Wisdom (IHW) will hold a fundraiser on April 25th at 3PM at 22575 Ann Arbor Trail, Dearborn Heights.  The ticket donation is $50.

 

CAIR

CAIR Arranges for Forensic Pathologist to Review Imam Luqman Autopsy and Photos

After months of delay, CAIR-MI on Friday was given seventy-five autopsy pictures of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, including pictures of his corpse laying in a trailer, by the Wayne County Medical Examiner.

The autopsy report and photographs will be turned over to a renowed forsenic pathologist this week for the purpose of obtaining an authoritative independent review.

 

Islamic Shura Council of Michigan

The Islamic Shura Council (ISCOM) is sponsoring its annual “Day of Goodness” on Saturday April 17, 2010 at 5:00 PM at the Westin Hotel, 1500 Town Center, Southfield Michigan. 

The theme is “bringing out the goodness of the ummah for the betterment of all,” with keynote speaker Dr. Gamal Badawi.

ISCOM intends to use money raised to support its normal projects including Muslim Family Services, Huda Clinic, various soup kitchens, Food Pantry Program, Humanitarian Day, and more.

Contact Mouhib Ayas at 248-705-9137.

 

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Secrets of Qur`an: Dr. Mohammad Ramzi

January 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, MMNS

P1158647

Bloomfield–January 20–BMUC hosts Friday night events at which different personalities have the opportunity to explain their businesses that relate to the community, or to explore religious issues, or to give lessons to the community.

Dr. Mohammad Ramzi is a pillar of Michigan’s Muslim community–a prominent doctor like so many from the Muslim community, Dr. Ramzi is also a professor at Wayne State University who in 2008 won a prestigious $1.3 million grant to seek a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Ramzi is no stranger to the Muslim community, as a prominent and dynamic fundraiser, he has collected literally millions on behalf of local Muslim organizations. 

Dr. Ramzi also studies Islam, and it was in furtherance of this study that he taught at a meeting last Friday night at the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center.  The doctor explored several different scientific aspects of the Holy Qur`an, echoing the previous work of Dr. Maurice Bucaille, a French doctor (1920 – 1998), the previous family physician of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and a convert to Islam.  In his book The Bible, The Qur`an and Science, Bucaille had explored many of the scientific revelations of Qur`an, impossible to see physically and unknown to the most modern science of the era into which the Qur`an was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s).

Dr. Ramzi explored several verses including An-Noor:40, which discusses light in the ocean; he said that no person could physically explore the ocean in 632 AD, and yet Qur`an accurately describes light in the depths of the ocean.

He described Ar-Rum:  48, in which the formation of clouds and rain are described, saying that winds blow across water, forming small clouds which aggregate into large clouds–Dr. Ramzi explained this is also the finding of modern science.

Also Dr. Ramzi explored An-Naba:14-16, which describes mu’sirat (translated clouds) but which in Arabic he said means huge clouds of a type which he argued are not seen at all in Arabia but which are seen above rain forests in Africa and South America.

The doctor also explored the verses showing the scientific fact of divisions existing between salt water and fresh water where rivers meet oceans, and also the divisions between different bodies of salt water where they come into contact–he explained that only recently has modern science arrived at the truths given in Holy Qur`an 1400 years ago.

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Hojjaj Party at Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center (BMUC)

January 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, MMNS

P1108645 Bloomfield–January 10–Many Muslims made the hajj pilgrimage this year from the Southeast Michigan region, and so the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center had a party this past Sunday night to celebrate their noble accomplishment.

About 150 people were present at the function which was in mood more spiritual than most of the other functions at the center.  The marks of hajj were in fact visible on some of the attendees, many of whom had shaved their heads at the end of the hajj and were still growing back their hair.

Imam Musa explained to TMO that “This year there were less people because of swine flu.”

BMUC presented small token gifts to about 10 people who recently came back from hajj, and a slide show played through the event, showing familiar faces and familiar places that one might not have seen together before, like Imam Musa on Arafat for example.

The Hojjaj party gave a chance for each of the hojjaj to present a few brief words either of advice, of admiration for having made hajj, or of lessons learned from making the hajj.

P1108646 One piece of advice was to make the hajj while one is still young because in fact it is a demanding exercise.

Many of the returning hojjaj remarked that they didn’t feel the exhaustion from the trip until after their return to home, because of having been so overwhelmed with fascination during their trip.

“Don’t stay away too long from this place,” advised one returnee.  “Come back in a year or two.”

One man said, “It is very hard to explain the feeling of seeing the Kaaba for the first time–it is something that comes from the heart.”

One returnee was moved to tears, and said “I was amazed what Prophet (s) did for all of us.”

The Unity Center will have an umra trip early this April.

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Southeast Michigan Community Events

December 31, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

IONA Conference:

The modern western world has adopted and advocates the system of secularism or the concept of separation of Church and State. Is Islam compatible with such a system? Is one’s Ibadah complete by adhering to the pillars of Islam? What does the word Deen imply? The conference is organized to answer such questions and elaborate on the concept of deen in our faith.

Featured speakers: Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-Michigan; Amir Abdul Malik Ali, Islamic Activist, Oakland California; Mustapha Elturk, Ameer of IONA.
Saturday Januray 2, 2010, 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM; at IONA Masjid; 28630 Ryan Rd (S. of 12 Mile Rd.); Warren, MI 48092; Admission: FREE.

Pizza. (586) 558-6900, outreach@ionaonline.org.

BMUC Free Dinner on January 2nd, 2010

Dinner:  The Bloomfield Hills Muslim Unity Center will be holding a complimentary Dinner for the community on Saturday January 2nd, 2010 at 7:00 P.M.
Bring your family and enjoy the company of other Muslim Unity Center Families.

To reserve your spot, please call the office at 248 857 9200 Monday-Friday 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Pre-registration is required.

BMUC Girls Group New Session January 8th, 2010

Youth Group–The New Girls Group Session registration is now open.

The Session will run from January 8th- March 12th at $100/child.

For more information &/or registration please contact Mie El Bohy or Besmah Asbahi.

You can also register at the Office.

BMUC Hojjaj Party January 10th, 2010

Hajj–If you know anybody who went to Hajj this year please contact the Unity  Center office at 248 857 9200 with his or her name & contact information so that we can invite them to the Hojjaj party.

The Hajj party will be held on January 10th.  Light appetizers and dessert will be served.

BMUC Spring Omrah Trip

* The week of April 5th, 2009
* Details will follow soon.
* For reservation, please call Br. Fadi at: 248 561 1291.

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Southeast Michigan (V11-I49)

November 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

eid carnival 2009 Detroit ‘Eid Carnival 2009/1430

Sunday, November 29, 2009 (The 3rd day of Eid al-Adha)

12:00pm-6:00pm at Rock Financial Showplace in Novi

(46100 Grand River, Novi, MI 48374)

For more information contact: carnival.eid@gmail.com or your local community leaders

The new website will be launching very soon at http://www.eidcarnivaldetroit.com

Limited Tickets: Register in advance at www.eidcarnival.com (on line registration begins 11/13)

Tickets: $10/person or $40/family (includes 2 parents + their children) for admission, parking, and unlimited rides

‘Oudhiya Program

Many local mosques are participating in the Michigan Oudhia/Qurbani,  a collaborative program among major Islamic centers in Detroit area. The meat will be donated locally to needy families and to soup kitchen in Southeast Michigan.

To participate in this local program you can:

- Donate on line by loging into www.muslimunitycenter.org  and clicking  the Buy now link

- Mail your check to the unity center ASAP and write in the memo section write “Michigan Oudhia)

-Pay by Credit card at the Muslim Unity Center’s office or by calling 248 857 9200.

Bloomfield Unity Center ‘Eid Prayers (Friday 11/27)

Eid Program:

8:15:First Eid prayer

9:45: Second Eid Prayer

10:30 Eid Breakfast and kids program

1:40 Jumaah Prayer(the first Jumaah prayer will be cancelled the day of Eid)

IONA ‘Eid Prayers

IONA is following FCNA on the issue of ‘Eidul Adha, and FCNA in turn is following Saudi Arabia’s announced days for hajj as determinants of when ‘Eidul Adha falls. 

This is also the conclusion of the European Council of Fatwa and Research.

‘Eidul Adha at IONA will be at 8 AM at IONA center

· In order to lessen congestion in the parking lots, we ask you to car pool. Once IONA’s parking lot is full, it will be closed and you will be directed to park at King Plaza’s BACK parking lot. Additional parking is at the Professional Medical Building (behind King’s Plaza by 12 Mile Rd.) Please use the back end of their parking lot.

· Please park in the designated parking areas only. Please do not park illegally. Parking on people’s driveways or streets is not allowed.

- Absolutely no praying outside the building.

·  No food will be served after the Eid prayer. Please DO NOT bring food of any kind nor any drinks to the center.

· We ask you to keep your children with you at all times.

“We look forward to your cooperation. Have a blessed and happy Eid.”

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Imam El-Amin Upbeat After Loss in Detroit City Council Primary

August 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

charles pugh
Detroit City Council frontrunner, Fox 2 news reporter Charles Pugh.

Detroit–August 5–Imam El-Amin of the Muslim Unity Center appears largely unfazed by the setback of not winning the primary for the Detroit City Council.

Speaking with TMO this morning, Imam El-Amin explained that he had not won; however he explained that his next column for TMO would be about accepting Allah’s will, which is an important and sometimes difficult decision to make, as here, when things have not gone the way we intended.

While many who engage in politics immediately lose their moral compass once they smell the possibility of success and a fat government paycheck, not so Imam El-Amin.

He explained to me on the eve of the election that “I’m not worried about [the notable people in the election] because we don’t know who’s going to be running, and actually it doesn’t matter–because I just want people to vote for me.  I’m not running against them, I’m running for me.”

The imam met with early success in his bid for the city council spot, collecting 800 signatures–in a weekend–for a petition that required 458 to qualify to run.
In fact, he explained that he  only ran after having been asked to run for the office by a group of Muslims and non-Muslims.

The imam had a core group of approximately 10 volunteers and a larger group of “about 50  or 60” altogether, who worked hard to help him meet people, knock on doors, and pass out flyers.  He was able to build an election budget of over $10,000 with minimal time–in the space of less than three months of campaigning.

He received the endorsement of Reverend Nicholas Hood, a former city councilman, who is in Detroit a relative political heavyweight although he did lose in his mayoral campaign to both Ken Cockrell Jr. and Dave Bing.

El-Amin portrait The campaign was destined to be difficult, as a few minutes’ analysis before the primary could have told you.  Approximately seven incumbent city councilmen intended to hold their seats, and outside of that group there were about 9 very serious contenders for the city council spots from among the former mayoral candidates who had already lost in the mayoral election–of those, all of the politically connected and experienced candidates unclouded by legal action passed the initial 18-person threshold.  There were several other serious political contenders with their irons in the Detroit fire on Tuesday, and it looked like a tough race.

Detroit has a unique political structure, in that it is perhaps the only major city in the nation that chooses nine “at-large” councilmen who are elected by the entire city, without leaving any seats apportioned by district.  The city is not divided into polling districts in order to elect councilmen.  The top vote-getter serves as president of the council, and the second vote getter serves as president pro tempore. 

If the poll numbers from the primaries hold true through the November election, those two spots will be held by, respectively, Charles Pugh and Ken Cockrel Jr.  After the 2005 poll, Cockrel was the president and Joann Watson was the president pro tempore.

The field of candidates in August 2009 was approximately 167 people vying for the city council positions.  Former Fox 2 reporter Charles Pugh was the top finisher with 9% or 59,560 votes.  The formerly dominant Ken Cockrel Jr. was in second place, followed by former Detroit Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown (who helped set in motion the downfall and disgrace of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick via text-messaging fiasco).

The eighteenth out of those vying for one of the nine seats was John K. Bennett, who won 8,164, or about 1%, out of the total 84,000 voters who cast ballots  (because each voter can vote for nine people).  There was approximately a 15% voter turnout.

John Bennett expressed some dismay as to his eighteenth place finish, tempered with the sweetness of passing this first threshold- “It’s kind of bittersweet, I’m happy to be 18,” he said.  “But some of those people ahead of me have not campaigned at all.  I’ve been out here busting my tail for 23 months.”

Two incumbents, under fire for ethics allegations, lost the primary, Monica Conyers and Martha Reeves.

Detroit city councilmen earn approximately $81,000 per year as compensation for the four-year post–on a par with Michigan state legislators, who are among the highest paid state legislators in the nation.

The mayoral election, absent any major revelations or missteps, appears to be a nearly sure thing for Dave Bing, who is still fresh from his most recent contest with Ken Cockrel Jr. for the seat vacated by Kwame Kilpatrick.

11-33

MYNA Association Meets at Bloomfield’s Muslim Unity Center

December 6, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, MMNS

Bloomfield Hills-November 30-Speak to people on the level they understand. This seems to have been the theme that underlay an engaging speech given by Michigan State University sophomore Tammam Alwani to a packed room of about 50 students and parents at the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center this past Friday evening.

Mr. Alwan covered several points very well, emphasizing that speaking about Islam with non-Muslims is a necessity–”We must speak to them to survive.”

He challenged points which are essential, namely that in speaking with others we should not take an absolutist position, instead respecting the necessary differences of outlook that exist even within the Muslim community. He explained that Muslims should not use Qur`an as proof in speaking with non-Muslims, since those non-Muslims obviously do not accept Qur`an so will not believe arguments based on it. He emphasized the importance of neither fearing exposure to non-Muslims nor completely abandoning our way in favor of their way–instead we should engage with non-Muslims with wisdom.

The young people started out very engaged in his speech, speaking frankly with him and listening closely. After the early part of the meeting, adults peppered Mr. Alwan with questions and reactions and the children faded to silence.

Speaking of the reason for the meeting, Dr. Muhammad Kashlan, the President of the Unity Center, explained that “We want to develop youth leadership in the center–we want to prepare good leaders” to take over for us after we are gone.

9-50

Save the US Ummah!

March 15, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

Bloomfield—March 10—Jeffrey Lang, converted Muslim and prolific author, spoke passionately this past Saturday night at the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center on the need and methods to keep our children within the fold of Islam.

About 300 people packed the banquet facilities at the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center, by far the biggest crowd this reporter has seen at the facility.

Lang, professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas, is an important intellectual voice in the American Muslim community. Lang was born January 30, 1954 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Born Catholic, he went through several phases of belief through his sincere quest for belief in the truth; during periods of agnosticism and atheism, before he accepted Islam, he had recurring and comforting dreams of himself performing the communal prayer—this was eventually to become reality, as Professor Lang did in fact become a Muslim in the early 80s.

Lang has written four books addressing the core problem the American Muslim community faces, that of the disaffection of American Muslim youths and converts with what they see of the practice of Islam in their local communities and mosques. His books include Struggling to Surrender (1994), Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America (1997), and Losing My Religion: A Call for Help (2004).

While Islam may be the fastest-growing religion in America, he said, it may also be the fastest-shrinking. He began his speech with an engaging and essential statement, that while perhaps 80% of Muslims in the United States are native-born, either coming to Islam through conversion or birth to Muslim parents, the population at any communal mosque service has only a minimal percentage of such native Muslims—typically even less than 1% of the active membership in most mosques. Therefore, “by the most essential measure,” our situation is very bleak. The main purpose of his speech was to describe what has brought about the disaffection on the part of those who have left their mosques in droves, so that the community can redress the grievances that drive people away from the mosques.

The professor explained the fundamental process by which young Muslims distanced themselves from the religion—as they grew up they had many deeply painful and viscerally felt experiences relating to their own Muslim community, which led them in later life to a visceral distaste for the community. Converts did not at first have this visceral reaction to problems in the community, but developed it over time. One experience at a time, the community delicately hammers away at converts, until they feel at a visceral level unwelcome, and—frequently—leave.

Lang’s essential solution lay in refraining as Muslims from imposing questionable “Shari’ah” interpretations on newcomers to Islam. Confronted with just the five pillars, he said, many people will already be unwilling to change their lives to fit Islam. If Muslims approach newcomers to Islam with immensely heavy and debatable “Islamic law” they will drive away the remaining people who would have been willing to practice Islam–they would have prayed, made hajj, abstained from what is plainly haram.

Lang explained that his interest in the subject began about two decades ago, when a brother at his local mosque, after they prayed ‘isha together, explained in tears that, “Brothers, I lost him—I have lost my son.” Not to death, but to a life without real devotion to Islam. This story, of course, has been repeated many thousands of times in other American Muslim families since then. In reaction to this event, Lang wrote his first book about Islam, Struggling to Surrender—he received many letters from other converts, who he said had followed a similar trajectory to his own on becoming Muslim. They accepted Islam with spiritual ecstasy, went through a period of extremism as they learned the extreme views of the religion from the most vocal members of their communities, then—many times—went out of the religion as they were faced with cultural barriers and inconsistencies in the way that Islam was portrayed to them.

Under pressure from the Muslims he knew to not ask the questions that had originally brought him to Islam, he wrote Even Angels Ask, about the basic fundamental challenges to belief that many born Muslims find so disturbing that they really cannot face, but which he said must be faced in dealing with young American Muslims whether they are converts or 2nd generation Muslims in America. In reaction to this book he started to uncover a great hidden mass of people within America, second-generation Muslims, disaffected by what they saw of Islam in their homes and communities, unable to find answers to the basic questions of belief that they encountered as they grew up in a secular but—in many ways—just society. In reaction to their letters and emails, he wrote Losing My Religion—based on opening the basic issues that came up in his correspondence with these youth who found themselves confronted with the impossibility of opening fundamental issues with their home communities (parents and imams). When these youth tried to bring up fundamental issues with parents or imams, they were called “kafir” or sometimes instructed to hide their disaffection from the community they were in—to hide their fundamental questions of belief for the sake of appearances in their parents’ social community.

Lang said that growing up, Muslim youths go through a process of imbibing the ethos of America at a deep level, building their fundamental assumptions on the American ethos which many times, he pointed out, is fairer than their own communities (not to say Islam) on issues important to them—for instance race. Living astride two cultures, they grow up going through a psychological process of trying to accept only those parts of each culture that do not conflict with the parts of the other—and they end up with fundamental questions about the assumptions and lifestyles of their parents.

The essential questions that our own Muslim people face and question within Islam are the following, in descending order of their impact on disaffected youths: (1) the treatment of women in American Muslim communities, (2) the cultural chasm between mosque culture and the culture of the outside world, (3) in Lang’s words “problems with traditional theology,” (4) the perceived race problem of the Muslim community in America (which he said caused many converts to leave the community).

Lang was at pains to say that the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center is in fact an enlightened mosque which has as a part of its charter 30% of its board members women, and is very friendly to Muslim women.

Issues he described with the treatment of women were first that the issue of “segregation” of women is a charged issue in America, so any time women are asked to go to a separate, inaccessible and inferior part of the mosque for their prayers, the psychological effect on converted women is immense. Young Muslims saw their mothers and other women discouraged from attending the mosque, asked to attend parts of the mosque that were “small, poorly maintained, and dangerous to children.” Women are denied positions of power in the mosques, except there is a frequent practice of allowing one woman to act as a token representative to the men who run each mosque. Muslim women are sometimes viciously unwelcoming to newcomers—he told the story of how one woman he knew was accused, her first time entering a mosque, of having come only to find and marry a Muslim man. The social structure among American Muslim women, he said—based on his experience with American mosques, his family’s experience, and with his contact with the community—is hierarchical as follows: Muslim newcomers to the US are accepted directly proportional to the inverse of their time in the US (if they arrived yesterday they have higher status than if they arrived 2 years ago), then children of the first generation are in a group considered behind that first group, then converts come after that; race and color are also factors in this hierarchy. An essential problem is that American converts to Islam are treated as third-class people in their own country when they try to integrate with the community. Discouraged from attending the mosque, these women are extremely isolated when they convert to Islam. Despite this, he said, women were actually the best and most devoted Muslims, “hanging on by their fingernails” to this religion.

He described his own mother’s once-interest in Islam: after she visited the community and was asked to attend prayers in a separate dirty room accessed only with difficulty, she told him, “There is no place for me in this religion.” He also explained that while he had tried to raise his daughters with abundant contact with the mosque he had reached a point where other men in his community would try their best to dissuade them from attending the mosque.

The second problem Lang perceived was the divisions in Islam by ethnicity—a different mosque for each ethnicity. Each has its own culture which it imposes on newcomers as “Islam;” violation of the norms of that culture will lead to ostracism or verbal attacks by that community.

The third problem, he said, is “problems with traditional theology.” He said that young people receive no answers to their questions. When they use mainstream resources to find answers to their questions their minds end up in the hands of people who hate Islam and provide information with a view to undermining the Muslim community—for instance, if a child does a search on “women in Islam” he/she will likely end up at virulently anti-Muslim sites—which in fact are most of the sites available on the issue. If they go to the library or to their educational institutions they face the same problem. Muslim scholars, he said, should make themselves available to US Muslims so that the latter can find legitimate answers to their questions.

Lang’s arguments relate to an important point, which is that studying Islam from non-Muslims has none of the light associated with it that has been transmitted from Muslim to Muslim from the time of the Prophet (s).

Finally, he hinted that the Muslim community in the United States must recognize its fundamental race bias. In supporting his perception of bias he recounted his own experience of converting Islam to the rapturous love of his surrounding community, while African American converts of similar background were ignored by the community. He pointed out that at his mosque, white converts were celebrated and remembered regardless of their piety or commitment, while African American converts frequently went ignored and unknown in the community.

Professor Lang’s speech was deeply troubling to many members of the community, challenging as it did many of their fundamental beliefs relating to Islam and challenging also many of their habits, traditions, and beliefs. While his core point is valid and requires attention, Muslims must maintain a balance between their belief and their assimilation with mainstream American culture—that balance should be struck in a way that accommodates American/Western culture better than we do. His speech’s essential truth shows that we have failed to strike that balance, and instead have perhaps lost an entire generation due to our blindness to our own flaws.

9-12

Friends in Difficulty

April 27, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Friends in Difficulty
By Dr. Aslam Abdullah
A few months ago, the Muslim community lost Syed Salman —now comes the news that Dr. Dilnawaz Siddiqui is on a ventilator and fighting a crippling illness. We hope that Dr. Siddiqui will recover soon and join us again in the ongoing struggle for Islam in this country.
But we acknowledge the reality that in front of God’s Will nothing works. We accept His divine will for determining the destiny of people He creates.
Both Syed Salman and Dilnawaz Siddiqui are true gifts of Allah for humanity. Salman, through his dedication and sincerity, served the community to the fullest and until his last moment was ready to give all he had for Muslims.
He was active in the local Muslim community in Detroit and his contribution in national and international arena was of no small significance. He worked to bring people together. He struggled to help the poor, neglected and impoverished masses in the world, especially in India.
He was involved in the movement for an educational renaissance of Muslims of India, and he was concerned about the plight of the so called untouchables all over the world. He led a full life. He certainly would have no regrets for the time he spent in serving people and His Creator and most certainly His soul must be happy for what he did in life. This is what God wanted him to do and this is what he did. We are grateful to God for giving him to us and inspiring us to work with him. He lives on in his work and in his contributions in the field of Muslim unity.
Dr. Dilnawaz Siddiqui is in critical condition, and we hope that he will come out of the situation healthy. But if so, his recovery will take a long time. He too was vibrant and dynamic during good health. He too was eager to serve his religion and his community.
He has not neglected his responsibilities toward His Creator while he was working as a professor or researcher. He would use his spare time and weekends imparting the knowledge he had gained to his community.
His absence from the active work will be greatly felt. But his dynamism and vibrancy lives through his work. He too must be content with the contribution he made to help his community gain a respectable position in this country.
These are the people who have done their best to serve us all and above all to serve God Almighty. The question that we must ask is what do we do to honor them?
The least we can do is to remember them in our prayers, and to make their families know that their contribution is appreciated and acknowledged. Above all, we can try to institutionalize the values they tried to practice throughout their life.
Moreover, we must constantly remind ourselves that we too will be recalled one day by Allah Almighty. We must also realize that the moment could be sooner than later. Thus we must hurry up doing good that is required from us.
They didn’t wait for tomorrow to do good. They did good at the time available to them and they did it (and Dilnawaz may continue to do so) with humility and dedication. Thank you, friends, for doing what you did and thank you for being part of our lives—Dilnawaz, we hope you will recover.