Community News (V13-I26)

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Muslim-American Encyclopedia Racks Up Awards

communitynewspicThe “Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History,” has been named one of best reference books of 2010 by “Library Journal”; one of the top 40 reference titles of 2010 by the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association; an editor’s choice reference source by “Booklist” ; and an “honor book” by the Society of School Librarians International.

The recognition is gratifying for the encyclopedia’s general editor, Edward E. Curtis IV, Millennium Chair of Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies at IUPUI. “This is exactly the kind of attention we need to get this encyclopedia into public and school libraries, where the reference is really needed,” said Curtis.

Ten undergraduates and one graduate student from the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI are among the 125 contributors to the “Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History,” published in 2010. The IUPUI students contributed entries to the reference book by way of Curtis’ spring 2008 religious studies course on Islam in America.

A recent wave of Islamophobia, including protests over the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” in Lower Manhattan, a number of state legislative attempts to outlaw shari‘a, or Islamic law and ethics, and U.S. Rep. Peter King’s hearings in the House of Representatives on Muslim American “radicalism”, has helped to make Muslim Americans more visible and more vulnerable.

“Knowledge of the various contributions made by Muslim Americans to U.S. society” has never been more critical, according to one review of the encyclopedia.

“Many of today’s anti-Muslim sentiments express the idea that Muslims and their cultures are foreign to America,” said Curtis. “The encyclopedia shows instead how Muslims and Islam have been part of American life since before the republic was even founded.”

Several reviews of the “Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History” describe the reference as the first to chart the long history of Muslims in the United States.

“It is unique in that there is no other source that chronicles the history of Muslim-American experience so broadly,” states “Reference Reviews.”In addition to covering religion, the encyclopedia analyzes Muslim contributions to realms of American life such as agriculture, poetry, basketball, philanthropy, and politics.

According to Curtis, the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI deserves some credit for the reference’s success. “By creating an environment where public scholarship is rewarded rather than punished,” he asserts, “the school is helping to show how the liberal arts are essential to navigating today’s world.”

Halal poultry plant to add new jobs

PRINCESS ANNE, MD–Tauherr Poultry plans on bringing 15 to 25 jobs to Princess Anne. The company plans to use the recently purchased plant in the Princess Anne Industrial Park to process halal chicken.

Terrence Nichols, part owner of Tauherr Poultry, says he’s excited to help and bring jobs to the community. The facility in Princess Anne is already paid for. Nichols met with Somerset County town commissioners on Monday evening to explain his plans and inform them of the jobs the plant will create.

Nichols says the plant is looking to serve a niche market. Halal chickens are prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.

Naiyer Imam appointed to Stem Cell Assurance

JUPITER, FL–Stem Cell Assurance, Inc.  today announced it has created a Scientific Advisory Board and has appointed Naiyer Imam, M.D., M.Sc. to serve as an advisor. Dr. Imam will assist the Company in establishing strategic relationships with leading physicians, scientists, and medical institutions as well as participating in potential clinical trials and stem cell applications.

Dr. Imam received a Medical Degree at an accelerated program from Brown University, as well as a Bachelors of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. In addition, he obtained a Master of Science degree in Biostatistics at Harvard University. Dr. Imam completed his radiology training at USF in Florida and a neuroradiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, MD. His previous academic posting include Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and Professor of Radiology at Virginia Tech School of Medicine. Dr. Imam is well published in the medical and radiological literature as a physician, computer scientist and businessman.

Dr. Imam is currently serving as the chairman and CEO of Advanced Medical Imaging and Teleradiology, LLC — a new-generation teleradiology corporation that he founded in 2009. Dr. Imam is also the chairman of Gulf Advanced Imaging Corporation, a growing network of imaging centers based in Dubai, UAE. He has previously served as medical director for NightHawk Radiology Services, a publicly traded corporation, and chairman of American Teleradiology Nighthawks (ATN). He has previously served as chairman of Medical Imaging Specialists, a radiology corporation that he founded in Virginia, which served as a base for a number of imaging centers and surgical centers that Dr. Imam has either founded or developed.

Dr. Imam commented, “I am delighted to be involved with Stem Cell Assurance as a member of its Scientific Advisory Board. Stem cell science is a very exciting and evolving industry and Stem Cell Assurance is appropriately building its management and advisory team to ensure progressive strides in its research and clinical initiatives.”

Mark Weinreb, Stem Cell Assurance’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are very pleased to have Dr. Imam, a highly regarded physician and scientist, join our Scientific Advisory Board. His expertise in medicine, science and business will prove to be highly beneficial to the Company’s ongoing efforts in supporting our growth and expansion.”

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Drugs and Medicines in Historical Context

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

medical_marijuanaDid you know that George Washington used to grow marijuana on the White House lawn? America’s first president often spoke fondly of “female plants,” pointing obviously to marijuana’s medicinal uses. Benjamin Franklin, who avoided alcohol, was an ardent marijuana smoker. Did you know that up until World War II, American farmers could pay their taxes with hemp? Hemp, the mother of marijuana, is a native plant of every continent, and has been used during all periods of history to create rope, paper, cloth, oil, fuel, fiber, and medicine. Avicenna, the medieval Arab author of medicinal textbooks recommended marijuana, the hemp flower, for stomach ailments and many other health problems.

American, European, Asian and Arab-Islamic civilizations combined efforts during the 19th century to upgrade the standard of using drugs. The American Indians introduced the idea of smoking tobacco in a pipe to the world. Until then, Muslims had been using medicinal plants including hashish and opium by cooking them in food. The Arabs were so inspired by the New World to invent the water pipe. Using American tobacco, the Orient supplied the herbs, and a new world culture, a new economy began.

What does Islam say about drugs? According to hadith, if a person is ill, there is no sin on him whether he takes medicine to feel better, or if he chooses not to do so. During the 4th Caliphate, Muslims were introduced to drugs in the far regions of the expanding Islamic empire. But because of the deep fear of the sin of misinterpreting or over-interpreting scripture, there was no punishment for any medicinal plant other than fermented alcoholic beverages. Muslim governments never even destroyed vineyards. Even while wine is haram, grapes are not haram. Plants are protected by God.

Obviously, we have to give the Muslims credit for this. The use of the syrup from the poppy flower could kill a person’s pain making an amputation without huge physical trauma possible. Smoking marijuana could give a person dying from cancer the strength to write a book about his life. There is nothing more precious in this world than the ability to physically kill pain or nausea. God gave these things to us. Sometimes we can copy these medicinal effects in pill form. But the fact is, human beings want and require medicine. God gave us plants to reduce suffering. It is a crime against God to make a plant illegal. These plants save lives. These plants save the quality of people’s lives as well.

During World War II, the US used hemp fuel for their airplanes and tanks. Henry Ford actually created a car that was made entirely of cellulite from the hemp plant as well as ran on hemp fuel. It is an amazing idea, that American farmers could actually attain financial security growing the fuel that runs our cars! However, after the oil companies won the war, plant-based fuel became obsolete. The reason was because of Lobbyists.

Around the world today, you will still find many countries such as Canada, Indonesia and Malaysia growing hemp for industrial purposes such as oil or textiles. And it is an unspoken fact that marijuana is the top cash crop in the United States, year after year. People might pay up to $90 for 1/8 of an ounce of these flower buds. That is way more than any farmer could ever hope to get from parsley or chives.

When the Roman Emperor offered Maria and her sister to the Prophet Mohammed (s) as gifts, also included in the gift was some medicine. The hadith does not say what kind of medicine but it was probably opium or hashish given the time period. The Prophet Mohammed (s) returned the drugs and kept the girls. He freed from slavery and married Maria the Copt, who became his youngest wife, and he married her sister to one of his companions. This is the only hadith translated into English that specifically mentions drugs. In this hadith, the Prophet (s) said, “My Sunna is the best medicine.”
In a true Islamic society based on historical norms, drugs would not be illegal. They would be used for positive purposes. We would not distinguish between herbal vs. chemical versions of a medicine. People should be allowed to have access to whatever drugs make them feel better. This is a human right. Modern laws making all drugs illegal are neither halal nor beneficial to society. God gave us so many plants to help alleviate our suffering. It would be a rejection of His Mercy not to fully explore the medicinal properties of all the plants we have on earth.

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Microorganisms

April 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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Microorganisms are very tiny one-celled organisms, viruses, fungi, and bacteria, and are found everywhere in the world. They are found in all living things, plants and animal. There are more microorganisms on and inside your body than there are cells that make up your entire body. Microorganisms can live in the air, on land, and in fresh or salt water environments. Some of them, pathogens, can be harmful and causes diseases, but there are some microorganisms that are needed for living things to survive.

All of the living things, plant and animal, in earth’s environmental communities of forests, deserts, tundra, water, air, and all of the rest depend on the cryptobiotic crust or microbiotic layer in the soil. This is the layer of soil that most microbes live in. These microbe communities are made up of fungi, cyanobacteria and lichens. They look like a grayish cover on the ground when they are first forming, but do form in clumps of lichen that look like little hills after about 50 years of growth.

Microorganisms also are responsible for building fertile soil for plants to grow in. Microbes stick to the roots of plants and decompose dead organic matter into food for the plant to absorb. The plants that live and grow because of the microorganisms that live on them make a home for other animals to live in. Some microorganisms make people, animals, and plants sick, but others make people well and kill the bacteria on plants that make them sick. Drug companies that make medicines use hundreds of different microorganisms to make medicines that will help cure diseases. Human waste products are broken down into safer particles by some microorganism. Scientists are always looking for new ways to use microbes.

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Roots explained, for kids

April 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial (growing above the ground) or aerating (growing up above the ground or especially above water). Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either (see rhizome). So, it is better to define root as a part of a plant body that bears no leaves, and therefore also lacks nodes. There are also important internal structural differences between stems and roots.
The usually underground part of a seed plant body that originates usually from the hypocotyl, functions as an organ of absorption, aeration, and food storage or as a means of anchorage and support, and differs from a stem especially in lacking nodes, buds, and leaves
a part of the body of a plant that develops, typically, from the radicle and grows downward into the soil, anchoring the plant and absorbing nutriment and moisture.

•    Roots are the parts of plain that grow down into soil or water, anchoring it and soaking up all the water and minerals the plant needs to grow.
•    In some plants such as beetroots, the roots are also a food store.
•    When a seed begins to grow, its first root is called a primary root. This branches into secondary roots.
•    Roots are protected at the end by a thimble shaped root cap as they probe through the soil. How plants live
•    On every root there are tiny hairs that help it to take up water and minerals.
•    Some plants, such as carrots, have a single large root, called a taproot, with just a few fine roots branching off.
•    Some plants, such as grass, have lots of small roots, called fibrous roots, branching off in all directions.
•    Some kinds of orchid that live on trees have ‘aerial’ roots that cling to the branches.
•    Mistletoe has roots that penetrate its host tree.
•    Roots are delicious when boiled or pickled. The roots of the South African wild fig treecan grow 120 m down into the ground.

Early root growth is one of the functions of the apical meristem located near the tip of the root. The meristem cells more or less continuously divide, producing more meristem, root cap cells (these are sacrificed to protect the meristem), and undifferentiated root cells. The latter become the primary tissues of the root, first undergoing elongation, a process that pushes the root tip forward in the growing medium. Gradually these cells differentiate and mature into specialized cells of the root tissues.

Roots will generally grow in any direction where the correct environment of air, mineral nutrients and water exists to meet the plant’s needs. Roots will not grow in dry soil. Over time, given the right conditions, roots can crack foundations, snap water lines, and lift sidewalks. At germination, roots grow downward due to gravitropism, the growth mechanism of plants that also causes the shoot to grow upward. In some plants (such as ivy), the “root” actually clings to walls and structures.

Growth from apical meristems is known as primary growth, which encompasses all elongation. Secondary growthencompasses all growth in diameter, a major component of woody plant tissues and many nonwoody plants. For example, storage roots of sweet potato have secondary growth but are not woody. Secondary growth occurs at the lateral meristems, namely the vascular cambium and cork cambium. The former forms secondary xylem and secondary phloem, while the latter forms the periderm.

In plants with secondary growth, the vascular cambium, originating between the xylem and the phloem, forms a cylinder of tissue along the stem and root. The cambium layer forms new cells on both the inside and outside of the cambium cylinder, with those on the inside forming secondary xylem cells, and those on the outside forming secondary phloem cells. As secondary xylem accumulates, the “girth” (lateral dimensions) of the stem and root increases. As a result, tissues beyond the secondary phloem (including the epidermis and cortex, in many cases) tend to be pushed outward and are eventually “sloughed off” (shed).

At this point, the cork cambium begins to form the periderm, consisting of protective cork cells containing suberin. In roots, the cork cambium originates in the pericycle, a component of the vascular cylinder.

The vascular cambium produces new layers of secondary xylem annually. The xylem vessels are dead at maturity but are responsible for most water transport through the vascular tissue in stems and roots.

In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial (growing above the ground) or aerating (growing up above the ground or especially above water). Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either (see rhizome). So, it is better to defineroot as a part of a plant body that bears no leaves, and therefore also lacks nodes. There are also important internal structural differences between stems and roots.

The first root that comes from a plant is called the radicle. The three major functions of roots are 1) absorption of water and inorganic nutrients, 2) anchoring of the plant body to the ground and 3) storage of food and nutrients. In response to the concentration of nutrients, roots also synthesisecytokinin, which acts as a signal as to how fast the shoots can grow. Roots often function in storage of food and nutrients. The roots of most vascular plant species enter into symbiosis with certain fungi to form mycorrhizas, and a large range of other organisms includingbacteria also closely associate with roots.

In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial (growing above the ground) or aerating (growing up above the ground or especially above water). Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either (see rhizome). So, it is better to defineroot as a part of a plant body that bears no leaves, and therefore also lacks nodes. There are also important internal structural differences between stems and roots.

The first root that comes from a plant is called the radicle. The three major functions of roots are 1) absorption of water and inorganic nutrients, 2) anchoring of the plant body to the ground and 3) storage of food and nutrients. In response to the concentration of nutrients, roots also synthesisecytokinin, which acts as a signal as to how fast the shoots can grow. Roots often function in storage of food and nutrients. The roots of most vascular plant species enter into symbiosis with certain fungi to form mycorrhizas, and a large range of other organisms includingbacteria also closely associate with roots.

The distribution of vascular plant roots within soil depends on plant form, the spatial and temporal availability of water and nutrients, and the physical properties of the soil. The deepest roots are generally found in deserts and temperate coniferous forests; the shallowest in tundra, boreal forest and temperate grasslands. The deepest observed living root, at least 60 m below the ground surface, was observed during the excavation of an open-pit mine in Arizona, USA. Some roots can grow as deep as the tree is high. The majority of roots on most plants are however found relatively close to the surface where nutrient availability and aeration are more favourable for growth. Rooting depth may be physically restricted by rock or compacted soil close below the surface, or by anaerobic soil conditions.

When dissected, the arrangement of the cells in a root is root hair, epidermis, epiblem, cortex, endodermis, pericycle and lastly the xylem vessel in the centre of a root to transport the water absorbed by the root to other places of the plant.

In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial (growing above the ground) or aerating (growing up above the ground or especially above water). Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either (see rhizome). So, it is better to define root as a part of a plant body that bears no leaves, and therefore also lacks nodes.

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Horticulture

February 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagationand cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic engineering, plantbiochemistry, and plant physiology. The work particularly involves fruits,berries, nuts, vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs, and turf. Horticulturists work to improve crop yield, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects,diseases, and environmental stresses. Horticulture usually refers to gardening on a smaller scale, while agriculture refers to the large-scale cultivation of crops. The word is composite, from two words, horti, meaning grass, originating in the Greek χορτον, meaning the same (grass) and the word culture.

Horticulture has a very long history. The study and science of horticulture dates all the way back to the times of Alexander the Great, and has been going on ever since, with present day horticulturists such as Freeman S. Howlett, the revolutionary horticulturist. The origins of horticulture lie in the transition of human communities from nomadic hunter-gatherers to sedentary or semi-sedentary horticultural communities, cultivating a variety of crops on a small scale around their dwellings or in specialized plots visited occasionally during migrations from one area to the next. (such as the “milpa” or maize field of Mesoamerican cultures). In forest areas such horticulture is often carried out in swiddens (“slash and burn” areas). A characteristic of horticultural communities is that useful trees are often to be found planted around communities or specially retained from the natural ecosystem.

Horticulture primarily differs from agriculture in two ways, firstly it generally encompasses a smaller scale of cultivation, using small plots of mixed crops rather than large fields of single crops. Secondly horticultural cultivations generally include a wide variety of crops, even including fruit trees with ground crops. Agricultural cultivations however as a rule focus on one primary crop. In pre-contact North America the semi-sedentary horticultural communities of the Eastern Woodlands (growing maize, squash and sunflower) contrasted markedly with the mobile hunter-gatherer communities of the Plains people. In Central America, Maya horticulture involved augmentation of the forest with useful trees such as papaya, avocado, cacao, ceiba and sapodilla. In the cornfields, multiple crops were grown such as beans (using cornstalks as supports), squash, pumpkins and chilli peppers, in some cultures tended mainly or exclusively by women.

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