Shaik Jeelani Receives Presidential Honor

December 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

communitynewspictureTUSKEEGEE, AL–Dr. Shaik Jeelani,  Vice-President for Research and Sponsored Programs at Tuskeegee University, was honored with the Prediential Award for  Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.  He received his award at a White House ceremony on Dec. 12. 

Administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring is awarded by the White House to individuals and organizations in recognition of the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering–particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields.

Dr. Jeelani who has an impressive resume has contributed in many ways to the development of programs at Tuskegee. Dr. Jeelani played a leading role in the development of various curriculums and infrastructure in the School of Engineering and Architecture. He spearheaded the Infrastructure and curriculum development in the School of Engineering and Architecture through a $2.50 million grant from the Army Research Office. This effort resulted in the university’s obtaining full (six years) ABET accreditation for all its Engineering programs. He also wrote the proposal for funding of the first Endowed Chair in Materials Science and Engineering at Tuskegee University and spearheaded the development of the curriculum, recruitment of students and establishment of Tuskegee University’s first Ph.D. program in Materials Science and Engineering.

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Mostafa El-Sayed

August 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Syed Aslam

el-sayedMostafa  El-Sayed was born in the year 1933  at Zifta, Egypt. He graduated  with bachelor of  science degree from  Ein Shams University, Cairo,  and completed PhD. in chemistry at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida in1958. He held Research Associate  positions at Harvard, Yale and the California Institute of Technology. He was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California at Los Angeles,  where he worked till 1994.  At present he is the Julius Brown Chair and Regents Professor and Director of the Laser Dynamics Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Mostafa El-Sayed  have contributed to many areas of physical and materials chemistry research, including the development of new techniques such as magnetophoto selection, picosecond Raman spectroscopy and phosphorescence microwave double resonance spectroscopy. Using spectroscopic techniques, they have been able to answer fundamental questions regarding ultrafast dynamical processes involving molecules, solids and photobiological systems. His work earned him a 2007 US. National Medal of Science award in Chemistry for his seminal and creative contributions to our understanding of the electronic and optical properties of nano-materials and to their applications in nano-catalysis and nano-medicine. His work has opened a brand new method to understand nanoparticles which can be used in nano-technology. 

Dr. Mostafa El-Sayed’s group were the first to synthesize metallic nanoparticles of different shape. It would be quite profitable if one can determine the type of reactions each shape would catalyze. Selectivity in catalysis saves a great deal of energy and money in reducing the need for exhaustive and expensive separation costs. Different nanocrystal shapes have different facets and so it can be used for different  catalytic functions. The El-Sayed’s group is also studying different techniques to stabilize the nanocrystal shapes, which can be used for a particular catalytic effect.  

Mostafa  El-Sayed is an internationally renowned nanoscience researcher whose work in the synthesis and study of the properties of nanomaterials of different shape may have applications in the treatment of cancer. He has a spectroscopy rule named after him, the El-Sayed rule. He has over 300 publications in the areas of spectroscopy and molecular dynamics. He uses short pulsed lasers to understand relaxation, transport and conversion of energy in molecules, in solids and in photosynthetic systems. He supervised the research of 50 PhD. students, 30 postdoctoral fellows and 15 visiting professors. Among his other many honors are the 2009 Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Science.

Aslamsyed1@yahoo.com

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Ahmed H Zewail

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Syed Aslam

File-ZowelDr. Ahmed Zewail was born  in Egypt in 1946. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Alexandria University. He earned his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974.  Joined the  California Institute of Technology in 1976 after two years as an IBM Fellow at UC Berkeley. In 1999 he was the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry for his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions. Dr. Zewail received E.O. Lawrence Award, administrated by the Department of Energy. Other awards include the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, A. Welch Award in chemistry and the Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society. In 1999, he received Egypt’s highest state honor, the Grand Collar of the Nile.

Zewail’s technique uses what may be described as the world’s fastest camera. The method uses ultrafast laser flashes of such short duration that we are down to the time scale on which the reactions   happen -that is femtosecond or  one millionth of one billionth of a second. This area of physical chemistry has been named femtochemistry a brand new branch of Chemistry. This new techniques for observing chemical reaction has open the door for amazing useful discoveries.

Femtochemistry enables us to understand why certain chemical reactions take place but not others. We can also explain why the speed and yield of reactions depend on temperature. Scientists all over the  world  are studying processes with femtosecond spectroscopy in gases, in fluids and in solids. Applications range from how catalysts function and how molecular electronic components must be designed, to the most delicate mechanisms in life processes and how the medicines of the future should be produced.

Dr. Zewail is also paying  attention to his home land, Egypt. He established two prizes in his name, one at the high school in Kafr El-Sheikh, Egypt where he went to school and the other at the American University in Egypt (AUC).The  Ahmed Zewail prize, awarded for the first time in 2005 at AUC’s commencement. He thinks that the prise will provide an incentive for students to pursue excellence in science.  He is currently writing article for Nature magazine called “Science for the have nots,” in which he tries to explain why building a solid scientific base is so important for developing nations.

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The Caliphs Gave News Services and Postal Systems to the World

April 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Mohammad Yacoob

The book, The Timeline of History, published during the fourth quarter of the 20th century, documents historical facts by establishing a linkage between people and events, and records introduction of the first organized news service in the Muslim world by the Caliph in 650 C.E. It also mentions the availability, in 942 C.E., of approximately 1000 stations of postal and news services to the public in the Caliph’s Empire. This timeline does not provide any details.

These milestones provided advanced communication between the various strata of the Muslim society in the Muslim world. The Divine message of ‘Read’ and spread the word of Allah, was taken to heart by the Muslim Ummah during the life of Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless and greet him, whose instructions and guidance brought a change in the lives of tribal and ethnic groups.

A cursory look at the golden age of Islam reveals that the scientific achievements made by Muslims were continuous during that era. The decline of the Muslim political power saw total absence of scientific achievements. Yet, the Muslim contributions to the human civilization are enormous and include astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, natural sciences, medicine, music, philosophy, literature, history, geography, political sciences, sociology, architecture and arts. These are some of the representative achievements of some and not all of the scientists, inventors, philosophers and thinkers in the Muslim world.

Astronomy: The Caliphs, Sultans and Khans in the various regions of the Muslim world and during various times were very much interested in astronomy. This gave rise to the development and establishments of observatories throughout the Islamic world in cities of Baghdad, Cairo, Cordova, Toledo and Samarkand. The most famous Baghdad School of Astronomy was established by Caliph Mansur, whose reign lasted from 754 to 775 C.E. This school is credited for discovery of the movement of the sun’s apogee. It was also involved in evaluation of the obliquity of the elliptical diminution, which means the determination of the inclination of the earth towards the plane of orbit around the sun and the orbital path. The scientists at the Baghdad astronomy school also made detailed study of exact duration of the year, forecasted sunspots, studied eclipses and appearances of comets. These findings and other information data were recorded and compiled in the “verified Tables” prepared by Yahya Ben Abu Mansur. The great astronomers were Al Batani, Abul Wefa, Maslamah Al Maherbi, Omar Ibn Khaldoun, Averroes, Ali Ibn Younis, who invented pendulum and edited Hakemite Tables; Hasan Ibn Al Haitan wrote treatise on optics; Al Biruni published a list of towns and their latitudes and longitude; Nasr Ed Dine authored Ilkanian Tables of astronomy; and Ulug Beg’s work on astronomy was published in France in 1437.

Mathematics: Basic principles of arithmetic, geometry and algebra were developed by the Arab mathematicians. Al Khawarizmi wrote the algebra treatise entitled Hisab Al-Jabr Wal Muqabalah, Thabit Ben Garrah translated Ptolemy’s Almagest, Al Batani developed trigonometry and Mohammed Ben Ahmed is credited with the invention of zero.

Physics: Hassan Ali Haitan (Alhasan) conducted research into magnifying lenses and gave an exact description of eye, lenses and binocular vision. He finally completed a lengthy treatise on optics. Documented proof mentions that Muslim scientists were involved in perfecting the compass. Arab discovered use of pendulum for clocks. Ben Hamin of Toledo, Spain, gave description of the famous clock in the Mosque of Damascus. Muslim scientists developed navigational system and put compass to practical use by applying the magnetic needle.

Chemistry: The science of Kimiah was cultivated and advanced by Muslims scientists who discovered alcohol, sulphuric acid, aqua regia and nitric acid. They developed many chemical processes including distillation, sublimation, crystallization, coagulation cupellation, and more. Abu Mussa DJafar Al Sufi prepared Chemistry Scientific Encyclopedia called Sum of Perfection. Zakaria Al Razi (Razes) wrote a book on chemistry entitled al Hawi that listed the procedure and method of making sulphuric acid and alcohol. The other areas of chemistry that were given to this world are camphor, distilled water, plasters, syrups, ointments, art of dyeing, curing leather, tampering steel, paper and gunpowder.

Medicine: Medical services attracted Muslims most after mathematics and chemistry. Medicine formed an integral part of the education system during the first centuries of Hijri calendar. The medical research, encyclopedias, books and treatises written by Abu Bakr Ibn Zakaria Al Razi (Rhases), Abu Ali Al Hussein Ibn Abdulla Abi Sina (Avicenna), Abul Cassis and Ibn Zohar were used in European universities for centuries and these books were responsible for the advancement of medical sciences in Europe. Medical manual written by Abu Bakr Ibn Zakaria Al Razi became part of the curriculum of the Paris Faculty of Medicine in 1395. Abu Ali Al Hussein Ibn Abdulla Abi Sina’s Qanoon Fil Tib, published in Rome in 1593, deals with physiology, hygiene, pathology, therapeutics treatment methods and much more. The Qanoon Fil Tib was the most revered book that was used for medical studies in France and Italy from 12th to 17th centuries. A pharmacopoeia prepared at that time listed approximately 760 drugs for the treatment of diseases.

Natural Sciences: The Arab pharmacopoeia contained names of plants and medical substances which were unknown to Europeans and Greeks. Some of them are rhubarb, tamarind pulp, cssia, manna, sana leaves and camphor. The Arabs developed processes and used sugar instead of honey to concoct syrups, juleps, and also preserve herbs and fruits. They introduced perfumes and spices to the whole world including incense, sweet-smelling resins, attars of roses, nutmeg, cloves and pepper; also, tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes and exquisite flowers. The coffee was discovered by Arabs; it originated in Yemen.

Bernard Grunn wrote a book entitled The Timetable of History – A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. It was published by Simon and Schuster, New York in 1982. The recorded achievements of Muslims given in that book are listed here:

Seventh Century: Year 650: News Services. The Caliph Introduced the First Organized News Service. 695: Coin; First Arab Coinage.

Eighth Century: 711: Spanish Jews, Freed by Arabs, Begin their Cultural Development. 720: Abu Musa Dshaffar, Arab Chemist; Sulphuric Acid, Nitric Acid and Aquaregia. 750: Medicine and Various Sciences. Spain, Prime of Medicine, Astronomy, Mathematics, Optics and Chemistry. 760: Arabic Numerals in Baghdad. 774: Euclid’s ‘Elements’ Translated into Arabic. 782: Jabir, Great Arab scientist Begins Chemical Studies, Distinct from Alchemy.

Ninth Century: 810: M. Ibn Musa Alkhawarazmi wrote a book on equations and coined “Algebra”. 813: School of Astronomy in Baghdad. 814: Zero – Arabs take over Indian numerals including Zero to multiply by ten. 828: Astronomical System of Ptolemy translated into Arabic “Almagest”. 850: Coffee. Arabian Goat Herder Kaldi credited with discovery of coffee.

850: Astrolabe perfected by Arabs. 870: Philosopher / mathematician Al Farabi died. Al Kindi also died. 873: Physician Honain Ibn Iszhak died. 878: Al Battani, Arab astronomer, begins his observations. 885: Ibn Khordadbeh completed The Book of Roads and Countries. 889: Ibn Koteiba, Arab scholar and historian died. 900: Arab physician Rhases (died 923) mentions plague, consumption small pox and rabies as infectious diseases and describes them.

Tenth Century: 904: Ibn Doried prepared a manual of genealogy and etymology. 930: Cordoba, Spain, Seat of Learning, Science, Commerce and Industry. 940:  Abu Wefa, Astronomer / Mathematician, Born in Baghdad. 942: Arabs bring kettledrum and trumpet to Europe. 942: Postal and news services in the Caliph’s Empire have at their disposal approximately 1000 stations.

Eleventh Century:  1009: Ibn Junis authored Hikmite Table of astronomy. 1020: Poetry: Firdusi died. 1027: Omar Khayyam, poet and scientist born. 1038: Al Hazen, Arab physicist died. 1050: Important astronomic instruments arrive in Europe from eastern countries. 1059: Al Ghazali, Arab Theologian born. 1080: Astronomy. Toledan tables of position of stars completed.

Twelfth Century: 1100: Decline of Islamic science begins. 1150: Arabs in Spain manufacture paper. 1154: Geography – Mohammad Al-Idrisi published Geography at Palermo.

Thirteenth Century:         1200: Scientists – Ibn Al-Baiter, Arab Scientist born. 1201: Scholar Nasir Ed-din Et-Tusi born. 1201: Abdullah Ur-Rumi (1179-1229) published, Mu’jam Ul-Bulda, a Geographical Encyclopaedia.

Fourteenth Century: 1352: Ibn Battuta explores Sahara Desert.

The timeline of history does not record any other significant scientific events after the world famous Ibn Batutta travels. This timeline, however, mentions about News Services and Postal System introduced in 650 C.E.

The caliphs and the administrators working under the caliphs established a very strong communication system based on the words of Prophet Muhammad (s), may Allah bless and greet him, whose main purpose in life was to bring about the spiritual renaissance in this world and propagate the word of Allah. They used news services and postal system as early as 650 C.E. to spread the word of God.

In conclusion, a greater emphasis should be placed on holding on to the Islamic values. We must vigorously commence research into the past scientific achievements by Muslims. At the same time, we must continue research and knowledge acquisition in modern technology. It is our responsibility to help correct deficiencies found in contemporary world regarding Muslim achievement. This will also identify the ideas put forth by Muslims, discoveries made by them and treatises written that were stolen and plagiarized by the Europeans. We have to expose these people. We gave to the world the news services and postal system and why did we lose their ownership? We must find the causes of the decline of scientific achievement among Muslims. We must move into the forefront of spiritual renaissance and scientific advancement. We must work for welfare and improvement of mankind. We must work for Deen and Duniya. 

The world must be made aware of the contributions made by Muslims to modern civilization. We must provide this as a basis for our children to excel in achieving scientific knowledge. We must help our children become leaders not only in the spiritual arena but also in the scientific fields.

This can be done at two fronts: Visibility and Leverage. Become more visible in the scientific field. Involve yourself in scientific conferences, seminars and workshops. Display Islamic hospitality. Write a thesis, if involved in research, on a Muslim scientist, scholar or philosopher. Invite Muslims and non-Muslims to these conferences. Assert yourself, while holding on to the Islamic values. Continue to work hard. Make others realize that Muslims excelled and can still achieve excellence in scientific and communication fields. Remember, during the golden age of Islam, Muslims were making things happen. In this world, there are three types of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. We must struggle, strive and make tireless strivings, and consider this as a part of survival. We must make this happen.

[The writer is Industrial Engineer and Engineering Proposal Analyst working at Northrop Grumman Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, California]
………….

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Remarks by the President at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

White House Supplied Transcript

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center–Washington, D.C.–6:05 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Good evening, everyone, and welcome to Washington. 

In my life, and as President, I have had the great pleasure of visiting many of your countries, and I’ve always been grateful for the warmth and the hospitality that you and your fellow citizens have shown me.  And tonight, I appreciate the opportunity to return the hospitality.

For many of you, I know this is the first time visiting our country.  So let me say, on behalf of the American people, welcome to the United States of America.  (Applause.) 

It is an extraordinary privilege to welcome you to this Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship.  This has been a coordinated effort across my administration, and I want to thank all the hardworking folks and leaders at all the departments and agencies who made it possible, and who are here tonight.

That includes our United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk.  Where’s Ron?  There he is.  (Applause.)    I especially want to thank the two departments and leaders who took the lead on this summit — Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Please give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)   

We’re joined by members of Congress who work every day to help their constituents realize the American Dream, and whose life stories reflect the diversity and equal opportunity that we cherish as Americans:  Nydia Velazquez, who is also, by the way, the chairwoman of our Small Business Committee in the House of Representatives.  (Applause.)  Keith Ellison is here.  (Applause.)  And Andre Carson is here.  (Applause.) 

Most of all, I want to thank all of you for being part of this historic event.  You’ve traveled from across the United States and nearly 60 countries, from Latin America to Africa, Europe to Central Asia, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. 

And you bring with you the rich tapestry of the world’s great traditions and great cultures.  You carry within you the beauty of different colors and creeds, races and religions.  You’re visionaries who pioneered new industries and young entrepreneurs looking to build a business or a community.

But we’ve come together today because of what we share — a belief that we are all bound together by certain common aspirations.  To live with dignity.  To get an education.  To live healthy lives.  Maybe to start a business, without having to pay a bribe to anybody.  To speak freely and have a say in how we are governed.  To live in peace and security and to give our children a better future.

But we’re also here because we know that over the years, despite all we have in common, the United States and Muslim communities around the world too often fell victim to mutual mistrust.

And that’s why I went to Cairo nearly one year ago and called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities — a new beginning based on mutual interest and mutual respect.  I knew that this vision would not be fulfilled in a single year, or even several years.  But I knew we had to begin and that all of us have responsibilities to fulfill.

As President, I’ve worked to ensure that America once again meets its responsibilities, especially when it comes to the security and political issues that have often been a source of tension.  The United States is responsibly ending the war in Iraq, and we will partner with Iraqi people for their long-term prosperity and security.  In Afghanistan, in Pakistan and beyond, we’re forging new partnerships to isolate violent extremists, but also to combat corruption and foster the development that improves lives and communities.

I say it again tonight:  Despite the inevitable difficulties, so long as I am President, the United States will never waver in our pursuit of a two-state solution that ensures the rights and security of both Israelis and Palestinians.  (Applause.)  And around the world, the United States of America will continue to stand with those who seek justice and progress and the human rights and dignity of all people.

But even as I committed the United States to addressing these security and political concerns, I also made it clear in Cairo that we needed something else — a sustained effort to listen to each other and to learn from each other, to respect one another.  And I pledged to forge a new partnership, not simply between governments, but also between people on the issues that matter most in their daily lives — in your lives. 

Now, many questioned whether this was possible.  Yet over the past year, the United States has been reaching out and listening.  We’ve joined interfaith dialogues and held town halls, roundtables and listening sessions with thousands of people around the world, including many of you.  And like so many people, you’ve extended your hand in return, each in your own way, as entrepreneurs and educators, as leaders of faith and of science. 

I have to say, perhaps the most innovative response was from Dr. Naif al-Mutawa of Kuwait, who joins us here tonight.  Where is Dr. Mutawa?  (Applause.)  His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam.  After my speech in Cairo, he had a similar idea.  So in his comic books, Superman and Batman reached out to their Muslim counterparts.  (Laughter.)  And I hear they’re making progress, too.  (Laughter.)  Absolutely.  (Applause.)

By listening to each other we’ve been able to partner with each other.  We’ve expanded educational exchanges, because knowledge is the currency of the 21st century.  Our distinguished science envoys have been visiting several of your countries, exploring ways to increase collaboration on science and technology. 

We’re advancing global health, including our partnership with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to eradicate polio.  This is just one part of our broader engagement with the OIC, led by my Special Envoy, Rashad Hussain, who joins us here tonight.  Where’s Rashad?  (Applause.)

And we’re partnering to expand economic prosperity.  At a government level, I’d note that putting the G20 in the lead on global economic decision-making has brought more voices to the table — including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India and Indonesia.  And here today, we’re fulfilling my commitment in Cairo to deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

Now, I know some have asked — given all the security and political and social challenges we face, why a summit on entrepreneurship?  The answer is simple. 

Entrepreneurship — because you told us that this was an area where we can learn from each other; where America can share our experience as a society that empowers the inventor and the innovator; where men and women can take a chance on a dream — taking an idea that starts around a kitchen table or in a garage, and turning it into a new business and even new industries that can change the world.

Entrepreneurship — because throughout history, the market has been the most powerful force the world has ever known for creating opportunity and lifting people out of poverty.

Entrepreneurship — because it’s in our mutual economic interest.  Trade between the United States and Muslim-majority countries has grown.  But all this trade, combined, is still only about the same as our trade with one country — Mexico.  So there’s so much more we can do together, in partnership, to foster opportunity and prosperity in all our countries.

And social entrepreneurship — because, as I learned as a community organizer in Chicago, real change comes from the bottom up, from the grassroots, starting with the dreams and passions of single individuals serving their communities.

And that’s why we’re here.  We have Jerry Yang, who transformed how we communicate, with Yahoo.  Is Jerry here?  Where is he?  He’ll be here tomorrow.  As well as entrepreneurs who have opened cybercafés and new forums on the Internet for discussion and development.  Together, you can unleash the technologies that will help shape the 21st century.

We have successes like Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, who I met earlier, who built a telecommunications empire that empowered people across Africa.  And we have aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses and hire new workers.  Together you can address the challenges of accessing capital.   We have trailblazers like Sheikha Hanadi of Qatar, along with Waed al Taweel, who I met earlier — a 20-year-old student from the West Bank who wants to build recreation centers for Palestinian youth. 

Please read continuation at www.muslimobserver.com.

So together, they represent the incredible talents of women entrepreneurs and remind us that countries that educate and empower women are countries that are far more likely to prosper.  I believe that.  (Applause.)

We have pioneers like Chris Hughes, who created Facebook, as well as an online community that brought so many young people into my campaign for President — MyBarackObama.com.  (Laughter.)  We have people like Soraya Salti of Jordan who are empowering the young men and women who will be leaders of tomorrow.  (Applause.)  Together, they represent the great potential and expectations of young people around the world.

And we’ve got social entrepreneurs like Tri Mumpuni, who has helped rural communities in Indonesia — (applause) — harness the electricity, and revenues, of hydro-power.  And Andeisha Farid, an extraordinary woman from Afghanistan, who’s taken great risks to educate the next generation, one girl at a time.  (Applause.)  Together, they point the way to a future where progress is shared and prosperity is sustainable.

And I also happened to notice Dr. Yunus — it’s wonderful to see you again.  I think so many people know the history of Grameen Bank and all the great work that’s been done to help finance entrepreneurship among the poorest of the poor, first throughout South Asia, and now around the world. 

So this is the incredible potential that you represent; the future we can seize together.  So tonight I’m proud to announce a series of new partnerships and initiatives that will do just that.

The United States is launching several new exchange programs.  We will bring business and social entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries to the United States and send their American counterparts to learn from your countries.  (Applause.)  So women in technology fields will have the opportunity to come to the United States for internships and professional development.  And since innovation is central to entrepreneurship, we’re creating new exchanges for science teachers.

We’re forging new partnerships in which high-tech leaders from Silicon Valley will share their expertise — in venture capital, mentorship, and technology incubators — with partners in the Middle East and in Turkey and in Southeast Asia.

And tonight, I can report that the Global Technology and Innovation Fund that I announced in Cairo will potentially mobilize more than $2 billion in investments.  This is private capital, and it will unlock new opportunities for people across our countries in sectors like telecommunications, health care, education, and infrastructure.

And finally, I’m proud that we’re creating here at this summit not only these programs that I’ve just mentioned, but it’s not going to stop here.  Together, we’ve sparked a new era of entrepreneurship — with events all over Washington this week, and upcoming regional conferences around the world. 

Tonight, I am pleased to announce that Prime Minister Erdogan has agreed to host the next Entrepreneurship Summit next year in Turkey.  (Applause.)  And so I thank the Prime Minister and the people and private sector leaders of Turkey for helping to sustain the momentum that we will unleash this week.   

So as I said, there are those who questioned whether we could forge these new beginnings.  And given the magnitude of the challenges we face in the world — and let’s face it, a lot of the bad news that comes through the television each and every day — sometimes it can be tempting to believe that the goodwill and good works of ordinary people are simply insufficient to the task at hand.  But to any who still doubt whether partnerships between people can remake our world, I say look at the men and women who are here today.

Look at the professor who came up with an idea — micro-finance — that empowered the rural poor across his country, especially women and children.  That’s the powerful example of Dr. Yunus.

Look what happened when Muhammad shared his idea with a woman from Pakistan, who has since lifted hundreds of thousands of families and children out of poverty through a foundation whose name literally means “miracle.”  That’s the example of Roshaneh Zafar.  (Applause.) 

Look what happened when that idea spread across the world  — including to people like my own mother, who worked with the rural poor from Pakistan to Indonesia.  That simple idea, began with a single person, has now transformed the lives of millions.  That’s the spirit of entrepreneurship.

So, yes, the new beginning we seek is not only possible, it has already begun.  It exists within each of you, and millions around the world who believe, like we do, that the future belongs not to those who would divide us, but to those who come together; not to those who would destroy, but those who would build; not those trapped in the past, but those who, like us, believe with confidence and conviction in a future of justice and progress and the dignity of all human beings regardless of their race, regardless of their religion. 

That’s the enormous potential that we’re hoping to unlock during this conference and hoping to continue not only this week but in the months and years ahead.  So I’m grateful that all of you are participating.  May God bless you all and may God’s peace be upon you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 

END 6:22 P.M. EDT

12-19

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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Islam A. Siddiqui, Nominee for Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of US Trade Rep.

September 24, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Islam Siddiqui Islam A. Siddiqui is currently Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America , where he is responsible for regulatory and international trade issues related to crop protection chemicals. Previously, Dr. Siddiqui also served as CropLife America ’s Vice President for agricultural biotechnology and trade. From 1997 to 2001, Dr. Siddiqui served in various capacities in the Clinton Administration at U.S. Department of Agriculture as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Senior Trade Advisor to Secretary Dan Glickman and Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.  As a result, he worked closely with the USTR and represented USDA in bilateral, regional and multi-lateral agricultural trade negotiations.  Since 2004, Dr. Siddiqui has also served on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Health/Science Products & Services, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and USTR on international trade issues related to these sectors. Betwe en 2001 and 2003, Dr. Siddiqui was appointed as Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he focused on agricultural biotechnology and food security issues.  Before joining USDA, Dr. Siddiqui spent 28 years with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  He received a B.S. degree in plant protection from Uttar Pradesh Agricultural University in Pantnagar , India , as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology, both from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Community News (V11-I35)

August 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Obituary:  Ali Safaeinili, NASA Engineer

Dr. Ali Safaeinili, a long-time and respected member of the Radar Science and Engineering team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), passed away on Wednesday, July 29, from complications due to cholangiocarcinoma, a rare cancer. Safaeinili was 45 years old. He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Lisa; two daughters, Nadia, 17, and Roya, 10; his parents, siblings, and many, many friends and colleagues.

Born in Sari, Iran, Safaeinili always wanted to pursue his higher education in science and engineering in the United States and enrolled at Iowa State University in 1985 to study electrical engineering and computer science. He completed his undergraduate studies in two-and-a-half years by testing out of all the required math classes and finished his post-doctorate work in 1995. At JPL for more than a decade, Safaeinili pursued radar as a means to study ice on Earth and the planets. An energetic and innovative scientist, he participated in the design, development, testing, and operation of the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) still operating on Mars Express.

He also participated in the design and operation of the Shallow Subsurface Radar (SHARAD) currently orbiting Mars on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Active in the analysis of radar data, Safaeinili served as the Investigation Scientist for the radar investigations on both projects. In addition to earlier work on the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), he led and contributed to efforts to develop new VHF and HF radars for Earth observations and potential applications to Europa and other icy bodies.

Safaeinili often expressed his gratitude for being given the opportunity to do what he loved most in his work at JPL. He also enjoyed giving back to the community, and volunteered with the Westminster Free Clinic, which provides medical care to the uninsured. He was appreciated by all for his warmth, good sense of humor, and generous spirit, and he will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.

Portland mosque agreement reached

PORTLAND, OR–The City of Portland has reached an agreement with the Portland Masjid and Islamic center that will allow the latter to use a building as a mosque.

Earlier the Maine Civil Liberties Union had filed a lawsuit on behalf of the mosque alleging the city’s zoining ordinances violate religious freedom.

Under the interim agreement, the Islamic Center can use the former TV repair shop on Washington Avenue for religious purposes while the MCLU’s lawsuit moves forward.

A spokesperson says the city hopes to continue to talk with the group, and to consider amendments to zoning ordinances.

Meatpacking plans taking steps to prevent prayer disputes

LINCOLN, NB–Officials at a Grand Island meatpacking plant said they are taking steps to prevent a repeat of last year’s Muslim Prayer disputes.

It led to disruption at JBS Swift and company, also mass firings.

The Muslim Holy month of Ramadan begins Saturday.

Swift officials, along with Muslim Somali advocates and Union representatives said they are trying to accommodate workers who want to pray at sunset.
Last September, hundreds were involved in protests and counter protests at the plant during Ramadan.

New Jersey ‘Halal’  firm recalls beef products

VINELAND, August 18, 2009 (News Agencies)– Pasha Halal Poultry, doing business as Marcacci Meatsin Vineland, New Jersey, is recalling approximately 128 pounds of ground beef contiminated with ecoli.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced the products subject to this recall include:

* Various sizes of plastic-wrapped packages of “MARCACCI MEATS, GROUND BEEF.”

* 10-pound boxes of “MARCACCI MEATS, GROUND BEEF.”

The ground beef products were packed in foam containers and bear a package code of “8.12.09” as well as the establishment number “EST. 5913” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

These ground beef products were produced on Aug. 12, 2009, and were distributed to a consumer at the wholesale level in the Atlantic City, N.J., area, and packaged for sale to consumers at the retail level in Vineland, N.J.

Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall should contact company Owner Mehmet Silpagar at (856) 691-4848.

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Houstonian Corner (V11-I29)

July 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Sultans of Science: Yours’ To Rediscover At IDC Downtown Houston

Sultans of Science Exhibition At IDC (A)

The world famous Exhibition called “Sultans of Science: 1000 Years of Islamic Science Rediscovered”, has opened on Wednesday, July 01, 2009 at the Islamic Da`wah Center (IDC), located at 201 Travis Street, Downtown Houston, Texas 77002. “Sultans of Science: 1000 Years of Islamic Science Rediscovered” is a global touring exhibition celebrating the contributions of Muslim scholars in science and technology during the golden age of the Islamic world and the influence their inventions and contributions have had on our modern day society. The exhibition is very interactive, with sensory displays, and enticing designs and presentations.

With the summer break, the “Sultans of Science: 1000 Years of Islamic Science Rediscovered” Exhibition is especially beneficial for Youth to attend. Organized by Liberty Science Center and MTE Studios, the Exhibition will run from July 01 till September 07, 2009. Hours of Admission and Fees to the Exhibition are: Monday to Thursday 10am – 7pm; Friday Closed; Saturday 10am – 7pm; and Sunday 12pm – 5pm. Tickets online at http://islamicdawahcenter.org/ are $15 (Adults); $10 (Children) and at the IDC Box Office $20 (Adults); $10 (Children). All tickets are for single entry: Special Groups Field Trips and School Groups require Reservation.
A Pre-Opening Celebration event was held last Friday, where several influential local political, professional and social leaders were present. Ameer Abuhalimeh, Executive Director of IDC welcomed everybody and read the message of famous basketball player Hakeem Olajuwan, who is President and Founder of IDC (he is presently in Jordan). Keynote Remarks came from City of Houston Councilmember, the Honorable M J Khan and Mayoral Proclamation was given by Minnette B. Boesel, the Mayor’s Assistant for Cultural Affairs.

Consul Generals of Pakistan, India, Egypt and Great Britain were present. Everyone was mesmerized to see the depth of information in a most interactive manner provided to the attendees. “It is a must to attend exhibition for all Houstonians’ and Americans,” said the Former Honorary Consul General of Pakistan in Houston Joanne King Herring.

For further information, one can visit http://islamicdawahcenter.org/ or call 713-223-3311.

Hundreds Thronged Rice University for 4th Annual ICNA-MAS South Region Conference

bill white Fourth of July saw a Major Islamic Conference coming to Rice University Houston: This was the 4th Annual ICNA-MAS South Central Region Conference. Several hundred families came from Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere to attend this one day event, whose theme was: “Serve Humanity for the Love of Divinity”. “Not only the theme was unique, but after attending various lectures and segments, I am convinced that all the speeches at the Conference had distinctive message and it was conveyed by all the speakers in a unique manner, which I have never felt at other Islamic Conferences. One needs to get the DVDs and CDs of this Conference for future reference and study,” said one of the regular attendee of the many Islamic Conferences in the Greater Houston Region.

Renowned scholars like Sheikh Nouman Ali Khan; Sheikh Abdool Rahman Khan; Imam Omar Suleiman; Imam Khalid Griggs; Imam Yousuf Estes; Dr. Zahid Bukhari; Dr. Muhammad Yunus; Dr. Mazhar Kazi; Sheikh Nisar-ul-Haq; Hafiz Tauqeer Shah; Sheikh Wazir Ali; Samid AL-Khatib; Reverand Kimberley; and many more, mesmerized the audiences with excellent presentations that had practical solutions to various issues facing communities nationwide in USA, as far as volunteering and assisting humanity is concerned.

“Window to Islam” Morning Session brought some Non-Muslims with Muslims and the Chapel besides Rice Memorial Ley Student Center was packed with people of all ages, as they understood the basics of Islam and learnt from Imam Yousuf Estes as to why he became Muslim. Other topics included “Islam: Not just a Middle Eastern Religion”; “The History of Relationship between Muslims and Non-Muslims” and “Interfaith Panel Q-&-A”.

Special “Young Muslims Conference” in the afternoon drew many youth in the community to learn their very crucial role in the society, like “Lead Your Friends to Humanity for Your Lord”; “Islam: A Religion That Came on the Shoulders of Youth”; “Muslim Youth: Serving Humanity”; “Muslim Youth is Ready to Face Challenges”; and much more.

The main topics discussed in the Central Programs included “The Islamic Solutions to Contemporary Social Problems, like the Declining Family System”; “Dawah and Relief Go Hand in Hand”; and “Deliverance Through Service”.

Sumptuous food was served by Lazzezza Restaurant. For more information and getting Conference material, one can call Omer Syed, Secretary of ICNA Houston at 713-253-4599.

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Exclusive: TMO Interview with Harun Yahya

March 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Interview of Harun Yahya

By Adil James, MMNS

American audiences may not know the name Adnan Oktar, although they may be familiar with the plentiful writings of Harun Yahya. In fact Adnan Oktar and Harun Yahya are one and the same, Harun Yahya being merely the English pen-name of the famous writer. This is the print version of The Muslim Observer’s February-March 2009 interview with Mr. Adnan Oktar, who graciously agreed to a lengthy interview with us through the medium of an interpreter, Ms. Seda Aral, who translated our questions into Turkish and his responses into English. 

Our questions and some of his responses have been abbreviated for easy reading, but the meaning of his responses has of course not been altered.

Enjoy!

ADNAN OKTAR_2 Q:  Please update us on your court case?

A. ADNAN OKTAR: This case began with a police operation against the Science Research Foundation (BAV) community in 1999. That was an operation initiated due to certain false claims made by the communist deep state organization and directed by it. Indeed, the director of the Organized Crimes branch of the time who conducted the operation against us is currently detained and on trial facing charges of membership of the Ergenekon terror organization. Again, a famous journalist who constantly produced hostile reports about us during the course of that operation and who waged a serious psychological warfare campaign against my colleagues and me is also now in prison, charged with membership of the Ergenekon terror organization, and the legal proceedings against him are still going on. Following trial proceedings lasting 8 years, the court brought in a guilty verdict against me and 3 female colleagues on charges on leading a running criminal enterprise. I have the greatest respect for the court’s decision and I wish the members of the court the very best. But, on the other hand, nobody believes the allegation that I am the leader of a criminal gang. I must be the only gang leader who has written 300 books and has millions of readers. As a matter of fact, the public prosecutor in the case even said that the allegations were false and there was not a single piece of evidence to support them over those 8 years, and he twice requested that my colleagues and I be acquitted.

Let me briefly summarize the public prosecutor’s legal opinion for you; he says, “There is no evidence against the defendants in that collected by the court.” In other words, he says there is no evidence against us.


[Even the prosecutor in my case] sets out his conclusion in the words: “In the absence of any evidence to show that Adnan Oktar established an enterprise for criminal purposes and that the other defendants committed the crimes of managing the enterprising and engaging in activities on its behalf, it is requested in the public name that the defendants be individually acquitted of all charges, under Article 223/2E of the Criminal Code.” The public prosecutor said there was no crime and no evidence of any offense. But the court board decided differently. There is definitely goodness and wisdom in this and it is all for the best, insha’Allah. If Allah has seen fit to consign me to the School of Yusuf (Madrassa of Yusuf), I am honored by that.

Q:  What is your response to the backlash against you from Muslim writers who believe in evolution?

A:  Ask these people how the angels and djinn were created. Will they be able to say they came into being through evolution? No, of course they will not. Or ask them if they can account in terms of evolution for how the Prophet Musa’s (as) staff turned into a fully formed snake with digestive, motor and reproductive systems when he threw it down on the ground. When the Prophet Jesus (as) breathed on a bird-shaped object made out of mud, it turned into a living, flying bird. How do they explain that? Harun_Yahya(Adnan_Oktar)_11

The fact is that behind the efforts of some Muslims to reconcile Islam and evolution in their own eyes, lie an element of ignorance and an element of defeatism, a fear of being unable to respond to Darwinism. These people imagine, with the knowledge of the 1900s, that evolution is a scientific theory and that opposing evolution means opposing science. But they are unaware that science refutes evolution. Evolution is a theory unable to explain even how a single protein came into being by chance, a theory at a complete dead-end. Moreover, not one of the 100 million fossils unearthed confirms evolutionists’ claims. Darwin admits that himself, saying, “Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined? Everything is highly regular and perfect”, he says. Because Allah creates them, that is why. “But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?” he asks. Because evolution never happened, that is why. Does that not finish Darwinism right from the outset? There are 100 million fossils and they all prove Creation. So can one speak of Darwinism under such circumstances? Of course not.

Q:  What is your reaction to anti-evolution movie “No Intelligence Allowed” by Ben Stein, showing the ostracism of scientists who reject evolution?

A: It is perfectly obvious that Darwinists have established a global dictatorship. Under official protection in 95% of the countries of the world, the theory of evolution has had its invalidity scientifically proved, and despite being a false theory that violates reason and logic, it is still imposed as an official ideology. In middle and high school and university exams it is obligatory to answer questions about the theory of evolution as if this false theory were true and correct. No academic or scientist who even hints he does not believe in Darwinism is allowed to continue with his work or to enjoy any promotion. And it is arranged that the majority lose their jobs. It is almost the first time in the history of the world that such an ideology is officially protected and imposed in just about every country of the world. This system, which manifests itself as a social dictatorship, has established a hugely repressive regime. They have even tied the Vatican’s hands with the pressure they made. The Vatican issued a statement about Darwinism just the other day, and the terrible nature of the situation is evident from that. They have made the Vatican incapable of saying, “There is no evolution.” European materialists and Darwinists imagine they can resurrect Darwinism by making the Vatican issue statements in favor of it. But the fact is that Darwinism is dead, and no initiative can bring it back to life. It is now time to bury Darwinism for good.

Q:  Believers believe in a world that is intrinsically unseen, therefore how can believers argue against unbelievers?

Harun_Yahya(Adnan_Oktar)_13 A: Using a genuine, rational and clear style, one based on evidence, has always been a very important and effective method, insha’Allah. Everyone can explain and understand things to the extent ordained by Allah. When someone is guided to the true path, he is guided so because it is ordained by Allah in his destiny, not because we explained anything to him. Of course the things we say are an instrument, but if Allah does not open someone’s heart, then he cannot understand what he hears or see what is before his eyes. You can show him thousands of proofs and explain things in countless ways, but he will still not change. Of course, one has a responsibility to strive and tell people the truth, but one can only preach to the extent Allah permits. However, we must not forget that when a Muslim preaches, he is not preaching to the person opposite him, but to an entity Allah creates in his brain, in an area the size of a lentil. That person does exist on the outside, but we can never have direct dealings with that person on the outside. We have direct experience of images established by an electric current of a few amps. This is a very great secret, a great blessing to grasp the depth of faith. This is knowledge that enormously deepens and strengthens a Muslim’s preaching power.

Q: What is the best way for Muslims to study science? Are there books available in English that you would recommend to Muslims studying science in America or Europe?

A: A Muslim intellectual is someone who thinks broadly and freely. In the Qur’an, Allah commands us to reflect deeply, research and investigate. As Allah reveals in the Qur’an, Muslims will also think and enquire and investigate. Someone consumed by a love of Allah will investigate the artistry, knowledge and manifestations of Allah with great excitement, determination and passion. All scientific and cultural progress throughout history has been led by believers. The way that Muslims today are depicted as having no idea about or are kept away from science, knowledge, art or cleanliness is a tactic employed by materialists and Freemasons. Muslims must not fall for that snare, but will raise their levels of knowledge. They will enhance the joy of seeing Allah’s artistry through scientific enquiry. I recommend that my Muslim brothers read the works of Harun Yahya. These have been translated into 67 languages and are all available free of charge on the Internet.

Q: What avenues should Muslim scientists pursue?

A: Someone with a passionate love of Allah will draw enormous pleasure from His artistry and the manifestations of His sublime mind. Anyone enquiring or reading with that love and fervor will obtain most excellent results and this will be instrumental in great advancement. In the same way that religion encourages scientific research, so scientific enquiry conducted in the light of the truths revealed by the faith will produce very rapid and definite results. Because the faith is the only source able to provide an accurate and certain account of how life and the universe came into being. Science can only produce accurate findings so long as research in conducted along the lines of investigating Allah’s omnipotence and the proofs of creation in the universe. Only if the right course is taken, if it is accurately directed in other words, can science achieve its true objective in the shortest possible time.

By Allah’s leave, we will all see in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as) the enormous advances in science that fervor and joy of faith will be instrumental in bringing about. The spiritual strength Hazrat Mahdi (as) is instrumental in bringing about will lead to the greatest scientific and technological developments in the history of the world, and will be more delightful, beneficial and effective than people have ever dreamed.

Q: You have argued these are the Last Days–what advice do you have for Muslims in this time?

A: What our Prophet (s) tells us is the truth. He acts in compliance with Allah’s revelation. He described the portents of the End Times through Allah’s revelation, and they all have come to be truth. These portents can all be found in the Kutub-u Sitte (the Six Books). In addition, the Qur’an makes it very clear that the moral values of Islam will rule the world. This is crystal clear in verse 55 of Surat an-Nur. There are various other verses of the Qur’an regarding the domination of the moral values of Islam over the world, and they can all be seen on my www.awaitedmahdi.com website. The subjects of Hazrat Mahdi (as), the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) and the End Times are matters on which all four schools are in agreement; the Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliqi and Sha’afi schools are unanimous on the subject. The appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the return of the Prophet Jesus (as) are absolutely certain. That is also the case in Shiism. Indeed, the Shiite and Sunni schools make up 95% of the Islamic world. Nobody has ever maintained anything different. The hadith I have set out in my works and writings are hadith that have been verified and found completely trustworthy. Had they not been verified, there might have been doubts as to their reliability, but they have been confirmed. Our Prophet (saas) says that the portents of the End Times will happen one after the other, like the beads on a necklace. When one ends the next will start, he says. He says wondrous things will happen one after the other. Note how wondrous things are now happening in the world, the portents of the End Times have all taken place within 20-30 years. The eclipses of the Sun and Moon during Ramadan, for example, is something highly detailed. It happened in 1400 by the Hegira calendar. The Prophet (saas) says the waters of the Euphrates will be severed. And the Euphrates was cut off by a dam and the flow of its waters stopped. The newspapers carried reports saying the Euphrates had been severed, and the truth of our Prophet’s (saas) hadith thus emerged. Our Prophet (saas) says there will be carnage in the same region. The massacres by the PKK are clearly set out. The Prophet (saas) said that blood will be shed in the Qaaba at the beginning of the century in which Hazrat Mahdi (as) appears. He says the Qaaba will be occupied. And that all happened.

A great economic crisis is described in detail, and that has also happened. There are hundreds of other portents, and people can read these on my web sites. It appears from all these portents that Hazrat Mahdi (as) has begun work and that the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) is close at hand, insha’Allah. That is why I always say that Muslims will seek Hazrat Mahdi (as) and pray for the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as). “We sought but could not find”; this is out of question. A Muslim must pray for them. And then Allah will create them, bring them into being. I keep on saying that. Because the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) is certain. The coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) is certain. The global dominion of Islamic moral values is certain. I do not concentrate on an event unless there is something wondrous about it. I am someone who looks at everything rationally. I evaluate things in the light of the evidence, I sign up to rational and correct ideas and follow the truth 100%. I go along with what is 100% true. The portents of these happy days have come about, and Muslims have a duty to experience that joy. They will see the abundant blessings of this age and experience all its beauty, insha’Allah.

Q:  Who else is doing such work to build the ummah, like you and Ahmad Deedat before you?

A: Fear constitutes a grave form of corruption for Muslims in the End Times. They hesitate, saying, “But what if I am imprisoned, or beaten, or sworn at, or slandered or killed?” But whatever happens, they will earn merit accordingly. Is our aim not to earn Allah’s approval? Most Islamic countries have been unnecessarily afraid and experienced terrible suffering. Had they been courageous and rational, Allah would not have inflicted that suffering on them. Strength belongs to Allah. Nothing apart from Allah has any strength. Allah bestows fear and troubles. Allah bestows afflictions on cowards. Allah protects the brave. Muslims have a duty to be brave. For example, when it comes to the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union, some Muslims say nothing out of a fear of “What will they say?” The fact is, however, that it is a sin for Muslims not to be united and act together. Sin is a spiritual burden. In other words, it is obligatory in the eyes of the Qur’an for Muslims to act as one, as brothers. The door is open to all kinds of scourges so long as they do not do this, so long as they are not united. But some Muslims carefully avoid this, out of such fears as “Such-and-such will react like this, so-and-so will not want it, what will they say?” or are even unable to raise the subject at all. But no matter what they say, we will obey Allah’s command, we will be united.

Muslims fear only one thing; they fear Allah. Anything apart from Allah should not be feared. If Allah wishes He can make the world a very different place and easily have the Turkish-Islamic Union accepted. And we will then want it and strive with all our might and cry out “The Turkish-Islamic Union must be established.” Once the Turkish-Islamic Union has been founded, no harm will come to even a single hair on Muslims’ heads. And then let’s see whether they can line up the bodies of dead Muslims, children and all, and take photographs of them. Will they then have the courage to crush the Muslim world underfoot like ants? The bloodshed will stop instantaneously, all the oppression will immediately come to an end, insha’Allah. And why should the world not want a Turkish-Islamic Union? The union we espouse is a union of love and friendship, that will protect and embrace all with affection and compassion. Why should anyone not want that? I cannot conceive of any society, any government not wanting a union that will resuscitate the global economy, bring about an end to terror and bring prosperity to all.

For that reason, I always tell my brothers to concentrate on union at every available opportunity, in their writings, or talks or conversations. They must constantly demand that their governments establish the Turkish-Islamic Union; insha’Allah, those demands will be of the nature of a prayer to Allah. When I talk about a Turkish-Islamic Union under Turkish leadership this is not something resulting from any pretension to racial superiority. The Turkish nation is willing to bear troubles and difficulties. Assuming the role of elder brother is a hard job requiring sacrifices. But both historic circumstances and also social conditions make Turkish leadership essential. As the descendants of a nation who gave order to the world for 700 years in the time of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish nation will again be willing to act as elder brother to and be the protector and servant of its Muslim and Turkic brothers, insha’Allah.

Q: Do you believe the hijab ban will be stopped in Turkey?

A: Some people in Turkey have an unfounded fear, and that must first be put right. The fact is that democracy and secularism lie at the heart of Islam. Islam allows people the right to believe and express their ideas as they wish. It is a rule in Islam that there must be no pressure in religious matters. Freedom of thought is a requirement of Islam. It has taught mankind democracy and secularism with the reason and conscience brought about by religious moral values. People must be told that. They must be told that their fears are groundless, that everyone, no matter what they may believe, is a first-class citizen. But the stipulation about the hijab in the Qur’an is perfectly clear. It is also set out in the hadith. There is nothing to argue about. These young people are very devout, our young girls want to turn up wearing the hijab. So what? Nice, polite ladies turn up. Of course there may be a diverse range of opinions. Everyone can think in different ways. Just so long as all our citizens are given the right to live as they wish and are given guarantees of freedom and democracy. Let young girls wear the hijab if they want. A laic regime, the republic, is embedded in Turkey. I regard it as totally inappropriate to make such a fuss within such a system about a handful of young girls wearing the hijab.

Q: What advice do you give to people who feel lazy, unable to help good people to do good work like you?

A: I am madly in love with Allah. Allah must be loved with a mad intensity. That Allah we love with such joy with love must enter our minds the moment we get up in the morning. We must start the day with the joy and delight of Him, with a joyous, festive air. Because we are under the control of an infinite mind, an infinite power and infinite compassion. This is an extraordinarily delightful thing, and we constantly see His blessings everywhere. Our lovely Allah has prepared His eternal paradise for us. Of course the joy of that pervades our hearts and we must not forget it for a moment. We must spend every moment of our lives, from morning to evening, in the festive joy and fervor of Him, and must even experience the joy of Allah in our dreams. He will even influence our dreams if we experience that great joy. So no sloth or idleness can ever be possible, insha’Allah.

11-12

Turkish Schools Offer Pakistan a Gentler Islam

May 8, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Courtesy Sabrina Tavernise

Turkish educators are offering an alternative approach to religious schools that could reduce extremists’ influence.

KARACHI, Pakistan: Praying in Pakistan has not been easy for Mesut Kacmaz, a Muslim teacher from Turkey.

He tried the mosque near his house, but it had Israeli and Danish flags painted on the floor for people to step on. The mosque near where he works warned him never to return wearing a tie. Pakistanis everywhere assume he is not Muslim because he has no beard.

“Kill, fight, shoot,” Kacmaz said. “This is a misinterpretation of Islam.”

But that view is common in Pakistan, a frontier land for the future of Islam, where schools, nourished by Saudi and American money dating back to the 1980s, have spread Islamic radicalism through the poorest parts of society. With a literacy rate of just 50 percent and a public school system near collapse, the country is particularly vulnerable.

Kacmaz (pronounced KATCH-maz) is part of a group of Turkish educators who have come to this battleground with an entirely different vision of Islam. Theirs is moderate and flexible, comfortably coexisting with the West while remaining distinct from it. Like Muslim Peace Corps volunteers, they promote this approach in schools, which are now established in more than 80 countries, Muslim and Christian.

Their efforts are important in Pakistan, a nuclear power whose stability and whose vulnerability to fundamentalism have become main preoccupations of American foreign policy. Its tribal areas have become a refuge to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and the battle against fundamentalism rests squarely on young people and the education they get.

At present, that education is extremely weak. The poorest Pakistanis cannot afford to send their children to public schools, which are free but require fees for books and uniforms. Some choose to send their children to madrasas, or religious schools, which, like aid organizations, offer free food and clothing. Many simply teach, but some have radical agendas. At the same time, a growing middle class is rejecting public schools, which are chaotic and poorly financed, and choosing from a new array of private schools.

The Turkish schools, which have expanded to seven cities in Pakistan since the first one opened a decade ago, cannot transform the country on their own. But they offer an alternative approach that could help reduce the influence of Islamic extremists.

They prescribe a strong Western curriculum, with courses, taught in English, from math and science to English literature and Shakespeare. They do not teach religion beyond the one class in Islamic studies that is required by the state. Unlike British-style private schools, however, they encourage Islam in their dormitories, where teachers set examples in lifestyle and prayer.

“Whatever the West has of science, let our kids have it,” said Erkam Aytav, a Turk who works in the new schools. “But let our kids have their religion as well.”

That approach appeals to parents in Pakistan, who want their children to be capable of competing with the West without losing their identities to it. Allahdad Niazi, a retired Urdu professor in Quetta, a frontier town near the Afghan border, took his son out of an elite military school, because it was too authoritarian and did not sufficiently encourage Islam, and put him in the Turkish school, called PakTurk.

“Private schools can’t make our sons good Muslims,” Niazi said, sitting on the floor in a Quetta house. “Religious schools can’t give them modern education. PakTurk does both.”

The model is the brainchild of a Turkish Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gulen. A preacher with millions of followers in Turkey, Gulen, 69, comes from a tradition of Sufism, an introspective, mystical strain of Islam. He has lived in exile in the United States since 2000, after getting in trouble with secular Turkish officials.

Gulen’s idea, Aytav said, is that “without science, religion turns to radicalism, and without religion, science is blind and brings the world to danger.”

The schools are putting into practice a Turkish Sufi philosophy that took its most modern form during the last century, after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s founder, crushed the Islamic caliphate in the 1920s. Islamic thinkers responded by trying to bring Western science into the faith they were trying to defend. In the 1950s, while Arab Islamic intellectuals like Sayyid Qutub were firmly rejecting the West, Turkish ones like Said Nursi were seeking ways to coexist with it.

In Karachi, a sprawling city that has had its own struggles with radicalism — the American reporter Daniel Pearl was killed here, and the famed Binori madrasa here is said to have sheltered Osama bin Laden — the two approaches compete daily.

The Turkish school is in a poor neighborhood in the south of the city where residents are mostly Pashtun, a strongly tribal ethnic group whose poorer fringes have been among the most susceptible to radicalism. Kacmaz, who became principal 10 months ago, ran into trouble almost as soon as he began. The locals were suspicious of the Turks, who, with their ties and clean-shaven faces, looked like math teachers from Middle America.

“They asked me several times, ‘Are they Muslim? Do they pray? Are they drinking at night?’ “ said Ali Showkat, a vice principal of the school, who is Pakistani.

Goats nap by piles of rubbish near the school’s entrance, and Kacmaz asked a local religious leader to help get people to stop throwing their trash near the school, to no avail. Exasperated, he hung an Islamic saying on the outer wall of the school: “Cleanliness is half of faith.” When he prayed at a mosque, two young men followed him out and told him not to return wearing a tie because it was un-Islamic.

“I said, ‘Show me a verse in the Koran where it was forbidden,’ “ Kacmaz said, steering his car through tangled rush-hour traffic. The two men were wearing glasses, and he told them that scripturally, there was no difference between a tie and glasses.

“Behind their words there was no Hadith,” he said, referring to a set of Islamic texts, “only misunderstanding.”

That misunderstanding, along with the radicalism that follows, stalks the poorest parts of Quetta. Abdul Bari, a 31-year-old teacher of Islam from a religious family, lives in a neighborhood without electricity or running water. Two brothers from his tribe were killed on a suicide mission, leaving their mother a beggar and angering Bari, who says a Muslim’s first duty is to his mother and his family.

“Our nation has no patience,” said Bari, who raised his seven younger siblings, after his father died suddenly a dozen years ago. He decided that one of his brothers should be educated, and enrolled him in the Turkish school.

The Turks put the focus on academics, which pleased Bari, who said his dream was for Saadudeen, his brother, to lift the family out of poverty and expand its horizons beyond religion. Bari’s title, hafiz, means he has memorized the entire Koran, though he has no formal education. Two other brothers have earned the same distinction. Their father was an imam.

His is a lonely mission in a neighborhood where nearly all the residents are illiterate and most disapprove of his choices, Bari said. He is constantly on guard against extremism. He once punished Saadudeen for flying kites with the wrong kind of boys. At the Turkish school, the teenager is supervised around the clock in a dormitory.

“They are totally against extremism,” Bari said of the Turks. “They are true Muslims. They will make my brother into a true Muslim. He’ll deal with people with justice and wisdom. Not with impatience.”

Illiteracy is one of the roots of problems dogging the Muslim world, said Matiullah Aail, a religious scholar in Quetta who graduated from Medina University in Saudi Arabia.

In Baluchistan, Quetta’s sparsely populated province, the literacy rate is less than 10 percent, said Tariq Baluch, a government official in the Pasheen district. He estimated that about half of the district’s children attended madrasas.

Aail said: “Doctors and lawyers have to show their degrees. But when it comes to mullahs, no one asks them for their qualifications. They don’t have knowledge, but they are influential.”

That leads to a skewed interpretation of Islam, even by those schooled in it, according to Gulen and his followers.

“They’ve memorized the entire holy book, but they don’t understand its meaning,” said Kamil Ture, a Turkish administrator.

Kacmaz chimed in: “How we interpret the Koran is totally dependent on our education.”

In an interview in 2004, published in a book of his writings, Gulen put it like this: “In the countries where Muslims live, some religious leaders and immature Muslims have no other weapon in hand than their fundamental interpretation of Islam. They use this to engage people in struggles that serve their own purposes.”

Moderate as that sounds, some Turks say Gulen uses the schools to advance his own political agenda. Murat Belge, a prominent Turkish intellectual who has experience with the movement, said that Gulen “sincerely believes that he has been chosen by God,” and described Gulen’s followers as “Muslim Jesuits” who are preparing elites to run the country.

Hakan Yavuz, a Turkish professor at the University of Utah who has had extensive experience with the Gulen movement, offered a darker assessment.

“The purpose here is very much power,” Yavuz said. “The model of power is the Ottoman Empire and the idea that Turks should shape the Muslim world.”

But while radical Islamists seek to re-establish a seventh-century Islamic caliphate, without nations or borders, and more moderate Islamists, like Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, use secular democracy to achieve the goal of an Islamic state, Gulen is a nationalist who says he wants no more than a secular democracy where citizens are free to worship, a claim secular Turks find highly suspect.

Still, his schools are richly supported by Turkish businessmen. M. Ihsan Kalkavan, a shipping magnate who has built hotels in Nigeria, helped finance Gulen schools there, which he said had attracted the children of the Nigerian elite.

“When we take our education experiment to other countries, we introduce ourselves. We say, ‘See, we’re not terrorists.’ When people get to know us, things change,” Kalkavan said in his office in Istanbul.

He estimated the number of Gulen’s followers in Turkey at three million to five million. The network itself does not provide estimates, and Gulen declined to be interviewed.

The schools, which also operate in Christian countries like Russia, are not for Muslims alone, and one of their stated aims is to promote interfaith understanding. Gulen met the previous pope, as well as Jewish and Orthodox Christian leaders, and teachers in the schools say they stress multiculturalism and universal values.

“We are all humans,” said Kacmaz, the principal. “In Islam, every human being is very important.”

Pakistani society is changing fast, and more Pakistanis are realizing the importance of education, in part because they have more to lose, parents said. Abrar Awan, whose son is attending the Turkish school in Quetta, said he had grown tired of the attitude of the Islamic political parties he belonged to as a student. Now a government employee with a steady job, he sees real life as more complicated than black-and-white ideology.

“America or the West was always behind every fault, every problem,” he said, at a gathering of fathers in April. “Now, in my practical life, I know the faults are within us.”

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