Community News (V13-I51)

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Salman Khan, of Khan Academy, is commencement speaker at MIT

Laurels keep on coming the way of Khan Academy founder Salman Khan. He has now been selected as the commencement speaker at his alma mater MIT’s commencement ceremonies in June 2012. According to the student newspaper he will be the youngest commencement speaker in at least 30 years.

Salman Khan obtained two bachelors and a master’s degree from MIT before finishing his MBA from Harvard.

The hugely popular website now hosts over 2700 instructional videos in topics ranging from basic algebra to thermodynamics to art history, in addition to online exercises and drills.

Khan Academy, which offers its services for free, is supported by donations; among others, Google has promised to contribute $2 million, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to $1.5 million.

Muslim run food pantry in Bronx to close

BRONX,NY–A food pantry run by Muslims in Bronx will close unless they receive a rush of donations. The Muslim Women’s Initiative for Research and Development has been feeding more than 10,000 people through its two pantries which have been serving as a lifeline to the needy and destitute. But the current economic downturn combined with an increase in requests are taking its toll on the initiative.

‘A 70% slump in donations and a more than 50% increase in demand for services this year has put the organization $48,000 in the hole,’ said its executive director Nurah Ama’tullah in an interview  to the Daily News.

“This is very important for me,” said Antonia Cruz, 52, an out-of-work mother of five. “The food is very good. I don’t have public assistance. I hope they don’t close.”

MWIRD can be contacted at 718-960-2262 / 1-917-529-5242 or via email  info@mwird.org

Irfan Khan joins Phoenixville School Board

PHOENIXVILLE,PA–Irfan Khan took his seat as the new member of the Phoenixville School Board on December 5. He was elected unopposed in October. His term lasts four years and he said he is looking forward for productive term.

Khan has extensive experience in the area of finance and would be able to provide a vast knowledge of management of funds and investments to the local school board, according to an endorsement he received from the Democratic Committee.

Khan has served as a volunteer with a number of charitable organizations in the greater Phoenixville area.

Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha makes historic land purchase

OMAHA– Representatives of Temple Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture (AIISC) and the Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha today announced each of the four entities has purchased land at 132nd and Pacific Streets in Omaha. The four parcels, totaling approximately 35 acres, will be the future site of the Tri-Faith neighborhood.

This unique project, the first of its kind in the world, deliberately co-locates a synagogue, church and mosque. The site plan also includes aTri-Faith Center with social, educational and conference facilities enabling global study and communication.

“Experience teaches us that interaction can transform intolerance, ignorance and fear into understanding, respect and trust,” said Bob Freeman, Tri-Faith Initiative Board Chairman. “These basic values are shared by the three Abrahamic faiths and are rooted in our Midwestern culture.”

The Tri-Faith Initiative and the three religious groups each raised funds and purchased their own parcel of land. Additional funds will be raised to underwrite design and construction costs. The first building is expected to be completed in 2013.

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Annual Palestine Children’s Relief Fund Gala

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, TMO

The Southern California chapter of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) will hold its annual banquet/fundraiser September 24 at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel in Anaheim, Ca.

Titled” “Healing Hands”, the event will feature prominent Canadian-Palestinian attorney, Diane Buttu as the keynote speaker.

In addition to Ms Buttu, there will be a video presentation about the children of Palestine; an address by Dr. Alexander Zorous, Associate Professor of Pediatric Neurology at Loma Linda University who has been on numerous PCRF missions, most recently this past July; the presentation of the Huda Sosebee Humanitarian award to Nurse Asma Taha, and Middle Eastern entertainment.

The PCRF was founded in 1991 by concerned humanitarians to meet the medical needs of children in Palestine. Eventually the purview of PCRF’s administration expanded. The organization sends medical teams to: perform surgeries, including plastic surgery; treat congenital ailments; treat heart ailments; provide dental care, eyeglasses, and custom build wheel chairs. The medical teams teach as well as treat, seeking to make the area self sufficient. There is a women’s empowerment project, summer camp facilities for disabled children, and emergency disaster relief. Last year at PCRF’s gala the organization announced the entry of PCRF into the field of pediatric oncology. This is only a partial list of the outstanding work of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

If the patient is deemed to need medical treatment that cannot be provided locally, he or she is transported free of charge by PCRF to a hospital in the West or the Middle East where appropriate care is available. This care, including follow up visits, is provided free of charge while the patient and perhaps an accompanying relative stay with a local host family.

The late Huda Sosebee, wife of Founder Steve Sosebee, was the heart of the PCRF. A dedicated social worker and advocate for the children of Palestine, Ms Sosebee worked tirelessly and dreamed in the last year of her life of extending the work of PCRF to include pediatric oncology. Last year the dream was realized and is now in its early stages at Hussein Hospital in Beit Jalla.

The keynote speaker, Diane Buttu, is an internationally known and respected attorney. She was a former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization and was cited for her work as a legal advisor and negotiator on peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. She has appeared on numerous occasions on TV news broadcasts.

The event will begin at 6:00pm. Tickets are $100 per person with table sponsorship available. It is suggested that tickets be purchased in advance of the event.

To reserve a ticket or to make a donation, please call: (562) 432-0005 or fax: (562) 684-0828.

To learn more about the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, please access their web site at: www.pcrf.net.

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KinderUSA Annual Banquet

July 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, TMO

The sufferings of the world are too numerous to catalogue. Certainly the suffering of children is particularly poignant, and nowhere is this more evident than in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli occupation has rendered the people oppressed and poor with only a token future. If children have no future, then the world has no future. While many individuals and organizations have commendably worked to aid the children of Palestine, none has done more than KinderUSA (Kids in Need of Development, Education and Relief).

This past Saturday evening KinderUSA held its annual fundraising banquet event, a successful and educational presentation, in Universal City, Ca. The event was titled: “Supporting our Children: The Seeds of the Future”.

With the advent of Ramadan and its call for inner struggle and sacrifice, an event noted by each speaker, this event had a particular relevance for Muslims and non Muslims alike.

The keynote speakers were internationally acclaimed Islamic scholar, Dr. Tariq Ramadan, and Los Angeles’ own Dr. Maher Hathout. Professor Ramadan holds an MA in Philosophy and French literature and a PhD in Arabic and Islamic studies. At present he is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University. He also teaches at the Faculty of Theology at Oxford.

Professor Ramadan was recently permitted into the United States to join the faculty of Notre Dame after having been denied entry for six years because of his political views and activities.

Dr. Maher Hathout was a founder of the Islamic Center of Southern California and of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). He is a sought after speaker, a prolific author, and a participant in interfaith events.

After introductory remarks by Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Jess Ghannam, Jinan Al Marayati, the young daughter of KinderUSA chair, Dr. Laila Al Marayati, read from the Koran and provided a translation.
Dr. Ghannam is a clinical professor and the Chief of Medical Psychology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Hathout said that speaking at this event was an honor. He read and translated a poem written in Arabic. Nations, he said, find a place in history because their children live to fulfil their maximum potential.The children of Palestine should have this opportunity for which they were created by God.

“Israel”, he continued, “resorts to piracy.” Israel confiscates food and medicines. Israel claims that the ships they intercepted may have carried weapons. Is there a better way to handle the situation so as not to deprive the intended recipients of food and medicine?

Israel says Gaza does not need these goods. Israel claims that it only objects to material that can have dual use – for example glass, concrete, fertilizer.

For any child to eat, more than bread is needed. “It is food with dignity that is needed.” Kids need a roof that does not leak and windows that are not shattered. What gives Israel the right to say “You need this, but you don’t need that?”

Dr. Hathout was interrupted continuously by cries of “How very true”; “absolutely right”, and “that is so true.”

The issue is not food, he continued. The issue is occupation. All decent people should work to take down the wall of occupation. Everything else is a band aid. Tonight, he claimed is a band aid. But band aids are necessary when you must take a child’s damaged hand and lead him into the future.

Dr. Hathout pointed out the situation in the Middle East and how six months ago it was so different and seemed without hope. We must not, he continued, take our mind of our ultimate target: occupation, occupation, occupation.

He ended by saying that Ramadan is a time to clear our vision. Certain things are incompatible with being a human being.

Professor Ramadan began his address by saying that it was always an honor to tell the truth. He began his speech by praising Dr. Maher Hathout and his late brother, Dr Hasan Hathout. Both were committed to justice for non Muslims as well as Muslims.

We must realize that whether one is Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, there are voices that want to criminalize dissent, that want to render what we are doing illegal.

“We will always be on the side of the oppressed.” We are contributing to American society. We want freedom and democracy for us and for them. In this country we have much to do in the way of social justice and education.

He cautioned not to make the Palestinian cause a Muslim cause. Use the month of Ramadan as a solidarity month.

The audience had been interrupting Professor Ramadan with applause during his speech. He asked them to refrain and, if they found that he had made a particularly noteworthy point, that they concentrate on that point for ten seconds.

He then asked: “How do we come to a universalist attitude?” Our mission is to change the world for the better. He said he wanted to die having made himself a better person and the world a better place. He urged that we oppose any oppression.

He said to non Muslims that when you give your money, you purify it. Do not expect the recipient to thank you. Do it for the cause of justice.

We must follow events in the Middle East. We have inform ourselves of the situation and then inform others.

“There was no war in Gaza. It was an attack.” said Professor Ramadan. When you destroy schools as Israel did, you destroy the future.

We want to be an added value to the United States. We want to reconcile the United States to its own values. We are agents of reconciliation.

We must not accept the criminalization of support for the Palestinians. He said he was barred for six years from entry into this country because of his support. One of the groups he supported was on a black list, but it was not on the list at the time he gave the group money. He refused to apologize. None the less, the ban on his entry into this country stood until it was lifted by the current administration.

We practice a non violent resistance. We must persevere and be active. The more we are silent the more violent our enemies will become. “Who would have thought what would happen in Egypt? I am waiting for an Israeli spring.”

Muslims fast during Ramadan to purify themselves. They must act for humanity. We are a consumerist society. Ramadan makes this a better society through  fasting on the part of Muslims. The children of Palestine may be helping us. The poor whom we help may be our salvation; the oppressed whom we liberate may be our liberators.

The short and well received film, “Noor”,  written and directed by Mustafa Shakarchi, told the story of a ten year old girl who lived in a Lebanon Refugee Camp and wanted only to be a normal ten year old. Instead she was forced by her step mother to sell trinkets on the street. Her dream was to be able to read and write. The film was in Arabic with English sub titles. The child’s face and demeanor told the story, and the subtitles were in the end superfluous. When the film ended, not a few of the attendees had been moved to tears.

Before the formal part of the program, a reception was held in the lobby. A continuously running film that showed the plight of Palestinian children was on display. Dr. Laila Al Marayati, the Chairwoman of KinderUSA, and Dr. Basil Abdelkarim, a KinderUSA Board Member, presided over the collection of donations. Dr. Al Marayati showed and narrated a short film on the work of KinderUSA.
Many non Muslims were in attendance. Dr. Ghannam introduced some from the podium including Mormon Bishop and Mrs Steve Gilliland; Rabbi and Mrs Leonard Beerman, and two Roman Catholic nuns from the Los Angeles area. The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund and the Palestine American Women’s Association were also represented.

KinderUSA was founded in 2002 to help Palestinian children in need. The mission soon spread to other parts of the Middle East. To accomplish its work KinderUSA relies on partners throughout the world. KinderUSA has been recognized as one of the foremost children charities. It also seeks to provide services to help women who are the heads of households so that they might become independent. It is a 501(c)3 charity. The foregoing is only a very small part of KinderUSA in its entirety.

For more information on the far reaching work of KinderUSA, please access their web site at: www.kinderusa.org.

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Hearing Aids

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

tufailA hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. It makes some sounds louder so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities. A hearing aid can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.

A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.

Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines.

A hearing aid magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear. Surviving hair cells detect the larger vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are passed along to the brain. The greater the damage to a person’s hair cells, the more severe the hearing loss, and the greater the hearing aid amplification needed to make up the difference. However, there are practical limits to the amount of amplification a hearing aid can provide. In addition, if the inner ear is too damaged, even large vibrations will not be converted into neural signals. In this situation, a hearing aid would be ineffective.

If you think you might have hearing loss and could benefit from a hearing aid, visit your physician, who may refer you to an otolaryngologist or audiologist. An otolaryngologist is a physician who specializes in ear, nose, and throat disorders and will investigate the cause of the hearing loss. An audiologist is a hearing health professional who identifies and measures hearing loss and will perform a hearing test to assess the type and degree of loss.

The hearing aid that will work best for you depends on the kind and severity of your hearing loss. If you have a hearing loss in both of your ears, two hearing aids are generally recommended because two aids provide a more natural signal to the brain. Hearing in both ears also will help you understand speech and locate where the sound is coming from.

You and your audiologist should select a hearing aid that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Price is also a key consideration because hearing aids range from hundreds to several thousand dollars. Similar to other equipment purchases, style and features affect cost. However, don’t use price alone to determine the best hearing aid for you. Just because one hearing aid is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean that it will better suit your needs.

A hearing aid will not restore your normal hearing. With practice, however, a hearing aid will increase your awareness of sounds and their sources. You will want to wear your hearing aid regularly, so select one that is convenient and easy for you to use. Other features to consider include parts or services covered by the warranty, estimated schedule and costs for maintenance and repair, options and upgrade opportunities, and the hearing aid company’s reputation for quality and customer service.

Hearing aids take time and patience to use successfully. Wearing your aids regularly will help you adjust to them.

Become familiar with your hearing aid’s features. With your audiologist present, practice putting in and taking out the aid, cleaning it, identifying right and left aids, and replacing the batteries. Ask how to test it in listening environments where you have problems with hearing. Learn to adjust the aid’s volume and to program it for sounds that are too loud or too soft. Work with your audiologist until you are comfortable and satisfied.

Although they work differently than the hearing aids described above, implantable hearing aids are designed to help increase the transmission of sound vibrations entering the inner ear. A middle ear implant (MEI) is a small device attached to one of the bones of the middle ear. Rather than amplifying the sound traveling to the eardrum, an MEI moves these bones directly. Both techniques have the net result of strengthening sound vibrations entering the inner ear so that they can be detected by individuals with sensorineural hearing loss.

A bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is a small device that attaches to the bone behind the ear. The device transmits sound vibrations directly to the inner ear through the skull, bypassing the middle ear. BAHAs are generally used by individuals with middle ear problems or deafness in one ear. Because surgery is required to implant either of these devices, many hearing specialists feel that the benefits may not outweigh the risks.

Hearing aids are generally not covered by health insurance companies, although some do. For eligible children and young adults ages 21 and under, Medicaid will pay for the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, including hearing aids, under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) service. Also, children may be covered by their state’s early intervention program or State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Medicare does not cover hearing aids for adults; however, diagnostic evaluations are covered if they are ordered by a physician for the purpose of assisting the physician in developing a treatment plan. Since Medicare has declared the BAHA a prosthetic device and not a hearing aid, Medicare will cover the BAHA if other coverage policies are met.

Some nonprofit organizations provide financial assistance for hearing aids, while others may help provide used or refurbished aids. Contact the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders’ (NIDCD’s) Information Clearinghouse with questions about organizations that offer financial assistance for hearing aids.

Researchers are looking at ways to apply new signal processing strategies to the design of hearing aids. Signal processing is the method used to modify normal sound waves into amplified sound that is the best possible match to the remaining hearing for a hearing aid user. NIDCD-funded researchers also are studying how hearing aids can enhance speech signals to improve understanding.

In addition, researchers are investigating the use of computer-aided technology to design and manufacture better hearing aids. Researchers also are seeking ways to improve sound transmission and to reduce noise interference, feedback, and the occlusion effect. Additional studies focus on the best ways to select and fit hearing aids in children and other groups whose hearing ability is hard to test.

Another promising research focus is to use lessons learned from animal models to design better microphones for hearing aids. NIDCD-supported scientists are studying the tiny fly Ormia ochraceabecause its ear structure allows the fly to determine the source of a sound easily. Scientists are using the fly’s ear structure as a model for designing miniature directional microphones for hearing aids. These microphones amplify the sound coming from a particular direction (usually the direction a person is facing), but not the sounds that arrive from other directions. Directional microphones hold great promise for making it easier for people to hear a single conversation, even when surrounded by other noises and voices.

Hearing aid electronics control how sound is transferred from the environment to your inner ear. All hearing aids amplify sounds, making them louder so that you can hear them better. Most hearing aid manufacturers now only produce digital hearing aids — analog hearing aids are being phased out.

With digital technology, a computer chip converts the incoming sound into digital code, then analyzes and adjusts the sound based on your hearing loss, listening needs and the level of the sounds around you. The signals are then converted back into sound waves and delivered to your ears. The result is sound that’s more finely tuned to your hearing loss. Digital hearing aids are available in all styles and price ranges.

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Imam Latif Speaks at Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer

latif

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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