Islam, Muslims, and Cancer

June 23, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

Something pretty important has come to my attention that probably should be discussed among Muslims. The sun. Admittedly, the sun is pretty central in our existence in this world. It has been found that most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, which is obtained in its natural form from sunshine. Medical science has found that people who are deficient in Vitamin D are more likely to become ill – in the long run, with cancer. In a way, humans are like plants. We will wilt, wither away, and eventually die without attention to certain physical things like adequate sunshine, water, exercise and of course nutrition.

The Muslim community has been very strict and frowning upon those who drink alcohol or smoke. But many public functions feature soda in  place of water. After low levels of sunshine, a high level of sugar in the blood is the second top cause of cancer. Soda in fact actually dehydrates you as it contains salt (sodium). Drinking soda is like drinking sea water in terms of how it replenishes you. It does not.

But getting back to the sunshine issue, how can Muslim women who wear hijab prevent themselves from wilting away from lack of Vitamin D? Fair women need to apply sunscreen to their faces to prevent redness, moles and brown blotches. Some husbands are so “sensitive,” they won’t even let their wives go out wearing sandals. It may be necessary for Islamic scholars to convene to discuss this issue that is causing widespread death in our community, which is the lack of sunshine, whether it’s because of too much computer use or because of women having nowhere to go outside in privacy.

In the medieval times, wealthy Muslims used to build a tall wall around their home so that the womenfolk could go outside in the garden uncovered without strangers passing by. But what about today? What about those of us that don’t have that kind of money? How do we get our Vitamin D? Surely a vitamin that is given off by the sun is a blessing from Allah that it would be a sin to deny. From personal experience I know that staying “in purdah” too long results in such Vitamin D deficiency. The immediate effects include erratic heartbeat, aching in the bones, and the vague panicky feeling that one is about to die, without knowing why. Even ten minutes a day inside a car will improve these types of symptoms, but surely Allah wants us to thrive, not just survive.

A scientific study in India showed that women who rarely leave their homes are deficient in Vitamin D, despite the fact that India is a very sunny country.

A shaykh I know used to tell women who felt a strong urge to go to the beach and swim, that they should travel to someplace where nobody knows them, wear a bathing suit just like everybody else, and therefore attract less attention to themselves.

For those of us not ready for this level of liberalism, perhaps it would be a good time to travel somewhere away from the city, where there are not a lot of people, take a walk on some nature path, and remove the hijab and long sleeves. In America’s vast and beautiful National Forests you can find secluded rivers in which to bathe unwatched, where you can commune with nature.

Now that the American Muslim community has come to terms with the importance of protecting reproductive health through modesty, we are hopefully also ready to come to terms with the fact that a woman cannot live her life never knowing the feeling of wind blowing through her hair. This is a human right, not just a desire. Science has proved it. If we don’t spend some regular time outdoors uncovered, we will die. This is the top cause of cancer, not drinking or smoking.

Another strong factor in the escalating cancer rate in America is use of cell phones. All cell phones emit radiation, as do the wireless phones inside the home. In fact, anything emitting electricity causes cancer. I know it’s hard, but we have to look at these factors. Maybe we should use cell phones for auto emergencies only and keep them turned off most of the time if possible. At the very least, we should keep them away from children, even when they are not in use. Within five feet of a cell phone is the most dangerous zone. We have to be aware of the dangers of cell phone use by children, because brain cancer is now the top cause of death in children, second only after accidents.

We have to be aware of so many things. Even worse than cell phones, pesticides cause cancer in humans. We must give up spraying the grass now! And try to avoid eating food that has been contaminated with pesticides, especially when it comes to dairy and meat products, because the cows collect all that poison within. Since the halal meat system is separate from the regular grocery store supply system, this could easily be accomplished – once the Muslims decide this is important.

Avoiding the immorality of television lifestyles is key to personal dignity. Yet, Muslims have a long way to go when it comes to demonstrating that our lifestyle is the most healthy lifestyle.

13-26

“Transformation Detroit” Meetings

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer

IMG070Monday thru Wednesday there was a series of meetings with reporters from around the country including several from The Muslim Observer, which showcased efforts to improve Detroit’s position in concert with the city government and major industry players including many in the auto industry, and educational and health institutions in the Detroit area.

Wayne State University, the Henry Ford Health System, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have all made large efforts to build the demographics of Detroit, encouraging through financial incentives and by moving their headquarters to downtown Detroit.  The results have been a direct boost to the micro-economy of Detroit, but more importantly a change in the perception of Detroit–from a perception of its danger to an understanding of the opportunity there.

13-26

Imam Aly Lela Speaks at the Flint Islamic Center

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

IMG054Imam Aly Lela was invited by the Flint Islamic Center to speak at its celebration of Isra and Mi’raj.  The event was attended by about 150 people, and several of the winners from the FIC’s Seerah Competitions spoke.

The imam surprised those in attendance by saying that possibly Isra and Mi’raj did not happen in Rajab, as is popularly believed. 

The theme of the imam’s speech was that Islam is a “very rational religion,” and he emphasized the use of the mind in Islam as a means of attracting non-Muslims to Islam.  However the imam did not give evidence that this process has attracted more believers than other methods.

The imam spoke on the greatness of Prophet Muhammad (s), emphasizing the incredible restraint he showed after being abused by the people of Taif–also he spoke of a single believer who was attracted to Islam by the perfect and holy example of the Greatest Prophet (s) in the aftermath of his being beaten by the people of Taif, when Prophet (s) still maintained his incredible poise and grace and perfect manners.

13-26

Ukrainian Boxer Turning Heads

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

sillakh-584“Bernard Hopkins, here we come!” That is the cry from the camp of light heavyweight up-and-comer Ismayl Sillakh, the Ukrainian with the curious nickname “The Black Russian.” The six foot three inch Ukraine is cruising through the light heavyweight ranks with an eye toward the big boys. At 26 years of age, Sillakh is already 16-0 with 13 knockouts. Most recently he took out Hamza Wandera Ouma in Russia in three rounds. Sillakh is managed by Ivaylo Gotzev and trained by Shadeed Suluki. “If [Hopkins] is not available, a guy who always has something to say is Jean Pascal. We would love to take him on,” Gotzev told PhilBoxing.com.

Sillakh has traveled the world to fight, from Ukraine, where he had a phenomenal amateur record of 302-16, to Moscow, to the United States. He has made Southern California his unofficial new home, training in the northern Los Angeles area of Van Nuys at the new International Fight Center (IFC). So, other top light heavyweights cannot say that that haven’t heard of him or cannot find him. He’s right in their backyard. “…It’s no coincidence the division’s champions or their promoters never bring Sillakh’s name up. It’s because they’re all afraid to fight him, it’s that simple,” states Gotzev.

13-26

Open House at Tawheed Center

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

Farmington–June 10–For the first time in six years the Tawheed Center in Farmington welcomed local non-Muslim residents in a large coordinated open house and free health clinic this past Saturday.  About 200 non-Muslims visited to tour the mosque, enjoy Muslim food and culture (henna and calligraphy), and listen to presentations about Islam by mosque volunteers and professional Muslim speakers including Dawud Walid of CAIR-Michigan. 

The open house was also a chance to show the immense work that has gone into the mosque since the last open house in 2005.

The setup consisted of an opportunity for the visitors to watch perhaps 100 Muslims pray dhohr prayer in the mosque, a tour through the semi-divided banquet hall, where on one side about 20 volunteers stood with posters describing Islam, young volunteers who described various issues about Islam and welcomed questions; and on the other side of the banquet hall a question and answer presentation session tried to address the visitors’ concerns about Islam.

The volunteers were mostly high school students–one of them, Mehak Haq, said that she was emphasizing that there is no compulsion in religion–that Muslims are guided to allow non-Muslims to worship freely.  She said that “It is a good opportunity–very insightful questions… the people seemed respectful, very respectful.”

Volunteer Ayyub Khan said that what surprised him about the event was the diversity of the visitors.  Indeed, the visitors to the mosque showed an admirable range of ethnicities which is very gratifying in sometimes segregated Detroit.  The visitors seemed to represent all the major demographic groups in America by race and age, the only possibly underrepresented group being adolescents and children.

Tawheed Trustee Asim Khan  spoke very happily about the many visitors, estimating the number of visitors who had come so far, and also expressing his happiness with the volunteers:  “See how many young people are involved? We are trying to get them ready to run things later on.”

13-25

Samir Nasri in Demand

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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France’s Samir Nasri controls the ball during their Euro 2012 Group D qualifying soccer match against Belarus at Dinamo stadium in Minsk June 3, 2011.

REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

The agent of Arsenal scoring sensation Samir Nasri indicates that talks between the player and Arsenal are still ongoing, despite reports to the contrary. There have been rumors of interest on the part of Manchester United amidst reports of Nasri’s displeasure with Arsenal’s attempts, or lack thereof, to improve thus far in the offseason.

“I want to clarify that there has been no break with the Gunners over the contract’s renewal and we should meet again soon with Arsene Wenger,” Nasri’s agent Alain Migliaccio told calciomercatoweb. “There are a few clubs interested in Samir, but it is useless to name them. Before listening to other teams, we need and we want to talk with Arsenal.”
Nasri had a prolific season with Arsenal, making for a nice bounce-back after having been left off of the French World Cup team last summer amidst politics and infighting. However, much of the mayhem has since tied to outgoing French coach Raymond Domenech, so Nasri’s reputation has been rehabilitated sufficiently with his play for Arsenal this past English season. And with his value at an all time high, Arsenal owner, American Stan Kroenke, is reportedly set to break the bank to keep him.

13-25

Bernard Hopkins Title Defense Looks Set

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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File: Bernard Hopkins rests during practice in Los Angeles, 2008.

Newly-crowned light-heavyweight champion of the world Bernard Hopkins is all but finalized to take on Chad Dawson this fall, likely in September, for his first title defense. Hopkins has a record of 52 wins, 5 losses, and 2 draws, while Dawson has 30 wins, one loss, and no draws. Dawson has reportedly been aiming to take on Hopkins for a couple of years now, but has been brushed aside until now. Hopkins instead took on Jean Pascal, whom he drew in December of 2010 before defeating him on May 21st of this year. The victory gave Hopkins the WBC, IBO, and The Ring magazine light heavyweight title belts.

Dawson’s only loss of his career came in fact to Pascal in August of 2010 in a technical decision. Therefore, Hopkins reportedly claimed that a fight with Dawson would be a waste of his time, and instead he wanted to “just beat the man who beat the man.” And that he did by dispatching of Pascal last month. But now Hopkins, who recently had a ceremony in his honor in his home town of Philadelphia, sees Dawson as his best match.

13-25

Profile: Nina Rehman Khan, HDF President

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

ninarehman2photoFarmington–June 15–The new president of HDF spoke with TMO Tuesday about her background, her experience with HDF, and her plans for the future.

Dr. Rehman is a physician specializing in internal medicine, with a private practice, operating at St. John and Troy Beaumont Hospital.

Human Development Foundation (HDF) is a not-for-profit formed almost 15 years ago in Illinois; it focuses almost all of its development work in Pakistan.  Its annual operating budget is over $1 million, according to its verified 2009 tax return, and its coffers also hold more than $1 million.

She explains that she has been involved “on and off, as a medical student even,” with HDF for many years, and that she has been involved on a regular basis with HDF since 2003, “at many levels, secretary, board of directors, to other things.”

“I prefer HDF because it involves more women’s health and education–women are my top priority… HDF emphasized more women and their health issues, immunizations for kids–all that attracted me more.”

She speaks with admiration of the accomplishments of HDF to date, of running “over 200 schools,” of microloans (“mainly to women but also to some men”).   HDF provides help to get people “off the ground so they can be independent… raise their own family and be educated, and get skills.”  HDF provides “help with pregnancies and immunizations, free clinics in different villages, support clinics for women’s health–childbirth and preventive health.”

She explains of HDF’s focus on Pakistan and relative silence in the US that “that’s our vision.” However she explains that she has considered doing some projects to help children and women in Detroit, and that HDF did do some work to relieve the suffering after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

“I was planning on doing more during Christmas, to help the homeless and kids [in Detroit].”

HDF is an apparently very successful not-for-profit, which claims to maintain over 200 schools in Pakistan; also clinics and even entire villages.  HDF provided homes for people displaced by the floods in Pakistan, in association with APPNA. 

In her professional life Dr. Rehman emphasizes women’s preventive health, and anti-aging.  She recently completed a fellowship in anti-aging.

13-25

Interview with Graffiti Artist Mohammed Ali

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Siddiq Ather, TMO

Mohammed Ali also known as Aerosol Arabic is a Muslim Graffiti artist who has gained attention worldwide, painting murals and conducting shows for peace, justice, and humanity. He was born and raised in Birmingham, England. He was involved with graffiti art during the eighties when it was spreading like wildfire across the U.K. His work has been displayed in a variety of exhibitions, and he has spoken at various artistic and academic venues. 

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Do you think the attitude towards graffiti has changed since the eighties?

They have and haven’t. You still hear the questions of whether graffiti is just vandalism or art. People like Banksy have targeted a whole different audience and shown the power of street art. The attitudes toward the art form have not evolved enough, but the art form hasn’t either.  Many of the artists from this movement are not like Banksy. They are not trying to communicate to the mainstream.

Do you think art needs a purpose?

For me, it has to communicate something. Initially, I was just expressing myself: one’s identity, your name, or your tag. What’s the point of that? If I am painting a public space why should it just be a selfish expression? Why should I be expressing my name? Communication is paramount for me.

What is the value of graffiti art in society?

Who owns the public space? I suppose it’s the people.  So, when I’m painting, I’m painting for the people. I need to be communicating something of value. In big cities we are bombarded by visuals and imagery by different useless commercial products.

For me, it is about taking ownership of the public space and offering, to the public domain, ideas that are beneficial for a progressive and positive society. In our lifetime we have seen the breakdown of certain values. I want to bring something back that will be of benefit to the people, me, as a Muslim, me, as an artist, and me, as human being.

How much of your art is for you and how much is for the audience?

For me, it’s for the audience. I paint for the people, really me getting any personal fulfillment from painting is like a bonus for me. I’m an artist, but I don’t do art for art’s sake, so art for the sake of mankind, I suppose. Art I hope will bring some good to society. It’s a channel for me to release my thoughts and ideas so people may benefit personally, spiritually, or otherwise.

Is art only meant for adding positivity to the world, and for the betterment of society?

Each to their own really. It’s fine that people want to express their color, art, and composition for their own personal benefit; I’m not going to criticize that. Certainly art has some therapeutic properties for personal benefit. There’s a space and need for that.

But I feel, as a Muslim, I also have a strong social responsibility. What did I do in this world if I leave, not if, when I leave I feel I am accountable. What did I do for my community and society at large? What would be the point if I left this world and didn’t do anything to benefit it?

How does being Muslim affect your art?

As a visual artist, graffiti and the Islamic art of written word were interesting. In graffiti art it was man. In the Alhambra Mosque in Spain, it was the word of God. When I rediscovered my identity as a Muslim, as a graffiti artist, I was blown away by the marriage and melding of the two art forms. I felt I could take the best of both worlds without conflict.

There are issues of drawing figurative forms. I do a lot of shadowesque silhouette forms of people. So I have found different ways of expressing things. It has made me think outside the box.
How has your outlook on art changed since you started?

I wasn’t one of those people mindlessly vandalizing property: painting an eyesore, with something of color. I have a social responsibility now. What kind of example would I be if I was painting walls illegally? So I’ll see a wall that’s ugly screaming to be painted, that’s someone else’s wall, anyone can tell you about painting someone’s wall without permission.
Before there wasn’t really a message, just a name, now the focus is on the message rather than selfish expression.

What keeps you going?

Feedback from people, whether it’s to know kids in Palestine were joyously talking about some wall painted in an English city, or seeing an old woman emotionally passing her hand over a load of painted bricks. Art has the power to change the world. I’ve seen how it can.

What is one of the most difficult moments as an artist?

Well the event with the Chicago mural was a challenge, being unable to complete it. Difficulties I face are a blessing. They give me encouragement to come back and do something bigger and better.  I’m planning an event similar to”Writing on the Wall” with IMAN in Chicago, insha’Allah.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

Engaging with the people and traveling my travels. Historical figures: Malcolm X and Salahuddin, leaders who fought for justice. The prophets would be the best examples of course. What we are doing as artists and activists is a continuation  of these people who fought and struggled, fought for justice, fought for bringing back values.

One of my favorite quotes is from the author George Orwell, he once said, “In a time of universal deceit, speaking the truth will become a revolutionary act.”

How do you see yourself advancing in the future professionally, personally?

I established an organization called Soul City Arts, and have been programming and directing theatrical events with other artists. My arts organization in my city is called the Hubb Arts Centre. I want to continue collaborating with groups like IMAN. The scene of arts for social change is very small and people who work in this arena need to connect so they can effectively bring about social change.  We have to think strategically and think where we want to be in ten years.

13-24

The Birth of the Dental Spa

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

dentistA trip to the dentist often results in some degree of pain or a jolt of fear-induced adrenaline, as the various instruments required in dentistry buzz and whir inside your mouth. For this reason, a lot of people fear going to the dentist and put it off until the pain of a tooth ailment forces their hand. Fear of dental treatment is something universal regardless of whether you live in the USA or somewhere like Kuwait. However, if you reside in the latter, a new type of dental facility has been born that will not only facilitate repairing your teeth but will also soothe your senses at the same time.

Currently known in the Middle East as “dental spas”, the facilities are a hybrid of a regular spa and a dentist’s office. And they can be found all over Kuwait and in neighboring Arab countries. A typical dentist’s office looks a bit banal with its minimalist décor and stench of disinfectant floating in the air. However, a dental spa is something extraordinary that is evident the moment you walk in the door. The reception area of a dental spa is the most notable with plush sofas and heavily decked out tables. You won’t find a stack of outdated magazines on the tables in a dental spa, but what you will find are aromatherapy candles, natural stones and knick-knacks scattered about for the sole purpose of creating a relaxing atmosphere. Depending on the poshness of the dental spa, you will also find an espresso or cappuccino machine complete with ornate glass teacups perfect for sipping.

When it comes to services, once you get behind the façade of the waiting room and staff decked out in colorful matching uniforms, it really is just the same as any other dental office. However, in the Middle East at least, the services are far more state-of –art than what you would find in an ordinary government run dental clinic which is heavily subsidized by the state and offers the bare minimum of dental services. In a dental spa, close attention is paid to both repairing teeth and giving clients that Hollywood smile. Dental implants, whitening sessions and lumineers are just a few of the specialized services offered in a dental spa. And while you won’t be treated to a foot massage or even a back rub, dental spas do succeed in numbing a bit of the anxiety that results from visiting the dentist.

13-24

Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi Falls in French Quarters

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

7bde2d6b2a9bf941ffe59d2ca10362ef-getty-112296011jd258_2011_french_
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of USA shake hands with Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan following their victory during the men’s doubles quarterfinals match June 1.

Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and his Indian doubles tennis partner Rohan Bopanna were almost able to slay the dragon that has been tormenting them. That dragon has taken the shape of American tennis playing brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, who previously defeated Qureshi and Bopanna in the finals of the U.S. Open Men’s Doubles tournament this past September. In the 2011 French Open semifinals. the Indo-Pak Express were able to take the first set against the Bryans in a tiebreaker, 7-2. But Bob and Mike roared back and took the second set 6-3. That left a crucial third and final set that once again went to a tiebreaker. However, it was the Bryans who prevailed in this second tiebreaker, 7-3, to qualify for the semifinals. The Bryans, however, went on to lose in the semifinals to the unseeded team of Eduardo Schwank of Argentina and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia.

Qureshi has moved up to a career high of number seven in the world mens’ doubles rankings. But that will be small consolation for him right now as the two of them continue to try to break through with their first Grand Slam doubles title. At least they have gotten back on the saddle after their disappointing end in Paris. The duo have already reached the final of the Gerry Weber Open in Germany just days after their loss.

13-24

ICNA-MAS Convention

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer

IMG_60591

Hartford, CT–The ICNA MAS Convention in Hartford was a huge success as usual, this past Memorial Day weekend. 

Present were many very prominent speakers including Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Dr. Ingrrid Mattson, Dr. Sulayman Nyang, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Sh. Omar Suleiman.

The theme of the convention was Qur`an:  Guidance Towards a Just and Balanced Way. 

Highlight events at the convention included a parallel youth conference, a Qur`an recitation competition, programs in ethnic languages, private counseling sessions, a basketball tournament, the presence and opportunity to talk with professionals including lawyers, doctors and authors.  There were exclusive sisters’ events, matrimonial services, interfaith events, and a huge cultural bazaar and exhibition.  There were even career services at the convention. 

We at TMO intend to publish a more detailed report about the event next week.

Stay tuned!

13-23

MUNA Conference in Hamtramck

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Nargis Hakim Rahman, TMO

“The Muslim Ummah of North America’s north zone will have an educational conference in Hamtramck to discuss youth involvement and community development on June 5. MUNA is a social dawah organization in the U.S. which seeks to spread Islam through dawah, organization, education, social service, and relationship building. Michigan has four chapters and 15 sub-chapters, including two youth groups.

Guests will include: Congressman John Conyers Jr., Congressman Hansen Clarke, President of the Islamic Center of North Detroit (Masjid Al-Falah) and Imam of the Canton Masjid, Sheikh Ali Suleiman Ali, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan Chapter, Dawud Walid, Imam Aly Lela from the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, and Publisher of The Muslim Observer Dr. A.S. Nakadar. President of MUNA Dr. Syed Rahman Chowdhury is the keynote speaker.

The program will be held at the Gates of Columbus, 9632 Conant Ave., Hamtramck, MI, from 2:30 – 7 p.m. Admission is free. For more information contact Muhammad Rafiqul Islam at 313.231.1986 or Maleka Begum at 313.492.9695.”

13-23

Sania Mirza in French Open Semifinals

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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Sania Mirza of India returns the ball to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 26, 2011.    

REUTERS/Thierry Roge

India’s Sania Mirza, and her Russian doubles tennis partner, Elena Vesnina, are getting the attention of the paparazzi in Paris after upending the ladies’ doubles number one seeds Gisela Dulko of Argentina and Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6–0, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the French Open. Mirza and Vesnina, the seventh seeds, took only 66 minutes to dispatch of Pennetta and Dulko, who are ranked number one and number two respectively in the ladies’ world individual doubles rankings. Mirza’s partner, Vesnina, currently ranks number 10 in those same world rankings, while Sania has moved up to number 25. Sania is up to number 72 in the singles rankings.

Mirza and Vesnina will now take on the fourth seeded American duo of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond on Wednesday at Roland Garros Stadium in  Paris. No matter the result, Sania and Elena are sure to see their rankings shoot up further after the French Open.

13-23

Kareem Abdul Jabbar Feels Wronged by Lakers

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

kareem_abdul-jabbar-797Only in LA, can a basketball great like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar feel that he isn’t recognized like he should be. The form of recognition that Abdul-Jabbar is looking for is a statue of himself in front of the Staples Center. Today, the current collection of statues include Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Wayne Gretzky, Oscar De La Hoya and broadcaster Chick Hearn.  Abdul-Jabbar told The Sporting News, “I don’t understand. It’s either an oversight or they’re taking me for granted. I’m not going to try to read people’s minds, but it doesn’t make me happy. It’s definitely a slight. I feel slighted.”  And in a statement he added:  “I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgment of my contribution to Laker success. I guess being the linchpin for five world championships is not considered significant enough in terms of being part of Laker history.”

It seems like things have not been good between Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers, since he feels slighted when asked by the Lakers to take a salary cut while the team was paying Phil Jackson more than $10 million to coach and was also offended by getting seats on Lakers flights in the back of the plane when spacious seats were available up front.1106-GQ-PF09.01

“It’s just about a whole lot of smaller incidents that, as they pile up on you, you get the feeling you don’t mean anything to them,” he said.”I’ve never been this vocal about anything,” he said. “I’ve always tried to stay out of the fray and not be an object of controversy.”

And Kareem made it clear he feels the Lakers have taken care of Magic Johnson, but not him. Asked about his relationship with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, he answered: “It’s okay . . . When you look at what he did for Earvin and what he did for me, big disparity there.”

13-22

Muslims at the 2011 French Open

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

TENNIS-OPEN/It has been a mixed bag so far for Muslim tennis players at the 2011 French Open Tennis Tournament. Although, there has been a preponderance of sour ingredients in that bag so far. First with the bad, Uzbeki female tennis player Akgul Amanmuradova succumbed in the first round of the ladies’ singles competition to German Sabine Lisicki 6-0, 6-4. French Muslima Aravane Rezai was also a first round loser in her home tournament to Romanian Irina Camelia-Begu 6-3, 6-3, also in the first round.

Indian Sania Mirza was a first round winner in the ladies’ singles over Kristina Barrois of Germany 6-3, 6-3. Mirza was also a first round winner in the ladies doubles with Russian partner Elena Vesnina. Speaking of doubles, the team of Pakistani Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Indian Rohan Bopanna is seeded fifth in the men’s doubles as they wait to play their first match.

13-22

Bernard Hopkins Becomes Oldest Boxing Champ in History

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

BernardHopkinsHeadShotMuslim boxer Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxing titlist in any division in any era on Saturday with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal in Montreal, Canada. Hopkins won the World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight belt by winning all three cards after 12 rounds, by the scores of 116-112, 115-114, and 115-113. At the ripe old age of 46, no one had won a boxing title at such an advanced age since then 45 year old George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994. Saturday’s fight was a rematch of the first Hopkins-Pascal fight that took place this past December and ended in a draw.

Hopkins improved his record to 52 wins, 5 losses, and 2 draws. He is now likely to defend his belt against former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, who won in a unanimous decision in Saturday’s undercard against Adrian Diaconu. However, Dawson previously lost his title against Pascal in August. Another possible opponent is undefeated super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, who was originally born and raised in Romania but now resides in Canada.

13-22

Muslim Leadership Summit

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

IMG_0056The tectonic shift of the American Muslim community towards increased activism and strong support for the Democrats was exemplified this month by a visit of Muslim business leaders to congress and the Executive Office Building next to the White House, in an event arranged by first-ever Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D-5th-MN).

About 30 leaders from the Muslim community, businessmen, medical professionals and politicians, went to Washington May 11th and 12th, to meet with prominent congressmen including Keith Ellison, Andre Carson (D-7th-IN), and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-8th-CA) and to participate in discussion on foreign policy issues.  Attendees also made significant contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), under whose auspices the meetings were held.

New Jersey businessman Saeed Patel, owner of Amex Computers, said of the event that “Obviously there was a big change this year, because [the Democrats] are not in the majority anymore.”

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DCCC Muslim Leadership Summit attendees and speakers including Valerie Jarrett, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Rep. Keith Ellison, Saeed Patel, and others.

Some of the prominent invitees were Mr. Patel, the attorney Mazen Asbahi from Chicago, Safir Rabb, Riaz Fakhoury from Ocala FL, SA Ibrahim, Nihad Awad of CAIR, Winston Ibrahim, Kamran Farid, and the mayor of Teaneck New Jersey, Mohammed Hameeduddin, Adnan Durrani, Uzma Iqbal, Hurram Waheed, and Kemal Oksuz were also there.

Rashad Husain, White House representative to the OIC, attended the event and spoke with the Muslim delegation members.

The Muslim delegation represented a broad swath of Muslim ethnicities and regional backgrounds, from Turkish diplomats to American businessmen of Indian origin, to African American interfaith activists and businessmen from around the world.

This was the third annual event of this type, and those in attendance expressed their wish that this annual event should continue and that the Muslim community should increase in political clout.

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Eyewitness to the Fight for Freedom in Libya

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, TMO

Dr. Mahmoud Traina, an American born cardiologist of Libyan descent, visited the besieged city of Benghazi from the 23rd of February through the 5th of March. The city of Benghazi was the birthplace of the revolution against Muammar Qaddafi and the scene of the greatest violence and injury for the freedom fighters.

It was in Benghazi that the freedom fighters are trying to coordinate the efforts of the war. A number of former Qaddafi supporters, including members of the military,  joined the side of the freedom fighters. This includes membership in the Transitional National Council (TNC), the council of the freedom fighters.  Dr. Traina met one of the Libyan freedom fighters, Omar Al-Harari, a member of the TNC though not the head.

Dr. Traina reports that the spirit in Benghazi was euphoric for the people. Despite attacks and deprivation the people were joyous and optimistic in their efforts to secure the freedom that so much of the world takes for granted.

One person told him, “You can’t imagine the feeling of now being free after 42 years. Now that we have tasted freedom, we will never go back, no matter the price”.

Dr. Traina had received word earlier in the day from his sister that she and her family escaped from Misrata and were currently in  England.  Other family members and friends were still in harm’s way putting a cloud over this good news.

The living conditions in Benghazi are horrendous. There is no electricity, no water, and no sanitation. There are no infant supplies. Only the most basic medicines are available. A Cholera epidemic is a very real possibility. The hospitals are so crowded that they have had to dislodge half of their patient load to be cared from outdoors under tents. Injuries to limbs, normally treatable by orthopedic surgery, have often resulted, due to these primitive conditions, in amputations. There are no functional Intensive Care Units to treat for the critically ill and/or post surgical patients.

The lines for bread involve a three hour wait.

Dr. Traina spoke of the conditions he witnessed. “In Benghazi, people were beginning the process of self-rule and organization.  Volunteers manned the traffic signals, and organized traffic.  Others helped to feed the people with donated food in improvised “soup kitchens”. Other groups were going around cleaning up the debris in the city left from the violence. Medical staff was working overtime to care for the ill, especially the nursing staff who remained. (A large number of the nursing staff were foreign workers, and many of them left the country, but many stayed, and said they couldn’t abandon the patients who needed them)”.

Dr. Traina said that Qaddafi, after 42 years of despotic rule, believes that Libya belongs to him as one would own a personal possession. Qaddafi has said that if necessary to keep his power he will kill every Libyan and restock the country. He has used mercenaries from Chad, Mali and Niger. This became obvious when some of the mercenaries became hospitalized, and the personnel in attendance realized these patients spoke no Arabic.

In addition, Dr. Traina believes that there are pro-Qaddafi cells in Benghazi ready to spring into action when called upon.

When asked about opinion in the street about the United States and NATO as having a role to play, Dr. Trains replied that the Libyans want to win their freedom through their own acts. It is they who must play the leading role.

The Libyan people, he continued, want freedom as Americans know freedom. They want an open and accountable government and the freedom to form political parties. Nearly 100% of Libyans are Muslim, and Islam will play a role in their government. This is comparable to the role Christianity played in the early days of the American republic. Islam and freedom are totally compatible, he said, citing the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his early followers.

Dr. Traina dismissed the idea that the revolution, when successful, could be hijacked by radical forces. The people have fought too hard for their freedom and would guard in jealously.

Some organizations, he continued, have been able to get aid in by working with United Nations agencies. Others based in Ireland and the UK have been successful in this arena because they are not subject to the same sanctions.

Dr. Traina has suggested two web sites that he both recommends and is involved with. They are: www.libyanemergencyaid.com and www.islamicreliefusa.org/libya .

Dr. Traina is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and on the cardiology staff at Olive View – UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar.

The Muslim Observer thanks him for his time.

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Pushing Freedom

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves”. 

~Abraham Lincoln

freedomThe word “freedom” is one that is being heard more and more often in the Middle East whether it is in the media or brought up in simple conversation.  Countries like Egypt and Tunisia have already tasted the sweet tang of freedom in recent months. Other countries, like Bahrain and Libya, are still waiting to savor even a morsel of freedom in their countries. While certain parts of the Middle East have yet to provide full throttle freedom for its denizens there is one country that has been a beacon of light for a primary liberty, freedom of speech, in the Middle East for many years.

The State of Kuwait has topped the annual Freedom House “Freedom of the Press Survey” for several years running and has been heralded as having one of the most free media sectors in the region. However, this year, Kuwait was toppled from first position by Israel and further pushed down a notch by Lebanon to take third position.

It’s not surprising that Kuwait lost the top spot given that the past several months have seen quite an amount of political turmoil in the country with some media outlets not only reporting the news but also becoming part of it. At least one television station was ransacked in the pasts several months and one writer jailed over public statements they made which were deemed to be inflammatory.

Members of the public in Kuwait have also been prone to having their freedom of speech impugned as of late. This past January a Kuwait-based blogger was sued by an international eatery over writing a negative food review. Fortunately, the blogger proved victorious as the case was thrown out of court.  However, this past week a group of Kuwait University students found themselves simmering in a pot of “hot water” over comments made about one of their teachers on the social-networking site Facebook.

According to the teacher, who chose to press charges, the students posted derogatory comments about her teaching methods on a personal page. Other students chimed in about their experiences and it snowballed from there. Authorities investigated the incident and the case was seemingly closed until the teacher demanded punitive measures from the university’s governing panel. All of the students, some of which are set to graduate in the coming month, involved in posting the comments online face expulsion. In a counterclaim, a spokesman for the student union known as ‘The Democratic Circle’ has retorted, “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right granted by the Constitution. The fact that a university instructor does not respect this premise signifies the existence of a larger issue and jeopardizes the university’s reputation as an educational institute.”

Only time will tell if Kuwait can regain its status as the exemplar for free speech in the region. But one thing is for sure, censorship and transgressions against freedom of speech are both meals best served up cold. 

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