Osama bin-Laden and Us

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Charlotte (N.C.)–May 5th–Coming home from the Southeast of the United States, I find myself in the Charlotte (North Carolina) airport.  Charlotte’s is the Seventeenth largest city in the United States.  In the last several years, Charlotte has become a major U.S. financial center, now the second largest after New York City, and the shenanigans here — such the executives of the Bank of America headquartered there, etc. — were partially the cause of the collapse of the housing market and the recession which followed from which, now, the B. Hussein Osama Administration is fighting to emerge.

Charlotte is referred to as the Queen City because the surrounding County was named after the Princess Charlotte of Mecklenberg, the Queen Consort of the (infamous “mad”  English) King George (the III) of American Revolutionary fame.  So, Charlotte is an (old for an American) city.  It is close to both the Appalachian (Mountains) and the Atlantic (Ocean).

Charlotte is not my story, but I was there when Osama bin-Laden was finally hunted down, and “slaughtered,” and, by the time I reached home on the North American Pacific Rim, he had been buried at sea; so, like Hitler last century, there would be no place for like-minded people to pilgrimage.

Arriving home last night, one of our regional (Oakland, Calif.) local evening news shows did a man-on-the-Street “survey” segment of (San Francisco) Bay Area (U.S.) citizens reaction to the “assassination” of an (undeniably) mass murderer (if you reject the conspiracy theories over 9-11 which I, personally, do).  There was one extremely thoughtful response from a Vietnam veteran: “Look., I was forced to take human lives, and sometimes this is necessary, but there is no pleasure in it!”  He is quite right.  While on this earth, life is the most valuable thing we can have, for it is only during life we can repent before Allah (SVT), and prepare ourselves for a righteous entrance into Paradise.  Bin-Laden had taken human life unmercifully, and his bloody ending is what a life of violence will lead.  That is, by his actions, his early death was inevitable.  

Fortunately, in my (forced) service as a young man, I never had to slaughter another soul, or, for that matter had been eradicated myself by an alien-commissioned “adversary.” either!  God is, indeed Great (and mercifully compassionate) to me!

Further, as an Afro-American woman interviewed on the aforementioned program, who had lost her son in battle in Afghanistan, said, because she was a Christian, she could take no delight in his passing, and Muslims, also, should not take delight in such a dispatch because he made the lives of American Muslims Hell, and worldwide more Muslim than non-Muslims had died from his policies! 

Although an evil and dangerous man, there is no joy in his death, for while we are alive we can repent before Allah (swt).  I cannot bemoan his passing, even though this man was responsible for so many — especially civilian deaths — in my natal land, and  began a tragic  war — like the Fuhrer in Germany.  I cannot delight in his death because like the Vietnam veteran, it has come to this.  I celebrate the bravery of the (U.S.) elite SEALS who accomplished what they were trained to do for their citizens!  According to reports, they did attempt to take him alive; so, we could see his sins of cruelty (or not); thus, the world could judge him in the bright light of day, and pronounce fitting justice in the cold thoughtfulness like the aloof International Courts in Nuremburg after the Second World War.

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All Eyes on Shabbazz Muhammad

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

SHABAZZ-MUHAMMADSmall forward Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman high school in Las Vegas, Nevada is virtually a unanimous national top-5 recruit in the boys’ basketball class of 2012. That makes for a nice subjective analysis of his talent. But how about an objective measure of his abilities: he has no less than 16 big-time college scholarship offers, including offers from such elite programs as Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, and USC.

It was originally thought that the home town UNLV team would have long odds in securing Muhammad’s services amongst the big boys that are after him. But those odds improved after Dave Rice was hired as UNLV’s new men’s basketball coach last month. Rice just happens to be the brother of Shabbazz’s high school coach, Grant Rice. Shabbazz’s father, Ron Holmes, heard the new coach speak and was impressed, and he told the Las Vegas Sun this his son will indeed take a recruiting trip to UNLV. “Without a doubt, UNLV will be right there,” Holmes said of UNLV’s chances to sign his son.

Muhammad averaged 25 points per game this past winter and was named the Sunset Region’s Player of the Year. The 6 foot 6 inch wing player just may be the biggest recruit in Southern Nevada history, and that is saying something.

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Turkish Soccer Star Joins Spanish Giants

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

2011-05-09T110721Z_671877595_BM2E7590ZMO01_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-SAHIN-REALTurkish midfielder Nuri Sahin announced this week that he will, as expected, complete his move from German champions Borussia Dortmund to the Spanish titlists Real Madrid at the end of the season. The 22-year-old Sahin has arguably been the most influential member of a team packed with potential, and, at 8.8 million pounds, represents a bargain in the current market. That reasonable price tag is a far cry from Real’s free-spending days, and it represents the changing economics of big time football.  And, given the relative success of German imports (and fellow Muslims) Sami Khedira and Mesut Oezil this past season, it makes sense that Madrid have once more looked to the German Bundesliga for a further infusion of talent.

In addition to joining Oezil and Khedira, Sahin also joins a couple of other prominent Muslims on the Real Madrid squad: French midfielder Lassana Diarra, and French striker Karim Benzema. Sahin brings further possession and playmaking to the Real Madrid midfield, and while Madrid already has a talented midfield, you can never have enough people feeding the world’s greatest striker, Cristiano Ronaldo.

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ACCESS Health Fair Serves Hundreds in Dearborn Michigan

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

P5079980The biggest and oldest secular Arab institution in Dearborn is ACCESS.  It began as a storefront volunteer operation in Dearborn in 1971.  It caught on and blossomed, until the point now where it is in itself a major Dearborn employer, providing a large variety of essential community services to the residents of Dearborn.

This weekend ACCESS sponsored a health fair from 10AM to 3PM.  The event was coordinated as it has been for the past eight years, by Mona Farroukh. 

Ms. Farroukh is a diminutive woman with immense energy, a ready smile and a gentle goodnaturedness, who in my brief interview with her Saturday seamlessly juggled multiple conversations in Arabic and English, helping patients, helping doctors, helping newspaper reporters, without missing a beat.

She explained that about 25 different health care providers had agreed to attend the event and were present in the building the day of the Health-O-Rama. 

She described the service providers present with intimate knowledge of each one, mentioning Henry Ford, Naama, four dentists, a chiropractor, and seven representatives of Oakwood Healthcare.
The event provided an opportunity to provide other services as well, including child and adolescent care, a social worker, and a family life educator.

Ms. Farroukh explained that she expected “at least 200 people,”–one year, she explained, the Health-O-Rama had hosted 450 people, and served people from 8AM to 5PM.

The ACCESS health care services clinic is open full time, with medical and mental health services, and she explains that it serves 3,000 people each month.  There is a new Macomb County ACCESS clinic as well.

Said Cheryl Buss, of the Oakwood Health Center which provided cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar screenings of visitors, “ACCESS is always busy for us, I brought supplies for 100 people–it’s a busy day.”

To learn more about ACCESS please visit www.accesscommunity.org.  They have an office in downtown Dearborn, at 6450 Maple Street.

13-20

The Scourge of Piracy

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

cdsBy definition, the term piracy means, “the unauthorized use or appropriation of patented or copyrighted material and ideas.” In America, piracy laws carry stiff fines and penalties for the person infringing on another’s copyright. Who could forget the story of Minnesota mother Jamie Thomas-Rasset, who was successfully sued by the Recording Industry Association of America and ordered to pay $1.9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs from the Internet? But, while artists and corporations are protected by copyright laws in America, all bets are off when the brand or label is promulgated abroad. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East.

Want to see the new kid’s movie “Rio”? Or listen to Katy Perry’s latest single? If you’re living anywhere in the Middle East then chances are you can get your hands on just about any pirated movie or song, within a few days of its official release in America or Europe. And it will cost a whole lot less than getting the real thing as it trickles out from suppliers. Most pirated CD’s cost around $1.50 a piece or less. The downside is that not all are in the most pristine viewing or even listening condition. However, given the low cost, most shoppers don’t mind a bit of degraded format so long as they get their fill of the latest Hollywood flick or singing sensation.

And it’s not only pirated CD’s that are all the rage in the Middle East, giving customers a cheap means of entertainment and the “pirates” pockets full of cold hard cash. Everything from designer handbags to knockoff fashions are blatantly hawked in small shops and even large department stores. Some of the most popular labels to be pirated include Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel. What is most interesting is that a quick inspection of the majority of the goods reveals that they were produced in China.

China has long since been deemed the worst global piracy offender, providing cheap knockoffs of copyrighted goods at a mere fraction of the original products retail value.  According to a recent study, China causes around $2 billion in losses as a direct result of its pirating activities. And China is the biggest supplier of commercial goods to the Middle East region as a whole.

Most Mideast countries pay lip service to the pirating epidemic within the region and have anti-piracy laws on the books, however enforcing copyright laws is another matter. It just is not something that is enforced. However, one rich Gulf nation is finally taking copyright violations seriously. The municipality of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, launched an initiative at the beginning of this year to crackdown on vendors selling pirated goods. As of this month, the municipality has seized more than 21,000 pirated CD’s and has issued fines to 250 retailers for selling pirated goods.

13-19

Bacary Sagna Donates World Cup Bonuses

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

Bacary-Sagna-1Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has declared his intention to donate his €100,000 bonus earned from the disappointing French 2010 World Cup campaign to football clubs in France and Senegal – his ancestral homeland, according to the newspaper France Football.

The 28-year-old former Auxerre player has earmarked two teams from Yonne (a French department) – Saint-Florentin and Franco-Maghrébins de Sens; and another from Paris – Bernard Diomède Academy, to receive part of the donation. The remainder will be offered to two Senegalese clubs to be named later, the French paper said.

France had a horrendous tournament in South Africa and crashed out in the group stages amid player revolt against coach Raymond Domenech, and public feuds. Sagna was born in Bourgogne, France to Senegalese parents. He began his international career with the French Under-21 team in 2004, before making it to the senior team three years later.

A source at the Senegal Football Federation told the website Goal.com that the gesture will encourage other foreign players of African descent to “look back to where they hail from and give a helping hand to those in need.”

13-19

The Muslim Voice of Baseball

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

CnuzXAs5Michigan native Ahmed Fareed has become a media face of baseball after joining the cable television channel MLB Network this past February. He works a host and reporter, appearing on studio productions including Hot Stove and MLB Tonight. MLB Network had the largest cable launch in history in 2009, with 50 million homes. During the season, the network provides nightly live updates, highlights and live look-ins involving games in progress.

Fareed moved up the broadcasting ranks rather quickly. Before joining MLB Network, Fareed spent five years with WAVY-TV/FOX 43 TV in Norfolk, Va., where he covered the Washington Redskins, the Orioles Triple-A affiliate Norfolk Tides, and Virginia Tech and University of Virginia football. “I really liked it at WAVY,” he told the Virginian-Pilot. “But it’s difficult speaking to an audience that’s so fragmented. You don’t know what they’re interested in – the Redskins, ODU, Virginia Tech. It’s nice being here [at MLB Network]. You know your audience. They like baseball. It’s enjoyable to speak to that viewer.” Fareed is still, however, grateful for his time in Norfolk. “Growing up in Michigan,” he said, “I never would have thought this place in Hampton Roads would be so important to my life. But without that job, I’m not where I am today.”

Before joining WAVY/FOX 43, Fareed was a weekend sports anchor at WILX-TV and WSYM-TV in Lansing, Mich. He grew up a Detroit Tigers fan in Sparta, Michigan. But he went on to graduate from Syracuse University’s prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where he majored in Broadcast Journalism. Considered a breeding ground for major broadcasters, the Syracuse program has been attended by many of the top sports journalists, including quite a few at ESPN.

Ahmed can be followed on Twitter at @AhmedFareedTV.

13-19

Muhammad Wilkerson First Round Pick of the Jets

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

800-Jets_Draft_Football.sff.standalone.prod_affiliate.4Temple University defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson reacted with emotion amongst friends and family in his hometown in New Jersey last week, as he learned that he was selected by the New York Jets with the 30th pick of the first round of the 2011 National Football League draft. Wilkerson was in tears, flanked by his mother in hijab and his father in a prayer cap, amongst a group of 80-90 friends and family members at a restaurant in his hometown of Linden, New Jersey. The 6 foot 4, 305 pound Wilkerson is expected to play defensive end in the Jets’ 3-4 defense, periodically moving inside to the 3 technique defensive tackle position in four-man fronts. “I think I can come in and help the defense be more destructive than it is,” he stated in a conference call with reporters the night of the draft.

And in addition to being versatile from a position standpoint, Wiikerson is also versatile from a skill-set standpoint, as he is proficient as both a pass-rusher and as a run-stopper. Known not only for his athleticism and strength but also for his work ethic, Wilkerson left college early after his junior year to pursue his dreams of a professional football career. Now that he has been selected in the lucrative first round of the NFL Draft, it appears that his dreams of pro football are about to become a reality. Jets coach Rex Ryan stated that he felt that Muhammad would fit in quite nicely. “I think Muhammad really fits what we want to do defensively,” Ryan told the Bergen (N.J.) Record. “He was an excellent player in college, but we think he’s got more to give. We’re going to push him and push him and coach him up to play the way that we play, play like a Jet.”

13-19

Nour Al-Hadidi Graduates College with Perfect GPA

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer, based in part on UM Dearborn Souvenir

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Nour Al-Hadidi is graduating with High Distinction and a perfect 4.0 GPA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Hispanic studies from UM Dearborn.

Ms. Hadidi’s family is active in the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center.

Her outstanding academic achievements have been recognized on numerous occasions.  She earned a place on the Dean’s List in 2008 and 2009, earned University Honors in 2008 and 2009, and received the William J. Branstrom Prize in March 2009.  She is a recipient of the UM Dearborn Chancellor’s Scholarship and the Michigan Merit Scholarship.

Miss Al-Hadidi’s Natural Sciences Department Awards include the Merck Index Award in Organic Chemistry and the Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader Award.  As an SI leader, she provided original problems and volunteered for additional sessions before mid-terms and final exams.  Her sessions were very popular and the feedback from students was extremely positive.  They praised her for the clarity of her explanations, her undivided attention and patience.  Miss Al-Hadidi also shares her knowledge by serving as a tutor for biology and organic chemistry students through the Student Success Center on campus.

Miss Al-Hadidi has done quality work in Dr. Simon Maricean’s laboratory, the green chemistry project, studying the selective functionalization of diols.  Her academic ability is hardly limited to organic chemistry.  She loves to learn and has a deep and diverse academic interest.  Even more impressive is the ten A Pluses on her transcript.

Exceptionally literate, Miss Al-Hadidi is fluent in both Arabic and Spanish in addition to English.  In 2010, she spent her spring break in Costa Rica to provide health care to Nicaraguan refugees, an experience she found very rewarding.

Miss Al-Hadidi will be a first year medical student at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor this fall.

13-19

Arabian Sea Host to Rare Humpbacked Whales

April 28, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

humpback_2The Middle East is host to a veritable smorgasbord of treasures ranging from the Oud, or Arabian stringed instrument, to the finest breeds of horses in the world.  At the onset of this year Marine Scientist Robert Baldwin, in cooperation with the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), revealed that a rare species of humpbacked whale was discovered in the Arabian Sea specifically alongside the coast of Oman.

Baldwin led his own team of researchers in studying the new species, which has just recently been named the “Arabian Sea Humpback Whale” by the International Whaling Commission. The researchers were able to collect an immense amount of data including samples of DNA and more than 10,000 photographs of the whales in their natural habitat. They also studied behavioral and social patterns of the newly discovered mammals to better understand how to preserve and protect the species from harm. 

What makes the Arabian Sea Humpbacked Whales so unique from other whales is that they do not migrate. Other breeds of whales are nomads and regularly migrate in search of food, better water temperatures depending on the season and for breeding purposes. These whales prefer to stay close to home, off the coast of Oman, and will spend their lifetime in the exact same place. The Arabian Sea Humpbacked Whales must be able to fulfill all of the activities of a regular whale while never moving too far from home.

According to Baldwin, the newly discovered breed of whale is so unique that it is one of the most at risk whale species in the world. In a recent statement Baldwin said, “Not only are these whales distinct in this regard, but our recent research also indicates they are one of the smallest and potentially most vulnerable whale populations in the world.” The whales face threats both on land and in the sea in the form of pollution, urban development that often extends into the ocean with manmade islands, sea crafts and rising sea temperatures during the summer months that force the warm-blooded whales to marinate in water the temperature of soup.

Several of Oman’s ministries, including the Ministry of Fisheries, have vowed to take whatever measures necessary to protect the newly discovered national treasure. The Executive Director of ESO, Lamees Daar, recently was quoted as saying “Now, more than ever, we have a huge responsibility to keep our seas healthy and by working with both Ministries our combined efforts will have a greater impact on the protection and conservation of this species.”

In the interim the Omani-Based Renaissance Whale and Dolphin Project, currently managed by Marine Scientist Andrew Wilson, will oversee the well being of the whales until more data is gathered and processed to determine the best course of action to ensure the longevity of the population.

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Hedo Turkoglu and the Magic Fight Back

April 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

2011-04-27T024712Z_567696941_GM1E74R0U4R01_RTRMADP_3_NBA

Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu (R) pressures Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson (L) during second half of Game 5 of their NBA Eastern Conference first round playoff basket ball game in Orlando, Florida April 26, 2011. Magic beat the Hawk 101 to 76.        

REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski

Things were looking dismal for Hidayat “Hedo” Turkoglu and his Orlando Magic team after they lost 88-85 to the Atlanta Hawks in game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference first round series, giving Atlanta a 3-1 series lead. Shooting guard Jason Richardson of Orlando and center Zaza Pachulia of Atlanta were suspended for game 4 due to their semi-brawl in game 3. So, leading up to Sunday’s game, Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy wanted small forward Hedo Turkoglu to take more open shots. However, Turkoglo was only able to muster six points, six rebounds, and two assists on an abysmal two for twelve shooting.

But things turned around in game five in Orlando, Florida. The Magic throttled the Hawks 101-76. Turkoglu contributed with nine points, two rebounds, and three assists. And that was even more points than their best player, as center Dwight Howard only had eight points and eight rebounds. But it was a collective team effort that now takes the series to Atlanta for game six. The Chicago Bulls await the winner of this series after finishing off the Indiana Pacers in five games.

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Qureshi and Bopanna Star in Monte Carlo

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

2011-04-17T125153Z_1458469648_GM1E74H1M0Z01_RTRMADP_3_TENNIS-MEN-MONTECARLO

Prince Albert II of Monaco next to his fiancee Charlene Wittstock as they attend the final of the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament in Monaco April 16, 2011.                    

REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Pakistani tennis player Aisam Qureshi and his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna continue to be a wrecking ball on the ATP tour. The IndoPak Express, as they are called, are now ranked sixth in the world as a men’s doubles team, a rise of two spots from their pre-tournament ranking of eight.

Most recently, they made it to the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters, and along the way they ousted tournament second-seeds and multiple grand-slam winners Daniel Nestor and Max Mirny in the quarter-finals. They were, however, handed a surprise loss by the unseeded Juan Ignacio Chela and Bruno Soares in the semi-finals.

Qureshi is now ranked 11th, one up from his previous position of 12 in the individual doubles players rankings. Qureshi’s Indian partner Bopanna also improved his individual doubles ranking from 15 to 14. This week the two are in Spain participating in the Barcelona Open.

13-17

Yaya Toure Fires Manchester City to Finals

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

2011-04-16T173519Z_566425266_GM1E74H04JN01_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-ENGLAND-CUP

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure (L) shoots to score during their FA Cup semi-final soccer against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in London, April 16, 2011.  

REUTERS/Toby Melville

 

Midfielder Yaya Toure scored the lone goal of the match for Manchester City against fierce rivals Manchester United, sending Man City into the Football Association (FA) final match. This will be the first time taking part in the FA Cup finals for Manchester City since 1981. Toure, an Ivory Coast international, scored in the 52nd-minute, capitalizing on a giveaway by Manchester United’s Michael Carrick. Toure then sent the ball past United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar, and they held on for the 1-0 victory at Wembley Stadium in London. Toure dedicated the semi-final goal to brother and Manchester City team-mate Kolo Toure, who is suspended after testing positive for a banned substance. Manchester City will now face surprise FA Cup finalist Stoke City, who will be playing in their first ever FA Cup final. The match will take place on May 14th.

13-17

Bloomfield Imam Gives Lecture on Things Liked and Disliked by Allah

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Throughout his lecture the imam illustrated his arguments with examples.

13-17

Letters to the Editor–Disliked Articles

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Dr Nakadar,

I am concerned about a couple of articles that recently appeared in The Muslim Observer. Apart from the articles being controversial it is TMO’s responsibility to avoid slandering those who are devoting their lives to spread the true message of Islam according to the teachings of the Prophet (s).  The article on Dr Zakir Naik was demeaning and hateful….   And similarly is the article of Syed Aslam, against the Imam of Sunnah, Ahmed ibn Hanbal who was viciously tortured to uphold the Sunnah and protect Islam …   These Scholars … deserve our utmost respect, and TMO should have an editorial process to ensure that their reputation is protected, and that the Sunnah is upheld and propagated. 

These are the inheritors of the prophets.

Yes, we need a healthy balance of articles; difference of opinion and critique is one thing, but it should not cross the line in terms of unfair labeling, disrespect, or causing enmity.  As per one hadith, The Muslim is one who other Muslims are safe from his tongue (or in this case, the pen).


Masood Ranginwala
Chairman, Islamic Learning Foundation, NY an Institute of I.C.N.A.

13-17

Precious Cargo

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

sleepycraYou can see them popping their heads through an open car sunroof as it speeds down the highway or bouncing up and down in the back of a car in motion. No, they’re not animals such as a cat or dog traveling with its master. They are unrestrained children living in some of the world’s richest nations. It’s a startling phenomena given that America’s legal system has gone to great lengths to protect American children traveling in motor vehicles in the United States by making seat belts and car seats for young children a part of the law. However, the utter disregard for the safety of children traveling in motor vehicles in the Middle East is alarming. In fact, it is an epidemic that threatens entire generations of children.

This past winter a father in Kuwait paid dearly for his lesson in passenger safety. A family trip to the desert turned tragic as the SUV the father was driving jostled under the bumpy desert terrain. His son was standing upright inside the car as his upper body was outside. All it took was a single bump to throw the son from the car and into the path of his father’s vehicle. With no time to regain control of the vehicle, the father ran over his son and crushed him to death. Stories like this are common all across the Middle East as many parents take the road less traveled by not securing all passengers before turning that ignition key.

The problem is widespread and, while most countries in the Middle East pay lip service to restraining children inside of motor vehicles and do have laws requiring car seats and seat belts on the books, there is no enforcement of vehicular laws meant to protect children. It is up to parents to decide whether or not to restrain their children inside the vehicle. Unfortunately, most parents pay little attention to the safety of their children inside the car.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), for example, has one of the worst records for unrestrained children in the Middle East. According to recent research, car accidents are the number one killer of children in the sheikhdom with 63% of child deaths last year alone being linked to car or roadway accidents. Further, UAE authorities have determined that an estimated 98% of children in the country are not restrained when traveling by motor vehicle.

There is little data regarding children and road safety in other regions of the Middle East as research over the issue in scarce. However the problem will most likely continue to deteriorate, as countless children will undoubtedly pay for the negligence of adults with their very lives.

13-17

Tawhid Center Events

April 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO

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Farmington–April 9–The Tawhid Center has undergone a major transformation over the past few years, yet TMO has not looked at the center since completion of its construction work.

The prayer hall, the subject of years of fundraising and construction, now can hold about 500 people on the lower level, plus another 150 on the mezzanine level.  The women’s area can hold 500 people–in total the mosque can hold about 1,200 people.  The dining area can accommodate 400 people and is available to the community for events at only $800 (for rental and cleaning fee combined)–this provides the luxury of being able to pray in immediate proximity of your event. 

Says Asim Khan of the Tawhid Center, “This has been a big hit actually, it is a central location… We provide the tables and chairs, and [clients] provide the cutlery and food.”

The schools at Tawhid continue, with about 24 hifz students ($400 per child per month), about 30 students in the evening maktab school ($100 per month), about 70 students in the Sunday school ($50 per month).  The summer school is planned to open in July, and will cost about $300 for the entire summer of 6-8 weeks, 10AM to 4PM, Monday thru Thursday.

May 21 Tawhid has invited best-selling author Haroon Siddiqui.  On June 11 they plan to hold an open house and provide free health care services.

13-16

Gaza Freedom Marchers vs Egyptian Police

March 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, MMNS

Gaza has become the central focus of the human rights struggle. Many groups have called for its liberation, and many are striving to bring aid to that beleaguered area. This concern has accelerated since the launching of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead last year and the devastation that this operation wrought.

A coalition led by Code Pink had announced plans to enter Gaza through Rafah during a three week period which would coincide with the first anniversary of Israel’s destructive campaign. While in Gaza the group planned to march from Rafah to the Eretz crossing – the entry into Gaza from Israel – and symbolically link there with marchers from Israel.

Mary Hughes-Thompson, familiar to readers of The Muslim Observer and to activists worldwide, was a participant in the planned Gaza Freedom March. Ms Thompson is a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and has travelled to the Occupied Palestinian Territories several times. She  is co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement and was on the first ship to reach Gaza in August 2008, breaking a decades long siege. She has given The Muslim Observer an interview.

The story of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM) and its failure to achieve its announced goal is a story whose central factor and key players are Egyptian collaboration. The Egyptian police used an intimidating physical presence to thwart the peaceful demonstrators.

In late December some 1400 international activists assembled in Cairo prepatory to travelling to El Arish and then on to Rafah.  On arriving in Cairo they were told by the Egyptian authorities that they would not be permitted to assemble or to travel to Gaza.

Code Pink as speaker for the Gaza Freedom Marchers announced a press conference. Immediately after the announcement they were told by Egyptian authorities that they could not hold a press conference.

TMO:  Am I correct that the Gaza Freedom Marchers went to Cairo with the expectation that the proper protocol had been observed and that they would be permitted to travel to Rafah?

Ms Thompson:  The Egyptian authorities had agreed to facilitate our travelling to Gaza.  They had asked that the names and passport information for all participants be provided to them by November 30th, and this was done.

TMO:  What reason did the Egyptian authorities give for disallowing a press conference?

Ms Thompson:  I do know they had originally granted permits for both the press conference and for the orientation meeting which was scheduled to be held December 27th.  A few days earlier Egypt suddenly withdrew the permits which meant we could not hold either event.

TMO:  Could you tell us what threats were made to taxi cab drivers and/or bus drivers to prevent the group from using these means of transportation?

Ms Thompson:  They were told their licenses would be revoked.

TMO:  Could you tell us the behavior of the Egyptian police when they blocked the exits from a number of hotels where activists were staying?

Ms Thompson:  They blocked exits from a number of the hotels where activists were staying.  We had several policemen stationed outside our hotel at all times, and every time we left we were asked where we were going and when we would be back.  The first couple of days a policeman came with us in our taxi and stayed with us all day.  Each time we took a taxi from our hotel, a policeman questioned the driver, took his license number and ID, and, on one occasion, sat on the hood of our taxi refusing to let us leave.

TMO:  Did the GFM group at any time engage in or threaten violence?

Ms Thompson:  I would definitely say no to that. There was not a great deal of violence at all but what there was was on the part of the Egyptian police trying to control the crowds and trying to lock us into our hotels to prevent us from assembling.

TMO:  Did you have an opportunity to interact with the Egyptian people?

Ms Thompson:  While in Egypt we met several high profile people who were actively engaged in protesting. In fact, we went to the courthouse one day to support a local lawyer who was part of a group trying to challenge the Egyptian government’s building of the wall along the Rafah border. At the end of our trip Yvonne Ridley hired a van to take us to the pyramids (so she could videotape Hedy). {TMO: Hedy Epstein, an 85 year old Holocaust survivor and a Palestinian activist}, and our driver pointed to the spot on which we had been roughed up a few days earlier and said:  “The other day there was a revolution there.”

TMO:  Would you describe for our readers the details of the Egyptian police activity vis a vis your group at Tahrir Square?

Ms Thompson:  We decided that on the day we had planned to march to Erez crossing, we would hold a symbolic march in Cairo, and go as far as the Egyptian police would let us.  We started in Tahrir Square, opposite the Museum, and we ended there.  We came in small groups of two or three, from all directions, and the police were waiting for us.  They stopped my group (me, Hedy, and her two friends from St Louis, Sandra and J’Ann) and wouldn’t let us go to the meeting point.  We refused to leave, and insisted we were tired and needed to sit on a bench on the sidewalk.  Suddenly we saw a swarm of people crossing the street, and we ran to join them.  We were immediately surrounded by policemen three deep, and they wouldn’t let anyone in or out.

Generally the police didn’t use rough tactics, and I think my grey hair and cane might have helped me.

Even assembly in small groups was not permitted and any such gatherings were quickly surrounded by Egyptian police in riot gear.

Eventually through the intervention of Susan Mubarak, the head of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, 100 of the Gaza Freedom marchers were told they could travel to Gaza and bring with them the supplies they wanted to provide to the people there. This happened before the event at Tahrir Square.

TMO:  Thank you Ms Thompson on behalf of The Muslim Observer. You have given us an insight into events in Cairo, an insight not readily accessible in the media.

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University of Michigan MSA Organizes Event with Dr. Sherman Jackson

February 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer

islam2005_jackson Ann Arbor–This past weekend an event was organized by the MSA of the University of Michigan, attended by an audience of about 600 people.

The highlight at the event from the students was the presentation of skits from boys and girls. The consensus of those in attendance was that the girls’ skits were better.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Sherman Jakson, who exhorted MSA students and other Muslims not to despair despite the present anti-Muslim climate, because they have a legacy to carry.

He reminded the audience that the Holy Prophet (s) faced terrible terrible hardships, but that he never relented in his mission.

Professor Jackson also emphasized to the students that they should trust people based on thier actions, and not based on their religion. He gave the example of when our Prophet (s) left Mecca for Madina, among others was one mushrik whose trust Prophet (s) valued, based on his honorable actions and deeds.

Thirdly, Professor Jackson said that MSA is an important institution. Citing his own example he said “I am one of its beneficiaries.” When he accepted Islam in 1977–when the Iranian revolution was at its height, the Palestinian issue and other similar problems were just creeping up–when we turn to MSA, he said, that was our source of inspiration. We put our intellectual resources, physical resources and financial resources–that provided us focus and solace. He concluded by saying; “MSA is the future of Islam in America and elsewhere.” He further said: “ Every one in MSA has a place to work and each one of you is important for the vision and mission of MSA”.

When the five TMO Foundation scholarships were announced, students cheered it with approval and appreciation.

For more information about the scholarships visit http://www.tmofoundation.com.

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Michigan Muslims Help Haiti

January 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By TMO Stringer

Doctors from around the world have travelled to the island of Hispanola, on which stands the beleaguered and battered nation of Haiti. 

It is an honor for the Muslims of Southeast Michigan that several doctors from the Muslim community are among the many doctors and others who have gone to the nation to offer their assistance.

Muslim doctors travelling to Haiti from the Michigan area include Dr. M. Azhar Ali, MD (Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery) and Dr. Khalid Rao, MD  (Internal Medicine). 

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