Community News (V12-I11)

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Concerns raised about mosque location

SHEBOYGAN,WI–Nearly 60 people showed up at the Wilson Town Hall Monday night for a 15-minute procedural exercise by the town Plan Commission, which voted unanimously to grant an extension of time for a Manitowoc doctor to obtain a conditional use permit to convert a former retail store into a mosque, an action that most of the people there opposed, the Sheboygan Press reported.

The vote to give Mansoor Mirza until May 10 to inspect and bring up to code the septic system at 9110 Sauk Trail Road was “not out of the ordinary,” Plan Commission Chairman Doug Fuller told commission members, who voted 7-0 to grant the extension without discussion.

Mirza is proposing converting the 5,000-square-foot former Tom’s of Wisconsin building into the county’s first mosque. Mirza bought the property as an investment and proposes renting it to the newly formed Islamic Society of Sheboygan County, of which he is one of the organizers.A public hearing last month attracted a similar-sized group of people, almost all of who were opposed to allowing the mosque because they feared “it would attract potential terrorists.”

MSA lounge vandalized at Brandeis

The Muslim Student Association suite at Brandeis University was vandalized on March 5, according to an e-mail to members of the association from Neda Eid ‘11, a member of the MSA executive board.

According to the e-mail, an individual or individuals attempted to open a painted-over door in Imam Talal Eid’s office, and many of the imam’s “desk materials were touched and unplugged. The lamps in the suite (most of them in the prayer room) were all turned upside down and unplugged.” Neda Eid added in a later e-mail to the Justice that “most of the permanent damage was to the wall in Imam Eid’s office.” Imam Eid told the Justice that his phone and computer were disconnected and that a valuable Quran was missing from his desk. He also said it was evident that the vandals had not removed their shoes, a rule members of the MSA had instituted after the recent renovations, before walking “where we pray and all over the place.”

Imam Eid said that he “could not believe it” when he discovered the vandalism. The MSA suite had recently undergone renovation, and Imam Eid said that he first called the contractor to see whether they were doing work in the suite. When the contractor said that no work was being done, Imam Eid contacted the Brandeis Police Department.

Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan said that an investigation into the details and the motives behind the vandalism is currently ongoing.

Spirit of Islam program at NJ Library

NEW JERSEY–Understanding the Spirit of Islam, hosted by the Community Diversity Council, was held at the Hunterdon County Library Headquarters in Raritan Township on March 6.

The event featured guest speaker Dr. Ali Chaudry, president and co-founder of the Center for Understanding Islam, who spoke about the spirit of the Islamic faith, the example of its founder the Prophet Muhammad, the essence of the Qur’an and the work of the American Muslim community in cultivating mutual respect and appreciation for the goals it holds in common with other faith tradition.

The talk also included an exhibit of various Qur’ans, beautiful Islamic calligraphy and selected books on Islam. Nearly 50 people came to hear Chaudry speak and enjoy the artwork.

Pakistani-American writer wins prize

Pakistani-American author Daniyal Mueenuddin has been awarded the $20,000 Story Prize for his collection of connected short stories, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, published by W. W. Norton. The Story Prize is an annual award honoring the author of an outstanding collection of short stories.

The prize was presented to Mueenuddin at a reading and ceremony held in New York City. In addition, short story collections by Victoria Patterson (Drift, Mariner) and Wells Tower (Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, FSG) were also honored and each author received a $5,000 prize.

Judges for the were novelist and short story writer A M. Homes, critic and book blogger Carolyn Kellogg, and Ohio-based public librarian Bill Kelly.

NU’s Najeeba Syed named to dean’s list

EVANSTON, IL–EVANSTON – Najeeba Syed of Crystal Lake was named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at Northwestern University.

She is the daughter of Dr. Mukaram and Sartaj Syed.


Book Reviews

April 5, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Lebanon: A House Divided

By Sandra Mackey

W. W. Norton & Company

The author of The Saudis and The Iranians, Sandra Mackey, a veteran journalist and expert on Middle Eastern culture and politics, has republished her 1989 volume Lebanon: Death of a Nation with a new introduction with the latest occurrences in Lebanon; giving the reader a better comprehension of this sometimes misunderstood country.

Going over Lebanon’s history, including the civil war of 1975-89, Mackey also makes sense of the divisions between Lebanon’s religious and cultural groups; Lebanon’s toleration of Hezbollah; and Iran’s financial support for Lebanon.

Lebanon will be beneficial to those looking to gain knowledge beyond news media reports.
The book can be purchased at bookstores for $15.95.

Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America

By Jeffrey Lang

Amana Publications

A professor of mathematics, Jeffrey Lang, a Catholic turned agnostic, became a Muslim in the early 1980s.
In Even Angels Ask, Lang shares with the reader the experiences of American Muslim converts and young Muslims who find it difficult to follow the faith of their parents in American society.

In chapter one, Lang discusses how young American Muslims leave their religion as they get older. He finds that the children of Muslim parents, asked about their religion, say often that their parents are Muslim but that they do not belong to any particular religion.

Has the Western way of life changed their perspective of Islam?

In chapter two, Lang talks about God and the Qur’an; quoting verses; the Beautiful Names; life; prayer; worship; temptation; the Prophet (s) and so forth.

Chapter three discusses the struggles converts go through as they try to decipher what ritual portions of the religion they see are from “Islam” and which are not a part of Islam but non-religious cultural practices.
Chapter four takes the reader into the life of a Muslim and Muslim convert as they bear witness to Islam and follow the five pillars of their faith.

Chapter five, titled “The Best of Communities” goes over Lang’s experiences after he became a Muslim and the reactions of non-Muslims and other Muslims.

In Chapter six, he discusses “The Road Ahead” for newcomers, immigrants Muslims, the community and society.

    Even Angels Ask is a must read for Muslims and non-Muslims wanting to understand the difficulties and trials young and converting Muslims go through in America. The book can be purchased online or at bookstores.