Kathwari, Syed to Be Appointed by Obama to Key Posts

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Farooq Kathwari Dilawar Syed

WASHINGTON D.C.–President Obama recently announced his intention to appoint businessman Farooq Kathwari and entrepreneur Dilawar Syed to key administrative posts.

Both Kathwari and Syed are to be appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Farooq Kathwari is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ethan Allen Interiors. He has been President of the company since 1985, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since 1988. Mr. Kathwari serves on many non-for-profit organizations including the chair of the Kashmir Study Group; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a director of the International Rescue Committee, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University; a director and former chairman of Refugees International; and a director and former chairman of the National Retail Federation. He holds a B.A. degree in English Literature and Political Science from Kashmir University, an M.B.A. in International Marketing from New York University, and also holds two honorary doctorate degrees.

Dilawar A. Syed is President and CEO of Yonja Media Group, an emerging markets internet company. Prior to joining Yonja Media, Mr. Syed was head of business strategy and operations in the Platform division at Yahoo!. Mr. Syed was President of a non-profit entrepreneurship organization, OPEN Silicon Valley, and currently serves on the steering committee of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education. Mr. Syed holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.

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Dr. Hussain–First Ever “Hybrid Vascular” Surgery

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PEORIA, IL–The vascular surgery team at HeartCare Midwest made history September 10, 2010 at OSF Saint Francis Heart Hospital in Peoria, IL when it performed the first procedure in the world using a new hybrid bypass stent-graft technology in a patient with peripheral artery disease (PAD).

During an hour long procedure, surgeons Syed Hussain, M.D. and Jennifer Ash, M.D. implanted the hybrid bypass stent-graft into the leg of a 60-year-old Peoria, IL man with a blockage in the primary artery of his left thigh.

OSF Saint Francis Heart Hospital is one of only 16 centers in the U.S. participating in the research study of this graft that combines a traditional graft and a stent-graft. The next procedure using the hybrid stent-graft is scheduled for September 29, 2010.

The use of bypass grafts has served as the traditional treatment for PAD affecting the lower extremities. Stents have also been successful in treating PAD in the lower extremities, but their use is sometimes limited by anatomy or by plaque characteristics. According to Dr. Ash, lower extremity bypass requires the formation of two hand-sewn connection sites between vessels, one at the inflow site and one at the outflow site. The new hybrid graft combines the traditional bypass graft conduit with a covered stent. A bypass performed with this conduit requires only one hand-sewn connection since the end of the bypass graft which incorporates the covered stent is inserted into the patient’s blood vessel using a wire and a sheath. Once the stent-end of the bypass is deployed, the connection is essentially complete.

Members of the vascular team are most excited about what this could mean for their patients.

“These new technologies provide our team, and therefore our medical community, the opportunity to offer novel treatments for vascular disease that will – we hope – result in better, more durable outcomes,” said Dr. Syed Hussain. “Furthermore, these therapies will allow many of our patients to have procedures that require less anesthesia, shorter operative times, smaller incisions, less postoperative pain, and a faster recovery.”

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Arctic Mosque Lands Safely in Inuvik

CBC News

Building survives 4,000-kilometre journey by road and river to N.W.T.

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Workers prepare the mosque in Winnipeg before it is loaded onto a truck for the journey to the Northwest Territories.

(CBC)

The world’s most northern mosque has arrived by barge in Inuvik, N.W.T., giving Muslims in the Arctic town a proper place of worship.

A Northern Transportation Company Ltd. barge arrived in Inuvik late Wednesday afternoon, carrying the prefabricated 1,554-square-foot beige building that will soon be a mosque and community centre for a growing Muslim population in the Arctic hamlet of 3,200 people.

Facing an early snow, a crowd of about 40 Muslims greeted their long-awaited mosque at the NTCL shipyard. There were prayers, group photos, hugs and applause.

“It’s a beautiful building. Everyone’s happy to have this small little home for meeting and for prayer, and for the children to be playing in,” resident Amir Suliman told CBC News when the mosque arrived.

The arrival caps an incredible 4,000-kilometre road and river journey from Manitoba, where the mosque was built, through two provinces and the Northwest Territories, down the Mackenzie River to the community just north of the Arctic Circle.

The Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, a Manitoba-based Islamic charity, raised the money to build and ship the structure to Inuvik to help the Islamic community there.

Long road, river journey

Suliman, who organized a recent multicultural fair in Inuvik, said it was a proud day, recalling two years of fundraising and the stress in recent weeks over whether the mosque would make it north in one piece.

The mosque’s journey, which began by semi-trailer at the end of August, faced delays due to heavy traffic, highway regulations, narrow bridges and high winds.

Just as the mosque had crossed the Alberta-Northwest Territories border, it came close to tipping into Reindeer Creek as the semi-trailer tried to cross a narrow bridge.

The semi-trailer made it on Sept. 10 to Hay River, N.W.T., where it was put on the barge — the last one of the season — and floated 1,800 kilometres down the Mackenzie River to its final destination.

Back in Inuvik, another man who watched the mosque’s arrival was Mamdouh El-Haradi, originally from Sudan and one of the town’s taxi drivers.

“It’s a symbolic place for the Muslims,” he said. “It means that if anybody comes up here, they’ll find a place to pray and worship. Plus, we’re planning on using it as a community centre.”

Replaces small trailer

El-Haradi said the new mosque will be a welcome replacement for the existing one-bedroom trailer Inuvik’s Muslims have prayed in over the past decade.

In recent weeks, local Muslims have marked Eid al-Fitr — the Festival of Ramadan Fast-Breaking — with prayers and a community feast at Inuvik’s curling lounge.

“We used to go to the arena to pray and have our festivities. Now we have a place to stay,” El-Haradi said. “Inuvik is a nice place to live and a nice place to have a mosque. We hope everybody enjoys it.”

Cab driver Kerry Alkadri said no official name has been chosen for the mosque, but he joked it could be called the “graceful mosque” because it survived its journey in one piece.

Dozens of Muslim families in Inuvik have had to send their children to live elsewhere in Canada because there has been no mosque or Islamic education centre in town.

They have tried raising money for a mosque, but the Islamic community there is just too small — only about 100 members.

It cost the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation about $300,000 to construct the mosque in Winnipeg and ship it north. That has saved Inuvik’s Islamic community tens of thousands of dollars in labour and material costs, according to organizers.

‘This is what Canada is all about’

“You want to break down crying, really. It’s joyous, it’s a sense of achievement,” said Hussain Guisti, who heads up the foundation.

“We were told, ‘You know, this can’t be done. It’s impossible. There’s no way you’re going to get [it] there in one piece.’ To know that I did it — it’s a feeling of joy.”

Guisti said the generosity of everyone who helped make the northern mosque a reality is incredible.

“This is what Canada is all about,” he said. “It shows the welcomeness of Canada, it shows the tolerance of Canada, it shows we’re multicultural, we’re diverse.”

The new mosque will need to have carpets and additional doors installed. An official opening ceremony will take place once that is done, in about a month.

With files from the CBC’s Philippe Morin

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CIA’s Afghan Kill Teams Expand U.S. War in Pakistan

By Spencer Ackerman

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Residents ride on a horse-drawn cart and bicycles in Kandahar City September 28, 2010.   

REUTERS/Erik de Castro

Let there be no doubt that the US is at war in Pakistan. It’s not just the drone strikes. According to journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, the CIA manages a large and lethal band of Afghan fighters to infiltrate into Pakistan and attack al-Qaeda’s bases. What could possibly go wrong?

Woodward’s not-yet-available Obama’s Wars, excerpted in the Washington Post and the New York Times, unveils a CIA initiative called Counterterrorist Pursuit Teams, a posse of anti-Taliban and al-Qaeda locals who don’t respect the porous Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The teams are practically brigade-sized: a “paramilitary army” of 3000 Afghans, said to be “elite, well-trained” and capable of quietly crossing over in the Pakistani extremist safe havens where US troops aren’t allowed to operate. CIA directs and funds the teams.

Administration officials didn’t just confirm the existence of the teams — they bragged about them. “This is one of the best Afghan fighting forces and it’s made major contributions to stability and security,” says one U.S. official who would only talk on condition of anonymity — and who wouldn’t elaborate.

The teams are an implicit concession of a paradox at the heart of the Afghanistan war: the enemies upon which the war is predicated, al-Qaeda and its top allies, aren’t in Afghanistan anymore. The drones — flown by both the CIA and the U.S. military — are one answer to their safe havens in Pakistan. (Two more drone strikes hit Pakistani tribal areas on Tuesday, bringing the total this year to at least 71.) Another is to launch the occasional commando raid across the Afghan border or rely on Special Forces, operating under the guise of training the Pakistani military, to engage in some dangerous extracurricular activity. Still another is to outsource “snatch and grab” operations against al-Qaeda to private security firms like Blackwater.

But the Counterterrorist Pursuit Teams follow a more traditional, decades-old CIA pattern. When it’s politically or militarily unfeasible to launch a direct U.S. operation, then it’s time to train, equip and fund some local proxy forces to do it for you. Welcome back to the anti-Soviet Afghanistan Mujahideen of the 1980s, or the Northern Alliance that helped the U.S. push the Taliban out of power in 2001.

But that same history also shows that the U.S. can’t control those proxy forces. Splits within the mujahideen after the Soviet withdrawal (and the end of CIA cash) led to Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s, which paved the way for the rise of the Taliban. One of those CIA-sponsored fighters was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, now a key U.S. adversary in Afghanistan. And during the 2001 push to Kabul, a Northern Alliance military commander, Abdul Rashid Dostum, killed hundreds and maybe even thousands of Taliban prisoners. He was on the CIA’s payroll at the time.

Then there are the risks that the Counterterrorist Pursuit Teams pose within Afghanistan. CIA has to recruit those fighters from somewhere. While the agency wouldn’t answer questions about how where its proxy fighters come from, the CIA also pays for a Kandahar-based militia loyal to local powerbroker Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president’s brother. Fearing that the entrenchment of such warlords will ultimately undermine the Afghan government, the U.S. military is trying to limit the influence of such warlords by changing its contracting rules. CIA may be less concerned.

After all, it’s not like the U.S. has many options for Pakistan, where hatred for the U.S. runs high, official ties to extremists are deep and political restrictions on the presence of American combat troops (mostly) prove durable. One of the larger political narratives Woodward’s book apparently presents is President Obama’s inability to either bring the Afghanistan war to a close or find good options for tailoring it to the U.S.’ main enemies in Pakistan. When the CIA comes to the Oval Office with a plan for inflicting damage on the safe havens — no matter how fraught with risk and blowback the plan is — is it any surprise that Obama would approve it?

Update, 10:42 a.m., September 23: In comments, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the military attache in Islamabad, objects to my suggestion that U.S. Special Operations Forces are engaging in direct military action in Pakistan. I thought this merited inclusion in the body of the piece:

Mr. Ackerman’s inferrence that U.S. Special Operations trainers in Pakistan are conducting anti-militant combat operations “operating under the guise of training the Pakistani military” is completely false. The U.S. military is conducting no combat operations in Pakistan. U.S. military trainers, personnel, and activities here in Pakistan are conducted at the invitation of the Government and military leadership of Pakistan. At their request, we provide training, equipment, and other forms of support to Pakistan’s defense needs. Our SOF-related training and equipment programs are typically focused on supporting Pakistani Military counterinsurgency operations – support which Pakistani Military officials have requested and which supports their energetic fight against Violent Extremists within Pakistan.

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Meet Stuxnet

By Sumayyah Meehan, MMNS Middle East Correspondent

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No, it’s not a new form of never-before-seen bacteria or even the next pandemic threat. However, Stuxnet is being touted as the world’s first “cyber missile.” It was aimed directly at Iran this past week and heralded in a new age of cyber bullying. With its origins unknown, but undoubtedly hailing from the West, Stuxnet has thrown one big giant wrench in Iran’s nuclear proliferation dreams seemingly at the drop of a hat.

On the surface, Stuxnet appears to be nothing more than a malicious computer worm. But a look at what lies beneath reveals something a whole lot more sinister. Stuxnet reared its ugly head on the staff computers at Iran’s first nuclear power plant, Bushehr. The effect the worm had on the computers is being downplayed by Iranian authorities who have already stated that the computer systems were unaffected. However, according to Iranian ministry official Mahmud Lia’i, “An electronic war has been launched against Iran.”

In a recent interview aired on the BBC, Lia’I revealed that the purpose of the worm is to extract information regarding Iran’s nuclear program and send the data to an unknown third party outside of the country. It also has the potential to take over the controls for industrial facilities and render them useless for operators. However, what is exponentially more disturbing, is the way in which the worm is presented to the computer system prior to infection. The Internet has nothing to do with it as most computers used for industrial purposes are not connected online. Instead the worm is administered via USB memory sticks, which in all probability were used by staff members both personally and professionally, online or offline. Teams of Iranian tech experts have been dispatched to the Bushehr facility and are currently attempting to remove all traces of the worm.

This is not the first time that Iran has been attacked by a foreign malicious computer program. According to Internet watchdog Symantec, an astounding 58.9% of the digital daggers thrown Iran’s way come from sources located outside of its borders.

As of late, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has not pointed a single finger. He really has no need to, since speculation regarding the West’s involvement in the Stuxnet worm is rife in media reports from the greater global community. Since Iran has continued to staunchly defy the demands of several powerful nations, like the United States and England, to cease and desist from procuring a nuclear toolbox there is little doubt that the bullying will continue.

The bigger picture that the success of the Stuxnet worm paints is horrifying.

This new chink in Iran’s perceived armor has just challenged every hacker in the entire world to try to go where Stuxnet has already been.

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ANSWER Presents a Forum on Palestine

By Susan Schwartz, MMNS

The plight of the Palestinian people has disturbed the peace of all humanitarians. This plight is never so moving as when it is described by eyewitnesses to the brutality of the Israeli occupation.

The Los Angeles chapter of ANSWER (Act Now to stop War and end Racism) sponsored a public forum and film premier this past weekend in their headquarters. The event was titled: “Eyewitness Palestine” and filled the meeting room with a standing room only audience.

Muna Coobtee, a Palestinian America activist and a leader of the Free Palestine Alliance, began the forum with a presentation on the current peace talks. She spoke with a pessimism born of experience. “The White House aims to create a weak, disarmed and broken-up state side-by-side with and dominated in every respect by Israel.”

She referenced the Oslo Accords born amid great hope but resulting in more control by Israel.

After Ms Coobtee’s presentation, an award winning film titled: The Sand Creek Equation” was shown to the audience. Travis Wilkerson, the film’s creator, was present in the audience. The Sand Creek Equation analogized the actions of a group of white men in Colorado in the mid 19th century with the actions of Israel toward Palestinians. Determined to keep Colorado white, these troops massacred more than two hundred Native Americans after assuring them of their safety.

Mr. Wilkerson travelled to Gaza, taking pictures of Palestinians who lost loved ones to Israeli military action. These loved ones included Palestinians who exited their homes carrying white flags; who were denied medical aid, and who were killed by settlers with de facto immunity for any of their actions. As heartbreaking as these photographs were, the resilience of the Palestinian people captured the audience.

The forum’s featured speaker was Tamara Khoury, a Palestinian American student at California State University Fullerton. Ms Khoury spent the summer at Birzeit University having been awarded a Rachel Corrie Scholarship by the Palestinian American Woman’s Association (PAWA). She was able to observe first hand the brutality of the Israeli military and the lawlessness of the settlers.

She visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron. In Hebron she witnessed Palestinians setting up stalls with goods for sale in an open area. A net had been placed over the area as settlers who lived above the city threw filth and garbage at the Palestinians below.

Particularly moving was her description of Dneisha Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. The walls of the camp were covered with murals of a very political and touching nature.

Ms Khoury spoke of meeting the Palestinian parents of a two year old child who had been blinded by Israeli settlers who threw Chlorox at him. She spoke also of the attempts of the parents to seek medical help for him.

“I cannot imagine anyone who would do that to another person much less a child.” said one young woman moved to tears by the narrative.

The ANSWER Coalition was formed shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. While the group characterizes itself as anti-imperialist, it has over the years expanded its interests to include a variety of issues including Social Security and the Israeli Palestinian conflict. ANSWER has helped to organize some of the largest demonstrations in this nation’s history.

The Los Angeles chapter is one of the most active in the country.

To donate to this group which depends entirely on donations, please access the following: www.answerla.org.

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Some Zionist Groups Stoke Fear Of Islam for Political Profit

By Matthew Duss

After the last several months, it should be clear that the controversy over the Park 51 Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero is about more than sensitivity to the families of the 9/11 victims and the sacredness of the site where their loved ones were murdered. In places as far from Lower Manhattan as Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Temecula, Calif., Muslim houses of worship, and the people who pray in them, have come under attack by conservative activists as representing an American beachhead for Muslim extremism.

Whether it’s Newt Gingrich peddling false stories of “creeping sharia” (strict Islamic law) to an audience of very serious people at the American Enterprise Institute, or the Washington Times running endless editorials and op-eds from conspiracy theorists like Frank Gaffney warning that President Obama “may actually still be a Muslim,” or Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney shamelessly and falsely asserting that Park 51 leader Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has “terror-related connections,” it’s clear that quite a few conservative elites see political profit in stoking Americans’ fear of Islam.

Such hostility toward Muslims is unfortunately not marginal in the pro-Israel community — unless one is prepared to define the huge annual policy conference of one of Washington’s foremost lobbies as “marginal.” At an AIPAC conference in March 2009, to take just one example, terrorism expert Steve Emerson spent 40 minutes stoking the worst fears of the mostly elderly attendees with a talk called “Tentacles of Terror: The Global Reach of Islamic Radicalism.” It could just as easily have been called “Scaring the Living Crap Out of Bubbe and Zayde.” As long as Jews are encouraged to believe that scary Muslims are hiding under every American bed, the idea is perpetuated that support for the Jewish state is a zero-sum contest between favoring Israel and favoring Arabs and Muslims. For too many American Jews, smearing Islam is seen as a legitimate expression of Zionism.

Groups like The Israel Project, the Middle East Media Research Institute [MEMRI] and Middle East Forum seem to exist for no other reason than to spotlight the very worst aspects of Muslim societies. Magazines like Commentary and the Weekly Standard regularly traffic in the crudest stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, and promote the harshest measures for dealing with them. Musing over the appropriateness of targeting Palestinian civilians during the Gaza conflict, Standard contributing editor Michael Goldfarb wrote approvingly, “To wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause.”

Martin Kramer, a fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, president of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and frequent AIPAC panelist, took things even further, suggesting that Israel’s siege on Gaza, could, by depressing population growth, “crack the culture of martyrdom, which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men.”

In 2007, in what could be seen as a precursor to the current uproar over the Park 51 Islamic cultural center, Middle East Forum Director Daniel Pipes played a key role in flaming controversy over the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a planned New York City public school emphasizing the study of Arabic language and culture. Pipes asserted that such a school represented a potential threat simply by virtue of teaching Arabic.

It would be wrong, however, to pretend that these sorts of smears have been the work solely of conservatives. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a liberal who promotes himself as Israel’s leading public defender, regularly rehearses the most clownish calumnies against Israel’s adversaries, real and perceived. Citing the Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini’s collaboration with the Nazis, Dershowitz wrote, “the Palestinian leadership, supported by the Palestinian masses, played a significant role in Hitler’s Holocaust.” The obviously ahistorical stupidity of that claim aside, it hardly needs pointing out that a similar attempt to lay collective blame upon Jews would be immediately — and rightly — condemned, by Dershowitz and others.

Hatred of Arabs has also had a home in one of America’s oldest and best-respected liberal magazines, The New Republic, for over three decades, courtesy of owner and editor-in-chief Marty Peretz, who never seems to tire of identifying ways in which Arab society is “hidebound and backward,” as he wrote in 2007. Observing the devastation in Iraq, Peretz wrote: “I actually believe that Arabs are feigning outrage when they protest what they call American (or Israeli) ‘atrocities.’ They are not shocked at all by what in truth must seem to them not atrocious at all. It is routine in their cultures.” Peretz reiterated that view in September of this year. “Frankly, Muslim life is cheap, especially for Muslims,” he wrote. “This is a statement of fact, not value.”

While it’s tempting to dismiss Peretz as a racist old kook, he does serve as editor-in-chief of a major magazine, and he has been able to help define the boundaries of acceptable liberal discourse for 30 years. And he has chosen through those years to place the most retrograde anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bigotry — including constant denials of Palestinian nationhood — within those boundaries.

It wasn’t so long ago that Jews in America were targets of similar slander and knee-jerk opposition. Liberal American Jews have been at the forefront of all of America’s struggles against bigotry, but they need to do a better job of calling out the hate in their own communities. Moderate Muslims are often called upon to condemn the extreme rhetoric of their co-religionists. It is not too much, at long last, to call upon moderate Zionists to do the same.

Matthew Duss is National Security Editor at the Center for American Progress.

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The War is Lost: Another Perspective on the Afghan War

By Frank Brodhead

I started the Afghanistan War Weekly several months ago because it seemed important to learn more about how the war was being fought on the ground, and what was the impact or what were the results of the military and civilian programs being put in place.

My conclusion so far is that the war, from the US point of view, has been lost. Not just that the war is in trouble, but that from a military and political point of view, things have gone so badly that they cannot be turned around, even with more time and resources.

I think this conclusion is important because the “war is lost” perspective or slogan addresses the likely future moves of the war managers in a way that our current slogans and perspectives do not.

Our antiwar slogans or perspectives now broadly include:

The war is immoral; it kills civilians
The war is not a good response to terrorism; it is making us less safe
The war is expensive; we need the money to build real security at home; and
The war should be ended through negotiations asap.

None of these slogans engage the war itself. We have added little new to our perspectives or our criticisms of the war since Obama’s decision at the end of 2009 to escalate the war. We need to take a closer look at the war itself. Two developments make this especially important.

First, the official US war aim for Afghanistan has changed. Leaving aside nebulous claims about building democracy, etc., until recently the US goal was to kill or eliminate Al Qaeda. But recent reports state that the number of Al Qaeda activists in Afghanistan has fallen probably below 100.

The war managers have responded to the declining usefulness of the Al Qaeda-in-Afghanistan threat by updating the US goal. Now our goal is to make military and political conditions in Afghanistan such that Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups cannot use Afghanistan as an operating base in the future.

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Through My Lens…On the Difference Between What Goes On and In Our Bodies

By Nadirah Angail

I don’t usually do my clothes shopping at Walmart, but I’ll pick something up if it’s cute and cheap. Not everyone is like that. Some people I know wouldn’t buy a pair of socks from Walmart. For them, if it doesn’t say Gucci, Prada, or Fendi (or at least Banana Republic) it’s not coming home. I ask them why they buy such expensive clothing and the answer is always something along the line of “I don’t like cheap stuff. I only wear the best.” Ok, makes sense. After all, shouldn’t we all want the best? But a lot of these same people that wouldn’t be caught dead in non-name brand clothing will order a quarter pounder and McFlurry from McDonalds in a heartbeat. What happened to only wanting the best?

A lot of us get outraged when we see the price of organic food. We think “Why would I pay $4.99 for this juice when I can get regular juice for $2.50. I’m not made out of money.” (That’s the catch phrase people throw on the end of things when they need an excuse for not buying something.) Most of the time, it’s easy to see the difference between name brand and cheaper clothing. It’s not so easy with food. At first glance, those two bottles of juice look the same, but they’re not. Check the ingredients.  The average juice drink has more “drink” in it than juice. And what is “drink,” you ask? It’s a combination of water, sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and food coloring.  If you’re lucky, you may see some familiar ingredients like apple, orange, or grape juice. Natural juices, though they may look similar, have far fewer ingredients. The list usually looks like this: juice from apples (or whatever other fruit you like) and maybe some water or ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Still, people may wonder, “What’s the big deal? A little sugar never hurt anyone.”

And they’re right. A little sugar doesn’t hurt anyone, but most juices don’t have just a little sugar. They have anywhere from 2-3 tablespoons per serving. (Remember, most people drink 2 to 2.5 servings in one sitting.) Add that to all the other sugary, food-like products we consume daily. I won’t even go into the harmful effects of high fructose corn syrup (which is like sugar on Crack) preservatives, and food colorings. The average American eats tons of processed, fatty, sugary, artificial foods and very few fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, our palettes have been so corrupted by these altered foods that many of us cringe at the taste of a whole food. A piece of whole wheat bread? “Yuck, it’s hard and nasty.”  A grapefruit without sugar on top? “Gross, it’s too tart.” A bowl of veggies not doused in salty sauces? “Ick, it’s too plain.”  We’re completely unaware and intolerant of the fact that this is what food tastes like. Before Kraft, General Mills and Nestle came along, this is what food tasted like. Before everyone got too busy to cook at meal in the oven instead of the microwave, this is what food tasted like. And before we decided it was ok to eat things we couldn’t even pronounce or identify, this is what food tasted like.

But it’s not just about taste. It’s also about functionality. Food should function as an energizer, a stabilizer, a strengthener, and a supporter of the body. It should help us to do the many things we need to do in this life. Most foods these days don’t do that. Today’s foods do everything but that. It has become our entertainment (I’m bored; let’s eat) our significant others (I’m lonely; let’s eat) our therapists (I’m sad; Let’s eat) and out rewards (I’m happy; let’s eat). We get everything from our food except what we really need: nutrients.

It can be hard to get used to the idea of ditching Ding Dongs and Doritos, but it’s for our own good. There’s no reason anyone should be more concerned about what goes on his body that what goes in it. The clothes you wear won’t make you sick, lethargic, or overweight. They don’t cause cancer, heart disease, or high blood pressure.  Low quality foods do. They deny us nutrition and infect us with sickness. They rob us of our vitality and arrest our natural beauty. They do far more damage than cheap clothing ever could.  So buy wholesome, unprocessed foods; your body will thank you. And if you’re a strapped for cash, sell some of those expensive, name brand clothes.

Nadirah Angail–“Empowering women- through knowledge, recognition & guidance”
www.nadirahangail.com

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Iraq: One of History’s Greatest Crimes

By Stephen Lendman, Countercurrents.org

America’s hidden history is ugly and disturbing. No nation ever matched it. To Iraq alone, over the past two decades, it includes ongoing genocide, destruction, terror, occupation, and contamination – a horrendous combination of crimes, unmentioned in Western discourse.

Environmental Engineering Professor Souad N. Al-Azzawi documents them, including in her report titled, “Crime of the Century: Iraq’s Occupation and DU Contamination,” a detailed account of US culpability.

America’s strategic aims, she explains, include:

— controlling most of the world’s oil and other natural resources;
— remaining permanently in the Middle East, “the intersection zone of the three continents where 80% of the world(‘s) population” lives; and
— if the above two objectives are achieved, America will control the world’s economy, or enough of it to matter.

Spread over a large enough area, depleted uranium (DU) is a weapon of mass destruction, because it’s radioactive and chemically toxic. If ingested or inhaled through food, air, water or other means, it enters the human body, remaining for decades. An earlier article reported the dangers, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2006/01/depleted-uranium-hidden-looming_16.html

It explained that continued DU use has the potential to end planetary life, yet few understand the risk, or that weaponized DU is used regularly in missiles, bombs, shells and bullets wherever America wages war – first during the 1991 Gulf War.

Its danger comes from radiation residue after use. On impact, DU munitions penetrate deeply and aerosolize into a fine spray, polluting surrounding air, water and soil. It’s microscopic, sub-miscroscopic, and permanent. Spread over vast areas as radioactive atmospheric dust, its contamination causes virtually all known illnesses and diseases from severe headaches, muscle pain and general fatigue, to major birth defects, infections, depression, cardiovascular disease, and many types of cancers. It also causes permanent disability and death.

Over the past two decades in Iraq alone, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tons have been used, irradiating the entire country, some areas more than others. In her October 2009 presentation to the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia International Conference to Criminalize War, Azzawi accused America and Britain of:

“subject(ing) the whole nation of Iraq for two decades to torture and slow death through the intentional use of radioactive weapons and the sanctions. The continuous and intentional use of (these) weapons is a crime against humanity due to its undifferentiating harmful health effects on civilians in contaminated areas tens of years to come after the military engagements.” Radiation, in fact, is permanent, affecting unborn generations like living ones.

During the Gulf War, about 320 tons were used in southern Iraq, affecting the Basrah region. Post-conflict, “comprehensive” examination detected it, especially “in and around Al-Basrah City,” showing:

— “high gamma radiation” levels;
— “soil samples from 39 locations (with) higher activities than natural background levels;” and
— “Surface water channel sediments (with 2 – 3) times higher radioactivity than the natural background” level.

Contamination was widespread, affecting at least “45% of people in the area, the Iraqi troops, and” coalition ones. As a result, soldiers (and civilians) exposed “to DU oxides (can expect) 70 cancer cases per 1,000” persons. Perhaps a higher incidence over time, and along with other illnesses and diseases, an epidemic of human affliction.

Subsequent epidemiological studies in Basrah showed a “five times rise in the incidence rate of malignancies amongst children to be far more noticeable from 1995 onwards.” In addition, exposure to ionized radiation caused:

— higher child leukemia rates;
— a “six fold increase in congenital malformations among births in Basrah City since 1995 onward,” some too disturbing to view; and
— higher rates of congenital heart diseases and chromosomal aberrations.

Even more destructive weapons were used in the 2003 war, including banned ones like napalm, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, and greater amounts of DU – “against people, infrastructure facilities, and environment.” Further, “the looting and burning of factories, industrial complexes, laboratories, and ministries (including the looting of the Tuwaitha Atomic Energy Agency, and 300 other highly contaminated sites….)” caused contamination.

Much more as well across the country in Baghdad and suburbs, Basrah, Mosul, Fallujah, Balad, Anbar, Haditha, Qa’im, Rawa, Karbala, Najar, Aubaidi, Diala, Samara, Tikrit, Baiji, Ahsaiba, Mada’in, Kubaissa, and other locations.

In March 2009, Gideon Polya used the Just Foreign Policy estimate of 1.32 million Iraqi deaths post-March 2003 alone, a number considerably higher today. It’s also well below his post-9/11 eight million “war on terror” total, mostly affecting women and children, aged five and younger, killed by war, diseases, and/or depravation, America’s horrific ongoing genocidal legacy – air-brushed from history. Azzawi adds more:

— at least 4.5 internal or external refugees, many victimized by “militias and police raids and terrorist groups;”
— death squads targeting “certain ethnic and sectarian groups” daily; and
— in cities throughout Iraq, sieges cutting off “all life support aids on people, (affecting) Thousands of children, women and elderly who could not leave their houses and were subjected to collective punishment….” For weeks, these areas were deprived of food, water, healthcare, and electricity. As a result, contaminated water was used “from ditches and nearby rivers,” causing cholera and other waterborne diseases.

The continuous use of DU weapons in heavily populated areas exposes millions to its destructive effects. Further, “Continuous negligence of medical care systems, hospitals, and the killing of prominent medical and healthcare specialists….after 2003” exacerbated a widespread health crisis.

Yet occupation forces provide no data on civilians killed, wounded, kidnapped or otherwise harmed. Nor do they allow “exploration programs to detect (DU) related contaminated areas.” Yet they’re vitally needed to “help Iraqi people….cope with the damages.”

Known evidence shows “Continuous deterioration of environmental quality….in Baghdad City due to explosions, and heavy traffic of tanks and vehicles….” Concentrations of numerous toxins way exceed safe levels. “Water quality deterioration caused an increase in “pathogenic water borne diseases like Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis, (and) others.” Air pollution results from continuous bombing and explosions.

The “Multiple impact of all of the above pollution sources on the human body can be critical, especially for children, women and the elderly people.”

From DU munitions alone, Azzawi told the Kuala Lumpur conference that contamination is spread over vast areas by “wind storms, dust storms, sandstorms, and rainstorms,” besides polluted waterways and surface migration in soil, causing:

— “Siltation, creeping, and suspension from contaminated soil to atmosphere; (and)
— Suspension and re-suspension of deposited DU aerosols….the most dangerous and critical pathway of transfer and spreading from source to the human population.”

America and Britain are responsible “for exposing a whole nation to the risk of continually receiving high radioactive and toxic persistent contaminants,” including DU and many others, a noxious brew leaving no one untouched and many lethally harmed. “This is a crime against humanity (because of) its undifferentiated harmful health impacts on civilians long (after) military operations” are concluded.

A Final Comment

On September 19, Brussells Tribunal Executive Committee member Dirk Adriaensens headlined, “Iraq: The Age of Darkness,” explaining “a devastating balance sheet (of) success,” including:

— a 150% increase in child mortality since 1990;
— only half of primary-aged children in school;
— about 1,500 children in (horrific) detention facilities;
— in 2007, about “5 million Iraqi orphans;”
— over two million external refugees and almost three million internal ones (IDPs);
— official unemployment at 50%; real unemployment at least 70%;
— at least 43% of Iraqis “in abject poverty;”
— at least eight million need “emergency aid;”
— at least four million “lack food and are in dire need of humanitarian assistance;”
— at least 80% lack “effective sanitation;”
— “Religious minorities are on the verge of extinction;” and
— an Oxfam survey showed 33% of women got no humanitarian aid since 2003; 76% of widows lack pension help; 52% are unemployed; 55% have been displaced; and 55% have been “subjected to (various forms of) violence.”

In Iraq today, “killing of innocent people has become part of daily life.” America is committing genocide against the entire population. It persists daily unreported, yet called “a success.”

It includes death, destruction, torture, terror, occupation, displacement, disease, and insecurity in a nation that no longer exists. For sure, one unfit to live in – unsafe, corrupt, terrorized, tyrannized, contaminated, and permanently occupied. In virtually all rankings that matter, Iraq scores last, Afghanistan second last, a testimony to America’s liberating values.

They’re run from Washington with no functioning governments, de facto satraps instead obeying their imperial masters. Yet on August 31, declaring an “end to the combat mission in Iraq,” Obama outrageously said: “Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility,” infamously displaying his culpability as a war criminal, matching the worst America ever produced.

Under him, George Bush, and their successors, “Iraq has no viable future,” Adriaensens’ final assessment of America’s “success.”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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Karzai Weeps as He Urges Faster Afghan Peace Effort

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai wept Tuesday as he called on Afghans to “come to their senses” and move faster toward peace, or risk seeing the next generation flee abroad and lose their Afghan identity.

Afghans must live and work in their country and serve it, he said, as he identified for the first time some of the members of a peace council that will help seek a political rather than military end to fighting with Taliban-led insurgents.

“I do not want Mirwais, my son, to be a foreigner, I do not want this. I want Mirwais to be Afghan,” said Karzai, who himself spent many years in exile in Pakistan, while fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and later during Taliban rule.

“Therefore come to your senses … you are witnessing what is happening on our soil and only through our efforts can our homeland be ours,” he added, drawing huge applause from an audience at a international literacy day event in a Kabul school.

This year has been the bloodiest since 2001, when U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban in the weeks after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

With the insurgency gaining strength despite the presence of nearly 150,000 foreign forces, there is a growing sense both at home and in some quarters among Afghanistan’s allies that talks may be the only route to peace.

In June, Karzai summoned a peace jirga, or traditional gathering of tribal and community leaders, which accepted his proposal to form a council to seek peace.

But the Taliban have scoffed at the idea of talks, saying all foreign forces must first leave Afghanistan.

General David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has acknowledged contacts between Kabul and very senior members of the Taliban.

But he has also added it was premature to say whether those Taliban were willing to accept Karzai’s terms for pursuing reconciliation.

Karzai’s council will have more than 68 members including two former presidents, at least two former Taliban officials, as well as clerics and women. The council will try to help mediate peace talks with Taliban-led insurgents.

Its members were agreed after deliberations with tribal chiefs and power brokers, some of who sided with the United States in toppling the Taliban in 2001.

“The government of Afghanistan with further seriousness … should take vigorous steps for bringing peace to this soil as soon as possible,” Karzai said.

Karzai asked women in the audience whether they supported the talks, as some women’s activists have expressed concern that making a deal with the hardline Taliban could erode hard-won rights to education, work and freedom of movement.

Dozens raised their hands as a sign of agreement.

Karzai’s peace plan, backed by tribal elders at the June “peace jirga,” involves luring foot soldiers away from the battlefield with cash and job incentives while seeking reconciliation with senior militant leaders by offering them asylum in Muslim countries and striking their names off a U.N. blacklist.

Donor nations, most of them in Western countries, have pledged to provided tens of millions of dollars for bringing over the foot Taliban soldiers.

Karzai has set an ambitious target of 2014 for Afghanistan to take over security responsibility from U.S. and NATO forces.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who will conduct a war strategy review in December, also plans to begin a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from July 2011 if conditions allow.

Washington’s NATO allies are increasingly uneasy about the unpopular war and are eager to shift security responsibilities to Afghan forces.

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Ain’t No Party Like a Blackwater Party, ‘Cause a Blackwater Party Got Coke, ‘Roids, and AKs

By Spencer Ackerman

Your favorite ballplayers had former bat boy Kirk Radomski get them their steroids. While in Iraq, Blackwater had a Texas businessman named Howard Lowry, who bought steroids “by the case” for juicing security contractors.

And Lowry didn’t just help Blackwater’s guards get jacked. He helped them get deadly as well, buying over 100 AK-47s and ammunition for the company on the black market.

And what goes better with guns and steroids than nudity and drugs? In a sworn deposition for a lawsuit brought by two ex-Blackwater employees, Lowry maintains that he hung out at Blackwater parties in Baghdad where “company personnel had large amounts of cocaine and blocks of hashish and would run around naked.” Addled guards would step onto the balconies of their rooms at the Hamra Hotel, point their automatic rifles at Iraqi housing complexes and open fire.

That’s all reported by Blackwater nemesis Jeremy Scahill, who acquired Lowry’s deposition for a new Nation piece. One of Lowry’s friends was Jerry Zovko, one of the four Blackwater contractors lynched in Fallujah in 2004. Lowry testified that Zovko gave him “tremendous insight into the company and confirmed that the use of steroids and human growth hormone, testosterone, were pretty endemic to them and almost companywide.”

The entire lawsuit is wild. Ex-employees Brad and Melan Davis have accused Blackwater of defrauding the government by, among other interesting bookkeeping techniques, billing the government for money spent on strippers.

But Lowry’s accusations are some of the most baroque yet. Guards charged with protecting the U.S.’ viceroy in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, were “beyond out of control,” dumping ounces of cocaine on tabletops to sniff before letting off a spray of gunfire into populated areas. Such parties, he claimed, were a “weekly” ritual.

“One of the suites would be absolutely packed with gentlemen running around with either no clothes on, no shirt on,” Lowry testified, according to Scahill. “It was like a frat party gone wild. Drug use was rampant. There was cocaine all on the tables. There were blocks of hash, and you could smell it in the air…walking up to the door.”

Lowry’s drug stories all raise questions, to put it mildly, about what kind of behavior Blackwater’s guards are up to on their secret missions in Pakistan.

That isn’t the only lawsuit that Blackwater is facing. Two of its former guards, Justin Cannon and Christopher Drotleff, are staring down federal murder charges in Virginia for shooting Afghan civilians in Kabul last year. Their defense counsel rested their case yesterday. (At least two groups to support Cannon and Drotleff have set up shop on Facebook.)

Blackwater’s currently up for sale. Judging from Lowry’s deposition, Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory is a natural future owner.

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Shari’ah-Compliant Australian Equity Fund Approved by Bahrain Authorities

By: Staff Writer, CPI Financial

The Central Bank of Bahrain has authorised formation and marketing of the Hyperion Australian Equity Islamic Fund, the first Shari’ah-compliant offshore fund comprised of the country’s stocks.

Investment manager for the fund is Hyperion Asset Management, a Brisbane-based, growth-style manager whose award-winning core investment team has worked together since 1997. Shari’ah advisors to the fund are Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar of Malaysia and Sheikh Nizam Yaquby of Bahrain.

The fund is available for “expert” investors, defined by Bahrain authorities as individuals and institutions that have at least $100,000 in financial assets, as well as governments and related organisations. The fund is managed in Australian dollars and reported in US dollars.

Hyperion uses a proprietary process to manage a high-conviction portfolio made up of a limited set of stocks that meet strict selection criteria, for Shari’ah-compliance and other business attributes. The firm has earned a host of recent recognition for outstanding performance. Accolades include being named Australian Equities (Small Cap) Fund Manager of the Year at the May 2010 Money Management/Lonsec Fund Awards and winning the Golden Calf Award for Best Emerging Fund Manager at the October 2009 Australian Fund Manager Awards.

“Since we emphasise cash flow and low debt ratios in evaluating companies, our transition to Islamic investment discipline has been streamlined,” said Dr. Emmanuel (Manny) Pohl, CEO and Managing Director of Hyperion Asset Management.

“Hyperion’s investment ethic aligns rather naturally with principles of Shari’ah-compliant investing. We have never used leverage or derivatives in our core strategy.”

“In the post-recession era, Australia stands out among the major markets, in part because of the country’s conservative fiscal stance,” said Douglas Clark Johnson, CEO of Codexa Capital, which consulted on fund structuring and marketing, and represents the product in selected markets.

“One way of viewing Australia is as a China play with more regulation and transparency, because of its strong export exposure to the world’s second largest economy.”The Australian stock market is the second largest in Asia outside Japan, exceeding either China or India. Unlike many developed nations, Australian avoided recession during the global financial crisis. The nation is expected to sustain three per cent to four per cent annual GDP growth over the next several years.

“We selected Bahrain as the jurisdiction for the fund because we believe the Central Bank’s role provides an additional degree of comfort for investors,” said Johnson. “Meeting Bahrain requirements enhances transparency and integrity at a time when these attributes have taken on much greater importance. Bahrain contrasts with some other offshore jurisdictions that provide little or no oversight for the investor.”

“We are delighted to welcome the Hyperion Australian Equity Islamic Fund to Bahrain,” said Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board. “This reflects the growing international appeal of Islamic finance, an ethical investment sector that has drawn interest beyond Muslim countries.”

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September 2010 “Islamic Market’s Measure” Monthly Report On The Performance Of The Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes

28/09/10

Based on the close of trading on September 27, the global Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 Index, which measures the performance of 100 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks globally, gained 9.05% month-to-date, closing at 2052.87. In comparison, the Dow Jones Global Titans 50 Index, which measures the 50 biggest companies worldwide, posted a gain of 8.55%, closing at 2067.03.

    * The Dow Jones Islamic Market Asia/Pacific Titans 25 Index, which measures the performance of 25 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks in the Asia/Pacific region, increased 9.42%, closing at 1946.82. The Dow Jones Asian Titans 50 Index, in comparison, posted a gain of 8.36%, closing at 134.17.

    * Measuring Europe, the Dow Jones Islamic Market Europe Titans 25 Index, which measures the performance of the 25 of the leading Shari’ah compliant stocks in Europe, closed at 2032.16, a gain of 10.13%, while the conventional Dow Jones Europe Index gained 10.96%, closing at 257.76.

    * Measuring the performance of 50 of the largest Shari’ah compliant U.S. stocks, the Dow Jones Islamic Market U.S. Titans 50 Index increased, closing at 2067.03. It represents a gain of 8.55 %. The U.S. blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 7.96%, closing at 10812.04.

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Gulfmena to Set up Islamic Asset Management Firm

DUBAI, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) and specialist regional asset manager Gulfmena Alternative Investments plan to set up a sharia-compliant asset management firm to tap into rising demand for Islamic investment products.

The new company will be majority owned by QFIB, while Gulfmena will manage the investments, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

“We believe there is tremendous opportunity given the growth prospects of the Shari’ah compliant financial sector,” said Haissam Arabi, chief executive of Dubai-based Gulfmena.

Demand for Islamic investment products is expected to rise as more investors demand asset management tools which are compliant to Islamic laws.

The new firm is slated to launch in the fourth-quarter and will provide a full range of sharia-compliant products and services across all asset classes.

The asset management firm will cater to qualified investors such as Islamic banks, foundations and charitable organisations and will seek to be regulated by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority after an initial temporary offshore establishment, the statement said.

The firm will have its own shariah supervisory board.

The asset management sector forms a small part of the fast growing $1 trillion Islamic finance market, giving ample room for fund managers to tap growing potential of the market. In a recent report, Ernst & Young estimated the size of the Islamic asset management industry at about $52 billion, comprising a little over five percent of the entire industry size.

The report said the Islamic asset management industry had “plateaued” during 2009 with the number of fund launches getting offset by funds liquidated.

QFIB was launched in 2009 and is the first, non- affiliated sharia-compliant investment bank to be regulated by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

(Reporting by Nicolas Parasie, Writing by Dinesh Nair, Editing by Amran Abocar)

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Houstonian Corner (V12-I40)

AFMI Relief Mission Headed to Pakistan

viewer

An American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) relief mission is headed towards Pakistan to help the victims of the devastating floods. The mission is led by Dr. Siraj Ahmed, AFMI’s regional vice president of Chicago. According to latest United Nations estimates almost 14 million are still affected by the floods.

In its first stage the mission will distribute more than 5,000 food kits and will establish two medical clinics. The clinics will be established in Naushehra and Thatta Gurmani area near Muzaffargarh district of Punjab. This project is being coordinated with the help of Doctors World Wide and there are plans to establish permanent medical facilities in the area. The decision to establish the clinics was taken in light of the fact that there are increasing cases of communicable diseases like diarrhea and malaria, water borne diseases, malnutrition among children, and the massive disruption to healthcare.

The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) requests its supporters and friends to pray for a successful and safe mission. Dr. Siraj Ahmed is expected to arrive back from Pakistan in two weeks and will provide an update at the upcoming convention of AFMI to be held in Troy, Michigan on October 16, 2010.

In addition to the relief mission AFMI chapters in Albuquerque, Detroit, and Houston have also cooperated with other organizations to raise funds for the flood victims.

While AFMI’s activities are primarily directed towards India it also has a record of helping out in other areas struck by catastrophes. During the Bosnian War (1992-1995) it had organized fundraising events across the US and in Canada to help the victims. Mr. Dilip Kumar, noted Bollywood thespian, had served as the keynote speaker at these highly successful events. AFMI trustee Dr. Nakadar had also personally visited Bosnia to take stock of the situation.

The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, is a North American based grassroots organization, dedicated to socio-economic and educational development of Muslims and other underprivileged masses in India.

THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSLIMS OF INDIAN ORIGIN

Contact: AFMI, 29008, West Eight Mile Road, Farmington MI 48336, USA; Tel: 248-442-2364; Fax: 248-476-8926 E-Mail: afmi11@aol.com; / www.afmi.org.

Open Letter from Houston Muslim re. Florida Fitna

September 08th, 2010

Dear Pastor Jones,

Thank you for buying so many copies of the Quran and giving all of the Muslim publishing companies more money to print more Qurans in these hard economic times. I sincerely do thank you also for respecting our faith by disposing of the Quran by burning, which by the way, is one of the few recommended and approved methods for disposing of a Quran.

Dr. Terry,  I encourage you and  anyone else, who Fox News has frightened about us Muslims, your neighbors, who have lived in the U.S. even before Columbus, to please check out http://www.muslimserve.org to see what Americans who practice the Judeo-Christian-Islamic  faith are doing in your neighborhood to proudly answer President Obama’s  call  to serve in our communities. To us, “Answer the Call” means to answer God’s call to serve our neighbors – to confirm faith with good works. As the Quran teaches us: “Race one another in good works.” (The Quran 5:48).

I invite you, Pastor Jones, to replace the smoking Quran on your barbecue fork with a T-Bone, or a grilled salmon fillet, or, if you’re vegan, some smoked tofu.  I invite you to lay down your gas can, open your heart, and extinguish your hatred with God’s love and teachings of love your neighbor.  As President Obama said, “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace.”

As a pastor, you must know that you can’t burn the word of God by burning ink and paper.  God eternally protects the Tablet containing his messengers’ teachings sent to humanity. Unless you have gone to heaven, wrestled the big book from the big guy himself, you aren’t burning the Torah-Bible-Quran. You will just be burning yourself up with hatred in flammable PJ’s. I pray that God blesses you with an understanding to practice what God has entrusted you to preach at the Dove World Outreach Center. It’s not too late to stop, drop, and roll.

The Pennsylvania neighborhood where I grew up as a child was just a few miles away from the home of the Reverend Dr. Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers, who also taught us American kids to be good neighbors.  Millions of us are Muslims. We are America and we bleed red, white and blue.

We follow the same 10 commandments and worship the Creator, the one true God, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, the God of Adam, Noah, Jesus, and Muhammad (s), the Almighty Creator of our world, the Alpha and the Omega. We are peacemakers. Muslims are not demons, we are human beings.  Like all people, including Christians and Jews, there are some who do evil, but the masses strive daily to serve God and each other with love and peace and to be good neighbors.

Dr. Terry, since we’re together, we might as well say, Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor?

Peace be with you,
Hannah Hawk
Hannah.Hawk2000@Yahoo.com

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Mamadou Doudou Diouf Another Freshman Soccer Sensation

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

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People everywhere have heard a lot about Muslim-American soccer sensation Soony Saad, who is now a freshman at the University of Michigan. Saad in fact was recently named TopDrawerSoccer.com’s number one freshman footballer in the country. But a closer look at that list should make all of us in the ummah proud, as another Muslim is listed as number two on that elite list, Mamadou Doudou Diouf, thus putting two Muslim freshman sensations atop college soccer.

After only his first week of collegiate play Doudou Diouf was named Big East Rookie of the Week. This after scoring three goals, including a game winner, in a pair of victories for the Huskies. He hails from Dakar, Senegal, where he was a starting forward for College African Sports Etudes (CASE). . He is a sturdy striker, at 6’1”, 170 lbs, making him an effective target for passes from his midfielders. And he combines a big frame with good speed to create his own scoring opportunities as well.

Doudou Diouf has formed a particularly effective connection with sophomore midfielder Carlos Alvarez. “We have been working a lot on the connection in practice, and fortunately, we had the opportunity to work it out in the game,” Alvarez told the University of Connecticut school website. So far this season, Doudou Diouf is tied for the team lead with five goals, which is impressive not only for the fact that he is a freshman, but also for the fact that the team’s high scorer last season finished with seven goals for the entire year. He has scored his goals on a total of ten shots on goal, with one game winning goal thus far.

Doudou Diouf has also demonstrated a patient demeanor, often choosing to fake and pass rather than wildly shooting the ball. This maturity belies his young age and inexperience. In fact, Mamadou only recently turned 20 years of age on the 15th of September. So we wish a belated Happy Birthday to brother Mamadou as we anticipate what will be, inshallah, many years of seeing him and brother Soony atop the world of American soccer.

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Amir Khan Set to Fight Maidana in December

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

amir_khan_1250992c

It has been over four months since boxing’s Amir Khan knocked out Paulie Malignaggi in New York’s Madison Square Garden in his American debut. That win gave Khan the WBA Junior Welterweight championship of the world. Originally the Pakistani-British boxer wanted to schedule his next fight before Ramadan, but that never happened due to a disagreement over financial terms. But now a deal has been signed for Khan to take on Argentinian Marcos Rene Maidana on December 11th in Las Vegas. The purse will be split 55-to-45 in favor of Khan.  The 23-year-old Khan (23-1, 17 knockouts) and the 27-year-old Maidana (29-1, 27 knockouts), will face-off at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, and the fight will be televised on HBO.

“All legality work for the next fight has been done,” Khan wrote on his personal Twitter page. “The fight has been signed by both parties. It’s Khan versus Maidana, December 11th, venue to be confirmed, on HBO Boxing and Sky Sports.”

“It will be a great fight and a great weekend. Amir Khan has fans in the United Kingdom, but if you want to capture the United States’ market, this is a way to build someone into a superstar in the United States,” said Robert Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, in an interview with Boxing Fanhouse. “Then, we will go back to the United Kingdom. Amir is really excited about it, and so, is Maidana to be fighting one of the super stars in the sport.”

“What a wonderful thing for the boxing world. It’s going to be a wonderful event,” said Oscar De La Hoya, legendary boxer and founder of Golden Boy Promotions, in an interview with Boxing Fanhouse. “…I am looking forward to it like every fan. I’m glad that it’s going to be in Las Vegas, because Amir Khan can really make a splash here in America.” Next stop Las Vegas, in King Khan’s quest to conquer the boxing world.

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Commonwealth Games Set to Begin in Delhi

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

Commonwealth-Games_0

The 2010 Commonwealth Games will be taking place in New Delhi, India from October 3rd through October 24th. These, the 19th Commonwealth Games, will comprise 72 competing nations this time around. The games are held every four year. This time New Delhi beat out Hamilton, Canada for the hosting honors.

There are 17 competitions planned for the event. A number of Muslim countries will be competing, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Ghana, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Singapore. Leading up to the start of the festivities a number of issues have popped up, including bad weather, infrastructural problems, delays and reported hygiene issues involving the Games Village, and the withdrawal of several prominent athletes. This has led to some criticism of the organizers, but the games are still scheduled to begin on time.

Several of the prominent Muslim athletes who will be in attendance include Pakistani tennis sensation Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, Canadian squash player Shahier Razik, and Pakistani boxer Haroon Khan (brother of WBA junior lightweight champion Amir Khan). In addition, the host country will boast a few prominent Muslim competitors including ladies’ tennis player Sania Mirza and male track athlete Abdul Najeeb Qureshi. This will be India’s largest sporting event since the 1982 Asia Games.

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