Seeking the Truth

By Sony Kassam

sonyakassem“Because there is too much injustice in the world, and I want to seek the truth.” That’s what I had said 5 months ago to my College of Media academic advisor when he had asked me why I chose journalism. 

I often get asked similar questions from countless peers, parents, and other adults in my life in terms of my interest and aspiration to be a journalist. I could have followed the path of becoming a doctor, an engineer, or a businesswoman like many of my fellow classmates and friends, but I realized in my teen years that I have a strong passion and commitment to bettering the world through media and communications. Though, like many things in life, realizing my talent in writing and my passion in journalism wasn’t directly clear to me. Nonetheless, as I reminisce through my achievements and interests in the past decade, I am confident that becoming a journalist is my true life-calling. 

I remember watching an episode of “That’s So Raven” one night when I was nine years old. After watching that night’s episode revolving around newspapers and journalism, I felt a sudden desire to create my own monthly classroom newspaper for my fourth grade gifted class. After creating applications for and choosing an understudy, “Kids’ News” was on its way. The birth of the classroom newspaper, with its comics, horoscopes, top ten lists, and my Editor-In-Chief ramblings, also signaled the birth of something fresh and exciting for the students. In fifth grade, with the generous help of my teacher, Mrs. Gottlieb, we included a classroom fashion show, an art competition, and many other classroom-newspaper events involving prizes. However, by seventh grade, Kids’ News had unfortunately discontinued as I had to focus on performing well for high school, and that was that, until I joined my high school paper during my freshmen year.

Skipping to my first day at Northside College Prep High School (NCPHS) in September 2007, I discovered that my homeroom advisor, Mr. Chester Tylinski, was also the school’s newspaper advisor at the time. That morning, he encouraged us to sign up for the after-school journalism class to write for The Hoof Beat. I was eager to improve my writing and communication skills, so I grabbed the opportunity to enroll in the class. Little did I know that I would also go on to become the Sports Editor during my junior year and the co-Managing Editor during my senior year, as well as a senior columnist for the Editorials page. During my time at NCPHS, I had the honor of receiving two journalism awards through the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago. I received the McCormick Foundation High School Media Award for Excellent Achievement in a Features News Story in 2010, and an Excellent Achievement in Sports News Story in 2009. Additionally, I wrote for the Chicago Tribune’s high school newspaper, The Mash, during my senior year as well. I found myself enjoying late night layout sessions with The Hoof Beat staff, meeting other teens interested in writing through The Mash, and learning how the media works. I gained a plethora of knowledge through my journalism experiences from knowing how to interview people to being aware of media bias. Although there is still much to learn, these experiences convinced me that I am ready to commit to the journalism world.

I recently finished reading Anderson Cooper’s memoir, Dispatches from the Edge. In his memoir, he described that “working in news is like playing in a giant game of telephone. Someone reports something, and everyone else follows suit. The truth gets lost along the way.” Although I have not yet had first-hand experience, I have understood the consequences of such casualties.

The world runs on media and politics. There are several problems that plague the media and the public, with the biggest issues being bias and ignorance, from the incorrect portrayal of Islam after the 9/11 attacks to politically-sided newscasts. However, the blame does not only go to the poorly researched stories, but to the public ignorance as well. If people do not steer clear of ignorance, the media will influence them. As a result, people will misunderstand the truth of wars, political events, and other wide-spread social and international issues involving different cultures, faiths, and races.

Ignorance leads to misconceptions, which can lead to hatred and intolerance. A way to combat ignorance is to educate the public and the media outlets themselves. Nelson Mandela, a well-known South African politician, once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Therefore, ignorance can be countered through much needed education. This is where the media’s role comes into play. Journalists, along with the rest of the media world, have powerful roles that shape society.

Thus, I want to travel the world and the nation in search of truth and listen to people’s stories about their struggles. I want to experience the emotions the people of the world feel, and I want to understand what they go through, from those living in the slums of India to those in war-torn countries like Iraq and places of political turmoil.  Unlike the many biases that arise today in the media coverage, as a journalist I will bet my life on making sure that I look at both sides of every story. I’m passionate and curious about topics in politics, international issues, education reform, and human rights, including racial and gender equality. I also seek to eliminate social injustice, and public ignorance and intolerance of people from various backgrounds. Consequently, in addition to delivering hard-hitting news stories and investigative reports, I aspire to write profound thought-provoking pieces about the world around us and its people. I will shed light on issues that the public is unaware of, and I will strive to have minority voices heard.

Currently, I’m a journalism major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I write for the Illinois branch of the online collegiate magazine Her Campus, while balancing work in the Dining Hall. I also serve as a night poster for the University’s paper, The Daily Illini, where I post articles online, create the daily newsletter, and update the paper’s Twitter account. In the fall, I hope to declare a dual-degree in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism. It is my life goal to open the eyes, minds and hearts of people and to hopefully one day be a role model for other young Muslim Americans.

It’s greatly common for the white man to rise in power, but highly uncommon for a Muslim, let alone a Muslim female, to be a part of media and politics in America. Although, the life of a Muslim female journalist may be challenging, Insha’Allah, with passion, hard work, honesty, courage, and strength, I will be able to climb my way to the top and become one of the best and first Muslim broadcasters the nation has ever seen.

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Shahid Afridi Leaves for Hajj

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

sha3aPakistani cricket star Shahid Afridi left for Saudi Arabia this past weekend to perform Hajj. He left for the religious pilgrimage along with former cricketers Inzamamul Haq and Saeed Anwar.

Immediately prior to leaving Pakistan, Afridi captained the Pakistan team in the first Twenty20 fixture between the International World XI and Pakistan All Stars XI. In the match, Pakistan All Stars XI claimed an 84-run win after some stellar bowling from Tabish Khan and half-centuries from Shahzaib Hasan and Umar Akmal.

Shoaib Malik took over the captain’s duties from Afridi. The back-to-back matches marked the historic return of international cricket to Pakistan. Spectators packed the stadium in Karachi to witness the return of international cricket to the country for the first time since 2009, when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Interestingly, as a part of Shahid Afridi’s journey in Saudia Arabia, he bumped into Indian film star Aamir Khan, who was performing Hajj with his mother.

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A Look Back at Australia’s Muslim Rugby Star

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

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Hazem El-Masri, top left, with his family.

Possibly the greatest goal-kicker in Australian rugby history, Hazem El-Masri is a now-retired Lebanese-Australian retired professional rugby league footballer who starred in the 1990s and 2000s. An Australia and Lebanon international, and New South Wales State of Origin representative winger, he played his entire club football career with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs with whom he won the 2004 NRL Premiership. In 2009 (his final season in the NRL) El Masri set the record for the highest-ever point scorer in premiership history and for a record sixth time was the league’s top point scorer for the season. He also became only the seventh player in history to score over 150 NRL tries, having primarily played on the wing, and additionally at fullback.

El Masri was born in Tripoli, Lebanon on 1 April 1976 and emigrated to Australia with his family from there in 1988 when he was 12 years old. He began playing soccer at an early age but during his senior years in high school switched to rugby league, joining a local club side, the Enfield Federals. While playing for Belmore Boys High School, in 1994 El Masri was spotted by Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs development officers and was invited to trials for their Jersey Flegg squad. By 1998, El Masri had become a regular in the Bulldogs senior squad. He also went on to captain the Lebanese national rugby team for World Cup play.

El Masri is a self-identified devout Muslim. He is widely respected for his community work with young people, winning the NRL’s Ken Stephen Award in 2002. The award recognizes players who contribute to the betterment of their community away from the rugby league. El Masri has a wife, Arwa, and three children, Lamya, Zayd, and Serine.

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First Muslim in Australian Rules Football

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

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Bachar Houli with his wife Rouba.

Bachar Houli is, by all accounts, the first devout Muslim to play in the Australian Football League. Born to Lebanese parents, he is the second ever Lebanese player in the league. He is currently a midfielder for Richmond.

“I’m grateful for the position I’ve been put in. I’ve got a role to play and that is to educate others about the way I live and the belief system I follow,” Houli told the Herald Sun. “It’s all about being proud of who you are and talking about it because a lot of people don’t understand and it’s about educating them that I’ve got a couple of different ways I go about life.”

Australian Rules Football has never been typical sport for Muslims in Australia. And Houli first pursued his passion as an 11-year-old when he would sneak out of the family home to play. “Initially, I found it awkward and I was kind of scared because my parents weren’t aware that I was going to play and they were really against it,” he said. “It was the old trick of putting the teddy bear underneath the blanket. I got away with it a few times, but it didn’t last too long. Luckily my brother backed me up and said, ‘You’ve got to let the kid play and enjoy what he’s doing’.”

Houli prays five times daily, including on match day when he will perform his salat under the stadium for five minutes before and after the game. “All I need is a little space to do my thing. I perform one prayer before the game and if it clashes with another one I perform that prayer after the game,” he told the press. “With our religion it’s all about cleanliness and being clean so coming in at halftime you’re going to be quite sweaty and not smelling all that good. When we pray it’s as if we’re facing God, so we have to present ourselves in the best form.”

Houli praised the Tigers and his former club Essendon for their understanding. He said: “They’ve both been very, very supportive. They have offered me a number of rooms to perform my prayers.” Ramadan has presented additional challenges to Houli as it has many Muslim athletes, especially with the holy month having shifted toward the summer these days. But special training and nutrition regimens, coordinated with team trainers, has allowed him to perform his religious duties safely. And currently, Houli is taking on one of the biggest challenges of his life. He is in Mecca performing the Hajj. Clearly, Muslims in Australia couldn’t ask for a better role model.

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Community News (V14-I44)

Salim Khan named CEO of Stem Inc.

Energy management company Stem Inc. has named Salim Khan as its CEO.

Khan is a proven executive with a distinguished global career spanning over 25 years in both large engineering technology corporations and venture capital backed start-up companies in Silicon Valley.
Most recently, Khan was President and Chief Operating Officer of Trilliant, a smart grid communications company. Trilliant is backed by a mix of prominent Venture Capital firms and strategic investors. Under his operational leadership, Trilliant received numerous Smart Grid Excellence awards. The company has a growing list of more than 200 highly satisfied customers around the world.

Prior to Trilliant, Khan was Senior Vice President and General Manager of ABB’s Network Management business in the Americas, where he oversaw significant growth of the energy/market management software and control systems business. Khan was one of the key architects of ABB’s Smart Grid global strategy, where he identified, acquired and integrated multiple smart grid software companies with investments exceeding one billion dollars. Prior to ABB, Khan held executive level positions at Landis+Gyr and Systems Control, Inc.

Utah Muslim students to help the homeless

SALT LAKE CITY,UT–Muslim students at University of Utah have formed a new organization to help the homeless and also fight negative stereotypes about Islam. The United in Service for Humanity recently held a fundraiser for people to learn about Islam and raise money for Utah’s homeless.

“I choose to use my beliefs in a positive way,” said Sarah Ahmad, co-founder of United in Service for Humanity. “I choose to serve others as a way to practice my religion.”

“We’re trying to exemplify one of the characteristics of our religion which is charity,” said Ahmad. “By doing that we’re helping others and also defeating the stereotypes about our religion that are incorrect.”

New location for mosque in Richmond

RICHMOND,KY–The large Muslim foreign student population in Richmond, Kentucky, will have a new larger facility for prayers.

The current place of worship was purchased more than two decades ago by Eastern Kentucky University students and Muslim physicians in the community, based on information provided by the Masjid of Richmond and community members.

“With the city’s approval, it was converted to a place of worship and has exempt religious status with the City of Richmond PVA (Property Valuator Administrator) and is in good standing with the Kentucky Secretary of State since July 28, 2004, when it was registered as a nonprofit organization,” the release states.

“All these students already have jobs in their home countries and they receive tuition and living expenses from their respective governments,” the information reads. “The number of this rotating and transient congregation has increased to several hundred since the inception of this program in the early ‘90s.”

The house on Hanover Street has been in a state of decay and sustained considerable damage when a tree fell on the roof during the snowstorm of 2009.

“Based on these persistent problems, managing members and students eventually decided in 2010 to build a new place at a donated parcel of land at Center Drive,” the release states. “Multiple fund drives in Lexington, London and Somerset raised the money needed for the project.”

Dr. Ghouri inducted into School Hall of Fame

ST.LOUIS,MO–The Parkway School District’s Alumni Association will induct its fifth class into the Parkway Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

The Nov. 17 event will feature a reception and induction dinner at 5:30 p.m. at the  Sheraton Westport Hotel – Lakeside Chalet, 900 West Port Plaza in Maryland Heights.

Among the inductees is Dr. Ahmed Ghouri (Parkway South High, Class of 1984, a board-certified anesthesiologist and biomedical engineer who, in 2000, founded Anvita Health, a medical informatics company, which supports the use of intelligent technology to provide doctors with patient data.

Uzair Syed receives youth achievement award

TEANECK, NJ–The Teaneck Chamber of Commerce hosted their 11th annual Community Service Awards at the Marriot at Glenpointe earlier this month. The youth achievement was handed out to Uzair Syed.

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Obama Campaign, Ignore Muslim Americans at Your Peril

By Kari Ansari, Huffington Post

As a Muslim American, I often think I should include this disclaimer before writing about President Obama: “The President of the United States is not a Muslim — secret, or otherwise. He has not shown up at any of our meetings; nor have we received any special consideration from State or Federal governments for being Muslims in America.”

Oh, wait, I would need to clarify the above; we have received some special consideration for being Muslim in America if you count being spied upon by the NYPD, being profiled at U.S. airports with consistent but “random” super security checks, or being unfairly denied building permits and zoning permission when attempting to build or expand our places of worship (see the list of articles here). And we must include certain United States members of Congress, particularly Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, and N.Y. Rep. Peter King who have deemed Muslim Americans as worthy of special attention by vilifying the entire faith group in America as disloyal, suspicious traitors to our country.

Muslim Americans would appreciate our president’s support in standing with us against the religious and racist slurs, inequities and outright violations of our civil rights, but so far, we’re just not feeling it.

I attended a dinner last weekend hosted by the Muslim Advocates in Arlington, Va., where Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison spoke after receiving an award of recognition from this dynamic organization. He reminded the audience that it’s not the president’s job to inspire us, or to defend our civil rights — instead, it’s our responsibility as U.S. citizens to stand for ourselves to demand that we be given the same rights as other Americans.

That speech got me thinking. I realized Rep. Ellison was right: It’s not the president’s job to inspire my faith community; however, right now, it is his job to convince us that we need to go out and vote for him.

For too many reasons to list here, Mitt Romney is not the candidate many Muslims will support. However, President Obama should not take our vote for granted. A humble word to his campaign: Ignore Muslim Americans at your peril. But before Rep. Bachmann gets out her witch-hunting gear, let me explain.

The president has yet to visit an American mosque during his term. He has reached out to other faith groups, but not ours. Who really still believes he’s a secret Muslim? Only crazy birther conspiracy theorists who aren’t going to vote for him anyway, so the president’s campaign should realize they’re missing the boat if he doesn’t reach out to the Muslim base.

Oh, why? Muslims are negligible in population, right? Wrong. In all three of the very important swing states, Ohio, Virginia and Florida, the Muslims are a significant segment of the population. Southern and Northern Ohio are chock full of Muslim voters. Northern Virginia and the Richmond area have some of the most influential and educated Muslim voters in America. Finally, there’s Florida where Hillsborough County features an established and politically active Muslim constituency among many others. Muslims can put the swing in the vote for President Obama, if they turn out. So, if anyone on the President’s campaign happens to read this, please pass this note on to my president:

“We came out for you in 2008, Mr. President. We may not agree with every policy you’ve put forth, but we’ll support you for another four years if you’d only ask us. Otherwise, many Muslim voters may just stay home, especially in Virginia, Ohio and Florida.

I’d like to invite you to make a quick stop at my mosque, the ADAMS Center in Sterling, Va. It’s just a 30-minute drive from the White House, and we’d be more than happy to have you come by. We have a very American basketball gym from which you can tell America’s Muslims why we should come out to the polls to vote for you. I promise, 5-6 million votes will come your way with one quick campaign stop. Seriously, come talk to us, we vote!”

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Islam or Hislam?

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

The other day while our children played together, I chatted with a couple of Arab Muslim men about problems facing people living in America. I mentioned that once, while walking to the grocery store in Detroit, a gang of teenage boys followed me and I overheard them discussing throwing me into the trunk of their car. One brother asked immediately whether or not I had been wearing hijab. I said, “No, that was before I became Muslim – but I was wearing totally normal clothes and it was broad daylight.” Nevertheless, he commented without a hint of shame at his audacity, “Women who walk around uncovered are asking for it.” Restraining my shock, I allowed the other brother to gently disagree with this extremely offensive statement. I ended my story by saying that an Iraqi shopkeeper noticed the hoodlums waiting for me outside his shop door and chased them away, likely saving my life. So then of course it became a story of how great Arabs are. The brother never even thought to apologize for insinuating that I had dressed provocatively and had thus invited attack.

How can it be that a young woman, minding her own business, on her way to buy some milk, could be asking to be kidnapped, gang-raped, or murdered? Those men who advocate hijab as a means for avoiding attack are only looking at their own perspective. Perhaps they themselves would be less likely to rape a woman who was wearing hijab, and perhaps in certain neighborhoods, wearing hijab would make a woman less likely to be harmed. But in some other neighborhoods, a woman would be more likely to be raped or killed if she was wearing hijab, because her dress would attract negative attention from people who hate Muslims – or who view hijab as a rejection of their manhood.

In some cases, wearing Islamic gear can even attract unwanted sexual harassment! My friend Layla mentioned to me that a stranger in a restaurant once came up to her and said, “You dress like this when you go out, but I bet you sleep naked.” Another woman Maryam, wearing full covering including niqab, visited New York City with her husband and overheard some passersby having a disagreement over whether or not she might be beautiful or ugly. Instead of protecting her from objectification, Maryam’s Islamic gear actually invited a conversation about her physical beauty (or lack thereof)!

Quran says women should dress appropriately when they go outside, so that they would not be harassed. Yet, those women who are serious about not being harassed will have to do more than simply cover themselves with a certain amount of cloth. Recent American women converts can be especially vulnerable to loud laughter and jeering from strangers, as they unsuccessfully attempt to gracefully don ill-fitting, hand-me-down foreign costumes. Women who are seriously trying to avoid attracting unwanted attention have to respect the culture of the majority of people around them. They should dress modestly in a way that says, “I am a high class lady who commands respect” in a fashion language, which the local culture understands. This will vary. Women who seek to avoid harassment should not dress in a way that invites attention, mockery, or disrespect, even if that dress is considered Islamic.

There are certain types of rapists who actually target women with loose-fitting garments, who lurk outside fitness centers because sweat pants with their elastic waistbands are so quickly and easily removed, even if the woman is resisting. Contrast that ugly situation with the scene in an alley that a friend of mine, Liz, witnessed from a window. A man was attempting to forcibly remove the clothes of a woman who was screaming and fighting. Liz called the police and shouted out her window as the man relentlessly struggled with the woman but just could not rape her. Why? She was wearing extremely tight button-fly jeans that were so incredibly difficult to remove that the police arrived before the man had succeeded in sexually violating her. Therefore women who are serious about not being raped will have to do far more than merely wear loose-fitting clothing. They should consider wearing skin-tight button-fly jeans underneath their jilbabs.

While it is easy to find examples of male chauvinism in Muslim cultures, it also exists in the West. Because of the blurry lines defining what is socially acceptable vs. immoral behavior, women are easily violated and then blamed for being victimized. An American woman, Amy was at a party and was offered whiskey. Trying to be cool, she drank from the bottle that was being passed around. Before she realized it, she was unconscious on the sofa. When she awoke, she found herself without her clothes on, having no memory of the past four hours except for a few seconds in which things were being done to her, without her being in any condition to react or respond. Feeling horribly wronged, and knowing she never flirted with anyone nor agreed to get naked with anyone, she tried to get some sympathy from a friend but was told that she should have known that “men are pigs,” and was shamed for allowing herself to lose control of the situation. While this experience will certainly be a lesson for Amy about the evils of drink, is it really true that a person cannot reasonably expect to pass out on a friend’s couch without inviting oneself to be wronged in front of other party guests? Because she was a woman, Amy was expected to accept that “boys will be boys” and take the blame for what happened.

Huda al Khattab writes in “Bent Rib: A Journey Through Women’s Issues in Islam” about the hypocrisy of male chauvinism: “In most traditional societies, and even to some extent in the west, the entire responsibility for protecting morality is placed squarely on our (supposedly delicate and weak) shoulders. That this should be so is astounding – are men so feeble-minded and weak-willed that they are so easily led astray?… Moreover, such notions of women’s moral burden are in stark contrast to the Quran, where the command to lower one’s gaze and guard one’s modesty is given to men first.”
While moralists can argue that God commands mercy and justice among His people, and that all He basically asks of us is that we not wrong each other, realists can’t deny that there are plenty of egoists who would view only those aspects of Islam that benefit themselves as laws, while those aspects of Islam that require more in depth personal responsibility, they would view as mere moral recommendations.

As the weaker sex, women are always going to be vulnerable to various forms of oppression, tyranny and dehumanization. We cannot be fools.

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Syria Undecided on Ceasefire Proposal, Rebels Divided

By Oliver Holmes and Shaimaa Fayed

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A boy riding his bike is seen through a recently shelled area in Atareb, in the Idlib governorate October 24, 2012. Pro-government forces were shelling most of the towns around the Idlib governorate. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

BEIRUT/CAIRO (Reuters) – Syria said on Wednesday its military command was still studying a proposal for a holiday ceasefire with rebels – contradicting international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi’s announcement that Damascus had agreed to a truce.

The statement threw Brahimi’s efforts to arrange a pause in the bloodshed in Syria into even more confusion, as divided rebel groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad gave mixed messages.

The prominent Farooq Brigade, which operates out of the battered city of Homs, said it would cease fire. The Islamist militant Al Nusra Front rejected the truce, saying it is not a group “who accepts to play such dirty games.”

A previous ceasefire arrangement in April collapsed within days, with both sides accusing the other of breaking it.

Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League special envoy, had crisscrossed the Middle East to push the warring factions and their international backers to agree to a truce during the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha – a mission that included talks with Assad in Damascus at the weekend.

“After the visit I made to Damascus, there is agreement from the Syrian government for a ceasefire during the Eid,” Brahimi told a news conference at the Arab League in Cairo.

Within an hour, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said the proposal was still being studied by the military commanders. “The final position on this issue will be announced tomorrow,” a ministry statement said. Brahimi later told the United Nations Security Council that Assad himself accepted the truce.

The holiday starts on Thursday and lasts three or four days. Brahimi did not specify the precise time period for a truce.

Nor did the initiative include plans for international observers, and rebel sources had earlier told Reuters there was little point if it could not be monitored or enforced.

Assad’s forces and rebels are now locked in a battle with huge potential ramifications in the northwest.

Syrian warplanes carried out bombing raids on Wednesday on the strategic northern town of Maarat al-Numan and nearby villages while rebels surrounded an army base to its east, an activist monitor said.

Five people from one family, including a child and a woman, were killed in the air strikes, according to Rami Abdelrahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Maarat al-Numan has fallen to the rebels, effectively cutting the main north-south highway, a strategic route for Assad to move troops from the capital Damascus to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city where the insurgents have taken a foothold.

But without control of the nearby Wadi al-Daif military base, their grip over the road is tenuous and the rebels say the ferocity of counter-attacks by government forces shows how important holding the base is to Assad’s military strategy.

Children Knifed

More than 32,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which began with peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in March 2011 and then mushroomed into civil war as repression increased.

On Wednesday, opposition activists and Syrian state media traded blame for the killing of at least 25 people, including women and children, in the town of Douma near Damascus.

“People now are scared and very angry. Some of the martyrs were killed with knives, others were shot,” Mahmoud Doumany, an activist living in Douma, told Reuters.

Syrian state television said 25 people had been killed by “terrorist members of the so-called ‘Liwa al-Islam.’”

Opposition video showed the bodies of women and children, one of whom had a hole in his head.

“God is great,” said a man off screen, his voice trembling as he walked around the house, filming bodies on several floors of a residential building.

Refugees Flee Bombardments

Hundreds of Syrian refugees have poured into a makeshift refugee camp at Atimah overlooking the Turkish border, fleeing a week of what they said were the most intense army bombardments since the uprising began.

“Some of the bombs were so big they sucked in the air and everything crashes down, even four-storey buildings. We used to have one or two rockets a day, now for the past 10 days it has become constant, we run from one shelter to another. They drop a few bombs and it’s like a massacre,” one refugee, a 20-year-old named Nabil, told Reuters at the camp.

The army relies on air power and heavy artillery to push back the rebels.

Human Rights Watch said the Syrian air force had increased its use of cluster bombs across the country in the past two weeks. The New York-based organization identified, through activist video footage of unexploded bomblets, three types of cluster bombs which had fallen on and around Maarat al-Numan.

Cluster bombs explode in the air, scattering dozens of smaller bomblets over an area the size of a sports field. Most nations have banned their use under a convention that became international law in 2010, but which Syria has not signed.

In contrast to the Libya crisis last year, the West has shown little appetite to arm the Syrian rebels, worried that weapons would fall into the hands of Islamic militants.

Russia, which has backed Assad through the conflict, sold his government $1 billion worth of weapons last year and has made clear it would oppose an arms embargo in the U.N. Security Council.

(Additional reporting by Marwan Makdesi in Damascus, Erika Solomon in Atiha, Yasmine Saleh and Tom Perry in Cairo, Steve Gutterman in Moscow, Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Hajj 2012

By Daily Mail Reporter

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These breathtaking pictures show how millions of pilgrims are arriving in Mecca for Islam’s annual haj pilgrimage, as Saudi authorities warned they will stop any disruptive protests over the conflict in Syria.

The Grand Mosque, the focal point of the Islamic faith, was already teeming with joyful pilgrims at dawn yesterday, wearing the simple white folds of cloth prescribed for haj, many of them having slept on the white marble paving outside.

‘I feel proud to be here because it’s a visual message that Muslims are united. People speaking in all kind of languages pray to the one God,’ said Fahmi Mohammed al-Nemr, 52, from Egypt.

Haj must be performed at least once in their lifetime by all Muslims capable of making the expensive, difficult journey, a duty that applies equally to Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims at a time of tension between Islam’s main sects.
Saudi leaders have emphasised it is a strictly religious occasion and they are prepared to deal with any troublemaking.

‘If anything happens it will be brought under control,’ Interior Minister Prince Ahmed said on Saturday after attending a Mecca march-past where troops paraded water cannon, teargas launchers and even truck-mounted machine guns.

Authorities are keenly aware of past episodes of violence at haj, such as in 1979, when attackers seized the Grand Mosque, beginning a two-week siege that left hundreds dead.

Despite Saudi Arabia, which is mostly Sunni, locking horns with regional rival Iran, which is mostly Shi’ite, over the conflict in Syria and other disputes, the minister played down the risks of politically motivated disruption.

‘I don’t think there will be any repercussion on the security of the pilgrimage as a result of what is unfortunately happening in Syria and elsewhere,’ Prince Ahmed said.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has backed rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran, at a time of already tense relations between Riyadh and Tehran.

Assad and Iranian leaders have both accused Turkey and Gulf Arab countries of arming the rebels, while Riyadh has accused Tehran of stirring unrest in Bahrain and instigating protests among Shi’ite Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

Iran has denied those charges and both sides have said they are keen to avoid trouble during haj, mindful of 1987 clashes between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi security forces that led to hundreds of deaths.

In the years since, Saudi authorities have tolerated small protests by Iranians in their part of the massive camp where most pilgrims stay. Prince Ahmed said Tehran had assured Riyadh that Iranian pilgrims would cause no disruption this year.

However, Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi last week called on Muslims to ostracise Iran and Russia during haj over their backing of Assad, stoking an already tense atmosphere.
In his Friday sermon the imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Saleh bin Abdullah Hamid, also railed against the violence in Syria, calling on God to ‘be against the forces of oppressors’ there.
Pilgrims said they were praying for an end to the fighting.

‘I pray for the Syrian Muslims to be saved from the oppression they are being subjected to,’ said Abdullah Abdulrahman Mohammed, 69, from Iraqi Kurdistan, a father of 12 who had just performed Friday prayers.

Last year nearly 3million pilgrims performed the haj, with roughly a third from inside the conservative kingdom. The Saudi authorities said there have so far been 1.7million arrivals from abroad and about 200,000 from inside Saudi Arabia.

Mecca’s merchants, famed across the Arab world, are already doing a thriving trade as pilgrims stock up on souvenirs such as prayer beads and mats, Korans, dates, gold and zamzam water, pumped from a holy well.

‘The first time I saw the Kaaba I cried with joy. I prayed for myself and all Muslims,’ said Nafisa Rangrez, 36, from Gujarat in India, who had waited five years for a haj visa.

All Muslims must face towards the Kaaba, the huge black cube at the centre of the Grand Mosque, five times a day for prayer, making a visit to the sanctuary a powerful experience. Pilgrims must circle it seven times when they arrive in Mecca.

Tomorrow is the first official day of the pilgrimage, with Muslims following a set form of rites laid out by the Prophet and culminating on Friday with the Feast of the Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, a holiday across the Islamic world.

‘I would love to live here for the rest of my life. There’s no such place in the entire world. This is a blessed country,’ said Ziad Adam, 23, a theology student from Kenya.

Saudi Arabia’s king is formally titled Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the ruling family has long based its claims to reign on its guardianship of Islam’s birthplace.

Over the past decade it has spent billions of dollars expanding the Grand Mosque and building new infrastructure to avert the stampedes and tent fires that marred past pilgrimages with hundreds of deaths. The last deadly stampede was in 2006, when 360 people were crushed to death.

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Aziz Akbari: 18-Year-Old Candidate For Mayor

Akbari’s parents are from the state of Gujarat in India. Fremont’s population is 18 percent Indian-American and just over 50 percent Asian-American. (Paresh Dave/Neon Tommy)

Fremont — a Bay Area city with 218,000 people — welcomed its first major movie theater within city limits just five months ago.

It’s not like theaters in neighboring cities are more than a short drive away. But 18-year-old Aziz Akbari has wondered why an upper middle-class suburb on the edge of Silicon Valley has been slow to develop key features such as a cinema. After all, Irvine, a Southern California city of similar size already has a handful of theaters.

“When we have a large population, easy access to transportation, a very competitive rent market and existing office space, why aren’t companies coming to Fremont?” he asks.

Akbari, a sophomore at the University of Southern California pursuing a bachleor’s in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science, is running for mayor of Fremont this fall. Though the clear underdog among the five major candidates, Akbari’s committed enough to spend three days a week away from his full course load in L.A. to campaign in Fremont. If elected, he would become the city’s youngest mayor ever and the first mayor of Indian heritage.

Akbari’s not the most polished candidate. Put on the spot, he couldn’t name the state legislators who represent Fremont. He hasn’t reported any campaign contributions since announcing his candidacy a month ago, according to the latest documents made available by the city clerk. And he hopes of improving local schools in ways mayors probably can’t affect. Yet, he’s met at least a pair of congressmen, chatted with business leaders across California and is on the verge of having his story told by a national news organization.

Born in Long Island, Akbari said his earliest exposure to politics likely came as his dad followed the 1996 presidential race that pit Bill Clinton against Bob Dole. During a recent Sunday evening conversation outside his USC apartment building, he said his passion lies in politics.

“I think the world would benefit from another mechanical engineer, but I think this is what I need now,” he said. “I have the opportunity, and I see the potential in Fremont.”
Akbari, pausing several times over the course of an hour to greet friends passing by, was especially critical of the city’s $4 million subsidy of a community water park. Finished in 2009, the park is open daily only during the summer.

“It is the most ridiculous thing the city council has ever done,” he said. “At the same time the school district announced pinks slips and libraries cut hours and staff, they said a water park would be a good idea that would attract enough people to pay for itself.”

The park, Aqua Adventure, also was constructed using state grants and donations. Anu Natarajan, a councilwoman also running for mayor, has trumpted that the park earns $800,000 in revenues in campaign mailers.

Akbari started toying with both money and politics in middle school.

He turned a $50 investment into a $1,000 paycheck by selling video games and collectibles on eBay. And though now running as an independent, he volunteered at the time for the campaign of Rep. Pete Stark, a Democrat. Out of every 10 registered voters in Fremont, five are registered as Democrats, three have no party preference and two are Republicans.

Now in the thick of things himself, Akbari says there’s room for more restaurants, shops, starts-ups and manufacturing plants in Fremont. To be sure, though supportive of growth, also on his platform is a pledge to preserve the city’s historic districts.

Jobs in Fremont peaked at the start of 2001, when biotechnology companies were blossoming on land where vegetables once sprouted. At the time, the San Francisco Chronicle described Fremont as “the first East Bay city to morph into a high-tech hub.”

Employment held steady until the recession, just as the city’s population began to rise from a steady 200,000 people. Employment has been slowly returning to pre-recession levels the past two years.
Fremont’s 6.9 percent unemployment rate in July was still more than two-and-half times higher than figures in 2001, but was modest compared to California’s 10.7 percent unemployment rate in July.

A quick glance of data collected last year by an economic analysis firm for the East Bay Economic Development Alliance suggests Fremont has lost as many businesses as its gained in the last decade.

A separate study completed for the alliance found that speculative development in the 1990s and early 2000s left Fremont with a third of the East Bay’s research and development space. But the market for such space hasn’t fully rebounded, and “some of the excess space in weaker locations may need to be adapted to other uses.”

The figures give some credibility to Akbari’s claims that development in Fremont has been stagnant for the past decade. But is the political novice (who will turn 19 shortly after the Nov. 6 election) the right person to attract investment to the city?

“I know exactly what I want to do and what needs to be done everyday in office to reach that vision,” he said. “A lot of young people feel they are not being heard, so in protest they don’t vote. But that’s not how democracy works. That’s what I’m trying to go out there and show.”

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Iran and the US Presidential Contest

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Salinas–As a journalist, I am going to stick to the Iran-Israeli encounter like a Gila-Monster to an unwitting desert hiker through this month of October.

POLITICS-US-USA-CAMPAIGN-DEBATE-POLL

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talk during the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

As I write, Iran has offered, and the US has accepted, one-to-one negotiations to be held, after America’s November 6th National polls, on Tehran’s nuclear program as Iran’s currency crumbles, and civil unrest has arisen against the measures their government has imposed upon their citizens in reaction to the hostility of the stringent processes that the US administration and their allies have forced upon them to resist the unfair blockade put upon the land of the former Medes.

What is so curious about this is that the sanctions might backfire against the West in that the weakest countries in the Euro-zone depend upon Iranian energy sources.  With Persian oil taken away, this would cause more of the weaker European economies to collapse quickly; undermining the entire Euro-zone; ultimately to economically devastate North America; thereby, leading to the possibility of a worldwide depression or even complete fiscal breakdown.

As can be seen Tehran has some chips in any negotiations although the United States would have the strongest options.

Further, though, as an academically trained historian, I am quite concerned over the sword-rattling against Iran by Israel, and secondarily by the U.S.

I was asked to send in a tentative question to the moderator of the last U.S. Presidential debate over the Arab-Israeli struggle for Palestinian rights.   I believe the Iranian crisis was created to cast a shadow to hide the burning question of Palestine before the American elections by Mr. Netanyahu, and as interference in the American electoral process.  The American intelligence establishment itself has come to a similar conclusion.

Both the CIA (the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) and the Mossad (the infamously viscous Israeli Intelligence bureau) have stated before our respective “parliaments,” that Iran stopped weaponization in 2003 although it reserves the right to continue if their national defense is threatened.

It would seem that the best path would be to bring the Israeli nuclear program onto the table, too.  Strangely, I do not advocate that Israel completely renounce its capability, but only to keep weaponized that which is legitimate for the threat at hand (there is no MAD in the Middle East); so the scale to which they have nuclearized is unacceptable.  I recently was sent an essay from a scholar in a Greek think tank, who agreed with me in an essay he had written in Greek; and, therefore, has not gained wide circulation, that, if Iran nuclearized but not weaponized and held its missiles in abeyance, and to a minimal defensive posture not hostile to Israel, this would induce a helpful balance in the Middle East. 

Thus, my theoretical question to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for the past October 22nd deliberations was what is the position by both candidates, to encourage Israel to make sensible concessions if Iran would agree to go no further in its potential ability to weaponize?

Further, how do both of the candidates see how confidence measures can be built with American diplomacy in hand towards the goal of eventually building a nuclear-free Middle East?             
How does each of the candidates hope to build peace with justice in the Levant despite Israel’s disproportionate nuclear strategic advantage–without MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) to counter them within the region?

There can be no peace over the region when there is the constant threat of a thermo-nuclear holocaust from the Negev.

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Cyclone

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A cyclone is an atmospheric pressure distribution in which there is a low central pressure relative to the surrounding pressure. The resulting pressure gradient, combined with the Coriolis effect, causes air to circulate about the core of lowest pressure in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in a clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. Near the surface of the earth, the frictional drag on the air moving over land or water causes it to spiral gradually inward toward lower pressures. This inward movement of air is compensated for by rising currents near the center, which are cooled by expansion when they reach the lower pressures of higher altitudes. The cooling, in turn, greatly increases the relative humidity of the air, so that “lows” are generally characterized by cloudiness and high humidity; they are thus often referred to simply as storms.

According to the theory first proposed by the Norwegian physicist Vilhelm Bjerknes, the extratropical, or middle-latitude, cyclone originates as a wave, or perturbation, in the polar front separating the cold polar easterly winds from the warmer prevailing winds farther toward the equator. This wave, once induced by the opposing air currents, is accentuated by the rotational sense of the circulation, which pumps warm, moist air toward the pole around the eastern side of the cyclone center and cold, dry air toward the equator to the west of the center. Such wave cyclones often intensify, expanding the radius of the affected area to 500 mi (805 km) or more, while reducing atmospheric pressure, especially toward the center.

Tropical cyclones, formed over warm tropical oceans, are not associated with fronts, as are the middle-latitude wave cyclones, nor are they as large as the latter. A tropical cyclone that has matured to a severe intensity is called a hurricane when it occurs in the Atlantic Ocean or adjacent seas, a typhoon when it occurs in the Pacific Ocean or adjacent seas, or simply a cyclone or tropical cyclone when it occurs in the Indian Ocean region.

Cyclones in middle latitudes move generally from west to east along with the prevailing winds and cover 500 to 1,000 mi (800-1,610 km) each day; tropical cyclones usually move toward the west with the flow of the trade winds during their formative stages, then curve toward the poles around subtropical anticyclone.

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Mystery Spinners Crack Twenty20 Code

By Shihar Aneez

Live cricket score boardCOLOMBO (Reuters) – Modern bats and the crash-bang format of 20-over cricket may suggest otherwise but Ajantha Mendis and fellow practitioners of unorthodox spin bowling have proved they are not in the World Twenty20 just to play cannon-fodder.

Field restrictions and the batsman’s freedom stemming from the format’s brevity make 20-over cricket indubitably the most batsman-biased of the game’s three formats.

Denied the luxury of close-in fielders, spinners often retreat into a defensive shell, sacrificing flight to embrace the safer method of darting flat and faster deliveries for a possible dot ball.
However, the likes of Mendis, Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine have proved in the ongoing World Twenty20 that they not only possess the craft to escape any batting carnage but can actually emerge as genuine match-winners.

Mendis has returned from a back problem to bowl all five variations, including the “carrom ball”, which he flicks using his middle finger, to be Sri Lanka’s best bowler in the tournament claiming nine wickets from four matches.

Off-spinner Ajmal has played the same role for Pakistan, grabbing eight wickets from five matches, using his ‘doosra’ – the delivery which spins the other way – to bamboozle batsmen.
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene insisted both Mendis and Ajmal are much more than just mystery spinners.

“Those guys are playing for five-six years. So I don’t know whether there is enough mystery (left) in it. Lot of the guys have played them,” Jayawardene told reporters on Wednesday.
“You have to give them credit, they’ve been two quality spinners. People have analysed them and seen videos of them. But all these guys are quality spinners. They have got some talent and they have been showcasing that.”

So has been West Indies off-spinner Narine whose bag of tricks makes the 24-year-old tweaker from Trinidad quite a handful in the sub-continent.

“Sunil is our trump card, he’s done well for us in that format,” West Indies captain Darren Sammy said.

“In Sri Lankan conditions if he’s got assistance he will be a handful.”

(Writing by Amlan Chakraborty; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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Bahraini Takeover of Leeds United on Shaky Ground

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

downloadLeeds United is a once-proud English football team that just over a decade ago was in the European Champions League semifinals. But mismanagement and misfortune ensued, sending the club as low as Division One in England. They’ve currently been floundering in the Championship League, one level below the Premiership, for the past handful of years, on the outside looking in. But now a prospective Bahraini takeover of the team has its fans dreaming of a return to glory. Unfortunately, the financial portfolio of the Bahraini group may turn those dreams to continued nightmares. But the Dubai-based investment firm negotiating to take over Leeds, one of English soccer’s most famous clubs, appears to have little financial fire power to complete the deal, accounts of its Bahrain parent firm Gulf Finance House show.

Dubai-based GFH Capital has been in exclusive talks to buy Leeds, which it estimates has a market value of around 52 million pounds ($83 million). But GFH group had more than a quarter of a billion dollars of accumulated losses and less than $6 million in cash at the end of June. And the Bahrain company has previously taken big fees from projects that rarely see completion, according to an internal document from 2010 reviewed by Reuters and verified by four former insiders.

“Words don’t buy football clubs; money buys football clubs. We would expect to see evidence of GFH’s ability to fulfill their claims and promises in the very near future after the takeover,” said Gary Cooper, Chairman of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust, an independent fan group with over 8,300 members.

GFH Capital Chief Executive David Haigh said his company had the resources to complete the transaction and buy new players, but gave no further details on the deal, citing a non-disclosure agreement during negotiations. “We have the funds to buy the club, and it is our intention to buy Leeds United as quickly as possible,” he said. Referring to the period when players are bought and sold, he added: “We have identified a budget for the January transfer window; that is critical for the future requirements of the team.”

Leeds United declined to comment, citing the confidentiality agreement, while current owner Ken Bates, who tends to communicate with the press via public statements, told Leeds United channel he was not responsible for the delay in closing the deal, first announced on Sept 27. Leeds fans are so fed up with Bates that they have been chanting “Bates Out” at many of the home matches. It appears that those chants may continue to go unanswered.

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First Ever Afghan Pro Soccer League Opens

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


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An Afghan soccer player kicks a ball during a friendly match in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, July 16, 2012. Amid a deadly war in an impoverished nation, the promise of a new professional football league is offering a glimmer of hope in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

The first professional football league in Afghanistan history kicked-off on in Kabul this past week. The Afghan Premier League (APL) opened to a near-capacity crowd of 3,500, as Les Maiwand Atalan (Heroes of Maiwand), – a mythical mountain in the unstable region of the Helmand province – defeated the Shaneen Asmayee (The Asmayee Eagles) 3-1 in the kick-off match. Unlike the English Premier League, however, the APL season will not even last one month, as it will wrap up on October 19. But this amounts to baby steps for a soccer-loving nation that has been torn apart by foreign invaders and internal ethnic rivalries.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved today. I’m proud that we managed to organize such an event and I would like to send more positive messages, not only about today,” APL commissioner Said Shafir Gawari told the press in the wake of a suicide attack that killed 12 people, including nine foreigners, in Kabul on Tuesday. “Most of the Afghan population are young people. They’re under 25. We would like to bring our message to the majority of Afghans, and to the world, that Afghans can play together, and that we have teams composed of different tribes, of different ethnicities. If you look at the Kandahar team, they are not only composed of Pashtuns. They are Hazaras and other ethnicities too,” continued Shafir Gawari.” The Pashtuns, many of whom joined the Taliban, have historically been opposition to the Tadjiks, Uzbeks and Hazares, the other dominant ethnic groups in Afghanistan.

Eight teams will meet during the group phase of the tournament. The top four teams will then progress to the semi-finals, eventually leading to a winner. There will be a total of 16 matches played, all televised across the country on two of the leading networks, one in the Dari language, and the other in Pashtun. An interesting twist has also been added, with a section of APL players being chosen from television reality shows that attracted the applications of thousands of young Afghans.

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Healing Flint Conference

By Adil James, TMO

PA130447Flint–October 12-13–Flint’s problems are many.  The widest good publicity that Flint Michigan has is the success of its controversial but deeply well-intentioned son, the filmmaker Michael Moore.  Flint has the dishonor of having been America’s murder capital.  A city with only 102,000 people, Flint regularly experiences murder rates of several dozen annually. 

In 2011 it was said that the murder rate in Flint was worse than Newark New Jersey, St. Louis, New Orleans, or even Baghdad.

And it needs to be healed.  This healing was the subject of a wonderful and beautifully organized conference this past Friday and Saturday at 4800 South Saginaw, just on the southern border of Flint.
The event was attended by about 500 guests in total.  Many prominent speakers were at the event including Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Brooklyn’s Masjid at Taqwa, Imam Mohamed Magid, a Virginian, a Sudanese-born American who came to the US in 1987 (prominent in ISNA), Shaikh Ismael Mukhtar, the son of the Mufti of Eritrea, and Iyad Alnachef.

The event began Friday with a dinner and welcome by Safaa Zarzour, ISNA Secretary General. 

Sheikh Ismaeel Mukhtar provided a seminar on the model community based on religious values, and Sheikh Abdullah Waheed provided one on healing the hearts–task of the prophets.

Friday was well attended.

Saturday began with tours of  an Animal Oasis Bird Encounter (a 28 foot trailer walk-in bird exhibit.)

Dr. Jondy of the Flint Islamic Center spoke, and there was an introduction to local community leaders.  Then there were seminars on vital but uncomfortable issues in the Muslim community, namely suicide, poverty, healing the family, and several other social issues, including crime and drug abuse.

Siraj Wahhaj spoke at length on the work he has done in what was once a very bad neighborhood in Brooklyn, where he was able to buy a mosque for only $25,000, and where for 40 days and 40 nights his community forbade people from entering drug houses–until the drug houses went out of business.

The imam said that he did not recommend that the Flint community use the same procedure.

The theme of his speech was that through faith, devotion, and dedication, with the emphasis on faith, Muslims will resolve problems in the communities that surround them and this will build love between them and their neighbors within the communities they live in.

“You have to have an attitude of defiance” against the wrongs of your community–like the prominent activists of the civil rights era including Rosa Parks.

“Start from the foundation,” meaning faith.  A seed grows down first, not directly into the open, it sets strong roots and then when it grows up with full roots “there is nothing you can’t do.”

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Mubarakah Ibrahim

By Almas Akhtar, TMO

A certified personal trainer who balances family and career.

Mubarakah IbrahimMubarakah Ibrahim is a Muslim lady in her 30’s who is a certified personal trainer, owner of her own fitness studio BALANCE for women where she offers fitness education, group lessons and also private lessons. She also gives lectures and talks about healthy living and fitness.  She is a married mother of four kids and resides in New Haven, CT with her family. She gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, after birth of her baby she read many books and put together a work out plan to lose weight. It took her four months to get rid of all the extra pounds. After that family and friends started discussing their own weight loss goals with her. Ms. Ibrahim helped a lot of people and later she attended Southern CT State University majoring in Exercise Science. She also earned a certificate through AFFA (American Fitness and Aerobic Association).

Mubarakah Ibrahim is a little different from other trainers in the sense that she works out while wearing a ‘hijab’ (head scarf) and covers her entire body except her face and hands. Her fitness studio is all women’s fitness studio. Her advice is ‘ exercise and eat healthy; work out is king and diet is queen , together they make a perfect kingdom ‘.

She was also invited to the Oprah Winfrey Show where she talked about not only Muslim women but women of the world “our goals are the same. All of us want to raise our kids to be contributing members of the society, to be healthy, to be happy.” Ms. Ibrahim is also  motivational speaker , she gives  speeches  at “Health Seminars” across the world.

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Community News (V14-I43)

Mansoor Khan receives top pharmaceutical award

During the Opening Session of the 2012 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition Dr. Mansoor Khan was recognised for his ground-breaking research.

He was awarded the Research Achievement Award in Formulation Design and Development. Mansoor Khan, R.Ph., Ph.D., is a Senior Biomedical Research Scientist (SBRS) and serves as the Director of Product Quality Research in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) in FDA. Prior to joining FDA in 2004, Dr. Khan was a Professor of Pharmaceutics and Director of Graduate Program in the School of Pharmacy at Texas Tech University. He has earned his Ph.D. degree in Industrial Pharmacy from the St. John’s University School of Pharmacy in 1992. He has published over 210 peer-reviewed manuscripts, four texts, 15 book chapters, and has been invited to give more than 150 presentations world-wide. Dr. Khan’s research focuses primarily in the area drug formulations design and development of “challenging molecules.”

It encompasses pediatric dosage forms, nanoparticles, modified release dosage forms, biosimilar characterization, particulate engineering, and scientific underpinnings of Quality by Design utilizing novel Process Analytical Technologies. As the Director of Product Quality Research, Dr. Khan serves as the CDER’s principal advisor on all matters related to planning and conducting research to study the impact on product quality, changes in bulk drug substances, formulation component and composition, and manufacturing equipment and processes. As a recognized expert, Dr. Khan participates fully in policy formulation; planning and evaluating programs, including oversight of pharmaceutical science activities to insure that basic and original research are considered in major CDER decisions. He maintains contact with “state of the science” in order to integrate the most advanced research theory or practice in the field of pharmaceutical science into the Center’s new, generic, and biotech drug programs. Dr. Khan is an AAPS Fellow, and serves on the editorial board of several leading journals.

West Bloomfield mosque asks township to table plans

WEST BLOOMFIELD–Developers of a mosque in West Bloomfield Township have requested that plans slated for review at the Planning Commission’s Oct. 23 meeting be tabled.

That request, which Islamic Cultural Association (ICA) representatives said was made to address concerns, led the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to table requests for a determination on height limitations for some of the building’s architectural features and for an exemption from a requirement to build a masonry wall on the west property line.

Beydoun appointed VP-Multicultural Marketing

Internationally prominent Nasser M. Beydoun has joined Detroit-based Bassett & Bassett Communication Managers and Counselors as Vice President – Multicultural Marketing, bringing a global perspective to local and regional ethnic marketing.

Beydoun has earned an international reputation for building multicultural and economic bridges between mainstream America and its growing ethnic markets.

Lebanon-born and American-raised, Nasser rose to prominence as executive director and then chairman of the Dearborn, Mich.-based American Arab Chamber of Commerce.  The area is home to the largest Arabic population outside of the Middle East, with population estimates of more than 400,000 Arabic people.

Nasser is deeply involved in broad-based multicultural community and civic organizations as well as in Arab and Muslim communities.  He was formerly Vice Chairman of the New Detroit coalition which focuses on community-based multicultural pluralism.

Nasser has designed and produced cross-cultural marketing programs for a wide range of businesses and services ranging from local markets to national and international corporations.

The U.S. Department of State appointed Beydoun as a “Citizen Diplomat” in 2005.  He provided counsel and assistance on multicultural issues in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.  He was appointed the first Arab American Liaison to the League of Arab States in 2001 by the organization’s Secretary General, Amre M. Moussa.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/16/4915244/nasser-m-beydoun-joins-bassett.html#storylink=cpy; Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/16/4915244/nasser-m-beydoun-joins-bassett.html#storylink=cpy

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ICE Targets Parents at Detroit Schools:

Advocates Call for Immediate Release of Hector Orozco and Resignation of Detroit ICE Enforcement Director Rebecca Adducci

DETROIT – At a rally today outside Cesar Chavez Academy in Southwest Detroit, dozens of community leaders stood in solidarity with families who had been stopped or detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents outside local schools the previous day.

“As a community member I am outraged, and as a mother, I am heartbroken.  ICE has once again violated their policies, and stopped parents dropping their kids off for school.  The leadership of Detroit ICE is either unwilling or unable to control their agents, so that’s why we’re calling for the immediate resignation of Detroit ICE Enforcement Director Rebecca Adducci.  We need immediate accountability for this out-of-control department,” said State Representative Rashida Tlaib, who responded to calls for help at the school on Tuesday. 

Between the hours of 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM on Tuesday, October 16th, two families were approached while they were dropping off their children for school.  Hector Orozco was dropping his son off at Cesar Chavez Middle School, and is still in detention.  Advocates are calling for his immediate release to his family.

A second family was stopped just outside Manuel Reyes Vistas Nuevas Head Start Center.  The agent temporarily released the family to drop off their children, and told them that they would be detained at their home.  The family took refuge in the elementary school until advocates could intervene. 

The father, Jorge, explained, “We were taking the children to school, the same as we do every day.  The immigration agents stopped my car, and were about to arrest me.  Then my son begged them, ‘Please, don’t take my dad.  He’s just taking us to school.’  That’s when the agent told me to drop the children off and then come back to my house where he would be waiting.  It was terrifying.”

A firestorm erupted last year after half a dozen ICE agents surrounded Hope of Detroit Academy, trapping parents inside.  At the time, ICE promised strengthened enforcement of their ‘Sensitive Community Locations’ policy, which bars such activity except in extreme circumstances.

The rally was also supported by representatives from Cesar Chavez Academy, Vistas Nuevas Head Start, the UAW, the Detroit AFL-CIO, Latino Family Services, ACCESS, the Lutheran Synod of Southeast Michigan, Wayne State University Latino Studies, State Voices, the ACLU, State Representative Fred Durhal, and others.

To learn more about Alliance for Immigrant Rights & Reform Michigan, please visitwww.michiganimmigrationreform.org, follow them on Facebook at ReformImmigrationFORAmericaMI or on Twitter at @RI4AMichigan

Contact: Evan Major 313 -377-5795  evan@michiganimmigrationreform.org; Wednesday, October 17, 2012 – 10:00 AM

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