RFID Transmitters

sci 08-25-13Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Some tags are powered by and read at short ranges (a few meters) via magnetic fields (electromagnetic induction). Others use a local power source such as a battery, or else have no battery but collect energy from the interrogating EM field, and then act as a passive transponder to emit microwaves or UHF radio waves (i.e., electromagnetic radiation at high frequencies). Battery powered tags may operate at hundreds of meters. Unlike a bar code, the tag does not necessarily need to be within line of sight of the reader, and may be embedded in the tracked object.

RFID tags are used in many industries. An RFID tag attached to an automobile during production can be used to track its progress through the assembly line. Pharmaceuticals can be tracked through warehouses. Livestock and pets may have tags injected, allowing positive identification of the animal. On off-shore oil and gas platforms, RFID tags are worn by personnel as a safety measure, allowing them to be located 24 hours a day and to be quickly found in emergencies.

Since RFID tags can be attached to clothing, possessions, or even implanted within people, the possibility of reading personally-linked information without consent has raised privacy concerns.

In 1945 Léon Theremin invented an espionage tool for the Soviet Union which retransmitted incident radio waves with audio information. Sound waves vibrated a diaphragm which slightly altered the shape of the resonator, which modulated the reflected radio frequency. Even though this device was a covert listening device, not an identification tag, it is considered to be a predecessor of RFID technology, because it was likewise passive, being energized and activated by waves from an outside source.

Similar technology, such as the IFF transponder developed in the United Kingdom, was routinely used by the allies in World War II to identify aircraft as friend or foe. Transponders are still used by most powered aircraft to this day. Another early work exploring RFID is the landmark 1948 paper by Harry Stockman, titled “Communication by Means of Reflected Power” (Proceedings of the IRE, pp 1196–1204, October 1948). Stockman predicted that “… considerable research and development work has to be done before the remaining basic problems in reflected-power communication are solved, and before the field of useful applications is explored.”

Mario Cardullo’s device, patented on January 23, 1973, was the first true ancestor [2] of modern RFID, as it was a passive radio transponder with memory.[3] The initial device was passive, powered by the interrogating signal, and was demonstrated in 1971 to the New York Port Authority and other potential users and consisted of a transponder with 16 bit memory for use as a toll device. The basic Cardullo patent covers the use of RF, sound and light as transmission media. The original business plan presented to investors in 1969 showed uses in transportation (automotive vehicle identification, automatic toll system, electronic license plate, electronic manifest, vehicle routing, vehicle performance monitoring), banking (electronic check book, electronic credit card), security (personnel identification, automatic gates, surveillance) and medical (identification, patient history).[4]

An early demonstration of reflected power (modulated backscatter) RFID tags, both passive and semi-passive, was performed by Steven Depp, Alfred Koelle, and Robert Freyman at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1973.[5] The portable system operated at 915 MHz and used 12-bit tags. This technique is used by the majority of today’s UHFID and microwave RFID tags.[6]

The first patent to be associated with the abbreviation RFID was granted to Charles Walton in 1983.[7]

A radio-frequency identification system uses tags, or labels attached to the objects to be identified. Two-way radio transmitter-receivers called interrogators or readers send a signal to the tag and read its response.

RFID tags can be either passive, active or battery assisted passive. An active tag has an on-board battery and periodically transmits its ID signal. A battery assisted passive (BAP) has a small battery on board and is activated when in the presence of a RFID reader. A passive tag is cheaper and smaller because it has no battery.

Tags may either be read-only, having a factory-assigned serial number that is used as a key into a database, or may be read/write, where object-specific data can be written into the tag by the system user. Field programmable tags may be write-once, read-multiple; “blank” tags may be written with an electronic product code by the user.

The tag’s information is stored electronically in a non-volatile memory. The RFID tag includes a small RF transmitter and receiver. An RFID reader transmits an encoded radio signal to interrogate the tag. The tag receives the message and responds with its identification information. This may be only a unique tag serial number, or may be product-related information such as a stock number, lot or batch number, production date, or other specific information.RFID tags contain at least two parts: an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio-frequency (RF) signal, collecting DC power from the incident reader signal, and other specialized functions; and an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal.

RFID systems can be classified by the type of tag and reader. A Passive Reader Active Tag (PRAT) system has a passive reader which only receives radio signals from active tags (battery operated, transmit only). The reception range of a PRAT system reader can be adjusted from 1-2,000 feet, allowing flexibility in applications such as asset protection and supervision.

An Active Reader Passive Tag (ARPT) system has an active reader, which transmits interrogator signals and also receives authentication replies from passive tags. An Active Reader Active Tag (ARAT) system uses active tags awoken with an interrogator signal from the active reader. A variation of this system could also use a Battery Assisted Passive (BAP) tag which acts like a passive tag but has a small battery to power the tag’s return reporting signal.

Fixed readers are set up to create a specific interrogation zone which can be tightly controlled. This allows a highly defined reading area for when tags go in and out of the interrogation zone. Mobile readers may be hand-held or mounted on carts or vehicles.

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Commemorating MLK

Press Release By ADC:

On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered in Washington D.C. for “the March that changed the world.” Today, 50 years later, we commemorate the March on Washington for jobs and freedom to honor Martin Luther King’s legacy as well as those who gathered to fight for their civil rights. ADC staff, members, and supporters attended the march this afternoon and were inspired by amazing speeches of civil rights’ leaders and legends.

Arab Americans have been at the heart of the civil rights movement since its inception. In the words of Ben Jealous, NAACP President, when he delivered his keynote speech at our convention this June: “I would remiss tonight if I did not acknowledge that the Arab American community has been a critical part of the NAACP for more than 50 years. We can go back to Ralph Jones in Greensboro, encouraging young people to sit in Walgreen–saying he will help support them … and bail them out if they were locked up.”

For those not familiar with Ralph Jones, he was an Arab American store owner at the time of the 1960s sit-ins. He is credited with encouraging the participants, and he is thought to have tipped off the press on the first day of the protest. Born to Syrian immigrants in 1916, Johns was a big player in the movies during the 1930s. He settled in Greensboro in 1944 after he was discharged from the Army Air Corps. He opened his clothing store and hired black people as sales clerks, a practice that was unheard of in Greensboro at that time. Johns was the first non-black person to join the local NAACP chapter.

ADC recognizes that our nation has made great progress in the last 50 years, but there’s much more work to be done…. Contact your Representative and Senators to discuss issues important to you and to the Arab American community.

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Egyptian Soldiers to Stop Swearing Loyalty To President

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian soldiers will no longer swear loyalty directly to the president of the republic, according to a published decree, a symbolic change analysts said underlined the military’s independence from any civilian control.

Officers will vow to “execute the orders of my leadership”, according to the amended oath of allegiance, that removes the phrase: “I will be loyal to the president of the republic”.

The decree was issued on Tuesday by interim head of state Adly Mansour, head of the army-backed administration installed by the military after it deposed President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood on July 3.

“The change is a positive one. It was meant in order not to make the oath personal. It already includes reference to the president, as he is one of the army’s leaders,” army spokesman Ahmed Ali told Reuters. “This way makes the loyalty to the leadership and not to a person,” he said.

Analysts saw another symbolic aspect to the shift.

Nathan Brown, a professor at George Washington University and a leading Egypt expert, noted that the text of the decision showed that it was based on material presented to the president by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi also serves as a vice president and as the defense minister in the interim government formed after the army overthrew Mursi last month.

“I don’t think anyone would believe that this is likely to be the president’s initiative,” he said.

“In short, this is a military-initiated step, rubber-stamped by an acting president,” he said. “It is clear from this who is calling the shots.”

Brown also noted that in contrast to other countries, where the army “might swear allegiance to the constitution and laws”, in Egypt, soldiers and officers will no longer be swearing allegiance to “any civilian official, law or procedure”.

(Reporting by Cairo bureau; Writing by Tom Perry; editing by David Evans)

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Nobody Wins in Egypt

Kilic Bugra Kanat

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A supporter of Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi wrapped in an Egyptian flag sits on top of power pole during a protest in Cairo August 23, 2013. Mass protests called by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood mostly failed to materialise on Friday as the movement reeled from a bloody army crackdown on followers of Mursi. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Since the military intervention in Egypt, many observers of Middle Eastern politics have tried to evaluate the geopolitical consequences of the regime change in Egypt. The majority of these scholars assert that Turkey and Qatar would lose from the new political developments in the region, since they were the two countries that endorsed the revolutions in the Arab world. Turkey in particular, with its extremely overt criticisms of the military intervention, is being identified as a country that will certainly lose under the current circumstances. Although these experts are not equally clear about who benefits from this new political situation, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, Israel, or the West are most often pronounced as the winners. Saudi Arabia’s investment in the new regime is expected to give it a strategic edge, whereas Western governments are expecting the new regime to be a more pro-Western government.

It is not only short sighted to claim that a military coup in one country would bring a strategic advantage to other countries in the region, but also equally incomprehensible to argue that the coup would result in certain positive outcomes for the region as a whole. If the new regime in Egypt survives in the coming days, nobody will win a strategic advantage; rather, all actors in the Middle East will lose dearly, most significantly the Egyptian people themselves.

Egypt will not win…

The reverse wave of democratization during a democratic experiment is not unique to the Egyptian revolution. However, most of the instances of counterrevolutions during democratic transformations bring more harm than good to the overall situation of the county. They serve to delay solutions to structural and economic problems, and more dangerously, create a major rift among different segments of the population. This scenario has been apparent in Egypt since the beginning of June and has reached its nadir when General Sisi called upon his supporters to organize demonstrations. Counter-revolutions that are aided by the army are even more problematic. Allowing the military to intervene and gain control of the political system not only interrupts the democratic transition, but also creates a precedent for the future military involvement in politics. This precedent creates a situation in which the military no longer waits for a call from the people, but acts in its self-interest and creates military tutelage to control the country and its political systems. Moreover, although the military looks like a unified body in most countries, regular involvement in the political process creates political polarization within the military, destroying its professionalism and making these groups vulnerable to external provocations. In its extreme forms, this politicization of the army creates another recipe for disaster by militarizing internal strife between different factions of the government.

The side effects of the military coup are not limited to the problems of instability. In countries that experience coups and military interventions, the transition period between the military coup and elections usually witnesses a crackdown on former government officials in addition to human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, torture, antidemocratic practices, high levels of corruption, and strict limitations on basic freedoms and liberties. The arrest of high-level Muslim Brotherhood officials and the closing of some of the TV channels in Egypt have been early indications of these possible human rights abuses. The Egyptian military’s attack on pro-Morsi demonstrators on July 8 and subsequently also demonstrated the possible consequences of a military coup on the political process in the country. Without democratic accountability it is impossible to hold any government official responsible for the wrongdoings. Moreover, the nationalism that Sisi’s regime is propagating in Egypt is increasingly leading to a xenophobic political atmosphere in the country. Pro-coup demonstrators are chanting slogans against other countries and the new regime is blaming Syrian refugees for joining pro-Morsi demonstrators. This not only endangers Egypt’s relation with other countries, but also threatens the structure of Egyptian society.

The Region will not win…

The coup in Egypt will not only hamper the democratization of Egypt, but will also have serious consequences for the region, even for those countries that celebrated the coup in Egypt. First, the coup was a serious blow to a new wave of people’s movement that could change the foundations of politics in the Middle East. The Tahrir Square protests in 2011 challenged not only the orientalist conceptualization of the Middle East as a region, but also the system that was formed with the Sykes Picot agreement. A new Middle East was the motto for many who have observed the developments in the region. The coup and its aftermath bring the issue back to square one. The military of Egypt and those who have become the beneficiary of its tutelage regime, tip the new image upside down. For many orientalists who were puzzled by the developments of the last three years, Egypt’s coup was a source of relief, Now for them Egypt represents another Middle Eastern nation that “failed to democratize.”

Secondly, the hope that spread to the youth of the Middle East during the Arab Spring broke down once again with the military coup in Egypt. After several generations under dictatorship and military tutelage, the youth in Middle East had the opportunity for the first time to make themselves heard, to elect their officials, hold them responsible, and to establish a new democratic framework that would change the political mentality in the region. The coup has made these young people alienated from the political process again. However, this coup will not ensure the survival of authoritarian regimes forever.

The crackdown against a peaceful revolution and destroying democratic legitimacy will create a more dangerous situation for the future of these regimes and will pave the way for more dramatic and painful political transitions. The popular protest cannot be an alternative to the ballot box and the peaceful transition of power after the democratic process cannot be replaced by a military coup. The coup in Egypt does not bring long-term regime security for countries that resist change and does not make their regimes more sustainable. It only helps to marginalize segments of the opposition and to increase the divide between the government and the people. In addition, the Egyptian coup created a precedent for the power transition, in which the military again acquired a significant source of power. With the support of the army, the people on the street challenged the democratic process, which led to a renewed role for the military to shape the political process.

The West will not win…

The losers of the coup are not limited to the people of Egypt and others in the region. The coup will not benefit other regional powers or Western countries either. First, the military regime, with its initial policies, appears to be returning to the political positions of the previous regime. It is not likely to bring a meaningful peace to the region, especially in the context of the Arab-Israeli dispute. With increasing interaction between the domestic and foreign policies of countries, it is not possible to bring peace to the region without the involvement and engagement of the domestic public. The revolution in Egypt and the democratic process provided an excellent opportunity for the formation of a meaningful dialogue with a government that has domestic legitimacy. For decades, one of the most consequential deficiencies of the peace process was the pursuit of this process with governments that have no domestic legitimacy. Under those circumstances, convincing the authoritarian leader may look easier, but in reality it is inherently more problematic than creating peace in the region with the approval of the domestic public.

Moreover, the coup and the disruption of the political process also do not bring any good to the Western policies in the region. The United States with its ambivalent attitude towards the coup makers not only endangered its strategic interest in Egypt, but also lost the support of public opinion. The inability to label a military intervention as a coup and protest the military’s control over elected civilians demonstrates the double standard of Western countries in regard to the Middle East. After the infamous Mosaddegh coup in Iran, the US and Western world had lost a significant dimension of its legitimacy; an act that was remembered and recited in the region for many years. Just like that, the next generation of Egyptians will not forget the ambivalence that US foreign policy makers demonstrated during the first days of the coup. In fact, former US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice admitted this awkward situation by stating that: “For 60 years…. the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither.” Now the US and the Western world is in a position in which they chose neither democracy nor stability while claiming to be “on the right side of the history.” Their attempt to wait to see who would be the winner of the political struggle demonstrates a significant problem for how they perceive both US national interests and the people in the region. As the coup in Egypt is not likely to bring peace and stability in Egypt, it will not bring security, stability or peace to the region either, nor will it serve US and Western interests.

In conclusion, the arguments regarding the consequences of the coup in Egypt sound short sighted when they claim that the losers will be the countries that supported popular movements and the Arab Spring in the region, such as Qatar and Turkey. Despite some who cheered for a guided democracy in the Middle East, coups rarely bring stability, security, peace or prosperity to any country. A coup and instability in a country like Egypt, which has been at the centre of the most significant political movements in the Arab world, will not be beneficial for the region in the short or long term. In addition, by setting a precedent to other countries about the role that the military can play in the political process, the coup disappoints and alienates young people on the street as well as the political opposition in the country. None of the regimes in the region can guarantee their survival by creating regimes that are as authoritarian as they are. The fear from the domino effect of democracy may create waves, but supporting reverse waves instead will only make these regimes vulnerable to tsunamis. Finally, for nations who believe that a friendly authoritarian regime is better than a democracy for their interests, that period is already over. There will no longer be peace in the region without liberty and democracy, without full participation of the people in the political process and without governments with democratic legitimacy. Nobody will benefit from the coup in Egypt, in the long term, only those countries that stand “on the right side of history” will get the credit for historical legitimacy.

Kilic Bugra Kanat is an assistant Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Erie.

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Qatar 2022 World Cup Likely To Move To Winter

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

qatar-2022Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA, international soccer’s largest governing body, expects his executive committee to decide soon that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be moved from desert summer to winter. Blatter told The Associated Press this week that an Oct. 3-4 meeting in Zurich should approve the change, and begin the rescheduling process. “I would be very much surprised, more than surprised, if the ExCo will not accept the principle you cannot play in summer in Qatar,” Blatter said in an interview on the sidelines of the annual charity football tournament in his home village. “What will be following, this would be then decided later.” Blatter said consultations would involve leagues, clubs, national associations and players, through their international union FIFPro. But he set no timetable for their final decisions.

Qatar’s suitability in June and July, when temperatures routinely rise above 104 Fahrenheit was questioned even before FIFA’s board awarded it the tournament in December 2010. Qatar defeated bids from the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia. However, the 2022 World Cup organizing committee has stated its confidence in developing stadium air-cooling technology, intended to reduce field-level temperatures to 81 Fahrenheit. Qatari officials also repeatedly said they would change plans if FIFA formally requested it.

FIFA and Blatter have gradually shifted their position from insisting that Qatar must ask for a change — a scenario interpreted as protecting FIFA against potential legal challenges. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told reporters in March that the governing body would not have prompted discussion about change without being sure of its legal position.

Now, some of the same FIFA board members who helped choose Qatar — in a decisive 14-8 vote over the U.S. — are set to switch the tournament hosting plan. “Those that have taken the decision at the time, they knew there is problems with the heat. They knew it, because it was in the (technical) report,” Blatter said. “It was wrong to say, ‘Now we have to play in summer,’ because in summer you cannot play there. Therefore the ExCo now shall take the decision — and they will take it — that in summer you can’t play in Qatar.”

Blatter has previously suggested November as a possible start for the month-long tournament while recent speculation has focused on May. A January-February slot is unlikely because of a clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics. “What will be the ongoing situation with such a decision, we have to look on the international calendar,” Blatter said. “We have to look if and how it is possible, when we don’t play in summer, when is the best time to play in winter?”

The calendar is currently set through 2018, and the next round of discussions will look to the 2019-2022 cycle of seasons. Wealthy European soccer clubs and leagues would likely raise the largest objections to scheduling the 2022 World Cup during their traditional August-thru-May season.

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Pakistani Snooker Champ Turns Pro

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

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File:  Mohammad Asif, Pakistani snooker champ.

Pakistan’s world amateur snooker champion Mohammad Asif announced this week that he will turn professional next year after finally securing sponsorship. Pakistani entrepreneur, Nadeem Omar, CEO of Omar Associates, has offered Asif two million rupees to support him as he enters the professional snooker tour.

The 31-year-old Asif won the amateur title by defeating Gary Wilson in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2012. But he has been waiting since for financial assistance in order to fulfil his childhood dream of joining the professional circuit. Asif described himself as “overwhelmed,” by the gesture. He now plans to defend his title in Latvia in November before turning pro. Asif is Pakistan’s second world amateur snooker champion since Mohammad Yousuf won the title in 1994.

Omar said he came to know about Asif’s situation through media reports. “Since he deserved that after winning the world title, I decided to give him his due,” Omar told reporters. Omar also sponsors local cricket teams in Pakistan.

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TxDOT Proposes ‘Turnback Program’…

Even Transportation Commission member not sold on its merits

A proposal that could lead to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) handing over maintenance of close to 2,000 miles of state highways in major metropolitan areas of the state to local governments in those areas has set off a firestorm of commentary from local government officials. They are describing the plan as “a very crippling move,” a “trading off of state responsibility” and a “massive unfunded mandate.”

TxDOT officials say the proposal would lop off about $165 million in agency costs annually. Although that’s not much in terms of the $4 billion TxDOT officials say the agency needs annually to maintain and expand transportation infrastructure. However, it would satisfy the legislature’s mandate that the agency find $100 million in cuts that are part of a transportation bill passed during the recently completed Third Called Session of the 83rd Texas Legislature.

Lawmakers passed a bill that will give voters in the state the opportunity to decide if nearly $2 billion per year of the state’s rainy day fund should be appropriated from the state’s rainy day fund. Lawmakers threw in the $100 million from TxDOT to show a “good faith” effort on the part of the agency toward stretching its dollars.

Unfortunately for TxDOT, one of the voices of opposition to the proposal is Texas Transportation Commissioner Victor Vandergriff, who with other members of the Commission will discuss the proposal at their Aug. 29 meeting. In a recent interview, Vandergriff told the Dallas Morning News “We’re going to have a pretty robust discussion about whether this is a wise move. For me personally, I question it.”

Vandergriff will not be the only one at the Commission meeting who questions the merit of the program. Many of the mayors of the affected cities have already made travel plans to attend the Austin meeting. And, Vandergriff gave the Dallas newspaper an indication of the mood of most of those government officials when he said most of the reaction to the proposal has been “generally negative.”

Officials in the affected areas were notified by TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson by mail regarding the program. In his letters to local officials, he described the “turnback program” as allowing “the transfer of state-owned roads, which are functionally local, from the state back to the local governments,” because they “serve primarily local traffic.”

Most of the cities affected have populations of more than 50,000, but there are also a few smaller cities affected that are either adjoining the larger cities or surrounded by those cities. Some of the affected roadways are currently owned by the cities and maintained by the state and some that are owned by the state, TxDOT would like to transfer to the cities. City officials in the 59 affected cities, particularly those in affected rural areas, see the proposal as just one more reason they would be forced to increase taxes.

Some of the highways under consideration for the turnover program are N. and S. Lamar, Martin Luther King Blvd. and Burnet Road in Austin; 19th Street and Slide Road in Lubbock; Mays Street in Round Rock; Front Street and Broadway Avenue in Tyler; and Marshall Avenue and High Street in Longview.

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Community News (V15-I36)

Bronx area Bangladeshis demand action after attacks

BRONX,NY-Parkchester Bangladeshis held a rally to denounce  a spate of attacks against community members and demand action from the authorities. A cabbie was recently stabbed in the back after he left a mosque in the area.

Police haven’t labeled the attack a hate crime, but Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. noted that the attacker didn’t rob Nabi.

“All he was doing was coming out of the mosque, worshiping Allah,” said Diaz Jr., who noted that although crime is generally down, Bangladeshis appear to have been targeted in a number of incidents over the last year.

The 100 demonstrators demanded increased police patrolling in the area.

Imam leads benediction at Hurricane Katrina anniversary event

BATON ROUGE,LA–Imam Rafeeq Numan led the benediction at an interfaith prayer breakfast to commemorate the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The Imam of Masjid Al Raheem said that he  had a newfound consciousness of the coastal erosion crisis, he said, and prayed with the attendees that there was time to “restore the things he has created.”

Speakers at the event  called for local and federal action on climate change in view of Louisiana’s rapidly eroding coastline.

Free legal clinic held in Minneapolis

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held  free legal clinic last Saturday at the annual “Day of Dignity” event in north Minneapolis.

CAIR-MN has created a network of 50 Minnesota Muslim attorneys and law students, and the group plans to organize more free legal clinics and seminars in the community,said Lori Saroya, the executive director of CAIR’s Minneapolis chapter in an interview to the Tribune.

“We talk about at CAIR trying to eliminate Islamophobia, and this is really one of the best ways to do it. Just showing people that we are out there offering services … and we’re contributing members of the community.”

Akbar Hamid appointed Director of Technology at SmartTronix

Smartronix announced in a press release that it hired Mr. Akbar Hamid as Director of Technology. In his new role, Mr. Hamid will be responsible for driving the Smartronix Cloud Assured product offerings of the Intelligent Cloud Hub, Cloud managed services, and Cloud consulting services.

Mr. Hamid has 17 years of experience in the technology field, ranging from satellite communications, intelligence, and mission-critical systems to high performance public Web systems. He was formerly the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), where he led the Agency technology strategy and vision. Under his guidance, the NLRB consolidated disparate case management systems into a single unified enterprise case management system with electronic case records. Additionally, with his strategic vision, the NLRB moved core infrastructure and applications to such Cloud services as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Office 365.

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The Discrepancy In Detroit

By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Reporter

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Detroit, MI–Detroit’s mayoral elections took place on August 8th of this year, and Mike Duggan was listed as the winner.  Yet last Tuesday, Wayne County Board of Canvassers decided to not validate all of the votes, and have asked the Board of State Canvassers to review the results.

About 18,000 of the 44,000 votes cast for Mayoral candidate Mike Duggan are in jeopardy, which could change the election result making his opponent Benny Napoleon the winner with 28,391 votes.  The Detroit Free Press, along with WDIV-Local 4 reported that they were being called into question “due to errors by Detroit elections workers.”  These votes are in question due to a technicality: city election workers failed to use hash marks to tally the votes in question, instead they used numbers to tabulate them.  In a written statement, Duggan’s campaign manager Bryan Barnhill says, “Our opponents tried another dirty trick today and it didn’t work.”

Napoleon’s response: “You know, if you put, ‘Once upon a time,’ in front of that statement, it’ll make good fairy tale. I don’t know anything about this, and I have nothing to do with this.”

To its credit, the Board of Canvassers unanimously refused to neglect 18,000 Detroiters who properly cast their write-in votes for Mike Duggan.  “We’re confident the State Elections Division will certify the results of the election properly and make certain that all votes are counted,” said Barnhill.

Early Tuesday morning, Napoleon called for federal oversight of the November election, wanting the Governor’s office to get involved.  “This is no small margin of error,” he said.  “This is very troubling and I believe it is cause for Detroit General Election to be overseen by the highest authority.”

A spokesperson for the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office said the state Bureau of Elections is in contact with the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, but wasn’t ready to comment on the matter.

In a tweet Tuesday, Napoleon responded to all this with: “This is no small margin of error in #vote tally.  It’s very troubling. I call for federal oversight of November election. A citizen’s vote is the cornerstone of Democracy, and people should be able to put their faith in their ballot. #Detroit”

It should be noted that several community activists at the board meeting are calling for a recount.  Tom Barrow, the mayoral candidate who received less than 4% of the vote, has said the election was “fraught with massive fraud.”

If the 18,00 votes were to be disqualified, the new results would place Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in first place with 41 percent of the vote, followed by Mike Duggan with 34 percent.  That’s compared to the initial 46-30 win in Duggan’s favor that was reported after the election.  Regardless, the two men will face of in the general election being held on November 5th.  This will determine who will be Detroit City Mayor as the city continues to work through bankruptcy proceedings and emergency management.

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Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s Successful First Annual Charity Iftar Dinner!

By TMO Stringer

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Bob Riney, President and Chief Operating Officer addresses the gathering. Photo by Ray Mannin.

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The audience watches President Riney speak. Photo by Ray Mannin.

The 4th Annual Ramadan dinner hosted by the Henry Ford hospital on July 31st, 2013 was a great success. This year’s event was an inaugural charity iftar that began at the request of several of the Muslim physicians of Henry Ford Health System.  Henry Ford Health System employs over 23,000 people and has a vibrant 1,200 physician medical group practice. This year about 200 people attended the iftar that collected over $15,000 for the HUDA clinic. Chaplain Kraft along with a team of Muslim employees helped arrange the successful event this year.

As the leader of the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s Pastoral Services, Chaplain Jim Kraft has been a strong supporter of interfaith relations and cooperation. He strongly believes in supporting the religious needs of all patients and has been instrumental in keeping up services to the Muslim patient and employee population at the hospital.  As part of his outreach program, he has been able to support multiple causes both within Henry Ford West Bloomfield as well as outside in the broader community.

In his welcome speech Bob Riney, President and Chief Operating Officer for Henry Ford Health System, embraced the celebration of Ramadan and the diversity within the health system. He thanked the service provided by some of the Henry Ford’s physicians in the audience, who were responsible for arranging the event.  He recognized specifically Dr. Zahid Sheikh and Dr. Asif Malik for their contribution to the well-being of patients within Henry Ford and those whom they care for in their spare time as volunteers.

Dr. Asif Malik, a pediatric anesthesiologist, introduced the concept of a “Henry Ford Medical Mission Fund” that would accept grant applications from local charities for distribution each year. This year’s charity iftar dinner was meant to collect the initial donations for this fund.  The charity recipient for the July 31st event was the HUDA Clinic (Health Unit on Davidson Avenue).

Dr. Zahid Sheikh, Associate Director of After-Hours Clinics for Henry Ford Health System and Medical Director of the HUDA Clinic presented an overview of HUDA Clinic and its operations. Dr. Sheikh explained that it was the collective decision of himself, Mr. Mitchel Shamsuddin (Detroit Muslim Center) and Dr. Faisal Qazi (then Neurology resident) to embark on the initiative to open the first free Muslim-run medical clinic in metro Detroit.

Dr. Sheikh reminded the audience that although the idea developed within the halls of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, it was the collective contributions of both money and time from many metro Detroit Muslim physicians that allowed the HUDA Clinic to grow. The clinic is now open 3 days a week, has purchased a new clinic site, and is looking to continue to expand its services.

Dr. Malik introduced the final speaker, Imam Aly Lela of the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, who spoke on the virtues of charitable giving during the month of Ramadan. Imam Lela gave a wonderful motivational talk on the various aspects of charity in Islam and the importance of service to humanity that health care workers are providing.  He motivated the audience to donate to the Chaplain Fund generously and encouraged the audience to continue this new trend to make the Iftar dinner a charitable event.

After the call to prayer (Athan) by Mr. Jihad Allen, the attendees broke fast and collectively prayed Salaat-ul-Maghrib in the atrium of the hospital.

If you would like to know more about the Muslim Services of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital you may contact Chaplain Jim Kraft via email jkraft2@hfhs.org.

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Advice Column: Smoothies: Good or Bad?

By Noor H. Salem

blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com

Question:  Last week you mentioned the smoothies from McDonald’s not being a great choice. I always thought they were better to drink than pop and get it with my daily lunch. Can you explain why I shouldn’t?

Answer:

smoothieLast week I elaborated on the benefits of home cooked meals, but also gave advice on eating on the go. It’s not easy for many people to walk into a restaurant and pick a healthy meal off the menu. In fact, most of the time, they are fooled into what the food chain advertises as healthy. So you are not alone. McDonald’s, as well as other fast food chains, advertise all around the world using Billboards, commercials, and even buses that their smoothies are made with real fruit. “Made with real fruit” is what they say, and “this is not true” is what I say back.

Don’t be fooled by advertisements; obviously they want to sell their product, and they’re not going to tell you that it’s harmful for you. Firstly, not a single branch of McDonald’s in the United States places fresh fruits in a blender when you drive up to the window and make an order. They pour sugar-packed concentrated fruit juice of the flavor you order, add milk, ice, etc. Then they blend it up, pour it in a plastic cup, and hand it to you with a smile. It’s not only McDonald’s that does this though; the majority of fast food chains will do the same. It’s not healthier to drink than soft drinks, and you’re better off without it daily. Begin by decreasing your intake to perhaps once or twice a week maximum. Make it a treat, or find an alternative that won’t affect you in the long run.

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ICD Ramadan Competition Awards Ceremony

By Noor H. Salem

Dozens of families gathered to celebrate winner of Ramadan Competition at the Islamic Center of Detroit on Friday night. The room was crowded, and everyone seemed excited. For over a decade now, the ICD hosts an annual Quran Competition for Ramadan. Everyone can participate, as long as the surah was not memorized before. The during the last week of Ramadan there was two days for participants to come and recite, but winners were not announced until Friday.

When the ICD printed their Ramadan newsletter the night before Ramadan, they passed out over 7,000 copies. Each newsletter had a list of the categories for the Quran competition. There were over 160 participants in the Quran competition, and each and every participant was awarded something. There was five categories based on the age of the person, and each age category had three winners. The youngest winner was only two years old.

The other competition consisted of fill in the blank questions of general Islamic Studies. This competition had approximately one hundred participants. Those who got the answers completely correct were awarded, but again, everyone who participated and put in effort was recognized with a gift.

It was a wonderful evening to celebrate with friends and family, and everyone seemed very pleased with their reward. The reward in the Hereafter is greater of course.

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Information Session About K12 Charter School

By Adil James, TMO

P8240532Another educational alternative for students in Michigan and many other states is the online charter school.  Charter schools are paid for by the state and are available to students for free.  Of course the students at these schools have as their curriculum the secular mainstream guidelines imposed by the state, but they are able to supplement their education with whatever religious materials they like.

In fact, the adherents of many religions pursue the education of their children in this way, and the wiser online charter schools tailor their curricula so as not to offend the religious sensibilities of the many students of varied religious hues who patronize them.  Parents, if they wish, are also able to exclude specific reading materials they find objectionable, provided that they find alternatives acceptable to their charter school teachers.  Parents are more involved in the day to day learning of their children, functioning as “learning coaches” and helping the children to grasp the material.

The job is not easy, not for the child and not for the parent.  But some parents view this style of education as tremendously powerful in helping to create a bond between child and parent.

A further development in this area has been learning communities which use the online charter as their basic building block, but do their educational efforts together or supplement with religious materials in a group setting.  For example, some hifz schools use K12 as the basic foundation for secular education, while they focus primarily on the hifz program.

In support of K12’s recent expansion into Michigan, Kari Ansari, a K12 employee who is also a frequent contributor to TMO and to the Huffington Post, spoke at length about the K12 program to an audience of about 40 interested parents at the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center.

She addressed all of the basic facts listed above and also pointed out that K12 has a curriculum competitive with almost any public high school, with over 100 courses, 110,000 kids across all of the states, providing all levels of education from remedial up through AP—and offering exotic courses such as Chinese–and each student is specifically placed based on performance.  Advisors and teachers watch the students, guidance counselors are available to them and advise them as they arrange, prepare for, and take SATs and ACTs and apply for college.  In states where K12 is not available as an online charter it is available as a private school and costs several thousand dollars a year.  But fortunately for us Michiganders it is available here to us for free.

Ms. Ansari showed pictures of the curriculum that students receive and I can tell you as a former Connections Academy learning coach that the K12 materials appeared to be richer than those for Connections.  K12 was founded by Ron Packard, George Bush’s Secretary of Education, and built on the principle that “not every child learns the same way.” 

Muslims, Christians, and Mormons all take advantage of this opportunity to maintain their own values for their children while also pursuing the benchmarks of a secular education.  In fact, largely due to Ms. Ansari’s efforts nationwide, K12 now has about 700-800 Muslim families enrolled.

Ms. Ansari pointed out the surprising and interesting statistic that in the United States today 3 to 4 million kids are home schooled.

Although the listeners were not many, they were intensely interested and asked focused questions.

One of the more pertinent questions was–when does the K12 system not work, and Ms. Ansari’s answer was thoughtful and well-said—that in fact for most people K12 is a very good system but it becomes more difficult to implement when either the child is disorganized, or if the parent learning coach is disorganized, impatient, or insufficiently dedicated.  “If you feel it doesn’t work then don’t do it,” she said.

However K12 seems like a very valid option for many people—especially religious people who want to inculcate their values in their children.

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Arab Strife Pushes Big Prize Oil Search To Morocco, Malta

By Sarah Young

LONDON, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Middle East turmoil has given a fresh spur to energy companies looking for big finds further afield to more stable and inviting hosts Morocco, Malta and Spain.

Close to known reserves and large markets, they offer tempting terms for explorers without the risks of production in Syria, Libya or Egypt.

Morocco has lured companies with the promise of a link to the energy-rich formations of west Africa, while in Malta there are hopes of an extension of Libya and Tunisia’s geology.

Off Spain, Cairn Energy sees geological similarities with Israeli waters, home to two of the largest offshore gas fields found in the past decade.

“You either have to go to the technical frontiers or the political frontiers. In Morocco and Malta we’re dealing with much more technical risk than political risk,” Genel Energy’s Chief Executive Tony Hayward, the former boss of oil major BP, told Reuters.

From Chevron, the second largest U.S. oil company with a market capitalisation of $231 billion, to Fastnet , listed on London’s junior market and worth $80 million, firms have flocked to Morocco over the last eighteen months.

Gulfsands Petroleum typifies the trend. It was pumping about 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Syria before the civil war started and sanctions imposed.

It shut up shop there in 2011, losing more than 90 percent of its production, and has since moved into Morocco.

“As you might imagine, after Syria what we’re looking for is some stability, and Morocco’s got terrific political stability, but it also has the best fiscal terms of any country in the Middle East and North Africa region,” Gulfsands’s commercial director Ken Judge said.

Morocco defused Arab Spring-style protests in 2011 through social spending, harsh policing and constitutional reforms.

Over 10 discovery wells are due to be drilled off its coast in the next 18 months, compared to analyst estimates of around nine since 1990.

Genel will start drilling off Malta in the first quarter of next year while Britain’s Cairn will start a well in Morocco in September. Cairn says on its website it could also start drilling in Spain in 2015.

“Given some of the challenges you’ll find in some of the more established (hydrocarbon producing) countries in North Africa, you’d say it was worth taking a punt on Morocco at this point in time,” Femi Oso, an analyst from energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said.

The punt comes at a cost of around $80 million to drill an average well off the coast of Morocco, according to one company which declined to be named. Between them companies there are targeting billions of barrels of oil, estimated but as yet unproven.

Modern technology has helped discover huge new oil and gas fields over the last decade in countries formerly overlooked by oil companies such as Ghana, Uganda and Mozambique, prompting a scramble for new acreage.

TAX TERMS

What the countries have in common, and what executives agree is key to nurturing new drilling, is attractive tax terms.

“Because of fiscal terms in Morocco, even a modest discovery of say 20 million barrels…would be phenomenally lucrative for our company,” Gulfsand’s Judge said, referring to the company’s solely onshore presence there.

Morocco is one of the world’s most energy-poor countries, importing around 95 percent of its needs, chiefly from Algeria, according to the World Bank.

Energy imports accounted for more than a quarter of the country’s imports and contributed to a record trade deficit of $23.6 billion last year.

Companies exploring offshore where developments tend to be more expensive need to find bigger fields. Executives told Reuters that in both Morocco and Malta finds of between 50 million and 100 million barrels of oil would make for commercially attractive developments, remaining tight-lipped over details.

Executives say governments often seek to change terms once big finds are made, but for now half a dozen companies polled by Reuters say the incentives are worth the risk.

The Moroccan government take of cash flow produced from any oil or gas field in Morocco would be about 30 percent lower than what was typical for Algeria, Libya and the rest of the North African and Middle East region, Wood Mackenzie analysts estimated.

One company looking at the region said the fiscal terms in Spain were as attractive as Morocco.

Like Morocco, Spain is a big energy importer, buying in over 80 percent of its energy needs, spending more than 40 billion euros – or about 4.5 percent of gross domestic product – a year.

In the midst of an economic crisis and struggling to keep energy debts in check, the country is keen to develop any oil and gas reserves it might have.

“We’re looking for hidden value in Spain,” Cairn Chief Executive Officer Simon Thomson said, explaining that a historic focus on beach tourism meant that much of the deep water off the country’s coast had never been drilled.

“We do want to invest there…It’s part of our long term plan to position ourselves.”

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Syria Worries Send Oil To 6-Month High; Stocks Tumble

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Geopolitical uncertainty over a possible U.S.-led military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces pushed oil prices to a six-month high on Tuesday and sent equities worldwide sharply lower.

Both Brent and U.S. crude gained upward of more than $3 a barrel as fears mounted that Western intervention could further destabilize the Middle East, which pumps a third of the world’s oil.

U.S. and European stocks suffered their worst day since June. Investor nervousness was reflected in a jump of nearly 12 percent on the CBOE volatility index, Wall Street’s so-called fear gauge.

A number of nations and groups, including Britain, France, Canada and the Arab League, joined the United States in urging a firm response to Bashar al-Assad’s government and said the world should not stand by as chemical weapons are used. Russia, Syria’s key ally and arms supplier, opposes military action.

Western sources who attended a meeting in Istanbul between envoys of an alliance opposed to Assad and the Syrian National Coalition said “action to deter further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime could come as early as in the next few days.”

“This move is as much about the potential spillover effect in the region as it is the potential for a U.S. strike,” said Leo Grohowski, chief investment officer at BNY Mellon Wealth Management. He added that because geopolitical risk had been “ratcheted up,” portfolios would need to be reallocated away from riskier investments like stocks.

“Doing that in a market that was already acting sloppy is cause for further weakness,” he said.

Adding to the selloff, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said it was essential for Congress to raise the government’s borrowing limit by mid-October or the country will face an unprecedented default. He warned that the administration would not allow for it to be used as political leverage.

A rise in U.S. government debt prices and stronger Swiss and Japanese currencies indicated the flight to safety was gathering momentum.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 20/32, its yield at 2.7123 percent.

The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc gained and riskier currencies like the Australian and New Zealand dollars fell as geopolitical tensions rose.

The dollar last traded down 1.5 percent against the yen, at 97.04 yen, not far from a one-week low of 96.97 yen reached earlier and well off a near three-week high of 99.15 yen set on Friday. The euro also struggled against the yen, falling 1.3 percent to 129.94 yen.

Against the Swiss franc, the dollar fell 0.6 percent, to 0.9178 franc, while the euro was down 0.5 percent at 1.2286 francs.

The growth-linked Australian dollar was down 0.4 percent at US$0.8994, while against the yen it lost 1.8 percent, to 87.28 yen. The New Zealand dollar fell 2.1 percent against the yen, to 75.74 yen.

Spot gold rose more than 1 percent to $1,423.41, its highest price in more than three months.

Emerging market currencies such as the Turkish lira and the Indian rupee bore the brunt of the flight as doubts over the Syrian situation added to pressure from investors’ bracing for an end to the supply of cheap dollars from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus.

The Indian rupee lost as much as 2.5 percent to reach a record low of 65.93 per dollar, while Turkey’s lira weakened to 2.03 to the dollar, also a record low. Turkey’s share index slid to the lowest in a year.

The S&P 500 closed under its 100-day moving average for the first time since June 24, a sign of weak near-term momentum. The day’s decline extended recent declines that came on uncertainty over when the Federal Reserve will start to slow its stimulative monetary policies.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 170.33 points, or 1.14 percent, at 14,776.13. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 26.30 points, or 1.59 percent, at 1,630.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 79.05 points, or 2.16 percent, at 3,578.52.

Brent crude futures settled at $114.36 a barrel, up $3.63 or 3.28 percent, their biggest daily percentage gain since early May. U.S. crude settled at $109.01 a barrel, up $3.09 or 2.92 percent.

Russia’s rouble, which normally benefits from stronger oil prices, hit a four-year low against the dollar-euro basket on concern over the situation in Syria.

Russia has urged Washington not to use military force against Assad’s government. Traders said its response to any U.S. move against Syria would be key to whether the current shift into safer assets turned into a major flood.

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The Priorities of Muslim Americans?

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief

tugofwarcartoon_1Is Islam really the priority of Muslims? Is Muslim leadership really concerned about justice? And does the Muslim world really care for human life? Well, these questions can be raised in almost every religious community. Even in a non-religious community, these are valid questions.

Egypt saw a massacre through gunfire. Syria witnessed a massacre through chemical weapons. Afghanistan has been witnessing many many massacres. Iraq experienced even more. Israel has been inflicting death and destruction on Palestinians. Somalia is volatile. Ethiopia and Thailand are experiencing increased violence and in Pakistan the state and people have killed more citizens than killed by enemies in wars.

If only 10 percent of the revenue and aid money spent in supporting the armies in the Muslim world were spent on raising the standard of living through education, the situation would be different today.

But that is a different story.

If you read the statements of Muslim organizations and the leadership, you will easily conclude that they are concerned about justice.

If you hear the speeches of Muslim religious leaders, you would conclude they have the strongest and loudest voices in defense of Islam.

And if you talk to Muslim intellectuals you would be amazed at their commitment to human life and dignity.

So why are things not changing? Why are Muslims so ineffective? Why are Muslims so impatient?

The answers are not difficult to find out.

1.      Sincerity is not a good replacement of effective and efficient strategies.

2.      Dedication and commitment are not substitutes for preparation and planning.

3.      Words may stir our soul but they do not cause change unless we act upon them.

4.      Scattered voices create noises, but voices in unison create a symphony.

1.1 Every Muslim is sincere in his or her understanding of Islam; there is no mechanism to detect an insincere heart. Every judgment is subjective. The only one who knows his own insincerity in our human world is the one who is insincere (at least so it appears to him).

However, we as a community lack the skills to put our sincerity into action. We want every Muslim to act in accordance with our understanding of Islam, yet we fail to develop a mechanism and a civil and peaceful method to communicate our viewpoint. We often resort to violence and defeat the very purpose of our sincere thought.

2.1 Muslim organizations want to change the world, their world in countries where they are active. Yet they are not prepared to plan for this change. They are still not clear what kind of society they want to create and how to create it. They are not clear about an education system that would prepare the people for the future. Moreover, they have not provided skills to their people to transform their rhetoric into reality. They want to build a just society, yet they often violate the principles of justice when it comes to people of other religions or minorities etc. They are selective in their tears.

3.1 Every Muslim organization and leader talks about unity. Yet few are willing to develop strategies to create the unity at practical level. They all are working for the same goal: to find a respectable status for Muslims and they are even doing identical work, yet they are not willing to come together to coordinate and cooperate.

4. Every one of them is saying the same thing and then squabbling over who said it first. They even fail to recognize the simple fact that a 100 watt bulb is much stronger than a zero watt bulb, even though both have their place in mitigating the impact of darkness.

So what needs to be done at least in America where Muslims are least sufferings the excruciating pains, compared with the Muslims all over the world?

a.       Muslim leadership should show more responsibility towards the people it claims to represent. They should develop effective lines of communication among them. They should communicate with each other on a structured and regular basis on issues Muslims are facing in the US and elsewhere.

b.      They should speak with one voice on issues pertaining to justice, human rights and human dignity even if the voices challenge the behavior of some of the Muslim groups as well. If they have a national and regional board to coordinate their actions, this purpose can easily be achieved.

c.       At the time of any serious crisis anywhere in the Muslim world, they should release a position paper for our elected officials and public opinion makers to inform them of their perspectives and facts on the situation. This again can be coordinated through a centralized board.

d.       Through their coordinated efforts, they should try to educate their public representatives through concerted lobbying in Washington and States depending on the issue itself. For instance, if they are against the US Aid to Israel and Egypt, they should come up with a position paper and share it as a united voice of Muslim Americans with those who run the affairs of the country.

e.       In matters of relief fund raising, they should develop a national strategy to pool their resources to create jobs and opportunities in places where they want to do the relief work.

f.       This cooperation can even be established at the grassroots levels. Each community can create a network among its existing institutions and organizations and coordinate the fund raising events and other program to effectively use the resources.

The Muslim community has the human and material resources. It even has leaders who can move the people to action. It simply needs a mechanism through which its scattered resources can be effectively channelized for the betterment of people. It is achievable, but there is only one major hurdle, a hurdle that has always been there in all times and all situations. It is our own ego. The moment we can subdue it, we can see a different result for us and our world. However, the rhetoric that we hear from everywhere suggests that even those who are asking us to subdue our egos are victims of their own egos.

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The Priorities of Muslim Americans?

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief

tugofwarcartoon_1Is Islam really the priority of Muslims? Is Muslim leadership really concerned about justice? And does the Muslim world really care for human life? Well, these questions can be raised in almost every religious community. Even in a non-religious community, these are valid questions.

Egypt saw a massacre through gunfire. Syria witnessed a massacre through chemical weapons. Afghanistan has been witnessing many many massacres. Iraq experienced even more. Israel has been inflicting death and destruction on Palestinians. Somalia is volatile. Ethiopia and Thailand are experiencing increased violence and in Pakistan the state and people have killed more citizens than killed by enemies in wars.

If only 10 percent of the revenue and aid money spent in supporting the armies in the Muslim world were spent on raising the standard of living through education, the situation would be different today.

But that is a different story.

If you read the statements of Muslim organizations and the leadership, you will easily conclude that they are concerned about justice.

If you hear the speeches of Muslim religious leaders, you would conclude they have the strongest and loudest voices in defense of Islam.

And if you talk to Muslim intellectuals you would be amazed at their commitment to human life and dignity.

So why are things not changing? Why are Muslims so ineffective? Why are Muslims so impatient?

The answers are not difficult to find out.

1.      Sincerity is not a good replacement of effective and efficient strategies.

2.      Dedication and commitment are not substitutes for preparation and planning.

3.      Words may stir our soul but they do not cause change unless we act upon them.

4.      Scattered voices create noises, but voices in unison create a symphony.

1.1 Every Muslim is sincere in his or her understanding of Islam; there is no mechanism to detect an insincere heart. Every judgment is subjective. The only one who knows his own insincerity in our human world is the one who is insincere (at least so it appears to him).

However, we as a community lack the skills to put our sincerity into action. We want every Muslim to act in accordance with our understanding of Islam, yet we fail to develop a mechanism and a civil and peaceful method to communicate our viewpoint. We often resort to violence and defeat the very purpose of our sincere thought.

2.1 Muslim organizations want to change the world, their world in countries where they are active. Yet they are not prepared to plan for this change. They are still not clear what kind of society they want to create and how to create it. They are not clear about an education system that would prepare the people for the future. Moreover, they have not provided skills to their people to transform their rhetoric into reality. They want to build a just society, yet they often violate the principles of justice when it comes to people of other religions or minorities etc. They are selective in their tears.

3.1 Every Muslim organization and leader talks about unity. Yet few are willing to develop strategies to create the unity at practical level. They all are working for the same goal: to find a respectable status for Muslims and they are even doing identical work, yet they are not willing to come together to coordinate and cooperate.

4. Every one of them is saying the same thing and then squabbling over who said it first. They even fail to recognize the simple fact that a 100 watt bulb is much stronger than a zero watt bulb, even though both have their place in mitigating the impact of darkness.

So what needs to be done at least in America where Muslims are least sufferings the excruciating pains, compared with the Muslims all over the world?

a.       Muslim leadership should show more responsibility towards the people it claims to represent. They should develop effective lines of communication among them. They should communicate with each other on a structured and regular basis on issues Muslims are facing in the US and elsewhere.

b.      They should speak with one voice on issues pertaining to justice, human rights and human dignity even if the voices challenge the behavior of some of the Muslim groups as well. If they have a national and regional board to coordinate their actions, this purpose can easily be achieved.

c.       At the time of any serious crisis anywhere in the Muslim world, they should release a position paper for our elected officials and public opinion makers to inform them of their perspectives and facts on the situation. This again can be coordinated through a centralized board.

d.       Through their coordinated efforts, they should try to educate their public representatives through concerted lobbying in Washington and States depending on the issue itself. For instance, if they are against the US Aid to Israel and Egypt, they should come up with a position paper and share it as a united voice of Muslim Americans with those who run the affairs of the country.

e.       In matters of relief fund raising, they should develop a national strategy to pool their resources to create jobs and opportunities in places where they want to do the relief work.

f.       This cooperation can even be established at the grassroots levels. Each community can create a network among its existing institutions and organizations and coordinate the fund raising events and other program to effectively use the resources.

The Muslim community has the human and material resources. It even has leaders who can move the people to action. It simply needs a mechanism through which its scattered resources can be effectively channelized for the betterment of people. It is achievable, but there is only one major hurdle, a hurdle that has always been there in all times and all situations. It is our own ego. The moment we can subdue it, we can see a different result for us and our world. However, the rhetoric that we hear from everywhere suggests that even those who are asking us to subdue our egos are victims of their own egos.

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