The Water Cycle

tufailThe water cycle is the continuous movement of water in and around the Earth. Water never really goes away –it just changes form. The sun drives the entire water cycle and is responsible for its two major components: condensation and evaporation. When the sun heats the surface of water, it evaporates and ends up in the atmosphere as water vapor. It cools and rises, becoming clouds, which eventually condense into water droplets. Depending on the temperature of the atmosphere and other conditions, the water precipitates as rain, sleet, hail or snow.

Some of this precipitation is captured by tree canopies and evaporates again into the atmosphere. The precipitation that hits the ground becomes runoff, which can accumulate and freeze into snow caps or glaciers. It can also infiltrate the ground and accumulate, eventually storing in aquifers. An aquifer is a large deposit of groundwater that can be extracted and used. This runoff also comes from snowmelt, which occurs when the sun and climate changes melt snow and ice. Finally, some of this runoff makes its way back into lakes and oceans, where it is again evaporated.

Water that falls to the ground and stays in the soil ends up evaporating and retiring to the atmosphere. But groundwater, the major source of our drinking water, can accumulate in aquifers over thousands of years. Unconfined aquifers have the water table, or the surface where water pressure equals atmospheric pressure, as their upper boundaries. Confined aquifers often lie below unconfined aquifers and have a layer of rock or other materials as their top.

In the US, the oldest groundwater, known as fossil water, is contained in the Ogallala Aquifer. Lying below about 175,000 square miles of eight states in the Great Plains, the Ogallala Aquifer stores about 2,900 million acre-feet (3,600 million kilometers cubed) of water. The Ogallala Aquifer was formed between 2 and 6 million years ago, when the Rocky Mountain chain was forming. Because the climate of the Great Plains is arid, water in the aquifer is being used faster than it can be recharged. That’s why some scientists refer to using fossil water aquifers as water mining.

Groundwater may also exist on other planets. Images from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft show what looked like gullies carved out by rivers of water on the surface of the planet. According to NASA, the water is probably 300 to 1,300 feet (100 to 400 meters) below the surface. Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, may also have subsurface water. As our need for water outweighs the Earth’s supply, scientists wonder if we may one day mine for water on the other planets and moons in our solar system.

Water has a lot of unique and amazing properties that make it so important to life. They’re why we’re constantly looking for better ways to obtain and conserve it. In the next section, we’ll look at these properties and learn more about water itself.


Second Muslim Spelling Bee

Second Season of Muslim Spelling Bee competition concludes on Thanksgiving Weekend

Press Release

CHICAGO, November 30th, 2013

MSB2014posterAt the Des Plaines Theater, in the suburbs of Chicago, the atmosphere was electric! Families from all over the United States were converged for the World’s First Muslim Spelling Bee Finals. The premise of the bee is to connect Muslim students from all over the United States who attend public, private and Islamic schools.  Regional winners hailed from Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Houston and Dallas.

The event started at 8.30 AM with registration and followed by recitation of the Holy Quran by Abdullah Hussain, a young Islamic Scholar studying Alim course from Darul Qasim.

The participants were divided according to their ages into 4 groups A, B, C & D and they were guided by the volunteers to their respective sitting arrangements.

Tausif Malik, the founder director of Muslim Spelling Bee welcomed and introduced the program to the attendees.  He thanked the media & Sponsors for supporting the event and read out the names of the sponsors, media sponsors to the audience. He also thanked the teachers, principals and parents for their support in making the competition a grand success.

He then introduced Sister Sohair Omar-Muslim Liaison,Office of the Governor AND Deputy Director, Illinois Finance Authority, who read the Honorable Pat Quinn, State of Illinois Governor’s message for the Muslim Spelling Bee Finalist. She also gave a inspiring speech about the diversity of the State of Illinois and encourage participants to excel at the competition.

This was followed by talks by Dr.Hasnain about how to excel at competitions and he said everyone should support Muslim Spelling Bee. Aijaz Hussain, Vice President, UIF  said they support Muslim Spelling Bee and said “Tausif is doing an amazing job for increasing competitive skills amongst the students”.

Ahmed Irfan Khan, founder and chief executive officer of & Barkaat Foods sent a message from Dubai, that he supports Muslim Spelling Bee as it enhances skills and increase opportunities for students showcase their skills.

This year Muslim Spelling Bee in their second season was nominated and shortlisted for Global Islamic Economy Award by Dubai Chambers of Commerce & Thompson/Reuters. Also the Social Enterprise format developed by TMA Worldwide, promoters of the Muslim Spelling Bee has been recognized and featured in UK’s Guardian News Paper, Harvard University and etc.

The regional winners showcased their skills and expertise and raised the level of the competition. The audiences were dazzled and spellbound by their knowledge about spellings of words. The Judges exhausted their wordlist and championship and challenging words were introduced, but still the regional winners braved all the odds and excelled.

The Pronouncer for the event was Sister Samantha Sanchez, Darul Arqam School, New Jersey.

The winners for the competition :

Group A (Ages up-to 7 years)

1st -Ali Ala- International Academy of Cincinnati, Ohio
2nd- Alayna Zayb- ICOB Academy, New Jersey
3rd – Yasin Ahmed- Darul Arqam Academy- New Jersey

Group B (Ages 8- 9years)

1st -Rabya Hasnain-Maroa Forsyth Grade School, Illinois
2nd Osman Muhammad Khan -Hillside Elementary School, New Jersey
3rd -Asweel Mehaboob Kumbalakkuzhiyil, MDQ Academy, New York

Group C (Ages 10- 11years)

1st -Aya Mehmli, Noble Leadership Academy , New Jersey
2nd – Ali Razvi, Islamic School of Irving, Texas
3rd-  Zayna Motiwala-Darul Arqam School , New Jersey

Group D (Ages 12- 14years)

1st -Yasir Hasnain, Maroa Forsyth Grade School, Illinois
2nd -Syeda Maryam Beyabani, K12, Texas
3rd-Ridaa Dadani, Baytul Iman Academy, New Jersey

The 12 winners also launched the World’s First Muslim News Portal will offer a platform for the individuals and organizations to create an account and submit their news, press release, events, pictures etc and this will be then shared with other newspapers and media outlets.

The event concluded with award ceremony and awards were presented to the winners .
The following organizations provided gifts to the winners:

1    Tourism passes by Museum of Science & Technology, Chicago
2    Galaxy & Lenovo Tablets By TMA Worldwide
3    Books By Iqra Foundation
4    Comics by The99.0rg
5    Scarves by Nahda Designs
6    Scarves by Sabika Seatle
7    Exclusive hand crafted Chocolates by Chocolat Uzma
8    DVD’s by Unity Productions Foundations
9    Fordson Movie DVD’s by Rashid Ghazi
10    Exclusive paintings painted by Dr. Saima Qureshi
11    Islamic Perfumes by
12    Water bottles by

Founder Tausif Malik  thanked everyone for participating and announce that the next season of the Muslim Spelling Bee will held in month of March, April & May and registration will open on December 2013.

The Muslim Spelling Bee was supported by, UIF &

Media sponsors in alphabetical order Al Hikmat TV, Al Jumuah Magazine, Asian Lite, Azizah Magazine, Desi Express, Dinar Standard, Dunya, Global Muslim Observer, Indian Express USA, Indian Muslim Observer, Infocus California, Islamic Focus South Africa, Islamic Post, Lone Star Crescent, Muslim Coupon, Muslim Backyard, Multicultural Familia, Muslim Digest, My Education Key, News Pakistan, New York Awam, Pakistan Chronicle & Pakistan Journal, Pakistan Post, Pakistan Times & South Asian Gazette, Pakistan Express, Pakistan Voice, Radio Sargam/News Pakistan, Radio Sohni Dharti, Sadaa-e-Pakistan,, The Desi Times, Tribune Asia, TV ONE GLOBAL, Urdu Times Chicago, Urdu Times,, Ummah Design & Ummah Linked.

According to Muslim Spelling Bee founders all the participants are winners as they worked hard and learned value of education and competition and hence they were awarded with participation certificates.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Muslim spelling bee, please visit
For further information please contact

Tausif Malik, Founder Muslim Spelling Bee; cell:773-536-9786


Turkish PM, Cleric In War Of Words Over Graft Scandal

By Ayla Jean Yackley and Seda Sezer


Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a ceremony in Ankara December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A war of words escalated on Monday between Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and a cleric with powerful influence in the police and judiciary, worsening political turmoil unleashed by a corruption scandal.

Turkey has been increasingly polarized since the arrest on graft charges last week of the head of state-run lender Halkbank and the sons of two government ministers.

Erdogan answered the arrests by sacking or reassigning the Istanbul police chief and some 70 other police officers.

The scandal and the government’s response have added to a febrile political atmosphere in the country, which saw unprecedented mass protests against Erdogan’s rule earlier this year.

The public has been riveted by the case, with news channels showing police footage of shoeboxes stuffed with millions of euros in cash allegedly found in homes of corruption suspects.

The lira currency hovered near a record low on Monday, hammered by the domestic political tension as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to cut back monetary stimulus.

In the latest rift, the government attracted unprecedented, open condemnation from Fethullah Gulen, whose Hizmet movement claims at least a million followers, including senior police and judges, and runs schools and charities across Turkey and abroad.

Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, lashed out against the government on Friday by praying that “God bring fire to their houses”. Erdogan shot back on Sunday with remarks that, while not naming Gulen directly, accused unnamed outsiders of “setting wicked and dark traps in our country, using their local pawns to disrupt Turkey’s unity and integrity.”

“We will go into (their) lairs and … expose those organizations within the state,” Erdogan said.

On Monday Gulen made clear he saw the prime minister’s remarks as an attack on his movement.

“Those who call Muslims ‘gangs’, ‘bandits’, ‘network’ and see them as gorillas, monkeys that have taken shelter in lairs – these are nothing but a reflection of decayed thinking and no wrong can be made right with them,” Gulen said in an audio recording posted on the Internet. “God sees who is in a lair.”

Erdogan has won three elections in a row and has transformed Turkey by curbing the power of the secularist military establishment. Turkey has thrived economically under his leadership, but this year’s protests also revealed dissatisfaction among many Turks with what some see as an authoritarian streak. A decisive break with Gulen, a former ally, adds to the array of figures lined up against him.

Cemal Usak, vice president of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, a group close to Gulen, described the movement’s actions as “a civil initiative that is strongly using its right to oppose some of the measures taken by the political authority, something unseen in Turkey in recent times.”

“I think the hardening of the prime minister’s language is unsound. I find it inappropriate that for the first time in our political history an opinion leader has been targeted,” he said.

After years of taking on top figures in the army, Erdogan’s response to the corruption scandal puts him at odds with the police and the judiciary.

At the weekend the government changed regulations for police, requiring officers to report evidence, investigations, arrests and complaints to commanding officers and prosecutors.

Halkbank has drawn criticism from Western governments in the past for enabling Turkish and Indian business with Iran, which is under U.S. and EU sanctions that Erdogan disapproves of.

The bank said on Monday its conduct had been entirely lawful. In the past it had helped facilitate purchases of Iranian natural gas in return for shipments of Turkish gold, but it said it halted that practice in June, before measures that would have barred that trade took effect.

“The source of the funds used in these transactions and the parties to this trade are open, transparent and traceable in the system,” Halkbank said in a stock exchange filing.

The row has weighed on the Turkish assets as investors fret the authorities could loosen fiscal policy to weather the political storm. Shares in Halkbank have lost about 20 percent of their value since news of the scandal broke on December 17.

Erdogan late on Sunday accused “enemies of Turkey” of trying to sabotage Halkbank, the second-biggest government bank.

“Who are you helping to benefit by damaging this bank? The money that Halkbank has lost because of these incidents is money lost by this country,” he said.


Community News (V16-I1)

Yosuf Ahmed recognized for saving life at marathon

YosufNAPERVILLE,IL–Yousuf Ahmed, a third year medical student at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, was honored with a certificate at the Fire Chief Citizen Awards in Naperville. He had come to the rescue of a of a runner who went into cardiac arrest about six miles into the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon, according to a report published by the medical school’s website.

“I was surprised and deeply honored that the Naperville Fire Department presented us with the Fire Chief’s Citizen Award,” said Ahmed, a Navy reservist. “I simply felt like I was doing my duty and performed what was expected of me. I was very happy to meet the downed athlete, his family, and the other members of the team who helped save his life.”

Hospital recognizes physicians for years of service

MICHIGAN CITY, IN–Physicians at Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospital in Michigan City recently were honored for their years of service.

At an annual awards ceremony, Dr. Mizra Raheem was recognized for 35 years on staff. Dr. Suhayl Nasr were recognized for 25 years.

Dr. Jamil Ahmed was honored for 15 years on staff.

Ameer Abdullah named MVP at Nebraska

Junior I-back Ameer Abdullah led the list of honorees as the Nebraska football team gathered for its annual end of the season banquet Sunday afternoon at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln.

Abdullah was named the overall Team Most Valuable Player and earned the prestigious Lifter of the Year Award for the second straight year. The 5-9, 190-pound Abdullah is the second player in the past three years to win the Lifter of the Year Award in back-to-back seasons after Rex Burkhead won the award in 2010 and 2011.

Abdullah was also named a 2013 team captain.

MCC buys new space in Skokie

SKOKIE,IL–The Muslim Community Centre has bought a new space in Skokie to meet the growing needs of its full time school. The group was the highest bidder among two others with a winning bid of $2.2 million.

The new building will be used to house the high school which is scheduled to open in fall after renovations.

The building had earlier also been a school. The city staff were sentimental about selling it off.

“I was pretty sentimental about selling this off. But times change, and from my perspective, this is a great outcome. It’s still going to be a school, which makes sense, and at least it’s not a strip shopping mall like it could have been,” one official told the Skokie Review.


Analysis: Domestic Concerns Drive Oman’s Foreign Policy

By Sami Aboudi


From L-R: The Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) Assistant Secretary General Abdullah bin Juma al–Shibli, United Arab Emirates’ Oil Minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed Saleh al-Sada, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, Bahrain’s Minister of Finance Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed al-Khalifa, Kuwait’s Minister of Finance Mustafa al-Shamali and Oman’s Oil Minister Mohamed bin Hamad Al Rumhi pose for a group photo during a meeting of Gulf Arab oil ministers in Riyadh September 24, 2013. The oil market has enough supply and prices are at a favourable level, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said on Tuesday, affirming the willingness of the world’s top crude exporter to meet shortages. Saudi Arabia pumped oil at a record rate of more than 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, helping to cushion the market from the virtual shutdown of Libya’s exports and reduced output from other countries including Nigeria and Iraq.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

MUSCAT (Reuters) – Traditionally reticent Oman has become unusually assertive in opposing a Saudi plan for Gulf Arab states to close ranks against Iran, worried that a wider regional confrontation might threaten its own stability.

Oman’s willingness to incur the displeasure of Saudi Arabia, its most powerful neighbor, reflects both the proximity of Iran and vulnerabilities of its domestic political, economic and religious makeup.

The Sultanate sits on the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula through which flows 40 percent of the world’s seaborne crude oil. Muscat has a history of constructive relations with Tehran, and recently agreed to buy Iranian gas for the next quarter century.

“Geography necessitates that we deal with Iran. It is a Muslim neighbor located on the other side of the Gulf and therefore we must seek stability in this region,” said Anwar al-Rawas, a lecturer at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat.

Oman has watched with alarm as rivalry between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran has spread across the region. Riyadh and some other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Oman is a member, believe Tehran is using sectarianism to interfere in Arab countries and build its own sphere of Middle East influence.

Riyadh has backed groups opposing Iranian proxies in unrest or outright war in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen, and has tried to marshal the GCC into what a former Omani diplomat described as “a sectarian project to confront Iran”.

Muscat not only dismissed the Saudi idea last month, but also facilitated secret U.S. talks with Tehran, leading to a deal on Iran’s nuclear program that Riyadh sees as dangerous.

“Omani foreign policy is basically at the service of Omani political stability, and Omani political stability needs regional stability,” said Marc Valeri, an Oman expert at Britain’s University of Exeter.

Factors in the new diplomatic assertiveness of a government that used to be discreet even by the standards of the tight-lipped region also include the sultanate’s religious makeup, which is very different from its Arab allies’, and wariness among many Omanis of Saudi influence. “They might be a bit worried about being crushed by the sheer weight of Saudi Arabia,” said a Western diplomat in Muscat.

Omani concerns also stem from uncertainty over its dynastic succession and questions about how long an economic model built on dwindling oil production can last.

Protests in several Omani cities during the Arab Spring in 2011 showed that public patience with the government of Sultan Qaboos, credited with rapidly modernizing a medieval kingdom after he overthrew his father in 1970, has limits.


Saudi Arabia’s population and economy are larger than those of the other five GCC members put together. Viewed from Oman, Riyadh’s attempts to build a unified Gulf Arab position are overbearing and against its economic and political interests.

Although differences were rarely aired in public, Oman has long stood out among its Gulf allies.

While other GCC countries gave money and political support to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in his 1980-88 war with Iran, Oman maintained relations with Tehran and helped to mediate a ceasefire that ended the fighting.

Oman also arranged prisoner exchanges between Tehran and the West, and helped to organize oil payments to the Islamic republic as it struggled with international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

This was partly in return for Iranian help with putting down a Marxist uprising against Qaboos in the 1970s, even though it was the Shah who sent troops to Oman, rather than leaders of the 1979 revolution that overthrew him.

“Qaboos is forever grateful to Iran for that,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an analyst in the United Arab Emirates.

Muscat officials remain keen to conciliate. “They consider any role they can play in calming down the situation in the region, in creating a kind of bridge between countries, is indeed in the interest of Oman,” said Valeri.

Oman’s religious makeup also lies behind its unease at the sectarian nature of Gulf politics. Most Omanis including the Sultan adhere to the Ibadi faith, a Muslim branch unique to the country which has much in common with mainstream Sunni Islam.

A big Sunni minority and a smaller Shi’ite community are not at odds with the Ibadi majority, and Muscat is keen to keep it that way. Already some Omanis and foreign diplomats say the influence of Saudi Arabia’s conservative Wahhabi school of Islam sometimes causes friction.

“From time to time, we see Wahhabi sheikhs on Saudi television channels brand Ibadis as heretics and that doesn’t go down very nicely,” said Saif al-Maskery, a former Omani diplomat who held a senior GCC role from 1987-93. Sectarian gestures from Iranian Shi’ites were a problem too, he said.


All this is happening as Oman faces a long-term fall in oil revenue, public anger about unemployment and corruption, and worries about the political future.

Qaboos, 73, has no children or designated successor. Omanis are not yet confident in the state institutions, such as an elected parliament with few real powers, that he has slowly built.

Since the protests in 2011, Qaboos has accelerated efforts to strengthen political institutions and is pursuing a high-profile anti-corruption campaign, with trials of some senior executives and former officials on bribery charges.

The government has also taken steps to bolster employment at home, ordering a pay increase for Omanis and announcing new curbs on recruiting foreign workers.

In the long term the country recognizes it must diversify away from oil and expand trade outside the GCC, including with Iran. After the Arab Spring, the GCC pledged $10 billion in aid to Oman. However, this will mostly be used on joint projects such as a railway stretching from Oman through the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to Kuwait.

Trade with Iran is now estimated at a modest $250 million a year, but in August Muscat signed a 25-year deal with Tehran to import gas, worth around $60 billion over its lifetime.

This, together with a $16 billion project to develop Oman’s own gas reserves signed with BP this month, should help to relieve bottlenecks in infrastructure and industrial projects.

It also shows the benefits to Oman of pursuing a conciliatory policy, and its worries that the political considerations of Saudi Arabia may not be in the Sultanate’s long-term interests.

“Oman joined the GCC as part of its concern for regional stability,” Maskery said. “Neither the Omani people nor its leadership will agree to be dissolved in a larger entity.”

(Additional reporting by Fatma al-Arimi in Muscat and Rania El Gamal in Dubai, Editing by Angus McDowall and David Stamp)


France To Maintain A Headscarf Ban Despite Legal Advice

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

hijabPARIS (Reuters) – France decided on Monday to maintain a ban on Muslim headscarves for volunteer school monitors despite a warning that it overstepped the law requiring religious neutrality in the public service.

The Council of State, which advises the government on disputed administrative issues, said in a 32-page analysis that this neutrality did not apply to mothers who help escort schoolchildren on outings such as museum visits.

Education Minister Vincent Peillon promptly announced the ban would continue because the Council’s opinion also said that schools could impose internal rules against religious wear.

“The memo (establishing the ban) remains valid,” he said in a communiqué after the Council’s analysis was released.

France imposed the ban last year as one of several steps in recent years to tighten its policy of strict secularism. It banned headscarves for pupils in state schools 10 years ago and outlawed full-face Muslim veils in public in 2011.

It has also considered extending this religious neutrality, which has long been the rule in public service, to some businesses such as private child daycare centers.

Muslim groups have denounced the increasingly strict limits on religious wear as discrimination against them. France’s five-million strong Muslim minority is the largest in Europe.


France’s official secularism policy, the product of a long struggle against the powerful Roman Catholic Church that ended with the separation of church and state in 1905, remains a political minefield for governments and their critics.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault came under pressure from the conservative opposition and some fellow Socialists last week when a report posted on his website said France should reverse this policy and recognize its “Arab-Oriental dimension”.

He denied that the report, part of a study on ways to fight discrimination, would become official policy.

France’s top administrative court will have to rule early next year on the appeal of a woman fired from her job at a private daycare center because she began wearing the Muslim headscarf despite an internal dress code banning it.

The Council of State is the second advisory body to warn the government recently against overstepping the limits of the secularism policy.

An “Observatory of Secularism” appointed by President Francois Hollande advised in October against a new law to extend the religious neutrality requirement to some private businesses, despite support for the idea from within his Socialist Party.

(Editing by Alistair Lyon)


Getting Through the Holiday Season

By Karin Friedemann, TMO


The winter holidays, both Christmas and Hanukkah date back to when Christians and Jews were ruled by the Romans, who traditionally celebrated Saturnalia on Solstice. Solstice is the longest night of the year and signifies the first day of winter. The lights and candles are meant to give hope, cheer and comfort from the freezing darkness.

Many Americans suffer from holiday depression and anxiety due to financial and social stress, bittersweet memories of childhood or lost loved ones, or because they feel lonely. On the other hand, the constant stream of festivities leads to greater emotional resilience in most people. Depression and suicide rates actually peak in early spring, long after the party is over and all the guests have gone home and the food pantry stocks have dwindled. Those who spent too much money on holiday gifts, fancy outfits and travel will still be paying off their credit cards months later.

Meanwhile, Muslims are often not quite sure how to get through the holidays. Should they attend the office Christmas party and participate in the Secret Santa? What will they do when their boss proposes a toast? How do we get the children to understand and not cry because we are not going to buy them any presents? Winter clothes, maybe. Toys, no. How do we explain to a kid why we do not have a Christmas tree? My own children got around my non-observance by making their own ornaments out of paper to decorate the ceiling lamps and composing their own Christmas songs based on information they picked up at school about what Christmas is about.

“We will get a mix of a bunch of feelings on this day / No Rudolphs, no horse-drawn sleigh / All we get is a closed Safeway,” goes a parody called “Rockin Around No Christmas Tree” by some South Asian youth on youtube.

Then we have the issue of dealing with non-Muslim friends and family members inviting us over – having to decide if we are going to exchange gifts and socialize with mixed genders of people drinking wine, or risk offending them. Are they going to have to change the prayers for us, since we can’t eat food that was blessed in the name of Jesus (pbuh)? Should we ask them to cook a halal meal? Will they have dogs? Are they going to be offended if we don’t want their dog to lick our hands? Awkward!!!

Some Muslim families deal with these conflicts by taking a rabbinical approach and strictly avoiding all non-Muslim holiday activities while while more liberal Muslims will compromise and join in the seasonal celebration in order to be friendly with the neighbors. In the holy land of Palestine, I have heard, it is common for Muslims to visit their Christian neighbors, bring them some food and wish them a merry Christmas, and on Eid the Christian neighbors will stop by to wish their Muslim neighbors a Happy Eid.

Yet in the middle of it all is the Muslim convert who could be experiencing multiple stresses – secretly mourning the loss of a holiday that once held spiritual and emotional significance in their hearts, feeling uncomfortable with ones’ own parents and siblings on such an important day, one’s own parents feeling rejected by our rejection of their religion – even if we attend their Christmas party. And then, feeling alienated from a Muslim spouse or in-laws, who do not understand that extra emotional support is needed, who do not understand the intensely spiritual nature of our memories of angels and candles and choirs, or why our eyes might well up with tears when “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” comes on the radio.

Likewise, Muslims who don’t commemorate the New Year because it’s not the Islamic calendar will come into emotional conflict with Muslim convert spouses and friends, who have happy memories of staying up until midnight and don’t want to be left alone on that once special night, knowing that their old friends and their family are all celebrating.

Regardless of how we choose to deal with seasonal holiday traditions, Christmas can serve as a valuable opportunity for us to remember the importance of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) to our world. It is a good time to go over the Christ story in the Quran, and maybe even do some comparative scripture reading with the Bible and other literature. 

Muslims celebrate many special days to commemorate prophets and spiritual leaders: Eid ul-Fitr to commemorate the Prophet Mohammed’s (s) revelation of the Quran; Eid ul-Adha to remember Abraham, Ismail and Hajjar; The fasting on the 9th and 10th of Muharram to celebrate the victory of Moses and his people over the Egyptian Pharaoh; Ashura to remember the martyrdom of Hussein at Karbala. But we don’t have any special day to remember Jesus and tell the story of his life to our children.

We can use Christmas as a tool for telling our children about the life of this great prophet, whose birth signified a new era of mankind and a new way of understanding our relationship with God and with each other, from the idea of competing tribal warfare-based gods to the idea of a universal, compassionate, loving God.

We can also use this time to explain the situation in Palestine to our neighbors and co-workers. Many people do not realize that Jesus spoke Aramaic not Hebrew and that he was a Palestinian not a Jew. Many people do not realize that Bethlehem is in Palestine, and that it is surrounded by a terrible wall. Many people do not realize the suffering of Palestinian Christians, the oldest Christ-following community in the world.

Most of all let us not forget those who are homeless and hungry during this time. Not because it is Christmas but because it is cold, and their survival depends on generosity. Let us use these days off school and work wisely.


Tunisia’s Islamists, Opponents Set Handover Date


A Tunisian boy waves a flag as he runs during a rally in Tunis, December 17, 2013, to mark the third anniversary of the Tunisian revolution. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s ruling Islamists and opposition parties agreed on Monday to finish their handover to a caretaker government by January 14, the third anniversary of the fall of autocratic leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

After months of crisis, Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahda and opponents last week named a new prime minister to lead a temporary non-political cabinet, which will govern until elections next year to finish its transition to democracy.

As part of their deal, political leaders must finish the country’s constitution, agree on an election date, and name an electoral council to oversee the vote before Ennahda steps down to make way for the new administration.

“We have agreed the new government, the election date and the new constitution will be ready by January 13 so we celebrate on January 14, the third anniversary of the revolution,” said Maghreb Republican party leader, Boussairi Bou Abdeli.

Three years after its protests against Ben Ali inspired Arab uprisings elsewhere, Tunisia is close to ending a crisis over the role of Islam in politics that has threatened to delay its last steps to democracy.

After months of demonstrations, Ennahda party earlier this year agreed to resign to ease the turmoil. But Islamists and secular opposition parties only named Mehdi Jomaa, an engineer and industry minister, as new prime minister after weeks of delays and wrangling.

Tunisia, whose strong secular tradition clashed with rise of Ennahda and the ambitions of Islamist militants, has not suffered the violence seen in Egypt, Yemen and Libya in their transitions after the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Alison Williams)


Tax Evasion in Pakistan

Reuters in Islamabad

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, declared that he paid $26,000 in income tax last year. Photograph: T Mughal/EPA

Nearly half of Pakistan’s MPs pay no taxes, according to a study that may endanger billions of dollars in IMF and other loans and aid to Pakistan.

Cracking down on rampant tax evasion is a main condition of a $6.7bn (£4.1bn) International Monetary Fund programme aimed at stabilising the country’s economy. Big donors such as Britain, which has committed more than £600m to Pakistani education, are considering slashing aid unless more rich Pakistanis pay tax.

The report, which identifies some ministers among the politicians who pay no tax, was drawn up by the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan, an independent research group. The group based its report on documents from the election commission, which publishes financial declarations of political candidates and their statements from the tax authority.

Tariq Azeem, a spokesman for the ruling party of the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, said tax authorities and the election commission used different forms to gather tax data. He said that may explain the discrepancies. Asked why some legislators appeared never to have registered with tax authorities, Azeem said: “I don’t know.”

Spokesmen for other political parties said they had not read the report and could not comment. None of the politicians the report identified as tax evaders was available for comment.

Pakistan has one of the world’s lowest ratios of tax to gross domestic product. Fewer than 1% of citizens file income tax returns.

Legislators have a tiny amount deducted from their official salaries but almost all of them have lucrative second careers. The average net worth of a legislator in 2010 was £490,000, according to a study of their asset declarations by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency. More recent figures were not available.

Umar Cheema, the author of the report, said: “If politicians don’t pay taxes themselves, they have lost the moral authority to impose taxes on others.”

The finance ministry said tax collection in December was up by about a quarter compared with last year. Cheema said nearly 80% of that was through indirect taxes on items such as fuel. “Whenever there is pressure from the donor agencies, they just increase indirect taxes which shifts the burden on to the poor and lets the rich off again,” Cheema said.

Nearly half of all national and provincial legislators did not declare paying any taxes, Cheema said in his report. More than one in 10 legislators had never registered with tax authorities.

Of those who paid, a third had discrepancies between income and tax declarations and data provided by tax authorities. Many legislators reported paying minuscule amounts of tax. Many paid less than $100, while some paid as little as $17.

There was even a discrepancy in the record of Sharif, according to the report. Sharif, who returned to power in May, declared that he paid $26,000 in income tax last year, although the Federal Board of Revenue said he paid $22,000. The prime minister’s office was not immediately available for comment.

“We expect everyone to be honest and forthcoming, that goes without saying, but there is no such thing that they have to verify with [party] headquarters. It is an individual’s own business,” said Azeem, the party spokesman. “If we find anyone has knowingly misled income tax authorities, we will take serious action.”


Bradford Synagogue Saved by city’s Muslims

Faced with closure a year ago, today Bradford’s synagogue’s future is bright, a model of cross-cultural co-operation

Zulfi Karim

Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council of Mosques, and Rabi Rudi Leavor inside Bradford Synagogue. Photograph: Gary Calton

It was around this time last year that the trustees of Bradford’s final remaining synagogue faced a tough choice. The roof of the Grade II-listed Moorish building was leaking; there was serious damage to the eastern wall, where the ark held the Torah scrolls; and there was no way the modest subscriptions paid annually by the temple’s 45 members could cover the cost.

Rudi Leavor, the synagogue’s 87-year-old chairman, reluctantly proposed the nuclear option: to sell the beautiful 132-year-old building, forcing the congregation to go 10 miles to Leeds to worship.

It was a terrible proposition, coming just after the city’s only Orthodox synagogue had shut its doors in November 2012, unable to regularly gather 10 men for the Minyan, the quorum of 10 Jewish male adults required for certain religious obligations.

But rather than close, Bradford Reform Synagogue’s future is brighter than ever after the intervention of Bradford’s Muslim community, which according to the 2011 census outnumbers the city’s Jews by 129,041 to 299.

A fundraising effort – led by the secretary of a nearby mosque, together with the owner of a popular curry house and a local textile magnate – has secured the long-term future of the synagogue and forged a friendship between Bradfordian followers of Islam and Judaism. All things being well, by Christmas the first tranche of £103,000 of lottery money will have reached the synagogue’s bank account after some of Bradford’s most influential Muslims helped Leavor and other Jews to mount a bid.

This burgeoning relationship is perhaps unexpected. When David Ward, one of the city’s MPs, had the Liberal Democrat whip withdrawn over disparaging remarks about “the Jews” and Israel as an “apartheid state”, he was publicly supported by many of his Muslim constituents. George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bradford West and an open opponent of Israel, has organised convoys to Gaza and was praised by many of his voters after refusing to engage in a debate with an Israeli student at Oxford University earlier this year.

The cross-cultural co-operation is warmly welcomed by Leavor, who moved to the city from Berlin as a refugee in 1937. “It’s fantastic,” he said this week, in a joint interview with Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council of Mosques. “Rudi is my new found big brother,” said Karim, who is on the board at the central Westgate mosque a few hundred metres up the road from the synagogue. “It makes me proud that we can protect our neighbours and at the same time preserve an important part of Bradford’s cultural heritage.”

Now the two men get on so well that when Leavor goes on holiday he gives the synagogue keys to Karim, as well as the alarm code. They have begun what they hope will be a lasting tradition, whereby the Jewish community invites local Muslims and Christians to an oneg shabbat (Friday night dinner) and Muslims return the invitation for a Ramadan feast and Christians during the harvest festival. For the latter, Karim provided halal mince for the shepherd’s pie.

At the start of December, Karim and other Muslims attended a hanukah service at the synagogue. Yet until a year ago, Karim didn’t even realise the synagogue existed. “The Jewish community kept themselves to themselves,” he said. Since the last race riots in the city in 2001, there has been no sign to mark the building. “We didn’t want to be the cause of potential trouble, so we took the plaque down over 10 years ago,” said Leavor, who said there was an incident a few years ago when one man left the synagogue wearing his kippah, or skull cap, and was spat at by two Pakistani men passing in a car.

The Muslims only started to help the synagogue by chance, explains Leavor. He had been approached by Zulficar Ali, owner of Bradford’s popular Sweet Centre restaurant, which is just a few doors away from the synagogue. Ali wanted Leavor to help oppose a planning permission for yet another curry house in the area. Leavor agreed and together managed to block the application. Ali then introduced Leavor to a local social enterprise, the Carlisle Business Centre, which awards grants to worthy causes. They gave several hundred pounds for emergency roof repairs, and a local businessman, Khalid Pervais, donated a further £1,400.

It was only after getting involved that Karim learned that the mill where his father worked after emigrating from Pakistan in the 1960s was run by a Jewish descendent of Joseph Strauss, the rabbi who founded the synagogue in 1880.

Once all of the lottery funding comes through, together with £25,000 pledged by Bradford Council, work will begin to renovate the synagogue. The kitchen will be cleared up, disabled access will be improved and it will open for educational visits from school groups throughout the week. Karim is convinced such initiatives will help build tolerance. “You look at those who killed Lee Rigby, supposedly in the name of Islam. The question is: what makes these young men so radicalised, so angry, so intolerant? I really, really deeply, strongly feel that the way forward is interfaith dialogue – perhaps through food, perhaps through visiting a synagogue or other places of worship.”


British Cricketer Becomes Member of Order of British Empire

Wasim Khan received award in recognition of his service to cricket and the community’.

By Web Desk

Wasim KhanLONDON: British-born Pakistani Wasim Gulzar Khan, who played county cricket in England in the 90s and later went on to achieve an MBA and become the CEO of the £50 million and 10-year long charitable campaign Chance to Shine, was formally appointed as a Member of Order of the British Empire (MBE) on Tuesday.

The 42 year-old was formally appointed by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London.

According to the website of Chance to Shine, Khan received the award ‘in recognition of his service to cricket and the community’.

Wasim said  that he was “genuinely shocked” yet “proud” at the appointment. ”I was genuinely shocked when I received the news, but I immediately felt hugely proud to be recognised in this way. It’s a great honour and recognises the effort you’ve put in over a number of years.

“I feel a debt of gratitude to the many people who have helped me over the years and who believed in me. This award reflects the success of the Chance to Shine programme which is benefiting a great number of children.”

Wasim’s family, originally from Kashmir, migrated to England in the 1960s.

With a first-class debut for Warwickshire in 1995, Khan became the first British-born Pakistani to play cricket in England. His county stint ended in the early 2000s, with a batting average of a little over 30.

In 2005, Wasim was recruited by Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, to plan and implement Chance to Shine as Operations Director, before becoming Chief Executive in 2009.

Earlier this year, the charity celebrated the two millionth child to receive cricket opportunities through the Chance to Shine programme.
Wasim has an Executive MBA from Warwick Business School.


Assad’s Secret Lifeline

Assad’s Secret Oil Lifeline: Iraqi Crude From Egypt

By Julia Payne


Smoke rises from a fire in Adra, east of Damascus, December 23, 2013.  REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

LONDON (Reuters) – The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad has received substantial imports of Iraqi crude oil from an Egyptian port in the last nine months, shipping and payments documents show, part of an under-the-radar trade that has kept his military running despite Western sanctions.

Assad’s government has been blacklisted by Western powers for its role in the two-and-a-half year civil war, forcing Damascus to rely on strategic ally Iran – itself the target of Western sanctions over its nuclear program – as its main supplier of crude oil.

A Reuters examination based on previously undisclosed commercial documents about Syrian oil purchases shows however that Iran is no longer acting alone. Dozens of shipping and payment documents viewed by Reuters show that millions of barrels of crude delivered to Assad’s government on Iranian ships has actually come from Iraq, through Lebanese and Egyptian trading companies.

The trade, which is denied by the firms involved, has proven lucrative, with companies demanding a steep premium over the normal cost of oil in return for bearing the risk of shipping it to Syria. It also highlights a previously undisclosed role of Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon in Assad’s supply chain, despite those countries’ own restrictions on assisting his government.

Both the Syrian national oil company that received the oil, Sytrol, and the Iranian shipping operator that delivered it, the National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC), are on U.S. and EU sanctions lists barring them from doing business with U.S. or European firms, cutting them off from the U.S. and EU financial systems and freezing their assets.

Although firms outside the United States and EU are not subject to their sanctions, companies that do business with firms on sanctions lists risk themselves being blacklisted: Washington and Brussels regularly add companies and individuals from third countries to their sanctions lists if they are found to deal with companies already listed.

At least four firms from third countries that were added to the U.S. Treasury’s sanctions list for Iran when it was last updated on December 12 were punished specifically “for providing material support to NITC”, the Treasury said.

“We have been very focused on targeting Iranian attempts to aid the Assad regime through economic as well as military means,” said a Treasury Department spokesman. He declined to comment on the specific activities described in the documents reviewed by Reuters but said companies and individuals had been added to the sanctions list for similar types of activity.

The cache of documents describing the trade between March and May this year was shown to Reuters by a source on condition of anonymity. Many details were corroborated by a separate Middle Eastern shipping source with long-standing ties to the Syrian maritime industry. Publicly available satellite tanker tracking data, provided by Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, was used to confirm the movements of ships.

The documents refer to at least four shipments by four tankers named Camellia, Daisy, Lantana and Clove, each of which is operated by Iran’s NITC and, say the documents, carried Iraqi oil from Egypt’s Mediterranean port of Sidi Kerir to Syria.

According to the documents, Beirut-based trading firm Overseas Petroleum Trading (OPT) invoiced Syria for arranging at least two of the shipments and was involved in a third, while a Cairo-based firm, Tri-Ocean Energy, was responsible for loading Iraqi oil into at least one.

Both OPT and Tri-Ocean denied any involvement in the Syria trade, declining to offer an alternative explanation for what the documents and ship tracking data show.

An EU country government source said Tri-Ocean is already under scrutiny by the United States for suspected violations of sanctions against Iran, giving no further details. The U.S. Treasury spokesman declined to comment on specific investigations.

Iran’s NITC declined to comment.

There was no evidence that the Iraqi or Egyptian governments were involved in shipping Iraqi oil through Egypt’s port, as crude can change hands after first being exported.

Iraq has been criticized in the past by Western countries for allowing deliveries of supplies and weapons from Iran to Syria to pass through its airspace. Iraq’s oil ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The Iraqi government controls exports of crude from the country and has tried to restrict traders from re-selling its oil.

A representative of the Arab Petroleum Pipeline Company, which is known as SUMED and owns and operates Egypt’s Mediterranean port of Sidi Kerir where the oil tankers loaded, had no comment. SUMED is half owned by the Egyptian state oil company EGPC and half by a group of four other Arab countries.

Tarek El-Molla, the chairman of EGPC, said that Egypt had banned state companies from dealing with Iranian oil and shipping firms, and that he was unaware of shipments to Syria.

El-Molla said a tanker flying the Iranian flag would not be able to berth at Sidi Kerir. The four NITC-operated tankers involved in the shipments have all been renamed within the past few years and were flying Tanzanian flags at the time they loaded in Egypt, a tactic Reuters has previously reported has been used by Iran to mitigate the impact of sanctions on its shipping since sanctions against Tehran were tightened in 2011.


Syria imported up to 17 million barrels of crude oil between February and October, of which roughly half came directly from Iran and half from Egypt’s Sidi Kerir port, according to the Middle Eastern shipping source. The cache of documents reveals that at least half of the oil from Egypt’s port was Iraqi crude.

Lebanese oil trading firm OPT arranged the shipments with Syria’s internationally blacklisted state-owned oil company, Sytrol, operator of the one functioning refinery still under Assad’s control. The documents show the firm invoicing Sytrol for almost $250 million for two deliveries of Iraqi crude it had arranged in March and May to Syria’s Banias refinery.

In a letter to Sytrol’s marketing manager dated April 4 of this year, OPT asked for a payment advance of around $50 million and detailed previous deals with the Syrian state oil company.

“Our company (OPT) has and continues to secure the state’s needs in oil and oil derivatives in the recent period and was able to secure this despite major difficulties and challenges,” said the letter from an OPT official, Abdelhamid Khamis Abdullah, whose name appears frequently in the correspondence. It was not possible to ascertain his exact role at the company.

The letter states OPT had already provided Sytrol with almost 5 million barrels of crude, diesel, and cooking fuel. The price for each barrel of Iraq’s Basra Light crude in the invoices is between $15 and $17 above the official Iraqi price at that time, equivalent to an extra $15 million for each tanker.

OPT denied being involved in selling oil to Syria.

“We dispute all what you mentioned in your below emails,” an OPT employee said in an email, without providing a name. The company offered no alternative explanation for the documents.

Egyptian oil firm Tri-Ocean Energy, which has brokered deals for OPT in the past, loaded at least one cargo of Iraqi crude onto an Iranian tanker that was delivered into Syria by OPT at the end of May, according to the documents, which say the oil was delivered to Syria on the Iranian tanker Clove on May 26.

Tri-Ocean’s senior trading director Ali Tolba denied in an email that his company supplied Syria with crude or had loaded Iraqi oil onto Iranian tankers. He and Tri-Ocean’s CEO, Mohammed el-Ansary, did not respond to a request from Reuters to review the documents seen by Reuters. Syria’s Sytrol did not respond.


Sytrol has used a blacklisted businessman close to Assad as intermediary to transfer money to OPT, according to the documents. In a letter from OPT to Sytrol on March 14 of this year, OPT requested payment through Ayman Jaber.

Jaber, who runs a company called Al Jazerra, is himself on U.S. and EU sanctions lists, which means firms or individuals doing business with him can themselves be added to the lists. When it listed Jaber a year ago, the U.S. Treasury accused him of coordinating state-sponsored pro-Assad militia groups known as Shabiha in the port of Latakia.

“Please could you pay the value of approximately $130 million plus 1.8 percent transfer fee into the account of Mr. Ayman Jaber, the head of Al Jazerra, at the central bank so he can transfer it into our accounts abroad,” OPT wrote. In another letter three weeks later, OPT confirmed receipt of around 375 million euros from Al Jazerra, transferred from the account of Ayman Jaber.

At least two other firms mentioned in the documents had names and logos similar to companies based in the EU, which would be directly subject to European sanctions forbidding them to deal with Sytrol or NITC. In both cases, European head offices denied any relationship with Syrian offices using their names.

Some of the documents confirming the arrival of the oil in Syria were stamped or signed by a shipping agency called Med Control Syria. Jhony Matnious, a manager at the company in Damascus, told Reuters by email that the crude imports were Iranian through a government agreement between Damascus and Tehran.

Med Control has a head office in Greece, which lists Syria as a branch office on its website with the same address, logo, phone number and email as in the documents. A manager there denied any relationship with the Syria office: “We had an agency agreement in Syria but it was never active and we never had any business in that country,” said Sam Papanikolas.

Documents showed some shipments were certified by a quality control firm called Inspectorate, owned by Paris-based firm Bureau Veritas. A Bureau Veritas spokeswoman in Paris said Inspectorate had previously employed a subcontractor in Syria but had stopped since October 2011, and any certificates this year would have been issued without the firm’s knowledge.

After leaving Iraq, the crude oil was delivered to Sidi Kerir on the 200 mile SUMED pipeline, which runs from the Red Sea to the port west of Alexandria, where it was loaded onto Iranian ships.

According to Reuters AIS Live ship tracking data, which monitors the location of oil tankers via satellite, the four ships each sailed north towards Syria. Each ship switched off its satellite signals just before the delivery date in Syria, then reappeared on satellite tracking shortly after. In some cases the satellite data also contains information about cargo weight, which confirms that the cargo was unloaded while the ships’ signals were shut off.

“Aiming to cut off a regime from oil supplies is very very difficult,” said Ayham Kamel, Middle East and North Africa analyst at Eurasia Group consultancy in London said. “Especially as the regime still has a few allies.”

(Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov in Washington, Jessica Donati in Kabul, Jonathan Saul and Lin Noueihed in London, Laila Bassam in Beirut, Maggie Fick and Shadia Nasralla in Cairo, Ahmed Rasheed and Sylvia Westall in Baghdad, Amena Bakr in Doha and Daniel Fineren in Dubai; Editing by David Sheppard and Peter Graff)



ibn tufail

In physics, elasticity is the tendency of solid materials to return to their original shape after being deformed. Solid objects will deform when forces are applied on them. If the material is elastic, the object will return to its initial shape and size when these forces are removed.

The physical reasons for elastic behavior can be quite different for different materials. In metals, the atomic lattice changes size and shape when forces are applied (energy is added to the system). When forces are removed, the lattice goes back to the original lower energy state. For rubbers and other polymers, elasticity is caused by the stretching of polymer chains when forces are applied.

Perfect elasticity is an approximation of the real world and few materials remain purely elastic even after very small deformations. In engineering, the amount of elasticity of a material is determined by two types of material parameter. The first type of material parameter is called a modulus which measures the amount of force per unit area (stress) needed to achieve a given amount of deformation. The units of modulus are pascals (Pa) or pounds of force per square inch (psi, also lbf/in2). A higher modulus typically indicates that the material is harder to deform. The second type of parameter measures the elastic limit. The limit can be a stress beyond which the material is no longer elastic or a deformation beyond which elasticity is lost.

When describing the relative elasticities of two materials, both the modulus and the elastic limit have to be considered. Rubbers typically have a low modulus and tend to stretch a lot (that is, they have a high elastic limit) and so appear more elastic than metals (high modulus and low elastic limit) in everyday experience. Of two rubber materials with the same elastic limit, the one with a lower modulus will appear to be more elastic

When an elastic material is deformed due to an external force, it experiences internal forces that oppose the deformation and restore it to its original state if the external force is no longer applied. There are various elastic moduli, such as Young’s modulus, the shear modulus, and the bulk modulus, all of which are measures of the inherent stiffness of a material as a resistance to deformation under an applied load. The various moduli apply to different kinds of deformation. For instance, Young’s modulus applies to uniform extension, whereas the shear modulus applies to shearing.

For isotropic materials, the presence of fractures affects the Young and the shear modulus perpendicular to the planes of the cracks, which decrease (Young’s modulus faster than the shear modulus) as the fracture density increases,[8] indicating that the presence of cracks makes bodies brittler. Microscopically, the stress-strain relationship of materials is in general governed by the Helmholtz free energy, a thermodynamic quantity. Molecules settle in the configuration which minimizes the free energy, subject to constraints derived from their structure, and, depending on whether the energy or the entropy term dominates the free energy, materials can broadly be classified as energy-elastic and entropy-elastic. As such, microscopic factors affecting the free energy, such as the equilibriumdistance between molecules, can affect the elasticity of materials: for instance, in inorganic materials, as the equilibrium distance between molecules at 0 K increases, the bulk modulus decreases. [9] The effect of temperature on elasticity is difficult to isolate, because there are numerous factors affecting it. For instance, the bulk modulus of a material is dependent on the form of its lattice, its behavior under expansion, as well as the vibrations of the molecules, all of which are dependent on temperature.[

The elasticity of materials is described by a stress-strain curve, which shows the relation between stress (the average restorative internal force per unit area) and strain (the relative deformation).[1] For most metals or crystaline materials, the curve is linear for small deformations, and so the stress-strain relationship can adequately be described by Hooke’s law and higher-order terms can be ignored. However, for larger stresses beyond the elastic limit, the relation is no longer linear. For even higher stresses, materials exhibit plastic behavior, that is, they deform irreversibly and do not return to their original shape after stress is no longer applied.[2] For rubber-like materials such as elastomers, the gradient of the stress-strain curve increases with stress, meaning that rubbers progressively become more difficult to stretch, while for most metals, the gradient decreases at very high stresses, meaning that they progressively become easier to stretch.[3] Elasticity is not exhibited only by solids; non-Newtonian fluids, such as viscoelastic fluids, will also exhibit elasticity in certain conditions. In response to a small, rapidly applied and removed strain, these fluids may deform and then return to their original shape. Under larger strains, or strains applied for longer periods of time, these fluids may start to flow like a viscous liquid.

Because the elasticity of a material is described in terms of a stress-strain relation, it is essential that the terms stress and strain be defined without ambiguity. Typically, two types of relation are considered. The first type deals with materials that are elastic only for small strains. The second deals with materials that are not limited to small strains. Clearly, the second type of relation is more general.

For small strains, the measure of stress that is used is the Cauchy stress while the measure of strain that is used is the infinitesimal strain tensor. The stress and strain measures are related by a linear relation known as Hooke’s law. Linear elasticity describes the behavior of such materials. Cauchy elastic materials and Hypoelastic materials are models that extend Hooke’s law to allow for the possibility of large rotations.

For more general situations, any of a number of stress measures can be used provided they are work conjugate to an appropriate finite strain measure, i.e., the product of the stress measure and the strain measure should be equal to the internal energy (which does not depend on how the stress or strain are measured). Hyperelasticity is the preferred approach for dealing with finite strains and several material models analogous to Hooke’s law are in use.


Scientists Prove Deadly Human MERS Virus Also Infects Camels

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have proved for the first time that the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus that has killed 71 people can also infect camels, strengthening suspicions the animals may be a source of the human outbreak.

Researchers from the Netherlands and Qatar used gene-sequencing techniques to show that three dromedary, or one-humped camels, on a farm in Qatar where two people had contracted the MERS coronavirus (CoV) were also infected.
The study, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal on Tuesday, confirms preliminary findings released by Qatari health officials last month. Camels are used in the region for meat, milk, transport and racing.
But the researchers cautioned it is too early to say whether the camels were definitely the source of the two human cases – in a 61-year-old man and then in a 23-year-old male employee of the farm – and more research is needed.
“This is definitive proof that camels can be infected with MERS-CoV, but based on the current data we cannot conclude whether the humans on the farm were infected by the camels or vice versa,” said Bart Haagmans of Rotterdam’s Erasmus Medical Centre, who led the study with other Dutch and Qatari scientists.
He said a further possibility is that humans and camels could have been infected “from a third as yet unknown source”.
“The big unknown is the exact timing of infections, both in the persons and in the camels,” he added. Both the men infected in Qatar recovered.
Scientists around the world have been searching for the animal source, or reservoir, of MERS virus infections ever since the first human cases were confirmed in September 2012.
Globally to date, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says there have been 163 laboratory-confirmed human cases of MERS, including 71 deaths. The WHO is also aware of around a dozen other probable but unconfirmed MERS cases in people.
In humans, MERS cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, which can be fatal. Cases have so far been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Tunisia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Britain.
British researchers who conducted some of the first genetic analyses on MERS last September said the virus, which is from the same family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, is also related to a virus found in bats.
In the Qatar study, researchers collected clinical samples – including nasal swabs, blood and rectal swabs, as well as stool samples – from 14 dromedary camels living in a barn in Qatar where in the previous week, the 61-year-old owner of the barn had been diagnosed with MERS infection.
The samples were sent to laboratories in the Netherlands for genetic analysis and antibody testing, which confirmed the presence of MERS in three of the animals.
Researchers said the virus gene sequences were very similar – although not identical – to those identified in the two people from the same site.
They also noted that all 14 of the camels tested had antibodies to MERS, suggesting the virus might have been circulating among the animals for some time, allowing most of them to build up immune protection against infection.
Since they were not able to say definitely whether the virus had passed from the camels to humans, or the other way, the researchers stressed they also could not rule out that other common livestock species, like cattle, sheep and goats, or other animals, may be involved in the spread of MERS.
To help find more answers, they said, researchers should aim to plot detailed case histories of all human cases of MERS, including any exposure to animals or animal products as well as links with other infected people.
(Editing by Alister Doyle)

Saudi Expulsions Leave Broken Dreams In Africa & Asia

By Angus McDowall , Praveen Menon and Aaron Maasho


A foreign labourer works at the construction site of a building in Riyadh November 27, 2013. Economists say the reforms that prompted Saudi Arabia’s tough new policy on foreign workers are needed to restructure an economy skewed towards cheap imported labour and address a long term challenge of youth unemployment. International migration and rights groups have acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s right to deport visa violators and change its employment rules to favour locals, but are critical of the way the crackdown has been carried out. Picture taken November 27, 2013. To match Feature SAUDI-FOREIGN/WORKERS REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

RIYADH/DUBAI/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – More than a million people from across the world – managers, maids, accountants and laborers – have left Saudi Arabia since March, after years or even decades working in the Gulf Arab state, which sustains its own citizens with oil revenues.

Around 120,000 Ethiopians have been deported in the past month alone as part of a visa crackdown aimed at pushing more Saudis into employment to ensure future political and economic stability.

“We were kicked out of our homes and our jobs,” said Mohamed Ahmed, 27, waiting with thousands of other Ethiopians at a transit centre behind Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport after disembarking with a few bags from Saudi Arabian Airlines jets.

Like many others, Ahmed, who spent five years in Saudi Arabia after crossing the Red Sea in a fishing boat and trekking through turbulent Yemen, had to leave at short notice.

“We left all our belongings there,” he said.

Saudi Arabia avoided significant unrest during the Arab Spring pro-democracy protest wave in 2011, but its leaders were uncomfortably aware that entrenched unemployment was a big factor behind rebellions in other Arab states.

Cheap labor from 10 million foreigners in the country hampered previous government efforts to persuade the private sector to employ some of the 20 million locals.
Many of those who have left were illegal immigrants like Ahmed, who crossed the kingdom’s porous borders or stayed on after the haj pilgrimage, which attracts around 2 million foreign visitors to Mecca every year.

Many others came to Saudi Arabia legally then fell foul of rigid visa rules, which require all expatriates to work for a single employer in a field specified on their residence permit and are often used to exploit migrants.


Mohammed Yunus, 27, was brought to Saudi Arabia by an employment agency to work at a hotel after taking loans to travel to the kingdom, but was soon told to leave his job.

His sponsor then demanded 7,000 riyals a year ($1,867) to sign off on his visa papers while he found odd jobs on building sites and in grocery shops to pay his debts. Such tales of extortion are common among low-paid workers in the country.

“I am trying to get back to Saudi. There’s no way I can repay my debts by working in India,” said Yunus, who worked in Saudi Arabia for five years before leaving during an amnesty declared in March to encourage expatriates to head home without paying fines for violating residency rules.

The government said about 4 million people changed their visas to stay in the country, while another million left during the amnesty and can apply for new visas in future.

When it ended in early November, forcible deportations began. Authorities raided shops, offices, marketplaces and streets in low-income areas, checking residence permits.

The Labor Ministry has said it will set up new tribunals to hear expatriates’ complaints about their sponsors, but it has no plans to change the sponsorship system itself, something even a Saudi government-affiliated rights group recommends.


International migration and rights groups have acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s right to deport visa violators and change its employment rules to favor locals, but are critical of the way the crackdown has been carried out.

Deportees returning to Yemen and Ethiopia have reported ill treatment, including physical abuse and poor conditions at holding centers before they were expelled, the International Organization of Migration, an international agency, said.

When millions rushed to rectify minor visa infringements earlier this summer, government departments appeared unprepared, causing vast numbers of people to queue in temperatures of 40 celsius, some for more than 24 hours.

The government has dismissed allegations of abuse and chaotic policymaking as a foreign “smear campaign”, saying it welcomed expatriates who abide by the rules, and that 250,000 Saudis have gained jobs as a result of its crackdown.

The human impact of making way for them has reverberated across the world. In Yemen, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Indonesia and India, politicians have voiced concern about the fate of their citizens in the kingdom. Egypt, Sri Lanka and the Philippines are all affected too.

“I’m going back with literally nothing. All that I earned here has been spent on raising my children,” said Abdul Kareem Shamshudeen, 53, who returned to the Indian state of Kerala last week after illegally doing odd jobs in shops for 20 years.

The impact has even been felt in other wealthy oil-exporting Gulf nations, which also have large expatriate populations and where many of those leaving Saudi Arabia now want to seek work – including Yunus, if he cannot go back.

“I’m always hopeful there will be another chance,” he said.

Although official unemployment among Saudis is around 12 percent, economists estimate up to two thirds are not in the labor force. Those who do work mostly have government jobs, the absolute monarchy’s way of spreading oil wealth and buying social peace, and tend to support large extended families.

While the world’s top exporter now enjoys large surpluses, economists say a rising population and growing domestic energy consumption mean the burden of creating work must move to the private sector for the economy to continue to thrive.


The cost for many migrant workers has been high. In the poor south Riyadh neighborhood of Manfouha, an Ethiopian man was killed in a confrontation with police during a visa raid. Days later, local anger spilled into clashes between Ethiopian migrants, riot police and some Saudis, leaving three dead.

Ahmed, the returnee to Addis Ababa, said gangs of Saudis attacked Ethiopians and raped Ethiopian women. Saudis said Ethiopians had started the riot, rampaging through Manfouha with knives and sticks.

I gave myself up. I was afraid of getting killed,” he said.

For the millions of expatriates remaining in Saudi Arabia, many of whom are still thought to be in breach of residency laws, the crackdown inspires gallows humor.

A comic song called Ja Jawazat, “Passport department is coming”, has attracted a million views on YouTube. Faez Choudhary, a Pakistani national who wrote the song, was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and works at a Riyadh shopping mall.

“I want to help other expatriates, especially those born here, understand this is our country as well,” he said.

“I myself feel like a Saudi, sometimes.”

(Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; editing by Philippa Fletcher)


Syrian Islamist Rebels To Meet U.S. Officials: Opposition Sources

By Mariam Karouny and Dasha Afanasieva


Free Syrian army fighters play with snow in Aleppo’s Karm al-Jabal district, December 13,2013. Picture taken December 13,2013. REUTERS/Saad AboBrahim

BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syrian rebel commanders from the Islamic Front which seized control of bases belonging to Western-backed rebels last week are due to hold talks with U.S. officials in Turkey in coming days, rebel and opposition sources said on Saturday.

The expected contacts between Washington and the radical fighters reflect the extent to which the Islamic Front alliance has eclipsed the more moderate Free Syrian Army brigades – which Western and Arab powers tried in vain to build into a force able to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

The talks could also decide the future direction of the Islamic Front, which is engaged in a standoff with yet more radical Sunni Muslim fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

A rebel fighter with the Islamic Front said he expected the talks in Turkey to discuss whether the United States would help arm the front and assign to it responsibility for maintaining order in the rebel-held areas of northern Syria.

He declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks, and gave no further details. Diplomatic sources in Turkey said that U.S. Syria envoy Robert Ford was expected in Istanbul soon but his schedule was not yet confirmed.

The Islamic Front, formed by the unification of six major Islamist groups last month, seized control a week ago of weapons stores nominally under the control of the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Command (SMC).

It has since said it was asked to take over the base by the SMC to protect it from attack by ISIL fighters. Whether or not the move was requested, it demonstrated how little power the Western-backed SMC wields in rebel-held Syria.

An SMC rebel commander also said he had been told the Islamic Front would hold talks with U.S. officials in Turkey in the coming days.
The infighting and rivalries among the rebels have undermined their fight against Assad in Syria’s 2-1/2 year civil war, which has killed more than 125,000 people according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The conflict has also reduced whole city districts across Syria to rubble, causing tens of billions of dollars of damage, driven 2 million refugees to seek safety abroad and made millions more homeless and vulnerable to a winter storm which has covered the region in snow and biting rain.


The Islamic Front rebel told Reuters that rivalry with the ISIL had already led to a spate of hostage-taking between the two sides, and that the Front’s decision to talk to the Americans had further escalated tension.

Although he described the two Islamist forces as ideologically close, he said ISIL appeared set on confrontation, perhaps encouraged by some of their backers in Saudi Arabia.

“The front has to talk to ISIL via messengers because of the tense situation,” he said. “ISIL sees things in black and white. They are very stubborn.”

“So far the Islamic Front has been restraining itself, having some sort of dialogue with ISIL,” the rebel said. But he said that unless the hostages were released soon “there will be more discussions and a different decision will be taken”.

Contacts with the United States will not be undertaken lightly by the Islamic Front, which includes Salafi groups such as Ahrar al-Sham brigades which are mainly hostile to the West and have rejected U.S.-Russian backed U.N. peace talks for Syria, due to be held in Switzerland next month.

But their leaders have compared engaging with Washington to the Prophet Muhammad’s (s) temporary and tactical truces with enemy tribes as he built up his power.

The U.S. State Department, asked earlier this month whether it was in contact with Islamist rebels in Syria, said it wanted to work with a range of groups to try to persuade them to be part of the peace negotiations.

Rebels control a large region of northern and eastern Syria but have failed to unite in a single military force, allowing Assad’s army to make some inroads around the northern city of Aleppo in recent weeks.

The army, backed by Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas and Shi’ite Iraqi fighters, has also recaptured towns and suburbs around Damascus and along the main highway north from the capital towards the central city of Homs.

Last week’s Islamic Front seizure of the SMC weapons bases led the United States and Britain to suspend non-lethal aid into northern Syria. But the opposition Syrian National Coalition said on Friday that more help, not less, was desperately needed.

“We know that we have a problem, we know that we don’t have the organized military institutions that we want. We know of the challenges of the loose organization of the Free Syrian Army,” Coalition chief of staff Monzer Abkik said in London.

Appealing for international support to restructure the rebel forces, he said the alternative to an overhaul of their military operations was “complete chaos”.

“There are many, many groups fighting the regime and fighting each other and fighting al Qaeda. It is a complete mess on the ground,” he said.

(Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Alison Williams)


Aga Khan’s 77th Birthday Celebrations – Khushali Greetings to the Pluralist Icon of the World

By Mike Ghouse

Every child, teen and an adult has someone or the other that he or she looks up to, and wants to-be-like that person and eventually becomes one. A good role model is a key to the success of a civil society. Indeed we have a few good men and women who are great role models for Muslims to look up to. 

His Highness Aga Khan is one Muslim figure that is respected around the world for his work in uplifting fellow beings; the very foundational duty of a Muslim. Quran is inundated with verses that always end emphasizing on taking care of fellow beings over everything else. In simple words, a mother or a father would be happier if their kids get along, and they would be even happier if the one doing well were to lift up the other siblings who were not doing well. Similarly God will be most pleased if we take care our fellow beings;his creation.

Indeed, His Highness Aga Khan has pleased God of the Aalameen (of all people) with his work. His work is not limited to one community, but the whole humanity as God wanted and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had reiterated.

He is an inspiration to me, and among the living pluralists today he is one of the few who has actually taken the steps to build an educational system, the  Global Center for Pluralism in Canada to bring about a positive change in the world. Harvard University is another institution that has done extensive research on Pluralism with Diana Eck. And now, God willing, I am looking forward to setting up an Institution to conduct workshops and teach pluralism based on my twenty years of studies of societies,  and I welcome all the help I can.

It is our duty to honor and cherish individuals who have dedicated their lives in building bridges between communities. Their pioneering spirit in facilitating communities to know and to respect each other must be appreciated (Quran 49:13).

Through their speeches, actions and writings, I have identified a few men and women who are inherent pluralists such as HH Aga Khan, Pope Francis, Karen Armstrong, Barack Obama, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Dalai Lama, Bishop Tutu, Eboo Patel, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Pope Francis and a few others. Thank God, Pluralism runs in my veins, and I hope to work with these great men and women in the coming years to foster Pluralism; i.e., respecting the otherness of others.

On his 77th Birthday, I urge fellow Muslims to work on writing about these men and women, and how their work can last for centuries to come. Aga Khan’s speeches and writings must become a part of social studies in school text books, Islamic social education at Mosques and private schools.  He is our role model!

The role of Muslims is to contribute towards the well being of humanity, to be  conflict mitigaters and goodwill nurturers. To aim for a secure world for every human. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; life and matter.

HH Karim Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. He is a direct descendent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through Prophet’s daughter Hazrat Fatima (ra) and Hazrat Ali (ra), who was the first cousin of Prophet Muhammad, and the first Imam in Shia tradition.

Indeed, Hazrat Ali was the first male to become a Muslim when the Prophet (s) shared his message of oneness of God, accountability of one’s actions and creating cohesive societies through justice.

Karim Aga Khan was born on December 13, 1936. At the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan and became the 49th hereditary Imam of the community.  He is the living interpreter of Qur’an and provides authoritative guidance on matters of faith to the Ismaili Muslims.

Khushali is a weeklong birthday celebration of HH Aga Khan. The entire Ismaili Muslim community meets in the Jamaat Khana (community center) for the whole week, extolling his work and his service to their community and humanity. 

He is one of the rare gems of Islamic scholarship and a Harvard Graduate. He has understood the essence of Islam and articulates it very well. Islam to him is serving and caring for people around you, regardless of their affiliation. A vision put forth by the Prophet, when he said a good deed is like planting a seed, knowing full well, that you may not be the beneficiary of the fruit and shade of the eventual tree in years to come, the Prophet (s) said, that is a good deed, it is leaving a good legacy for the next generation, as we have bequeathed from the previous one.

One of the unique qualities of Aga Khan is his ability to seamlessly blend the spiritual and the material worlds. Prophet Muhammad (s) and Hazrat Ali, both preached moderation, and creating a balance between ascetic living and living for material comforts. 

I drop things to read and listen to his speeches, it’s all about pluralism.  I urge fellow humans to consider listening to him. His talks encompass the idea embedded in God being the God of the universes, not for the 47% but for the full 100% of his creation.  Prophet Muhammad (s) is the mercy to mankind, not just Muslims but the entire 100% of humanity, what he preached was to create cohesive societies, where no human had to live in fear of the other. The only fear he advocated was fear of God for doing wrong to fellow beings.

Aga Khan lives by example to his 15 Million plus followers around the world. The best way to learn about him is his work, the development work to uplift the ones in the ditches, his institution teaches them how to catch the fish and be self supporting. Visit

May he live a long life and serve his community, the Muslim community and every one of the 7 billion of humans.

I am pleased to include Dr. Peerwani’s comment:

Thank you Mike for posting this on His Highness the Aga Khan, a truly remarkable man. The Ismailies, as you are aware, follow the “batini” path and differ in some of the practices. It is truly sad that they are maligned and rejected by the orthodoxy. As the Arab Spring now moves into its second phase, acceptance of diversity will be the litmus test. Without this, there is no democracy. Let me quote something from the speech of PM Harper of Canada:

“Your Highness, there are no superlatives to adequately describe the admiration Canadians have for the work that you and your organizations do in the service of pluralism, peace and development around the world. You truly inspire our own hopes for a better world. We Canadians are rightly proud of the fact that we have built one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse and harmonious societies on earth. This achievement is rooted in our founding values: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

But it’s also rooted in our unique history and the heroic agreements our founding peoples made to acknowledge and accommodate their diversity. As you yourself have said, you’re Highness, and I quote, “We cannot make the world safe for democracy unless we also make the world safe for diversity.” If I may say so, sir, you sound like a Canadian. And in fact, you are. On June 19, 2009, our House of Commons voted unanimously to bestow Honorary Canadian Citizenship on His Highness the Aga Khan. This is, if I may say, a richly deserved honor.”

(Abstract from the Speech by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Foundation Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, May 10, 2010)

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam and building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His work is all linked up at and published in major news papers and magazine including his blog –


Hakim Joins Jets

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

4f9f0265dc999.preview-300American football player Saalim Hakim was placed on the active roster of the National Football League’s New York Jets this past week after a season-ending injury to receiver Stephen Hill. He was originally signed to the Practice Squad by Jets in October of this year. Hakim is the brother is former NFL wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim. Saalim was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2012 NFL Draft out of Palomar College. He subsequently made his NFL debut for the Jets this past weekend against the Carolina Panthers, and finished with one carry for eight yards.

Hakim has had a meandering professional career thus far. He first played the 2011 season with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. He played four games in which he recorded 3 receptions, 81 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown.

He then signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in April of 2012. The Cowboys subsequently released him just before the start of the 2012 season. In November of 2012, He signed with the St. Louis Rams and was place on their Practice Squad. In December of 2012 he was signed away from the Rams’ Practice Squad by the New Orleans Saints. But he was once again released in August of 2013, before finally being picked up by the Jets.


Mundine Stuns Mosely

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,


Australian Muslim boxer Anthony Mundine scored a sixth-round technical knockout over Shane Mosley in their World Boxing Association (WBA) international super welterweight title fight Wednesday, the first knockout of any kind for the American Mosley. That is a feat of which the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Oscar de la Hoya cannot boast.

The 42-year-old Mosley decided to quit before the seventh round, citing back spasms. He said he would decide after he returned to the U.S. whether he would retire. “What’s done is done,” Mosley said when asked whether he would fight again.

Mundine, a 38-year-old former rugby player, improved to 45-5 with 26 knockouts at Homebush in western Sydney. Mundine was leading 58-56 on two cards and 60-55 on the third. “I was in killer mode, but my heart goes out to Shane, I know he’s a winner,” Mundine told the press. “He’s not one to pull out for nothing. He’s one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived.”

An indigenous Australian, Mundine converted to Islam in 1999. He has been outspoken in his political views, having been called at one time “…the most polarizing athlete in Australian sports history.” And having been such an accomplished rugby player, Mundine was also once called “…arguably the greatest crossover athlete in boxing history.” The fight with Mosley was delayed for five weeks over financial issues, including a last-minute cancellation on October 23rd of this year.


Community Service Day at Pakistan Center


Khalid Khan getting the Plaque of Life Time Achievement Award of PAAGH from Honorable Consul General of Pakistan Afzaal Mahmmod: President of PAAGH Tasleem Siddiqui and Chad Khan of HBDi Looks On…

Consulate of Pakistan to Arrange Community Service Day at Pakistan Center in Partnership with PAAGH on Second Saturday of the Next Three Months: Welcoming Event for Honorable Afzaal Mahmood at Pakistan Center

Houston, Texas: This past Sunday Khalid Khan of Capricorn Travel and former President of the Pakistani-American Association of Greater Houston (PAAGH) received the coveted “Life Time Achievement Award of PAAGH” at Pakistan Center, for his untiring community services. Recently Khalid Khan has played instrumental role in getting the high overdue taxes penalties’ on Pakistan Center, and has got its note refinanced for a reasonably lower amount of under $1 million. The appraised value of Pakistan Center is said to be over $2 Million.

All this information was relayed by Khalid Khan and Tasleem Siddiqui (present President of PAAGH), at a special event arranged to welcome the new Consul General of Pakistan. Other speakers, who touted this achievement were Mian Shabbir and Ghulam Bombaywala; and they informed how this Pakistan Center has been used for humanitarian services, especially when any unfortunate calamity hits Pakistan or locally in USA.

Emcees of the evening were Vice President of PAAGH Asif Waheed and Farah Khan.

After rendering good services to the Pakistani Community, Honorable Consul General of Pakistan Muhammad Aqil Nadeem in Houston was replaced by Honorable Afzaal Mahmood. Representative Organization of the Pakistani Community in Houston PAAGH this past Sunday arranged a befitting and largely attended welcoming party for Honorable Afzaal Mahmood and his wife.

“What we have seen in him, we have found him to be most intelligent, simple, and a person, who can properly analyze personalities’,” informed President of PAAGH Mr. Tasleem Siddiqui, talking about the new Consul General of Pakistan.

Pakistan Center was beautifully decorated and sumptuous appetizers & food was served to the large number of Pakistanis that had gathered to welcome the new Consul General.

Talking on the occasion, Honorable Consul General Afzaal Mahmood congratulated the trustees and executive members of PAAGH for their volunteering services and establishing of Pakistan Center, which he said are not that many around the world. He said he has learned that there are people, who do not like the location & sight of this Pakistan Center. He said their viewpoint should be listened to with all the respect, but to totally abandon ones’ birthplace or parents is not a good trait: This initial Pakistan Center is just like that.

Honorable Consul General Afzaal Mahmood announced that rather than putting his pictures in the newspapers, local newspaper media should inform the community that Consulate of Pakistan will be organizing “Community Service Day” from 9am till 5pm on the second Saturday of each of the next three months, and if it goes well, this community services of consular servers will be continued. He himself will join in this effort, which will start with the first community services day on Saturday, January 11th, 2014. He added that it will be good if doctors, family counselors, and people of other expertise can also render their services for the community at Pakistan Center on this day, it will be extremely useful.

Honorable Consul General Afzaal Mahmood informed that just like all the Pakistanis, he is well aware of importance and need of Pakistani Consulate to be in a centrally located place in and around the Galleria; and for that he has sent a special request to the authorities in Pakistan. He said his doors are open, and if someone reaches the consulate after traveling long distance, lets’ say from Sugar Land, and wants to see him, if he is at the Consulate, he will readily meet.