Community News as of May 4

The long search for an Imam

TUCSON, AZ—The Islamic Center of Tucson is searching for an Imam—- for the third time in three years. Mohammed Elfarroqui, the latest Imam of Tucson’s largest mosque, left due to personal reasons according to mosque officials. His predecessor had left abruptly in June 2003 after three years at the mosque. The salary of the Imam is between $50,000 to $60,000 per year. The Imam search committee of the mosque is looking for someone with sound knowledge of Islam, a college degree, preferably from an Islamic institution, and a good command of English and Arabic. The potential candidate should also be legal resident of US and must willing to work with a diverse community. The Islamic Center of Tucson serves about 1200 worshippers.

Maqsood Ahmad, chairman of the mosque’s board of trustees, told the Arizona Star, “It’s not that easy to find an imam that can take care of a community as diversified as Tucson. Our mosque serves 30-plus nationalities. Tucson is unique ó it is a good-sized town but has only one major mosque.”

He added that the mosque needs a leader who can help with Muslim youth programs and can represent the Muslim community in interfaith relations. He expects a new imam will be hired sometime this year, possibly within the next month or two.

Averroes Academy gets tentative approval for move

CHICAGO— The Averroes Academy, an Islamic school elementary school, operating out of the Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago, is planning to move to a new site in Northbrook. It has received tentative approval from the Northbrook Village Board to build the academy’s first free-standing building on a vacant lot.

The school has been looking for an appropriate site for years. “We finally found a piece of land that is close to our current location, and we’re really happy because Northbrook has been real good to us,” said board member Azam Nizamuddin.

The main concern for village officials is whether fire fighting vehicles can enter the access drive in the event of an emergency. Village Trustee A.C. Buehler said he saw no insurmountable problems with the preliminary plans for the school.

The new school will have a complete gym and science labs and will serve 200 students in kindergarten through eights grade—an increase from the current 65 kindergarten through fifth grade.

Shots fired at Salisbury Islamic Center

SALISBURY, MD—The police say nobody was hurt after shots were fired Thursday into the Islamic Center of Delmarva located in Salisbury.

According to the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to the Islamic Center located at 7843 Jersey Rd., to investigate a shooting incident. Upon arrival, deputies discovered shots were fired into the building. The police say one person was inside the building at the time but was unharmed.

Detectives with the Wicomico Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene along with the Maryland State Police Crime Lab to conduct a further investigation into the incident. The police did not have any suspects nor mention the motivation behind the shooting and said the investigation is continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers at (410) 548-1776.

Marwa Kaisey for USAC’s top job

LOS ANGELES,CA— Marwa Kaisey, a third year neuroscience and English student at UCLA , is running for the office of president of Undergraduate Students Association Council. She is involved with many organizations on campus including the United Arab Society, the Muslim Student Association and the Neuroscience Undergraduate Society. She was instrumental in working with the Jewish Student Union and the MSA to bring kosher and halal food to campus eateries and dining halls.

If elected, one of her plans would be to start a “Transfer Hub,” which would inform transfer students how to register for classes, write a resume, and get involved on campus.
Kaisey said she understands the process of adjusting to a new environment.She was born in Iraq and lived there until the age of 6, when she moved to Jordan for one year, England for five and Philadelphia for five more. When she was 16, her family made the move to San Diego.
“Having that background helps me relate to people and their diverse sets of problems,” she told the student newspaper.

Muslims march in immigration rally

CHICAGO, IL—Hundreds of Muslims were among the 400,000 people who marched in Chicago calling for immigration reform. Many local Muslim organizations had called for Muslims to participate in the rallies in large numbers. Marcher Seema Imam who held a sign “Muslims for (the) American Dream” told the Chicago Tribune, “”I think everything we grew up knowing about American democracy and the Constitution is being tested right now. I hope we pass the test.”

Ismaili center gets preliminary approval

GLENVIEW, IL—Glenview Village officials gave preliminary approval to an Ismaili group to build their house of worship despite opposition from some area residents. The Village trustees ruled that the plan was consistent with the village’s comprehensive plan to have adequate parking, east access for emergency vehicles and that the building is appropriate for the site, reported the Chicago Tribune.

The plan will go to the Village Board on May 16 when votes will be cast after public comment.
For past eleven months controversy have been brewing over the issue and about 1000 residents had signed a petition asking the village to deny the request. The opponents cited traffic and safety concern. Some residents believed the opposition was driven by a fear of Islam.

CCN’s Free Health Screenings

The Compassionate Care Network is organizing several free health screenings in Chicago area throughout the month of May.

Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Obesity and Dental Screenings at Muslim Youth Center on Mosque Foundation campus on Sat May 6 between 8 AM and 3 PM.

Glaucoma and Cataract Screening at Desplaines Mosque on Sunday May 14th between 10 am and 12 pm.

Visit for a complete schedule

Muslim Association of Hamilton gets new leader

The Muslim Association of Hamilton has elected Ejaz Butt as its new president. A former soldier in the Pakistani army he came to Canada in 1987.
He replaces Javed Mirza who recently stepped down. Butt plans to carry on Mirza’s legacy of trying to build better relations and understanding between religious faiths in the community.He is also determined to have the first traditionally designed mosque built in the city. The mosque where he was to be acclaimed was once a racquet club.
Butt, 53, is married and has two sons—Atis is a soldier in the Canadian army and Asim is a Hamilton police officer.

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