Community News North America 8-20

Muslim Matters

Community News North America 8-20

Accused mosque burglar arrested

CHARLESTON, SC—Darryl Kelly, who is suspected of burglarizing a Charleston mosque and forging a check surrendered last week. He is accused of breaking into the safe at Masjid Madina at 35 Nunan Street last month and stealing $166 and checks. A blank check already signed by the mosque treasurer was forged and cashed at a local bank for $300.

Bay Area Muslims discuss “United 93” fallout

FREMONT, CA—Bay Area Muslims fear that the movie “United 93” might spark anti-Islamic sentiments and hate attacks. At a symposium of the United Muslim American symposium in Newark speakers discussed the movie’s possible fallout.

Suhail Khan, associate director for congressional affairs at the Department of Transportation and a former White House aide under President George W.Bush, said he is still not certain whether it is too soon to produce a movie like that. “Five short years after 9/11, we’re seeing a movie produced that purports to relive the horrific moments of 9/11 and Flight 93,” Khan said. “I haven’t made up my mind about that issue honestly. “I do feel, obviously, that it will stir up anti-Muslim sentiments. But, I mean, it’s hard to make the situation worse.”

Keith Ellison wins Democratic endorsement for US house

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—State Representative Keith Ellison won the Democratic Party’s endorsement for the U.S.House in the fifth district. Ellison, a practicing Muslim, emerged out of a crowded field. He is likely to face stiff opposition in the primary in September.

If elected, Ellison would be the first African American and first Muslim in Congress from Minnesota. He said he won because his candidacy reaches out to everyone.

“We want Jewish people, we want Christians, we want Buddhists, we want Baha’is, we want Muslims,” Ellison said.

Before coming to the legislature, Ellison practiced law. He maintains his law practice in the new Minneapolis Urban League building on north Plymouth and Penn avenues, the heart of north Minneapolis. He is a 1990 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. He practiced with the firm of Linquist & Vennum for the first three years of his career. Thereafter, he led the Legal Rights Center, Inc., as its executive director for five years. At the Legal Rights Center, Ellison maintained a full-time case load, while managing the acquisition and remodeling of the Center’s building, and instituting a number of new and vital programs. After leaving the Legal Rights Center, Keith entered private practice with the law firm Hassan & Reed Ltd, where he specialized in trial practice.

Dr. Fazal Khan appointed VP Manufacturing of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals

CAMBRIDGE, MA— Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel treatments for autoimmune disease and cancer, today announced that Fazal Khan, Ph.D., has joined the Company as Vice President of Manufacturing. Dr. Khan will be an integral part of Merrimack’s leadership team and will be responsible for overseeing process and formulation development, contract manufacturing and facility design and construction.

“Fazal’s experience in the area of process development and cGMP manufacturing of biologic pharmaceuticals will significantly enhance our manufacturing expertise to support continued product development and future trials for our lead product, MM-093, as well as our emerging oncology pipeline,” said Vincent Simmon, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. “We are extremely pleased to add Fazal to our team at this important time in our corporate development,”

Dr. Khan brings to Merrimack 25 years of process development and manufacturing experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals sector. Most recently, he served as the Vice President at Collective Therapeutics, Inc. which was acquired by MedImmune in October 2005. Prior to Collective, Dr. Khan worked at Human Genome Sciences as Vice President of Manufacturing. Earlier, Dr. Khan was the Director of Biopharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing at Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc. During his tenure at Hoffmann-LaRoche, Dr. Khan managed process development, scale-up and cGMP manufacturing of biotechnology products from microbial and mammalian cell culture. He managed teams responsible for design, construction, start-up, and validation of cGMP manufacturing facilities for various products including Roferon-A(R), PEG interferon(R) and Xenapax(R). Dr. Khan received his B.S. in Biology and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Aligarh University in India.

“Merrimack is in a unique and exciting position with a lead product completing phase 2 trials in two major indications, multiple product candidates in the pipeline and a novel drug discovery and development platform, Network Biology, which integrates high throughput quantitative biology, computational modeling, and chemical engineering to discover and develop novel product candidates,” said Dr. Khan. “I am thrilled to be joining Merrimack at this important stage of its development, and look forward to working with an incredibly talented team of people to help drive our future success.”

All-Faiths center to come at USC campus

LOS ANGELES, CA—The University of Southern California, touted as one of the country’s most religiously diverse campuses, is planning to build a multi-faith center to accommodate the faithful of religions.

Planners picture a “kaleidoscope of activities” at the Multi-Faith Center for Research, Reflection and Practice.

As Rabbi Susan Laemmle, dean of religious life, envisions it, the center will enable students of “any background” to join Muslim students breaking the fast during Ramadan, or Christians observing Ash Wednesday, or Jews welcoming the Sabbath.

Plans call for a spacious interfaith hall, a library, counselling rooms, a dining space, Muslim prayer site with a nook for ceremonial washing, meditation spot for Buddhists, Hindu prayer space, including an altar, and an outdoor garden for prayer and reflection.

USC’s existing Center for Religion and Civic Culture and Office of Religious Life would move to the center.

Hartford Imam remembered for his outreach efforts

HARTFORD, CT—Imam Qasim Shairef of the Islamic Center of Hartford passed away last week at the St.Francis Hospital and Medical Center. The Imam led the mosque since 1988 and was a prominent figure in the area’s interfaith community. He also had the distinction of being the first Muslim chaplain of the Hartford Police Department.

Imam Sharief was a revert to Islam who was born and raised in New York. He came to Hartford in 1977 and worked at Electric Boat. Over the years he was on the board of Hartford Seminary, and a member of the New England Council of Masjids and the Islamic Council of New England. He also was on the staff of the Central Connecticut State University Campus Ministry.
Hundreds of area residents attended his janaza prayers. Ali Antar, leader of the Islamic Center of Greater Hartford in Berlin, said Sharief was a “unifying power for the Muslim community.”
“He was always there confronting the issues,” Antar said. “He was like a brother to me. It’s very tragic. It’s a loss for Muslims, and for Connecticut.”

Muslim center vandalized

SAN ANTONIO, TX— The Muslim Mission Center was vandalized last week. Imam Sadeeq Mateen says the thieves did substantial damage to the center. Rolls of toilet paper and tobacco littered the floors and gang signs and satanic drawings were scrawled on to the walls. They also stole several kitchen appliances and the public address system, along with some cash from the safe, reports the WOAI television.

Police say the suspects used a screwdriver to pry open the door and once inside, they ransacked the worship center.

The center was damaged by vandals at previous occasions as well. Imam Mateen says he doesn’t want to punish the offenders.

“I will not call the police, I would like to talk to them intellectually, find out why they would do something like this,” says Mateen “If they have any misconceptions about what we believe, that I will clear them up for them.”

Mateen says he doesn’t want the vandals to go jail; he just wants them to respect the center.

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