Community News (V12-I25)

Muslim Matters

Community News (V12-I25)

Halal hot dog eating contest in Dearborn

DEARBORN,MI–In what be the first of its kind, a halal hot dog eating contest is being held in Dearborn city of Michigan. The contest is being sponsored by Leo’s Coney Island in Dearborn and is part of the 15th Annual Dearborn Arab International Festival. According to a press release, cash prizes will be awarded to those who eat the most hot dogs.

The festival is being held from June 18-20th and is organized by the American Arab Chamber of Commerce.

“It is the most vibrant time of the year,” said American Arab Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fay Beydoun. “Every year more and more people of all races and cultures are joining us in celebrating our rich heritage. It also adds an economic boost to the local economy.”

Community activist Shirley Qahhar passes away

CLEVELAND,OH–Longtime community activist Shirley Qahhar passed away this week in Celevaland. She was the wife of Imam Abdul Qahhar, the local chiarman of the New Black Panther Party. According to local leaders she played a major role in the  Coalition for A Better Life, The Task Force for Community Mobilization and Peace in the Hood, as well as many local, state and national organizations.

According to Peace in the Hood, CEO, Amir Khalid Samad, “Sister Shirley Qahhar played a major role in helping us to organize the first National African Holocaust (MAAFA) and Reparations Conference in America, if not the world. Her activism and organizational abilities, as well as her loyalty to her husband, a former political prisoner during the Louisville 7 era is a testimony to her consistency and love for liberation for our people and humanity. She will be greatly missed.”

CT Muslims pray for end to Gulf disaster

HARTFORD,CT–Muslims in Connecticut last week prayed for an end to the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and for the environment.

Imams also focused their sermons at Friday prayers on seeking a quick end to the calamity.

The prayers are part of a nationwide effort led by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. Muslims also are being encouraged to volunteer to help relief efforts on the Gulf Coast. There are more than 2,000 mosques in the country.

Muslim, Jewish doctors hold health fair

JAMAICA,NY–Relations might be tense in the Middle East, but that hasn’t stopped Jewish and Muslim doctors in New York to come together for a common cause. They held a joint health fair at the Jamaica Muslim Center last Sunday. The services included health screenings and consultations, news portal reported.

Imam Shamsi Ali coordinated the event along with Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov of Kehilath Sephardim Bukharian Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills.

“I’m always happy to see that we can work together,” Nisanov said. “At the end of the day, we are more the same than we are different.”

Walter Ruby, the Muslim-Jewish relations program officer for The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which co-sponsored the event, said leaders of the Bukharian Jewish community visited the Jamaica Muslim Center and decided to put on the health fair after they were warmly received at the mosque.

“It’s very good for us to build these ties,” Ruby said, noting the fair helped out those who did not have health insurance.

“If Jews and Muslims together can make a little dent in that, it’s very powerful,” he said.

Career day at Islamic school in Colonie

COLONIE, NY–A career day was held at An Nur Islamic School on Saturday. Among the dozen professionals who spoke at the event were an Imam, a teacher, a dental hygienist, an army representative and a doctor.

The event was organized by the school PTO. An Nur Islamic School is a full-time pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade school, recognized by the state and in compliance with state policies governing education. An Nur’s curriculum encompasses the required state standards as well as Quranic, Arabic and Islamic studies.

Peaceful Islam: Book by UH sociologist chronicles Gülen Movement of Turkey

Aims to instruct, dispel myths of Muslims and Islam for a Western audience

The damage wrought upon Muslims following the terror attacks of 9-11 is incalculable. Many still suffer, linked by outsiders who promote a skewed association to those who claim to represent Islam.

University of Houston sociologist Helen Rose Ebaugh has written a book that examines an Islamic movement that is rooted in education, interfaith exchange and peace. “The Gülen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam” is the result of two years of research.

“They are an example of Islam that we do not hear about in the media,” said Ebaugh, who teaches a course on world religions.

Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish imam whose works helped start a civic movement in the 1960s to educate young people and inspire Turkish people to invest in that endeavor. Ebaugh spent two years conducting interviews with Turkish businesspeople, journalists and average people whose support of Gülen’s ideas is woven into their personal and professional values. Ebaugh says she was careful to explain to her hosts and interviewees that she would report on whatever she found.
“What I present is grounded in a sociological perspective that I hope will connect with a Western audience,” she said. “I am a social scientist; I’m not a member of the movement. You’re looking at an objective outsider.”

The book contains chapters on Islam throughout Turkish history, the Turkish-Islamic culture of giving, the life of Fethullah Gülen and the financing of his civic movement.

“He called on deeply entrenched Turkish values of zakat and hospitality,” Ebaugh said. “It’s a Turkish thing and very much an Islamic thing.”

Ebaugh’s research also conveys stories from the many people who benefited from Gülen-inspired schools. She said many explained that without the schools or dormitories in which to live, they would not have been able to pursue an education. She said for some, especially in southeastern Turkey, their only other alternatives were those provided by radical religious and ethnic groups.

Ebaugh says that participants in the Gülen movement are now in more than 100 countries, including the United States and the city of Houston.

“This is not an isolationist movement. People want to integrate into the places where they live,” she said. “They hold workshops to share information about their culture and faith. They take people to Turkey and they promote interfaith dialogue. Here are Muslims promoting peace,” she said.


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