Community News (V12-I32)

Romana Mirza, Finalist in Female Mentor Awards

8750 TORONTO–Romana Mirza, president and founder of brand consultancy Studio Pinpointâ„¢, is one of seven Finalists and the only Canadian chosen for the 2010 International Femtor® Award  presented by eWomenNetworkâ„¢, an international businesswomen’s organization.

This international award recognizes and honours businesswomen who consistently mentor, network and generally help other entrepreneurs to succeed. Mirza, founder and president of brand consultancy Studio Pinpointâ„¢ , is one of seven Finalists for the 2010 Business Matchmaker Award as chosen from over 200 applicants. She is the only Canadian and Muslim  on the list.

An engaging entrepreneur, Mirza is known for her integrity-based, results-driven approach and draws from more than 20 years of marketing expertise to cleverly demystify brands and build business strategies helping businesses accelerate growth and increase profits. In addition her personal passion is networking.

“Being a Finalist is a huge validation for my work as a brand strategist,” says Mirza. “I’ve found that it’s only possible to really help someone when you really know what they’re about, only then can you make a real and honest connection. People regularly tell me that when I make introductions I really ‘get’ what they’re looking for. That I understand the type of person or company that would be a right ‘fit’. I’m a huge believer in knowing who you are. My consultancy, Studio Pinpoint, helps companies understand their true unique selves. Once you present yourself in a genuine way you build trust with your customers and that breeds success for your company. I guess I’ve been breeding success in the connections that I’ve made over the years because it’s what I look for – that authentic connection.”

“Romana has heart, personality and tenacity for helping others,” adds Karen Hung, Chief Marketing Officer, Direct Supply, a privately-held Long Term Care company. “In fact, her entire mindset and business model is about impacting others. On a Toronto community level, she created significant networking events to help others connect, find professional connections and career opportunities. Her relentless drive towards this calling has been felt by so many who have attended. I remember her inaugural networking event. She sponsored the entire event out-of-pocket when she was just a start-up entrepreneur. Further, she was very creative about how to share business cards, creating a business card table so dynamically; it was more productive and less threatening to exchange cards. She has sponsored and organized subsequent events that have grown tremendously. Her events, for the sole purpose of helping others connect, have had very strong turnouts, grown in attendance, been very vibrant and had very high interactive and dynamic energy.”

A born Canadian, Mirza has her roots in Hyderabad and comes from an illustrious family.  She is the great-grand daughter of the legendary Prime Minister Maharaja Kishen Pershad.

Protestors target Islamic Center of Temecula

LOS ANGELES, CA–Protestors demonstrated outside an Islamic cultural center in Temecula last week. The protestors are trying to block the planned construction of new Islamic mosque and cultural center near a local Baptist church.

The demonstration purposely coincided with afternoon prayers at the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley. Organizers are a fringe conservative group called Concerned Community Citizens. It encouraged protestors to show up with “guns, bibles and dogs.”  No one brought the dogs or guns but many carried anti-Islamic signs.

The 12-year-old Islamic Center plans to build a new 24,000 square foot mosque and cultural center on vacant land about seven miles from its current home. Opponents also cite worries over the mosque’s size, and potential environmental impact.

But Islamic Center chairman Hadi Nael says those issues were already addressed. He said  center is paying an additional $10,000 for a traffic impact study.

“We have the support of, and are working closely with, the city,” says Nael.

The mosque will also sit near Calvary Baptist Church. Its pastor Bill Rench publicly opposes the mosque.

“Wherever Islam is dominant, we see very different conditions, and we find widespread persecution against Christians,” says Rench in an open letter to parishioners. “We certainly find ample cause to oppose the spread of Islam. There are certainly plenty of people who oppose any spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In America, we still have (that) freedom. Islamic law does not provide that blessed freedom.”

Islamic Center chairman Hadi Nael says people’s fears are completely unfounded. He says Islamic Center officials have tried to reach out to Rench to help smooth out any misunderstandings, but those efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

“They have the right to express their opinion. Apparently they are not well informed about Islam and we have the right to practice our own religion,” said Nael, standing outside the Islamic Center.

Despite the frequently confrontational protest outside, the Islamic center’s afternoon prayers went on as planned. In a show of support, the Center’s worshippers were joined by several dozen Christian members of the Interfaith Council of the Temecula Valley.

The Islamic Center hopes to have its new mosque built by the end of next year.

Utah Islamic Center raises $100,00 for new mosque

SOUTH JORDAN, UT–The Utah Islamic Center moved one step closer last month to raising money needed to build a new mosque and school in south Salt Lake Valley, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

A fundraising dinner and auction held recently netted about $100,000, bringing the total raised to more than $300,000, said Nadeem Ahmed, chairman of the board of Utah Islamic Center in Salt Lake City. While the group estimates it will need $600,000 to $900,000 just for the land to build a new facility, Ahmed said organizers are pleased they are a third to halfway toward that goal.

An estimated 25,000 Muslims live in Utah, mainly along the Wasatch Front, according to the Utah Islamic Center.

The center rents 6,000 square feet of space to worship, in a strip mall at 9000 South and 225 West in Sandy, which opened in 2007 to serve the growing Muslim population in the south valley. The group wants to buy land and build somewhere in the Sandy area.

“We want to build something that hasn’t been done before in Utah,” Ahmed said. In addition to a mosque, organizers envision a full-time elementary school, not just the Sunday school that’s offered now. He said organizers also want to build an interfaith meeting hall next to the mosque that could serve multiple groups and religions.

“It’s important to us to have a facility that would be open to all religions,” said Imam Shuaib-Ud Din, of the Utah Islamic Center.

American Halal & Halalfire Sign Marketing Agreement

AUSTIN, TX–American Halal, Inc., a Stamford, CT-based Halal food producer, and Halalfire, a media and consulting firm based in Austin, TX, and London, England, have signed an agreement for Halalfire to provide marketing data, research, and promotion for American Halal’s new line of ready-to-eat meals, expected to launch in major American retail chains throughout North America by late 2010. American Halal’s products are certified by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA).

Halalfire plans to leverage a decade of interactivity with the members and aggregated data on In addition, Halalfire’s iPhone apps, downloaded over 30,000 times to date, will provide unique insight on the location and frequency of demand for Halal food. Halalfire will also distribute mobile coupons for American Halal products and create promotions tailored to Muslim American consumers.

“This is the type of thing that many people have dreamed about but have never actually done,” says Halalfire’s Shahed Amanullah. “We’re excited to use our exclusive relationships with millions of American Muslim consumers to spread the news about American Halal’s new Saffron Road Halal products, as well as employ a decade of unique consumer data to position Saffron Road as effectively as possible.”

“The decision to have Halalfire help with this crucial product launch was a no-brainer,” adds Adnan Durrani, an organic food pioneer and Chief Halal Officer of American Halal. “The hard market data and access to American Muslim consumers that Halalfire provides to us can’t be found anywhere else, at any price.”


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