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Community News (V14-I7)

Raaheela Ahmed running for Prince George’s school board

Raaheela Ahmed, a community activist and youth leader, is running for a spot on the Prince George’s County school board, District 5.

She is involved in a host of voluntary activities. Ahmed spent her time mentoring fellow peers in calculus and physics at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. She also launched a business venture with a group of other students called SendwithMe. In previous summers, Raaheela volunteered with the Ayesha & Ali Padder Foundation at a free medical clinic in Laurel, MD. From each organization Raaheela has been a part of, she has learned valuable lessons about leadership, people, and the community that she wishes to bring to the table as a School Board member.

She  has received a number of awards and recognitions for her academic, leadership, and community service work, including Governor O’Malley’s Citation for “Outstanding Service,” the David Craig Memorial Award, the Marguerite DeRosa Memorial Award, the Eda T. Bloom Memorial Scholarship, and the National Honor Society Scholarship.

She  currently attends the University of Maryland, College Park as a student in the Honors College. She is studying Biology and Business there. In addition to academics, Raaheela is a current Program Coordinator of Health Leads UMD, which she secured after only four months of service there. Health Leads is an organization that helps families find resources that they need such as food, clothing, and shelter. This semester, Raaheela will be a Student Presenter in the America Reads*America Counts program at UMD, which will allow her to visit troubled schools in the county and address literacy issues with both students and parents.

Free Arabic classes offered in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN,VA–The West Virginia University Muslim Student Association is sponsoring free Arabic language and Islam classes each Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Mountainlair.
The classes, located in Hatfields, are taught by Imam Sohail Chaudhry of the Morgantown Islamic Center and are provided free of charge.

Chaudhry said the classes are open to anyone interested in learning the Islamic or Arabic languages, and previous classes have included a variety of people, from WVU students to the elderly.

Muslim inmate sues for right to wear beard

AUSTIN,TX–A Muslim prisoner in Texas is suing the state’s Department of Corrections for not allowing him to wear a beard.

Kenneth Hickman, 49, first complained in November that officials at the McConnell Unit, where he is imprisoned, have demanded he shave his facial hair, which he required to wear as a Muslim, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday. A court had given Hickman permission to wear a quarter-inch beard in May, but officials still harassed him and was told “only one Muslim convict [Willie Garner] could exercise his right to wear a beard,” Hickman wrote in his suit.

The corrections department said beards could be used to hide weapons and could hinder officials’ abilities to identify prisoners.

UM Dearborn offers minor in Arab American studies

DEARBORN,MI–For years many US universities have been offering a variety of options for students to select their minor programs. Now the University of Michigan Dearborn has launched a unique 15-credit interdisciplinary minor in Arab American Studies generating much excitement among the community.

Ismael Ahmed, associate provost for Integrated Learning and Community Partnerships, believes UM-Dearborn is the first institution nationwide to establish such a minor.

“This is really the only minor that stands on its own in the entire country, so it’s historic,” Ahmed told the official university publication. “The more cultural competence people have, the more they can work with, do business and live with people in the community. It’s a great opportunity.”

Students who pursue a minor in Arab American studies will examine the historical, political, economic, literary, artistic, cultural and psychological forces that have shaped and continue to shape the lives and communities of Arab Americans.


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