GAINESVILLE, FL–The Hoda Centre of Florida has announced that it will open an Islamic cemetery in Flemington rural area in February next year. It will accommodate 40,000 burial spaces and may well be the largest Muslim cemetery in North America.
According to the Occala Star Banner, the cemetery will be privately funded by Ahmed Elmahdawy, the founder and chairman of the Hoda Center and the president of Islamic Cemeteries Inc. The cemetery backers say the costs will be relatively cheaper for everyone. Another unique feature of the project is that free burial spaces will be provided to the needy non-Muslims in a dedicated area.
“We are trying to maintain the human aspect of our religion,” said Robert Tyler, facilitating manager of the Hoda Center, in an interview to the newspaper. “We are offering our fellow humans closure in a peaceful and dignified way.”
According to statistics from the Association of Religious Data Archives there were 168, 846 Muslims in the Sunshine state.
Philly Muslim transit workers demand rule change
PHILADELPHIA, PA–Female Muslim bus drivers are demanding that they be allowed to wear longer skirts in order to adhere to their religious beliefs. In July one of the Muslim bus drivers was asked to change her ankle length skirt. The driver filed a grievance and ultimately led to a change in the rule which now allows drivers to wear skirts that are two to four inches below the knee. But the response has been satisfactory to the Muslim drivers like April Barnes.
“Our book subscribes that we cover ourselves to where no one can see or reveal our shape. We can’t make adjustments just for a job, but we have been doing that and now we’re just sick of it,” she told NBC Philadelphia.
The case now involves six women and is headed to arbitration.
Interfaith group urges Kennesaw Council to reverse decision
Last week the Kennesaw City Council in the state of Georgia rejected the request by a Muslim group to house a mosque in a strip mall. The decision has divided the community with some mosque opponents indulging in Islamophobic hate.
In the tense atmosphere a broad based interfaith group is calling for calm and tolerance. The group is asking for the council to overturn its decision.
A letter sent by the group to the council reads:
“We deplore the action of the Kennesaw City Council in denying Muslims the right to practice their faith in a suite in the Kennesaw Commons shopping center. Comments at the City Council meeting on December 1, and public comments in the media and on Facebook reveal not only bigotry but a profound misunderstanding of the Islamic faith. Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam teaches love for friend and stranger.
We call upon the good citizens of Kennesaw and on the churches, synagogues and mosques to which they belong to stand up for U.S. values of religious freedom and tolerance. Together we can take away the power of fear-based thinking that produces intolerance and which can even lead to violence toward others who are perceived as different from ourselves. We invite you to join us in defining the United States as inclusionary and tolerant, celebrating our differences and commonalities. Join us in rejecting a fear-based worldview that does not speak for every citizen or resident and that denies basic principles and constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion.
We are proud of the relationships we have built with one another as Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others and would encourage others in our communities to do the same.”
The letter was signed, among others, by Jewish Voice for Peace-Atlanta Chapter, Interfaith Peace Builders-Atlanta Regional network, Fellowship of Reconciliation-Atlanta, Muslims for Progressive Values-Atlanta, The Kairos Mission Group of Oakhurst Baptist Church , Presbyterian Peacemaking Partnership of Atlanta, Joining Hands for Justice in Israel/Palestine, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Georgia.
Interfaith support for teen killed in hit and run
KANSAS CITY,MO–Interfaith leaders rallied to support the family of a Somali-American teen killed in a hit and run incident in Kansas City. Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein, 15, was hit outside a Somali community center. The FBI and other authorities are probing if it was a hate crime.
Religious leaders from different faiths gathered for a memorial at the center to express their support to the family, KMBC TV reported.
“Regardless of the faith, regardless of your color, regardless of your gender and what the status is in life, we just have to be here to support this community and support this family,” said Alvin Brooks, of Kansas City’s AdHoc Group Against Crime.
“This was an act of evil,” said Kansas City councilman Jermaine Reed. “I wanted to be here to support the family and support this Muslim community to show our support from the city, but then also just this community as well.”
Reward announced for mosque gunfire probe
COACHELLA,CA–Mosque leaders, interfaith groups, and authorities announced a reward of $12,000 for information leading to arrest of the person who fired shots at the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley. The incident occurred last month and no one was hurt. Investigators have been unable to get any leads in determining who the perpetrator is.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Armando Munoz said Friday that the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley and Crime Stoppers are offering up to $12,000 for information leading to an arrest.
The announcement came at a joint press conference of the Islamic society, interfaith groups, police, and political leaders on Dec.5th, according to K News.
Rev. Scott Andrews, pastor of Shepherd of the Valley United Methodist Church in Indio, said his church stands “against this act of violence, this act of terrorism, this act of hatred. We pray God’s blessing on everyone who is part of the solution, we pray God’s blessing for those who would step forward to help share information.”