Community News (V9-I12)

Corona mosque hosts breast cancer seminar

The Islamic Society of Corona/Norco hosted a breast-cancer awareness program on Sunday at the mosque located at 465 Santana Way, Corona.

Speakers include Dr. Hajera Sultana, a Corona family practice physician; Shehla Jawaid, a breast cancer survivor and co-chair of the South Asian Breast Cancer Task Force, and Adam Khan, who serves on the boards of the mosque and Susan G. Komen Inland Valley Race for the Cure.

The event was sponsored by The Shura Council of Southern California, the Islamic Society of Corona/Norco and UMMA Community Clinic.

Goldsboro rejects mosque proposal

Goldsboro’s city council has rejected a rezoning request for a mosque proposed by a doctor because it’s too large for the lot and there’s not enough parking.

The council unanimously voted against a rezoning request for the project Monday night.

Dr. Waheed Akhtar said he wanted to build a 2,000 square-foot mosque so he and other Muslims would not have to drive to Greenville or Raleigh for worship. He said the building would be open a few hours on Fridays and Sundays.

City planners recommended against the mosque because the plan had 13 parking spaces and 31 were needed under city rules.

Council members said they did not oppose a mosque, and one councilman says a mosque would be approved if it was located on a large enough parcel of land.

Muslim funeral bill clears Maryland House

The Maryland House of Delegates has passed a bill that would exempt Muslims who are learning the funeral trade from embalming. According to Muslim funeral traditions the remains of the deceased are ritually washed and not embalmed.

Current Maryland law does not acknowledge the difference between Christian and Muslim burials. Applicants for morticians’ licenses in the state are required to embalm and perform cosmetic work on at least 20 dead bodies during their apprenticeships.

The bill would open the industry to Muslims by exempting them from embalming as they learn the trade, creating two licensing tracks for morticians — those who embalm and those who don’t.

The bill was cosponsored by Del.Saqib Ali. It is now headed to the senate.

FBI investigates attack on mosque

BOISE, Local Police and the FBI are investigating the attack on a Mosque in Boise as a possible hate crime. One week ago unidentified vandals had stuck stickers with swastiska symbols all over the Islamic Cultural Center of Boise.

“It sends a message that we are not welcome in this community and we are not allowed to practice our faith and religion freely and it should send a message to all decent Boiseans and Idahoans that when a group like ours is threatened, every faith based group should be worried and concerned,” said Ahamed-Zaid, a local resident.

A crime like this one is a felony and is punishable under Idaho’s felony malicious harassment law.

Police say when groups of people feel threatened it is taken very serious under the law.

American Muslim Union holds outreach event

TEANECK, NJ–The American Muslim Union held an outreach event titled “Peace, Justice and Liberty for All,” at the Teaneck Mariiott at Glenpointe. It is an annual event to reach out to the larger community and remove the misperceptions. The event was kicked off with a delay of 45 minutes after organizers received the bomb threat. But such scary scenario quickly dissipated with the support shown by one and all.

Governor Corzine, Sen.Bob Menendez, Attorney General Stuart Rabner, and several local politicians spoke and extended their support to the Muslims.

“There is far too much intolerance, too much violence, too much rejection of peace in our society. The events that delayed this morning captured that,” Corzine said to the hundreds who attended the brunch. After his speech, he maintained that his administration has helped give the community voice by appointing Muslims to various commissions.

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrellwas honored for his service to the community. His constituents in Paterson make up the second-largest Arab-American community in the country.

“I think the more they’re integrated into the community, and some people get over the foolishness of perceptions, all the better,” he said.

Indiana Muslim couple sue Lake County, officer

HAMMOND,IN– An Indiana Muslim couple has sued the Lake County police officer and his department, alleging defamation and harassment. Basit and Ayesha Syed claim that that Officer Michael Hamady called them “terrorists” and spied on their home.

In the federal lawsuit filed last week, the Syed claim that the officer sullied their names in the community and intentionally caused them emotional distress.

The couple made local headlines in 2005 after Ayesha Syed gave a presentation about the Muslim faith at Porter Lakes Elementary School in Hebron that provoked an angry public response.

The Syeds said the presentation was intended to educate the public about their customs, including the wearing of traditional head scarves. Critics complained that Islamic faith seemed to be seeping into the public school system.

At the time, Hamady warned that the Syeds’ license plates raised a “red flag” in an FBI database, though the FBI eventually said the warning was a database error stemming from someone else with a similar name, news articles said.

The lawsuit says Hamady continued his surveillance of the Syeds. Although they complained to the county, Hamady was subsequently promoted.

Canadian family starts journalism award for Muslim women

A family of Ottawa engineers and business people has established an award for Muslim women who want to study what no one in the family has: journalism.

Wael El-Aggan said the $50,000 his family has pledged to a Carleton University scholarship is going toward an important cause.

“I believe that journalists [are] the thing that will protect us against terrorists [and] create understanding to promote information and knowledge,” El-Aggan said.

“Because of that, I believe if we have minorities in general — Muslims and other representatives — as journalists, we will have a better understanding of the issues, we [will] have debate, we [will] have a knowledgeable debate.”

El-Aggan, whose wife and three sons are all engineers, said the scholarship is targeted at female students interested in human rights because Muslim women face worse stereotypes than men.

The El-Aggans’ contribution will be matched by the Ontario Trust for Student Support to create a $4,500 annual bursary for undergraduates at the university’s School of Journalism and Communication. It will be awarded for the first time in the 2007-08 school year.

El-Aggan (who often refers to himself as simply “Wael Aggan”), his wife Fatma El-Mehelmy, and their sons started, and together built, two local companies: ViaSafe, a software company that was later bought by Descartes Systems group, and a technology company called TradeMerit.

The family has also established a human rights law scholarship for Muslim students at the University of Ottawa, which will be awarded for the first time in 2008-09.