Community News (V9-I14)

Muslim American war veteran now homeless

The Muslim-American community faces a variety of problems and many of them are not even recognized as they should be. One of them is homelessness which affects a significant number of people. This stark reality was brought to light with the CBS running a report on the plight of a Muslim-American war veteran who is now living on the streets.

Hassam Elgoarany knows the price of war. He fought in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, where a sniper’s bullet took his best friend.

“His head got blown off — I get nightmares about that,” said Elgoarany.

The Muslim-American sailor drowned that pain in alcohol, but drinking only led to an early discharge.

Back at home, he couldn’t find work. His wife took their baby boy and left. Robbery led to prison.

When he got out, Hassam became one of many homeless veterans with little or no support from the government or the community.

Sabiha Khan resigns as CAIR rep

ORLANDO, FL–Sabiha Khan, the public face for the Orlando chapter of CAIR, has resigned from her post citing personal reasons. She had professioanlly led the chapter for past seven months correcting the image of Islam and Muslims in the media and society. Newly married, she said that she would like to spend more time with family.

Born in Los Angeles to Pakistani immigrants, Khan was media-communications director for CAIR’s Los Angeles office before transferring to Orlando to be with her husband, who lived and worked in the Central Florida area. Khan has been involved with CAIR for six years, joining shortly before 9-11 as a volunteer.

Khan will continue on a part-time basis as director in Orlando until a new person is found, she said.

Muslim Foundations’s health fair attracts hundreds

HOWARD COUNTY,MD– More than 100 people attended the Howard County Muslim Foundation’s fourth annual Community Health Fair, at the Florence Bain Senior Center in Columbia. The attendees were provided with free dental checkup, blood tests and consultation with specialists.

Apart from serving the community the fair also serves as an outreach effort by the area’s Muslim population.

Ever since September 11th, we have a responsibility to reach out and make everybody understand we are like everybody else,” said fair volunteer Mehro Aktar, who works for a group of cardiologists. “This is a wonderful country.”

“As a community, we have a lot of physicians and health-care professionals,” said organizer Saba Sheikh, a doctor. “We started this as a way of giving back.”

Janette Sadik-Khan under consideration for top transportation job

NEW YORK, NY–Janette Sadik-Khan is being considered for the job of New York City’s transportation comissioner. She is currently a senior vice president at the planning and engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. During the Dinkins Administration, Sadik-Khan (left) was the director of a now-defunct New York City department called the Mayor’s Office of Transportation, which was responsible for long-term transportation planning and the coordination of the various agencies and authorities with power over New York City transportation policy and infrastructure.

In her municipal capacity, Sadik-Khan was the liaison to the MTA and the overseer of the Port Authority’s Airport Access Plan, the development of the Farley Post Office Rail Station and a 42nd Street light rail plan that nearly came to fruition.

Sadik-Khan has professional transportation experience on the federal, state and local levels and a law degree from Columbia University.

Yusuf Syed wins California state wrestling title

Yusf Syed of Santa Monica has been selected for Times All Star wrestling team. His only defeats this season were at 160 pounds. He won a state title by defeating top-ranked Jordan Abed of Martinez Alhambra, 12-10, in a semifinal and posting a 10-8 victory over Vinny Maraj of Yucca Valley in the final. Combined for four pins and two technical falls at Masters and state.

Immigrant novel published

PublishAmerica has published a new novel Rodeo Drive to Raja Bazaar, a social and political portrait of contemporary Pakistan and its immigrant population in America, by London’s Ayesha Ijaz Khan.

Ayesha Ijaz Khan was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, and educated in the United States. As an international lawyer, she worked for both Pakistani and American law firms. In addition, she spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia and currently lives in London with her husband. Rodeo Drive to Raja Bazaar is her first novel.

Spanning a decade (1994-2004), Rodeo Drive to Raja Bazaar is a social and political portrait of contemporary Pakistan and its immigrant population in America. With its mixture of the rich, poor and middle classes, democracy interspersed with military rule, liberals facing off with conservatives, and increasing interplay of religion, the novel is at once humorous, thought-provoking, and an easy read for all ages.

Howard Dean meets with Asian and Muslim community leaders

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean recently convened a series of roundtable meetings with Asian American Pacific Islander and Muslim American community leaders in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. The meetings, which were held on March 15 and 20, are part of the Democratic Party’s ongoing commitment to reaching out to voters in every community and every part of the country. In last year’s successful elections, 62 percent of Asian Americans voted for Democrats and for a new direction for our country.

Chairman Dean heralded the success of the Democratic Party in last year’s elections, which would not have been possible without the strong support of the Asian American community.

At the meeting in Washington DC, Governor Dean was joined by DNC Vice Chair Congressman Mike Honda, along with the Chair and Vice Chair of the DNC’s Asian and Pacific Islander American Caucus, Bel Leong-Hong and Mona Mohib, respectively.

“Thanks to Governor Dean’s vision for the 50-state partnership and his continued outreach to all communities, we were able to win in many jurisdictions that were previously considered unwinnable,” stated DNC Vice Chair Honda. “Having traveled to many states, I have heard nothing but praise for the 50-state partnership project.”

“The DNC’s continued efforts to reach out to the Asian American community after the successful elections of 2006 show how committed the party is to not take any vote or voter for granted,” said DNC Asian and Pacific Islander American Caucus Chair Bel Leong-Hong. “Capitalizing on the gains of the last election the DNC will continue to reach out to the Asian American community as we gear up to elect a Democratic President of the United States and Democrats up and down the ballot.”

The meeting in Washington was attended by representatives from various organizations including the Asian American Justice Center, Asian American Action Fund, APIA Vote, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Filipino American Democrats, Korean American Coalition, Muslim Public Affairs Council, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, and Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

The Chicago meeting was attended by representatives from a number of groups and organizations including Asian American Advisory Council, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts, Chicagoland Nepali Pariwar, Filipino Civil Rights Advocates, Filipino Human Rights Coalition, Illinois Veterans Equity Center, Indo American Democratic Organization, Korean American Coalition-Chicago, Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Organization for Chinese Americans-Chicago, and the University of Chicagos Center for Race, Culture and Politics.