Community News (V9-I41)

Muslim Matters

Community News (V9-I41)

Bangladeshi, Middle Eastern Food Make it to Vendy Finals

NEW YORK, NY–Two Muslim owned eateries made it to the finals of New York’s Vendy Awards. The annual event recognizes the best street food vendors in the city. The competition is tough as there are an estimated ten thousand food vendors working in the city. Muhammad Rahman of Kwik Meal and Farez Zeideia of the King of Falafel and Shawarma were among the top five finalists. The top prize was taken by Thiru Dosa of New York Dosas.

Kwik Meal located on 46th Street and Sixth Avenue serves Bengalis spiced Middle Eastern Fare including felafel,chicken, marinated lamb and shrimp.

King of Falafel located on 30th Street and Broadway is known for its “best and cheapest meal in Astoria.” The judges wrote, “Always consistently good food prepared with care. These guys are such characters that it adds just as much flavor to your meal as their secret hot sauce. They will feed you for a little cash and make you smile for free. During the big blackout they were the only place open because they had their own generator. They could have easily doubled their prices and made a killing, but they didn’t. Their lines reached well around the block and they served food well into the early morning. They were just happy to serve and help so many people.”

Journalist who covered Latina Muslims receives top award

The Religion Newswriters Association announced that its top prize for a short radio piece less than eight minutes long went to Rachael Martin of NPR for a segment on Latina women converting to Islam. Martin’s use of natural sound to contrast the Latino music with the Muslim call to prayer was a wonderful way to begin the piece, the judge wrote. Her clear voice and straightforward writing brought to life the very human conflict some of the women choosing Islam face within their families.

Muslim former prisoner sues officials

EAST ST. LOUIS, IL–A Muslim man has alleged that the staff of a federal penitentiary in Marion where he was once confined physically abused him. Hakeem Shaheed in his lawsuit claims that this abuse was a clear violation of his civil rights.

According to Shaheed’s allegations some guards abused him by intentionally placing his Quran on a floor stained with spit. When he complained, he says workers at the prison attacked him.

The federal Bureau of Prison’s Web site shows that Shaheed was released last year.

His lawsuit says he now lives in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

A Federal Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman declined comment, citing the pending litigation.

Seattlites “surprised” by Muslim aid

Local Muslims surprised homeless men and women on the streets of Seattle with gifts Saturday,Channel 5 reported.

The act of charity was part of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and part of Muslim Humanitarian Day, which is celebrated in many other cities.

“There’s so much media about what people see as Muslims being terrorists … or something crazy like that,” said Faiyaz Farouk. “In actuality, Muslims are very peace-loving, giving people.”

Sandwiches, blankets, hats, first aid kits and toiletries were distributed regardless of ethnic or religious background. While Humanitarian Day was started three years ago in Los Angeles, this was the first time it happened in Seattle.

“I think this is a good opportunity to show Seattle we are humans and we are Americans like everyone else,” Farouk said.

Medical services were also on hand. Many of the homeless patients hadn’t been checked in months or years.

Some of the items in Saturday’s charity drive were provided by Fred Meyer and Group Health Cooperative.

Jewish students association hosts Iftar

Members of Hillel, the Jewish students association, at Middle Tennessee State University hosted an Iftar for the Muslim students at the Keathly University Center. The catered meal was prepared according to standards which met both Kosher and Halal requirements.

During the dinner students from different religions were able to talk and discuss the particulars of the two separate holidays.

“Traditionally, Jews supplied Muslims with a meal after their fasting daytime break as a way of sharing. Jews did this without any expectations but knowing they had done an act of kindness,” said Lon Nuel, professor of art and advisor to the Jewish Association.

El-Erian leaves Harvard Endowment Fund after delivering top results

Mohamed Elerian, the manager of Harvard University’s endowment fund, is leaving his position after delivering spectacular results. In his less that two years at the job the $35 billion fund returned 23 percent. He said he is leaving the job for family reasons and is now headed to join Pimco, his former employer.

Some suggest that he found the Harvard bureaucracy too much – although it seems doubtful that this could have been much worse than the International Monetary Fund, where Mr El-Erian had worked successfully for 15 years before going to Pimco.

Mr El-Erian got a big promotion to return to Pimco. He left as senior portfolio manager – he was in charge of emerging market bonds – and returns with two top roles – as co-chief executive officer, alongside Bill Thompson, and as co-chief investment officer, sharing the role with Bill Gross.

He is also likely to be paid considerably more than the $2.3m annual salary offered by Harvard.

Muslim students accommodated in Bronx schools

NEW YORK, NY–Bronx high schools are doing everything they legally can to accomodate a growing number of Muslim students on their rolls. An estimated 12% of the city’s students are Muslims, reports the New York Daily News. Students at the Bronx High School of Science are allowed to pray in the back of the cafeteria.

“We don’t advocate or publicize the space, because we can’t. But it is off the beaten track, where they can pray at any time,” said Assistant Principal Phoebe Cooper. “We try to make whatever accommodations we can.”

At Validus Preparatory Academy on Bathgate Ave., students on a mandatory Outward Bound field trip help carry their fasting classmates’ hiking bags and find spaces in the woods for them to pray five times a day, said fitness teacher Erica Crane.

Department of Education policy states that accommodations must be made for students’ religion, as long as it does not get in the way of instruction.

There are also calls for the Department of Education to add the two Eid Days to the holiday calendar. “By making the two Eids holidays, we’d be telling this new population, this growing population, that has a lot to offer, we recognize and respect their holidays and religion the way we respect everyone else’s,” said Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. (D-South Bronx), who has filed legislation to mandate a holiday.


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