Houstonian Corner, Vol. 8 Iss. 41

Muslim Matters

Houstonian Corner, Vol. 8 Iss. 41

ISGH to Raise $250,000 for Al-Shifa Clinic

Through the Federal Grant of the City of Houston (COH), the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) will be receiving matching funds of $500,000 to construct a health clinic.

COH will pitch in $500,000, while the Muslim Community will put $500,000. This goal of $500,000 by the Muslim community has to be achieved within the next six months.

All the affluent people blessed by Allah (swt) are being encouraged to send their contributions for the future of Muslims to: ISGH – 3110 Eastside Drive – Houston – Texas 77098 – Phone: 713-524-6615.

ISGH, whose main center is located at 3110 Eastside Drive, has chosen their Southwest Center located at Synott for the first Al-Shifa Clinic Building. At the same location is one of the branches of Darul-Arqum Islamic School. In order to create more awareness about the funding needs and project details of these two programs, ISGH arranged a Fundraiser at their main center. It was attended by some notable people, including Hakeem Olaguwan, the former NBA player from the Houston Rockets. The Vice-President of ISGH, Hashim Badat and various Directors of several ISGH Zones were also in attendance.

The slogans of the evening was: “Donate A Brick…Build A Clinic: …And whoever saved a human life should be regarded as though he had saved all mankind” (Surat # 5 Verse 32) and “Donate A Brick … Build A School:…And Whatever Good You Send Before Your Soul, You Will Certainly Find It With Allah” (Surat # 73 Verse 20).

The coordinators of the program, like Noyan Agha, Dr. Yusuf Shere and Abdul Wahid Munshi said the Muslims of Houston have a dream of a middle school today and an institution of higher learning tomorrow; a clinic today and a teaching hospital tomorrow.

Although ISGH at present does many welfare projects, there is still more need of making ISGH a Full-Fledged Houston Community Welfare Based Organization. Although we may have some Basketball courts in the vicinity of our mosques, we can aim for a Gangster Prevention Center Tomorrow.

We may be providing welfare services to battered and abused, women, so why not aspire to have Muslim institutions dealing with these issues. Today we rely on the donation box, what we need for tomorrow is a welfare trust.

Shaikh Zoubir Bouchikhi, in an inspiring presentation, said those communities are at loss who do not help themselves and who do not create institutions which can provide services to all the humanity around them.

He cited the example of the Jewish community in Nazi Germany, which did not get involved with other people around them; while the Jewish Communities of USA and England were different. As such, German Jews had to suffer the holocaust. Muslims in North America need to learn from that past and start to think beyond merely mosques.

Yes, mosques are important: But with Allah’s (swt) Grace, Muslims have many of them and now is the time to raise funds and construct learning and welfare institutions: Without them our survival is very difficult: Allah (swt) helps those who first help themselves.

Although the gathering was not very large, more than $130,000 was raised, and over the next six months ISGH will be collecting more towards the $500,000 target.

All people are being encouraged to contribute with a big heart for the endurance of Muslims at: ISGH – 3110 Eastside Drive – Houston – Texas 77098 – Phone: 713-524-6615.

Houston Police Make Changes to Immigration Policy

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt and Mayor Bill White have announced changes in how the police department will deal with illegal immigrants, but some people say it’s not enough.

Under the changes announced by Hurtt and White, the immigration status of a person will be determined once the someone is under arrest, and if their status can’t be verified, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been granted full access to HPD’s jail facilities. Traffic violators whose identification can’t be verified may be fingerprinted.

Officers will still be allowed to use discretion “concerning how to handle things like minor traffic violations,” said White. “Some people are warned. Some people are cited. Some people, based on the circumstances, are arrested.”

The changes are being met with criticism from both sides.

“We’re going to monitor how it affects everybody,” said Rick Dovalina, Houston president of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Houston. The group will watch to see if “there is racial profiling … that type of thing … how much strain it’s put on police, because, obviously, when they take people in, it’s time off the street.”

Those wanting tougher immigration policies in Houston said the changes are not enough.

“They don’t change the fact that police in the field are still prohibited from inquiring about the immigration status when a person breaks the law and has no I.D.,” said Houston City Councilwoman and congressional candidate Shelly Sekula-Gibbs.

The changes are expected in the next two weeks. All this happened after last week’s murder of HPD Veteran Rodney Johnson. Prosecutors accuse Juan Leonardo Quintero, an illegal immigrant, with Johnson’s shooting death. Quintero has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bail at the Harris County Jail.

Gas Prices’ Sharp Decline

America uses about 40% of the world’s petrol produced each day. Texas gas prices went down for the 8th straight week this week. The price of gas has dropped 63 cents per gallon in the past month, AAA Texas reported. The average price for regular, self-serve gasoline is $2.21 per gallon, down 12 cents from last week. The lowest average price is in Corpus Christi, at $2.05 per gallon, according to AAA Texas. The highest price in the weekly survey is in El Paso, where gasoline averages $2.14 per gallon.

“The large drop in the price of crude oil, from a high of $78 a barrel earlier this year to $62 this week, is the main factor behind the falling price of gasoline,’’ said AAA Texas spokeswoman Rose Rougeau. The prospects for oil prices to move lower for a sustained period are uncertain, she said.

It is expected that the falling gas prices will ease money worries for some voters in the upcoming November 2006 Mid-Term Elections. Republican Party Sources have refuted the attacks by Democratic Party that President Bush is favoring his own party by artificially bringing the gas prices down through his connections in the Oil Industry.

Meanwhile, US light crude had lost $1.26 to $59.77 a barrel (briefly it even went below $59), 20% less than the record highs of the summer. Analysts say the decline is partly down to forecasts in the US of a mild winter and slower economic growth, both of which will help reduce consumption.

The national average price for gasoline tumbled 12 cents this week, to settle at $2.34 per gallon. U.S. retail gas prices dropped nearly 24 cents a gallon in the past two weeks, the third consecutive decline since a mid-August peak, according to a recent survey. The national average for self-serve regular was about $2.42 down from about $2.65 two weeks earlier, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations across the country. Mid-grade prices averaged $2.53 a gallon, while premium cost $2.64. Gas prices peaked Aug. 11 at $3.02 and have dropped about 60 cents since that time.

Outside of Texas, the lowest average price in the survey was notched in Des Moines, Iowa at $2.07 a gallon for regular. The highest was Honolulu, at $3.03.

Among California cities surveyed, the highest average price for regular was $2.76 a gallon in Los Angeles. The lowest was in Bakersfield, at $2.62 a gallon. The average for self-serve regular in California was about $2.72, down from $2.92, or 20 cents, from two weeks earlier, the survey found.


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