Curtain controversy in Chicago
CHICAGO, ILâ€” The board of the Muslim Community Centre in Chicago has voted to let the organizationâ€™s president to work on a compromise on whether to replace a curtain hung to separate the men and womenâ€™s areas of the mosque.
The curtain was removed during renovations and since then has not been replaced. In an earlier meeting the board had voted 13-2 in favour of the â€œNot To Raise Curtainâ€ resolution with two members abstaining.
Despite the vote Dr.Abdul Sattar, president of the MCC, said that a majority of the community wants the curtain divider and called for last Sundayâ€™s meeting.
The new resolution calls on the president to take into consideration how women felt and to try to please everyone.
Minister praised for interfaith work
AUSTIN,TXâ€”The Rev.Jim Mayfield, pastor of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, who retired recently was praised for his years of interfaith work. Imam Safdar Razi of the Islamic Ahlul Bayt Association said Rev. Mayfield played an important role in supporting the local Muslim community in the wake of Sept.11 attacks.
Under Mayfieldâ€™s leadership, the organization gathered clerics from different religions to pray on the steps of the Texas Capitol and â€œhelped the Muslim communities a lot by letting people understand that Muslims also condemn the acts of terror and terrorism,â€ Razi told the Statesman.
Muslims join immigrant rights rally
DES PLAINES,ILâ€” Muslims joined hundreds others in a rally calling for immigration rights and reform in the Des Plaines suburb of Chicago.
â€œWe come here to work. We donâ€™t come here to do anything bad or â€” we come here to have a better future,â€ said Lizeth Rios to ABC News.
What theyâ€™re doing right now is shameful and theyâ€™re trying to take away peopleâ€™s hope. But there are good people who are doing things like that. We re trying do things in a peaceful matter. God did not create any borders,â€ said Rita Gonzales, Latin Americans United.
The rally ended with a prayer for those who had died trying to cross the border.
Nazir Baig passes away
BALTIMORE, MDâ€”Nazir Baig, prominent Baltimore area Muslim community leader, passed away this week. He was a board member of the Muslim Community Center of Maryland. He also served as the organizationâ€™s trustee and chairman for 5 years and as president for 10 years. His tenure saw tremendous growth in the organization. He actively took part in various community building activities. He worked as a town planner for the Montgomery County.
New mosque in San Luis Obispo
SAN LUIS OBISPO,CAâ€”- The Islamic Center of the Central Coast is seeking a building permit to build a new mosque and community center on Walnut Street in San Luis Obispo. The new mosque will be bigger than the centreâ€™s present one.
Architect Heidi Gibson said the mosqueâ€™s new location makes it a good fit among San Luis Obsipoâ€™s cultural and spiritual centers.
â€œWe have the mission downtown. We have the other downtown churches,â€ Gibson told the Tribune. â€œNow weÃll have a mosque.â€
The mosque has already received approval from the cityâ€™s commissions and it can take three months to a year before permits are granted and construction begins.
Eid ul Fitr poem wins Ray Bradbury award
CHICAGO, ILâ€”Faisal Mohyuddinâ€™s poem Eid-ul-Fitr, 1946 won the coveted Ray Bradbury Poetry Writing Contest surpassing 118 entries received from across the world. Mohyuddin, 27, teaches English teacher at Highland Park High School.
The poem is described as a wrenching, fictional ode to a little boy lost amid the prayers and politics of Pakistan.â€
â€œ[The poem] is about impending loss, a lot of violence, pain and suffering,â€ Mohyuddin told the Chicago Tribune.
Mohyuddinâ€™s other entry, The Sadness, also attained a honourable mention in the contest.
Saudi culture shared at Valparaiso
VALPARAISO, INâ€” Saudi students at the Valparaiso University held a special program to inform the community about the Saudi culture including music, food, religion and life. Around hundred people attended the event sponsored by the International Studies Office of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Student advisor of the Saudi Culture Mission Dr.Faleh Al Hogbani told the student newspaper: â€œIn the Saudi culture we encourage this kind of event and encourage students to spread the culture to the real people of America, not just in D.C.â€
The attendees were treated to a multimedia presentation, demonstration of Azan and prayers and lectures. Dr.Nelly Van Doorn-Harder, Patheja professor of world religions and ethics at the university, discussed the history and significance of Saudi Arabia to the Muslim world.
â€œSaudi Arabia is a country that despite everything, upholds the true concept of Islam,â€ said Van Doorn-Harder, who has traveled all over the world to study religion.
There are 80 students from Saudi Arabia currently studying at Valparaiso University.
Egyptian student shares perspectives
MADISON, WIâ€” Ahmed Ayad is computer science student working on his Phd at UW-Madison. He is one of of about 60 students from countries around the world who volunteer to share their experiences and perspectives with audiences on and off campus as part of the universityâ€™s International Reach program.
Ayad,31, says he wants to present a more realistic picture of Egyptian culture while speaking to a group of eighth graders at Waunakee Middle School. â€œI want them to come away with a closer-to-reality idea of what a place like Egypt looks like,â€ he told the State Journal.
The International Reach program was started in the 1990s by Lise Skofronick, a member of Madison Friends of International Students, and was later adopted by the university, said Merilee Sushoreba, student services coordinator, who coordinates the programâ€™s on-campus component.
But after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, International Reach was put on hiatus because of staff constraints and the need to focus on implementing new federal policies for students from other countries, said Stephanie Cowan, international student advisor, who coordinates the programâ€™s off-campus component.
The program began making a comeback in 2004, and is now going strong after receiving a $5,000 grant from the universityâ€™s Kemper K. Knapp Bequest, which has paid for a student assistant this year to help with scheduling and other costs, such as materials and transportation.
Ayad, who came to UW-Madison in 2000, said people have a lot of misconceptions about the Middle East. â€œThe most troubling to me is the misconception about religion,â€ he said.
While the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the current war in Iraq â€œhave not helped,â€ Ayad said they also have sparked interest in the Muslim faith.
Though he keeps his presentations â€œas neutral as possible,â€ sticking to subjects such as history and culture, Ayad told his audience of eighth- graders, â€œYou guys can ask me any question you want.â€