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Asif Malik

Islamic Medical Association of North America announces its new president

Asif Malik

Asif Malik

The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) recently returned from its 48th Annual Scientific Meeting in the Dominican Republic. During the meeting, Dr. Asif M. Malik from Troy, Michigan became its 47th President. Dr. Malik succeeds Dr. Ismail Mehr, from Hornell, New York, who has completed his two-year term as President. Dr. Mehr will continue to serve as Chair, of IMANA Medical Relief.

Asif M. Malik, MD is a lifetime member of IMANA, who practices pediatric anesthesiology with Henry Ford Health System. Born in Detroit, Michigan to Pakistani immigrants Dr. Ghaus and Mrs. S. Khatoom Malik, Dr. Asif Malik has been an active community leader at the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit (IAGD) Mosque in Rochester Hills. Through his upbringing in Metro Detroit, Dr. Malik understands the importance of community service and institution building. Dr. Malik stresses that we are products of our parents, and that as parents, we have a duty to counsel our children wisely and raise them with values of selflessness and to care for others. Dr. Malik volunteers annually in IMANA Medical Relief’s (IMR) SaveSmile mission in Khartoum, Sudan in the repair of cleft lips and cleft palates.

IMANA provides medical education, volunteer medical relief services, and mentoring to thousands of medical practitioners, dentists, allied health professionals, residents, and students. IMANA is a sister organization of ISNA and has a seat on its Shurah Council. IMANA has an active program at the Annual ISNA Convention on Labor Day Weekend.

Dr. Malik hopes to expand IMANA’s relationship with ISNA and begin projects to further give North American Muslims opportunities to serve their neighbors and communities. He emphasizes the importance of Muslims being an active and positive part of the fabric of American society, and to him that means we must be visual in our efforts to help the community at large. We must serve as leaders within the public sphere, as helpers of humanity rather than just helpers of our own groups per se. According to Dr. Malik, we must add positivity to the conversation about Muslims, and we do this by standing up and taking the initiative. He presently serves on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Red Cross, for which he has been helping to organize blood drives within the Muslim community since high school.

“We have to be active participants in society, and you don’t have to be in medicine to do that.”

As part of Dr. Malik’s volunteer efforts, he and other IMR physicians and allied health professionals frequently embark on medical missions to various foreign countries as a part of IMANA. Dr. Malik frequently says volunteering knows no profession. He envisions the American Muslim healthcare community will come together to expand on the prior achievements in developing charitable clinics and healthcare networks in the United States. One of his goals is to expand IMR’s services to South America and Southeast Asia.

For more information about IMANA, please visit www.imana.org. To contact Dr. Asif Malik, email president@imana.org.

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The Power of One: from the impossible to the inevitable

By Imam Achmat Salie

When Muslims hear this title, they’ll most probably think we’ll discuss the deep faith of Bilal. Bilal, a slave then, was tortured by his master to renounce Islam; Bilal simply uttered Ahad! Ahad! Allah is One! Allah is Indivisible!

Racism is a cancer. In 1865 Du Bois’ abolitionist friends thought they had lain race to rest. In 1965, the Civil Rights movement leaders thought they had made a breakthrough and that discrimination based on race would be a matter of the past. In 2015, we still witnessed Ferguson, Baltimore, and now Charlotte, N.C. Bilal’s race or courage is not the story I’m addressing here. The topic here is single-handed determination-no matter the odds- stacked against our hero’s faith and how determination pays off.

The Quran refers to Ibrahim as an ummah (Q 16: 120)/ a nation and then instructs us to follow his millah/ methodology. Ibrahim AS challenged the status quo as a teen and was called to build a house for worship of Allah in a barren desert; no one in Ibrahim’s time could have predicted a place of worship that operates 24/7/365. A place with rocks blackened by the scorching sun became a sprawling metropolis to which millions flock to for Hajj and Umrah. When Yusuf AS as a prisoner asked to be made treasurer of the cabinet of one of the rulers of Egypt, he was asking for a high-level political post. Nabi Yusuf , a former slave and now a prisoner, aimed for one of the highest political offices in the land when he solicited the king. The king first recognized his talent (Q 12: 44) asserting that he is most capable and trustworthy. Yusuf in turn promised to be scrupulous, guardian of the treasures and provide insightful economic and predictive financial analyses (Q 12: 45). Yusuf had his own talents of dream interpretation. As a monotheist, he cooperated with a non-believing system in which kings, called Pharaohs, claimed to be gods. Yusuf saved his family from sure death during a time of famine or the Great Depression of his era.

Heroes in the past included soldiers, imams, thinkers, visionaries, brave globetrotters such as Ibn Batuta, but modern day heroes come in different forms-doctors without borders, pro bono lawyers risking their lives, and others. FIMA (Federation for Islamic Medical Associations) report that they have performed 100,000 free corneal surgeries and set up many mobile hospitals in deprived areas across the world, IMANA has done more than 700 free cleft lip surgeries, etc. Those who establish mosques, schools, universities, organizations, and movements in distant places are also heroes.

Eboo Patel reminds us that many 20th century heroes, notably Gandhi and MLK were in their late teens and 20s when they were inspired to make a difference. A billboard with a picture of the late Nelson Mandela and a simple caption; “This one person made a difference”. Rafik Hariri used his billions to make a difference and transcend sectarian and divisive thinking. Anusha Ansari, an American Iranian billionaires, made a difference with the Ansari prize worth 10 million per project that challenges men and women to do what no one thought possible. Mo Ibrahim in Africa has a most generous standing challenge to African rulers to be truly democratic-serve only one term, earn two million and $200,000 annually till the end of their lives. The Turkish owner of Chobani spent two of his four billion dollars on Syrian refugees. The motivation of these men and women world icons and treasures of humanity was never to become famous; their pure transcendent altruism earned them fame.

Not every community or nation has a crisis of leadership. Pope Francis is making a difference doing what was thought unheard of for a man in his office; he washed the feet of two Muslim prisoners-one was a woman. His latest 184-page encyclical released this June 16, 2015 condemns wars by ruthless exploiters with noble disguise, economic greed, and a blind belief in rapid progress (rapidification) that disadvantages the poor. Dignity to this Catholic leader is inalienable, unique, infinite, and immense. To care for the vulnerable we must give and not give up (infaq/ spend and not be hypocritical/nifaq) and give priority to being over being useful; the mere breath of the Merciful/ Nafas-al-Rahman in the elderly give them the same inalienable dignity and our inalienable responsibility even though society would not see them as being useful. Allah assists us because of the weak among us.

We have unsung Muslim heroes but we need each Muslim to join the rank of heroes-that is democratize greatness and the political will to make a difference. Prophet of Islam was certainly the ultimate exemplar. He praised the faith in the unseen of his ikhwan (brethren) who will be on pulpits of light (noor); preferring their absolute faith to that of his companions (sahabah). Now if the ashabur rasool were like stars the ikhwanur rasool be even brighter. Each one of us needs to identify a cause and a calling. For instance, the movement to channel food to the poor is note worthy; one-third of the world’s food is being dumped every year. Forgotten Harvest retrieves only a fraction of that for the poor and starving millions of throw away people in the USA. Also turning waste into energy is rewarding in both worlds.

At times, it takes ONE good person to restore hope, ONE good leader to restore balance, and ONE good captain to successfully navigate a ship through a storm. Islam gives us agency and autonomy (Q 53: 39) ”Humans get nothing but what they strive for” and (Q 13: 11) “Allah does not change people that resist change”. So if Ibrahim was an ummah/nation and Yusuf-a former slave and prisoners became head of the Public Treasury then the standing challenge of the Quran is that we live our purpose of becoming the best stewards, vicegerent/khalifa’s -leaders towards goodness and greatness, racing to the top and not to the bottom.

Allow me to end with an anecdote. On a very rainy night on a slippery road, a newly licensed teen sped and landed in a ditch. After a long while a local farmer with a half blind horse and his cart came to the rescue. During the efforts to pull the car out of the ditch, the farmer called the horse many names. When the teen was set to drive away, he wanted to know why the farmer called the horse by so many names. “You see,” the farmer explained. “My horse is half blind and if I call him by these many names he does the work of 10 horses.” To pioneers we’ll say, “Let’s do as much as we can pretending we have an army of helpers”. We are not alone. (Q 3: 126) Help is certainly from Allah Omnipotent and Most Wise. A dynamic team with each one selflessly doing the work of 10 is a force to be reckoned with. Acting silo when help is available is not intended here, but becoming indispensable and passionate about the causes we appropriate.

Editor’s note: Dr. Imam Achmat Salie is an Instructor of Religious Studies and Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Detroit Mercy. To support the endowment for the Islamic studies program please visit http://liberalarts.udmercy.edu/programs/depts/religiousstudies/islam/program/giving.htm. The views of the author are solely his own.

IMANA brings medical care to needy worldwide

By Aatif Ali Bokhari
TMO managing editor

The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) is one of a handful of groups that has set up a clinic in Haiti catering to the needs of the people there. Arriving after the Haitian earthquake of 2010, IMANA established a mission in the village of Miragaone, about two hours away from the capital Port au Prince.

“We have teams of American doctors visiting Miragaone three times a year,” explained Dr. Lubna Zahir, an internist and secretary of IMANA. “We go for a week and see about 800 patients there. Everyone is seen for free, which includes medications. During the rest of the year the clinic is staffed by Haitian doctors who treat incoming patients – six days a week medical treatment is given and the seventh day dental care is offered. Eyeglasses are also distributed for free.”

Zahir said that she felt “very humble, it’s absolutely undeveloped in Haiti. There is no clean water and no electricity. We went in March and we had six doctors and eight medical students. They were just blown away by how little these people have.”

Until recently there was no way for Haitians in Miragaone to get water nearby. Two water hand-powered water pumps were installed to help ease the burden felt by locals – without water they could not even engage in agriculture.

Zahir said that the scale of the poverty is staggering. “Patients would come at 4:30 in the morning. They have no health care. There are people who would come who had never seen doctors before. There were people we saw who had hypertension for months.

The team saw 800 patients in the few days they were in Haiti offering their services. Zahir said that this was far more than they were used to seeing in America where she saw 22 to 25 patients over an 8 hour work day.

“The clinic has a masjid on the second floor. As a result of IMANA’s work several Haitians converted to Islam and now attend prayers regularly.” Zahir was quick to add that IMANA sees patients regardless of religious background. “Muslim doctors are helping everyone who walks through the door, whether they are Muslims or pagans into voo doo, or Christians.”

Zahir said that there is evidence that IMANA’s work is benefiting patients over the long term. “We have a filing system for patients. We would give people a supply of medication for three months, and when they would come back to refill their medicine we could see that their blood pressure would be much better. It was great to have proof that we were making inroads in bettering Haitians’ health.”

Haiti is not the only country where IMANA carries out medical services. The group travels to Bangladesh for burn victims, Sudan for cleft lip surgeries, and also has a clinic in Sri Lanka, to name a few.

“We have many trips scheduled throughout the year around the world,” said Dr. Khalique Zahir, chairman of the board of Imana, a plastic surgeon and husband of Lubna Zahir. “In the past five years we’ve treated 860 cleft lip patients. We have a team of 23 to 28 doctors.

“We’ve been blessed with many opportunities to help people from a diverse background. We have Christian doctors, we have Hindu doctors, I took a young doctor who is of Jewish faith, we include everyone who has skills who can help. It’s just the places that get the least help happen to be Muslim countries,” he said, mentioning Senegal, Mali, Sudan. “300 patients come from across Sudan, probably more. Unfortunately we can only operate on 150 to 200 patients during the time that we are there.

Lubna said that anyone considering volunteering in Haiti could expect the trip to be free; the only thing that volunteers would pay for is air fare. “It only costs $300 a person to go, we want to encourage our young people to go,” she remarked. “We have a very good mentor program also and we establish relationships between volunteers and doctors who will help them make plans for entering the medical field.

“When you take away TV and the internet and all you have is your religion you come back changed.”

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Muslim Medical Groups in Haiti

(Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 24, 2010) – The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) said today that it has helped convert the “Bojeux Parc” amusement park in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to a health care facility. The facility is being operated through a partnership between IMANA, Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS) and AIMER Haiti volunteers.

With existing hospitals in Port-Au-Prince overwhelmed with patients, IMANA said physicians at the facility are hoping to increase their capacity as quake victims continue to present with fractures, infected wounds and dehydration.

“On day one, an air hockey table doubled as a procedure table. Now, with our partners, we are providing services from pediatricians, obstetricians, emergency doctors, and surgeons to at least 100 patients a day. We are hoping to arrange equipment that would allow our surgeons to go from performing simple procedures to running a full mobile operating room,” said Dr. Sameer Gafoor, a volunteer physician in Port-au-Prince. Gafoor is a cardiologist at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

IMANA is planning to send additional teams of physicians and surgeons every week with shipments of supplies to support existing operations.

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Community News (V12-I5)

IMANA sets up clinic in Haiti

imana

Imana team on their first day in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti–The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) said today that it has helped convert an amusement park in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to a health care facility. The facility, which is seeing over 100 patients a day, is being operated through a partnership between IMANA, other medical teams, and local partners such as Aimer Haiti.

With existing hospitals in Port-Au-Prince overwhelmed with patients, IMANA said physicians at the facility are hoping to increase their capacity as quake victims continue to present with fractures, infected wounds and dehydration.

“On day one, an air hockey table doubled as a procedure table. Now, with our partners, we are providing services from pediatricians, obstetricians, emergency doctors, and surgeons to at least 100 patients a day. We are hoping to arrange equipment that would allow our surgeons to go from performing simple procedures to running a full mobile operating room,” said Dr. Sameer Gafoor, a volunteer physician in Port-au-Prince. Gafoor is a cardiology fellow in Washington, D.C.

IMANA  is planning to send additional teams of physicians and surgeons every week with shipments of supplies to support existing operations.

Flint Islamic center seeks expansion

FLINT, MI–The Flint Islamic Center, catering to more than 1500 Muslims in the area, is seeking a $4.5 million expansion to its existing facilities. The new complex will have a mosque, a grade school, and will double its size from its current facility.

Besides an expanded worship space, a multi-purpose hall for social gatherings, a professional kitchen and new offices, the plan is to revamp the school operation with a new media center, science lab, school cafeteria, a new gym, an expanded computer lab to include long-distance learning, and room for a new high school program, said board member Abed Khirfan to mlive.com.

The Flint area continues to attract Muslim professionals and their families to the area due to its excellent schools, communities, and hospitals.

Kais Menoufy honored for his human rights work

SACRAMENTO, CA– Kais Menoufy, a Muslim community activist in Sacramento, was honored by the Florin Chapter of the Japanese American Citizen’s League, for his commitment to civil rights.

Menoufy helps bring “Songs of Hope” – an annual concert performed by Arab and Israeli musicians – to Sacramento.

Since 2006, the Florin JACL has partnered with Muslim organizations to take Muslim American youths to the Manzanar Internment Camp in the Southern California desert where Japanese American were interned during World War II.

Eboo Patel to speak at Stanford graduation ceremony

Interfaith leader Eboo Patel is one of the featured speakers at this year’s graduation ceremonies beginning on June 11, 200. He will joing UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Stanford Philosophy Professor Debra Satz.

Patel is a member of the Obama administration’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. A Muslim born in India and raised in Chicago, he founded the Interfaith Youth Core in 1998 to inspire and train college students to build understanding.

He is the author of a Washington Post blog, “The Faith Divide,” which explores what drives faiths apart and what brings them together. He also wrote “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation.” He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois.

“We believe Eboo Patel’s lifelong work to encourage religious tolerance and to prompt young people to take action will inspire all of us to make a difference,” the class presidents said.

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