Volume 10 Issue 1
The Muslim Student Publication at the University of California, Berkeley
Students Speak Out
MSA Responses to Anti-Islamic Events
Living w/ Muslims
Non-Muslimsâ€™ experiences w/ a different culture
Table of Contents
Living w/ Muslims page 3
8:00am Brush Teeth 8:15am Judge Other People page 4
Prayer Space page 5
Zaytuna: New Name, New Image page 6
Pursuit of Peace page 7
Helping Muslim Refugees page 7
Muslim Green Team page 8
NISA: Preventing Domestic Abuse page 9
Muslim Activism page 10
Faith in Free Speech page 10
Daniel Pipes: Threat to Reason page 11
House of Curries
The House away from Home!
It is in the spirit of AlBayan to maintain journalistic quality while including the articles and opinions most pertinent to the Bay Area Muslim community. Continuing the trend started in the last issue, our writers have been asked not only to report on the issues they see affecting us the most, but to do so in keeping with journalistic tradition, ethics, and style. It has been a struggle; a difficult but successful step in a new direction for Al-Bayan. We have overcome a great number of setbacks and delays to bring you this issue. This effort would have been impossible without the hard work of our staff: our writers, who persevered through the nagging and strict deadlines; our photographer for her great work in a pinch; our advertising representatives for taking the time and effort to ensure we had funding; and our layout editor whose perfectionism is an incredible and much-needed asset to AlBayan. We thank everyone who assented to be interviewed by our writers; without your knowledge and insight we would have nothing
to publish. We hope to create a publication with your voices in mind, a forum from which we can learn from one another and continue in our lives, informed. We hope to offer more informative articles for our Muslim and non-Muslim readers as well. We hope to create an organization that serves to keep us informed as well as express ourselves. To this end, to implement our vision, we have considerable work to do in the future to make Al-Bayan a magazine that captures your interest and imagination. As a medium for information, we cannot stress enough that your participation and your input we need most. Last but not least, we thank Allah (SWT) for guiding us and giving us the opportunity to create and endeavor. Nothing is accomplished without His will, and we owe to Him all that we have made. We hope you enjoy this issue of Al-Bayan, and look forward, Inshâ€™Allah, to many more in the future. Salaam-u-Alaikum (Peace and blessings be upon you)
Editor-in-Chief Owais Mahesri Managing Editor Sameea Kamal Layout Editor Mona Zarka Finance Manager Nasar Agboatwala
(510) 848-5800 2894 College Avenue Berkeley, CA 94705 (510) 584-5800 2520 Durant Avenue Berkeley, CA 94704
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Staff Writers Huda Adem Zara Khan Shehab Ahmed Atif Saleem Rahim Ali Shereen Ulla Yusuf Chao Abrar Qadar Adam Eslami Afshan Qureshi Photographer Zara Khan
Fall 2008 / Dhul Qa’adah 1429
Rahim Ali, Afshan Qureshi
Living w/ Muslims It is 6:20 a.m. Manutej Mulaveesala groggily peers out of his window and sees that it is still dark outside. The only noise coming from their otherwise quiet apartment is the sound of rustling in the other room. He hears the exhaust fan in the bathroom turn on and water running from the faucet. However, his roommates’ abnormally early rising does not disconcert Mulaveesala. After one year of living with a Muslim roommate, he has become accustomed to regular Muslim habits, including waking up for Faj’r prayer. “Living with Masood helped me learn a side of him I had never known before even though we had already been close friends,” Mulaveesala said, “I never knew how often he needed to pray or how difficult Ramadan was or the extent of his moral beliefs and personal discipline.” Mulaveesala, who shares an apartment this year with two Muslim students, explained how his experience of living with his roommates has helped him gain insight on Islam. “I learned many things about the moral code of Muslims and many words related to the religion, such as ‘halal’, ‘haram’, ‘iftar’, and ‘eid’. It was a great experience because I got to learn a lot about a new culture and religion,” Mulaveesala said. While it is true that Mulaveesala has adapted to sharing a room and apartment with a Muslim, he had to become more aware and cautious about certain Islamic traditions. This includes not offering food or drink during fasts in Ramadan, staying quiet and trying not to disturb his roommates while they are praying, and being more knowledgeable about Islamic dietary guidelines. “I try to respect the boundaries of their religion and try not do or say anything that would offend them, as I would with anyone else with their respective religions or customs,” Mulaveesala said. Sophomore Jasmine Cheema, who lives with Huda Adem in an apartment after living across from her in the dorms last year, said that living with Muslims is different from living with other non-Muslims.
“Non Muslims are stereotypically more into partying, coming home late, there’s less familyness,” Cheema said. “Everything’s separate like ‘these are my things, these are your things.” “.. It really depends on how close you are to your roommates whether they’re Muslim or nonMuslim,” she added. Sophomore Corina Chung, who also lives with Adem and Cheema, knew Adem from high school and the two decided to dorm together as freshmen. She agreed that there are differences in living with Muslims. According to Chung, a nonMuslim might have less social inhibitions and be less modest. Living with a roommate who applies this modesty has influenced her lifestyle, Chung said. “I guess I could say that basically I don’t think I live with a Muslim person, but with a person that is Muslim,” says Corina. “Religion does not affect how Huda and I live together or our friendship.” Roommates who practice different religions sometimes find it easy to live together due to cultural similarities, Cheema said. “I don’t see the Muslim part, I see the ethnic part,” she said. “Muslim families are very family-based. For them, it is a way of life, and when living with one, the atmosphere is very family-like. Everything is very communal and compromising is very easy.” Cheema notes that she and her roommate have similar lifestyles. “Even though we don’t have the same religious beliefs, we were brought up similarly with the same values,” she said. “There isn’t much of a difference.” There are some individuals who view living with a Muslim roommate as a chance for cultures to clash together. “I really do not do too much differently because I live with a Muslim, and I hope that [my roommate] does not do too much differently because he lives with me,” said Ryan Wilson, whom lives with a Muslim in the Sigma Phi fraternity, “everyone should be able to be their own person, and respect people for both who they are and their own personal beliefs and customs.” Wilson was also a participant in the Fast-a-thon event. He explained
how that experience helped him to gain a deeper understanding of the practices of Islam. “It was definitely an interesting experience, and I do understand more of the reasons, both practical and philosophical behind fasting,” said Wilson. Cecilia Tran, a sophomore from San Jose, was aware of the Muslim community but had little interaction until her freshmen year of college when she was assigned to a Unit 1 Triple with two Muslims, Sadaf Sareshwala and Lamia Mamoon. “I was really impressed by how much Sadaf and Lamia practiced especially since it is really inconvenient here,” Tran said. “In the beginning during Ramadan, I would walk into the room while they were praying and I thought maybe it was a private moment so should leave because in Catholicism praying is a private thing, so the fact that they prayed openly in room and told me that it was okay if I was in there while they prayed was very surprising to me.” Tran said her roommates keep her grounded about the reasoning behind their religious practice, such as why they do not drink.
“They don’t just consider moral reasons but also physical implications about how people will perceive you if you dress a certain way and abuse your body,” she said. There are so many things in life that one can only learn from personal interaction and I got that from Lamia and Sadaf when learning about their culture or about Ramadan and Eid.” Alexandra Lewis, who used Craigslist to find roommates for her living situation this year, did not know any Muslims before coming to Berkeley, she said. “When I found out that (my roommates) were Muslim, I hoped that we would get along,” she said. “At first I thought maybe (they) would practice more strictly and we might clash because of the language I use or my lifestyle might be judged.” Lewis said that she first acted differently around her roommates because she did not know what ‘being Muslim’ meant and what it entailed, she said. “Now I have realized that religion doesn’t affect the way we interact with one another,” she said. According to Lewis, her experience in living with Muslims has continued on pg 11
8:00am: Brush Teeth 8:15am: Judge Other People
I was up a little earlier than usual, enjoying an episode of “The Price is Right” while having breakfast. The showcase, admittedly my favorite part, was about to come on. The announcer had just finished describing a beautiful dinette set when a phone went off in my apartment. It was the distinctive and painfully unmelodic ringtone of my roommate’s cell phone. He was going to miss the call since he was in the shower. I figured I had a chance to get a quick glance at his caller ID and see who was calling him. He had just gotten in the shower, he’d never know. The phone rang once, then again, and I made the decision by the third ring that I was going to do a little eavesdropping. I snuck up to the phone, being careful not to create too much of a ruckus so that my roommate, Mustafa, wouldn’t suspect anything. I flipped over the phone, and glanced at the small screen. My suspicions were vindicated! A sister was calling him! As far as I knew Mustafa wasn’t married, and thus had no reason to receive calls from girls. I immediately began to cross reference this new information with what I already knew about the sister and Mustafa. Immediately, visions of past seemingly innocent encounters between Mustafa and this sister became vividly clear for what they were: an inappropriate friendship! I had a midterm later that day, but I wasn’t able to focus on anything other than this fresh new information. I tried my hardest to study organic chemistry, but instead of making sure I had memorized all the appropriate mechanisms, I was envisioning the salacious conversations that must have taken place between Mustafa and the sister. I simply cold not take it any longer. I decided the only way to help Mustafa would be to solicit advice from my peers regarding the situation. Being the good Muslim that I am, I headed over to the MSA office to pick up a prayer rug and pray Dhuhr. Coincidentally the trip back to return the prayer rug was littered with practically every Muslim brother and sister on campus.
I assumed this was a sign that I had to share my concerns regarding Mustafa with the rest of the ummah (community) in order to nudge Mustafa back to the straight path. Adnan, a brother who I would characterize as more of an acquaintance than a friend, happened to be in the MSA office when I walked in. I had seen this brother on campus many times, but I wasn’t sure if he knew me, thus we would only give the obligatory wave and salaam when passing each other. Regardless, he was a Muslim, and I felt at the time that it was imperative that he know what was going on between Mustafa and the sister, whom we will refer to as Sumaira. The following is the conversation that transpired: Me: Salaams Adnan, how is everything? Adnan: Alhamdulillah, everything is well. I saw that you prayed the sunnah before Dhuhr, masha’Allah, that is great! Me: Oh. I didn’t know you saw that. By the way, I’ve never actually been sure, do you pray two or four rakahs sunnah before Dhuhr? Adnan: Now that you’ve put me on the spot like that, I’m not sure either. I pray four, but I’m not entirely confident that that’s the right number. Me: Alhamdulillah! Anyways, how are things with you? Do you know my roommate, Mustafa? Adnan: Oh yes, Mustafa. He’s a great brother. He’s very much respected in the community. He has a beautiful thick beard. Me: Yes, I’d grow a beard like that too. Unfortunately, my genetic makeup makes it difficult. I try though. Adnan: You know what I recommend? Keep shaving. The more you shave, the thicker and more beautiful the resulting beard will be. I will make duah for you.
Me: Back to Mustafa, did you know that he talks to Sumaira? Not even in a public setting, on the phone! I never thought he even had the capability of doing something like that, but I was wrong. Adnan, what should I do? Adnan: Oh no! I’m sure there are reasons they are talking; it isn’t right to assume the worst about your brother. Also, may I remind you, backbiting is much worse than any “sin” that Mustafa is committing... Adnan would always try to insert an Islamic reminder in every conversation you had with him. The rest of the day passed uneventfully, although I did manage to solicit the advice of many other brothers regarding this situation. I received many suggestions. Some brothers recommended that I simply take away Mustafa’s cell phone, whereas others told me to contact his parents and let them know what was going on. Although I had my own problems, my mind was using all of its resources to remedy this situation with Mustafa. Helping Mustafa stay on the straight path was my priority. I headed back to the MSA office later that day to pray Asr and to my surprise Mustafa was there along with Sumaira. I could not believe the audacity of those two, it was one thing to speak to each other on the phone, but to converse in person in plain view was almost unfathomable. Again, every suspicion I had was proven accurate. No Bollywood film was nearly as dramatic or scandal-filled as the epic that was “Mustafa’s Life.” He was making no attempt to lower his gaze. As far as I could tell they were having a normal conversation, this was by no means OK. Where was the mandatory three feet separation? Why wasn’t Mustafa looking at the floor when he was speaking to Sumaira? There has to be five other witnesses around them at all times! Soon, word had spread throughout the greater campus Muslim community that there was some hanky panky going on between Mustafa and Sumaira. People were coming up to me and asking me if I knew what was going on between Mustafa and Sumaira. I only shared what I knew and the possible conclusions that I had written down in a running diary of the drama that was unfolding. I was convinced I
was helping the community solve a problem that was afflicting one of our own. Back at my apartment, where this drama had initially unfolded (with the phone call in the morning), I was happily playing Mario Kart for a continuous stretch of four hours. Unfortunately, I was so consumed by the prospect of driving around in circles in a go-kart commandeered by a turtle that I missed Maghrib prayer. Although, I was a devout Muslim, even the most pious make mistakes sometimes. My phone rang right after I finished making up Maghrib-it was Mustafa! I assumed he wanted to apologize or come clean. Instead, he had the audacity to invite me to a fundraiser to help raise money for an orphanage, which was planned for the next night. During the conversation, I gave him every chance to tell me about Sumaira, since I was sure he was aware that people were talking. Instead I realized he wasn’t going to bring it up, so I had no choice but to ask him explicitly what was going on between him and this sister. He was shocked at my accusations, all of which were based on solid empirical evidence. After letting me rant about the virtues of the Islamic gender code and the rationale behind it, why we should not give in to our urges and try to fit into western culture, I had to let him know that most people in the community looked at him as a hypocrite. Mustafa listened in silence and allowed me to come to the end of my diatribe. After taking a deep breath, he asked me again if I was wiling to help out with the fundraiser for the orphanage. Obviously, he was deftly trying to change the topic, and I gave him an ambivalent answer. Yet, it was what he said right after that put everything into perspective: “Muhammad, Umayr, myself, Nadia and Sumaira all worked extremely hard to put this event together. She called me earlier in the morning to let me know that we were able to secure the room for the event.” This article orginally written for Al-Talib, UCLA.
Fall 2008 / Dhul Qa’adah 1429
Prayer Space For as long as fifth year graduate student Amir Kamil can remember, Muslim students have used the student union building on UC Berkeley campus to pray some of their five daily prayers. However, recent complaints from other occupants of the building have accelerated efforts to find a permanent prayer space on campus for students to use. The Muslim Students Association previously had an agreement that students could use the lounge area on the third floor, where there are no offices. However, a number of events at the beginning of last year such as career fairs made the area inaccessible and led to students moving up to the fourth floor, said Bilaal Ahmed, former president of the association from last year. “Last year (praying on the fourth floor) wasn’t an issue, but because the numbers of people that started praying up there were increasing it was bound to become one,” Ahmed said. In September of this year, current MSA president Ramy Salah received e-mails forwarded to him by the Dean of Students, Jonathan Poullard, with numerous complaints from occupants of the offices on the fourth floor. The complaints included loud noise, kneeling in front of exits, setting off fire alarms and keeping rugs in the fire hose. Some people using the classrooms were afraid to talk because of people praying, and felt restricted in their actions because of it, he said. Others did not want to walk in front of people praying to reach the exits or elevators, for fear of disrupting prayers. However, the complaints were polite, Salah said. One of the occupants wrote that she did not complain earlier because she knew the practices were a part of the Islamic faith and so she wanted to be lenient, he said. The MSA then announced through word of mouth, e-mails and at Jummah that prayers would not be allowed in the student union. After a week or two without any set arrangements for prayers, the MSA began reserving rooms on the
fourth floor, Salah said. Currently, the rooms are booked from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a few of the days, but the MSA is working with ASUC President Roxanne Winston and some senators to remove one of the rooms in MLK from the reservation list so that it can be used as permanent prayer space for all students, said Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard. The fifth floor of MLK, which
least the 2004 to 2005 school year, he said. The three to four years of effort have been slow to show effect, despite the continual pleas, he adds. Without this space, students took to using the fourth floor corridor of MLK as their own. According to Randeep Hothi, some students from the Sikh Student Association have also used Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union to pray in the past and used the building similarly. Students would need to use the space around 8 or 9 a.m. but it was difficult to reserve a room because there was no set time, he said. Instead, students just went in to see if a space was free and used it, he said. Though they never had issues in using the building, students have stopped using the building this year, he said. The dean of students has re-
as centrally located as the student union, Poullard said. These locations are simply not feasible for many students on campus, for example, who have class on North side. It would be easier to go home, for some, than use the courtyard of Hearst gymnasium, he adds. The university continues to work to find a spot that will be convenient for students on their way to and from classes. “I am firmly committed to (finding a suitable spot),” Poullard said. Recently, the MSA secured a spot on campus for the weekly congregational prayers on Friday in Hearst Gymnasium, after using the YWCA building across the street for many years. Though the YWCA had been very accommodating for the space they rented to the MSA, the spot on campus is free and has more room for the growing congregation, Salah said. Despite some issues such as the floors creaking and music next door, Salah said they are working on resolving it by offsetting creaking through a microphone system and by asking the gym’s supervisor to inform him of events with loud music in advance to prevent disruption and accommodate everyone as effectively as possible. So far, there have been no major setbacks. The MSA continues to work with the university to accommodate the students’ needs and expects results soon, he said. “It’s been slow, but it is in the works,” Salah said.
Interested in Al-Bayan? Keep an eye out for our next meeting! Muslim students pray on the grass beside Sproul Plaza.
used to be a reflection room, has been used for meetings instead, and is currently closed for construction, Salah said. The MSA has been attempting to reserve a permanent spot on campus for prayers for quite a while, according to Ahmed. Though he is not sure of an exact time, the project has been in the works since at
sponded to the Muslim Students Association’s request for a spot and has suggested such places as the bottom floor of the Recreational Sports Facility, or the courtyard of Hearst gymnasium. Berkeley Hillel, the Jewish student center located next to the campus, has also offered Muslim students their building to pray in. However, other spots are not
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New Name, New Image
Beginning in the Fall 2009 semester, the world renowned Islamic learning center, the Zaytuna Institute, will become Zaytuna College, and open its doors to the first, completely American, Islamic four year bachelors degree program. On July 3rd 2007, the Zaytuna Institute, then located in Hayward California, was flooded with short tempers and long discussions. It was the day that Sheikh Hamza Yusuf announced that the institute was moving to Berkeley, California in the coming August. 631 Jackson Street, Hayward California had become a community center for Bay Area Muslims seeking divine knowledge alongside their day to day lives. The Zaytuna Institute offered programs and classes for members of any age, race, class, or Islamic ambition. These classes were received by a well satisfied community; however, the board had further ambitions. The board of the Zaytuna Institute includes such key figures as the founder Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Dr. Hatem Bazian, and other Islamic leaders who have achieved notoriety in among the greater Muslim community. What much of the community did not understand is why these pioneers of American Islam chose to end such a successful establishment. What the public failed to see was the board’s essential goal, the creation of the Zaytuna College. The Zaytuna Institute, although very much a triumph for Bay Area Muslim community, was not accomplishing what it was primarily established to do. The board members were attempting to redirect Zaytuna back to its original goal, a fully accredited, Islamic University in America. This ambition trumped the community’s desire to keep Zaytuna Institute as it was. Professor Oliver Roy, a prominent European Islamic writer, speaker, and researcher, states that the necessity of American Islamic scholars has been growing as rapidly as the American Muslim community itself. It is very evident that
the deculturization that our generation is experiencing from Arab Islam, South Asian Islam, or other forms of traditional Islam has created a need for reculturization to a collective, American Islam. Our generation is on the forefront of the creation of this culture, we are witnessing a massive lack of adequate leaders explains Imam Zaid. Until now, the majority of our Islamic scholars have been imported from their native countries. For immigrants, this is often
occurs as a result of the extreme culture shock these scholars deal with when they return from their studies. Imam Zaid Shakir continues to explain that when students learn Islam oversees, they are usually surrounded by the most reputable people of that society, resulting in insulation from the problems of everyday life. Coming back to deal with common American Muslim problems such as marriage and divorce, unruly and disrespectful children, and
Imam Zaid speaks at Zaytuna Institute
times not a problem, but with second and third generation American Muslims, these scholars are often thought to be outdated and unrelateable, Imam Zaid adds. For this reason, many Muslims seeking reassurance are discouraged by overly stern outlooks or a lack of experience in problems that American Muslims face that are rarely seen in other, more conservative countries. Another, more recent trend is to have American Muslims study Islam abroad. The result of American scholars studying abroad is threefold, according to Imam Zaid Shakir: first, potential scholars seek divine knowledge abroad, and decide to settle there. Second, Potential Islamic scholars seek knowledge abroad and can no longer relate to mainstream American Muslims. Third, potential Islamic scholars seek knowledge abroad and come back to pursue their careers in the workforce. As Imam Zaid Shakir has mentioned, the board’s solution is “we must educate students here [in the US], not in a foreign culture.” The reason for the unrelateability of scholars to people often
other intricacies of our society, becomes overwhelming, he explains. Imam Zaid adds that scholars that are accustomed to a socially protected way of life become frustrated with a society as open as the one we live in, regardless of the fact that the United States is their home country. Many times scholars become so discouraged with society they go back to the country they were taught in. This is part of the importance of teaching students in our own society, and it was for this reason that Zaytuna College was formed. Most Islamic centers of learning, while respected for the religious knowledge they instill, rarely educate their students in secular matters as well. Zaytuna College, according to Imam Zaid, is a step in a whole new direction. “It is also important to inculcate solid humanities and social sciences to general Islamic education, so students learn to become conversant with current events and can analyze and contextualize in a Western analytical framework.” By teaching the graduates of Zaytuna College how to be a more complex representation of Islam, Zaytuna is attempting to fill the gap between
immigrant Islamic mullahs and mostly secular university faculty and professors. Professor Oliver Roy later stated that “everybody is looking for a go-between, someone that can interview on CNN and also has credibility when teaching an Islamic class in a traditional setting.” Professor Roy explains that most local Imams have little formal education, resulting in a large setback of intellectual Islam. “Very few second generation intellectual Muslims are attracted to teaching Islam. Why are they not interested in becoming Imams? There is not much money attached to being an Imam, therefore, not much social status.” Imams and other Islamic scholars are often boxed in as a community’s religious official, distinct and separate from the rest of society, he adds. Professor Roy explains that society is looking for Islamic intellectuals, not Muslim intellectuals. Muslims in America have already established themselves as a well educated, intellectual community. Yet, our religious leaders have yet to define themselves as secularly well educated, intellectual leaders. A media coordinator for the Zaytuna Institute, who asked to remain anonymous, mentioned how often times in native countries, people train to be Imams if they are not able to attend a university to become a professional. Becoming an Imam, then, is left for those with generally less education. As a result, many Imams finish their studies with religious knowledge but little else. “Zaytuna College is trying to change that, by making their college a well sought after, competitive bachelor’s degree program. Zaytuna College is looking to train the Islamic leaders of the future, not provide a mass produced degree in Islam,” he explained. These future leaders would help establish an Islamic scholarship and method of study unique to America and the issues of American Muslims. “Even if we produce only twenty scholars a year, in five years, we will have one hundred balanced, homogenous, relatable Islamic leaders in American society. That’s one hundred people who can touch the lives of countless others.” says Imam Zaid Shakir.
Fall 2008 / Dhul Qa’adah 1429
Pursuit of Peace
Peace Rally on Sproul 11/20/08
While a few anti-Islamic incidents on some campuses across the nation have sparked activism among college-aged Muslims, the response has, in many cases, led to cooperation with other groups on campuses and a renewed spirit of unity. In fall of 2007, the Horowitz foundation started an Islamofascism Awareness Week at many universities, which included lectures that were allegedly speaking out against radical Islam, but which had the impact of targeting Muslims. On the other hand, the Muslim Student Association National initiated a “Peace Not Prejudice” campaign that many campuses turned
When a young Angolan woman flees to Zambia due to her country’s civil war, she risks violence, sexual abuse, and contracting HIV/AIDS. An estimated 22 million adults and children live with AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet one population is often neglected from multi-million dollar AIDS treatment and prevention programs: refugees. The refugee problem in Sub-Saharan Africa is colossal. Countries are plagued with civil unrest and ethnic strife, causing the increasing displacement of millions. Armed conflicts facilitate the spread of HIV/AIDS and refugees are particularly vulnerable, according to Stefan Elbe the author of an article entitled “HIV/AIDS and the Changing Landscape of War in Africa” published in International Security. This vulnerability arises from the disruption of family, social networks, and health services. Though AIDS prevention programs are implemented widely in Sub-Saharan Africa, refugees are often unable to access these health
into their own, dealing with antiIslamic events in different ways. At the University of California, Berkeley, the Peace Not Prejudice campaign continued in its second year, though Islamofascism Awareness Week did not. But while Berkeley is the home of the Free Speech movement and is known for its liberal environment, a few other campuses have had similarly positive experiences in terms of how the Muslim community is viewed. According to Asim Ahmad, president of the Muslim Students Association at the University of Utah, there has not been any antiIslamic activity at their school. “I mean Alhamdulillah here in Utah, especially on our campus, the majority of people here are Mormons and they are extremely open to others beliefs,” he said. “We haven’t encountered any specific organization or group, or even lectures against Islam. We are lucky, MashAllah.” Ahmad says that the MSA has recently begun interfaith activities with other groups, a project that is currently in the works. In East Lansing, Michigan,
home of Michigan State University, this year is calm in comparison to a few incidents in the past few years that put the Muslim Students Association on the defense. Around three years ago, Michigan State dealt with a professor who sent a derogatory e-mail to the MSA, saying such things as Muslims should go home, go back to their country and stop preaching on the campus, said Ryan Strom, president of the MSA at MSU. The professor also wrote that he should not have to fear for his life walking on campus. “As a result of that ..we had a large response from religious groups, who when they heard about it, went to the administration..and helped us lobby for a reprimand against the professor,” he said. Last year, Michigan State similarly held a Peace Over Prejudice campaign in response to a group on campus bringing a speaker who openly preaches hateful things against Islam, Strom said. Though it was slow to start, it has picked up momentum this year and has resulted in more networking with other student groups. Aside from the few incidents,
Strom says the MSA has had a very good experience with student groups, especially this year. Schools within the University of California system also continued their Peace Not Prejudice campaign, such as at UCLA. Sabrin Said, vice president of UCLA’s MSA, said that this year there were no anti-Islamic events on campus but that their coalition of student groups was kept alive. “We had decided to continue our yearlong campaign for peace,” she said. “We entitled our week ‘All Aboard the Peace Train’ and although we had no programs we did sell t-shirts and used this as an opportunity to stand in solidarity with our Peace Not Prejudice campaigns going on at other UC campuses,” she said. Ahmed said that their strategy in working with other groups was to focus on the good rather than the bad. “We didn’t frame it as response to anti-Muslim rhetoric but promoting power and diversity rather than about focusing on what has happened to us and being reactionary to make it an inclusive campus,” he said.
resources. Refugees cannot overcome the barriers to accessing preventative programs for a variety of reasons. Refugees flee to countries that have languages and cultural practices unlike their own. In addition to local governments, camps can be run by NGOs where another language could be used. Unable to communicate, errors and misdiagnoses can result from communication differences. Thus, refugees are left behind when it comes to healthcare according research from the National University of Ireland. Shame arising from discussing HIV/AIDS is another barrier to accessing important preventative services says data from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Refugees face discrimination for their health status. According to Patricia Reaney of the Global Health Council, the issue of reproductive health is a cultural taboo in many African countries due to the increasing influence of conservative political and religious forces. These political and conservative forces make it more difficult
to obtain condoms and educational services which serve to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Another logistical barrier to accessing healthcare is the lack of trained professionals in refugee camps. According to Claire Duchesneau, M.S.W, a social worker and researcher of refugee and AIDS, thousands of trained professionals have left Africa. Refugee health services often do not have a Medical Doctor or insufficiently trained professionals. Nurses are the only individuals present and they often lack specialist knowledge and skill when it comes to assessment, documentation and treatment of refugees with HIV/AIDS, according to the British Medical Journal. A recent United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS document states that in times of war or civil strife HIV/AIDS prevention and care services are severely disrupted or breakdown altogether. Normal treatment and prevention is interrupted, barricading refugees from accessing these essential services. Furthermore, in order to obtain health services within the camp, refugees must have their papers and proper documentation
with them at all times. In South Africa, one road accident victim was refused help by ambulance personnel because she did not have her refugee papers on her at the time says a recent article by Bro Flemming and Craig Hinson-Smith from the South African Medical Journal. In addition to these more immediate barriers to accessing HIV/AIDS reproductive services, a groundbreaking article by from International Security titled, “The NGO Scramble” explores how well-meaning organizations often hinder relief efforts. Though most nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) work to ameliorate the situation of the populations they serve, it may not always be as beneficial as intended. Ann Swidler, professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley and expert on the institutional responses to the AIDS epidemic states, “With an increasing number of NGOs present, responses to the AIDS epidemic may become ineffective.” The more NGOs and international organizations there are in one relief sector increases uncertainty, competition, and insecurity continued on pg 8
Al-Bayan sonal interest but it’s also something that our (Muslim American Society) chapter felt Muslims should be involved in,” she said. “I mentioned to the national director, On October 12, 2008, hundreds Iyad Hindi, of (the society) that one gathered at the Muslim Commu- of my dreams is an environmental nity Association, a major mosque campaign and he really pushed us in Santa Clara not to pray or go to start the inito the weekly Sunday School, but tiative.” for an Islamic purpose of a differ- T h e ent kind: to save the Earth. EcoFair primary goal 2008 was the put on by the newly of the Muslim formed Muslim Green Team, which Green Team is was established in early 2008 as to raise awarethe first grassroots environmental ness about campaign founded by Muslims in eco-friendly the United States. The event in- practices such cluded lectures put on by Bay Area as recycling, scholars, along with various booths and reducing showcasing organic food and re- your Carbon cycled art, among others. footprint on “In my country of Af- Earth, or the ghanistan back home, people are amount of imcareless,” said one guest at the pact that humans have on the world event as he signed the available in terms of carbon dioxide emispledge sheets to live a more eco- sions. These are similar to the gennomical lifestyle. “They pollute the eral goals of several environmental air in cars that have bad engines, campaigns in the United States. and they throw everything in any Though it is aimed at the body of water they can find.” general public, the Muslim Green He was referring to a Team focuses its attention towards Muslim country but there are, of Muslims who do not really undercourse, several countries in the stand the concept of being environworld that do not know how to mentally conscious, Kamil says. reduce their daily emissions and “The Muslim community conserve energies. Moreover, he sometimes thinks being eco-friendstated that he biked to work and ly its not an Islamic issue,” she said. “ T h e y think it’s a fad and that its We s t e r n ized. But it is part of our religion.” According to the Quran and Hadith, mankind is given the Volunteers prepare to distribute buttons and bags. responsibility for the was in the process of having his upkeep and maintenance of Earth. whole family resort to doing so as In other words we are given gifts well. but we must taken care of them. Is The Muslim Green lam has a message of stewardship Team, a division of the Muslim that the Muslim Green Team feels American Society, was founded in is a good definition for our religion the Bay Area by Cal alumna Bha- and they use it as their mantra. wana Kamil. Kamil says she had “It is God Who hath crebeen thinking of starting an envi- ated the heavens and the earth and ronmental campaign for a while. sendeth down rain from the skies, “I guess it’s just a per- and with it bringeth out fruits
Muslim Green Team
wherewith to feed you; it is He Who hath made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers (also) hath He made subject to you. And He hath made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses;
Muslim volunteers at the EcoFair
and the night and the day hath he (also) made subject to you. And He giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favours of God, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude” (The Holy Quran 14:32-14:34). The Muslim Green Team takes this evidence and uses it as it’s driving force. “The more pragmatic goals are for people to actually make changes in their lives that would be good for the environment,” Kamil said. One way in which the Muslim Green Team set out to achieve their goal is through the distribution of free cloth bags as a replacement for paper and plastic shopping bags. The 10,000 bags being distributed all across the Bay Area serve the purpose of representing the new organization of the Muslim Green team, and lessen the impact of paper/plastic dependence because as we all know paper comes from trees and plastic comes from oil. “People who don’t really care about the environment might take the bag and then begin to care,” Kamil said. “They kind of can’t ignore it. We want to change the minds of people.” Working with existing environmental groups is one way Muslims on college campuses can get involved with the effort, Kamil said. “One thing which is re-
ally important is to get together with other groups on campus that are already doing environmental stuff and make sure Muslims have a strong presence,” she said. “Just serve the Islamic message about the environment, and make collaborations with other groups.” According to Jeffrey Romm, professor of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, small grassroots groups such as the Muslim Green Team can make a difference in achieving a more sustainable environment. “Little groups have an immense impact when they coalesce at the core of their energy,” Romm said. “Use what Islam says about greenness as a very powerful idea; it’s very encouraging. Take advantage of your group’s energy because the changes people can make with their energies are tremendous.”
continued from Refugees pg 7
for all organizations in that sector. This produces negative outcomes which hamper the original goals. In this context, refugees may not benefit from NGO and IO services due to their increasing prevalence and competition. Despite the possibility for competition among other NGOs, the role of the nongovernmental organization remains paramount, according to Kjerstin Erickson, founder and executive director of an international organization called FORGE (Facilitating Opportunities for Refugee Growth and Empowerment). To her, the key to ameliorating the refugee situation is to help empower refugees in their own communities. She works to involve refugees in the HIV/AIDS prevention process themselves and to empower refugees through educational services. For her, this is where hope resides for the future of refugees and AIDS prevention. More effective than the relief efforts of other NGOs, helping refugees help themselves is the best way to save lives. With the number of refugees worldwide at a staggering 9.2 million, it is essential this vulnerable and neglected population is able to access HIV/ AIDS prevention services.
Fall 2008 / Dhul Qa’adah 1429
Preventing Domestic Abuse
In his more than twenty years of giving spiritual counseling, Dr. Mohammad Rajabally encountered homicides, divorces, disputes, and much more within Muslim homes. He could see that there was clearly a problem of domestic violence, and did not want to stick his head in the sand and pretend the issue was not there, he said. With that attitude, he and his co-founder Mansur Ghory established the North American Islamic Shelter for the Abused (NISA) in Palo Alto, CA in 2001, with the goal of promoting family harmony and eliminating domestic violence. “What makes NISA different from mainstream anti-domestic abuse organizations is that our solutions, our approach, our methodology are deeply rooted in the Holy Quran and Sunnah,” Rajabally said. “We are the only organization run purely under an Islamic banner, not any ethnic or gender-centered banner.” NISA, which is also the Arabic word for women, started out with a short-term goal of establishing a domestic violence helpline. They proceeded to do so by gathering a team of about 7 members, including Rajabally, and having each certified by the state in domestic violence advocacy. After many instances of phone calls from women who had been thrown out on the street after disputes at home, NISA set a longterm goal of purchasing a home to be used as a shelter. The organization took advantage of the recent housing market down turn and bought a house in the beginning of October of 2008. Though the full bedroom, Tri-City area facility was priced at $730,000, the group was able to purchase it for $400,000, Rajabally said. “You can see how Allah has been great to us,” he said. “We have a decent, respectable alternative to accommodate our sisters (who are) homeless as a result of domestic violence.” Rajabally described the facility as a breakthrough, the first facility of its kind for Muslims in
Northern California. The home is asks sexual favors of their spouse currently under minor renovation that are not permitted in Islam. but is planned to accommodate up “In our counseling, we to six women, though the hopes are provide information on what is althat numbers will never get that lowed and what isn’t,” he said. “If high, he said. you know something isn’t allowed, “People don’t read the then that should get rid of the isQuran” Rajabally said, explaining sue.” the lack of education amongst cou- NISA also attempts to ples dealing with domestic prob- prevent domestic violence by prolems. “If that separation is neces- viding pre-marital counseling, sary, the Quran tells us that the where a volunteer will spend four husband should leave the home.” to five hours with a prospective It is with this reliance on couple, covering various issues that Prophetic traditions and scripture could result in problems. Through that NISA bases its approach, he various educational workshops, said. such as ‘Cool It Before You Lose Domestic issues that lead It’ with local Imam(s) Zaid Shakir to abuse are caused by a number of and Amir Abdul Malik, NISA crefactors among Muslim-Americans, ates awareness of domestic probRajabally says. Immigrant Mus- lems and resources in the Muslim lim-Americans tend to form more community. close-knit communities, where “ev- Rajabally describes the ery Muslim knows every Muslim,” approach of the volunteers as enand thus household members are abling their victims to be able to reluctant to discuss problems out- help themselves. side their home. In such a setting, “We don’t tell people a palpable fear of gossip exists and what to do,” he said. “We empower victims stay quiet, preferring pri- the victims to make proper decivate abuse to public ridicule. sions.” Dr. Rajabally points out Many men and women with pride that out of the more than who are new immigrants don’t three hundred cases brought to know the system in America for NISA’s attention, none have ever crisis intervention, or cannot combeen leaked, to their knowledge. municate their concerns properly Vo l u n t e e r s a r e to authorities. provide d “Especially if one spouse with conis from a fidentialvillage, ity trainit is a ing, the recipe ability to for trouNorth-American Islamic Shelter for the Abused protocol pribles… vate information, w h i c h they do not know how to address Rajabally received in his training these situations,” explains Rajaas a dentist. NISA’s confidentiality bally. For this reason, NISA propolicy does not allow volunteers to vides translation services in Farsi, discuss the cases with anyone, their Urdu, and Arabic, among others. spouses included. But what about those sit Another issue that leads uations where serious issues cannot to domestic violence is scriptural be resolved? The first thing NISA abuse, Rajabally says. Some men checks are whether any children and women take certain Quranic are involved and the victim(s) are verses to justify abuse, which he safe, and notifies police authorities says is not confirmed by the tradi- if they are in danger. tions. Through examination of the The group stresses that Prophet’s life and established fiqh, although divorce is the least fahowever, NISA helps couples navi- vored act of Islam, it is permitted. gate murky waters. However, NISA does prefer that “My take is this: Un- families not break up, and has fosderstand the Quran through he tered much successful reconciliawhose wife (Aisha) said ‘lived the tion. Quran’. If the Prophet Muhammad Dr. Rajabally points out, (PBUH) didn’t hit his wives, then “One of God’s names is The Forwhy should I?” giver. We don’t believe, like other For example, Dr. Raja- organizations do, that an abuser is bally cites cases where someone always an abuser. The door to Tau-
ba (repentance) is always open.” NISA continues to work to ensure that the Islamic tradition of identifying and tackling domestic issues is not a phenomenon of the past, says Rajabally. When speaking about where he receives inspiration, Dr. Rajabally quotes the Quran: “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect” (Quran: 30, 21). According to Rajablly, when one abuses marriage, he or she is abusing one of the signs of Allah. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a public policy group based in Washington-D.C. that aims to create and influence legislation to help victims of domestic violence, an estimated 1.3 million women in the United States are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. The coalition reports that “many women are forced to stay with or return to their abusive partners because of a lack of available shelter or affordable housing.” In 2000, more than half of U.S. cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference to Mayors identified domestic abuse as a leading cause of homelessness, the coalition also reports. In 2003, the request for emergency shelter by homeless families with children increased by 88% of U.S. cities surveyed that year. Half of women receiving government aid from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families reported domestic abuse as one of their reasons for needing assistance, the group reports. The manner in which the Muslim community addresses problems like domestic abuse teaches the American community at large more about Islam as a way of life, volunteers with NISA say. “The way that we react to these instances reflects on Islam to the wider society,” said Nizar Ahmed, a volunteer and the organization’s technical expert. “Yeah, we brought marriage contracts, and rights with the Quran, but what are we doing now?”
Since September 11, 2001, American Muslims have found themselves strangers in their own homes, arbitrarily labeled potential threats to freedom and national security. It seemed possible that this growing minority, subject to explicit and implicit forms of discrimination and harassment, would altogether withdraw from the public sphere. After all, history abounds with examples of marginalization discouraging people from involvement in civic society. After seven years of an uneasy existence, however, American Muslims have refused to keep a low profile. In fact, they are raising their voices louder than ever before. “Definitely, I think American Muslims are waking up,” explains Mahrukh Hasan, “because of the spotlight placed on them.” Hasan is the Government Relations Coordinator of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area chapter
Faith in Free Speech
Free speech. The concept responsible for an incredible amount of scrutiny in political history; the concept that has many on campus taking a good long moment to reflect on their own actions. This includes but is not limited to the perpetrators of the assault in Eshleman Hall on November 13. People are silenced or silence others daily, even here on the campus of UC Berkeley; arguably the most progressive college campus in the United States, the most passionate among us often forget the value of listening to others. What keeps us from listening to our fellow students and scholars? Is it not better to listen, and if they are wrong, to speak up and respond? Why does it seem impossible to discuss campus events without feeling it necessary to bring in political issues and conflicts from without? On November 13, three students holding Palestinian flags were confronted by audience members of a nearby pro-Israel concert, one of whom was a student. A fight resulted. Some citations were issued.
(CAIR-SFBA). The US government’s domestic “war on terror” policies have elicited a wide range of reactions among Muslim communities, according to Hasan. “Some mosques have closed off or become exclusive, largely out of fear. But the majority has taken the opportunity to engage.” Hasan cites examples of a growing number of Muslim organizations such as CAIR, ING, MPAC, and AMA, working to clarify misunderstanding and dispel Islamophobic myths. More significant than 9/11 or the Patriot Act, however, is what Hasan auspiciously calls the emergence of “an indigenous Muslim youth population.” This political force is the first of its kind ever to develop in the United States. “People in our generation, including myself, consider themselves both ‘Muslim’ and ‘American’ equally. The longer you stay here, the less you feel isolated, and you no longer perceive a conflict between Muslim and American identities.” Not only have Muslim American youth crossed the great cultural divide, they—like youth
everywhere—possess the enthusiasm and wit to enact real change. Unlike some of their elders from the previous generation, Muslim American youth today also tend to be less cynical of the political process and have more faith in the ballot. As a collective, they represent a powerful amalgamation of individual voices and ambitions, at once unique and united. Their common cause? Carving out of American society a Muslim presence. Among the many Muslim college-level activists is Saira Hussain, a senior at UC Berkeley serving on the Senate of the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley (ASUC). The ASUC comprises the elected representatives of the Berkeley student body. Hussain’s position as Senator entails helping make decisions on funding the diverse student groups across campus. Some items on Hussain’s agenda include: creation of a prayer and meditation space on campus; the installation of more lighting on campus to ensure safety at night; and the organization of an awareness week for the Tang Center’s health services.
Although it’s important to have Muslims run for the political positions of mayor, governor, congressmen, and—it doesn’t hurt to imagine—president, Muslim American communities must recognize the real progress happening right now at the college level. The key to activism, Hussain believes, is “finding a cause you’re interested in”. “In general, everyone has a cause, and we must have our voices heard.” Fortunately, speaking up is simply a matter of resolution; given the freedom and resources on campus, Hussain reminds us that “you can form any organization you want.” Hasan suggests that Muslim Student Associations should broaden their scope of activities, beyond the comfort zone of religion or culture (which MSAs are quite good at already). “Sometimes it makes sense that we find solace with ‘our own kind’ so to speak,” Hasan comments, “but I would argue that it is equally important to engage our non-Muslim peers and what better way to do that than collaborate on efforts of shared
No one, at the time of this writing, took heed of what they had to say. has been charged with a crime. The No one is immune from suggesinability to tolerate the free speech tions. The imperative in Islam is not of others cannot be allowed; the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no violent prevention of free speech evil,” but to require communities cannot go unpunished. But most to establish good and forbid evil: importantly, the necessity for free whether this means punishment or speech must be addressed and reit- speaking out against unjust laws. erated, time and time again lest we If one speaks out from the Muslim forget its place, or community with our place, in socithe intention of “He amongst you ety. its betterment, For this rea- who witnesses an evil, let him he should not son I write to the change (remove, stop) it with be silenced. It Muslim commu- his hand. If unable, then with is in the spirit nity and to anyone his tongue, and if unable, then of Islam that his who reads this: change it in his heart, and this voice be heard. Be wary who indeed is the weakest Iman.” The foundayou purposefully [Muslim] tion of Islam is in or inadvertently questioning one’s exclude. Be wary community, for who you purposefully or inadver- the better, in the endless pursuit of tently silence. justice. We must establish justice I am writing not to address according to the moral imperatives Muslims who have been silenced set down in the Qur’an and sent to by others, but for the worrisome us from Allah (SWT), to the best practice among Muslims to silence of our ability. This means speakourselves. ing out against injustice outside There were people who were the Muslim community, against extremely afraid of advising the the Muslim community, and perProphet (PBUH), for obvious rea- haps the most important: inside the sons, on certain issues; but the Muslim community. prophet still asked their council or It is a hallmark of progress for
communities in America to promote and to heed self-criticism. Blacks denied militant messages in favor of peaceful protest to gain their rights. Women who sought suffrage wrote brilliant treatises to establish and assert their equality. It is exactly this spirit that is fostered in Islam. Muslims today face incredible challenges and fears. The pressure to stand together as a community, united, has rarely been stronger or more needed. But this does not mean that we should gloss over our differences, that we should accept the opinions of others without question to preserve the image of unity when to hide very real disunity. Differing voices, the diversity of perspective all aid in the search for truth, and it is this that should unify us most of all. Fear should not motivate our silence; fears of perception, of being perceived as lacking faith or committing wrongs, only serve to maintain an image among our peers. Islam teaches that it is only our image before God that should motivate us. Speak. We want to hear what you have to say, what your story is,
continued on pg 11
continued on pg 11
Fall 2008 / Dhul Qa’adah 1429
continued from Living w/ Muslims pg 3
Daniel Pipes: Threat to Reason I heard many things about the controversial figure Daniel Pipes before I became a student here at Berkeley. I even heard about his affiliation with “Islamofacist” awareness and Pro-Zionist dealings. Upon hearing of his upcoming speech at Berkeley I was very interested hearing first hand what he had to say. After doing some research and listening to his speech last Thursday at Berkeley, I finally got a decent understanding of his views. The only question going through my mind after all this was, “How can anyone take this man seriously?” After having my bag searched and scanned with a metal detector I was allowed to enter his speech. On the list of threats to Israel’s existence he names weapons of mass destruction from Iran and Syria, the Egyptian military, terrorism, economic boycotts, the right of return for dispersed Palestinians, and anti-Zionism. He claims antiZionism stems from three main reasons: “Radical Islam”, the leftwing turning on Israel, and, his main focus, mistakes made by the United States and Israeli governments. He claims the mistakes are “changes in policy”, and “misunderstanding of the nature of warfare”. When Daniel Pipes was criticizing changes in policies, he alluded to the peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis. According to Pipes, Israel became a powerful state through “toughness and deterrence.” The process, he says, “is expensive, takes a long time, and is boring”. He then notes that Israelis became impatient and tried to “negotiate with the enemy” i.e. the Palestinians, who, he mentions “are under dictatorship, poverty, and backwardness.” According to Pipes, appeasing the Palestinians and compromising for peace is a mistake. “There can be no compromise,” he says. At the end of the day, he leaves no room for peace talks or diplomacy. Pipes also addresses what he likes to call “the true nature of war”. Pipes did not express his views outright, but rather tried to cleverly allude to this “true nature of war”. He never fully explains what he means, and avoids going into detail. Nevertheless, he
Daniel Pipes speaks at Boalt Hall
uses it as a means to force Palestinians to succumb to Israeli occupation. Pipes says that Israel must realize “the true nature of war” to make Palestinians “cry uncle”. He also mentions that the source of Palestinian resistance is exhilaration and hope, and that these must be stripped away in order to force them to give up. Although he doesn’t say this outright, he pushes for the use violence and force in order to achieve what he believes to be Israel’s goals. What else can “the true nature of warfare” in this context mean? Pipes’s speech was enigmatic and never clearly expressed what his views were. He simply alluded to his views with ambiguous terms. He constantly labeled Islam as being the fundamental reason behind the Palestinian drive to destroy Israel, but yet he never quoted anything from the Quran, shared examples, or supported anything he said with facts. Pipes is well known for spreading antiIslamic propaganda around the country, and tailors his speech to an audience with little knowledge of Islam. The event did not target open-minded students, but rather a select group of mostly non-students with preexisting notions of the Palestinian issue and of Islam. If he were to present Islam in an honest and truthful manner, it would hurt his case which relies on ignorance and fallacies. With his constant reference to Muslim stereotypes and fallacious reasoning I am still unsure whether I found Daniel Pipes’ speech more insulting as a Muslim, or as a reasonable individual.
been interesting for her. “I’ve learned a lot and I definitely didn’t know [anything] when I came to Berkeley,” she said. “It’s interesting to see how Muslim people interact with each other, and (their) being Muslim doesn’t affect how I interact with (them).” Alex adds, “I like living with different people. I could have lived with friends, but I would rather live with people from different places to stretch my intellectual parameters.“ Mulaveesala said he also learned more about Islam by living with Muslims and that it changed his view on Islam. Prior to living with a Muslim, his view on Islam was mainly based on information by the media, he said. “To be completely honest, there was a little part of me that associated modern terrorists with Islam, but whether it was conscious or not, I do not know,” said Mulaveesala. “Once I got to know a Muslim person and many others like him, I now undoubtedly know that this was wrong.” Wilson had a similar response.
“I have realized that (Islam) is not nearly as strict as it is made out to be in the media,” he said, “It seems to bring people together more than anything.” continued from Muslim Activism pg 10
causes—civil rights, human rights, peace and justice organizations.” Hijab discrimination, FBI surprise visits, and long airport security checks in post-9/11 America may have been more than an inconvenience for Muslims. But they—particularly the youth of this generation—have responded in positive ways with vigor and unwavering persistence. This movement towards activism will likely accelerate at faster speeds in the near future. continued from Faith in Free Speech pg 10
and what you want to be heard. For those who would judge you for doing so or for what you would say - they need to hear what you have to say most of all. We hope Al-Bayan is and will continue to be a forum for all your voices.
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