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AMERICAN-MUSLIMS COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

Monthly Newspaper

Vol.17 Issue No.187

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April 2012 Rabi Al-Akhar / Jumada Al-Awwal

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American Muslims Outraged at Jasser’s Appointment to USCIRF Muslim Voice

Poll:

Do you think Jasser should be removed from the USCIRF commission? No Vote on www.azmuslimvoice.com Last month’s results:

Do you think NYPD Police Chief should resign over civil rights abuses to Muslim Students? Yes 50%

No 50%

Pearce announces run for state Senate seat

3

Low credit, no problem: Americans pile into junk

5

The Muslim Community in Arizona and Nationwide has expressed its disappointment and outrage at the appointment of self proclaimed expert of Islam and terrorism Zuhdi Jasser to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Many local Muslim leaders are working with local and national organizations in an attempt to reverse this disgraceful appointment. Jasser is well known for bashing the Muslim Community and accusing them of supporting and funding terrorism. He attacked in many occasions’ local leaders, Imams as well as organizations such as CAIR, MAS and ISNA. A petition has been circulated asking the commission to reverse this appointment on the basis of misrepresentation and deception. The following is a copy of the petition; we encourage people to sign it to stop Jasser from speaking in our behalf. You can visit http://www.change.org/petitions/

Iraqi woman beaten in US; threat note at scene

Why This Is Important The appointment of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom is a contradiction to the goals of the USCIRF for the following reasons: 1.) Most problematically, Jasser allies himself with and receives funding from anti-Muslim organizations and personalities who work tirelessly to curb the religious and civil liberties of Muslims in the USA. Jasser’s organization has received funding, to the tune of $100,000 from a major backer of Rick Santorum, Foster Friess. Friess was featured as one of the major backers of Islamophobic organizations in the Center for American Progress’s groundbreaking report, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America. Continued on page 3

Lawyer: Court rejects appeal for Hana Shalabi

After Massacre, Afghan Americans Question Meaning of Justice

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TERMS USED IN THIS PAPER Alhamdulilah: Praise God Allah: Arabic word for God Fatwa: Islamic decision based on Shari’a Hadith: Sayings of the Prophet Mohammad Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca Halal: Allowed in Islam Halaqa: Group study Haram: Prohibited in Islam Hijab: Head cover for women Hijra: Migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Madina Imam: Islamic scholar Iman: Faith Inshallah: God willing Madina: City near Mecca in Saudia Arabia Masjid: Place were Muslims gather for prayer and studies Mecca: City in Saudi Arabia where Prophet Mohammad was born Pbuh: Peace be upon him Quran: Islam’s Holy book Shahadah: Is saying “I accept Allah as the one God and Mohammad as his messenger” when someone accepts Islam. Sharia’: Islamic law Shura: A council of Muslim scholars (SWT) Subhanahu Watala: Praise be to Allah Taqwa: God consciousness

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Deadlines for submission of letters is the 20th of every month, and for advertisements by the 25th. Only letters and articles submitted on disk or email will be accepted for review. The Publisher reserves the right to refuse any letters, articles or advertisement or any other material. The Publisher will not be liable for more than the advertisement cost in case of an error. The Muslim Voice is not responsible for the contents of advertisements or articles nor endorses them in any way or form.

By Yousuf Bhuvad The Naqsbandiya Foundation for the Islamic Education (NFIE) organized its 9th annual Mawlid-un-Nabi conference on Saturday, March 10th at the Chandler Community Center. The NFIE is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf (Sufism). It was established in loving memory of Sayyid Jamaat Ali Shah Naqshbandi(rahmat Allah alayhi)-d.1951 and Shaykh Muhammad Masum Naqshbandi (rahmat Allah alayhi) d.2007. This spiritual event was attended by close to 600 people from around Phoenix and vicinity. Many guests came from Tucson, Houston, Littlerock and Santa Clara Salman Faizi welcomed the guests and served as a moderator. The program started with the recitation of Holy Quran by young Ali Ahmed. Dr. Ahmed Mirza, the founder of the NFIE, thanked the

audience and gave a brief overview of the work foundation was doing to promote Islamic education. Qari Syed Sadaqat Ali mesmerized the guests with his beautiful recitation of Holy Quran. He is a student of Qari Abdul Basit (RA) and a recipient of many awards in Pakistan for his Qirat. Using varying style of Quranic recitation including the one with complete Surah in a single breath, the honorable Qari created a divine atmosphere never before seen in the valley. Noor Muhammad Jarral, a guest Naat reciter from Virginia, recited his favorite Naats in the love of the Prophet (PBUH) receiving praises for his delivery and style of presentation. He is a well known gold medalist Qasidah reciter from Pakistan. Local Na’at Khawan Muhammad Bilal Siddiqui and Salman Faizi also rejuvenated the attendees with their Naat recitations. Imam Didmar, the Imam of the Greenway Masjid, introduced the

keynote speaker Shaykh Muhammad Bin Yahya Ninowy. The Shaykh was born in Syria and began his study under his father, acquiring knowledge in many disciplines, including Aqeedah, Fiqh and Hadith, with numerous licenses to teach. He attended Al-Azhar University and also studied with prominent scholars Syria, Hijaz and North Africa. He currently lives in al-Madinah al-Munawwarah and teaches hadith at the Islamic University of Medina. In his speech, the Shaykh focused on the love and mercy of Prophet. The Prophet (pbuh) was brought into this world as a blessing for all of universe (Rehmatul Lil Alemeen). His guidance is for all the people in the world and not just for the Muslims. He emphasized on following the footsteps of the Prophet (pbuh) calling the love expressed for him as the part of the religion. The program ended with the closing remarks by Dr. Mirza and offering of salat-o-salaams. Afterwards, the dinner was served.


LOCAL

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

APRIL 2012

3

Continued from page 1

American Muslims Outraged at Jasser’s Appointment to USCIRF According to the Washington Post, “Jasser received a $100,000 donation from Christian conservative financier Foster Friess, who is now bankrolling the super-PAC supporting Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. Jasser declined to elaborate on exactly how much Friess had given AIFD, though he said the financier contributed $70,000 to his organization in 2010 for a Muslim youth retreat hosted by the group. (Friess told MSNBC that he was backing Santorum because he is ‘incredibly versed in one of the number one issues of our time—and that is violent Islamic extremism.’)” Jasser told Mother Jones that the AIFD had accepted $5,000 from the Center for Security Policy: “The center published a report in 2010 warning that American Muslims are seeking to replace the Constitution with a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The “expert” in Islamic religious law

cited in the report, an attorney named David Yerushalmi, is responsible for authoring draft anti-Shariah legislation that has served as a blueprint for anti-Shariah laws across the US. Yerushalmi has suggested that “acting in furtherance of Islam” should be a felony.” Mother Jones also reports that, “Jasser said his group has also received a one-time, unsolicited donation of $10,000 from the Clarion Fund, which is associated with Aish HaTorah, a rightwing Israeli group described by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic as ‘just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today.’ The Clarion Fund has released several films that warn of Muslim conspiracies to reestablish a global caliphate. Jasser is a Clarion board member and in 2008 narrated a documentary bankrolled by the group called The Third Jihad, which darkly warns that Muslim

extremists are attempting to “infiltrate and dominate America,” a conspiracy implicating most prominent American Muslim organizations. The New York Times reported that the film was shown to thousands of NYPD officers as part of their counterterrorism training, which the police department later apologized for.” 2.) In another blow to the religious liberties and freedoms of American Muslims, Jasser’s organization the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) supports state wide legislative bans on Muslim personal religious practice relating to: marriage, prayer, wills, etc. Jasser’s organization has published press releases “applauding” such legislation, which many, including US Courts have considered unconstitutional infringements on the religious liberties of Muslims. 3.) Jasser was outspoken in his opposition to an interfaith and Islamic

Center in Manhattan, supporting efforts to block it from being built, remarking that, “This center is trying to change the narrative of 9/11 -- to diminish what happened at Ground Zero.” 4.) Jasser’s advocacy and support for the NYPD’s illegal profiling and secret surveillance program targeting Muslims for monitoring at their houses of worship, businesses and universities is not only unconscionable but contradicts the USCIRF’s purported goals of reviewing “the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.” How can an individual who supports the curbing of Muslim civil and religious liberties at home be trusted as a “commissioner” to review and analyze violations of religious freedoms abroad?

Birth control bill back on Pearce announces run for state Senate seat agenda in Ariz. Senate Received by Newsfinder from AP PHOENIX (AP) _ A bill to allow more Arizona employers to drop health plan coverage for contraceptives for birth control is on the move again in the Legislature. The bill is scheduled for review Monday by the Senate Rules Committee. Approval by that committee would allow the bill to be considered by full the Senate. Senate President Steve Pierce pulled

the bill from the committee’s agenda last Monday because of controversy surrounding the bill. Supporters say they plan to change the bill to provide reassurances that a woman wouldn’t have to explain to her employers why she wants contraception for a purpose other than birth control. Arizona law now allows religious entities to refuse to cover contraceptives. The bill would let any employer with religious or moral objections to contraception to opt out.

Arizona sees late-arriving flu season

Received by Newsfinder from AP MESA, Ariz. (AP) _ Months after he lost his seat in a recall election, Russell Pearce says he’s running for the state Senate again. The architect of Arizona’s tough immigration laws announced Monday night that he will seek the Senate seat in the new Legislative District 25. Pearce appeared before the Red Mountain Tea Party with other political candidates. Pearce lost a November recall to Republican Jerry Lewis, a charter school executive who was well known in the conservative Mesa district but had no political experience. Pearce was the first Arizona legislator to be recalled in the state’s 99-year history. The Mesa Republican was the sponsor

of major Arizona legislation targeting illegal immigration, including the 2010 enforcement law known as SB 1070 and the employer sanctions law enacted in 2007.

Rates from health insurer in Arizona scrutinized

By MICHELLE L. PRICE Associated Press Received by Newsfinder from AP PHOENIX (AP) _ Arizona health officials say about 30 percent of all flu cases in the state this year were reported last week. The Arizona Department of Health Services says that 338 out of the 1,169 cases were reported last week. La Paz County is the only one of Arizona’s 15 counties that has reported no cases this season.

Department of Health Services Director Will Humble tells The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/GO3lFH) that the outbreak in this late-arriving flu season is likely bigger than the numbers indicate. Humble says most cases go untreated and unreported, except for kids tested by their pediatricians and people hit especially hard by the infectious disease. He says self-treatment is not enough, especially when people experience high fevers or difficulty breathing.

PHOENIX (AP) _ The Department of Health and Human Services has identified Arizona as one of nine states where insurance companies are proposing rate hikes that the agency says are ``unreasonable.’’ The agency’s review of rate increases is one of the provisions of the 2010 federal health care overhaul. The most review said a 17 percent increase by Arizona John Alden Life

Insurance Co., a division of Assurant Health, was unreasonable. HHS says the rate increase is unreasonable because the insurance company would be spending a fraction of premium dollars on ``actual medical care and quality improvements,’’ and justification for the rate is based on ``unreasonable assumptions.’’ The company says the rate ``reasonable and necessary.’’

is

Both Arizona and the federal government review insurance rates but neither has the authority to reject them.


4

LOCAL

APRIL 2012

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AZ Muslim Community Exclaims Over “Rasool” Play Muslim Voice By Hasana Abdul-Quadir Local Muslim youth proceeded through the backstage entrance at the Mesa Arts Center on Saturday, March 17, 2012. Most of them, although running on four hours of sleep or less, were pumped for the endeavor they were about to complete that weekend. As the director, producers, actors, costume designers, and set designers arrived in the Green Room, they surveyed the walls, which were covered with posters of celebrities that had performed or would be performing soon in the same venue. For about one year, the team of over 60 people from the Muslim Leaders of America (MLA) had been working tirelessly on an epic play about Prophet Muhammad (S), called “Rasool,” (formerly known as “Mercy to Mankind”), and the day to put on the show was almost here. As the sets and props arrived in large trucks, the crew immediately got to work on repairing damaged sets and setting them up on stage. The Mesa Arts Center technicians looked at the amateur team incredulously as rehearsals progressed, but the youth were determined to put on a professional show their first time in the theater. “There were countless struggles, some of them we never even dreamed would be an obstacle,” said co-Producer, Zainab Ajmeri. “For example, during the productions microphones were a big issue. But we took them as a test, and SubhanAllah...Allah...helped us through each one, and we came out stronger in the end, Alhamdulillah.” The youth working on the play spent large blocks of time together, especially on the weekend of the production, sometimes spending 12 or more hours working diligently side-by-side. Naturally, conflicts arose with such invigorating work, but they had to learn how to overcome them.

“A lot of the actors did not know each other or were not close in any way. As time went by, the actors went from being strangers to being close friends,” said coProducer, Asma Hegazy. “Working with such a diverse group of people to educate Muslims and non Muslims alike about the message of prophet Muhammad (saw) was truly a unique experience. ” But in addition to the challenge of working with others, many of the youth were heckled with doubts from community members. “There were a lot of trust issues when working with people who don’t have much experience,” explained Director, Saiaf Abdallah. “People were too worried about how the community was going to view the project. I wanted the worry to be about putting on the best possible art regardless of how people took it. If you rely on pleasing the audience all the time, you’ll get nothing done.” The next morning, Sunday, March 18--the day of the show, everyone arrived more resolved to succeed than ever. The reality and magnitude of the event was finally setting in. People took special care not to make the same mistakes from the previous day, and everyone continued to put their trust in Allah. As rehearsals progressed, the day dwindled into evening, and actors began getting dressed and having their makeup done, while all others attended to their tasks at various posts. Around 7:00pm, stealthy looks into the lobby revealed a packed house, and excitement and nervousness grew. The audience filed into their seats, and after some opening remarks from the Director, were transported into 7th Century Makkah. They reveled at the sights of deserts, the houses of infamous Quraishi leaders, the enormous Ka’bah, the intense hand-to-hand combat during battles, and the serenity of Madinah. The production flowed without interruption or incident, Alhamdulillah, and after the last scene drew to a close and the entire production crew presented themselves on-stage, the exhilarated team trooped back to the Green Room chanting,

“Rasool! Rasool!” The feedback from the audience members (which included over 1000 people) was overwhelming as texts and phone calls began pouring in. “Mashallah, people have been so supportive and enthusiastic after seeing the play. I get stopped on a daily basis with people praising the play; they can’t stop talking about it,” exclaimed Abdallah. “Many people personally messaged me or talked to me about how this play brought tears to their eyes,” added Ajmeri. “To see the Prophet (S)’s story being portrayed in front of their eyes was an eye-opening experience for many.” The success of this “life-changing experience,” as described by Actor, Muath Shqeirat, built the youths’ confidence and trust in Allah higher than ever. “From the start [of the idea of the play], all we heard is how we can’t make it and won’t be able to,” explained co-Producer, Khalid Risha. “Now that it’s over, we’re looking for the next impossible obstacle to overcome--the next no.” Even through their celebrations, the team members began mentally preparing themselves for another round. “I want to do it again,” said Abdallah. “I came into the game wanting to be the best, and I

don’t feel I’m there yet, so I want to keep trying until I do, InshaAllah.” All agreed that the play was well worthwhile. “It was a remarkable experience that we will no doubt tell our children and our grandchildren about,” said co-Producer, Huthaifa Shqeirat. “We have become a family,” said Ajmeri. “I got to know so many people whom I had seen in the community but never got to work with. I loved it!” After the culmination of the play, some of the play’s members headed down to IHOP in Tempe to celebrate, and none could help but wonder at all those who helped make their dream a successful reality: Allah, their parents, the other youth who worked by their sides, the community members who attended and spread the word, and the donors. “For anyone whose names we forgot to mention publicly, just know that we may forget, but Allah never forgets, and He will reward you for any hard work you did,” said Shqeirat. Risha expects “Rasool” to climb even higher and change the dynamic of Da’wah nationally, inshaAllah: “Check your local listings because you can guarantee the play will be near you.”

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Low credit, no problem: Americans pile into junk By MATTHEW CRAFT AP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) _ Americans have a thing for junk. Stock prices have doubled in the past three years, and everyday investors keep pulling money out of stocks. But they’re happy to lend billions of dollars to companies with deep debts and embarrassing credit scores.

Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede, an investment management company. ``They think, `Why would you own anything other than stocks?’’’

a reckless company goes bankrupt, bondholders and other creditors still get paid.

faced a tidal wave of debts coming due, what’s known as a maturity wall. Forced to compete with the U.S. government for new loans, companies could wind up paying crushing interest rates and be pushed into bankruptcy. News reports imagined doomsday scenarios coming from the junk bond market and referred to the Mayan calendar and the world

Stocks have been on a roll. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 11 percent this year and has doubled since it hit its low point during the Great Recession in

And most people piling into junk bonds have no need to worry about the bankruptcy of any particular company. Buying into mutual funds that invest in more than 100 companies dilutes the

March 2009.

danger of one going under.

ending in late 2012.

Professional money managers usually predict disaster when the public flocks to an investment outside of the stock market. To them, it’s often a reliable ``sell’’ signal. If the average Joe shows up, the pros think it’s time to go.

The bigger draw is the yield. The typical high-yield bond pays 7.2 percent. With interest rates at record lows, the benchmark U.S. Treasury security, the 10-year note, pays 2.2 percent. It paid as little as 1.76 percent last October.

What happened? ``Companies kicked out the wall,’’ says Kevin Cassidy, senior credit officer at Moody’s.

Yet Pride is one of many money managers steering his customers to junk bonds. One reason is the lower risk: When

``Think of high-yield as the middle ground between bonds and stocks,’’ Tjornehoj says.

They’re doing it through junk bonds, the risky investments made infamous by the disgraced investment banker Michael Milken in the 1980s. Americans have never shoveled so much money into junk bond funds to start a year. Since the start of January, everyday investors have put $12 billion into mutual funds that buy high-yield bonds, the polite name for junk. That’s more than the $8.2 billion they invested in all of 2011. The full-year record was $28 billion in 2009. ``If the trend continues we’ll blow that number away,’’ says Jeff Tjornehoj, head of Americas Research at Lipper, the company that tracks mutual funds and compiled the numbers. Buying a junk bond makes you a lender to companies with heavy debts and low credit ratings. That’s why investors demand higher returns in exchange for handing over their money. Junk bonds still carry a lingering black mark from Milken, who pioneered the market in the 1980s while at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Milken was convicted of insider trading and violating other federal securities laws and has since remade himself as a philanthropist. And then there’s that unpleasant name. ``A lot of people look at high-yield with a jaded viewpoint,’’ says Jason

Still scarred by the 2008 meltdown, Americans seem comfortable in that middle ground. They’ve bought junk bonds in such great numbers that prices have risen from as low as 91 cents on the dollar last October to a recent $1.01. That’s pushed borrowing costs down from above 10 percent.

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With interest rates at all-time lows, companies managed to borrow cheaply and used the money from investors to refinance their debts. They pushed their due dates years into the future and also have smaller interest payments. ``If the Federal Reserve hadn’t kept rates as low as they kept them, and if the economy hadn’t picked up, you would have had a scarier situation,’’ Cassidy says. Despite the predictions of doom, defaults remain rare. Just 2.2 percent of companies that issue low-rated bonds defaulted in the last year, according to Moody’s. That rate will probably inch toward the 5 percent historical average as interest rates rise.

The price of a company’s high-yield bond often shadows its stock. But bondholders are better off when a company runs into trouble. In a bankruptcy, owners of high-yield bonds count as creditors, like banks, and can expect to get back around 40 cents on the dollar. Owners of stock can expect nothing.

Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, says he understands why many of his clients are drawn to high-yield bonds. They saw stocks plunge for no apparent reason in the Flash Crash of 2010 and watched the Dow take wild swings last August. Now they’re encouraged by the slowly improving economy and willing to take a step out of cash. Buying junk is a way to stay in bonds while creeping closer to the stock market, Ablin says.

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Senators ask feds to probe requests for passwords By MANUEL VALDES Associated Press SEATTLE (AP) _ Two U.S. senators are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether employers asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews are violating federal law, their offices announced Sunday. Troubled by reports of the practice, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said they are calling on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch investigations. The senators are sending letters to the heads of the agencies. The Associated Press reported last week that some private and public agencies around the country are asking job seekers for their social media credentials. The practice has alarmed privacy advocates, but the legality of it remains murky. On Friday, Facebook warned employers not to ask job applicants for their passwords to the site so they can poke around on their profiles. The company threatened legal action against applications that violate its long-standing policy against sharing passwords. A Facebook executive cautioned that if an employer discovers that a job applicant is a member of a protected group, the employer may be vulnerable to claims of discrimination if it doesn’t

hire that person. Personal information such as gender, race, religion and age are often displayed on a Facebook profile _ all details that are protected by federal employment law.

authorization and intentional access to a computer without authorization to obtain information. The senators also want to know whether two court cases relating to supervisors asking current employees

Associated Press Writers Americans have pumped less gas every week for the past year.

Maryland and Illinois are considering bills that would bar public agencies for asking for this information.

``We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do. While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users,’’ Facebook said in a statement. Not sharing passwords is a basic tenet of online conduct. Aside from the privacy concerns, Facebook considers the practice a security risk. ``In an age where more and more of our personal information _ and our private social interactions _ are online, it is vital that all individuals be allowed to determine for themselves what personal information they want to make public and protect personal information from their would-be employers. This is especially important during the jobseeking process, when all the power is on one side of the fence,’’ Schumer said in a statement. Specifically, the senators want to know if this practice violates the Stored Communications Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Those two acts, respectively, prohibit intentional access to electronic information without

for social media credentials could be applied to job applicants. ``I think it’s going to take some years for courts to decide whether Americans in the digital age have the same privacy rights’’ as previous generations, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Catherine Crump said in a previous interview with the AP. The senators also said they are drafting

Stuck with high gas prices, drivers just pump less By CHRIS KAHN and TOM KRISHER

a bill to fill in any gaps that current laws don’t cover.

guzzled gas.

In California, Democratic Sen. Leland Yee introduced a bill that would prohibit employers from asking current employees or job applicants for their social media user names or passwords. That state measure also would bar employers from requiring access to employees’ and applicants’ social media content, to prevent employers from requiring logins or printouts of that content for their review. club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. MasterCard, which collects purchase receipts from more than 100,000 service stations around the country, said spending on gas rose by 20 percent during the period. In 2011, Americans spent 8.4 percent of their household income on gasoline, or about $4,155, compared with 6.7 percent in 2010, according to experts at OPIS.

This time may be different. Medlock thinks economic growth will be too modest and gas prices will stay too high for Americans to start driving more anytime soon. Economists expect the

and responded to stricter government fuel economy requirements. They’ve improved engines and transmissions so cars burn less fuel. They’ve also made cars more aerodynamic, boosting mileage by cutting wind drag. The

U.S. economy to grow 2.5 percent in 2012. The government estimates that gas will average a record $3.79 per gallon for the year.

government is gradually increasing gas mileage requirements so that by 2025, cars and trucks will have to average 54.5 mpg.

as much as $150 a week on gas. He’s consolidating his errands, but still limiting his driving because fuel keeps getting more expensive.

John Gamel, who oversees MasterCard SpendingPulse’s weekly consumption report, points to rising sales of fuelefficient vehicles.

Between February 2011 and February 2012, the combined city-highway mileage of a new vehicle sold in the U.S rose to 23.7 mpg from 22.7. Better gas mileage has a huge impact on the overall economy. At $3.86 per gallon, U.S. drivers would save $35.8 billion per year with a 1 mpg improvement for the entire fleet of cars, trucks and buses, according to Michael Sivak, a research professor with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

``It’s changing everybody’s plans,’’ he says. ``You have less money to spend.’’

W.M. Lewis, a general contractor in Anchorage, Alaska, says he is spending

During those 52 weeks, gasoline consumption dropped by 4.2 billion gallons, or 3 percent, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. The decline is the longest since a 51-week period during the recession. The main reason: higher gas prices. The national average for a gallon of gas is $3.89, the highest ever for this time of year, and experts say it could be $4.25 by late April. As a result, Americans are taking fewer trips to restaurants and shopping malls. When they take a vacation, they’re staying closer to home. But the decline in gas consumption is also a sign that efforts to push car makers to produce vehicles with better gas mileage are paying off. The average new car now gets nearly 24 miles to the gallon, compared with about 20 mpg just four years ago, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. ``I’d expect to see lower gasoline consumption for several years to come,’’ Rice University energy expert Ken Medlock says. Americans have cut back on fill-ups for extended periods before. In 2008, gas spiked from $3.04 to $4.11 per gallon in seven months. It wasn’t until January 2009, when the national average for gas had dropped to $1.86 that consumption increased. Drivers bought more gasoline for 23 weeks in a row. ``The spike in 2008 was a real shock to the system,’’ Medlock says. ``There’s still a residual impact on people’s driving behavior.’’ There were other stretches of reduced gas use, notably two into the 1970’s and one in the early 1980’s. But in those cases, Americans eventually went back to driving big cars and trucks that

``People have gotten used to elevated prices and they’ve made their longterm purchases,’’ Gamel says. ``They’re going to be using less fuel.’’ Consumers now care more if a car gets good gas mileage than if it’s reliable, stylish or comes with a great deal, according to a survey of more than 24,000 new-vehicle owners taken last summer and fall by J.D. Power and Associates. That wasn’t the case in the nine previous years that J.D. Power conducted the survey. Automakers have listened to consumers,

Consumers would appreciate the help. The rise in gas prices has been so steep that they’re still spending more on gas than a year ago despite using less. Gasoline prices rose by 24 percent in the last 52 weeks, according to auto

Behind all this is the high price of oil. Brent crude, which is used to price most of the oil used to make gasoline at many U.S. coastal refineries, has jumped by 16 percent this year to more than $124 per barrel. Benchmark U.S. crude has risen 9 percent this year to more than $107 per barrel. Increased gas use by the growing number of drivers in China and other developing nations more than makes up for the drop in the U.S. That contributes to an increase in global demand for oil, which in turn pushes the price higher. Fear of a disruption to oil supplies from the Middle East also is keeping oil prices at lofty levels.


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The Chilling Fate of Trayvon Martin Amsterdam News, Commentary, Jonathan P. Hicks

On an August morning in 1955, a 14-year-old Chicago student, visiting relatives in Mississippi, stopped in a small-town grocery store with a group of friends. While there, the visitor from Chicago was said to have whistled at the white woman working behind the counter, a profoundly dangerous thing to do in the world of Jim Crow America. Within a few days, the woman’s husband and his brother came to the home where the young boy was visiting. They transported him to a barn, beat him and gouged out one of his eyes only to shoot him through the head and dispose of his body in a river, weighing it down with a 70-pound cotton gin fan. Days later, his body was found, dragged from the river and returned to his mother in Chicago. She insisted that his body be shown publicly in the casket to demonstrate to the world the brutality and senselessness of the killing. It was a murder that riveted the nation and showcased to the world the horror of the ruthless violence that befalls AfricanAmerican youth.

attention of the entire country. By now, his story is well known. The young man was walking through a gated community in a suburb of Orlando when he was approached by a neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman called police saying that the young man looked suspicious and that he was Black. The police told Zimmerman not to follow the young man, explaining that they were on their way. Nonetheless, Zimmerman approached Martin. There are 911 calls that carry the young man’s chilling and heartbreaking cries for help, followed by a gun shot. Zimmerman said he shot the young man in self-defense; Martin was carrying a can of iced tea and bag of Skittles. Zimmerman, who was 100 pounds heavier than Martin, carried a 9 mm handgun.

Trayvon Martin is the Emmett Till of this generation.

Martin, a clean-cut young man described by teachers as an A and B student who majored in “cheerfulness,” is someone any American can relate to. He is our son, our nephew, our cousin, the kid we encounter in the church youth group, the young man on the college-bound tour. It seems fairly clear that he was murdered because he was a young Black man wearing a hoodie and because he didn’t fit the profile of the people who, in Zimmerman’s eyes, should be walking in a suburban gated community.

The death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old cheerful high school senior, is a crime so horrifying that it has galvanized, if belatedly, the

His death carries an additional, disturbing tragedy. Zimmerman has not been charged with any crime and there is no telling if he will be. Zimmerman’s claim

That 14-year-old’s name was Emmett Till.

APRIL 2012

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Iraqi woman beaten in US; threat note at scene Received by Newsfinder from AP

of self-defense allows him to invoke Florida’s outrageous “Stand Your Ground” law, a piece of legislation championed by the National Rifle Association. The law enables people to use deadly force against anyone whom they perceive as a threat. It is nothing short of a statesanctioned license for people to engage in vigilante lawlessness. Prosecutors in Florida say that the number of defendants who have used the self-defense claim has skyrocketed since the law was passed in 2005. It has been used by gang members against other gang members and by drug dealers in altercations with one another. In one 2001 case, a man was cleared of any wrongdoing after stabbing a man in the head with an ice pick during a road rage incident. Florida is just one of 21 states that have enacted such absurd laws, meaning that the fate that befell Martin could occur anywhere at any moment. And so, in the aftermath of this senseless atrocity, the reasonable people of this country should do all in their power to revoke or at lease defuse these laws. It will only prevent the deaths of other young African-American young men like Martin and serve as a fitting legacy for his tragic death.

EL CAJON, California (AP) _ A 32-year-old woman from Iraq was critically injured after being severely beaten in her Southern California home, and police said a threatening note was discovered at the scene. The woman’s 17-yearold daughter found her unconscious Wednesday morning in the dining room of the house in El Cajon, police Lt. Steve Shakowski said. Authorities identified the victim as Shaima Alawadi, a mother of five. The daughter told KUSI-TV that her mother had been beaten on the head repeatedly with a tire iron Police Lt. Mark Coit said a threatening note was discovered ``very close to where the victim was found,’’ but he did not disclose other details of the note. The family said they had found a similar note earlier this month but did not report it to authorities, Coit said. A family friend, Sura Alzaidy, told the newspaper UT San Diego that the attack apparently occurred after the father took the younger children to school. Alzaidy told the newspaper the family is from Iraq, and that Alawadi is a ``respectful modest muhajiba,’’ meaning

she wears the traditional hijab, a head scarf. Investigators said they believe the assault is an isolated incident. The family had lived in the house in San Diego County for only a few weeks, after moving from Michigan, Alzaidy said. Alzaidy told the newspaper her father and Alawadi’s husband had previously worked together in San Diego as private contractors for the U.S. Army, serving as cultural advisers to train soldiers who were going to be deployed to the Middle East. El Cajon, northeast of downtown San Diego, is home to some 40,000 Iraqi immigrants, the second largest such community in the U.S. after Detroit.


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After Massacre, Afghan Americans Question Meaning of Justice New America Media, News Report, Peter Schurmann SAN FRANCISCO – The killing of 16 civilians – mostly women and children – by a lone American soldier in Kandahar Province last week has darkened an increasingly ominous cloud hanging over America’s mission in Afghanistan. In its wake, many are asking what sort of justice should be meted out. For members of the Afghan American community here, the question goes beyond this single tragedy; it has implications for the larger war effort and the future of their homeland. “Afghans are people of revenge,” says Farid Younos, professor of human development studies at California State University East Bay. “The Qur’an burning was a very serious issue,” he says, “but that is an incident that can be gradually forgotten. Urinating and killing call for revenge.” A video released in January showed several American soldiers urinating on what appeared to be the corpses of Taliban fighters. That was followed last month by reports of burnings of the Muslim holy book by U.S. forces, which triggered massive and violent protests across Afghanistan. Taliban spokesmen, meanwhile, have called off proposed talks with U.S. officials in the wake of this week’s massacre, carried out by a 38-year-old sergeant from Washington who was on his first tour of Afghanistan after serving three tours in Iraq. There have also been reports that the Taliban threatened to behead American soldiers. The underlying question for many Afghan Americans is: How can the U.S.

convey to ordinary Afghans that its presence in the country is just? “If Americans do not change their strategy, the stigma as occupiers gets stronger,” explains Younos, who says more effort should be put into creating jobs and bolstering education. Humaira Ghilzai, co-founder of Afghan Friends Network and the HaywardGhazni Sister City Committee in Hayward, has spent the past six years working to bring education to the women of Ghazni, located some 70 miles southeast of Kabul. Her privately funded project has helped establish several schools in the city that work to fill in the educational gaps left by years of war. “There is much bridge building that needs to be done,” Ghilzai says, “especially with the locals in the areas affected, the families of victims and direct communication through Afghan media to the Afghan people.” Messages of condolence from the White House and from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Ghilzai says, do not reach those on the ground who are disconnected from the halls of power but knee-deep in the violence. “We need American diplomats on Afghan TV, not VOA (Voice of America),” she explains. “I was really pleased that President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Leon Panetta made their apologies and contacted their peers… but the people who are directly impacted by this do not feel any consolation from such highlevel communication.” Such individuals include Abdul Samad, a resident of the village of Panjwai, where the killing occurred, claiming 11 of his family members. A one-time supporter of the American war effort, Samad was

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quoted in the New York Times urging their withdrawal during a phone call with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who called to offer his condolences. “We made you president, and what happens to our family?” demands Samad. “The Americans kill us and then burn the dead bodies.” The answer, he says is to, “Either finish us or get rid of the Americans.” This sentiment sends shivers through many in the local Afghan American community, who fear a resurgent Taliban and an end to some of the promising gains made, especially in the arena of women’s rights. “The soldier was mentally sick and what he did was awful,” admits journalist and author Fariba Nawa, whose recent book “Opium Nation” focused on the impact of Afghanistan’s drug trade on women. “But the Taliban and Pakistan are responsible for killing more civilians than the foreign powers.” For ordinary Afghans, her comments

go directly to the plight of a nation caught in the snares of contending powers, both foreign and domestic. Malalai Joya, an activist and former member of parliament in Afghanistan, argues such violence fuels the presence of “misogynist Taliban” and “Jehadi warlords” across the country and in the government. Joya, who was dismissed from parliament in 2007 after accusing Karzai’s government of employing known warlords, is adamant in her belief that America’s presence brings only “destruction, destitution and death.” It is a view that conflicts with those, like Nawa and Ghilzai, who fear this one event could undo a decade of albeit halting progress. “As an American,” says Ghilzai, “I hope that we don’t give up on Afghanistan and throw away all the work of good people both Afghan and American with a short sighted decision.”

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Lawyer: Court rejects Report: Israel issues warning as Land Day approaches appeal for Hana Shalabi

JENIN (Ma’an) -- Ofer military court on Sunday rejected a legal appeal for administrative detainee Hana Shalabi, a lawyer from the Prisoners Society said. Jawad Bulus told Ma’an that a secretary from the Israeli military court informed him the judge rejected his appeal against Shalabi’s detention without trial. The judge, after reviewing Shalabi’s case, said that there are grounds to continue holding her as she is a threat to Israel’s security. Bulus said that he will petition against the decision, which he described as unfair and oppressive. Prisoner Society director Qadura Fares said he was not surprised by the decision, as Israeli courts have never treated

Palestinian prisoners fairly. Shalabi, from the village of Burqin, is being held in “administrative detention,” a category in the Israeli legal system which permits imprisoning suspects for six months at a time without charge. On Thursday, Boulos said Shalabi was in a critical condition. Bill ban Esveld, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, says Israel is violating Shalabi’s rights. “After previously imprisoning her without charge for more than two years, Israel is again violating Hana Shalabi’s basic due process rights,” van Esveld said. “If it lacks the evidence to charge her with any crime, as seems to be the case, it should release her immediately.

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) -- Israel is preparing for Palestinian Land Day on March 30 by putting its army on alert and urging protesters to stay away from its borders, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

leaving 13 dead by Israeli fire.

Israel called on surrounding countries to prevent demonstrators from approaching its borders, Israeli radio news station Reshet Bet said.

Zahir Al-Birawi told Ma’an he expects millions to take part this year, and popular protests have been coordinated with governments in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, although not in Syria.

The Israeli army has also increased its alert levels and drafted in extra battalions in case of any potential escalation, Israel’s Ynet news-site reported. Last Land Day saw Palestinians protest across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel without casualties. But two months later simultaneous rallies to commemorate the Nakba -- the ‘catastrophe’ when thousands of Palestinians were forced out or fled in fighting that led to Israel’s founding -- brought thousands towards Israel’s borders in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza,

Organizers of an international rally to support Palestinians said last week that they are not interested in confrontation with the Israeli army.

Organizers are waiting for confirmation from the Jordanian government on the most appropriate location for the country’s protests, while in Egypt protests are planned at Al-Azhar Mosque, Tahrir Square, and a commemorative sports tournament in Cairo. Land Day commemorates the death of six Palestinian citizens of Israel, who took part in a general strike in protest of an Israeli decision to confiscate privately owned Palestinian lands in 1976.

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Islamists are majority on Egypt constitution panel

By HAMZA HENDAWI Associated Press CAIRO (AP) _ Egypt’s Islamists have won a sizable majority on a 100-member panel tasked with drafting a new constitution, according to a list of names published Sunday by the country’s official news agency. The list reinforces fears by secular and liberal Egyptians that the Islamists dominating parliament will pack the panel with supporters and ignore concerns of other groups. The new constitution will determine the balance of power between Egypt’s previously all-powerful president and parliament, and define the country’s future identity, including the role of religion and minority rights. The constitutional committee will have nearly 60 Islamists in all, including 37 legislators selected Saturday by parliament’s two chambers. Half the panel will comprise public figures, also selected by members of parliament. A handful of Christians and women were selected and there were only a few names from the revolutionary movement behind last year’s ouster of longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. The announcement of the panel’s makeup was followed by the sudden

emergence of a public dispute between the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political group, and the ruling generals who took power following Mubarak’s ouster more than a year ago.

dismissal. It is arguing that the government has failed to resolve any of the crises facing the nation, including an accute fuel shortage, rampant crime and a worsening economy.

The Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, accused the generals of trying to ``hinder’’ the transition to democratic rule. In a statement posted on its website, it also raised concern that presidential elections due in May could be rigged to benefit a ``certain candidate’’ it did not identify.

``The (ruling) military council bears full responsibility for attempts to hinder the process of democratic transition and ... exporting crises to future governments,’’ said the party’s statement, suggesting that the military and the Cabinet were manufacturing the problems to discredit a future government likely to be led by the Brotherhood.

The party, it added, is studying proposals to field its own candidate, reversing an earlier decision not to do so. The ruling military and the Muslim Brotherhood have emerged as Egypt’s two most powerful forces since Mubarak’s ouster and an enduring quarrel between the two could put in serious jeopardy the transfer of power promised by the military for before the end of June. The presidential vote is due on May 23-24 and the winner will be announced June 21 after a runoff between the two candidates with the most votes. The dispute also comes at a time when the Freedom and Justice Party, which controls just under half of the seats in parliament, is stepping up its criticism of the military-backed government and is calling for its

The generals’ response was swift. In a statement carried by the official news agency, they described as ``baseless’’ attempts to cast doubt on the integrity of the forthcoming presidential elections and pointed out they were the ones who planned and executed recent parliamentary elections. The vote was widely viewed as the freest in the nation’s history. The quarrel between the military and the Brotherhood adds to the uncertainty surrounding Egypt’s efforts to establish a democracy after decades of authoritarian rule by Mubarak’s regime. Liberal lawmakers say a permanent constitution should not be written only or influenced by those who won a majority in a single election.

Some Islamists previously had indicated that they would seek to write the constitution by ``consensus,’’ but doubts among secular and liberal Egyptians increased last week after parliament’s two chambers jointly decided to allocate half of the panel’s seats to its own members, threequarters of whom are Islamists. Half of those are from the Brotherhood, which until now has been vague about what it wants the constitution to include. But they also include ultraconservatives known as Salafis, many of whom have called for the constitution to reflect hardline interpretations of Islamic Sharia law. The country’s most prominent democracy advocate, Mohamed ElBaradei, was not included on the panel, a glaring omission of a figure whose vocal opposition to Mubarak’s regime in the year prior to its overthrow injected energy into the youth groups that engineered last year’s uprising. They perceive the omission of ElBaradei and the failure to give the revolutionaries more than a token representation on the panel as the latest move by the Islamists and the ruling generals who took over from Mubarak to further sideline them following their poor showing in parliamentary elections swept by the better-organized Islamists.

Iraqi VP demands inquiry into bodyguard’s death By LARA JAKES Associated Press BAGHDAD (AP) _ Iraq’s fugitive vice president demanded Sunday that global human rights groups investigate whether one of his bodyguards was tortured to death. Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi accused Iraq’s government of covering up the imprisonment and slaying of bodyguard Amir Sarbut Zaidan al-Batawi. AlHashemi himself is facing terrorism charges brought by the Baghdad government and is taking refuge in the autonomous Kurdish region. Al-Hashemi has denied the terrorism charges against him, calling them politically motivated. The case of alHashemi has heightened sectarian tensions in Iraq, and many fear that with the exit of American troops in December, the country could slide into civil war. Iraq’s government says al-Batawi, 33, died of kidney failure while being questioned in the inquiry against alHashemi, the nation’s highest ranking Sunni official. Al-Hashemi is accused of directing death squads against Shiite pilgrims, government officials and security officials. Al-Hashemi said witnesses claimed that al-Batawi was bleeding from his mouth and from other bodily orifices. He said the bodyguard had other wounds ``as a result of savage methods used on him during investigation.’’ ``I beseech the international community to take rapid action to rectify the disastrous situation and status related to human rights,’’ alHashemi said. ``Our situation in Iraq has become intolerable.’’ In an interview Sunday, Iraqi Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shiyaa al-Sudani denied that al-Batawi was tortured and invited human rights groups to review the investigation. ``We are not afraid of that because we are a sovereign country,’’ al-Sudani told The Associated Press. He said the ministry’s review of the

case shows al-Batawi had chronic rheumatism and kidney disease and refused treatment for his conditions. He said al-Batawi ``was not tortured, as there was no chance for torture,’’ because all of the investigators were judges. The government’s conduct of the investigation has driven a deeper wedge between Iraq’s Shiite leaders and minority Sunnis, who believe they are being sidelined in the country’s political system. Baghdad’s military command says alBatawi died March 15 of kidney failure, and delivered his body to his family on March 20. Pictures of al-Batawi’s body, shown before al-Hashemi’s speech, showed multiple bruises on his back, buttocks and legs. Al-Hashemi said al-Batawi’s death certificate did not state the cause of death, raising questions about the military’s claims that he died of kidney failure. Also, al-Hashemi said his lawyers have been kept from attending hearings in the case or from taking notes in the ones they are allowed to participate in.

Iraq oil exports, revenues decline in February

``All such practices are illegal,’’ he said. The New York-based Human Rights Watch echoed al-Hashemi’s concerns, agreeing the photos of al-Batawi’s body show he may have been tortured. ``It’s essential for the Iraqi government to investigate his death and report publicly what they find,’’ said Joe Stork, the group’s deputy Middle East director. Al-Hashemi’s timed his speech for the arrival in Baghdad of dignitaries, journalists and political observers for the annual Arab League summit in the Iraqi capital this week. Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby flew into Baghdad on Sunday and was meeting Iraq’s leaders. Other world leaders expected to attend are United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, top officials from the European Union and African Union and at least six rulers from the 22 nations that make up the League.

Received by Newsfinder from AP BAGHDAD (AP) _ Iraq’s oil ministry says oil exports in January have declined by nearly 4.5 percent compared to the previous month. Sunday’s statement says last month’s oil exports averaged 2.0137 million barrels per day, down from an average of 2.107 million barrels per day in January. The sales grossed $6.595 billion based

on an average price of $112.928 per barrel. January’s sales were based on an average price of $109.081 per barrel and yielded $7.061 billion. The oil was sold to 27 international oil companies. Iraq relies on oil exports for 95 percent of its revenues, and the uncertainty in the market stemming from the conflict between the West and Iran over its controversial nuclear program has helped support global crude prices.


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‘Gaza baby dies as power cut shuts breathing aid’ Since this story was published evidence has emerged casting doubt on the timing of an infant’s death which was reported by Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV and confirmed by a Gaza medical official. The same health official now says the boy died in early March, not Friday as originally reported. An updated account of the incident was published Monday. The original story is below. GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A seven-month-old baby in Gaza died on Friday evening after medical equipment he was connected to switched off as a result of a power cut, a Hamas-affiliated TV channel said. Gaza medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya confirmed the incident, adding

that the infant was born with respiratory problems and doctors had recommended the use of mechanical breathing apparatus to be used at home. The father of the child had turned on the apparatus before going to sleep but during the night a power cut caused it to switch off, resulting in the infant’s death, Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV reported. The child was the “first victim of the current power crisis in Gaza,” Abu Salmiya said, warning that the medical sector in the coastal enclave is in jeopardy. Recent fuel shortages have had a catastrophic effect on daily life in the Gaza Strip, with people facing daily power cuts of up to 18 hours a day.

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Battles in Syria as Russia warns of ‘last chance’ Received by Newsfinder from AP. By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY Associated Press BEIRUT (AP) _ Syrian forces attacked flashpoint areas Sunday, carrying out raids and clashing with rebels as President Bashar Assad’s allies in Russia said the country may be facing its last chance for peace. Syrian activists reported clashes in Daraa, the southern province where the uprising began last March. A spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army, Muneef al-Zaeem, said government troops invaded the town of Nawa, with a population of 100,000. International condemnation and high-level diplomacy have failed to stop the year-old Syria crisis. The U.N. says more than 8,000 people have been killed, many of them civilians. In recent months, the uprising has transformed into an armed insurgency as army defectors and others say they want to bring

down the regime by force. The U.S., Europe and many Arab states have called on Assad to stand down, but Russia and China have protected Syria from condemnation by the United Nations Security Council. Syria is Moscow’s last remaining ally in the Middle East and is a major customer for Russia’s arms industry, but Russia has recently shown impatience with Assad. ``This may be the last chance for Syria to avoid a protracted bloody civil war,’’ Medvedev told Kofi Annan, the U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria, during a meeting in Moscow. ``Therefore we will provide any assistance at any level.’’ Annan travels next to China. Seeking to stop the violence, the U.S. and other key allies are considering providing Syrian rebels with communications help, medical aid and other ``non-lethal’’ assistance. President Barack Obama discussed the aid options Sunday in a lengthy private meeting with Turkish Prime

Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The leaders are in Seoul, South Korea, for a nuclear security summit. As the conflict turns increasingly violent, Human Rights Watch accused Syrian forces of using civilians as human shields during recent military operations. In a new report Sunday, the New York-based international watchdog said the Syrian army and pro-regime gunmen forced residents to march in front of them as they advanced on opposition-held areas in the northern Idlib province earlier this month. The group cited witnesses who said it was clear that the purpose of the marching order was to protect the army from attack. ``By using civilians as human shields, the Syrian army is showing blatant disregard for their safety,’’ said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. ``The Syrian army should immediately stop this abhorrent practice.’’

Say Hello! To Pakistan’s glamorous side. By SEBASTIAN ABBOT Associated Press ISLAMABAD (AP) _ Pakistan is better known for bombs than bombshells, militant compounds than opulent estates. A few enterprising Pakistanis hope to alter that perception with the launch of a local version of the wellknown celebrity magazine Hello!. They plan to profile Pakistan’s rich and famous: the dashing cricket players, voluptuous Bollywood stars and powerful politicians who dominate conversation in the country’s ritziest private clubs and lowliest tea stalls. They also hope to discover musicians, fashion designers and other new talents who have yet to become household names. ``The side of Pakistan that is projected time and time again is negative,’’ said Zahraa Saifullah, CEO of Hello! Pakistan. ``There is a glamorous side of Pakistan, and we want to tap into that.’’ But celebrating the lives of Pakistan’s

most prosperous citizens is not without its critics in a country where much of the population lives in poverty. Advertising one’s prosperity could be risky as well since kidnappings for ransom are on the rise and attracting attention from Islamist militants can mean death. Wajahat Khan, a consulting editor at Hello! Pakistan, said they were cognizant of the sensitivity of publishing a glamour magazine in a conservative Muslim country where many people are struggling and planned to be ``socially responsible and culturally aware.’’ ``We are trying to be happy in a war zone,’’ Khan said Saturday at a news conference with Saifullah and other members of the magazine’s editorial staff. ``We are trying to celebrate what is still alive in a difficult country.’’ Khan said they would do everything they could to protect the security of the people they profile, but he wasn’t overly concerned. ``I don’t think terrorist networks are going to be reading Hello! anytime

SHAHNAWAZ CURRIM

Pakistan already has a series of local publications that chronicle the lives of the wellheeled in major cities like Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, especially as they hop between lavish parties. But the producers of Hello! Pakistan hope the magazine’s international brand and greater depth will attract followers. Hello! was launched in 1988 by the publisher of Spain’s Hola! magazine and is now published in 150 countries. It’s well-known for its extensive coverage of Britain’s royal family and once paid $14 million in a joint deal with People magazine for exclusive pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s newborn twins. The market for English-language publications in Pakistan is fairly small. Most monthly and weekly magazines sell no more than 3,000 copies, said Khan, the consulting editor. But they hope to tap into the large Pakistani expatriate markets in the United Kingdom and the Middle East as well. Hello! Pakistan will be published

once a month and will cost about $5.50, twice as much as what many poor Pakistanis earn in a day. The first issue will be published in midApril and will focus on the Pakistani fashion scene. Saifullah, who grew up watching her mother and grandmother read Hello! as she hopped between London and Karachi, said it took her two years to convince the magazine to publish a local version in Pakistan. ``They were concerned about whether Pakistan was ready for a magazine like this,’’ she said. But Saifullah thinks the timing is perfect to showcase Pakistan’s too often hidden treasures, citing Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who recently became the first Pakistani filmmaker to win an Oscar for a documentary about the plight of female victims of acid attacks in the country. ``We want to tap into the aesthetically beautiful, the athletic, the fashionable,’’ said Saifullah. ``There is so much going on on a daily basis that nobody ever covers. It’s totally unexplored.’’

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APRIL 2012

INTERNATIONAL

Thousands of Tunisians demonstrate for Islamic law

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

Pakistani parliament says no to US drones By ZARAR KHAN Associated Press ISLAMABAD (AP) _ A Pakistani parliamentary commission demanded on Tuesday an end to American drone attacks inside the country as part of proposed new terms of engagement with the United States.

the army and government ordered a parliamentary commission to come up with recommendations for a new relationship. The head of the parliament commission, Raza Rabbani, read out the demands on

The demand could complicate efforts to rebuild U.S.-Pakistani ties that were all but severed by U.S. airstrikes in November along the Afghan border that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The attack also led to Pakistan’s closure of NATO supply lines to Afghanistan.

Received by Newsfinder from AP TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) _ Thousands of conservative Tunisians marched through the capital on Sunday calling for the application of Islamic law in the latest round of tit-for-tat protests by secularists and Islamists over the future of the country. On Tuesday, a similar number of Tunisians rallied along the same avenue in the capital calling for a civil state not influenced by religion. Tunisia was once one of the most secular Arab countries under the hardline dictatorship of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Since his fall in a popular uprising last year, political Islam has flourished _ much to the consternation of secularists. A constitutional assembly elected in October is in the process of writing the country’s new constitution and there are regular demonstrations over how much it should be influenced by Islamic

law, known as Sharia. ``Sharia is an obligation, not a slogan, it is the solution,’’ said one of the demonstrators banners. The demonstrations were also protesting a series of incidents last week when mosques in the town of Ben Guerdane near the Libyan border were pelted with eggs and the Qurans inside desecrated. One of the main mosques in the capital Tunis also had a Star of David spray painted on it. A moderate Islamist party now controls the government in cooperation with two secular parties. There has also been the rise of a vocal minority of ultraconservatives known as Salafis who carry out weekly demonstrations calling for the Islamization of society. Tensions are on the rise between the two camps and leftists and Islamists recently clashed during rival demonstrations at a university near the capital.

The parliament commission suggested Tuesday that the supply lines would not be permanently cut, as many Pakistanis would like, though it did not explicitly link the issue of the drones and the border closure. Washington wants to rebuild its relationship with Pakistan, which is important to the success of striking a deal with insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan. But U.S. officials also say the drone strikes are key to success against alQaida and the Taliban, and has kept up the attacks despite public opposition by the Pakistani army and government. The issue is muddied, however, by the fact that in private the Pakistani army has been known to agree to at least some of the strikes, and provide intelligence for them. The November attacks prompted a wave of anti-Americanism inside Pakistan, and the security establishment has tried to leverage that to establish new terms with the United States. Seeking political cover for the decision,

Tuesday, which included an apology for the November attacks and an end to the drone strikes. The demand list said the NATO supply lines could be reopened but that the country should charge more money for the privilege and that 50 percent of the goods should be taken by rail. Lawmakers will now debate the demands, something that will last two or three days, before voting on them. The government and the army will decide on whether to reopen ties with the United States, but the debate could influence the decision. Most analysts and lawmakers predict the country will reopen the supply lines soon and that the U.S. will also continue with drone strikes, the frequency of which has dropped significantly in recent months, which makes them less politically explosive in the country. A permanent break with Washington, which along with other Western nations helps keep the Pakistani economy afloat, is not seen as likely.

Israeli court rejects settler evacuation delay By AMY TEIBEL Associated Press JERUSALEM (AP) _ The Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday rejected the state’s request to postpone the dismantling of a large, unsanctioned West Bank settler enclave until 2015, dealing a blow to settlers’ hopes to keep dozens of rogue outposts standing.

Migron’s residents dispute the state’s position that their outpost stands on private land. ``The residents of Migron received today the harsh court ruling, which is based on the false claim of privately held land, and whose objective is the

While Israel has given its authorization to more than 120 settlements, outposts like Migron do not have even that level of legitimacy because their construction was not officially sanctioned. Even so, the government has hooked them up to utility grids and has sent soldiers to

of too many Israeli outpost-settlements that are supposed to be evacuated. The Israeli behavior vis-a-vis this, and other outposts, is an example that illustrates Israel’s intention to consolidate the occupation, rather than end it,’’ Khatib said.

protect them.

Jewish settlers began setting up outposts without government approval in the 1990s, after Israeli governments pledged they would not build new settlements.

The state submitted the delay petition earlier this month, seeking to bypass the high court’s earlier order to dismantle the Migron outpost by March 31 because it was built on private Palestinian land. Migron, home to 300 settlers, is one of the largest unauthorized enclaves and a symbol of settler defiance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pro-settler coalition had asked the court to let Migron’s settlers stay put until new homes would be built for them on a nearby West Bank hilltop by November 2015. The court ruled that accepting the state’s agreement would be tantamount to flouting the rule of law. ``The obligation to fulfill the (earlier) ruling is not a matter of choice,’’ the court said. Attorney Michael Sfard, who represented the Palestinian landowners in court, welcomed the ruling and said he had no problem with the court’s agreement to extend the evacuation deadline until Aug. 1. ``The Israeli high court upheld today the rule of law and indicated that the law applies to all,’’ Sfard said. ``I hope that the government and the settlers will not try to pull any tricks and will not try to circumvent this important decision, and that the residents of Migron will evacuate the illegal outpost peacefully, so that the land will be returned after a decade to its legal owners, my clients.’’

expulsion of peace-loving people,’’ said Migron spokesman Itai Chemo. The Palestinians claim the West Bank for their future state, along with Gaza and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. They see all Israeli settlement as illegal encroachment on land they claim for their hoped-for state.

Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said the Palestinians would reserve judgment on the ruling until they see whether the government complies. ``We will judge the matter by deeds, rather by than decisions, words or intentions,’’ he said. ``Migron is only one

In all, half a million Israelis live on land sought by the Palestinians for a state, including 300,000 in sanctioned settlements in the West Bank and more than 3,000 in the unauthorized outposts. The others live in east Jerusalem.


ISLAM

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

APRIL 2012

Patience and Pardon Muslim Voice By Fathiyyah Bashshar Islam takes pride in having always encouraged mankind to attain noble characteristics. One of these virtues is patience. Allah has ordered us to seek patience for our own benefit. Allah sent down Prophets to encourage this noble quality in man. Allah has promised the patient person reward in the after-life by stating in the Quran: “Say: O my servants who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) your Lord; for those who do good in this world is good, and God’s earth is spacious; only the patient will be paid back (in the hereafter) their reward in full without measure.” (39:10) Also, Allah has promised victory for the patient and demise for the impatient: “I (Allah) swear by time, Most surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.” Faith, according to Islam, has two halves, one being gratitude (being thankful) and the other being patience. This paper will deal with the following: true patience and its meaning, the three pillars of patience and man’s essential need for patience. Islam sees patience as a noble human characteristic. He who posses it will reach joy and inner peace. Islam also views patience as a strength and the key to fixing all matters of one’s self, and as the path to happiness and righteousness. The patient person is he who trains him/herself to fight back against all evil thoughts and actions. Man is the one who steers his/her soul into either eternal Paradise or eternal

13

Hell-Fire. This harness which man uses for steering his soul is patience. Islam encourages people to seek dependence, help, and salvation from Allah. Allah alone is the Creator, the Sustainer and therefore is alone the Savour. The first pillar is patience with the duties and obligations towards people and Allah. Some examples of this are praying the five daily prayers, charity, pilgrimage to Mecca, respecting one’s parents, marriage, and respect towards one’s spouse. The second pillar is patience in abstaining from all that Allah has made forbidden. Some examples here are: stealing, cheating, lying, backbiting, etc. The third pillar is patience with what may befall man from natural disasters, illness, and death. God says in the Koran: “O my dear son! Establish worship and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity, and persevere whatever may befall thee.” (31:17) Islam also teaches man to be patient when he has health, money, happiness, and all the good in his life. In order to refrain from pride and arrogance and from becoming ungrateful to the Bestower of these blessings and bounties, one needs patience. Fulfilling one’s duties towards God and not to become arrogant also require patience. Trying not to use blessings in evil ways and abstaining from what God has labelled as forbidden also require patience. Patience is also needed with illness and death. In illness one must be patient in seeking a cure and must be thankful that they are not in a worse position. In Death one must remember that death is simply a doorway to eternity, and that the true winners are the ones that earned a place in Paradise through their deeds. “And We most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruit; and give good news to the patient, who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we

are God’s and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on who are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course.” (2:155-157) On no soul does Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) “Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which you did lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith.” Ata ibn Rabah related that he heard Ibn ‘Abbas say: “Shall I show you a woman of Paradise?”I said: “Yes, indeed.” He said: “A black woman came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: ‘I suffer from epileptic fits, and because of these, (at times) my body becomes uncovered. Would you invoke Allah, the Exalted One, to cure me of this disease? ‘ The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

‘If you wish, you can be patient and you will attain Paradise (for this suffering). But if you prefer, I will pray to Allah, the Exalted, to cure you of it?’ The woman said: ‘I will be patient,’ then added: ‘I become uncovered (when I have fits), so invoke Allah for me that I do not become uncovered. ‘So the Prophet, peace be upon him, prayed for her.” [Source: Fiqhus-Sunnah, volume 4, #1a] Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”:Then here are the rewards Allah will give that person (2:157): Rewards of Patience 1. Blessings from Allah. The patient person is blessed by Allah (S.W.T.) 2. Mercy of Allah. When Allah (S.W.T.) gives someone His Mercy, He will let him enter paradise with His Mercy. 3. Guidance of Allah. A patient person will be guided by Allah (S.W.T.) in this world until he meets Him on the Day of Judgment. AMIN

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Food Recipes Pecan and coconut tart By Chef Osama Ingredients For the dough ½ Cup butter 3 Tablespoon powdered sugar 1 Egg 2 Cups flour For the pecan mix 2 Tablespoons butter 1 Tablespoon white sugar 1 Tablespoon honey 1 Teaspoon cocoa powder 1 Cup pecan, Crushed 4 Tablespoons whipping cream For the coconut mix 2 Tablespoons butter 1 Tablespoon sugar 1 Tablespoon honey ½ Cup grated coconut ½ Cup coconut, grated or pieces

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Cocoa and powdered sugar for topping

- Add the cream then mix well until the ingredients well incorporated.

Method for the dough - Preheat the oven to 180 °c. - Mix the butter with the sugar in the electric mixer at medium speed. - Add the eggs while mixing, then add the flour gradually at medium speed until all ingredients become as a whole ball. - Spread the dough in a mini tart pans to take the shape of the molds. - Make small holes in the dough using a fork (so that the dough do not rise during the baking process. For the pecan mix - Whip the butter and the sugar in a deep bowl using hand whisks, then add the honey while whipping. - Mix the cocoa with the pecan

- Whip the butter with the sugar in a deep bowl using hand whisks. Add the honey while whipping. - Mix both types of coconut then add to the butter mixture. - Add the cream into the mixture and mix well until all ingredients become consistent. For making the tart - Divide the dough into two halves. Pour the pecan mix into one of the two halves and pour the coconut mix into the other half then flatten the surface. - Arrange the tarts in a baking tray then bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until cooked then leave to cool down slightly. - Sprinkle some cocoa over the pecan tart and sprinkle powdered sugar over the coconut tart.

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CALENDAR / ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Phoenix Prayer Times

APRIL 2012

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Tucson Prayer Times

April 2012 • Rabi Al-Akhar / Jumada Al-Awwal 1433 H

April 2012 • Rabi Al-Akhar / Jumada Al-Awwal 1433 H

DIRECTIONS TO THE ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER CEMETERY

ISLAMIC WEEKEND SCHOOLS Islamic Community Center of Phoenix:

Sunday at 9:45 am-1:20 pm.

Islamic Cultural Center:

Sunday at 10:00 am

Muslim Community Mosque:

Sunday at 10:00 am until 2:30 pm.

Masjid Omar

Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm.

ICNEV Weekend Islamic School

Tel: (480) 346-2081Classes held on Sunday

FROM THE ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER (ICC):

Check our website for up to date information www.tempemasjid.com

1) Go South on Forest to University Drive. Turn right. 2) Go West on University to the I-10 highway. Take I-10 East. 3) Proceed on I-10 East (~12 Miles). Exit at Queen Creek Rd. (EXIT #164). 4) Turn right on route 347 South. Proceed for about 14 miles. 5) Turn right on route 238 West. Proceed for about 8.7 miles. 6) Turn right on unnamed/unpaved street after you see the street sign which reads “36 miles” and proceed to the cemetery.

K thru’ grade 12 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. ACA Weekend School

Sunday 10:00 am-1:15 pm. www.azacademy.org/weekend

Sultan Education in Chandler

Saturdays & Sundays - children/adults 480-593-7066

Greenway Islamic Academy

Tajweed, Islamic Studies, & Arabic Language 602-565-0500

IN CASE OF DEATH • Call Sandy at Angel’s Burial, at 480-962-6435 • Total cost is $1,800.00

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ISLAMIC CENTERS IN ARIZONA

PHOENIX Arizona Cultural Academy 7810 S. 42nd Pl. • Phoenix 602-454-1222 Islamic Center of Arizona 9032 N. 9th St. • Phoenix

Islamic Center of N. Phoenix 13246 N. 23rd Ave. 85029 602-371-3440 Islamic Comnty Ctr of Phx 7516 N. Black Canyon Hwy. Phoenix • 602-249-0496 Muslim Community Mosque 1818 N. 32nd St. • Phoenix 602-306-4959 Masjid Al-Rahmah 2645 E. McDowell Rd. • Phoenix 602-275-5493 Masjid Muhammad Ibn Abdullah

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Muslim Voice April 2012