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MOHAMMED ALZAIDI ACCIDENT & INJURY LAWYER
AMERICAN-MUSLIMS COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Vol.13 Issue No.167
August 2010 Shaban / Ramadan 1431H
Hijab... American Experience By Dina Rabie, IOL Staff
Business? “But when I came back to Washington I did notice a couple of stares from the nonMuslim community, I knew they might not be the same.”
WASHINGTON – Sara Uddin smiles as she adjusts her black hijab after performing Friday prayers with scores other Muslim girls and women.
Sara says that though she does not receive any real attacks because of her hijab, negative viewpoints are something she certainly faces.
Now it is time to go out again, and Sara is always ready for any questions, stares or even negative misconceptions about the small piece of cloth that covers her head.
“I feel that it is a good thing whenever I get comments because it gets me to explain that this is who I am and this is why I do it.”
“I want to defeat all stereotypes with my hijab and the only way to do it is to speak out about it,” she told IslamOnline. net.
Last month’s results: Are Muslims in the US suffering from the affects of Islamophobia?
Sara, 22, has been wearing hijab for nearly 4 years now.
Does wearing Hijab bring you positive or negative experience in your life?
14.3% No 85.7% Yes
Positive Negative Visit www.azmuslimvoice.com to vote
Illinois hotel backs out of hosting Muslim group
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
to be home to nearly 7-8 million Muslims. No Barrier For Amina Saleh, 24, hijab has never been a barrier to reach any of her goals in life. “I work in public health now, and I meet scores of people on daily basis. I never felt that my hijab makes me less competent in their eyes.” Amina, who now lives in Maryland with her parents and two sisters, was not wearing hijab when she first came to the US 13 years ago with her family. But when she did at the age of 20, she did not feel much difference in the way people treated her.
“When I first wore it I was in high school in San Diego, California, and it was great. The place is so much diverse there and people are exposed to different cultures and different faiths,” she recalled.
“I am American, I was born here and I have friends here,” says Sara, who works in a bank, confidently. “And I am a Muslim and these are the rules of Islam and I am sticking to them.”
But Jasmin Ullah, from Herndon, Northern Virginia, believes there are many stereotypes about hijab in America, and it is hard to fight them sometimes.
Though there are no official figures, America is estimated
Continued on page 2
Lawmaker raises questions about ground zero mosque
US too lowkey on Islamic radicalism talk
White House denies NASA remark on Muslim outreach
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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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Hijab... American Experience Continued from page 1
“When you first walk to a room they do not expect you to be outspoken,” says Jasmin, 16.
Jasmin, who began wearing hijab at 11, believes that there are many obstacles, but not barriers, ahead of hijab-clad American Muslim women.
“Back of their minds they think ‘she can’t really want this’, they think you must be a quiet subservient woman who has no opinion to express.” Jasmin, a college student who also has two jobs, boasts that in most cases when people get to know her they understand that hijab does not by any means restrict her personality. “I do not want them to see me as abnormal. I want them to know I am a normal person with a hijab rather than
“Post 9/11 America is much more prejudiced than before.” Sara, the banker, agrees that hijab sometimes brings more challenges to Muslim girls and women in society. “I think that is another reason to be open about it and speak out in general,” she insists. “So even if there are hurdles, I’m keeping it on.” Jasmin,
background, says Muslim girls and women should always find a way to overcome obstacles and do what they want in life. “For example I like to swim, and that could prove to be difficult. But my hijab should not be a barrier; it should encourage me to find a creative way to do what I love with my hijab.” Jasmin believes the recipe for any hijabi girl is that she should be herself. “If you are a political activist, do not be afraid of expressing your views. If you are an athlete, go for it. If you are in a class room, you should be good at it. “God does not want us to give up things so wonderful.”
The “Lebnanis” win the first MYCA Basketball Tournament
In a day full with excitement, competition and energy the “Lebnanis” Basketball team formed by (Yousef Maita, Moustafa Maita, Amir Alsadi, and Edis Cara) captured a deserving victory in the first MYCA (Muslim Youth Center of Arizona) 3 on 3 double elimination basketball tournament.
A group of volunteers including (Imam Sabahudin Cemon (The Imam of the ISNP, a MYCA council member and a long term youth mentor], Dr. Yasir Shareef (MYCA council vice chair), Dr. Ousama El-hillal, Mazen Abdurrahman and Rami Shouroro along with other volunteers have led an effort to organize this event where multiple teams from the Phoenix Metropolitan area have competed in this tournament that took
place in the MYCA gym.
MYCA is a novel project in the valley which started operating since the beginning of 2010. MYCA facility has a professional full size basketball court, a Volleyball court, a big cafeteria, an outdoor soccer field and an outdoor basketball court. In addition to the above mentioned sports, members can enjoy table tennis, badminton, billiard, limited weight lifting, and a big lounge. The winning teams were awarded with trophies, and the members of the first winning team will be awarded with free one year MYCA membership and MYCA T-Shirts. For more information on MYCA you can go to www.joinmyca.com
Word on the Street: “How is your summer coming along?” Muslim Voice
looking forward to the upcoming year at ASU !
By: Sumbal Akhter
– Wahiba Bhuvad
So, my summer is going by so great. I went to California for the July 4th weekend and spent some time with my family and overcame my fear of roller coasters. I am in Chicago right now for two weeks with my mom. The weather here is really humid and I miss my amazing sister Hufsa Bhatti. When we get back from Chicago we’re going on a family trip to Hawaii that I’m looking forward to. Summer 2010, living it up! – Noor Bhatti My summer has been very productive. I am taking some summer classes and trying to get a head start. I am planning on majoring in political science and looking forward to the year ahead at ASU! - Sanaa Hamid I have had an amazing summer! I went to DC, New York, and Orlando for about 10 days. The best part was going to the grand opening of the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando! My family and I fought through thousands and thousands of people but it was truly worth it! Currently, I am just relaxing at home with my family and hanging out with my friends! Now that the summer is coming to an end, I am
My summer is amazing Alhamdulilah. I am so grateful to be able to make memories and spend my time with my family and friends. I went to Texas for APPNA (association of Pakistani physicians) and was able to spend 4 days with some of my favorite people. I’m looking forward to going to Turkey with my family Insha’Allah and am so excited to see the great architecture and learn about the Muslim history that took place in Turkey, as well as the sacred items that are left there, such as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s hair from his beard, and Prophet Moses cane.
– Umber Aulakh My summer is going pretty good! My family and I have traveled to Canada and Chicago to see all my cousins! We also spent a few days in Washington DC seeing all the museums and monuments. It was great not having any school and being able to spend a lot of time with my family, especially my sister. – Safa Akhter
My summer has gone by great so far Alhamdulillah, thanks for asking. I spent the first half studying abroad in New Zealand and Fiji. It was great immersing oneself in such different countries as well as new cultures. Other than the homework, New Zealand is probably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, I definitely see myself returning Insha’ Allah.
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Ramadan Calendar of events ICNEV General Assembly Meeting
Backpack AssemblyVolunteers needed
Community Potluck Dinner
Ramadan and Eid al Fitr Announcement by ISNA
AMWA Refuge Iftar at ICCP
• Islamic Relief Presents “To Save a Life” • Champions Training Basketball Clinic
Some Ramadan Iftars and Fundraising Iftars
Ramadan Iftar-Arizona Cultural Academy
Muslim Voice Newspaper Congratulates All Muslims on the upcoming blessed month of Ramadan
For details visit www.azmuslimvoice.com
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Hundreds of Reviews Already Posted!!! Make Your Voice Heard Too!!
to evaluate: • Your Mosque: Facilities, Activities and Programs for Mosque Members, Interaction with the Outside Community, Imam and the Executive Committee or Board of Directors • Khutbah in Your Mosque • Non-Profit Organizations: Youth Centers, Student Associations, Civic Engagement and Civil Rights Organizations, Charity Organizations and Social Services • Schools • Islamic Cemetery • Ramadan in Your Mosque • Community Events And more… Have a say in you community! Go participate in the Poll of the Week and cast your vote today!! “Work: Soon will Allah observe your work, and His Messenger, and the Believers” 9:105 The first step in creating effective change or growth in our Muslim communities is to understand where we are currently. At RateMyMuslimCommunity.com you will find overall evaluations to identify areas of your organization that are working well and areas that need further attention and development. At the end is an opportunity for a review. Feel free to share this evaluation with your Leadership Team and Board of Directors. You may be surprised at the results! “Allah loves that if a person does something he does it perfectly” – Hadith
Let the community hear what you think!
RAMADAN / OPINIONS
Ramadan Herbs By Karima Burns As Ramadan approaches, we inevitably think about all of the special meals that we will eat during this holy month. After a day of fasting and worship, the Muslim or Muslimah’s reward is not only the sense of peace that he or she has gained, but also the special iftar that waits. In many areas of the world such as the Middle East, India, and African countries, iftar meals are filled with traditional foods that can be traced to the time of the prophet (SAW). In other countries, the food may take on the flavor of the country one is in, such as a pizza iftar in America or a taco iftar in Mexico. However, there are traditional gifts from nature that we should remember wherever we live, gifts that were used by Prophet Mohammed (SAW) in his life, and gifts that assist the fasting Muslim during Ramadan. Among these bounties are the hibiscus flower, dates, rosewater essence, and miswak. Hibiscus In the Middle East and Africa, hibiscus is readily served to guests, especially during Ramadan. However, for so many Ramadan traditions like the kunafa (a Ramadan sweet) and the musaharati (the man who wakes people for suhur), few look beyond the tradition for its benefit. Although the sweet richness of kunafa can claim to nourish the spirit of the believer, the hibiscus flower can lay claim to many physical benefits for the fasting body. Hibiscus is, first of all, a pleasant tasting drink with astringent and, thus, thirstquenching properties that may it quite
useful when consumed during Ramadan. Secondly, a cup of hibiscus tea is 17% citric acid, and contains half as much vitamin C as an orange so it helps to strengthen the immune system. Hibiscus also has similar uses as cranberry juice in treating urinary tract infections, and is also useful for the heart and blood flow. Other properties in the herb help maintain the blood sugar balance in the body, another challenge one must overcome during fasting. The traditional way to prepare hibiscus is to make a cold infusion. Take a quarter-cup of the herb and soak it in a pitcher of cold water in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, strain out the hibiscus flowers and add honey to taste. Many people use sugar to sweeten their hibiscus; however, sugar leeches vitamins B and C from the body, can encourage urinary tract infections and counteracts most of the other benefits of the hibiscus as well. The best choice of sweeteners is to use about a teaspoon or more of the herb stevia, a green leafy herb from Paraguay that is sweet and lacks calories much like Nutra-sweet, but with none of the synthetic dangers. Stevia also has blood-sugar balancing properties and, thus, is the safest herb for diabetics. Dates Dates are another traditional item to ingest during the iftar. Muslims around the world, following the example of the Prophet (SAW), usually break their fast with dates. The reason that they are so beneficial is that their natural sugar travels quickly to the liver, and is converted more quickly than any other nutrient into energy that the fasting body soaks up like a sponge. This is the healthiest way of breaking the fast as it eases the body into digesting. Dates contain protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vitamin A, and
natural sodium. They also contain a high amount of dietary fiber, which makes them a good digestive aid. Dates are also said to protect the stomach and the intestines from parasites and bacterial infections, so they are an especially good beginning to a meal when traveling or eating at a restaurant. Rosewater After the evening meal is finished, Muslims often go straight to make the Tarawih prayers, to which they often like to wear a pure essence of some sort. Perfume is a food for the soul and the spirit, much like dates and hibiscus are foods for the body. During Ramadan, Muslims need many foods to keep them strong in their religious duties. In one of the best known Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he was quoted as saying, “There are three things in your world that are made to attract my affection: women, perfume, and then my ultimate fondness is securely fixed on prayers.” Rose essence or rosewater is one of the most popular essences for men and women to wear during this time. Besides the fact that it is one of the most heavenly scents, rose essence has a number of aromatherapy benefits as well. Valerie Worwood, in her book The Complete Book of Aromatherapy, notes that rose essence is a powerful antidepressant, is uplifting, aids in digestion, and soothes frayed nerves during the stressful days of fasting. These benefits can all be enjoyed just by sprinkling some of the water or essence on your body, adding a few drops to your bathwater, or burning the scent in an incense burner in your home. Miswak Rosewater is also the preferred soak for miswak which, taken from the branches of a miswak
tree, is an answer to every Muslim who has asked, “Is it okay to brush my teeth while fasting?” This question often arises in modern times because of western tooth brushing methods that require a mouthful of water and often involve delicious tasting toothpaste. Miswak, on the other hand, is simply soaked until the brushing end is soft, and then gently stroked over the teeth. Imam Al-Bukhari narrated that Abdullah bin Omar brushed his teeth with a miswak morning and evening while fasting. A fasting person, in fact, is in more need of tooth brushing than the non-fasting person since vapors from the empty stomach tend to bind to the teeth and gums. Miswak helps to keep the breath fresh and pure. Among the other benefits of using miswak are that it clears the brain, generates a sense of well-being, remedies the stomach for the next meal, embraces the prophetic tradition, adds to ones merit, pleases Allah, and delights the angels. During this Ramadan, remember the gifts of nature for they are really gifts from Allah to us to ease us through our fasts. The verse Al-Asharh (Surah 94:5) that we recite during Tarawih prayers says, “ So, verily with every difficulty there is relief.” Karima Burns, MH, ND has a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a Masters in Herbal Healing. She has studied natural healing for 12 years, published a natural healing newsletter for 4 years, and writes extensively on natural healing and herbs. Sister Karima became interested in natural healing after ending her personal lifelong struggle with asthma, allergies, chronic ear infections, depression, hypoglycemia, fatigue and panic attacks with herbs and natural therapies.
Let the Human Experience Begin By Ahmad Daniels “O mankind! We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know and honor each other. Holy Qur’an, Sura 49, Ayat 13 In the early 90’s Minister Louis Farrakhan, Leader of the Nation of Islam and other African American leaders served on one of the many panels hosted at the Black Congressional Caucus Annual Conference. The topic, Race in America, was adequately addressed by the likes of Jesse Jackson, Civil Rights leader, the Honorable Maxine Waters and Kwesi Mfume, both members of the United States House of Representatives, and Ben Chavis, President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. However, more about this panel on race later. Race in America Race has long been as issue in America. From the arrival in 1619 of the first 20 enslaved Africans to the election of the first Black President of the United States in 2008, the issue was and still is race. The enslaving of man by his fellow man had to be justified and so the fact these captured Africans were not Christians became that explanation for their servitude. As time passed and Christianity became the religion
many were forced to adhere to, a new reason had to be adopted. That rationale took the shape of many whites believing their white skin made them superior to the African Americans who hue was dark. Centuries of laws and customs were instituted to confirm the false beliefs that whites were superior and that African Americans were inferior. Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of what is now known as Black History Month (February), and author of The Mid-education of the Negro, wrote, “If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept inferior status, for he will seek it himself.” Race in Islam When the Nation of Islam (NOI) was founded by Elijah Muhammad in the 1930’s, it came under fire from a number of orthodox Muslims outside of his movement who dismissed the NOI as heretical, cultist and sectarian. Such labels were applied primarily due to the NOI being accepting of only African American members. Universal Islam was open and receptive to all who were willing to take Shahadah, the first pillar of Islam, irrespective of color. Yet, it was the particular needs of Black Americans that prompted Elijah Muhammad to interpret Islam in such a way that its moral qualities would help a people he would say, “Were lost in the wilderness of North America.” Elijah Muhammad, later through the support of Minister Malcolm X, would be successful in using the discipline of Islam to get Blacks to pull heroin needles out of their arms and remove women of ill-repute from sordid back alleys s and into the pristine Temples. Islam was used
to direct dietary habits and brought an end to years of smoking (Malcolm X, once strongly addicted himself, upon becoming a Black Muslim categorized cigarette smokers as “fire on one end, fool on the other.”) Love for self and kind replaced the long lasting false sense of inferiority and refusal to patronize Black businesses. Elijah Muhammad was very clear on how he envisioned his life’s work: “My people must be dealt with on a special basis, because their background and circumstances are different from those prevailing elsewhere in the world. You cannot use the same medicine to treat altogether different diseases.” Repair the Damage When Minister Louis Farrakhan’s turn came to take to the podium and address the large predominately Black audience, he quickly chronicled the history of race in America; a history filled with political oppression, economic exploitation, and social degradation of African Americans. He then called for open non-blaming, nonfinger-pointing discussions on race between whites and African Americans. Once this nation wide dialogue has begun and whites and African Americans both begin to have a fuller and more accurate understanding of enslavement, Jim Crow, and the residuals of both, race can then be put aside. When race has been addressed and place aside, then and only then, can the human experience can begin. The Nation of Islam has opened its doors to whites. Perhaps the beginning of the ‘human experience’ is closer than one thinks. To your journey!
Arizona has Changed Negatively By: Mohamud Shalab Phoenix, Arizona is also known as the valley of the sun with more than three hundred days of sunshine yearly. Its out door activities, and exquisite landscape gives it great tourist appeal and its population consists of many with different ethnic backgrounds. Phoenix is a primary resort destination, and a magnet for snow birds. The area’s dry desert soil began yielding crops for the Hohokam people, who spent centuries developing irrigation canals. The weather in phoenix has attracted many people from different states of America. I came here July 1999 and fell in love with the land of the Hohokam people. Since gov. Jan Brewer has signed senate bill S.B.1070 on April 23, Arizona has changed and faced opposition and many challenges. I have worked as a director of out reach and development programs at the Somali
Refugee community center in the valley. I met Jan Brewer personally. Back when she was the Secretary of State of Arizona, I visited her office along with the lady council of care-AZ on American Islamic relations. She was very kindhearted and welcomed us with open arms. Jan Brewer is a charismatic political figure with honesty and integrity. we had discussed issues related to Muslims in the valley for example how many Muslims voiced their opinion and cast their votes during election times. I was very shocked when she passed this legislation. If we are going to be able to effectively secure the border from immigration problems, drug cartels, and plagues in Arizona it would be better to deal with pre-existing laws. There is no need to pass a new legislation during this time of economic down turn. If we tremble or ignore the rights of other people, we
begin to develop a system that spreads a sense of political animosity and hatred. We undermine what makes America such a great and prosperous Country. So we need to take a different approach in order to issue this problem. It changed the lives of many Arizonians and impacted them negatively. This new legislation also gives the green light to Arizona police, those who conduct what they call “crime suppression sweeps” to do what they please, because no one regulates or limits how they command those types of operations. They always avoid details of the case to justify the probable cause for arrest so they are not held accountable for their wrongful conduct. This legislation also is the toughest of it’s kind like the employer sanction and the anchor baby, even though babies suffer the consequences of the actions of their parents committed every baby belongs to where he or she was born.
We faced many difficulties and boycotts towards the state of Arizona. We were criticized by political leaders, and the US department of Justice filed a law suit against Arizona over this new immigration law. It is not in the interest of helping Arizonians; it is more politically motivated which disconnects and isolates Arizona from the rest of America. Therefore, our moral responsibility compels to us. Anyone who has guiding principles should appose to this. Many Americans see injustice and just get upset but are too intimidated to voice their opinion and try to make change happen. George Washington had the duty to urge for justice, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, as well as Abraham Lincoln, and the family of John F. Kennedy each made sacrifices for the good cause of freedom and justice, so should we.
Proposed mosque in Temecula faces opposition Received by Associated Press
it stands for.’’ He says it is a religion ``contrary to Christianity.’’
TEMECULA, Calif. (AP) _ Debate is growing over a proposed mosque in Temecula.
The Islamic Center of Temecula Valley’s imam says his group is peaceful and only seeks more room to serve its members.
The proposed 24,950-square-foot mosque would sit on four acres next to Calvary Baptist Church. Calvary Pastor Bill Rench says he is worried the mosque is too large for the site, as well as what he calls ``the whole issue of Islam and what
Temecula planning director Patrick Richardson says politics and religion will not figure in the city’s review, but air quality, noise and traffic will. The Temecula Planning Commission is scheduled to review the proposed mosque on Aug. 18.
Illinois hotel backs out of hosting Muslim group Received by Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) _ A controversial Muslim group has canceled its annual U.S. conference after a suburban Chicago hotel backed out of hosting the event. American members of Hizb utTahrir (HIZ-bhut-ah tuh-REER) had planned a 2010 conference at the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook. But organizer Ayman Hamed says the hotel sent a late cancellation notice without explanation. The hotel didn’t return calls for comment. The self-described political organization wants to establish a worldwide Islamic state. It’s banned in Turkey and other countries. The group doesn’t advocate violence and isn’t considered a terrorist
organization by the U.S. But several scholars criticize the group’s secretive workings. One has called it a ``conveyor-belt to terrorism.’’ Last year a conference in suburban Oak Lawn drew about 800 people and a handful of protesters.
Lawmaker raises questions about ground zero mosque By BETH FOUHY Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ The ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee said he favors an investigation into the funding of a proposed mosque near ground zero in New York City. In an interview with The Associated Press, Rep. Peter King raised concerns about the sources of funding for the proposed $100 million mosque, just blocks away from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, where nearly 3,000 Americans died at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
turned-independent, has backed the mosque since the project came under development, as do numerous other community and political leaders including New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic nominee for governor. King is a supporter of Republican Rick Lazio’s campaign for governor. Lazio opposes the mosque and has called on Cuomo to look into its funding. Lazio was scheduled to testify on the mosque at a hearing of the New York City Landmarks Commission.
``It’s a house of worship, but we are at war with al-Qaida,’’ King told the AP. ``I think the 9/11 families have a right to know where the funding comes from; I think there are significant questions.’’ The mosque is a project of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Institute, which promotes cross-cultural understanding between Islam and the West. Cordoba’s director, Imam Faisel Abdul Rauf, has refused to disclose the sources of funding for the mosque and once suggested in a television interview that U.S. policies contributed to the 9/11 attacks.
Cuomo has said he would investigate the mosque if there is evidence of wrongdoing or criminal behavior but that no such evidence has been put forth.
King’s views differ sharply from those of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said it would be un-American to investigate the mosque. Bloomberg, a Republican-
``Right at this moment in history, it’s bad form to put it there,’’ he said. ``There are things you are allowed to do, but that aren’t appropriate to do.’’
Even though a mosque is supposed to be a religious setting, ground zero may not be an appropriate spot for this or any proposed mosque, King said.
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Critics: US too low-key on Islamic radicalism talk By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Obama administration’s recent move to drop rhetorical references to Islamic radicalism is drawing fire in a new report warning the decision ignores the role religion can play in motivating terrorists. Several prominent U.S. counterterror experts are challenging the administration’s shift in its recently unveiled National Security Strategy, saying the terror threat should be defined in order to fight it.
The report acknowledges that the Obama administration has beefed up efforts to work with the Muslim community in the U.S. and abroad and has also expanded counterterrorism operations and tried to erode and divide al-Qaida and its affiliated groups.
include an ideological counteratteck with policies and programs that empower moderate Islamic voices and contest extremist narratives.
As it unveiled its new National Security Strategy last May, administration officials said the shift in emphasis was critical in undercutting al-Qaida’s efforts to portray its attacks on the U.S. and the west as a justified holy war.
The administration, Levitt said, has to separate discussion of Islam as a religion from the radical Islamic ideology that is producing and fueling global insurgencies. The study is due out next week, but the authors, Levitt, a former FBI and Treasury official, and co-author J. Scott Carpenter, were to preview it Monday.
Terror leaders ``play into the false perception that
``There is an ideology that is driving al-Qaida and its affiliates,’’ said Matt Levitt, one of the authors of the study on countering violent extremism.
The question of how to frame the conflict against al-Qaida and other terrorists poses a knotty problem. The U.S. is trying to mend fences with Muslim communities while toughening its strikes against militant groups.
Juan Zarate, a former top counterterror official in the Bush administration, added that the U.S. government has always been uncomfortable dealing with ideological battles. Zarate, who also participated in the report, said there are a number of nongovernmental groups already speaking out against violent preachings.
In the report, scheduled to be released, counterterrorism experts from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argue that the U.S. could clearly articulate the threat from radical Islamic extremists ``without denigrating the Islamic religion in any way.’’
The report follows the public disclosure of an exchange earlier this year between Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, and Brennan over the effort to scale back the Bush administration’s portrayal of Islamic extremism as a root cause of terrorism.
President Barack Obama has argued that words matter, and administration officials have said that the use of inflammatory descriptions linking Islam to the terror threat feed the enemy’s propaganda and may alienate moderate Muslims in the U.S. In the report, which was obtained by The Associated Press, the analysts warn that U.S. diplomacy must sharpen the distinction between the Muslim faith and violent Islamist extremism, identify radicalizers within Islamic communities and empower voices that can contest the radical teachings. Militant Islamic propaganda has reportedly been a factor in a spate of recent terror attacks and foiled attempts within the U.S. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the suspect in the mass shootings at a Texas military base last year, is believed to have been inspired by the Internet postings of violent Islamic extremists, as was Faisal Shahzad, who pleaded guilty to terrorism and weapons charges in the May 1 attempted car bombing in New York’s Times Square.
Lieberman raised the issue in a letter to the White House, saying that ``the failure to identify our enemy for what it is _ violent Islamist extremism _ is offensive and contradicts thousands of years of accepted military and intelligence doctrine to ‘know your enemy.’’’ they are religious leaders defending a holy cause, when in fact they are nothing more than murderers, including the murder of thousands upon thousands of Muslims,’’ said top administration counterterror deputy John Brennan during a May 24 speech explaining the shift. He added that ``describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie _ propagated by al-Qaida and its affiliates to justify terrorism _ that the United States is somehow at war against Islam.’’ But the administration’s two-pronged approach of stepping up counterterror operations while tamping down its rhetoric, the critics argue, needs to also
In a response to Lieberman, Brennan said the administration has not specifically issued any directive barring the use of specific words or phrases. But he said it is important to accurately define the enemy and assess the threat. ``In my view, using ‘Islamic extremist’ and other variations of that phrase does not bring us closer to this objective,’’ Brennan said in a letter to Lieberman. ``Rather, the phrase lumps a diverse set of organizations, with different motivations, goals, capabilities and justifications for their actions, into a single group in a way that may actually be counterproductive.’’
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Misunderstood sign causes harassment of shopowner By MOISES MENDOZA Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON (AP) _ Sajid Master wants the phone calls and angry letters to stop. He wants people to quit coming into Perfume Planet in west Houston to yell at his workers. He’d especially like folks to stop castigating his landlord. Nearly a year after the Internet painted Master as an Al Qaida sympathizer, outrage toward the store at the Harwin Central Mart shows no sign of waning. ``They’ve threatened to kill me; sometimes they’re cursing when they call,’’ a resigned Master said recently in his shop.
proud American citizen, isn’t a terrorist sympathizer. He’s just a shopkeeper who inadvertently touched a very raw nerve.
and overwhelming store manager Hasan Kolsawala, who tried to explain that no offense was intended.
It started when the Muslim merchant posted a sign at his shop during Ramadan explaining the store would be closed Sept. 11 to remember the death of Imam Ali, a sacred Muslim figure. Master failed, however, to explain that Ali, who is remembered on a different date each year during Ramadan, died in 661 A.D. and was in no way related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
People called Master’s denounce him.
Someone snapped a picture of the sign and started sending it around online, claiming Imam Ali was one of the Sept. 11 hijackers.
Trouble is, all the indignation is the product of a massive misunderstanding, illustrating the awesome _ and sometimes damaging _ power of the Internet.
Before long the photo went viral, showing up on countless conservative Internet forums and prompting statements like this one that appeared at 2Aforum.com: ``Picket, protest, and through lawful means, strangle their business.’’
Soon the phone calls started, befuddling
He probably could have shrugged off the incident as a temporary annoyance, but 10 months later the consequences of that sign still reverberate. Phone calls to Perfume Planet often come in waves as people send around new e-mail chains urging recipients to voice their anger. Workers try to explain things. ``But some people don’t want to listen,’’ Kolsawala said. ``They scream at me.’’ Then, there are the people who stomp into the store holding printouts of the infamous photo and demanding explanations. And there are the countless angry letters flooding the shop’s mailbox. Master dutifully pens responses to each one.
Luckily for Master, some websites, like the popular snopes.com, have taken pity on him, dedicating space to debunking the controversy. But that doesn’t seem to have done much good. The parade of phone calls keeps coming, not only to the shop but to the management of Harwin Central Mart, the mall that houses Master’s business. Myong Yi, the mall’s manager, said he’s almost at his breaking point. ``Sometimes, I want to just kick him out,’’ he said. ``I get at least one or two calls each day. I want it to stop.’’ This year, Perfume Planet will close to commemorate Imam Ali’s death in early September. But the sign will be different, Kolsawala said. ``It’ll just say, ‘We’re closed today,’’’ he said.
Obama says there is hope for Middle East peace By MATTHEW LEE Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama says there is hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but that does not mean that he is ``blindly optimistic.’’ The comments came as his administration and a crucial Arab ally stepped up appeals for the two sides to return to direct negotiations. In an interview taped Wednesday for Israeli television, Obama said Israel is right to be skeptical about the peace process. But he noted that many people thought the founding of Israel was impossible, so the Jewish state’s very existence should be ``a great source of hope.’’ The interview followed a White House meeting on Tuesday between Obama
and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at which the two leaders expressed support for upgrading current indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks that are being mediated by US peace envoy George Mitchell. The Palestinians demand that Israel freeze settlement construction before direct talks can be resumed. Obama and Netanyahu said the two sides should begin speaking directly to each other. That sentiment was echoed on Wednesday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, whose country is deemed critical to the peace process. Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab countries officially at peace with Israel. ``Moving to direct talks as soon as possible is in the interests of the Israelis, the Palestinians, the region and the
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Earlier in Cairo, however, the head of the Arab League said indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians are failing and there is a little chance for a shift to direct negotiations. Amr Moussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister, said senior Arab diplomats will meet July 29 to evaluate the results of the indirect talks, which started in May. In his Israeli television interview, Obama also recalled visiting Jerusalem before he became president. He described wandering anonymously through the Old City as ``a profound pleasure’’ that he is too well-known to enjoy now. Obama laughed about leaving a prayer at the Western Wall during his most recent visit, only to have someone remove it and print it in a newspaper.
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Former Michigan congressman pleads to obstruction By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH Associated Press Writer KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) _ A former Michigan congressman accused of accepting stolen funds to lobby on behalf of a charity with alleged ties to terrorism pleaded guilty to two charges Wednesday including obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said more serious charges would likely be dropped. Former Republican Rep. Mark Deli Siljander, who served in Congress from 1981 until 1987 and as a United Nations delegate for a year, pleaded guilty in federal court in Kansas City to obstruction and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering will likely be dismissed under the terms of the 59-year-old Siljander’s plea deal, said Don Ledford, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Missouri. Abdel Azim El-Siddig, a co-defendant
who was a part-time fundraiser for the Islamic American Relief Agency, also admitted Wednesday to conspiring to hire Siljander to lobby for the group’s removal from a Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of having terrorist ties. Prosecutors said El-Siddig, of Chicago, concealed this advocacy and didn’t register with the proper authorities. Prosecutors said Siljander, who is free on bond, received $75,000 from the charity to push for its removal from the list, and that the group paid him with funds obtained from the U.S. Agency for International Development for work it was supposed to have done in Africa but didn’t. Prosecutors said Siljander lied to the FBI about being hired to lobby for the charity. He told investigators that the money he received was a donation to help him write a book about Islam and Christianity. U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said in a news release Wednesday that Siljander engaged in illegal lobbying for the charity, then used his own charities to
Man charged with setting fire at Georgia mosque By RAY HENRY
hide the payments for that lobbying. ``Siljander repeatedly lied to FBI agents and prosecutors investigating serious crimes related to national security. With today’s guilty pleas, all of the defendants in this case have admitted their guilt and will be held accountable for their actions,’’ she said. The charges are part of a long-running case against the charity, which was based in Columbia, Missouri, before it was designated in 2004 by the Treasury Department as a suspected fundraiser for terrorists. The organization has long denied allegations that it has financed terrorists. Shereef Akeel of Troy, Michigan, who represented the organization in a 2004 attempt to unfreeze its funds, maintained that the charity has no ties to terrorism. He said he’s frustrated that the group’s money remains frozen. ``The money should go to the people in need, and that’s the bottom line,’’ Akeel said. ``In our zealous efforts to combat terrorism we have undermined our war against famine.’’
Siljander refused comment after the hearing. When the judge asked him if he acknowledged what the prosecution was alleging was true, he answered ``yes.’’ ``Today, Mark Siljander has accepted responsibility for his conduct in his pleas to an obstruction of justice charge and a violation of a regulatory statues,’’ Lance D. Sandage, one of Siljander’s attorneys, said. ``We would point out that all other charges of money laundering and conspiracy against him will be dismissed, and of course no terrorism charges were alleged against Mark Siljander.’’ Under federal sentencing guidelines, Siljander could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $500,000. But there is no minimum sentence for either charge, and he could receive a much lighter sentence as part of his plea deal. El-Siddig faces up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing dates have not been set for either defendant. Three other co-defendants already have entered pleas in the case.
White House denies NASA remark on Muslim outreach
mosque leaders. The mosque’s imam did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Associated Press Writer MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) _ A 26-year-old man who described himself as a devout Muslim was charged with burning down a mosque where he had worshipped, authorities said. Tamsir Mendy was arrested evening and charged with first-degree arson in a blaze two days earlier at the Islamic Center of Marietta, the Masjid Al-Hedaya, said Marietta Assistant Fire Chief Scott Tucker. He said Mendy was being held without bond. Fire officials said no court hearings have been set in Mendy’s case, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney. A phone listing for Mendy was not working. Investigators refused to discuss the suspect’s motives during a news conference, although they repeatedly stated it was not a hate crime directed against Muslims as some local leaders had initially feared. The suspect, a native of Gambia, had worshipped for a short period at the mosque although investigators would not elaborate on the timeline. Tucker also would not discuss a possible motive, but said authorities were unaware of any disputes between Mendy and
Immigration officials are requiring that the Cobb County prison give them two days notice before Mendy is released, said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She would not comment on Mendy’s immigration status. Immigration officials can request that a prisoner be detained so they can investigate issues including whether defendants have permission to be in the country or whether they have committed a crime making them eligible for deportation. The U.S. attorney’s office is reviewing the case to decide whether Mendy should face federal charges, said Scott Sweetow of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ office in Atlanta. He described Mendy as cooperative during an interview with law enforcement. Authorities said the fire caused about $100,000 in damage and was fueled by an accelerant. Tucker said Mendy was in the mosque the night it burned. A building near the mosque that burned was the scene of a 2008 fire set by a disgruntled student. Fire Chief Jackie Gibbs said that building is owned by another mosque in the area.
Received by Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House is contradicting the NASA administrator’s claim that President Barack Obama assigned him to reach out to Muslims on science matters. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden recently told Al-Jazeera network that one of the charges Obama gave him was ``to reach out to the Muslim world and
Some conservative activists criticized the remarks. White House press secretary Gibbs said that such activities among Bolden’s assigned tasks. administration officials have with NASA about the matter.
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US army handing over last prison in Iraq
BAGHDAD - The US army was handing over control of Camp Cropper prison to Iraqi authorities on Thursday, effectively ending one of the most controversial chapters of the American military occupation. Cropper, west of Baghdad and holding 1,600 detainees, opened immediately after the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It was built to handle senior members of Saddam Hussein’s toppled Baathist regime. The leader himself was its most famous inmate after his capture in November 2003 and eventual execution more than three years later.
among 25 other prisoners moved together with Aziz. Cropper was originally a tented site but it was upgraded after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2004 where photographs showed naked and hooded Iraqi prisoners being beaten and humiliated by their US guards. Abu Ghraib, which was a notorious torture and execution centre during the Saddam era, was returned to Iraqi control last February. General
thinking it was going to be like Desert Storm and we would just hold prisoners of war for a period of time. “We did not properly anticipate a counter-insurgency which would require us to handle a large number of detainees... in fact we were not trained and prepared to do it. And we ended up having significant issues,” he added. Despite Thursday’s handover around 200 high value detainees will stay under US control at Camp Cropper, Odierno and the Iraqi government have said. Car bomb in Tikrit A car bomb in executed Iraqi leader’s Saddam Hussein’s home city and two other attacks killed eight people, including four police officers, and wounded 14 others on Thursday, police said.
An official transfer of authority ceremony involving US and Iraqi military officers was to take place around noon (0900 GMT).
Received by Associated Press BAGHDAD (AP) _ Iraq’s Transportation Ministry says it has reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia allowing the kingdom’s national carrier to resume flights to Iraq for the first time since 1991. Ayad Katheer Raheem, the director general of the ministry’s aviation department, says that Saudi Arabian Airlines has contracted with the privately-owned al-Wafeer
Airlines to run the daily flights. Raheem said Tuesday the flights would resume ``soon,’’ with the exact date up to the Saudis. The neighboring countries broke off air service following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which sparked the first Gulf War. Even since Saddam’s ouster in 2003, relations have remained frosty. The only current flights from Iraq to Saudi Arabia carry worshippers for the annual Muslim hajj every year
More than 100,000 prisoners have passed through US custody in Iraq, where Camp Bucca near the southern city of Basra was closed in September 2009 and Camp Taji north of Baghdad shut earlier this year. Among the last of Saddam’s inner circle to leave Camp Cropper was former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz, who was transferred to Khadimiyah prison in Baghdad on Tuesday night. Saddam’s former secretary Abed Hmoud, the former interior minister Mohammed Zumam and former oil minister Amir Mohammed Rashid, were
commander of US forces in Iraq, told reporters on Tuesday that the handover of Camp Cropper had been planned for one year and a system of training and safeguards had been put in place. He also said Cropper proved that the American military had learned lessons from Abu Ghraib, regarded as the nadir of the US occupation. “Abu Ghraib is a lesson that we were not prepared to handle large masses of detainees when we came into this operation in 2003,” Odierno said. “We made some real errors in
Six people, including three police, were killed by a car bomb that targeted a patrol in the centre of Tikrit, 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Baghdad, said Colonel Hathem Akram, while 11 people, six of them police, were wounded. A fourth policeman was killed in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad, by an unknown gunman, local police said. And in Baghdad a civilian was killed and three others wounded when a magnetic bomb attached to a car exploded, a police official said.
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Averting showdown, Gaza-bound ship changes course By AMY TEIBEL Associated Press Writer JERUSALEM (AP) _ A ship sent by a Libyan charity to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip changed course in the Mediterranean Sea and instead appeared headed for an Egyptian port, signaling that it would avoid a showdown with the Israeli navy. Israel’s military said the vessel was now steaming away from Gaza and toward the port city of el-Arish, and Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported that Egyptian authorities were ``making preparations’’ to receive the boat there.
over whether the Amalthea intended to try to run the blockade or not.
there, after which Israel would screen the goods and send them into Gaza overland. The group refused.
Israeli military officials said the ship’s captain informed Israel he was heading for the Egyptian port, but the port’s chief, Gamal Abdel Maqsoud, said there had been no communication so far with the ship. A spokesman for the Libyan mission insisted the ship still intended to try to reach the Palestinian territory, but said those aboard would not violently resist any efforts to stop them.
The deaths of the nine pro-Palestinian activists in the May 31 raid focused international attention on Israel’s blockade of Gaza, imposed after the Islamic militant and anti-Israel Hamas violently overran the Palestinian territory in June 2007. The international criticism forced Israel to ease its land blockade of the territory but it has maintained the naval embargo, insisting it is vital to keep weapons out of Hamas’ hands.
``First and foremost, we want to arrive in Gaza. If
Restrictions remain on materials like cement and steel that Israel says could be used for military purposes, and Gaza’s 1.5 million people, confined to the small, impoverished territory, have been plagued by other problems, including a chronic cash shortage.
The ship, the Moldovan-flagged Almathea, was still crawling in international waters by midafternoon Wednesday and could not be contacted for confirmation. An Al-Jazeera reporter on board the aid ship said Israeli vessels were arrayed in a ``wall’’ meant to prevent the ship from continuing toward Gaza.
George Saba, who manages a branch of the Cairo Amman Bank in the territory, said Wednesday that because of cash shortages the bank could not pay this month’s salary to government officials. Palestinian officials in the West Bank were trying to arrange a transfer of Israeli cash into Gaza to alleviate the shortage.
In recent days, with the vessel’s organizers insisting it would go to Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel saying it would not allow that to happen, the stage appeared set for a showdown on the high seas. Framing the faceoff was Israel’s botched attempt to block a similar Gaza-bound aid ship in May, an incident that ended with the deaths of nine Turkish activists in a violent confrontation on board. In Gaza, the head of the territory’s Hamas government called on the Libyan ship to press ahead to its original destination. Speaking at a ceremony naming a street after the nine pro-Palestinian activists killed May 31, Ismail Haniyeh called the Libyan ship ``our moving hope in the Mediterranean Sea.’’ ``Beware not to fall into the trap and stop in a port other than Gaza,’’ he said. Conflicting messages on Tuesday created confusion
this is impossible, we don’t want to subject anyone to danger,’’ Youssef Sawani, an official with the Gadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation who was in contact with the boat, told the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV. The Gadhafi foundation, headed by the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, said the Amalthea left Greece on Saturday carrying 2,000 tons of food and medical supplies. Israel invited the activists to sail to the Israeli port of Ashdod and unload the supplies
Also Wednesday, a Gaza health official said a 42-year-old Palestinian woman was killed and four other Gazans were wounded late Tuesday by an Israeli tank shell. The military said it opened fire after spotting people near the security fence and suspected they might be planting explosive devices. A Gaza rights group, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, issued a statement Wednesday condemning unknown Palestinian assailants for throwing a grenade at the campus of Gaza’s YMCA, run by local Christians. No one was injured in the attack, which the group said took place early Tuesday. Members of extremist Islamic groups in Gaza have been suspected in past attacks on internet cafes and Christian institutions.
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French parliament approves ban on face veils By ANGELA DOLAND
places, such as government buildings, hospitals and public transport.
Associated Press Writer PARIS (AP) _ France’s lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved a ban on wearing burqastyle Islamic veils, part of a determined effort to define and protect French values that has disconcerted many in the country’s large Muslim community. Proponents of the law say face-covering veils don’t square with the French ideal of women’s equality or its secular tradition. The bill is controversial abroad but popular in France, where its relatively few outspoken critics say conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy has resorted to xenophobia to attract far-right voters.
France’s government has insisted that assimilation is the only path for immigrants and minorities, and last year it launched a grand nationwide debate on what it means to be French. The country has had difficulty integrating generations of immigrants and their children, as witnessed by weeks of rioting by youths, many of them minorities, in troubled neighborhoods in 2005. At the National Assembly, few dissenters spoke out about civil liberties or fears of fanning anti-Islam sentiment. Legislator Berengere Poletti, of Sarkozy’s party, said
The ban on burqas and niqabs will go in September to the Senate, where it also is likely to pass. Its biggest hurdle will likely come after that, when France’s constitutional watchdog scrutinizes it. Some legal scholars say there is a chance it could be deemed unconstitutional.
Socialist Senator Bariza Khiari, one of France’s few Muslim politicians, fears some women targeted ``will withdraw into themselves, stay in the house, and instead of doing education projects, we’re doing a ban, which I regret.’’ The bill also is aimed at husbands and fathers _ anyone convicted of forcing someone else to wear the garb risks a year of prison and a euro30,000 ($38,000) fine, with both penalties doubled if the victim is a minor. Officials have taken pains to craft language that does not single out Muslims. While the proposed legislation is colloquially referred to as the ``anti-burqa law,’’ it is officially called ``the bill to forbid concealing one’s face in public.’’ It refers neither to Islam nor to veils. Officials insist the law against face-covering is not discriminatory because it would apply to everyone, not just Muslims. Yet they cite a host of exceptions, including motorcycle helmets, or masks for health reasons, fencing, skiing or carnivals.
The issue has been debated across Europe, and Spain and Belgium have similar bans in the works. In France, which has Europe’s largest Muslim population, about 5 million of the country’s 64 million people are believed to be Muslim. While ordinary headscarves are common in France, only about 1,900 women are believed to wear face-covering veils.
In March, France’s highest administrative body, the Council of State, warned that the law could be found unconstitutional. It said that neither French secularism nor concerns about women’s equality, human dignity or public security could be legal justifications.
The main body representing French Muslims believes such garb is not suitable in France, but it fears the ban will stigmatize all Muslims. Malika Hamidi, director general of the European Muslim Network think tank, said she is very worried. The ban’s backers are ``playing up a feeling of fear of Islam’’ at a time when Europe is concerned about its changing identity, struggling to manage its diversity and dealing with an economic crisis, she said.
face-covering veils ``are a prison for women, they are the sign of their submission to their husbands, brothers or fathers.’’
In Tuesday’s vote at the National Assembly, there were 335 votes for the bill and just one against it. Most members of the main opposition group, the Socialist Party, walked out and refused to vote, though they in fact support a ban. They simply have differences over where it should be enforced, underscoring the lack of controversy among French politicians on the issue.
Discussions in France have dragged on for more than a year, since Sarkozy declared in June 2009 that the burqa is ``not welcome’’ in France.
The bill passed Tuesday bans face-covering veils everywhere that can be considered public space, even in the street, but the Socialists only want it in certain
The legislation would forbid face-covering Muslim veils in all public places in France and calls for euro150 ($185) fines or citizenship classes, or both.
The niqab and burqa are also seen here as a gateway to extremism and an attack on secularism, long a central value of France.
There has been some concern the bill could prod terror groups to eye France or its citizens as potential targets. Following Sarkozy’s comments, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb issued a statement on Web sites vowing to ``seek vengeance against France.’’
Arizona Muslim Chaplain Services For Sick Visitation and End-of-Life Care Services for Muslims
Anticipating a ban on the veils, an entrepreneur who tried to run for president in 2007, Rachid Nekkaz, is creating a fund to pay the fines of anyone caught wearing a niqab or burqa. While he says he opposes the full veils, he says a ban would be anti-democratic, and he is creating the fund ``so that my country is not the disgrace of the whole world.’’ In Cairo, Islamic scholar Abdelmotie Bayoumi said a French ban would not violate Islamic law, but would violate personal freedoms. ``The niqab has no strong legitimacy based on the Quran or in examples from the Prophet’s life that makes it a religious imposition on women. A Muslim woman wears the niqab not because of religious duty, but as a personal freedom,’’ said Bayoumi, whose books include ``Contemporary Testimonies,’’ about the full-face veil.
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BP signs major offshore gas Turkey expects boats to return from Israel in days deal with Egypt By Samer Al-Atrush - CAIRO BP signed a significant agreement with Egypt on Monday to develop two offshore gas fields in the largest deal for the beleaguered energy giant since its drilling rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Egypt’s petroleum ministry said in a statement that the deal with Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. would develop five trillion cubic metres of gas from the North Alexandria Deepwater block and the Western Mediterranean block. The fields will produce 900 million cubic metres of gas a day starting from 2014, the ministry said. BP said in a statement that the concessions will produce up to one billion cubic metres a day. BP and its German partner RWE will raise the nine billion dollars in investment for the project according to their stakes. BP holds 60 percent of the North Alexandria block and 80 percent of the West Mediterranean block. BP said the agreement “amends the commercial terms for the two concessions located in the West Nile Delta, enabling BP and its partner RWE Dea to proceed with development.” The petroleum ministry statement quoted minister Sameh Fahmy as saying the amendments “included conditions that guaranteed Egypt great advantages.” Ministry official Hamdi Abdel Aziz said that the amended agreement was “balanced for both sides.” The amendments impose production deadlines on BP and do not require Egypt to contribute to the nine-billion-dollar investment, while BP and its partner will sell each cubic metre starting from three dollars, up from 2.65 dollars. BP spokesman Robert Wine said that negotiations for the agreement “had been a long process.”
“Under the previous terms it was not commercially viable for us. The government now has a deal it finds acceptable,” he said. Wine said the Egyptian deal was the “biggest development we put our signature to since” the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers. BP, whose shares have plummeted since an April explosion in a Gulf of Mexico rig led to the worst oil spill in US history, is the largest foreign investor in Egypt and provides with its partners about 35 percent of the country’s gas. The company has come under fire from the US government over alleged lapses in safety standards. It could face a seven-year offshore drilling ban in the United States after a house committee agreed a bill to ban licences for any company that lost 10 workers in operations. Wine said the agreement showed the company could operate “viable projects.” “BP’s day-to-day operations are continuing after the spill. There are a lot of very steady good operations around the rest of the world,” he said. BP said on Monday the bill from the oil spill had risen to 3.95 billion dollars. The total includes the bill for containing and cleaning spilt crude, relief well drilling, grants to Gulf states and money paid to the US federal government, it said in a statement.
ANKARA - Turkey expects three boats seized in a deadly Israeli raid on a Gazabound aid flotilla to return home “within several days,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying Friday. “We expect the process of the ships’ return to be completed after technical preparations are finished within several days,” Davutoglu said during a visit to Vietnam, the Anatolia news agency reported. He said Israel had informed the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv of its decision to release the vessels, held since May 31 when Israeli commandos raided a flotilla carrying aid to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, killing nine Turkish activists. “There were certain steps Israel was supposed to take, and this was one of them. We hope the remaining thing will be also done,” Davutoglu said. The bloodshed on the aid flotilla sparked
a deep crisis in already strained relations between Turkey and Israel, once close allies. Ankara has urged the Jewish state to apologise, compensate the families of the victims and lift the blockade of Gaza to repair the relations. The decision to release the boats was taken by the seven ministers of Israel’s inner cabinet and is expected to be implemented in the coming days, Israeli public radio reported earlier Friday. The Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, on which the bloodshed occurred, is currently docked in an Israeli naval base in the northern port city of Haifa. The other boats are docked in the southern port of Ashdod. Davutoglu said the vessels would be brought home by tugboats, waiting on stand-by at Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Mersin.
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Abu Dhabi on mission to preserve Muslims’ musical heritage By Wissam Keyrouz - ABU DHABI
Musicologists funded by Abu Dhabi are roaming Islamic countries in search of lullabies and children’s songs, one of the first projects of a centre that aims to preserve the musical heritage of the Muslim world.
as a forbidden art by many Islamic scholars, especially in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Masri argued that “music is part of the culture of Islamic communities.”
such thing as Islamic music,” yet “in all Muslim communities there are music forms, some of which are used in rituals.”
instruments which are “rapidly disappearing” such as the bouzok, a stringed lute similar to the Greek bouzouki.
The centre, operating from Abu Dhabi until its premises are
Meanwhile, a series of oud (oriental lute) concerts by the
It also plans to help preserve the music of non-Islamic minorities in Muslim countries.
In seeking to preserve Islamic musical heritage the centre is trying to build partnerships with other centres around the world to document and save the Islamic heritage.
The institution will “research and document the musical practices, traditions, and heritages of the world of Islam,” said Sami al-Masri, the vice-director of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, which launched the centre.
By digitising the endangered musical treasures the centre will protect the musical heritage for generations to come, Masri said. Though music is often regarded
The Abu Dhabi-based authority has also made commitments to preserve traditional bedouin music, which is mostly only memorised and therefore risks extinction. In addition, the centre will keep a record of the music of minorities in Muslim countries, in addition to special programmes dedicated to the musical heritage of Assyrians, Aramaeans and Arab Christians.
The Al Ain Centre for Music in the World of Islam seeks to document, digitise and sustain the musical traditions of Muslim countries and Islamic communities anywhere in the world.
It also aims “to acquire items related to musical heritage, such as studies, documents, publications, and ancient musical instruments” in a bid to “save and sustain” this heritage, he added.
Arab Music Conference held in Cairo in 1932, making them available to the large public.
“It is impossible for one centre to achieve what we are looking forward to,” Masri said.
The head of projects, Sherif Khaznadar, said that the centre was working to launch a programme on traditional Pakistani music, which is on “the verge of disappearing,” and also on Uzbek vocal techniques.
completed in 2013 in the oasis city of Al-Ain, is now working on a project that involves “gathering lullabies and children’s songs throughout the world of Islam,” Khaznadar said.
The Syrian-born playwright noted that although “there is no
He added that it also hopes to preserve musical
Iraqi musician Omar Bashir are being scheduled to revive the traditional “maqam”, or modal system used in classical Arab music. On its list of tasks to revive music created in Muslim lands the centre plans to digitise the recordings of the landmark
Over the past few years, the oil-rich emirate has been pushing forward plans to establish itself as a regional cultural centre. The United Arab Emirates capital will soon become home to branches of some of the world’s most important museums -- The Louvre in Paris and New York’s Guggenheim. Last year it launched the Abu Dhabi Classic FM radio, dedicated to classical Western music and the first of its kind in the region.
Turkey becomes global power in construction By SELCAN HACAOGLU Associated Press Writer ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ An army of Turkish cranes and bulldozers is at work across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, building dams, stadiums and highways in a boom that’s helping drive Turkey to record growth and bolstering its efforts to become a regional power broker. Frustrated by slow progress toward joining the European Union, Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government is pursuing a strategy intertwining political influence with economic might in the developing world, particularly in Islamic countries and the former Soviet Union but extending in recent years across much of Africa. Essential to the effort are the Turkish constructions firms at work in more than 80 nations, One is building Dubai’s new subway system in a joint venture with Japanese companies. Others are responsible for much of the construction in Kazakhstan and Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq in recent years. In parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, Turkish flexibility at meeting kickback demands and handling complex laws give them an edge, experts say. While Turkish builders don’t yet rival their giant competitors in Europe, the U.S., China and Japan, the value of Turkish overseas projects soared from $750 million (euro596.71 million) in 2000 to $23.6 billion in 2008, before sliding to $20 billion last year during the global financial crisis. The government says it hopes to increase the volume of international contracts to around $50 billion by 2015. Leading construction trade journal Engineering News-Record included four Turkish firms among the world’s top 225 international contractors in 1999.
Ten years later, that number rose to 31, which generated $14.05 billion in revenue from projects outside of Turkey and represented 3.6 percent of all international revenue reported by the ENR’s top 225, the journal said. Turkish delegations to countries in the developing world often include hundreds of business executives. Turkey has recently signed bilateral agreements with countries including Russia, Libya and Syria to mutually waive entry visas, easing travel and trade. It added dozens of new destinations, including Baghdad and Nairobi, for national carrier Turkish Airlines. Zafer Caglayan, the state minister in charge of foreign trade, said Turkey would increase the number of diplomatic missions in Africa from 12 to 27 this year. Thirty-five percent of Turkish overseas building was in Africa last year, he said. In the capital of Kazakhstan, one of five Central Asian countries with close linguistic and ethnic ties to Turkey, Turkish companies are responsible for an estimated 70 percent of construction since 1997. ``That includes everything from roads to stadiums, shopping centers, schools and five-star hotels,’’ Ozer Oral, secretary-general of the KazakhTurkish Businessmen Association said by telephone from Astana. Turkish firms have long been active on the international construction market, but the search for higher profit margins has driven more outreach over the last 10 to 15 years, said Gary Tulacz, a senior editor at Engineering News-Record. ``Part of this may be from some of the difficult economic times in Turkey early in this decade, which made the international market more attractive to Turkish companies,’’ Tulacz said. Turkey restructured its ailing banking sector after emerging in 2001 from a deep financial crisis that saw the
economy shrink 8.5 percent as inflation hovered around 80 percent. The oneparty government has boosted investor confidence in a country once wracked by bitter fighting among coalition partners. The eight-year-old administration has curtailed chronic inflation, encouraged exports and even rejected taking a new loan from the IMF this year. Turkey is heavily dependent on the textile, automotive, manufacturing and tourism industries but the construction sector is one of the forces driving Turkey’s record growth of 11.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, the fastest expansion in about six years. With $863 billion in gross domestic product, Turkey was the sixth-largest economy on the continent of Europe last year based on the International Monetary Fund World Economy Outlook, Caglayan said. ``People should never forget that those who have closer economic relations with Turkey will prove to be the profitmakers in this region,’’ Caglayan told The Associated Press. ``This applies to the European Union, too.’’ Turkey was the premier builder in the former Soviet Union and nearly a quarter of Turkish construction business is done in Russia, followed by Libya, and the former Soviet republics of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Turkish firms launched their first projects in Brazil and Angola in 2009, Caglayan said, and they are also heavily involved in Qatar, Algeria, Iraq, Romania and Afghanistan. ``Turkish firms are putting their signature in remote parts of the world thanks to their flexibility in working in sometimes difficult or dangerous environments and ability to handle complicated local laws,’’ said Demir Engin, president of NACE, a company that specializes in equipment for cement and asphalt plants. Ilnur Cevik, former partner in a company that built the airport and dormitories for thousands of university
students in the town of Sulaymaniyah in Kurdish northern Iraq, said that some Turkish firms found it easier to give kickbacks to local officials because they’re not obliged to show bribe money in their books and had familiarity with bribe-giving culture back home. ``Corruption is a major problem in countries like Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan,’’ Cevik said. ``Everybody wants some kind of kickback in the Arab world too. Turks went to places where Westerners could not because foreign companies want to do everything according to the book.’’ In Astana, the palatial, tent-shaped Khan Shatry shopping center designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster and built by Sembol Construction of Turkey in a joint venture with Russia’s Coalco Development was opened in early July to mark the 70th birthday of Kazakhstan’s president. The translucent structure includes an artificial beach made of sand from the Maldives at an indoor pool on the fifth floor. Sembol Construction also built the Foster-designed 250-foot-tall (77-meter) glass Pyramid of Peace, which holds an opera house, library and cultural research center, at a cost of more than $65 million. Paul Barry, an international construction expert with London-based Navigant Consulting, said Turkish firms were becoming ``very serious’’ rivals for international contractors. ``Because they can relate to Muslim cultures and are very competitive,’’ Barry said. ``Because they are starting to get a good reputation for being involved, probably in a joint venture with complex and demanding projects.’’ Barry said, however, that: ``they are developing but have yet to demonstrate that they can do it on their own and prove themselves in Western Europe or the United States.’’
Between Marriage and Studies By Bibi Ayesha Wadvalla Freelance Journalist The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever follows a route in pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise.” (Muslim) The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When a person gets married he has completed half of his religion, so let him fear Allah with regard to the remaining half.” (authenticated by Al-Albani) These two sayings of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are guidelines for a Muslim’s life. We should strive to follow both, completing ourselves holistically. But what happens when marriage and education collide, shattering our carefully planned lives? Which then is preferable — marriage or studies? Undoubtedly, the importance of marriage in Islam cannot be overemphasized. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Oh youth! Whoever of you can get married should get married for it helps in lowering the gaze and guarding one’s chastity” (Agreed upon). Marriage is a beautiful institution designed for a man and a woman to fulfill their natural needs for each other and to create a family. It is the basic foundation of all societies. A society without marriage will most certainly be riddled with problems. Islam encourages us to marry young to prevent us from sinning. However, Islam is for all ages and takes into account the situation of the time. In today’s world, education is empowerment. It gives people confidence to use their intellect and confidence in themselves. We find many young women who are practicing Islam at the university, furthering
their education, yet maintaining their modesty. In this way they are preparing themselves to be able to contribute to their society and raise the level of their children and their family. If such a person gets divorced or widowed, she will have something to fall back onto. Does it have to be a cold, hard choice between marriage and education? Why can’t it be both? Let us take a glimpse into the lives of four women. Sameera is 18. She has just completed her high school certificate and wants to study law. However, she has received a good marriage proposal. Upon seeking advice from a sheikh, she was told to abandon her studies and get married. She wants to do what is “Islamically” correct, but she also wants to be happy within. Raeesa is 28. A medical doctor, she is now specializing to be a cardiologist. A beautiful woman, she has rejected proposal after proposal, intent on her studies. Having a successful career is important to her, and she feels marriage can wait. Tasneem is 22. She has her bachelor’s in psychology and is now pursuing her master’s. Soon after graduating, she got married. For her, marriage completes her. She has what she’s always strived for — a good education and a good husband. Amina is 32. She was happily married for ten years, content with her life. Then, suddenly and shockingly, her husband divorced her. She had lived for her husband and children, and now finds herself floating aimlessly. Now she wished she had studied first, as her parents had wanted. Tasneem’s story is clearly the scenario we all want to enact. She’s satisfied on all levels. Islam is about moderation on all levels. Therefore, we should never choose the extreme option. Why is it
that when a young woman talks of wanting to further her studies, some people immediately assume she cares only for her career and will neglect her family? Most young women who have studied will tell you otherwise. They study to satisfy their natural thirst for knowledge. There are also a large number of women who would rather not work. They will place their families before their careers, and prefer to work only part-time or not at all. There are many who feel that education on all fronts enables them to practice their deen more strongly. It enables them to help others on many levels. For example, a psychologist will deal with a patient’s problems in an Islamic manner, guiding the patient closer to Allah. So you don’t want to be forced to choose either marriage or studies? Is there a way you can do both? In the Arab world especially, people often make the official marriage contract but don’t move in together right away. The marriage is not consummated, but they may legally spend time alone together. In this way, both the man and woman may pursue their studies while married. This system holds many advantages and is gaining popularity among Muslims in non-Muslim countries, too. In this way, a couple may get to know each other better prior to living together. They may save for married life, and no matter what their pursuits, they are safe in the knowledge of being married. Our every action is based on intention. If we are studying for the benefit of mankind, for the cause of our Muslim Ummah, then our studies will be a source of reward for us. Let us use this precious education wisely. There are some scholars who say that a girl’s schooling should stop once she possesses the basic skills of reading and writing. I cannot but
disagree with this. We are all aware of the famous saying “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” How then will it be possible for a woman who possesses only basic literacy skills to teach her children? What knowledge will she impart to them? If the love for learning has not been instilled in her, how will she instill it in her children? `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) was one of the greatest scholars
of Islamic history. She memorized over two thousand Hadith, and the Companions sought knowledge at her feet. The important point is that no matter what a woman studies, as long as her intention is to use it for the benefit of Islam, it will be a source of reward for her. Let us not deny women a basic right, but let women not abuse this right either. Let women not have to choose between two basic needs. Let them be allowed to live harmoniously with fulfilling both.
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Holdings subject to Zakaat
Currencies refer to gold and silver, as well as any type of money that takes their place and similar things such as shares, bonds and checks. In the past, paper currency was not known, and people used to barter using commodities. This is a completely impractical and ineffective method in large communities. People graduated in their types of transaction until they had settled on using gold and silver. When Allaah Almighty sent His Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, people were dealing with Deenaar (gold) and Dirham (silver) as their main currencies, and thus, when addressing the issue of Zakaat the texts of the Quran and Sunnah referred to these two forms of currencies. Thee are many verses on the obligation of Zakaat on cash moneys. Allaah Says (what means): “And those who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in the Way of Allaah, announce unto them a painful torment. On the Day when that will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks and their backs. And it will be said unto them: ‘This is the treasure, which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard’.” [Quran 9:34-35] The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “Any owner of gold or silver who does not pay the Zakaat due on it will, on the Day of resurrection, have his treasure heated in the Fire of Hell and then made into plates. His flanks, forehead and back will be branded with them. Every time they (the plates) get cold, they will be heated again, on a day that will last fifty thousand years. This will be done to him until Allaah pronounces judgment on His slaves. Then one will be shown his path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] The Zakaah due on cash money is two and one-half precent (2.5 per cent). ‘Ali, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu
alayhi wa sallam, said: “There is nothing (due) upon you in gold until it reaches twenty Deenaars (equal to 85grams). Thus, if you have twenty Deenaars at the end of year, then there is half a Deenaar levied on it [as Zakaah]. Any additional amount will be calculated in this manner. There is no Zakaah on wealth until it has been owned for one (lunar) year.” [AlBukhaari, Ahmad, Abu Daawood, and AlBayhaqi] In another narration, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “There is no Zakaah on less than five awaq of silver.” [Muslim] Five awaq of silver are equivalent to 595 grams. Trade and Merchandise: Allaah permitted trade and earning from it if it is within lawful conditions and deals with lawful commodities. Islam also has prescribed Zakaat on the wealth that a merchant uses for trade as gratitude to Allaah. It is also a fulfillment of the right of the needy and as a contribution in the welfare of the Muslim community. Muslim jurists paid great attention to this type of wealth and wrote about it under the category of “trade goods.” These included everything planned for sale and purchases with the purpose of attaining a profit, for Allaah Says (what means) “O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you... “ [Quran, 2:267] Jurists, in general, say that this verse is discussing Zakaah on trade goods. Regarding the interpretation of this verse, Imaam At-Tabari, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “Allaah means that you should pay Zakaat on good legal earnings and pay the Zakaat from the good gold and silver and not the ill-gotten ones.” In order for trade goods to be subject to Zakaah, jurists, may Allaah have mercy upon them, have established specific conditions that should be fulfilled. To
fulfill these requirements, the owner should be in. 1. Complete possession of the goods. 2. The goods should constitute a Nisaab as determined by gold and silver. Nisaab is the minimum limit of wealth or property on which Zakaat becomes obligatory. One does not have to pay Zakaat on what he or she needs to make a living, such as tools or machines related to carpentry, farming, tailoring, or working as a doctor. All debts are subtracted from one’s wealth. And if the resultant wealth reaches the Nissab, one must pay Zkaat. 3. A full lunar year of Islamic calendar should have passed on these goods, starting from the day of Nisaab’s possession. 4. The Zakaah due on all types of trade goods is 2.5%. Livestock Animals: Livestock animals are camels, cattle and sheep. Paying Zakaat on this is obligatory based on the saying of Allaah the Almighty (which means): “O you who believe! Spend from the good thins that you have earned.” [Quran 2:267] Also, the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said to a man who asked him about migration: “Verily its matter is sever. Do you have any camels that you pay charity (Zakaat) for?” The man said, “Yes.” The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “Then do so from behind the seas, for verily Allaah will never disregard (decrease) anything of your deeds.” [Al-Bukhaari] And he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, also said: “By the One Whom there is no (true) god besides Him, there is no man who has camels or cows or sheep, and he does not pay their Zakaat, except that they will be brought to him on the Day of Resurrection larger and fatter than they ever were. And they will trample him
with their hooves and gore him with their horns. Every time the last of them passes, the first will be returned to him (to start over). This will continue until judgment is passed between all the people.” [AlBukhaari] Fruits and Grains: Grain on which Zakaat is applicable, is everything that is stored to be eaten, such as wheat, barley, beans, chickpeas, chickling vetch, peas lentils, corn rye, rice and the like. Fruit includes dried dates, olives and raisins. This ruling is based upon the Almighty’s statement (which means): “O you who believe! Spend from the good things that you have earned and form what we have brought out for you from he earth.” [Quran 2:267] And also (what means): “And give its due on the day of its harvest.” [Quran 6:141] The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “There is no charity in what is less that five Awsuq.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] Five Awsuq is equivalent to 618 kilograms. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, also said: “On that which is watered by the sky (i.e. rain), natural springs, or it receives water that comes down from the mountains, a tenth (of Zakaat) is due (i.e. 10%). On that which is watered by being sprinkled (by human efforts), a twentieth is due (i.e. 5 per cent).” [Al-Bukhaari] (Precious) minerals and buried treasure: Zakaat on such items is one-fifth. Scholars have ruled that there is no Nisaab for such items. However, some maintain that Zakaat must be paid only when these items reach the Nisaab of gold. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “’There is no compensation for a wound caused by a domestic animal, a well (falling in it), a mine (working in it), and one-fifth is due on buried treasure.” [Al-Bukhaari]
The importance of reading to your child By: Michelle Al-Nasr By reading to our children we not only teach them that learning is fun, we show them by our own example. Allaah Almighty Says (what means): “…Allaah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees… ”[Quran 58: 11] While it is true that the knowledge that is referenced to in the above verse is regarding Islamic knowledge, there is no doubt that throughout Islamic history from the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, until present day there has been a common understanding that striving to learn and educate ourselves is a vital part of being a Muslim. We know from our rich history that Muslims hold the highest ranks in scientific, medical, mathematical and astronomical discoveries – and because of that our scholars have been envied for many years. It is so important that we pass on our wonderful legacy of learning to our children, and one of the best ways to accomplish that is to read to them. By reading to them, we not only teach them that learning is fun, we show them by our own example. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “Only two persons deserve to be envied, firstly, a person to whom Allaah has given wealth and bestowed upon him guidance to spend in a righteous cause, and secondly, a person upon whom Allaah has
bestowed wisdom by which he judges and which he teaches.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] With reading come the benefit and the gift of knowledge – more precious to our children than anything else we could ever buy them or give them. Reading to comprehend helps them to understand their religion and therefore teach it to others. We know that reading is at the heart of all learning, but especially being able to read and understand the Quran and the Hadeeth.
screened by mom or a biography about one of our beloved Prophet’s, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, it is vital that we get our children reading. It is one of the easiest ways in which to involve yourself in their education and show them you care. Make a plan and read a book together, and then spend
Not only it is important that we teach our children English, but also Arabic to the best of our ability. In this way, they can experience the Quran as it is in its pure form. It is not only important to teach our children to read, but for us to read to them and listen to them while they are reading. By listening to them, we can hear and correct their mistakes and encourage them to sound out new words they are unfamiliar with. Some statistics showed that approximately 40 percent of all fourth graders in the United States cannot read and understand a simple paragraph from a children’s book – and that is pitiful. We need to get together in our communities and start reading groups for our children to encourage them to turn off the video games and televisions in the house and pick up a book. Whether it is a work of fiction
say are the words they see. •Read your children’s favorite books with them over and over again to build understanding and recognition. •For smaller children, pronounce each word clearly and a little slower than you would normally read it. •Read stories with your children that feature rhyming words and lines that repeat. Invite your children to join in on these parts by pointing word by word as they read along with you. •Discuss new words. Ask them to make a new sentence with that new word to make sure they understand the meaning. •Listen and watch how your children read and understand written materials.
time to discuss it, explain it and ask questions. Ask them what they anticipate will happen next, or what they think should have happened. Ten proactive things you can do: •As you read together, stop and ask your children the picture in the book and what is happening in the story. •Read from a children’s books.
•When reading a book where the print is large, point word by word as you read. This will help your children learn that reading goes from left to right (or right to left for Arabic books) and understand that the words they
•If your child is old enough, assign a book every two weeks and have them write a book report for you. Get creative with book reports by making them more interactive, such as choosing a book about a country then cooking a traditional dish from that area. •Find books that can be read as plays and get the whole family involved in reading their parts with different voices. Our children intimate us in every way Our children’s likes and dislikes are often a result our own. So it goes to reason, “If books are part of loving parents - child interactions from an early age,
children will associate the presence of books with all of the positive feelings of being held and loved. Undoubtedly, these associations are encoded in a profound way in a child’s developing brain. Picture books provide an ideal context for parents – child interactions that are loving and stimulating.” Furthermore, as researches and studies conducted by pediatricians indicate, “growing up healthy means much more than the absence of disease. It means growing up with love and attention, and acquiring spoken and written language. It is exciting to offer a child a beautiful book and watch it do its works, cast its spell.” Dr. Robert Needlman, Division of Behavioral Pediatrics and Psychology, Rainbow Babies’ and Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio So with the overwhelming evidence, in addition to our own religion and history to back us up, we should be motivated to encourage the next generation of scholars, scientists and doctors by heading out to our local libraries and check out a book. We are raising our future, and what we leave our children with today will be something that will benefit the generations to come. Abu Hurayra, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated a meaningful Hadeeth in which the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “When a man dies, all his acts come to an end but three; recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased).” [Muslim]
Dear Sister Hana,
DEAR SISTER HANA / HEALTH
DEAR SISTER HANA
I am a sixteen year old girl-born and raised here and my parents are Arab. We are very different when it comes to culture and we get into many arguments. I feel very confused sometimes and have a hard time identifying with Arabs and Americans. I can’t say I fit into either culture well and many times I am confused and lonely. I don’t fit in at school and I don’t fit in with my family. What should I do? Thank you so much sister for writing to me. I appreciate your openness with your concern. Honestly I can say that I felt the same way when I was your age. The Arab and American cultures are different in many ways, but if you want to be positive, they are also similar in ways. If you can learn to find the good in both cultures and adapt to those values and beliefs (of course keeping Islam your number one belief system) I think that way you will find yourself more accepting of the two cultures. No one has to have only one culture, and that is why they call us “Arab Americans” because we learn to be open-minded, orderly, and civilized as well as be good Muslims, value family, and have good morals. You will not loose if you take the best of both cultures create your own culture. Remember to always keep Allah first and if you feel like you do not fit in at school, it is okay. As long as you do what is right and follow Allah’s word, you will be just fine. Thank you. Dear Sister Hana, Can you please give advice for Arab-Muslim parents of Muslim Arab American children born in the United States? As you know there are many parents that continue to use old school Arab tradition to raise their children in the United States and I have seen a lot of problems that are caused by this. What would you suggest for the children and mainly the parents to do in this kind of situation to prevent conflict
and therefore children that are more western than Muslim and that might not follow the true teachings of Islam in spite of their parents (which unfortunately I have seen happen). What is your advice. Thank you so much brother/sister for this question as I know as well first hand how this problem can cause conflict and chaos in a family. What I would like parents to understand first and far most is that we must parents our children on the teaching of Islam (the Quran and Sunnah) and not Arabic tradition that is unnecessary and unIslamic. For example, many families allow their sons to hang out with their friends and the daughters are always asked to say home as if the daughter does not have the same need as the son of belongingness and acceptance among their peers. Islam strictly prohibits preventing daughters from doing what is allowed to be done by men if it Halal, and strictly prohibits allowing men to do things that are Haram, just because they are men. I know families that allow their son to date non-Muslim women and are okay with it, while the daughter is at home learning how to be a good house wife. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I support that girls stay home to learn how to cook, etc, but what I do not support, and neither doe s Islam support that boys go out and do what is Haram because “boys are boys” or “it wont show on boys if they have done haram (pre-marital sex) or not, but it will show on girls, so they should stay home”. This dark age belief about women and men is unfortunately how many Arabs think, and to think this way while raising your children in America is not healthy. The answer to any parenting question to prevent any chaos, conflict or arguments is to follow what it says in the Quran. Allah mentions that what is haram is haram for both men and women, and what is halal is halal for both men and women. A sin done by either a male or female is the same in Allah’s eye, not worse for women, or for men. Its that same. If parents remember this and create more consistency in the home, many problems would be eliminated. Thank you.
Sister Hana is a Certified Counselor from Arizona State University. She is a Muslim therapist who is able to provide guidance and support to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in an Islamic and therapeutic way. She has experience in a large range of concerns including depression, anxiety, identity crisis, relationships, life skills, coping skills, anger management, and trauma. Inshallah with this column she will be able to provide you with confidentiality and help to any concern you may have. Please feel free to write to us and anticipate my reply in the monthly edition of Muslim Voice to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Take a Herbal Full Body Bath
Medical Benefits of Ramadan
by Di-Di Hoffman appeared in Timeless Herb Secrets
Most Muslims do not fast because of medical benefits but because it has been ordained to them in the Quran. The medical benefits of fasting are as a result of fasting. Fasting in general has been used in medicine for medical reasons including weight management, for rest of the digestive tract and for lowering lipids. There are many adverse effects of total fasting as well as so-called crash diets. Islamic fasting is different from such diet plans because in Ramadan fasting, there is no malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake. The caloric intake of Muslims during Ramadan is at or slightly below the national requirement guidelines. In addition, the fasting in Ramadan is voluntarily taken and is not a prescribed imposition from the physician.
Full body baths are the most beneficial baths that can be taken and are, as we all know, very pleasant. They have been used for centuries as specific therapeutic aids in the treatment of disorders and for their beautifying effect. To obtain the most from a therapeutic herbal body bath apply the following guidelines: * Never take a full body bath within two hours after meals. The best time for a hydrotherapy treatment is about three hours after breakfast, which is a luxury most of us can’t afford. The best time for most of us is just before retiring in the evening. * Water temperature is important. Never start with an extreme. The ideal temperature is one that is agreeable to you, unless giving some particular treatment for effects. Rather increase or decrease the water temperature gradually as needed. * Cold baths should be brief and should be avoided during menstruation. * Room temperature is also important and there should be good ventilation but no drafts. As a precaution against taking a cold, especially in winter, always decrease the temperature of the bath before you get out. * Atmosphere is also important if you are taking a long, warm, relaxing bath to wash away the day’s stress and tension. Take appropriate measures such as soft music, candle light, etc. * Rest after a therapeutic herbal body bath is very important as this will add to its beneficial results. Try to lie down for at least an hour, preferably longer, immediately after your bath and keep yourself covered. * Try to take a therapeutic bath every three to four days. herbal body bathTherapeutic herbal body baths are beneficial to almost
any condition you can think of. They are commonly used (prescribed) as home remedies in the treatment of the following conditions: arthritis, colds, colic, constipation, gall-stones, gout, neuralgia, rheumatism, sciatica, stress, tension. etc. The article herbal bath ideas will give you an indication of which herbs are commonly used as remedies for the 12 most common disorders. You can add any of your favourite herbs to your herbal bath or you can make up a formula that will be of benefit to whatever condition you want to alleviate. Use the standard recipe below as a guideline for your own creations and let me know of your trials and tribulations. Aromatherapists make extensive use of full body baths, and theirs is to a certain extent a more standardized bath than a herbal bath, as most quality aromatherapy oils are of a known strength. However, this in not to say that a full body bath with aromatherapy oils is superior to a herbal bath. Standard Herbal Body Bath Recipe. You can either prepare an infusion (or decoction) which you add to the bath water, or you can place a handful of the herb in a muslin bag (or old stocking) which is suspended from the hot water tap so that the water flows through it. For a stronger effect I often use a combination of these methods. I tie the herbs into the bag and first make the infusion or decoction. (Sometimes we will simmer the herbs for 10 to 20 minutes in a closed container) Then we add the resulting infusion or decoction to the water and we tie the bag to the hot water tap. When making an infusion or decoction you usually use two cups of water and up to half a cup of the herb or formula. If you are using fresh herbs use more. Exact quantities are not that critical as the infusion will be diluted in the bath water. Apply common sense.
By Shahid Athar, M.D
Ramadan is a month of self-regulation and self-training, with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramadan. If the lessons learned during Ramadan, whether in terms of dietary intake or righteousness, are carried on after Ramadan, it is beneficial for one’s entire life. Moreover, the type of food taken during Ramadan does not have any selective criteria of crash diets such as those which are protein only or fruit only type diets. Everything that is permissible is taken in moderate quantities. The only difference between Ramadan and total fasting is the timing of the food; during Ramadan, we basically miss lunch and take an early breakfast and do not eat until dusk. Abstinence from water during this period is not bad at all and in fact, it causes concentration of all fluids within the body, producing slight dehydration. The body has its own water conservation mechanism; in fact, it has been shown that slight dehydration and water conservation, at least in plant life, improve their longevity. The physiological effect of fasting includes lower of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of the systolic blood pressure. In fact, Ramadan fasting would be an ideal recommendation for treatment of mild to moderate, stable,
non-insulin diabetes, obesity and essential hypertension. In 1994 the first International Congress on “Health and Ramadan”, held in Casablanca, entered 50 research papers from all over the world, from Muslim and non-Muslim researchers who have done extensive studies on the medical ethics of fasting. While improvement in many medical conditions was noted; however, in no way did fasting worsen any patients’ health or baseline medical condition. On the other hand, patients who are suffering from severe diseases, whether diabetes or coronary artery disease, kidney stones, etc., are exempt from fasting and should not try to fast. There are psychological effects of fasting as well. There is a peace and tranquility for those who fast during the month of Ramadan. Personal hostility is at a minimum, and the crime rate decreases. Muslims take advice from the Prophet who said, “If one slanders you or aggresses against you, say I am fasting.’” This psychological improvement could be related to better stabilization of blood glucose during fasting as hypoglycemia after eating, aggravates behavior changes. There is a beneficial effect of extra prayer at night. This not only helps with better utilization of food but also helps in output. There are 10 extra calories output for each rikat of the prayer. Again, we do not do prayers for exercise, but a mild movement of the joints with extra calorie utilization is a better form of exercise. Similarly, recitation of the Quran not only produces a tranquility of heart and mind, but improves the memory
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Ingredients : 1 lb. lean ground beef (less than 10% fat).
Tandoori-Style Chicken at Home
2 medium onions, finely chopped. 3 Tablespoons flour.
4 skinless chicken half breasts with ribs
1 cup oil for frying.
Salt for seasoning
1 large lemon
½ cup parsley, finely chopped.
1/4 medium onion, peeled
2 Tablespoons rice.
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt. ½ teaspoon black pepper. Allspice (Optional)
Preheat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottom frying pan. Place the flour on a plate and dredge the kufta in flour.
1/2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, grated or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
Beat remaining two eggs and roll the flour-covered kufta in the egg mixture. Fry the meatballs about six minutes, until they are golden brown on all sides.
1 teaspoon garam masala
Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve with rice, French fries, and green salad.
generously with salt. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large plastic bag. Place the onion, garlic, ginger and chili into the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the garam masala and yogurt.
1/2 hot green chili 8 ounces plain non-fat yogurt Method : You can use an ordinary oven, preheated to the maximum temperature instead of a tandoor. Clean the oven thoroughly before use. Mix 2 tablespoons of yellow coloring
Process until smooth. Pour the yogurt marinade into the plastic bag with the chicken and squeeze the bag until the chicken is well coated. Seal the bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible, 500 to 550 degrees. Place the chicken in a single layer in a baking dish and bake for 2025 minutes until cooked through.
Method : Sauté the onions and 2/3 of the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil for five minutes. Boil the rice in one cup water until very soft; drain. Remove the ground beef from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ground beef, cooked rice, parsley, salt, pepper, and three eggs. Mix with your hands and knead the ingredients well.
and about 1/2 tablespoon of red together. Brush on the chicken and let stand for a few minutes then proceed with the recipe.
Moistening your hands with a bit of water, take egg-sized pieces of the kufta mixture and form into 1-1/2 inch meatballs.
Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the chicken breast in half across the middle. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and season
CALENDAR / ANNOUNCEMENTS
Tucson Prayer Times
Phoenix Prayer Times
August 2010 • Shaban / Ramadan 1431 H
August 2010 • Shaban / Ramadan 1431 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.
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
COLORING CONTEST July Winner
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Hint: If the paper is too thin to color, make a Xerox copy then color it. Ages 3-12, please send a picture of yourself.
COLORING CONTEST FOR KIDS
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
5648 N. 15th ave. Phoenix, AZ 85015 602-413-5279
Al Rasoul Mosque 5302 N. 35th Ave. • Phoenix 602-864-1817 PEORIA Greenway Islamic Center 6724 West Greenway • Peoria, AZ www.greenwaymasjid.com
SCOTTSDALE Islamic Center of N.E. Valley 12125 E. Via Linda • Scottsdale 480-612-4044 CHANDLER Masjid AsSalam 1071 N. Alma School Rd.• Chandler 480-250-7522
TEMPE Islamic Comnty Ctr of Tempe Islamic Center of East Valley 131 E. 6th Street • Tempe 425 N. Alma School Dr. • 480-894-6070 Chandler 602-388-9900 Masjid Al Mahdi 1016 S. River Dr. • Tempe LAVEEN 480-557-9699 Islamic Center of Laveen P.O. Box 1107 • Laveen Masjid Omar Bin Al-Khattab 602-361-4401 6225 S.McClintock • Tempe 480-775-6627 MARICOPA Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah MESA 44240 W. Maricopa/ Masjid-el-Noor CasaGranda Hwy 55 N. Matlock • Mesa Maricopa Arizona 85139 con480-644-0074 tact# (602)312-7913
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