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Monthly Newspaper

Vol.17 Issue No.185



February 2012 Safar / Rabi Al-Awwal


ADC to NYPD Police Chief Kelly: Resign Immediately

Commissioner Kelly has engaged the NYPD in programs that have no regards for civil rights and liberties. Practices such as data mapping of the AmericanMuslim community in New York, extensive and unwarranted surveillance programs, partnership with the CIA, already raised doubts about Kelly’s policing methods. Involvement with “Third Jihad” sends a clear message that

The Cultural Cup Food Bank: A Pillar of our Community


the NYPD’s dealings with New York’s diverse Muslim communities are based on bigotry and blanket suspicion. ADC President Warren David declared that “the residents of New York deserve much better than what Commissioner Kelly and his Deputy are offering. They deserve transparency, honesty, integrity and a leader who embodies the fundamental principles needed to serve and protect the community. Commissioner Kelly lacks all these qualities and it is time for him to resign. The actions of Commissioner Kelly leaves one to wonder if he was preparing to make an appearance on a training video filmed and produced by the KKK.”

Poll: Do you think NYPD Police Chief should resign over his role in “Third Jihad” film?

The Third Jihad portrays Muslims as engaged in a “1400 year war” to “infiltrate and dominate America.” The film includes inflammatory imagery, including people who appear to be Muslim engaging in acts of terrorism, car bombs exploding, executed children, and repeated images of an Islamic flag flying over the White House.


Vote on Last month’s results:

Did the anti-terror regulations affect how you send money to your family back home?

ADC will continue to monitor this situation and provide full support to residents in NYC that are working directly on this matter.

AZ Muslim Youth to Perform Epic Drama in March



Yes 50%

No 50%

Romney says he favors ‘selfdeportation’

Pakistan rejects US self-defense claim on strikes

One Year On, Arab Pride and the Long Road Ahead




For the first time in Arizona

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Washington, DC – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called on New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Ray Kelly, and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne to immediately resign from their respective positions. Commissioner Kelly and his Deputy recently admitted to taking part in the filming and production of the “Third Jihad” – a blatantly bigoted and hate-filled film vilifying the AmericanMuslim community. Commissioner Kelly and his Deputy had recently lied to community members by denying any involvement in the film. The decision to take part in the film, as well as show the film to nearly 1,500 NYPD cadets raises serious concerns about Kelly’s ability to serve and protect minority groups in New York City.

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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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Published Monthly

PUBLISHER BREEK PUBLISHING INC. EDITOR IN CHIEF MARWAN AHMAD COMMUNITY EDITOR JANAN ATIYEH CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sumbal Akhter • Mohamud Shalab • Fathiyyah Bashshar • Ahmad Daniels • Yousef Ahmad • Hasana Abdul-Quadir • Kalthoum Baiz





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

The Cultural Cup Food Bank: A Pillar of our Community Muslim Voice By Fathiyyah Bashshar “(The righteous are those) who feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God, saying: ‘We feed you for the sake of God Alone; we seek from you neither reward nor thanks.’” The Holy Quran, 76:8-9 The economic crisis has shown us how fragile is the line between economic health and hardship. Phoenix and the surrounding valley families are struggling on a daily basis to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Parents are working multiple jobs and skipping meals just so they can make sure their children are fed.

as well. It was greatly needed and I wanted to be able to work within the Muslim community to aid those in need. Social services back then were not readily available.”

and send in donations to aid with the administrative cost and basic operation cost to keep the organization running. People depend on us and we need to depend on those that can help, too help.”

What services specially does Cultural Cup Food Bank offer?



“Typically we have other items beside food. There are clothing, baby items such as diapers and formula. We partner with AMWA (American Muslim Women’s` Association) to supply back to school items in our annual back pack drive, and we provide medical aid to those who cannot afford or just don’t have medical coverage. Once a year we sponsor the Day of Dignity. This is where we partner with other cities across the nation to aid in helping the homeless and less fortunate in a “Dignified” manner. Several

It is very important to give back to others less fortunate when we can, and to aid organizations that work to aid others. In the past, it was thought that individuals volunteered or contributed strictly for altruistic reasons. The Good Samaritan that goes out of their way to aid a stranger or the soldier who goes back to save a fallen comrade. It was the noble thing for someone to lend a hand for the greater good of mankind or people helping those in need for no reward, favor or any grand show of gratitude. This aspect should hold even greater value today. It is a choice either way how you want to contribute, but

Even though there are several organizations offering services throughout the valley to aid individuals in need, The Cultural Cup Food bank has provided services to the city of Phoenix and its surrounding cities since 2003. Having had the opportunity to volunteer at the Cultural Cup food Bank it was an honor to interview Zarinah Awad ( Founder) and ask a few questions about her life and her daily mission to aid the ALL people in need. What is the Cultural Cup Food Bank? “The Cultural Cup Food Bank was founded in 2003 with the mission of helping those in need of food and other resources in the community. Many of the first to receive aid were refugee who lived in the area. As time passed more and more refugees were demanding our services and thus the Cultural Cup Food Bank expanded. Food boxes were tailored based on the dietary needs of the individual. Not only is food provided but also a free clinic for those who don’t have medical insurance and cannot afford the expense of a doctor. And for those without family or friends nearby, the Cultural Cup Food Bank has become their support system. Sometimes it’s for a few months, sometimes it’s longer. The Cultural Cup Food Bank is there to provide hope to the hungry throughout our city – regardless of the circumstances.” Why did you start the Cultural Cup Food Bank? “There was a personal internal need to help others. I was given the opportunity to aid a friend of mine in Tempe, when they were starting a food pantry. Later I met a young lady from St. Mary’s food bank who encouraged me to open one

organizations such as IRUSA (Islamic Relief USA) partner to supply hygiene packs and school supplies. The day is filled with activities and opportunities for advancement with help from local agencies that assist with housing and employment” What are the volunteer opportunities? “This is an area that we really need assistance. By collecting donations, stocking shelves and passing out food items to the needy, you will help us serve the community efficiently. We need help sorting food and clothing, and assembling food boxes. On the administrative side, we need help answering phones, helping clients to and from their cars. In regards to maintenance, cleaners are needed especially after the farmers markets Saturdays. This is on the third Saturday of every month.” How can the community help you help others? “One way is to donate food, volunteer,

we must understand that hunger is a global issue. We must learn to work together to solve social problems, but at the end, when it is all said and done, our true hearts will be exposed. We are given two things to do, love Allah and love our neighbor as ourselves. Zarinah Awad implores everyone to aid in this cause and volunteer and donate. Not only will you be helping others, you will be helping yourself as well. For more information on the Cultural Cup Food Bank and hours of operation please go to If you are a doctor interested in helping with the Saturday clinic or an individual who wants to volunteer or make a donation please email the Cultural Cup Food Bank @ culturalcupfb@integra. net or send correspondence to: The Cultural Cup Food Bank Inc. c/o Zarinah Awad 537 E. Osborne Rd • Phoenix, AZ 85012 phone (602) 274-0755


AZ Muslim Youth to Perform Epic Drama in March Muslim Voice By Hasana Abdul-Quadir Creativity is an aspect that many in the Muslim community seem to forget, but the youth from the Islamic Community Center of Tempe (ICC) are seeking new ways to bring it back. The Muslim Leaders of America (MLA) regularly hosts activities that promote Islamic learning, political activism, community involvement, and now, skill-building through theatrical creativity. Directed by Saiaf Abdallah, MLA is preparing an epic play called “Mercy to Mankind”, intended for both Muslims and non-Muslims, with the hope of showing that young Muslims can be original and professional. “It’s a dark drama revolving around the difficulties that the Prophet Muhammad (P) had in trying to spread the idea of Islam to a very ignorant and arrogant people,” explains Abdallah. “The enemies he made were relentless, but the Prophet (P) was also relentless in spreading his message as well, so what resulted was a clash of ideas. For months, young Arizona Muslims, most of them college and high school students, have been working tirelessly to put together the drama, originally produced by the Muslim American Society in Dallas, Texas. MAS-Dallas’s play was about six hours long, and as such, was condensed and rewritten by Abdallah, to be shorter and more intriguing, while maintaining

historical accuracy. “Mercy to Mankind” features over 30 actors and includes a crew exceeding 20 people. “It’s the first of its kind and probably one of the biggest events put on by Muslims in Arizona,” said Executive Producer, Zainab Ajmeri. The actors

Regarding the play’s audience, Assistant Director, Kerishma Tarin, said, “We want to approach nonMuslims, mostly, and clear the misconceptions about Islam and its Prophet, (P).” Ajmeri agrees that making known the Prophet’s story is

Muslim Voice

Twenty eight Somali mothers were unjustly arrested three weeks ago. Since then all except seven have been released. The Puntland state of Somalia didn’t bother to follow the proper protocol and instead incarcerated the women based on unfounded suspicions. Arrests should only be carried out if there is probable cause that a person may be involved in the crime. However, in this case there was no probable cause making this a false arrest. It is worth mentioning that these women were framed for something that they did not do. The prisons in the port city of Bosaso is already overflowing with innocent people. Women in this instance who have not committed any crimes cannot afford to be held in the prison facility any longer as they have served time for no reason, especially when there are actual criminals still in the society. These women have no one financially supporting their children, therefore it is imperative that they be released immediately so that they can get to their daily tasks. Consequently, this is not the first instance of a egregious of civil and human right’s violation. It is a common occurrence in Somalia especially in Puntland, where women and children are routinely subjected to abuse and poor treatment. They also suffer some of the worst atrocities pertaining to basic


relevant way. Using local community members to tell the story might easier for the community, at large, to relate to. “Muslims want their voices heard,” explains Abdallah, “...[and] I believe that our best chance at being recognized is through the medium of art. Art writes history and I want to have a hand in that.” The play will be held, InshaAllah, on Sunday, March 18th at the Mesa Arts Center, with a seating capacity of up to 1600 people, all of which are expected to be filled. It is open to all people, age 10 and older. All tickets are being sold at at $15 per person. The entire cast and crew of “Mercy to Mankind” is excited to bring their talents to the table. “I am psyched!” explains actress, Nada Elzayyat. “I want to start doing things beyond my comfort zone.” “I think the play is a wonderful way to bring not just the Muslim community together, but the general community, to showcase young talent” said Huda Shrourou, also an actress. “It’s a creative way to show the beauty of the beginning of Islam.”

"Director, Saiaf Abdallah, instructs actors rehearsing for 'Mercy to Mankind'." meet regularly to rehearse their parts, often at ICC. The crew is in charge of making costumes, designing and building sets, buying supplies, as well as a number of other tasks.

one of the most important objectives. “I don’t think there is a better way to show people who we are except by showing them the life of the Prophet (P),” she said. “He is the one we follow.”

To introduce the play to the community, Abdallah prepared a short trailer that has already received over 2000 views on YouTube. The professionally-made trailer features some of the infamous people and events from the time of the Prophet (P).

But, with popular movies such as“The Message” and the animated film, “Muhammad, The Last Prophet”, some might question why a play would be needed to illustrate the same story. In response, the MLA members realize that movies alone might not reach the intended audience in a

rights by the ruling officials. They do not deserve this treatment, as women are the ones to contribute betterment and focus on attaining a brighter future for the next generation.Thus it is very rare to find women involved in acts of violence as it is mainly men that are the potential perpetrators. They can act on their internal issues and find solutions for themselves before outside involvement is needed, therefore human right’s watch needs to spread awareness to help the plight of the people in this region.

But even through their excitement, the most important thing they all remember is to be thankful for such an opportunity. “We are really grateful to Allah, because without him, none of this would happen,” said Ajmeri. “This also would not have been possible without the support of the ICC board, the office manager, and the community.” MLA is expecting a phenomenal show and a great turnout, InshaAllah, and further hopes to take “Mercy to Mankind” to California and Washington D.C. a few months following the local show. Ajmeri is excited for what is in store regarding the play. “No one expects this from Arizona,” she smiles challengingly. “InshaAllah, we will surpass all expectations.”

attention to what is going on. Calling for awareness is the first step. the second step would be to take action and help fight against this kind of oppression. If

justice to prevail.The fight for freedom has moved to the Galgala mountains it is clear that this started because of a lack of social justice. Unfortunately the administration labelled these people as members of the Al Shabaab, but the reality isnt so, and is contrary on their sentiment. The Bossaso population had an uprising due to the corruption and unfair treatment. If the abuse and marginalization does not end eventually the people will turn against their government and will refuse to cooperate with them. Puntland once

the government acts responsibly and does the right thing perhaps this might restore faith for the citizens. The social injustice in Puntland can no longer be tolerated, people are fed up and want

was the most peaceful region in Somalia it may not remain this way with the corrupt system. The Puntland state of government should review their policies and treat everyone equally and fairly.

The Demand for justice and Immediate release of the seven Somali Mothers in the Bosaso prison in Puntland Somalia By: Mohamud Shalab


Furthermore, the Puntland administration should appoint an independent team of investigators that can find who was responsible for the fire in Bosaso. This fire caused many people to have their privately owned businesses, homes and lives destroyed. The authorities did not allow anyone to rebuild their businesses or homes which lead some to believe that the administartion played some kind of role in who started the fire. Some of the women who are imprisoned, owned and were dependent on the small businesses that burned down. Not only have they lost their freedom but they have lost their livelihood as well. The women should be released without condition so that they could be with their children. If they continue to have their human rights violated and are not released without condition it would create violence and reprisal within the community. The people have already lost faith in their government so incarcerating possibly innocent women without a fair trial would not help them regain popularity. Human right’s organizations should realize and pay




February is African American History Month Muslim Voice By Ahmad Daniels, M.Ed. In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson began what was then called Negro History Week. In recognition of President Abraham Lincoln and Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, both of whom celebrated their birth dates during the second week of February.

her from later merging with Cookman Institute to become Bethune-Cookman Institute. Her driven personality resulted in her founding the National Council of Negro Women and influencing President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal government. She would also assist A. Phillip Randolph’s March on Washington Movement in 1941.

Mary McLeod Bethune Born in 1875, near Mayesville, South Carolina, she would go on to receive a “head-hearthand” education that focused on academic, religious, and vocational training at Scotia Seminary in Concord, North Carolina. McLeod had her heart set on serving in Africa as a missionary but was denied because Presbyterian policy did not permit African Americans to serve in Africa. Signs of Mary McLeod Bethune’s character became evident when she applied her considerable educational training to open the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute. Despite Ms. Bethune’s humble beginnings, it did not prevent

A recently released movie, “Red Tails,” is an attempt to depict the heroics of these audacious pilots.

Mary McLeod Bethune’s legacy continues to encourage self-actualization.

Bob Moses

Dr. Woodson realized the need for such commemoration and saw it as an opportunity for all America to give pause and reflect on the myriad contributions of Black Americans. And, by participating in such a review, it would begin to chip away the false sense of superiority held by many whites as well as whittle away the false sense of inferiority maintained by many Blacks. Segregation was rampant in the early twentieth century and with textbooks being exclusively written with whites in mind, there existed a dire need for the likes of a Dr. Carter G. Woodson to bring front and center the contributions of Blacks. Following are a few historical occurrences that are often left out of the distant and not too distant annals of history:

These African American pilots wanted more out of their military experience so they took a chance on fulfilling their dreams of becoming aviators. They dared to stare racism in its ugly face and consequently changed the way the military viewed Black pilots.

Bob Moses, a 25-year old Harvard Ph.D. candidate was so inspired by the student sit-ins of the 1960s that he quit his teaching job in New York to join the Civil Rights Movement. He became the lead organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and opened an office in Mississippi where he registered black voters. Bob Moses helped found the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), which served as an umbrella organization bringing together all Mississippi civil rights organizations. In 1964, COFO launched a massive voter registration and education drive. This onslaught of students that left the comforts and safety of their northern homes to come south came to be known as Freedom Summer. Three students would be killed for daring to register Blacks in Mississippi that summer.

African American HISTORY MONTH Tuskegee Airmen A 1925 study commissioned by the Army War College claimed to have found scientific proof that Negroes were biologically unable to operate aircraft due to limited cranial (skull) capacity. Thanks to the efforts of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the black press that placed pressure on elected officials, Congress passed Public Law 18, which called for the establishment of training programs for Negroes (support services only) at several black colleges of which Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama was one. An all black unit called the 99th Fighter Squadron came into existence and paved the way for many more who dared to traverse the trail they blazed.

Bob Moses sought more than a Harvard Ph.D. and the profits it would bring. He sought his purpose for living and found it through aiding others. In 1976, the Bi-Centennial of the United States, Negro History Week would be expanded to include the entire month of February. Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, an organization that continues to operate today; heightening the awareness of a long line of African Americans willing to shed blood, sweat, and tears to make the United States Constitution live up to what it professes to be about. To your journey!


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I am an Arab-American Muslim Voice By: Kalthoum Baiz Who is considered an ArabAmerican? An Arab-American is a person who carry with them both cultures; to his/her culture from the country of birth and an American culture. As an ArabAmerican, living in the United States can be a little different than many Americans; their identity can be extremely affected by the presence of two different cultures that an Arab-American needs to adapt to, and what makes it the hardest is that the Arab and the American cultures are different in number of ways. The Arab culture is more conservative, while the American culture is very open. According to the 2008 ACS, there are 1,573,530 Arab Americans, accounting for 0.5% of the American population. Coming home to a certain culture and leaving the house to another culture can have many young people fall into a state of “wanting to belong”. Being an Arab-American could be a blessing and not all people get the chance to experience that blessing. After 9-11, Arabs in America faced struggles with stereotyping. Many Arab-Americans took actions heavily and worked hard to change the image that the media painted on Arabs. They started to educate the Americans about the Arab customs and beliefs, and show them that Arabs are capable of fitting into the American lifestyle. While others hid their identities, by using names to fit in. This shame came from the fear of their neighbors and the people around them. Some parents taught their children to only speak English, and to fit in with the American children. My message in this article does not reflect those Arabs who came to this country and were never able to adjust but got stuck with their heritage and their belief system, and my message is not for the others who came into this country and forgot their background and where they came from. This is the time where the youth of the

Arab-Americans come together and strive to change the stereotype the world has on Arabs. Arab-Americans should take the best of both cultures and make the most to a better life style. Arabs should not forget their roots, but instead take every day as a day to inform someone on the truth of whom you are as an Arab. Never be ashamed of your ethnicity. Just because the world thinks of Arabs being a certain way; never give up on the fact that there is hope. Hope for a change, and that change starts with one person, and grows into a group, and from there to an entire nation. Some people live in a bubble and are limited to what the media provides them. Let us change that false image into the truth of who we are, and this can be done by being consistent and determined. As an Arab-American, you might face criticism at school, at work, or even on the streets, but never be afraid to stand up for your rights. Everyone came to this country looking for a change, and a better life. If most of the 1,573,530 Arab-Americans came together and wanted to make a change, then there is going to be history in the making. We can make that change together, and make it better for the future generation. America is a great country where there are opportunities, education, and freedom. I am an Arab-American and I have encountered multiple people with the wrong belief on Islam and Arabs. I had teachers argue with me in front of my fellow classmates, because of them saying wrong statements about my homeland. I am one person looking for a change and united we stand. I am seeking my fellow brothers and sisters that have felt the same pain I felt. I am looking for a change to make the American dream come true. America has given me and my family many wonderful opportunities and it has also opened my eyes to many things in life. I am glad to call this country my second home, but in order for this country to be my own, I have to feel safe in it and practice my religion without being tormented about it. I want the younger generation to grow up and feel safe and blessed to be here. That one day is today. Stay united, be loyal to this beautiful country of ours, and respect your origins.

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Muslim Voice By: Kalthoum Baiz Obesity has been the talk of the year. Most peoples New Year resolution is to lose weight and keep it off. People want to lose weight but do not have the right education to get started. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies showed that 17% of children are obese and the numbers are increasing. Why is obesity a serious topic? Obesity not only leads to more diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, but it can cause death. Obesity is a chronic disease and if it goes untreated chances are that the person with obesity will die. Arizona Bariatric and Family Medicine is a medical facility that focuses on obesity and obesity related problems. They educate patients on not only have to lose weight, but they also focus on life changes. Their main goal is to help patients lose weight and keep it off. Medical treatment options include a comprehensive physician supervised program with nutritional education, exercise therapy, specialized diets, medication and a support system.

Dr. Munir is the physician who specializes in treating patients with obesity for over 30 years. She has one goal and one goal only, and that is to educate patient and help treat patients with obesity to live a healthy lifestyle. Her successful weight loss program is to lose weight and keep it off after one year. She starts off by nutrition counseling, and that is for the patient to set health goals and teaches various ways of maintaining these goals throughout their lifetime. Exercise therapy and counseling is to help the patient develop a habit to exercise that works for them. Behavior modification is where the physician is helping the patient quit certain habits. Then Dr. Munir plans an individual diet for each patient to help them lose weight but in a healthy way. Dr. Munir’s plan has worked on a patient who has lost 72 pounds in 14 weeks. Not only did her patient lose weight but her hypertension and diabetes decreased also. Her patient was taking five different types of medication daily, and after 14 weeks she got off of two medications. Dr. Munir is an understanding physician who devotes her time and energy into helping others prolong their lives and live it happy and healthy.

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Coming Out as Undocumented in the Suburbs Alhambra Source, News Feature, Daniela Gerson and Nathan Solis Photo caption: Jonathan Perez, bottom left, is part of a new movement of undocumented youth in the San Gabriel Valley. Jonathan Perez felt the surprised stares as he ate his Chinese food. The East Los Angeles College student wore a t-shirt with the word “undocumented” emblazoned across his chest in large letters. It’s what he is: Since Perez jumped the border at age three fleeing his native Colombia, he has been an undocumented immigrant. Perez is part of a wave of young people who are choosing to come out about status as a vehicle to empowerment, similar to the way that the gay movement did a generation before. “If we’re in the shadows, we’re actually more vulnerable,” Perez said. “It’s easier for you to get deported because you don’t have a support network that’s organized.” Not everyone agrees with his approach. When he began sharing his status, he noticed a clear divide in the area where he grew up on the border of East Los Angeles and the neighboring more Asian and suburban San Gabriel Valley. In East LA, he says, the shirt got a lively reaction. In Alhambra, where the 24-year-old lived for a few months last year, he says, “people just looked and are shocked.” At restaurants, he recalls, customers and employees alike would approach him and ask, “Aren’t you afraid?” Last spring, Perez joined Pasadena City College students Martha Vasquez and Isaac Barrera and several other activists dedicated to creating a new immigration advocacy movement in the San Gabriel Valley. Crucial to their mission is advocating for immigration reform in an area where status is often kept hushed. They want young people who live here and are rarely heard from, in particularly Asian students, to share their experiences as

well. Nearly half of undocumented students paying tuition in the California system are Asian, according to a College Board study, but the stories told about them are by and large Latino. (A recent prominent exception is the Filipino reporter, Jose Antonio Vargas, who came out as an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times Magazine essay.) “I was frustrated, both in Alhambra and other parts [of the San Gabriel Valley], because I didn’t see any immigrant movements happening,” Perez said. “It’s different when you come to East L.A. and see everyone is organizing and I got used to that. Looking at communities in the San Gabriel Valley, it’s not present.” Since then, the San Gabriel Valley Dream Team members have attented rallies, worked to forge alliances with ethnic organizations, and hosted civil disobedience actions as far away as Alabama. This week they have been the driving force in expanding the movement to an alliance of groups called the Immigrant Youth Coalition. And on January 21 they will run a seminar for high school students at Cal State-LA. Despite the San Gabriel organization’s growth, engaging their Asian peers has been a challenge. Nearly a year in their group remains almost entirely Latino. It’s not for lack of trying, organizers say. They have worked with national and campus Asian organizations, such as APALC, but found being undocumented still provokes a greater barrier of shame in those communities. Vasquez, who arrived from Mexico at three and whose first memories are in the United States, said that it has been a struggle with fellow students at PCC. “I tell them we’re all in this together and we need to come out,” she said, but has been challenged. “It’s very difficult for a lot of Asians to talk about their own stories. Or their families tend not to talk about it.”

Perez said that he has spoken with dozens of Asian undocumented immigrants, but that they “don’t want to talk about it or don’t want to come out.” Challenges notwithstanding, organizers reported a change is already happening amongst San Gabriel Valley area youth. For Perez, this became clear to him after being arrested in Alabama last fall when he turned himself into Border Patrol

in an attempt to prove that the Obama administration is deporting immigrants who are not criminals. He was sent to a detention center in Louisiana. Crucial to his release, he says, was that so many young people at Pasadena City College were out about their status — and advocating for him. “When I was that age, I wouldn’t have done something like that,” Perez said at a press conference after he returned. “That was a big thing for me to see.”

Kan. slashes food aid for Ohio Muslim inmates settle meal illegal immigrants’ kids preparation suit Received by Newsfinder from AP

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas welfare officials have eliminated or slashed food stamp benefits for hundreds of low-income, U.S.-born children whose parents are illegal immigrants. The cuts are the result of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services changing the way it counts household income when determining who is eligible for the food stamp program _ now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The Kansas City Star ( ) reported that families affected by the change are those that contain a mixture of legal citizens and illegal immigrants. While illegal immigrants are not eligible for the food assistance, U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants can be. The issue is that the formula now includes the entire income of all members of a household, but calculates food stamp eligibility as if the citizen children are the only people in the household. Previously, SRS counted only a portion if one or more members did not provide proof of legal U.S. residency. Since the change took effect Oct. 1, food pantries, churches and social service agencies have been inundated with questions and requests for food. ``We have families who really are desperate,’’ said Elena Morales of El Centro, an antipoverty agency in Kansas City, Kan. ``These food stamps were making a difference for families to be able to provide nutritional food for their children, or food at all. . This policy not only hurts these families, it hurts us, too, especially because we’re talking about U.S. citizen children.’’ The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Kansas is one of only four states opting to use this policy. The others are Arizona, Utah and Nebraska.

``This is not a time, with this economy, when we should be withdrawing help from struggling families with children,’’ said Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington. ``We have a demonstrated problem of food insecurity in this country and, in Kansas, this policy takes you further away from being able to solve the problem. It exacerbates the problem.’’ SRS spokeswoman Angela de Rocha said the old formula gave households with illegal immigrants more benefits than some households with all U.S. citizens. ``Now, all households’ incomes are treated equally,’’ de Rocha said. ``Prior to the policy change . U.S. citizens were being discriminated against.’’ SRS data shows benefits were eliminated for 1,042 households from Oct. 1 to the end of 2011, once incomes were recalculated using the new policy. The agency doesn’t know how many U.S. children living in those households no longer receive benefits. However, an SRS report shows that in the first month, from October to November, 2,066 children dropped from the food stamp rolls in Kansas. Not all of those children lost benefits because of the policy change on how income is counted, de Rocha said. ``Some were, some weren’t,’’ she said. ``... Families go on and off the program as their income changes.’’ Melinda Lewis, a public policy consultant for El Centro who has studied the issue, understands the need to be fair but doesn’t think the change is. ``We don’t want a policy that would put U.S. families at a disadvantage,’’ Lewis said. ``So let’s find a solution. Put a cap on benefits so mixed-status families could never get more than a U.S. family.’’

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS AP Legal Affairs Writer COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ A Muslim death row inmate has settled a lawsuit that accused the Ohio prison system of denying him meals prepared according to Islamic law while providing kosher meals to Jewish prisoners. Ohio had previously decided to remove all pork products from prison menus in response to the lawsuit, though inmates weren’t seeking a ban on pork. Details of the settlement announced Wednesday weren’t released. The inmate’s lawyer would not comment. JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said no policy changes have been made regarding food preparation. Both sides anticipated making the settlement final in about 45 days, according to an order dismissing the lawsuit by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson. The state argued as recently as last month that providing the meals, known as halal, could bankrupt the state’s food service system because thousands of inmates have declared themselves Muslim. Death row inmate Abdul Awkal argued in his lawsuit that the prison system’s failure to provide halal meals was a restraint on his religious freedoms. Awkal, joined by a second Muslim inmate not on death row, said the vegetarian and non-pork options

offered by the prison system weren’t good enough. The inmates said food must be prepared in a specific fashion to conform to Islamic beliefs, such as butchering an animal by slitting its throat and draining its blood. Awkal, 52, is scheduled to die in June for the slayings of his estranged wife, Latife Awkal, and brother-inlaw Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz in 1992, in a courthouse room in Cuyahoga County where the Awkals were taking up divorce and custody issues. Joining Awkal in the lawsuit was Cornelius Causey, 35, serving 15 years to life for murder and aggravated robbery convictions out of Hamilton County. Ohio argued that it provides both non-pork and vegetarian meals to Muslims and says the courts have sided with this practice. The state also says that providing halal meals could hurt Ohio financially, given the current budget situation. ``Once one Muslim’s request for a Halal diet is granted (or ordered to be granted), all other declared Muslims will want the same accommodation,’’ Assistant Attorney General Ryan Dolan argued in a Dec. 16 court filing. About 200 inmates identify themselves as Jewish out of a system of about 50,000 inmates, according to the state. By contrast, Ohio prisons have nearly 2,500 Muslim inmates, the state says. ``Additionally, it is fair to assume that many inmates would convert to Islam if they receive what is perceived to be a better diet,’’ the state said.


Romney says he favors ‘selfdeportation’

Smartphone app makes home inventory chore easier By DAVID PITT

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AP Personal Finance Writer Everyone should keep an up-to-date list of their belongings. It’s essential to be prepared in case of theft, loss by fire or other cause of serious damage. Yet the insurance industry estimates that only about 1 in 5 homeowners have such an inventory.

Received by Newsfinder from AP TAMPA, Florida (AP) _ Mitt Romney said in Monday’s Republican debate that he favors what he calls ``self-deportation’’ over policies that require the federal government to round up illegal immigrants and return them to their home countries. ``The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here,’’ Romney said. Romney’s answer came after he was pressed on how he could be in favor of illegal immigrants returning to their home countries and applying for citizenship while also saying that he does not want the federal government to round people up and deport them. The former Massachusetts governor said that if employers enforce high standards for legal documentation of their employees, potential illegal immigrants will not be able to find work. He says this will allow the federal government to avoid having to round up people because they will leave on their own. The federal government has previously experimented with a trial self-deportation program under the Bush Administration. It gave illegal immigrants up to 90 days to leave the country but was scrapped after two-and-half weeks in 2008 when it only produced eight volunteers. That left federal immigration officials vowing to intensify their efforts to track down illegal immigrants _ a policy Romney has said he does not support.


The old fashioned way of going room to room with a notepad and pencil is one way to accomplish this task, but new tools including software and an iPhone app make it much easier. The latest is new free offering released by the Insurance Information Institute, an

It’s available on or by using the III Inventory app, which is available on Apple’s iTunes store. You can enter a list of your belongings through either the website or the app, and the two will be synchronized. All of the information is stored in a personal, password protected account on an Amazon secure server. It can then be accessed anywhere, anytime, which is an important benefit should you have to evacuate your home in an emergency. The software will guide you through the process of creating and updating the home inventory. As a starting point, there are lists of rooms and item types to make things easier. Photographs, scanned


receipts, and appraisal forms can be uploaded. What’s more, the software can generate several types of insurance reports, which is helpful if a claim needs to be filed. A home inventory enables homeowners and renters to determine if they have sufficient insurance coverage. After a loss, it also helps substantiate the amount of the loss for tax purposes or when applying for financial assistance. While III’s software is a recent launch, other inventory programs are available. Check out the one offered by National Association of Insurance Commissioners at . The application, called MyHome, is available for both iPhone and Android devices.

Muslims’ charges to be dismissed in park clash By JIM FITZGERALD

defendants could have gone to trial and won acquittals, but trials would have been inconvenient because none of them live in Westchester.

Associated Press RYE, New York (AP) _ Fifteen Muslims on Tuesday won conditional dismissals of charges stemming from an amusement park disturbance that started when women were told they couldn’t wear religious headscarves on some rides. A Rye Town Court judge told the defendants their cases would be dropped if they stayed out of trouble for two months. Most had been charged only with disorderly conduct, but the charges ranged up to second-degree assault. All the female headscarves.



Some of the defendants said after the court session that they plan to file a civil rights lawsuit against Westchester County, alleging police brutality and racism in the disturbance. The county owns Playland Park in Rye, a national landmark, where the disturbance occurred. Defense lawyer Lamis Deek said the

``It’s unfortunately more convenient to accept this offer, not have to enter a plea of guilty, move on with their lives and pursue this matter in a civil courtroom,’’ Deek said. Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for the district attorney’s office, declined to comment on why the dismissals were accepted. Deek suggested that prosecutors felt they couldn’t win convictions. She said the dismissals ``speak loudly to what they think really happened.’’ About 3,000 Muslims were at Playland on Aug. 30, celebrating the end of Islam’s holy month of fasting, Ramadan. Officials say Playland bans baseball caps, eyeglasses and other headgear on several fast rides. County officials said at a hearing in September that some Muslim women who were wearing religious scarves known as hijabs objected when told they couldn’t go on certain rides. They said the county had made the policy clear to the trip organizer,

the Muslim American Society of New York. They said dissatisfied patrons were being given refunds when scuffles broke out within the group. Deek said Tuesday that it was just an argument between two Muslim women. Police were called, five people were arrested, and things began to calm down until a flash mob, summoned by texting, gathered rapidly outside the park police station, said county police Commissioner George Longworth. The crowd became unruly and 10 more arrests followed. Deek said the arrests were carried out with ``a great deal of brutality,’’ injuring several Muslims. ``This is the result of stereotyping and racist ideologies and beliefs ... toward Muslim communities, the idea that for some reason these Muslims would be more violent,’’ she said. County officials didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. Longworth said in September that the police response was appropriate.

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Ga. Democrats seek repeal More sharing comes to of immigration crackdown Facebook with new apps By RAY HENRY and KATE BRUMBACK Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) _ Democratic lawmakers said Monday they will seek to repeal a law that launched a crackdown last year on illegal immigrants in Georgia, but their small caucus lacks the votes to overturn it in the Republicandominated General Assembly. Democratic officials said Rep. Pedro Marin and Rep. Lynmore James will sponsor the repeal, but they had not submitted the necessary legislation by Monday afternoon and did not immediately return messages seeking comment. The repeal will be among the top priorities of an agenda that Democrats plan to unveil at a news conference Tuesday. James said in a statement that families cannot afford ``to have politicians playing with their food.’’ Farmers have complained that the crackdown has discouraged Hispanic field hands, including many who are illegal immigrants, from coming to Georgia to harvest labor-intensive fruits and vegetables. ``Georgia deserves better than a bill that costs millions of dollars in lost crops, lost revenue and lost opportunities,’’ James said. The Democratic caucus has scheduled a hearing Thursday where its members will hear about the effects of the crackdown in rural towns. Farmers have complained of labor problems since the law passed last year, though Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said earlier this month it wasn’t clear whether any of the reported shortages

were a direct result of the law. Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, accused illegal immigrants of financially burdening the state and said the supporters of the crackdown ``will oppose any effort to diminish its provisions.’’ Starting this year, the law requires that businesses with 500 or more employees use a federal database called E-Verify to check whether new hires are eligible to legally work in the country. That requirement will be gradually expanded to include companies with 10 or more employees by July 2013. The law makes it a felony crime with hefty penalties to use false information or documents when applying for a job. It created an immigration review board to investigate complaints about government officials not complying with state laws related to immigration. Public officials can be fined or even removed from office if they fail to the use the federal E-Verify database to verify the eligibility of new hires or those who apply for public assistance, such as food stamps. A federal judge in June blocked parts of Georgia’s law pending the outcome of a legal challenge filed by immigrant rights and civil liberties groups. One of the blocked sections authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects who don’t have proper identification and to detain illegal immigrants. The other creates a state penalty for people who knowingly and willingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants while committing another crime. The state has challenged the judge’s decision to block those parts of the law, and a hearing on the injunction is set for March 1 in a federal appeals court.

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Received by Newsfinder from AP SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Facebook is adding a bevy of new applications to let users share everything from photos of what they cooked for dinner, what they are wearing or what concert they scored tickets to. The world’s largest online social network unveiled more than 60 new apps Wednesday that let users share the tiniest details of their lives on their Facebook profiles, now known

as their Timeline. Facebook users can already share the music they are listening to through apps such as Spotify, or the articles they are reading through Yahoo News and other services. Wednesday’s announcement expands the number of available apps. Facebook has called it ``frictionless sharing.’’ It means once you sign up for the apps, they’ll automatically share your activity through Facebook. The apps include Ticketmaster, Rotten Tomatoes and Pinterst.

Algeria approves 3 new Islamist parties Received by Newsfinder from AP ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ Algeria’s Interior Ministry has approved 10 new political parties, including three Islamist ones ahead of elections in May. Algeria now has 22 legal political parties that can run in elections, including six Islamist ones. Political expert Rachid Tlemcani said Tuesday he believes the move is

intended to fragment the Islamist vote among several parties. Algerian authorities have said that elections in the North African country won’t follow those elsewhere in the region in which Islamist parties triumphed. Abdallah Djaballah of the newly approved Front for Justice and Development complained that there isn’t enough time before May elections for the new parties to get ready.

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One Year On, Arab Pride and the Long Road Ahead New America Media, News Report, Suzanne Manneh SAN FRANCISCO – Tareq, a Syrian American graphic designer living in Silicon Valley, says his life has “completely changed 100 percent over the past year,” a change he credits to protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square exactly one year ago today. That date has since been enshrined as a pivotal moment in the evolution of the Arab Spring. The toppling of Tunisia’s Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, followed by the fall of Libyan strongman Moammar Ghaddafi have defined what Tareq, who requested that his last name be withheld because of safety concerns for relatives in Syria, calls “the most important time of the region’s history.” “[These events] have broken the barriers of fear for Arab Americans and Arabs abroad against oppression and reinforced pride in being Arab,” says Tareq, before striking a note of caution. The road ahead, he says, is long and unpredictable. Events in his native Syria, where an ongoing struggle to oust President Bashar Al-Assad has claimed over 5,000 lives, checks his optimism. The Year that Changed Everything Mohammed Bouazizi was not unlike many young Tunisians. A recent college graduate, he was reduced to selling fruit to support himself and his family. On December 17, 2010, Bouazizi immolated himself to protest policies blamed for rising unemployment and poverty. That singular event launched a wave of protests, beginning in Tunisia and rapidly spreading across the region, culminating in an 18-day rally that drew on Egyptians of all stripes and from all corners who descended on Tahrir and eventually

succeeded in ending Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Egyptians have since celebrated their gains, recently holding the country’s first, if controversial, democratic elections, with the moderate Egyptian Brotherhood sweeping into power ahead of secular and more religiously conservative rivals.

Women also played an active and prominent role in Egypt’s Tahrir protests. Such actions, broadcast for a global audience thanks to the proliferation of mobile technology and social media, “changed the face of Arabs,” says Alkhanshali.

Tunisia also held elections in October 2011, with the moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement winning a majority of the vote.

El-Husseiny, who spent the past year in Egypt and recently returned to Berkeley to complete his dissertation, said he immediately saw those changes within himself and in others. The Role of Women Mokhtar Alkhanshali, of Yemeni descent, says the Arab Spring has altered the way Arabs are seen globally, dispelling widespread notions including that of Arab women being absent from the realm of civic engagement. Nobel Peace Prize winner and head of the Yemeni organization Women Journalists Without Chains, Tawakkol Karaman, he noted, was “one of the first voices that came out in this movement in Yemen,” having “led the first protests in front of the University of Sanaa.”

felt that close,” he says, adding that a resurgent pride in Arab American identity and culture, long overshadowed by conflict in the region and fears of terrorism at home, were evident in recent protests in San Francisco. “During demonstrations in support of the Syrian struggle, there have been Yemeni’s, Egyptians, everyone there in solidarity. There has definitely been a renewed sense of Pan Arabism, a sense of Arab pride,” noted Tareq. And inspiration. For if nothing else, the Arab Spring helped precipitate what has become the largest protest movement to hit America since the Vietnam War. At a recent Occupy Oakland rally, Tareq remembers hearing protestors chanting “The people want to topple Wall Street.” That chant, he says, found its precedent in Tahrir and Tunis, where protestors cried, Asha’ab ureed isqaat anizaam. “The people want to topple the regime.”

But for others in the region -- including Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria -- the ripple effects of the Arab Spring continues to make waves. “These uprisings toppled the whole idea of Arab equals terrorist, backwards, or illiterate,” said Momen El-Husseiny, an Egyptian and currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley in Architecture and Global Metropolitan Studies. “All these notions that had been so potent were no longer so. We are now in communication with the entire world,” he said.

“For a Yemeni woman to be the first Arab woman and youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize, and play such a role…I feel very proud of that,” he added. Alkhanshali shared another experience, one closer to home, that spoke to the new light under which Arabs are now being seen. It was last Halloween, he explained, when he encountered a stranger dressed in military fatigues and a Kiffyeh, a traditional unisex headscarf. “He told me he was a Libyan revolutionary,” Alkhanshali recalled, saying it was then he realized that mainstream society was beginning to replace the image of Arabs as “riding camels and oppressing women” to “fighters for democracy.” Inspiring Unity and Occupation “I take my daughter to a (private) Arabic school,” says Hany Elhak, originally from Egypt and now living in San Jose. Recalling the events of the past year, he says that when the revolution first swept through Tunisia, students and parents with roots spanning the entire Arab world celebrated. “People were bringing in food… We never

“Of course we can’t take the credit, but I do believe that if the Arab revolutions were not this powerful, the Occupy movement would not have been (as powerful) either,” he notes. Celebration and Reflection Arabs across San Francisco and the Bay Area are preparing to commemorate the anniversary of the Arab Spring with an event that organizers say will “bring the community together… to reflect on this last year of revolution in Egypt and honor all Arab struggles.” Janaan Attia, a community organizer and one of the individuals responsible for putting on Wednesday’s event in the city’s Mission District, says it is “vital that Arabs gather and connect” with one another. Discussions are sure to touch on issues of democracy and the continuing violence in countries like Syria, though many are hopeful and say they’d like to return when conditions improve. Others are more cautious. “I’m sure we will see democratic states,” said Tareq in reference to Syria, “but unfortunately (the violence) will continue. We won’t get democracy for free.”

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Jordan’s king to receive Hamas leader

by Newsfinder from AP By JAMAL HALABY AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Jordan’s king will host the leader of Hamas this weekend, Jordan’s information minister said Tuesday, his first official visit since his expulsion 13 years ago, another sign that Jordan is seeking a more active role in Mideast diplomacy. The visit is seen as part of Jordan’s effort to engage with previously shunned Islamists, who have been gaining ground across the region in the Arab Spring uprisings that toppled dictators in Egypt and Tunisia. Islamists make up the most influential opposition in Jordan and have been gaining strength in recent months, though King Abdullah II has the final say in all matters. Hamas, a militant Islamist Palestinian group, rules the Gaza Strip, but its leader, Khaled Mashaal, is based in Damascus, Syria. He moved there in 1999 after Jordan expelled him for ``illicit and harmful’’ activities. In 1997, he survived an Israeli assassination attempt in Amman. Earlier this month, Jordan, a strong

supporter of peace between the Arabs and Israel, began hosting meetings between the chief Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to try to find a way to restart their stalled peace talks.

Jordan’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel stipulates that both must refrain from allowing activities deemed harmful to the interest of the other country.

Since then, Mashaal was allowed to enter Jordan twice on humanitarian grounds _ in August 2009 to attend his father’s funeral, and again last October to visit his ailing mother.

Jordan expelled Mashaal and four other Hamas leaders in 1999. Then Jordan blacklisted Hamas because an alleged weapons cache was discovered in the country six years ago.

Jordanian Prime Minister Awn alKhasawneh has often said that expelling Mashaal, who holds a Jordanian passport, was a ``legal and constitutional mistake which must be corrected.’’

Re-establishment of a direct connection between Hamas and Jordan, which has a large population of Palestinian refugees, could give Jordan a role in trying to reconcile between Hamas and its rival, the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Egypt has been mediating between the two, which run separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank. They have announced agreement on a framework for unifying and holding elections, but the accord has not led to movement on the ground. ``The visit aims at opening channels with all Palestinian factions and reinstating normal relations with Hamas,’’ Information Minister Rakan Majali told the Associated Press, pointing to the Jordan’s close ties with Abbas. Majali set strict limits for results of the visit, set for Sunday. ``Hamas will not be allowed any activities on Jordanian soil,’’ he said.

Pakistan rejects US self-defense claim on strikes By SEBASTIAN ABBOT Associated Press ISLAMABAD (AP) _ Pakistan’s army on Monday formally rejected a U.S. claim that American airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops last year were justified as self-defense, a stance that could complicate efforts to repair the troubled but vital relationship between the two countries. In a detailed report, the army said that Pakistani troops did not trigger the Nov. 26 incident at two posts along the Afghan border by firing at American and Afghan forces, as the U.S. has alleged. Pakistan’s army said its troops shot at suspected militants who were nowhere near coalition troops. ``Trying to affix partial responsibility of the incident on Pakistan is, therefore, unjustified and unacceptable,’’ said the report, which was issued in response to the U.S. investigation that concluded at the end of December. Washington expressed condolences for the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers but said American troops acted ``with appropriate force’’ in self-defense because they thought they were being attacked by Taliban insurgents. Pakistan responded quickly by closing its border crossings to supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan. The borders have remained closed, and Pakistan also kicked the U.S. out of a base that was used to service American drones. The differing accounts of what happened could make it difficult for the two sides to move forward, but many analysts believe they will find a way because it’s in their own interests to do so. The U.S. needs Pakistan’s help in targeting Islamist militants within the country and negotiating peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Islamabad is heavily reliant on billions of dollars in aid from Washington. Pakistan said the fundamental cause of the deadly airstrikes was the decision by coalition forces not to tell Pakistan that American and Afghan troops were conducting an operation near the border inside Afghanistan before dawn on Nov. 26.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Clark, an Air Force special operations officer who led the U.S. investigation, has said U.S. and NATO commanders believed some of their military operations were compromised after details and locations were given to the Pakistanis. Clark has also said that U.S. forces did not know that the two relatively new Pakistani outposts _ simple structures constructed with stacked gray stones _ had been set up on a mountain ridge along the border. The Pakistani army countered that coalition forces must have known about the two posts set up at the end of September 2011, because they had conducted at least one other operation in the area afterward. Coalition aircraft also conducted constant surveillance of the area, the Pakistanis said. The army said previously that it provided NATO with maps clearly marking the location of the border posts, but that claim did not appear in its report. The U.S. has said its forces attacked the posts after Pakistani troops targeted them with heavy machine gun fire and ``effective’’ mortar fire. The Pakistani army said its soldiers did not shoot in the direction of the patrol, but instead fired three mortars and ``a few machine gun rounds’’ at a location at least 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) away from the coalition forces. The army criticized the U.S. and NATO for ``deep, varied and systematic’’ failures that prevented them from realizing they were targeting Pakistani forces over the course of three separate engagements that lasted at least 90 minutes. ``In the process, every soldier on and around the posts, even on the reverse slope of the ridge, was individually targeted,’’ said the Pakistani report. ``This pattern of engagement cannot be justified by calling it ‘self-defense.’’’ The U.S. has acknowledged that its forces failed to determine who was firing at them and whether there were friendly forces in the area. The U.S. said its troops used incorrect maps and mistakenly provided Pakistan with the wrong location

where they said fighting was taking place _ an area almost nine miles (14 kilometers) away. The Pakistani army accused coalition forces of showing ``no urgency whatsoever in a situation where due to use of overwhelming and disproportionate force ... lives were being lost.’’ ``This displays utter disregard for the lives of the Pakistani soldiers,’’ said the report, which pointed out the attack left behind seven widows and 16 orphans. The Pakistani army claimed coalition forces attacked Pakistani troops four other times between June 2008 and July 2011, killing 18 soldiers. Pakistan claimed coalition forces failed to hold anyone responsible for these past incidents. It refused to participate in the U.S. investigation into the Nov. 26, 2011, attack, claiming past U.S. probes into border incidents were biased. ``It is increasingly obvious to Pakistan military that the entire coordination mechanism has been reduced to an exercise in futility, is more for the purposes of optics and that it has repeatedly been undermined,’’ said the army report.

PAKISTAN: BAD HEART DRUGS SUSPECTED IN 25 DEATHS by Newsfinder from AP ISLAMABAD (AP) _ A government health official says bad drugs are suspected of killing at least 25 heart patients over the last month in the Pakistani city of Lahore. Javed Akram said Monday that 100 other heart patients who had taken the same medicine have been admitted to hospitals in the city and 50 of them are in critical condition. Akram is leading a probe into the deaths set up by the government of Punjab province, where Lahore is the capital. He said the suspected drugs were given free to patients by the state-run Punjab Institute of Cardiology. Akram said patients developed red spots on their skin within days of taking the medicine that is suspected of killing them.




Memo scandal witness refuses to travel to Pakistan By SEBASTIAN ABBOT Associated Press ISLAMABAD (AP) _ The chief witness in a secret memo scandal that threatens to bring down the president will not travel to Pakistan to testify, claiming the government has set a trap to prevent him from leaving, his lawyer said Monday. Mansoor Ijaz offered to record his testimony and submit it to a Supreme Court commission that is investigating the scandal, said lawyer Akram Sheikh. Ijaz, a U.S. businessman of Pakistani origin, was scheduled to travel to Pakistan to appear before the commission on Tuesday but had bickered with the government over who would guarantee his safety. Ijaz has accused the Pakistani government of orchestrating a memo, which he delivered to the U.S. last year, asking Washington to help stop a supposed military coup following the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Pakistani government has denied any involvement. The army was outraged by the memo and denied it ever intended to carry out a coup. It successfully pushed the Supreme Court to investigate against the wishes of the government, which said the matter was already being probed by the parliament.

Ijaz has claimed the Supreme Court commission ordered the military to guarantee his security while in Pakistan, but the government has said the job was the responsibility of the Interior Ministry. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has warned Ijaz could be prevented from leaving the country if requested by the parliamentary committee probing the scandal. ``It seems like a well-orchestrated trap to hold Mansoor Ijaz indefinitely in Pakistan,’’ said Sheikh, his lawyer. Ijaz has accused the former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, of crafting the memo with the support of President Asif Ali Zardari. Both men have denied any connection to the memo, although Haqqani resigned in the wake of the scandal. The Supreme Court has prevented the former envoy from leaving the country while it is investigating the scandal. Some observers have questioned Ijaz’s credibility. Those questions increased last week after a music video surfaced in which Ijaz acted as a commentator for a female wrestling match in which both women eventually ripped off their bikinis. Ijaz claimed he didn’t know there would be nudity in the video. One of the reasons the memo scandal has generated so much controversy is the rampant anti-American sentiment

in Pakistan. The memo offered to replace Pakistan’s national security leadership with people favorable to the U.S. in return for help from Washington in stopping the supposed coup. The U.S. has provided Pakistan with billions of dollars over the past decade to help fight the Taliban and al-Qaida, but relations have always been defined by a lack of trust. The raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistani garrison town heightened mistrust between the two countries. Pakistan was outraged it was not told about the operation beforehand, and U.S. officials questioned how bin Laden was able to live near Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point for years. The relationship deteriorated further at the end of last year when American airstrikes accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two posts along the Afghan border. Pakistan retaliated by closing its border crossings to supplies meant for NATO troops in Afghanistan and kicking the U.S. out of a base used by American drones. Drone strikes have been a source of tension between the two countries because they are widely perceived in Pakistan as mostly killing civilians, a claim denied by the U.S. The U.S. held off on carrying out drone attacks in Pakistan for over six weeks after the 24 Pakistani soldiers

were killed on Nov. 26. But the strikes have since resumed. A U.S. drone fired missiles at a house and a vehicle in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing four alleged militants in an attack that could signal the program is again picking up steam. The U.S. had recommenced strikes on Jan. 10, when missiles hit a house in the North Waziristan tribal area in an attack that American officials said killed a key al-Qaida operations planner, Aslam Awan. The U.S. carried out another attack two days later. Monday’s strike in North Waziristan’s Deegan village was the third since the attacks resumed. Initial reports indicated the alleged militants killed were foreigners, said Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The U.S. refuses to speak publicly about the CIA-run drone program in Pakistan, but American officials have said privately that the strikes have killed many senior Taliban and alQaida commanders. Although Pakistan is widely believed to have supported the strikes in the past, that cooperation has become strained as the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated.

Egypt’s ruler partially lifts emergency laws By HAMZA HENDAWI

power when Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, 2011.

Associated Press CAIRO (AP) _ Egypt’s military ruler on Tuesday decreed a partial lifting of the nation’s hated emergency laws, while saying the draconian measures would still apply to crimes committed by ``thugs.’’ Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said in a televised address to the nation that the emergency laws would be lifted effective Wednesday, the first anniversary of the start of the popular uprising that toppled longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak. Tantawi and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces he chairs took

His decision to partially lift the decades-old laws, which give police far-reaching powers, would likely not satisfy rights groups that have been campaigning for the total removal of the laws. They have complained about the repeated use by the military of the term ``thugs’’ to justify crackdowns on protesters. Rights groups say at least 12,000 civilians have been tried before military tribunals since the generals took power nearly a year ago. Many of them, they say, were charged with acts of ``thuggery’’ when, in fact, they were protesters. The term has been used to ridicule the military in the independent press,


At least 80 protesters have been killed by troops since October. Tantawi was Mubarak’s defense minister for some 20 years, during which he was known to be unquestioningly loyal to the ousted leader. He and the generals on the military council, according to activists, remain beholden to Mubarak, whose approval was essential for their promotion through the ranks. Mubarak ruled for 29 years, and the emergency laws were in force throughout. A sullen faced Tantawi, who is in his 70s, renewed past pledges that the military would return to the

barracks when power is handed to a civilian administration. Tantawi’s address came one day after Egypt’s first freely elected parliament in decades held its inaugural session, a significant step in the handover process. The election for the 508-seat chamber was held over a six-week period starting Nov. 28. The Islamist-dominated legislature’s first priority is to name a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution. The next step would be to put the draft to a vote in a nationwide referendum whose date has yet to be announced. Presidential elections are to be held before the end of June, and the military has said it would return to its barracks when a new president is sworn in.

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US ambassador to Yemen: Saleh’s absence positive By AHMED AL-HAJ Associated Press SANAA, Yemen (AP) _ The U.S. ambassador to Yemen said Tuesday that President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s absence from the battered country will help its political transition. Gerald Feierstein also denied reports the U.S. was looking for a country where Saleh could live in exile, saying Saleh can return to Yemen if he chooses. Saleh left Yemen Sunday for the Gulf sultanate of Oman on his way to the U.S. for medical treatment related to burns sustained after a bomb blast in his palace mosque last year. Before leaving, Saleh passed power to his deputy as part of a U.S.-backed deal brokered by Gulf nations seeking to end the country’s nearly year-old political crisis. Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is set to be rubberstamped as the country’s new leader in a presidential election on Feb. 21. Feierstein said Saleh will leave Oman for the U.S. in the next few days and that the length of his stay will be determined by doctors. Saleh was granted a visa solely for medical reasons, Feierstein said, adding that his absence at this time is positive. ``We think that him not being here will help the transition,’’ he said. ``This is not the reason he asked for the visa and this not the reason we gave the visa. We gave the visa for medical treatment.’’

White House officials said previously that Saleh’s request to travel to the U.S. caused a dilemma. Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for 33 years though a combination of sly politics and violence, was long considered a U.S. ally in the battle against Yemen’s active al-Qaida branch, which has been linked to attacks on U.S. soil.

from prosecution. Many of the protesters who have taken to the streets for nearly a year to call for his ouster want to see him tried for his alleged role in deadly crackdowns on demonstrations. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have worked to ensure a peaceful transition of

At the same time, officials worried the U.S. would face criticism in the Arab world for appearing to harbor an autocrat whose security forces have repeatedly used deadly force to repress demonstrations.

seized a number of towns in Yemen’s south and last week occupied the town of Radda, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the capital Sanaa. On Tuesday, a tribal leader involved in negotiating with the militants said he hoped they could be removed from the town peacefully. ``The tribesmen and the people of Radda are determined to get the militants out of the city and will not permit them to remain, even if they have to get into armed confrontations to force them out,’’ said Ahmed Ali Kalaz, who previously served as Yemen’s ambassador to the U.N. and to Cuba. Kalaz said armed tribesmen were preventing the militants from widening the area under their control. While much of Saleh’s regime has remained in tact throughout the uprising, with many of his relatives still in charge of government institutions, mutinies have been spreading calling for the ouster Maj. Gen. Mohammed Saleh, the head of Yemen’s air force and Saleh’s half brother.

Before granting Saleh a visa, Washington sought assurances that he would not seek to remain in the U.S. after his treatment. And on Tuesday, Feierstein denied previous reports that the U.S. was looking for a third country where Saleh could live in exile.

Soldiers at an air base in the Hadramawt province joined the mutiny Tuesday, bringing to five the number of bases across the country calling for the commander’s removal.

``In terms of where he goes afterward, we do not have any information on that,’’ he said. ``The only thing that we have heard from him is that he intends to come back to Yemen. We are not involved in any discussion with any countries where he might go after his treatment.’’

The continued turmoil has aggravated Yemen’s humanitarian situation. UNICEF said Tuesday that the number of malnourished children under the age of five has risen in the last year to around 750,000. In some parts of the country of 20 million people, the number of children suffering from malnutrition has doubled from the level in 2000, the group said.

Feierstein also spoke highly of the Gulf plan to remove Saleh from power, saying it could prevent further violence the Arab world’s poorest country. Human rights groups have criticized the deal because it granted Saleh and anyone involved in his government immunity

power, fearing that further chaos could destabilize the region and allow al-Qaida to operate freely. The group has already

Out of the 300,000 people displaced inside the country, 60 percent are children, UNICEF said.

Iranian film in running Official: Gulf states to pull monitors from Syria for foreign language Oscar

Asghar Farhadi Iranian writer-director By ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRI Associated Press RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ The Gulf Cooperation Council plans to pull its monitors from Syria, an official said Tuesday, after President Bashar Assad’s regime rejected an Arab-brokered plan to end the country’s bloodshed. The official said a statement is planned outlining the decision by the six-nation bloc, but it follows a move by Gulf power Saudi Arabia to remove its 13 monitors. The Gulf exit could expand rifts within Arab states about how hard to push Assad, whose forces have waged relentless attacks against opposition groups and mutinous security forces for 10 months. The U.N. estimates 5,400 people have died in the violence. The GCC official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak in advance of the announcement. The bloc includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates _ which comprised more than half of the 11-nation Arab monitoring mission. Damascus has rejected an Arab League peace plan announced Sunday calling for a unity government within two months, which would then prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections

to be held under Arab and international supervision. The proposal also provides for Assad to give his vice president full powers to cooperate with the proposed government to enable it to carry out its duties during a transitional period. Syria called the plan ``flagrant interference in its internal affairs’’ and the latest turn in an international plot against the country. The Arab League’s observer mission has come under heavy criticism for failing to stop the violence in Syria. On Monday, the head of the mission defended the observers’ work, saying their presence had cut down on the bloodshed. Speaking at League headquarters in Cairo, Sudanese Gen. Mohammed Ahmed al-Dabi told reporters the observers have witnessed violence from both the Syrian security forces and armed opposition groups. ``When the delegation arrived, there was clear and obvious violence,’’ he said. ``But after the delegation arrived, the violence started to lessen gradually.’’ On Sunday, Arab League foreign ministers extended the mission for another month. The mission’s onemonth mandate technically expired on Thursday.

By JILL LAWLESS Associated Press LONDON (AP) _ A taut domestic drama from Iran is competing against a Belgian thriller, a true Polish tale from the Holocaust and dramas from Canada and Israel in the Academy Awards race for best foreign-language film. Nominees announced Tuesday in Los Angeles include ``A Separation,’’ the story of a marital breakdown and its far-reaching consequences from Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi. The widely praised film _ being hailed by some as a vital cultural bridge at a time of souring relations between Iran and the West _ has already won the Golden Globe for best foreign language film, and also gained Farhadi an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. It’s up against ``Footnote,’’ a mordant tale of rivalry between father-son Talmudic scholars by Israel’s Joseph Cedar, and ``Bullhead,’’ a Belgian crime drama set amid the world of cattle rearing and hormone dealing by firsttime feature director Michael R. Roskam. ``Bullhead’’ producer Bart Van Langendonck welcomed the recognition for a film that ``was written so it could be appreciated all over the world, even if

the theme of the cattle mafia is extremely Belgian.’’ The nominees also include the gritty, realistic ``In Darkness’’ by Poland’s Agnieszka Holland, based on the true story of Leopold Socha, a Polish petty criminal who hid Jews from the Nazis in the sewage canals of Lviv during World War II. It’s a third Oscar nomination for 63-yearold Holland, one of the country’s bestknown directors, after ``Europa Europa’’ and ``Angry Harvest,’’ both of which also dealt with the Holocaust. The final contender is ``Monsieur Lazhar,’’ the story of an Algerian immigrant substitute teacher who helps a group of children get over a death by Canada’s Philippe Falardeau. It’s the second straight year a filmmaker from Quebec has made the shortlist. Denis Villeneuve was nominated last year for his war drama ``Incendies.’’ This year’s Oscars contest already has an international flavor. The race is led by Martin Scorsese’s Parisian fantasia ``Hugo,’’ with 11 nominations, and ``The Artist,’’ a French-made silent tale of old Hollywood, with 10. Winners of the 84th annual Oscars will be announced at a Feb. 26 ceremony at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.


Sesame oil: What it is and how to use it By J.M. HIRSCH AP Food Editor Maybe it’s time to look beyond claims of virginity in the oil aisle. Because you see, our 20-year love affair with olive oil has had fallout. We’ve forgotten that there’s a whole world of oils that don’t come from the olive tree. And they can do a heck of a lot more than just saute and make a fine dressing.

raw. Which means that getting the deepest, richest sesame flavor will mean using a bit of the oil in the pan to saute, then drizzling a bit more over the finished dish. When shopping for sesame oil (sometimes labeled ``toasted sesame oil’’ and often hidden in the Asian or International aisle), the darker the color, the richer the flavor. And while loads of antioxidants give sesame oil a long

OK, maybe we didn’t forget. Maybe we didn’t know about them at all. It’s not as though prior to the EVOO revolution we were all swilling avocado and grape seed oils. But olive oil has done a fine job of elbowing out other upand-comers. Sesame, for instance. You may never have bought it, but chances are you’ve had it. It’s what gives many Asian dishes a nutty, savory, richly aromatic flavor. Most sesame oil is made by pressing roasted sesame seeds. The oil tastes deeply nutty, almost smoky, and pairs well with anything salty. There are coldpressed varieties, but skip them; while fine for frying, the flavor is unimpressive. A high smoke point (420F) means this amber colored oil can handle the heat of the fry pan. But its flavor shines brightest when used

shelf life, refrigerating it will make it last even longer.

What to do with it? It’s obviously a natural for stir-fry (remember to drizzle a bit more on the finished dish for best flavor) and makes killer marinades for steak. For more ideas for using sesame oil, check out the Off the Beaten Aisle column over on Food Network:


Adoption of a healthy lifestyle by all persons is critical for combating obesity and its consequences By Seema Munir, D.O., M.S Obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. More than 66 percent of Americans are currently overweight or obese. This has occurred gradually over the past forty years. However, what is more alarming is that the incidence of obesity continues to increase in all age groups. Young children, teenagers, adults and the elderly are all affected. In addition, this increase is prevalent amongst individuals from all ethnic backgrounds. Obesity is a major public health threat, not just a cosmetic issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death. It increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer in addition to several other diseases. Obesity is also implicated in an increase in health care costs, impaired functioning and productivity of individuals along with social and economic discrimination. There is a general consensus in the medical community that a therapeutic lifestyle change is the first line therapy for both the treatment and the prevention of several diseases that are associated with obesity. A healthy lifestyle can decrease the risk factors in an otherwise healthy individual. Arizona Bariatric and Family Medicine, focuses on adopting a healthy lifestyle,

which in turn helps individuals lose weight. And it does so by looking at the whole person and their current practices. This includes their dietary habits, their exercise patterns, their sleep and activity hours and their stress coping mechanisms. In addition it addresses issues in their past and present that may be contributing to their current lifestyle. Weight loss is not a quick fix; rather it is a life-long process with a healthy lifestyle. We all realize that food can satisfy hunger, but it can also be comforting during periods of loneliness, anxiety and stress. Understanding our relationship with food is a good start to making healthier choices. Motivating and educating ourselves to incorporate exercise in our daily lives is clearly another area that needs to be explored. Weight control is not just a matter of willpower and it is not a character flaw. Obesity is a complex disorder with social, behavioral, metabolic and genetic factors. Weight loss takes education, understanding and time to work. As a physician, I am there to help my patients work through to their goals and then help them maintain them. Dr. Seema Munir is board certified in family medicine and bariatric medicine. Her office, Arizona Bariatric and Family Medicine is located at 2152 S Vineyard Ave, Mesa 85210. Schedule an appointment by calling 480-371-4164 or on the web at

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2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

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1 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

1 package Chicken Wings (enough For 8 Servings)

1 cup white sugar

Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.

1 cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons hot water 1/2 teaspoon salt

Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

1-½ Tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt 1 cup Franks RedHot Sauce 1 cup Your Favorite Barbecue Sauce Preparation Instructions Place wings in a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Combine RedHot sauce and barbecue sauces, and brush wings

with sauce, leaving a little left over. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat your oven at 400 degrees. Bake wings for about 40 to 45 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Drain most of the fluid and then lightly brush a bit more of the sauce mixture on top. Cook until the edges of the wings get brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the dish and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Serve with blue cheese dressing.



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Phoenix Prayer Times

February 2012 • Safar / Rabi Al-Awwal 1433 H

February 2012 • Safar / Rabi Al-Awwal 1433 H


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Muslim Voice February 2012  
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Muslim Voice February 2012