Muslim Voice ARIZONA
shabaan / ramadan 1434H
SEVEN WAYS TO PREPARE FOR RAMADAN
Immigration Bill May Not Be Everything You Think It Is, Activists Warn
The Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) used to prepare for Ramadan six months in advance. So, if we really want to make the best of this Ramadan, then we need to prepare for it now! As we know, fasting is more than just abstaining from food but from indecent speech and lustful desires as well. Fasting pushes us to be cognizant of our actions, Continued on page
India Among Top 5 Nations Under US Surveillance LONDON – Britain’s Guardian newspaper claims to have acquired top secret documents about US’ National Security Agency’s (NSA) data-mining tool, called Boundless Informant. The tool details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks. A snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, contained in a top secret NSA “global heat map”, shows that in March 2013 the agency collected 97 billion Continued on page
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Senate passage of the immigration reform bill, S. 744, brought tears, joy and hope to thousands of immigrant families in Arizona and millions across the nation. Yet, as it heads for a debate in the House of Representatives, S. 744 may not be the saving grace that many undocumented immigrants like De Jesus believe it to be. Despite the bill’s strong emphasis on border security, a number of pro-immigrant groups nationally have been urging people to throw their support behind the bipartisan bill. For some, the expansion of border enforcement activity is a bitter pill to swallow, in exchange for a path to citizenship for some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants estimated to be living in the United States. But, a number of other pro-immigrant groups have come out strongly against S. 744, citing a lack of analysis and honesty on the part of advocacy groups, politicians and the media, in the way the content of the bill is being portrayed to the immigrant community. “Are people saying, ‘Sí, se puede’ to 700 miles of border fence, 20,000 more border troops, citizenship that is going to be denied to millions? Yes,” said Roberto Lovato, founding member of Presente.org, a pro-immigrant group. “Do people know this? The answer is no.” A recent report by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law estimates that between 4 to 5 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants that live in the country will not qualify for full legalization under the guidelines set forth by S. 744. The report, authored by immigration attorney Peter Schey, says immigrants will face a number of steep obstacles in order to go beyond a provisional immigrant status, including payment of back taxes, and showing proof of continuous employment. Many could be forced to the back of the line on government waiting lists, resulting in years of wait time. “About 4 to 5 million immigrants will most likely be left facing an extremely harsh and unforgiving set of laws almost certain to eventually force Continued on page
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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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CAIR-AZ: Meet our new Chariman The CAIR-Arizona team announced last month the appointment of Imraan Siddiqi as the chapter’s new Board Chairman. He replaces Anas Hlayhel, who successfully guided the organization throughout his term of 20102013. Anas will now serve on the organization’s Advisory Board. Imraan is an entrepreneur, writer and activist. He has written extensively on the topic of Islamophobia and issues concerning Muslims for the past 12 years in a wide variety of prominent media outlets. Additionally, Imraan is also the editor of the website StopIslamophobiaNow.
CAIR-AZ 2013 Scholarship Program
com. He holds a MBA from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business and earned his Bachelors in Marketing from the University of Texas at Arlington. *Imraan previously served CAIR-AZ as Secretary of the Board, a position which will now be filled by Dr. Yasir Shareef.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations Arizona Chapter (CAIR-AZ) is proud to announce the launch of its new scholarship program! This year, we will award two (2) winners of the $500 CAIR-AZ Scholarship will be announced in August. Additionally, the recipients will be recognized at the CAIRAZ Annual Banquet on November 9th in Mesa, Arizona. The application deadline for the scholarship is July 15th, 2013. Qualified applicants must meet the following
criteria/documentation: A. Be enrolled in or accepted to a fulltime undergraduate, graduate or professional program of an accredited college or university in the United States for the fall 2013 semester. B . R e s u m e demonstrating a commitment to civil liberties issues and/ or community service in employment or volunteer experiences.c.. B i o g r a p h i c a l statement (150 words max).d.. Letter of recommendation. e.. Submit a complete application by 5 p.m. on July 15th, 2013.
ACA’s Class of 2013 Graduates By Heba Haleem Muslim Voice intern On May 31st, 2013, Arizona Cultural Academy’s Class of 2013 finally graduated. The ceremony took place in a decorated gym- a banner with pink and black stars hung above the maroon frilled stage, and balloons adorned the chairs on which the seniors would sit. A big projector hung to the side of the stage, near a podium set up with a microphone. The celebration soon began. All ten seniors walked towards the stage as a melody commemorated
their march of pride. Ahmad Abdallah, Amna Afridi, Mona Alhadheri, Mohammed Hasan, Hasan Mostofo, Bilal Sadaat, Mazen Sarsour, Syed Umer, Abdulwahab Warsame, and Syed Ridhwan all gleamed as they sat down on two rows of chairs on the stage. The senior’s parents proudly observed their students from the seats reserved in the front row of the gym. The ceremony begun as it would at any Islamic school- with the beautiful recitation of the Quran. This was followed by a speech by Ms. Jane Smut, ACA’s principal, expressing her delight for the occasion. Then, it was the seniors’ turn to speak. Each senior delivered a speech on his or her ACA
experience. From their speeches, you could tell this was more than just a school for them. One of the graduates, Syed Umer, said “this school is a favor from Allah in this community”, truly expressing his gratitude for the school. Another graduate, Bilal Sadaat, said ACA “made us flourish academically, spiritually, morally”, relaying the life skills he had gained from his school experiences. The speeches were heartfelt and real. Tears where shed, laughs were earned, and sentiments were created in real time, right on that stage. Of the ten graduates, nine are choosing to take advantage of their Arizona residence by attending
Arizona State University. Four are going on the pre-medical track, one on the pre-pharmacology track, and one is even attending ASU’s Barrettes Honors College. A few of the graduates are taking another route; they are pursuing a variety of majors ranging from education to writing. Some of these talented seniors have even received some excellent scholarships from ASU. There is an indubitably bright future ahead of them. As an Islamic school, ACA’s graduation award ceremony was a little different; along with all the other awards, (subject awards, tutoring awards, etc) there were Islamic endowments. Many seniors received awards like Islamic Studies, Arabic, and Quran Honor
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Roll. A couple of students received the Young Iman’s Certificate and the Da’iya Certificate. One of the graduates had memorized eighteen juz of the Quran, and another was a Hafidh of the Quran. Even during a graduation, ACA’s Islamic roots were not forgotten. ACA’s principal Ms. Jane Smut gives the rising college students one piece of advice: “take every opportunity to become as accomplished as possible. Go to that event, meet those people, take that workshop. A good education is not enough, being average is not acceptable: become excellent. Communicate clearly,
socialize widely, and listen intently. These are the things that can change your life”. Class of 2013, you did it.
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SEVEN WAYS TO PREPARE FOR RAMADAN to be patient and to be moral individuals, thereby increasing our taqwa (God-consciousness). Here are some ways we can improve on different aspects of
1. Fast Voluntarily: This month—Shabaan—is the prime time to start fasting those extra fasts or making up your missed fasts from last Ramadan. Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in
our life so we can fully benefit from Ramadan, a time when deeds are multiplied.
Shabaan.’ He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay
attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” (Narrated by al-Nasaai) The best way to prepare fasting for a whole month is to start fasting often, in order to gain control over your actions, stomach and desires. Fast Mondays and Thursdays: Abu Hurairah reported that the most the Prophet (pbuh) would fast would be Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that and he said: “The deeds of people are presented to Allah on every Monday and Thursday. Allah forgives every Muslim except for those who are deserting each other.” (Hasan) Fast the White Days—13th, 14th and 15th of each Islamic month: Abu Tharr Al-Ghefari said: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ‘Oh Abu Dharr! If you fast three days of every month, then fast the 13th, 14th and 15th (these are called Al-Ayaam Al-Beedh, the White Days).’” (Sahih) The Prophet said, “(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me, and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.” (Bukhari) 2. Recite and Reflect Upon the Qur’an: Start now to reflect on portions of the Qur’an to get closer to Allah and understand your responsibilities. Every single time you read the Qur’an, you will uncover more depths of meaning and benefit in this world and the hereafter. Aishah (ra) related that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Indeed the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.” (Muslim) 3. Follow the Sunnah and Pray Extra Prayers: Learn more about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and follow him by emulating his actions. “Say, [Oh Muhammad], If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you
and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 3:31) 4. Repent and Make Dua’a: We all make mistakes, but alhamdulilah we can always repent. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “All the children of Adam constantly err, but the best of those who constantly err are those who constantly repent.” (Tirmidhi) 5. Give Charity: This world can only be a better place if we help each other. In return, Allah rewards us in both worlds. The Messenger (pbuh) said, “Allah is in the aid of His servant as long as His aide is in the assistances of others.” (Muslim) “Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward?” (Qur’an 57:11) The Prophet also said: “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” (Al-Tirmidhi) 6. Improve Your Character: Everyone can be a little bit more kind and work on different aspects of their character. The Prophet (pbuh) used to say: “The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.” (al-Bukhari) 7. Eat Healthy and Moderately: With less time to eat in Ramadan, we really need to pay attention to what we eat. Now is the best time to research the nutritious value of the food we eat. While we fast, the food we eat before we start our fast or to break our fast needs to provide the optimal energy so we can accomplish our daily tasks and increase our worship. Overeating too is hazardous. Ash-Shafi’i said: “”I have not filled myself in 16 years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clean understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.” In order to take full advantage of this holy month, we need to prepare ourselves spiritually, mentally and physically. Insha’Allah if we constantly try to improve ourselves, then when we reach Ramadan, we will be able to easily move to the next level spiritually.
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pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide, the daily reported. It showed that Iran was the country where the largest amount of intelligence was gathered, with more than 14 billion reports in that period, followed by 13.5 billion from Pakistan. Jordan, one of America’s closest Arab allies, came third with 12.7 billion, Egypt fourth with 7.6 billion and India fifth with 6.3billion. “The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country,” an NSA factsheet about the Boundless Informant program reads. The heat map gives each nation a color code based on how extensively it is subjected to NSA surveillance. The color scheme ranges from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance). The disclosure of the internal Boundless Informant system
their detention and deportation (if detected) or more likely leave them in undocumented status for the rest of their lives (if undetected),” reads the report. Lovato, a pro-immigrant activist, political strategist and journalist, argued that pro-immigrant groups in Washington D.C. are “not being completely honest with the community about how horrible these bills are,” out of a concern that they would lose support and momentum for their cause. The media, Lovato said, has also done a poor job of informing the public, by framing the entire debate as one where immigrants are equated with criminals. “How does the fact that most of the legislation is about repression not [get] communicated?” he questioned. A poll by Presente.org and Latino Decisions conducted at the end of May found that more than 80 percent of Latino voters said they follow the immigration debate. About 54 percent reported knowing little about specific provisions of S. 744 related to increased spending on border security, and 47 percent had heard little or nothing about the increase of border patrol agents. Dulce Matuz, director of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition (ADAC), had mixed emotions when she watched the U.S. Senate cast a 68-32 vote in
India Among Top 5 Nations Under US Surveillance comes amid a struggle between the NSA and its overseers in the American Senate over whether it can track the intelligence it collects on American communications. The NSA’s position is that it is not technologically feasible to do so. The revelations form part of a global whistle-blowing operation that has claimed that innocent citizens around the world, including the UK, may have been subjected to unauthorised internet monitoring via the NSA. A 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, Edward Snowden, was revealed as the whistleblower behind one of the most significant leaks in US political history. The ‘Guardian’, after several days of interviews, revealed his identity at his own request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said
favor of S. 744. “It was a moment of pause, a reality check,” she said. Matuz’s concerns center around the border enforcement component of the bill, as well as the number of people that may be left out of the legalization equation. She added, however, that reaching some form of legalization is better than being left empty handed. Promesa Arizona, a pro-immigrant group that has been involved in Latino voter mobilization, celebrated the Senate vote as a victory. “I tell the community that things may change in the House. At this point, we have to be hopeful and create the power we need to change the [frame of mind] of the House of Representatives,” said Petra Falcón, the group’s director. In Arizona, strict state immigration laws like SB 1070, which made it mandatory for local police to report people suspected of being undocumented to federal immigration authorities, have taken a toll on the local immigrant community. “We have felt the worst impact in the country and we’ve been fighting, and winning,” she said. “This is a victory because we’re still in the fight and it’s moving forward.”
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Johnny Depp, the ‘Indian’: Is He or Isn’t He? As The Lone Ranger heads for the big screen this summer, many Native Americans are questioning Disney’s campaign to court their approval. They believe that the studio’s public relations gestures mask the real issues of the marketing and identity of indigenous people. The movie, which stars Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, will hit theaters July 3. Depp has enjoyed a long relationship with the film’s director Gore Verbinski and its producer Jerry Bruckheimer through Disney’s record-breaking Pirates of the Caribbean series. The megastar is also one of The Lone Ranger’s executive producers, and his production company Infinitum Nihil (Latin for “Infinite Nothing”) was involved with the picture. But Depp’s claims of Cherokee heritage (put forth in 2002 on Inside the Actors’ Studio, although in 2011 speaking to Entertainment Weekly he added “or maybe Creek”) along with his streaked black-and-white painted face and a stuffed crow perched atop his head have caused many to cry foul. Still, others say that Disney—which has a long history of working with Native Americans—is not adequately addressing their issues. For his part, Depp told MTV.com that the film is “an opportunity for me to salute Native Americans.” The actor has said he hopes to fix years of Indian misrepresentations in Hollywood and has repeatedly stated that his great grandmother had mostly Cherokee blood. But Native American leaders and educators are not buying it. They question Depp’s claims of Cherokee heritage, particularly the studio’s attempt to keep it ambiguous. “Disney relies upon the ignorance of the public to allow that ambiguity to exist,” says Hanay Geiogamah, Professor of Theater at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Geiogamah (Kiowa/Delaware) was a consultant for Disney’s Pocahontas and served as producer and co-producer for TBS’ The Native Americans: Behind the Legends, Beyond the Myths aired in the 1990s. “If Depp had any legitimate blood of any tribe, Disney would definitely have all the substantial proof of that already. It’s not that hard to establish tribal connections,” Geiogamah says. Richard Allen, Policy Analyst
for the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, agrees. He says that many celebrities have claimed Cherokee heritage—often based upon family stories they’ve heard—but like Depp they never try to verify it. “They all tell me they have high cheekbones,” Allen says.
rehabilitation and breeding of bald eagles. Comanche activist LaDonna Harris, who adopted Depp into her family, is also a member of Sia’s Board of Directors. Voelker says that Disney has agreed that The Lone Ranger will bring “open-ended” contributions to Sia.
Multicultural Initiatives, instead played a key role in liaising with the Native American community for The Lone Ranger. “I think Disney should hire more indigenous people in all kinds of roles,” Brouse says, adding that the company should also have a publicly disclosed statement
Geiogomah believes that because so few roles in Hollywood go to Native American actors, Disney’s big-budget movie is a “missed opportunity.” Depp could have played the Lone Ranger and instead promoted a younger Indian actor to play Tonto, he points out. After all, Canadian Mohawk actor Jay Silverheels portrayed the character in the 1950s TV series. “Now they re-introduce Tonto with a non-Indian. So can you call that progress?” Geiogamah asks. Instead, he worries that Disney’s Tonto feeds into non-Native expectations of Indians frozen in a historic time frame. “That costume ends up making us look like a bunch of oddballs with dead birds on our heads,” Geiogamah says. But William “Two Raven” Voelker, the movie’s Comanche consultant, says that the costume—including the Crow headdress—is authentic to Comanche culture. “Everyone’s got an opinion who has no knowledge of our culture,” Voelker says. “That’s the part that wears me down.” Voelker is co-founder of the tribe’s Sia Essential Species Repository, an organization devoted to the
But Gary Brouse, Program Director of Policy and Governance at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), questions claims of cultural authenticity. He had contacted Disney and met with the company’s Corporate Citizenship and Global Publicity divisions prior to The Lone Ranger’s production. “That’s one thing that concerns us is a company’s lack of cooperation with indigenous leaders in this particular field, leaders that we recognize as leaders rather than someone they hire as a consultant,” he says. The New York City-based ICCR encourages member institutions to integrate social values into investor actions and has fought against offensive portrayals of Native Americans in corporate commercials and sponsorships. The organization has successfully campaigned against Denny’s “Chief Wahoo” images on company uniforms and Liz Claiborne’s “Crazy Horse” fashions. Brouse says that there is no indigenous person at Disney responsible for the company’s policy toward Native American people. Disney responded that Christine Cadena, Senior Vice President of
on record of their policy when dealing with indigenous issues. But Disney points out that its Human Rights Policy applies across all populations and regions. “Our collaboration with a broad range of interested constituencies, including indigenous people, keeps us sensitive to the potential impacts of our products and services and the interests of our employees, customers and communities around the world,” a Disney representative replied through email. Still, Brouse explains that part of the problem was that Depp had “a lot of say so” in the film yet did not fully grasp the project’s impact on Native American communities. When Brouse tried to invite Depp to conference calls with Indian leaders, nothing ever happened. “Disney conveyed that Depp was very concerned about this and just passed the message along. We never really knew the reason why he didn’t do it,” Brouse says
The constitution continues to be violated by President Hassan Sh. Mohamoud. By: Mohamud Shalab The formation of Somalia’s c e n t r a l government has brought with it a new constitution, one which aims to rebuild and reform the country. Unfortunately, the constitution is being ignored and the ones suffering the most as a result of this are the Somali people. Under the new Somali federalism, citizens have a right to select their own regional leaders however; President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has dictated and commanded the federal government to step in and decide for the citizens. Nowhere, is this corruption more apparent than the federal government’s refusal to recognize the democratic election of Jubaland’s state president, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed (Ahmed Madoobe), who received 480 out of the
500 votes. The establishment of Jubaland is a monumental achievement, one that was met with celebration by the Somali diaspora around the world. The dispute over the legitimacy of the election process continues to be the topic of conversation, it’s clear that the federal government’s desire for absolute control supersedes the rights of the people. To further exacerbate the issue, IGAD foreign ministers have recently backed the election of Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed (Ahmed Madoobe), citing no issues with the voting process. It is nonsensical for the president to focus on such a nonissue and neglect substantial concerns such as, national security, the economy and human rights. The government claims to be promoting peace and reconciliation among tribes; however, their rejection of Jubaland as a state, is just one of the many political decisions that contradict their claims. It is crucial that President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamoud demonstrates leadership to establish concord within Somalia. Nevertheless, instead of focusing on uniting the Somali people and restoring hope to a country that has undergone more than two decades of war and instability, the president has spent his time traveling from country to country to seek financial aid from disinterested leaders. The president has been in office for less than a year and has already spent more time overseas than in his own country; understandably restoring diplomatic ties is essential, however it should not be done at the expense of the people. The optimism and hope the Somali people once had in their president has turned into apprehension and uncertainty. It is evident that the federal government has fallen short of meeting the expectations required of them to reconstruct Somalia. Furthermore, the president has switched positions on developing regional
administrations so many times it is hard to decipher what his true stance is. President Mohamoud has a tendency of appealing to whatever audience happens to be listening to him at the time, which is why he flip-flops on key issues. If the president wants to move forward from the years of tribal conflict, he should serve as an example by properly understanding the constitution and adhering to it, however, as of now the central government is almost entirely made up of men from his own tribe who create conflict by serving their own personal interests. Change will never be achieved unless it begins from within the government, Somalia can’t afford to persist in the continuous tribalism that has plagued the country for years.
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‘Arab Idol’ Mohammed Assaf Renews Hopes for Palestinians, Arab World A few months ago over dinner, my mother enthusiastically said, “a Palestinian singer from Gaza made Arab Idol’s second season!” “His name is Mohammed Assaf,” she told me, adding that he is reminiscent of the iconic, late Egyptian singer, Abdel Halim Hafiz. My mother continued. I remained silent. For one second, I wanted to laugh, but I did not. Not at my mother, not at Assaf, and not at Arab Idol, even though I rarely followed American Idol during its heyday in my teens (I still do not). In retrospect, I know my desire to laugh, albeit, briefly, stemmed from disbelief. Could a Palestinian really advance in something so popular? What would that mean for Palestinians? Assaf went on to win the hearts of millions in the Arab world and far beyond. After watching him perform for the first time, he instantaneously won mine. His Facebook page reached over 750,000 fans and he has more than 260,000 followers on Twitter. On Saturday night in Beirut, Lebanon, where Arab Idol is taped live, Assaf, 23, realized his dream and won Arab Idol. I cried. Tears of joy, of course. But there was something else to his victory, for me and no doubt many others. I realized that during Assaf’s magical musical journey, my hope for the Palestinian people and the Arab World was renewed, and I was reminded to celebrate my Palestinian heritage despite any previous negative experiences. Scrutiny and Stereotypes When I was in middle school, classmates persistently asked where I was from. There were few students of Arab descent, and even fewer were Palestinians. My parents, who came to the U.S. fleeing the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict over 45 years ago, told me at a young age that we are of Palestinian origin. They suggested, however that I always be careful how I address it. I finally learned about the discrimination my father faced from colleagues. Educated adults asked constant questions such as: Are you a terrorist and have you ever blown up any buildings. He was shocked that to his own colleagues, he was a vile stereotype. And to my dismay, the reactions with which my father was met,
I regularly encountered in high school, even college. So, when I, along with millions of others began rooting for Mohammed Assaf, I wondered, will he be perceived the way some classmates perceived me, or how some of my father’s
Cairo, where he would audition before a panel of world-renowned Arab singers and producers. He encountered various difficulties and delays at the Rafah border crossing, remaining without sleep. When he arrived at the audition auditorium, the doors
the Arab world as a whole,” he asserted. When Arab Idol hosts announced that Assaf was the victor on Saturday, he bowed down, praying and thanking God. Echoing what he stated during his radio interview in his
colleagues perceived him? This was a pan-Arab singing competition, so fortunately, no scrutiny and criticism there. I just couldn’t help but wonder how the West might view him. Or what some of my own non-Arab friends might say. After all, Assaf has been covered in a number of established mainstream news media, including CNN, NPR, and The Los Angeles Times. Assaf, the Antithesis Assaf, to a large degree, however is the antithesis of what the stereotypical Palestinian is. Assaf is the face of Palestine, many, especially in the West, have not seen or do not wish to recognize. Maysoon Zayid, a contributor for The Daily Beast wrote that Assaf, “humanizes a generation of males who have been reduced to terrorist caricatures,” and “has parents who obviously love and support him,” unlike the “fabled Palestinian parents who want their children to die martyrs.” Raised partly in the Gaza refugee camps of Khan Yunis, Assaf dreamed of becoming a professional singer since the age of 10 and how he made it to Arab Idol is material that makes Hollywood producers salivate. Assaf spent two days to reach
were locked. Determined, he jumped the fence and explained himself to concerned security guards who eventually allowed him inside. But he was too late. All contestant numbers were gone. Then one contestant heard Assaf sing and gladly volunteered his number. Assaf was again almost turned away, this time by the exhausted panel preparing to call it a day. Winning for Palestinians and the Arab World For three months, in every Arab Idol performance, Assaf wowed the crowds and judges. He flawlessly delivered classical Arabic songs by legendary artists from several decades ago, as well as contemporary ones, including a hit by The Backstreet Boys. In each rendition, he infused his delightful originality. In his interviews, he has emphasized the importance of representing not only the Palestinian people and their struggle, but the Arab World as a whole, when he sings. “I am not interested in obtaining the title of Arab Idol for greed,” he said in an interview with Raya, a Gaza-based radio station, earlier this month. “If I win, it will be for all the Palestinian people and
acceptance speech, he dedicated his win to all Palestinian people around the world, hoping for peace, making the peace sign. Assaf’s victory was widely covered in Arab news media early Sunday morning. Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Tamer Almishal, reporting live from Gaza, said that for a long time, “no one was watching soccer games or political speeches.” “We are oppressed here and I know his win is a victory for us,” said one eldery woman there. Throngs of fans dancing and cheering in the streets of Gaza, the West Bank, Cairo, Amman, and throughout the Arab world were shown on Arabic broadcast networks. “Mohammed Assaf and Arab Idol helps us see hope for future generations,” said a Syrian woman residing in Cairo on another newscast. “There is more to the Arab world than just political problems. There is positivity, pride, and talent. Assaf is proof for us all.” Suzanne Manneh is an Arab American journalist, formerly with New America Media, she is a frequent contributor to Arab America.com.
Why Washington Should Welcome Iran Mediation on Syria This week marked another grim milestone in Syria’s ongoing civil war when the death toll topped 100,000. But as hopes for a peaceful resolution fade, a window of opportunity may have opened with the election of Iran’s new moderate leader, the cleric Hassan Rowhani. The question is whether the United States is willing to go that route. On June 22, under the banner of “Friends of Syria-London 11,” 11 Western and West-leaning Arab states met to discuss future steps in helping the Syrian uprising, which has now entered its third year. The delegates announced measures to augment humanitarian aid and raise the level of military assistance. Simultaneously the London 11 conferees discussed Geneva II, a U.N.-brokered international peace conference envisaged to settle the conflict “politically.” The conference, originally scheduled for June, was later pushed to July, with reports of another postponement likely. A major sticking point is the list of participants for Geneva II. While the majority of international delegates will most likely come from countries sympathetic to the rebel forces fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Russia and China insist that Iran be included on that list. Washington has so far scoffed at that request, simultaneously moving to arm rebel fighters in Syria after U.S. officials announced earlier this month they had conclusive evidence that Assad had used chemical weapons against opposition forces. The Syrian regime, however, is not without its supporters. Apart from its two larger patrons in Moscow and Beijing, Assad also draws support from Iraq’s volunteer Shiite combatants and the Lebanese fighters of Hezbollah, which have taken on an increasingly high-profile role in the conflict. For his part, President Putin is committed to sell the Syrian government game changing SS 300 anti-aircraft missiles, a development Israel considers to be
a “red line.” With the international community at a loss in its search for common ground on Syria’s tragic crisis, circumstances in Iran, which has large stakes and far reaching
out of the ordinary. While Israel has expressed doubts about the potential for change in Tehran, European leaders have been more positive. In a recent policy shift, French President Francois Holland “welcomed” the newly elected
influence in the region, suggest a potential opening. On June 14, voters in Iran turned out in large numbers to elect Rowhani, the lone moderate candidate who in his campaign promised to reverse many of the more hardline policies of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and has expressed a desire to improve long-strained ties with Washington. Rowhani’s intent for reform, his popularity and the widespread desire for change in Iran provide the new leader with a unique opportunity to contribute positively to the Syrian crisis and to Iran’s relations with the West. And despite doubts about the limited power of Iran’s president – the office is subordinate to that of the nation’s Spiritual Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i -- several analysts argue Khamene’i may be less able to control a popularly elected figure like Rowhani. Others contend Khamene’i would not have allowed Rowhani to be elected in the first place if he were not inclined to approve the new leader’s moderate approach. Involving Iran in diplomacy on Syria should not be considered
president of Iran to be a participant in Geneva II. Regrettably, however, Holland expects Iran to stop supporting Damascus to qualify for international mediation, a condition Tehran is unlikely to accept. Still, the Islamic Republic’s interest in Syria’s survival as a state, its strong desire to end the debilitating sanctions imposed on it by the West and Tehran’s affinity
with the Syrian regime puts it in a good position to contribute to such mediation. Treating Tehran as a partner in peace making could also help facilitate the creation of a representative, reliable and viable transitional Syrian government and the early departure of Hezbollah fighters from the battlefield. Looking ahead, a deal with Iran on Syria promises a potentially groundbreaking resolution to other related sources of conflict: Tehran’s nuclear program, Lebanon’s descent into chaos and the U.S. quagmire in Afghanistan among them. In other words, it is possible that Syria could serve as a gateway to a larger diplomatic Iranian bargain with the West. U.S. Ambassador William Green Miller, an expert on Iran whose experience in dealings with Tehran goes back to 1959, is unreservedly hopeful about such potential. “I am of the view,” he wrote in a recent op-ed, “that the next year or so will present the best opportunity for the United States and Iran to settle differences and dispel mutual distrust between our countries through serious negotiations.” Let’s hope those in Washington share his enthusiasm.
Fasting for Health in Ramadan By Rehan Zaidi Like everyone else, the body too needs a holiday. Fasting gives our body the break that it needs, helping it to detoxify and revitalize. The Ramadan fast incorporates the health benefits of a detoxification program at the level of the body, and includes an element of ridding toxicity from the mind and spirit. These holistic benefits have an incredible transforming ability. Toxic thoughts Greed, bitterness, arrogance, and all the vile attributes of which sages throughout the ages have warned people inevitably and discretely creep into all our hearts as we remain absorbed and distracted by our gogo lifestyles. It is as if we don’t get a chance to reflect over why we’re working so hard. For most people there is no end until illness finally catches up with them, or they find themselves caught off guard in a life crisis of a sort. A yearly fast is a brisk way to put perspective back into our mindless, day-in-day-out routine. Think of fasting as a stripping away of everything extra, a period of deep inner reflection and a breaking away that rekindles our sense of compassion, humility, and
thankfulness. It is a time when the world suddenly starts going in slow motion, and everything familiar starts becoming distant and strange, and matters that seemed urgent are now less so. True, work becomes less productive; it is just not possible to keep up the high pace during a time when the body is healing and resting. But it all seems okay. Fasting causes an altered consciousness conducive to spirituality; forcing it back into ritual behavior would be like defying our very nature. Taking the time to turn inward and reassess what is valuable to us is the key to the healing process during Ramadan. Anyone who recognizes that the mind is not just a separate entity locked upstairs somewhere in the attic—detached from the body— will see the implication of a spiritual outlook on health. The difference between an attitude of contentment with one’s affairs and bitterness with what was destined, for example, could be the simple difference between wellbeing and illness. That being the case, a fast that can help rid toxic thoughts—thoughts that make people sick and keep them there—would be a fast far superior to the one that merely restricts what one ingests for a few hours.
Eating Dates in Ramadan
As far as Ramadan goes, it could be argued that the later is preordained only as a means to the prior. What happens during a fast? Fasting is actually routine for the body: aside from the controlled fasts in which some people take part, the body goes into a state of fasting every night while we sleep—that is also why the morning meal is appropriately called “break-fast”. We commonly find that on waking the tongue is coated, breath foul, skin puffy, and the mind foggy; all early signs of detoxification. The night fast is just a small break from a lifetime of excess intake of rich, salty, and sweetened foods. People have different experiences when fasting. Those with high metabolisms find fasting quite difficult, especially near the beginning before their body has made the metabolic adjustments. Those of slower metabolisms accustomed to few meals a day usually report feeling better while fasting and often even have more energy to perform their usual duties. Both groups, however, experience a period of physiological rest for the body starting at the digestive tract and its mucosal lining and affecting all the other organs as well. The
process causes a cleansing away of waste products—a normal and regular process, but without the burden of further intake. The body is thus able to clear toxins better, quicker and more efficiently. This clearing process is most critical when it comes to the digestive tract because it is the barrier that regulates how material from the outside world enters the body. An unhealthy intestinal mucosal lining offers poor protection to the blood and inner organs against a variety of environmental and metabolic toxins. What happens during a fast is quite predictable. Some people worry that they find their blood cholesterol levels and uric acid levels rise during the fast, but this temporary rise returns back to normal, or lower, shortly after the completion of the fast. ESR levels, a marker for inflammation in the body, tends to decrease during the course of a fast. All of these changes indicate that the body is functioning at a cleaner level. Some other symptoms during a fast also be expected: nausea, foul breath, dizziness, headaches, tiredness and a need for more sleep, skin rashes, dandruff, dark circles under the eyes, and other symptoms indicating that the body is working through a healing crisis.
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By Muslim Voice Staff Why Do People Eat Dates During Ramadan? I’ve always wondered if there is a reason as to why dates are popular during Ramadan. Can you tell me what the significance is? Dates are a staple fruit of the Middle East having been in cultivation for thousands of years. Traditionally, dates are known as the food the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, ate when he broke from his fast. Muslims all over the world have carried on this great tradition and break their fast with dates and a refreshment. During the period of Ramadan, when fasting lasts from sunrise
to sunset, the body can develop mild health problems such as headaches, low blood sugar, and lethargy. To avoid such problems, one should carefully monitor their eating habits once fasting for the day has ended. Dates are an excellent source of fiber, sugar, magnesium, potassium, and have carbohydrates which will aid the body in maintaining health. The carbohydrates found in dates also make the fruit a slower digesting food, much better than fried or fatty foods which digest fast and leave one hungry for more! So, break your fast with two, three, or even four dates. They are good for you.
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Love for Your Brother/Sister What You Love for Yourself By Fathiyyah Bashshar On the authority of Abu Hamzah Anas bin Maalik (radiAllaahu anhu) - the servant of the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) - that the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said : “None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.” It was related by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim Golden Rule This hadith is strongly correlated with the Golden Rule which is “do as to others what you want to yourself” and that is to love for your brother what you love for yourself. In this society, we live where people are shy to give advice or get offended to accept advice. When in reality, we should be welcoming in accepting other’s advice and give advice in the best way. This is essential for the fabric of the community and for your personal self. Accepting the Truth Is it possible to be better than someone else? There is an authentic narration mentioned in Al Hakim where a companion asks the Prophet (pbuh), “Oh Messenger of Allah, you have
seen what is bestowed upon me from beauty, and because of that beauty that has been bestowed upon me, I don’t like anyone else to look better than me. Is that arrogance? Is that transgression?” The Prophet (pbuh) responds saying, “No, that’s not transgression, that’s not arrogance. What is arrogance or transgression is to the reject the truth when faced with it and to look down on people.” Based on this response, one of the characteristics of a believer is to accept the truth when they are confronted with it. So, when talking about loving for a brother what you love for yourself, that’s shouldn’t be an issue. Flaws in Others Another part of loving your brother what you love for yourself is really pushing the person to seek to rectify the flaws of others. Sometimes when we see flaws for others, instead of hoping, striving, and working toward rectify their difficulties in flaws, we actually exploit them. We take advantage of them and make ourselves feel better. This is actually a disease in the heart that we need to see someone to do something bad in order for us to feel good. Rather, we should fix their problems and love for them to able to grow in their relationship with Allah. Hassad (Envy) & Ghibta (Jealousy) Hassad is where you see something good in someone, and not only do you want it, but you want them to lose it.
Whereas ghibta is you see that good in someone else, and you want it, but you want it without them losing it. So, if we feel like we want someone else to lose the good that they have, then that’s actually a problem in our belief, in the way that we look at our brother or our sister. It’s a problem in our love for our brother or our sister, and it’s contradictory to the meaning of this hadith. Beyond the Translation In the translation, it says “true belief” because we shouldn’t say that someone that does not attain this station is no longer a believer. They are a believer; they just haven’t reached that high level of faith. Another part of the hadith says “akhi” but some commentators say it’s not just “his brother”, it’s very general. This means it’s not just to Muslims, but all of humanity. Therefore for the person to receive true faith they have to love their brother in humanity, Muslim or non-Muslim, what they love for themselves. This is a very high level of spirituality and selflessness the true believer should seek. Another characteristic of this hadith is wanting the brother to have what you have and even better. This doesn’t let us feel this scarcity mindset, and part of that is that it is a manifestation of us realizing that Allah is endless in His bounty. Sometimes when you look at what others have, we have that disease that makes us think that if they have it, then we can’t. However,
Allah (swt) is endless in His bounty and endless in His generosity, even infinite in these qualities. Allah swt can give and take as He pleases so it shouldn’t make a difference if someone else has something as well. Holding yourself accountable is also an essential characteristic. You hold yourself accountable and question yourself about your feelings towards your brother, sister, or humanity and why you feel that way. We should seek to attain this level, to have this love towards a cause. This cause is a principle that we love and we know that Allah can give and He is bountiful, and not by anything else. For example, Imam Shafi’i said that he would love for people to learn this knowledge and that none of it would be attributed to him; which shows how beautiful his character was. May Allah (swt) to beautify our character and forgive us for our sins and our shortcomings, and to help us love for our brothers what we love for ourselves. A closing story of Malcolm X, he was encountered by this hadith. He thought it was profound but didn’t know it was a hadith, yet stuck with him for the rest of his life. This is how the examples of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) should be, because these are timeless, amazing, beautiful, and expansive wisdoms that should stick with us and affect us with the way we look at life and the way we deal with others.
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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.
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ISLAMIC CENTERS IN ARIZONA
PHOENIX Arizona Cultural Academy 7810 S. 42nd Pl. • Phoenix 602-454-1222 Islamic Center of Arizona 9032 N. 9th St. • Phoenix
Islamic Center of N. Phoenix 13246 N. 23rd Ave. 85029 602-371-3440 Islamic Comnty Ctr of Phx 7516 N. Black Canyon Hwy. Phoenix • 602-249-0496 Muslim Community Mosque 1818 N. 32nd St. • Phoenix 602-306-4959 Masjid Al-Rahmah 2645 E. McDowell Rd. • Phoenix 602-275-5493 Masjid Muhammad Ibn Abdullah
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