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AMERICAN-MUSLIMS COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Vol.17 Issue No.188
May 2012 Jumada Al-Awwal / Jumada Al-Akhar
Muslim Women Slowly Breaking Sports Barrier SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--The women entered the brightly colored room with sets of kickboxing equipment lined up on the side. Some slowly took off their scarves, also known as a hijab, and jilbab, revealing their workout gear underneath. Their fitness instructor, Phalestinah Abdo, welcomes them with the words, “Assalamu ‘alaykum” (Peace be with you). Responding with the words, “Wa ‘alaykum salaam,” they began stretching their arms, starting their cardio kickboxing routine with two sharp jabs and a hook. Although there is nothing in the Quran that forbids Muslim women from exercising, they are not allowed to exercise uncovered or have physical contact with men. However, there are many stories well known to Muslims about women going to battles. During the Battle of Khaybar in 629, fought between Muhammad and his followers against the Jews living in Khaybar, 20 Muslim women went along with Muhammad and his followers. “If these women from the past were warriors, then they were probably jumping or riding a horse,” said Jittaun Jones, a Muslim fitness instructor.
Arizona executes third inmate this year
Western perceptions of Muslim women often revolve around images of passive figures shadowed by both men and the robes that enshroud them. “I find it interesting that other religions - despite their histories of oppressing women - are not seen in the same light as Islam,” said Yuka Nakamura, a York University assistant professor who studied Muslim women’s participation in sports. “Perhaps this is because the image of the Muslim woman has become so emblematic, and the image of the veiled Muslim woman is so vivid.” Empowering Muslim Women in a Safe Environment
In 2004, the Muslim Community Association (MCA) of the San Francisco Bay Area saw a need to provide a place for Muslim women to have fun and get in shape while observing their religion. MCA Bay Area offers fitness classes, such as cardio kickboxing and a boot camp designed for Muslim women with infants.
Do you believe Islam prohibits women from participating in sports? Yes
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Abdo, 33, was inspired to teach cardio kickboxing at MCA when she saw the need for fitness designed for Muslim women.
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“I want to focus on empowering women in the Muslim community,” Abdo said. “Many of them do not have the opportunity to exercise in their home countries or in a women’s
Continued on page 3
US Supreme Court reviews Arizona immigration law
Debate still lights up over Michigan smoking ban
The Muslim is the Brother of a Muslim
Pakistan’s top court convicts PM of contempt
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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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Arizona executes third inmate this year By AMANDA LEE MYERS Associated Press FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) _ Arizona on Wednesday executed a death-row inmate convicted of killing a Tucson college student after robbing him of $200 _ the third execution in the state this year. Thomas Arnold Kemp, 63, was given a lethal injection at the state prison in Florence as he lay strapped to a table in the death chamber. His time of death was 10:08 a.m. The death puts Arizona on pace to match its busiest year for executions and makes it one of the busiest deathpenalty states in the nation. Kemp was sentenced to death for kidnapping Hector Soto Juarez from outside Juarez’s Tucson home on July 11, 1992, and robbing him before taking him into the desert near Marana, forcing him to undress and shooting him twice in the head. Juarez, 25, had just left his apartment and fiancée to get food when Kemp and Jeffery Logan spotted him. They held him at gunpoint and used his debit card to withdraw $200 before driving him to the Silverbell Mine area, where Kemp killed Juarez. The two men then went to Flagstaff, where they kidnapped a married couple traveling from California to Kansas and made them drive to Durango, Colo., where Kemp raped the man in a hotel room. Later, Kemp and Logan forced the couple to drive to Denver, where the couple escaped. Logan soon after separated from Kemp and called police about Juarez’s murder. Logan led police to Juarez’s body, and Kemp was arrested. Logan was later sentenced to life in prison. Kemp has argued that his conviction was unfair because then-prosecutor Kenneth Peasley repeatedly told jurors that Kemp’s homosexuality was behind Juarez’s kidnapping and murder, and that the jury hadn’t been properly vetted for their feelings about gay men. Outside of wishing he had killed Logan when he had the chance, Kemp said at his sentencing that he had no regrets. ``I don’t show any mercy, and I am certainly not here to plead for mercy,’’
he said at the sentencing, a time when most defendants convicted of firstdegree murder argue that they should be spared the death penalty.
8. Another inmate, Samuel Villegas Lopez, is scheduled to be executed on May 16 for the brutal rape and murder of a Phoenix woman.
``The so-called victim was not an American citizen and, therefore, was beneath my contempt,’’ Kemp said and then referred to Juarez using a racial slur. ``If more of them ended up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico where they belong.’’
Three other inmates who are near the end of their appeals also could be put to death this year, putting the state on pace to execute seven men in 2012.
Kemp did not respond to a recent letter from The Associated Press asking whether he feels the same way after nearly 20 years on death row. In a rare move, Kemp also declined to seek mercy from Arizona’s clemency board, often an inmate’s last chance to argue why they don’t deserve to be killed. In a letter written March 29, Kemp said such a hearing ``provides public humiliation of the prisoner without any chance that the board might actually recommend a commutation.’’ The letter was provided to the AP through Kemp’s Tucson attorney, Tim Gabrielsen. ``In light of the board’s history of consistently denying requests for commutations, my impression is that a hearing in my case would be nothing short of a dog and pony show,’’ Kemp wrote. Kemp’s execution was the third in the state this year. Arizona executed Robert Henry Moormann on Feb. 29 and Robert Charles Towery on March
Arizona established its death penalty in 1910. Since then, the most inmates Arizona has executed in a given year was seven in 1999. Texas leads the nation in executions just about every year, and last year put 13 inmates to death. So far this year, Texas has executed four men _ the most of the seven states that have executed inmates in 2012. Executions nationwide have decreased steadily since they hit an all-time high of 98 executions in 1999 and have averaged 44 a year since 2007, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. In the last five years, four states have repealed the death penalty _ New Mexico, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. Governors in those states cited cases of innocent people being executed, and said the system was expensive and ineffective at deterring murder. On Monday, a measure to abolish capital punishment in California qualified for the November ballot, allowing voters there to decide whether to replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Continued from page 1
Muslim Women Slowly Breaking Sports Barrier environment where they feel comfortable.” To the women in Abdo’s class, this multipurpose room is a safe haven to take part in fitness classes along with other Muslim women. It becomes a place to strengthen themselves physically and mentally. Abdo is an American Muslim with Palestinian roots from her father. Besides working as an MCA fitness instructor, she is also the director and founder of Tenacious Preschool, an Islamic preschool located in the Bay Area. “I wanted to incorporate Islam as a moral and spiritual guide and provide the best strategies the American system of education has to offer,” Abdo explained. She believes that the American system offers critical thinking, creativity, public speaking, and an opportunity to thrive, and she wants to give Muslim children in the Bay Area an opportunity that others may not have. Meanwhile, Jittaun Jones, an AfricanAmerican who converted to Islam 12 years ago, teaches baby boot camp classes at MCA. “There are women who are more mosquegoing and more practicing,” said Jones.
“I happened to be one of those people, and I kept thinking that it would be nice to start something for those women.” Jones taught three classes each week from January to mid-February this year. In the classes she works out with 20 mothers with their babies. Two of the classes were designed for women who have never attempted a squat or push-up. Mothers took breaks when their babies need to be fed. Challenging Misconceptions Muslim women like Abdo and Jones challenge the misconception that Muslim women are frowned upon by other practicing Muslim men and women when participating in sports. True, there are countries, notably Saudi Arabia, that do not allow women to drive, vote or compete in sports events. However, as Jones indicated, the faith of Islam does not prescribe these prohibitions. “We’ve got to the point where people have made the religion a lot more restrictive than it should be,” Jones said. When Jones was raising her daughter, some Muslim women
would tell her, “Don’t let your daughter ride on a bike because she will lose her virginity,” or “Don’t let her play sports because something may happen to her.”
passion in sports. Other kids laughed at her and her sister when they went swimming because of their clothing, but they were still able to swim quicker than them.
Looking at the big picture shows that Muslim practices vary.
“The biggest question we always got was, ‘Aren’t you hot? How can you wear that on your head?’” said Abdo. “Of course it’s hotter, but we get used to it, and it becomes part of our identity and source of strength, not oppression.”
In Indonesia and Malaysia, for example, Muslim women are allowed to be police officers and soldiers, and they participate in international sports events. There are also plenty of Muslim athletes who are successful and are observing Islam as well. Take Ibtihaj Mohammad, for example. Mohammad, the first hijabi to represent the United States in the Olympics, is the first Muslim African-American female fencer to make it to the U.S. World Championship Team. Also, Nawal Al Moutawakkil, a Moroccan hurdler, won the women’s 400-meter event at the 1984 Summer Olympics and is considered a national hero. These women have helped defy the stereotypes about Islam. Embracing Faith--and Accepting Sports Abdo has never let anyone stop her from her
Like Abdo, many other Muslims in the world are working their way to overcome stereotypes by embracing their faith while gradually accepting sports as part of their lives. In fact, Saudi Arabia is considering sending their first female athlete to the Olympics in London this year. This move marks a significant progress for a country that has hindered women from exercising the same rights as men. “Twelve years ago when I converted, nobody was encouraged to work out,” Jones said. “As a Muslim woman, playing sports in public is something that is still evolving.”
Gunman who shot ITT tech 2 Ariz schools honored for school counselor arrested environmental education By Associated Press
on Tuesday evening.
PHOENIX (AP) _ A gunman who police say shot a counselor on the campus of a west Phoenix technical school has been arrested. Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump says 33-year-old Carlos L. Webb surrendered to a police SWAT team Wednesday. Police say Webb went to the ITT Technical Institute campus to confront his ex-girlfriend about their breakup
He went into a class and tried to force her outside, then left when she refused. Crump says Webb came back minutes later and confronted the counselor, forcing her outside and shooting her when she tried to run away. She was in serious condition Wednesday. Webb was last seen driving a black 2012 Ford Escape with California license plates. ITT’s campus is near 95th Avenue and McDowell Road offer.
By Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) _ The federal government is recognizing two Arizona schools for their science and environmental education.
Green Ribbon schools create ``green’’ environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students for jobs in the global economy.
The STAR School in Flagstaff and Phoenix’s Roadrunner Elementary School are among 78 first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.
The 78 schools were chosen from among about 100 nominees submitted by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education.
The federal recognition program began in September. The White House made the announcement Monday.
About 350 schools completed applications to their state education agencies.
US Supreme Court reviews Arizona immigration law By Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. Supreme Court has heard arguments over a tough Arizona law that requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop for any reason _ a hot button issue in the U.S. that will likely impact on this year’s presidential race. Civil rights groups say the Arizona law and similar ones in a number of other states encourage racial profiling and ethnic stereotyping, while supporters argue the states are doing the job of a federal government that has failed to adequately deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. The court is expected to issue its decision in late June, but regardless of the outcome the debate will likely have an impact on the Nov. 6 presidential elections. Across the U.S. Republicans have far outpaced Democrats in pushing tough anti-immigration laws, posing potential political problems for the party and its presumed candidate Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In the primary contests, Romney took the harshest anti-illegal immigration stance among the top contenders, but he has had little to say lately on the issue. That aggressive stand has alienated many Hispanic voters, one of the electorate’s fastest-growing segments. President Barack Obama won twothirds of the Hispanic vote in 2008, and hopes to do better this fall. Even
administration has deported nearly 400,000 people a year, far more than previous administrations, a recent poll of Hispanic voters by the Pew Research Center found that 67 percent supported Obama, and 27 percent Romney. Hispanic voters are especially important in a few battleground states that will help determine the election. Arguing for the government on Wednesday, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. tried to convince the justices that they should view the law as inconsistent with federal immigration policy. He said the records check would allow the state to ``engage effectively in mass incarceration’’ of immigrants lacking documentation. Arguing for Arizona, Paul Clement said the state law mirrored federal immigration law and that the state it took action because, with its 370-mile (600 kilometer) border with Mexico, Arizona ``bears a disproportionate share of the costs of illegal immigration.’’ Both liberal and conservative justices reacted skeptically to the administration’s argument that the state exceeded its authority when it made the records check, and another provision allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be arrested without warrants, part of the Arizona law aimed at driving illegal immigrants elsewhere. Chief Justice John Roberts took issue with Verrilli’s characterization of the check of immigration status, saying the state merely wants to notify federal authorities it has someone
in custody who may be in the U.S. illegally. ``It seems to me that the federal government just doesn’t want to know who’s here illegally and who’s not,’’ Roberts said. However, Roberts made clear at the outset of the administration’s argument Wednesday that the court was looking only at state-versusfederal power, not the civil rights concerns that already are the subject of other lawsuits. Outside the courthouse, more than 200 protesters gathered. The law’s opponents made up a clear majority
of the crowd, chanting and carrying signs such as ``Do I Look Illegal To You?’’ Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the law two years ago, was at the court Wednesday. Brewer told reporters she was ``very, very encouraged’’ by the justices’ questions. Justice Elena Kagan, who was Obama’s first solicitor general, is not taking part in the case, presumably because she worked on it while in the Justice Department.
www.AZMuslimVoice.com 4 MAY 2012 OPINION Improving Somalia’s economy through oil and agriculture Muslim Voice Mohamud Shalab First and foremost, I would like to express my condolences of the death of the former president, Abdullahi Yusuf. My deepest sympathies go to his family and the Somali population at large. He was a very important political and cultural figure, even after his presidency, and he was also one of the founding fathers of Puntland. May Allah bless his soul. If Somalia is mentioned in mainstream western news, chances are it’s not for a good reason. Whether it is terrorism, piracy or natural disasters, the East African nation is rarely if ever discussed in a positive light. However newly discovered black gold might change that scenario. As of late, parts of Somalia have been drilling for black gold in the autonomous state of Puntland. After many years of searching for oil they have stricken a reserve in Puntland. This part of Somalia alone is estimated to have 4 billion barrels of oil. The oil is worth an estimated 500 billion dollars and the prices are likely to rise as the demand for oil increases. Since oil was discovered in just two drilling blocks, it is safe to say that the country is certainly rich with this resource. Many believe that the drilling for oil can be done responsibly and if there is adequate residual income provided to the local people of Puntland, perhaps it can be done without negative consequences. Dharoor valley and the surrounding area such as the rocky mountains
(Calmadow and Cal miskaad) are abundant with natural resources. The trees in these mountainous areas produce an expanding trade in frankincense and myrrh (maydi and moxor). Frankincense and Myrrh are rare aromatic gums that are sold all across the world. The residents of these areas live on farms inherited from their parents and grandparents. The drilling for oil on this land could lead to environmental pollution and other damages that could negatively affect not only the ecosystem but the health of the local people as well. In order for this to be avoided, it would require Puntland’s state of government to present the terms and conditions of the contract they signed with the oil companies to the council of tribal elders and Puntland’s legislative body. The contract should include the rights of private environmental harms to be ordinarily redressed. The government of Puntland and oil companies should also assess the risks and costs of potential environmental disasters and erosions. Otherwise I fear that this discovery of oil may actually intensify instead of resolving the conflicts in our country. Furthermore, Somalia may be a third world country, but it has many undiscovered reserves of iron, copper, and natural gas. Its economy is surprisingly fruitful. The largest and most profitable sector was agriculture. According to the CIA it accounted for sixty five percent of Somalia’s gross domestic products. Traditionally, Somalis have been using different methods of agriculture. The most common one is rain fed dry-land farming. This method produces crops such as sesame, sorghum, beans, cotton, corn, rice, and vegetables. This
form of agriculture is dependent on weather, and the decline in production is partly due to the drought. There are many factors that act as a barrier when it comes to reconstructing Somalia’s agriculture. An irreversible issue is the loss of productive land, poor weather, and a lack of rain fall, take a toll on the soil as well. Lastly, the prolonged civil war also
had a negative impact on Somalia’s agricultural development. All of these problems combined eventually led to the elimination of agricultural infrastructure. Prior to the civil war, Somalia was a prosperous country, hopefully the agricultural resources along with newly discovered oil can drastically boost Somalia’s economy to what it once was.
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New gov’t guidance on employee background checks While the guidance does not have the force of regulations, it sets a higher bar in explaining how businesses can avoid violating the law.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Is an arrest in a barroom brawl 20 years ago a job disqualifier? Not necessarily, the government said Wednesday in new guidelines on how employers can avoid running afoul of laws prohibiting job discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s updated policy on criminal background checks is part of an effort to rein in practices that can limit job opportunities for minorities that have higher arrest and conviction rates than whites. ``The ability of African-Americans and Hispanics to gain employment after prison is one of the paramount civil justice issues of our time,’’ said Stuart Ishimaru, one of three Democrats on the five-member commission. But some employers say the new policy _ approved in a 4-1 vote _ could make it more cumbersome and expensive to conduct background checks. Companies see the checks as a way to keep workers and customers safe, weed out unsavory workers and prevent negligent hiring claims. The new standard urges employers to give applicants a chance to explain a report of past criminal misconduct before they are rejected outright. An applicant might say the report is inaccurate or point out that the conviction was expunged. It may be completely unrelated to the job, or an ex-con may show he’s been fully rehabilitated.
That data often can be inaccurate or incomplete, according to a report this month from the National Consumer Law Center. EEOC commissioners said the growing practice has grave implications for blacks and Hispanics, who are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system and face high rates of unemployment. ``You thought prison was hard, try finding a decent job when you get out,’’
The EEOC also has stepped up enforcement in recent years. It currently is investigating over 100 claims of job discrimination based on criminal background checks. Earlier this year, Pepsi Beverages Co. paid $3.1 million to settle EEOC charges of race discrimination for using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants, some who were never convicted. Constance Barker, one of two Republicans on the commission, was the only member to vote against the new policy. She blamed colleagues for not letting businesses see a draft of the guidelines before voting to approve them. ``I object to the utter and blatant lack of transparency in the process,’’ Barker said. ``We are now to approve this dramatic shift ... without ever circulating it to the American public for discussion.’’ But other members said the commission held a major hearing on the issue last
year and took more than 300 comments. Nancy Hammer, senior government affairs policy counsel at the Society for Human Resource Management, said a big concern is the potential conflict between the new guidance and state laws that require criminal background checks in certain professions. Nurses, teachers and day care providers, for example, are required by some state laws to have background checks. The new guidelines say a company is not shielded from liability under federal discrimination laws just because it complies with state laws. Devata, the employment attorney, said the new guidelines may have a chilling effect that discourages employers from conducting criminal checks. ``I think some businesses may stop doing it because it’s too hard to comply with all the recommendations in the guidance,’’ she said. The NAACP praised the new guidelines, saying they would help level the playing field for job applicants with a criminal history. ``These guidelines will discourage employers from discriminating against applicants who have paid their debt to society,’’ NAACP President-CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said.
IX ME EN
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About 73 percent of employers conduct criminal background checks on all job candidates, according to a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Another 19 percent of employers do so only for selected job candidates.
But the frequency of background checks has exploded over the past decade with the growth of online databases and dozens of search companies offering low-cost records searches.
EEOC member Chai Feldblum said. She cited Justice Department statistics showing that 1 in 3 black men and 1 in 6 Hispanic men will be incarcerated during their lifetime. That compares with 1 in 17 white men who will serve time.
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The guidelines are the first attempt since 1990 to update the commission’s policy on criminal background checks. Current standards already require employers to consider the age and seriousness of an applicant’s conviction and its relationship to specific job openings. And it is generally illegal for employers to have a blanket ban based on criminal history.
The EEOC also recommends that employers stop asking about past convictions on job applications. And it says an arrest without a conviction is not generally an acceptable reason to deny employment.
``It’s going to be much more burdensome,’’ said Pamela Devata, a Chicago employment lawyer who has represented companies trying to comply with EEOC’s requirements. ``Logistically, it’s going to be very difficult for employers who have a large amount of attrition to have an individual discussion with each and every applicant.’’
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Hundreds of thousands 5 charged with selling may lose Internet in July counterfeit luxury goods
By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) _ For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections after early July. The problem started when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers
around the world. In a highly unusual move, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system will be shut down this summer. The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by a security partner that will inform them whether they’re infected _ and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won’t be able to connect to the Internet.
By Associated Press
the five defendants were arrested on Sunday, while the fifth remains at large.
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Five people have been charged with conspiring to sell counterfeit handbags, purses, shoes and other luxury goods at a popular Baltimore flea market and other places in and around the city.
They’re accused of selling knockoff versions of luxury brands including Michael Kors, Coach, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo. The indictment says the items were shipped from New York City.
Indictments against the five were unsealed Wednesday, following Sunday’s raid on the Patapsco Flea Market by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Four of
1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed By HOPE YEN Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) _ The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work. A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge. Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs _ waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example _ and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans. An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees. Opportunities for college graduates vary widely. While there’s strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers. Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides, who can provide personalized attention as the U.S. population ages. Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade. ``I don’t even know what I’m looking for,’’ says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-yearold graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree. Initially hopeful that his college education would create opportunities, Bledsoe languished for three months before finally taking a job as a barista, a position he has held for the last two years. In the beginning he sent three or four resumes day. But, Bledsoe said, employers questioned his lack of experience or the practical worth of his major. Now he sends a resume once every two weeks or so. Bledsoe, currently making just above minimum wage, says he got financial help from his parents to help pay off student loans. He is now mulling
whether to go to graduate school, seeing few other options to advance his career. ``There is not much out there, it seems,’’ he said. His situation highlights a widening but little-discussed labor problem. Perhaps more than ever, the choices that young adults make earlier in life _ level of schooling, academic field and training, where to attend college, how to pay for it _ are having long-lasting financial impact. ``You can make more money on average if you go to college, but it’s not true for everybody,’’ says Harvard economist Richard Freeman, noting the growing risk of a debt bubble with total U.S. student loan debt surpassing $1 trillion. ``If you’re not sure what you’re going to be doing, it probably bodes well to take some job, if you can get one, and get a sense first of what you want from college.’’ Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University who analyzed the numbers, said many people with a bachelor’s degree face a double whammy of rising tuition and poor job outcomes. ``Simply put, we’re failing kids coming out of college,’’ he said, emphasizing that when it comes to jobs, a college major can make all the difference. ``We’re going to need a lot better job growth and connections to the labor market, otherwise college debt will grow.’’ By region, the Mountain West was most likely to have young college graduates jobless or underemployed _ roughly 3 in 5. It was followed by the more rural southeastern U.S., including Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. The Pacific region, including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, also was high on the list. On the other end of the scale, the southern U.S., anchored by Texas, was most likely to have young college graduates in higher-skill jobs. The figures are based on an analysis of 2011 Current Population Survey data by Northeastern University researchers and supplemented with material from Paul Harrington, an economist at Drexel University, and the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank. They rely on Labor Department assessments of the level of education required to do the job in 900-plus U.S. occupations, which were used to calculate the shares of young adults with bachelor’s degrees who were ``underemployed.’’ About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent,
of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dotcom bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields. Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year. Broken down by occupation, young college graduates were heavily represented in jobs that require a high school diploma or less. In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000). According to government projections released last month, only three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor’s degree or higher to fill the position _ teachers, college professors and accountants. Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren’t easily replaced by computers. College graduates who majored in zoology, anthropology, philosophy, art history and humanities were among the least likely to find jobs appropriate to their education level; those with nursing, teaching, accounting or computer science degrees were among the most likely. In Nevada, where unemployment is the highest in the nation, Class of 2012 college seniors recently expressed feelings ranging from anxiety and fear to cautious optimism about what lies ahead. With the state’s economy languishing in an extended housing bust, a lot of young graduates have shown up at job placement centers in tears. Many have been squeezed out of jobs by more experienced workers, job counselors said, and are now having to explain to prospective employers the time gaps in their resumes.
The defendants are 44-year-old Tidiane Ba, 51-year-old Mamadou Lamine Ba, 44-year-old Abass Baro, 33-year-old Sakho Oumar and 39-year-old Baba Toure, all of Baltimore. Toure remains at large. ``It’s kind of scary,’’ said Cameron Bawden, 22, who is graduating from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in December with a business degree. His family has warned him for years about the job market, so he has been building his resume by working part time on the Las Vegas Strip as a food runner and doing a marketing internship with a local airline. Bawden said his friends who have graduated are either unemployed or working along the Vegas Strip in service jobs that don’t require degrees. ``There are so few jobs and it’s a small city,’’ he said. ``It’s all about who you know.’’ Any job gains are going mostly to workers at the top and bottom of the wage scale, at the expense of middle-income jobs commonly held by bachelor’s degree holders. By some studies, up to 95 percent of positions lost during the economic recovery occurred in middleincome occupations such as bank tellers, the type of job not expected to return in a more high-tech age. David Neumark, an economist at the University of California-Irvine, said a bachelor’s degree can have benefits that aren’t fully reflected in the government’s labor data. He said even for lowerskilled jobs such as waitress or cashier, employers tend to value bachelor’s degree-holders more highly than highschool graduates, paying them more for the same work and offering promotions. In addition, U.S. workers increasingly may need to consider their position in a global economy, where they must compete with educated foreignborn residents for jobs. Longer-term government projections also may fail to consider ``degree inflation,’’ a growing ubiquity of bachelor’s degrees that could make them more commonplace in lower-wage jobs but inadequate for higher-wage ones. That future may be now for Kelman Edwards Jr., 24, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., who is waiting to see the returns on his college education. After earning a biology degree last May, the only job he could find was as a construction worker for five months before he quit to focus on finding a job in his academic field. He applied for positions in laboratories but was told they were looking for people with specialized certifications. ``I thought that me having a biology degree was a gold ticket for me getting into places, but every other job wants you to have previous history in the field,’’ he said. Edwards, who has about $5,500 in student debt, recently met with a career counselor at Middle Tennessee State University. The counselor’s main advice: Pursue further education. ``Everyone is always telling you, `Go to college,’’’ Edwards said. ``But when you graduate, it’s kind of an empty cliff.’’
Debate still lights up over Michigan smoking ban By JEFF KAROUB Associated Press LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ Some state lawmakers are trying to burn holes in Michigan’s two-year-old smoking ban, which has cleared the air in public places and enjoyed public support but contributed to cash-flow problems at some bars. An amendment added to a budget bill by one lawmaker this past week would stop enforcement of the ban at longtime charitable fundraising events. A Senate bill introduced last year would allow smoking in enclosed, separate rooms and outdoor patios of eateries. Neither is a done deal. But for the senator who sponsored the exemption tucked into the Michigan Department of Community Health’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year, it’s less about lighting up than letting up on regulation he never cared for in the first place. ``Philosophically I’m opposed to the smoking ban,’’ said Sen. Howard Walker, a Traverse City Republican who sought to help a Catholic charity in his district that raises tens of thousands of dollars through an annual cigar dinner. ``I think these decisions should be left up to the property owner or the employees or the patrons,’’ he said. ``Given my philosophy and also the need of our local charity to raise money for the most needy in our community, that’s why I introduced it.’’ Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing criticized both the short- and long-term goals of Walker and other Republicans in the majority who are behind efforts to ease restrictions. She called his amendment a ``misuse of the budget process to achieve a temporary fix for his friends,’’ but knows the aim isn’t to stop there. ``We are going to see an effort to undo the restrictions on smoking in establishments in Michigan,’’ Whitmer said. ``We’ve seen a number of bills introduced by Republicans already.’’ The partisan bickering underscores broader differences within the general public and business community for the law that took effect in May 2010 and bans lighting up in most Michigan workplaces and public buildings, including bars and restaurants. It made Michigan the 38th state to enact some sort of smoke-free law.
The law comes with some notable loopholes. Gambling floors at Detroit’s three casinos are exempt. So are the state’s casinos run by Indian tribes, which aren’t subject to the state law. Cigar bars and tobacco specialty shops that meet certain criteria also are exempt. The ban has broad public support but certainly has caused fissures among tavern operators, many of whom say it’s costing them money because of decreased business. A Macomb County judge last year said parts of the ban are ``confusing’’ and tossed out a fine levied against a bar owner who claimed patrons should be allowed to smoke in his establishments as they can in Michigan’s casinos. But he denied the bar’s bid to have the ban declared unconstitutional. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson filed a legal challenge against the state a couple weeks before the ban took effect, seeking state money to help pay for enforcement of what he called an unfunded mandate. Patterson dropped the suit after just a few hours because his office was flooded with calls and emails from residents supporting the smoking ban. Orlando Todd, a manager of the state health department’s tobacco program, said officials have found a high compliance rate among food establishments and complaints are usually resolved. ``The majority of businesses are very cooperative,’’ he said. The health department also conducted air-monitoring studies in 77 restaurants statewide both before and after the ban took effect and found levels of secondhand smoke pollutants dropped by 93 percent. A state Treasury Department issued a report in December that found the smoking ban reduced activity at taverns, specifically sales tax collections, liquor sales for on-premise consumption and lottery games. Still, the report concludes firm, long-term conclusions shouldn’t be drawn from the findings, since they are based on a relatively short time period in the immediate aftermath of the ban taking effect that also represented a ``turbulent economic period in the state.’’ And there’s no clear trend from the activities from other eating and drinking establishments, such as restaurants, that would indicate the smoking ban has hurt those businesses, the report said. ``It’s very hard to attribute when your sales drop _ you have to look at so many variables _ weather, construction ... our economy,’’ Todd said.
However qualified the findings, they are supported by one Traverse City tavern. Wendy Blodgett, a daytime server for two decades at Brady’s Bar, said business was ``down huge’’ the year after the ban took effect. The bar was able to make some improvements by doing more advertising, promotion and by ``giving away more for less in order to bring back business,’’ she said. Blodgett said she can separate the impact of the smoking ban and economy by using the example of a smoking customer. She said when the economy was better he would come in two or three times a week and spend $10$12 with a $5 tip. When the economy worsened he came with the same frequency but spent $3 and tipped $1. ``When the nonsmoking ban went into effect, he became a once-a-month customer,’’ she said. On the flip side, she said the bar has gained some nonsmoking customers from other restaurants. ``It’s taken your non-smokers and spread them out,’’ she said. Blodgett has no ill-will for the cigar dinner charity getting a special exemption _ should it become part of the budget passed into law. She knows some of the men who participate and calls them ``elders of our community.’’ ``They used to come in ... but that group doesn’t come in anymore,’’ she said. ``If they want to have a cigar, I want them to have it.’’ Two years on, the debate over the ban shows no signs of extinguishing, yet Todd holds on to hope that the law is about more than politics. ``This isn’t a Republican-Democrat thing, it’s about health,’’ he said.
Child literacy bill altered in Colorado By KRISTEN WYATT Associated Press DENVER (AP) _ A children’s literacy bill aimed at making sure all Colorado pupils read by fourth grade passed a big test in the state Senate on Wednesday, but not before senators took a red pen to parts of the measure to address complaints it was too ham-fisted toward struggling young readers. A Senate committee approved the bill 4-1 after changing it to address how the change would be funded and who decides whether pupils flunk a grade. As proposed, the measure would have required students far behind on reading skills by the end of third grade to be held back without a superintendent’s permission. The measure was changed to require parents of those students to hear a discussion about retention, but not mandate flunking. The bill was also changed to designate some $16 million designated for ``interventions’’ for poor readers. Some education groups had complained that the literacy measure required pricey policy changes without giving schools money to pay for them, a complaint that has dogged previous attempts to raise reading performance. Republican Sen. Nancy Spence, one of the Senate sponsors of the measure, supported the changes because she said failure wasn’t an option for a new tactic in reading education. ``We could fill the Pepsi Center every year with students who can’t read and are on track to drop out of school,’’ Spence said, rattling of state assessment statistics that more than
a fourth of Colorado’s third-graders aren’t reading at grade level. The changes were praised by educators, who said they were more comfortable with the new version. ``There’s been much progress on this legislation,’’ said Elliott Asp of the Cherry Creek School District. He praised the retention change and lauded new language on how to pay for the measure. ``We know that the lack of funding truly is a major barrier to affecting early literacy,’’ he said. Not everyone was sold. Some groups and teachers repeated their earlier arguments that Colorado would be better off spending the money expanding pre-kindergarten classes and funding full-day kindergarten. Democratic Sen. Michael Johnston,
another sponsor of the measure, said Colorado simply doesn’t have the money to fund those ideas right now. The bill already passed the House and has the support of Gov. John Hickenlooper. The literacy measure now awaits action by another Senate committee before it heads to the full Senate. Many states are looking at get-tough proposals to make sure students can read by fourth grade. Education advocacy groups including the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation have said reading by fourth grade is crucial for young learners. As introduced, Colorado’s proposal would require that the poorest readers be identified as soon as kindergarten and identified for grade retention. The worst readers would receive extra
KEY DEBT REDUCTION
help called ``intervention,’’ and for those still in the lowest category by the end of third grade, the state would recommend flunking. The grade-retention proposal raised alarm from some parents and school districts that the state would override local decisions on grade retention, and that holding kids back a grade can help some but backfire for others. Senators working on the bill Wednesday seemed interested in assuaging those concerns while keeping the spirit of the bill. A former state school board member, Peggy Littleton of El Paso County, testified that it’s past time for Colorado to recast its approach to early reading. ``We’ve already thrown money at literacy. Lots of money at literacy. How’s that working out for us?’’ Littleton asked sarcastically.
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Egypt Islamic body backs Brotherhood candidate By SARAH EL DEEB Associated Press CAIRO (AP) _ A panel of fundamentalist Islamic clerics on Wednesday endorsed the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood for president of Egypt, an attempt to prevent a split of the conservative Muslim voters. In another twist, Egypt’s election commission late Wednesday reinstated a candidate, a former regime official it disqualified just a day earlier, scrambling the projected voting even more. The ultraconservative endorsement boosted the Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi, who faces competition in next month’s election from a more moderate Islamist, AbdelMoneim Abolfotoh, who broke ranks with the group. Support for Morsi came from the Jurisprudence Commission for Rights and Reform, a panel of clerics mostly from the ultraconservative Salafis and new Islamist parties, but also including a Brotherhood member. The decision was announced at a news conference in Cairo. Despite the official unity, the presence of two strong Islamist candidates raised the possibility that the religious vote could be split, creating fierce competition with secular figures.
the strength of the Islamists. He could compete for voters with Moussa. Shafiq was disqualified Tuesday after the Islamist-dominated parliament passed a law barring former senior officials from the Mubarak regime from running for office. On Wednesday, Shafiq appealed the disqualification, challenging the constitutionality of the law that banned him. Shafiq argued the law was passed after he applied to run, Egypt’s official news agency reported. The commission referred the law to the constitutional court, and then it reinstated Shafiq. The race has already seen a series of dramatic turns, with major candidates suddenly entering and just as fast exiting the race, mostly through decisions by the commission. It has vetoed 10 candidates on technical grounds, including the two strongest Islamists and Mubarak’s onetime intelligence chief. Islamists _ the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultraconservative Salafi groups _ have emerged as an important power brokers in Egypt after the ouster of Mubarak last year. Under his reign, the Brotherhood was outlawed, and the Salafis were not active politically. Together they now have a large majority in parliament and wield considerable power in the society.
One is former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who is popular among many who fear a dominant Islamist influence.
The endorsement by the ultraconservative clerics Wednesday boosts Morsi’s chances by adding a strong Salafi voice to his backing from Brotherhood members.
In a surprise move, Egypt’s election commission reinstated another secular candidate who could split that sector of the vote _ deposed leader Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.
Even so, the decision likely won’t prevent a split of the Islamist vote. Some Salafis fear the Brotherhood’s strong organization and worry about its tendencies to monopolize power. They are likely to support Abolfottoh.
Shafiq is popular among supporters of Mubarak and also Egyptians who fear
The endorsement Wednesday ``will improve (Morsi’s) position in the race,’’
said Khalil al-Anani, an Islamist groups expert. ``But he will not get the majority of the Salafi votes.’’ Morsi was the Brotherhood’s second choice as a candidate. Its top strategist and deputy leader, Khairat el-Shater, was disqualified by the election commission because of a past imprisonment. Morsi was seen as a weaker candidate who may not be able to rally enough Islamists behind him. Another influential group of clerics is expected to announce its decision on
who it will endorse for the race in the coming days. The group, an even more conservative set of Salafi clerics, is more concerned with ideological purity than with politics. They have a more grass roots following, but it was unclear how many voters the Salafis will carry over from parliamentary elections, and how they will make their choices in the race for president. The first round of elections is set for May 23-24. If no one wins a majority, a runoff will be held in June.
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Pakistan’s top court convicts PM of contempt By ASIF SHAHZAD Associated Press
ISLAMABAD (AP) _ The Supreme Court convicted Pakistan’s prime minister of contempt on Thursday for refusing to reopen an old corruption case against the country’s president, but spared him a prison term in a case that has stoked political tensions in the country. The ruling against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appeared to be a compromise, but could still mean problems for him because he has been convicted in a court. That means he could face dismissal from office in the weeks, or more likely, months to come. His lawyer said he would appeal the verdict, further delaying any action that could see Gilani lose his job. Elections are scheduled for later this year or early next, meaning it is quite possible the government could see out its term with Gilani still in charge. Gilani smiled when the verdict was read out in a packed court house. The ruling said that Gilani was guilty of contempt but would serve a sentence only ``until the rising of the court,’’ or by the time the judges left the chamber. That happened about three minutes after the verdict was handed down.
Gilani is the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Pakistan, where civilian governments have repeatedly been toppled by the country’s powerful military, often with the support of the Supreme Court, which critics allege is heavily politicized. Corruption charges have routinely been used to target those in power, or seeking to return. The source of the current conflict is a graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari that involves kickbacks he and his late wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, allegedly received from Swiss companies when Bhutto was in power in the 1990s. They were found guilty in absentia in a Swiss court in 2003. Zardari appealed, but Swiss prosecutors ended up dropping the case in 2008 after the Pakistani government approved an ordinance giving the president and others immunity from old corruption cases that many agreed were politically motivated. The Pakistani Supreme Court ruled the ordinance unconstitutional in 2009 and ordered the government to write a letter to Swiss authorities requesting they reopen the case against Zardari. Gilani has refused, saying the Pakistani constitution grants the president immunity from criminal prosecution while in office.
Yemen army recaptures center of al-Qaida-held city
Relief agency: Syrian troops fire at refugees By Associated Press AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ A relief agency says Syrian troops ambushed a group of about 900 people fleeing the country over the weekend into neighboring Jordan. Kitab and Sunna spokesman Mohammed Ahmed Iyad said Monday that dozens of Syrians who crossed the border with burns and gunshot wounds were rushed to hospitals in Jordan. Iyad said many of the refugees said
By AHMED AL-HAJ Associated Press SANAA, Yemen (AP) _ Yemeni government troops have fought their way into the center of an al-Qaidaheld city in the lawless south after a fierce, six-hour battle that ended early Tuesday, military officials said. The soldiers, backed by artillery and tanks, launched their push into Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, under the cover of darkness, the officials said. By the time they made it to the heart of Zinjibar, dozens were killed and wounded on both sides, the officials said, though they gave no exact figures. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. At least four tanks, captured earlier by al-Qaida fighters, were destroyed in the fighting, according to the officials. Al-Qaida militants seized Zinjibar last May when fighters from the terror network’s Yemeni branch took advantage of the internal political turmoil in the impoverished nation to capture several cities and towns in the south. The latest fighting is part of a stepped up efforts by government forces in
their fight against al-Qaida’s dangerous Yemen branch. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who took over from Yemen’s longtime authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, has vowed to make the fight against the terror network a priority.
that Syrian troops early Sunday attacked the group trying to enter the northern Jordanian town of Ramtha. They said Syrian forces detained dozens of people, including around 50 women. Some of the refugees said the Syrian army is specifically targeting people fleeing the violence.. Kitab and Sunna is a Jordanian charity organization assisting displaced Syrians along Jordan’s northern frontier with Syria. Authorities say there are 110,000 Syrians refugees in Jordan.
Qatar’s QNB gains controlling stake in Iraqi bank
In a separate development, Saleh’s half brother, air force commander Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, finally gave up his command Sunday and left his office at the military section of the international airport at Sanaa, the capital. Al-Ahmar had previously rejected Hadi’s decision to replace him and refused to leave. Al-Ahmar’s dismissal from his longtime command of the air force was part of Hadi’s shake-up of the armed forces, weeding out Saleh loyalists and relatives from key posts. Hadi took over from Saleh in February after a year of protests against the authoritarian rule of the former president. The U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, said over the weekend that the shake-up has helped the fight against al-Qaida. The United States has over the years poured millions of dollars into Yemen’s military to help it fight the militants, but Saleh used most of the money to bolster military units loyal to his rule.
By Associated Press
Iraq for the deal. It owns 23 percent of Mansour Bank now.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ Qatar National Bank says it plans to raise its stake in Iraq’s Mansour Bank to 51 percent, giving it majority control of the Baghdad-based lender.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Qatari government-controlled bank said Monday it has received approval from the Central Bank of
Mansour began operations in Baghdad in 2006. It runs seven branches throughout Iraq.
QNB says it will manage Mansour following the closure of the deal and provide it with technical and logistical support.
UAE official pledges Ruling family detains pro-reform ship for disputed island member in UAE
By Associated Press DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ The ruler of one of the United Arab Emirates has promised he would order a ship that could travel to and from a disputed island claimed by his country but controlled by Iran. Tuesday’s remark by Sharjah ruler Sheik Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi is the latest salvo from the Emirates over Abu Musa, the largest of three islands claimed by both
the Arab country and Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the island earlier this month inflamed the dispute over the territories. Sultan spoke on a television show after a viewer called in complaining there is no practical way to get to Abu Musa, which lies near the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Sultan says the boat would be fast and safe, in line with highest international standards.
By Associated Press DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ A rights group says a member of the ruling family in the northern United Arab Emirates is under guard in a palace in a possible crackdown on suspected Islamist groups. The
Center for Human Rights says Sheik Sultan al-Qasimi, a cousin of the ruler of the emirate Ras al-Khaimah, was being held in the ruler’s palace Wednesday after being detained by armed men late last week. Officials in the UAE had no official comment. Sheik Sultan is linked to an
Islamist group and has been under pressure for calling for democratic reforms. Six pro-reform activists are currently being held by UAE officials. Ras al-Khaimah, at the northern tip of the UAE, is one of the country’s seven semiautonomous emirates.
Bahrain: Jailed hunger striker in good health By Associated Press
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) _ A jailed activist on a hunger strike since early February is in ``good health’’ and receiving medical care, Bahraini officials said Wednesday, responding to opposition groups claiming his condition was sharply deteriorating. The statement by Bahrain’s Interior Ministry came after social media postings raised alarms about the fate of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been on hunger strike since Feb. 8. Al-Khawaja, 51, and seven other Shiite activists were sentenced to life in prison last year. The convictions were part of Bahrain’s crackdown during the 14-month-old uprising by the country’s Shiite majority, which seeks to reduce the wide-ranging powers of the ruling Sunni dynasty. The Interior Ministry statement described al-Khawaja as ``is in good health, despite rumors’’ and added that ``he is in hospital, receiving full medical care.’’
On Monday, an appeals court delayed a decision until at least April 30 on efforts by al-Khawaja and others to challenge their convictions, which were issued by a military-led court. Earlier this month, Bahrain rejected Denmark’s request to take custody of al-Khawaja, who is also a Danish citizen. On Monday, Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal called the situation ``very, very serious.’’ Al-Khawaja has become a powerful rallying point for near daily protests in the strategic kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. In the latest violence, Bahraini authorities said an explosion wounded four police officers during clashes late Tuesday in one of the anti-government strongholds. At least 50 people have been killed in unrest since February 2011.
government institutions,’’ she said in a statement.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed concern. ``We condemn the use of violence in all its forms, whether against peaceful demonstrators or police and
Also the State Department issued an updated travel alert for Bahrain, warning of ``spontaneous and at times violent anti-government demonstrations’’ that can include
The alert urged Americans to avoid all demonstrations, ``as even peaceful ones can become unruly.’’ It did not call on U.S. citizens to leave.
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www.AZMuslimVoice.com INTERNATIONAL 12 MAY 2012 US `very concerned’ by Sudan- Egypt comedian found guilty of offending Islam South Sudan violence
By BRADLEY KLAPPER Associated Press
it dropped eight bombs into the south. The south gained independence from the north last year.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she is ``very concerned’’ about violence between Sudan and South Sudan.
Clinton acknowledged the withdrawal by the world’s newest nation from the oil-rich border town of Heglig. She said that presented an opportunity for negotiations with the north, which the U.S. considers a state sponsor of terrorism.
She is urging both countries to stop fighting, withdraw their troops from border areas and resume peace talks. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said Tuesday that Sudan had ``declared war’’ on his country after
The neighbors dispute borders and how to share oil revenue. Clinton said the issues were difficult, but talks were preferable to war.
Arab League condemns South Sudan ‘aggression’ By MAGGIE MICHAEL and MICHAEL ONYIEGO Associated Press CAIRO (AP) _ The Arab League on Thursday condemned South Sudan’s ``military aggression’’ against an oilrich border region claimed by Sudan while also supporting Sudan’s right to defend itself. The statement came as some fear growing disputes between the two countries may soon lead to an all-out war. South Sudan seceded from Sudan last year after a referendum held as part of a 2005 peace deal that ended more than 20 years of civil war, but unresolved issues such as the sharing of oil revenues and demarcation of the border have led to tensions and clashes. Earlier this month, South Sudanese troops attacked and captured the oilrich Heglig area. Sudan says it has since recaptured it. Earlier this week, after South Sudan said it was withdrawing its troops from Heglig, Sudan dropped bombs on the South. The U.N. said the bombs killed 16 civilians. Sudan is a member of the Arab League, whose foreign ministers were meeting in Cairo. Their statement called on South Sudan to respect the borders between the two nations and to stop supporting rebel movements in Sudan’s western Darfur region, south Kordofan and Blue Nile. The meeting, said the statement, ``rejects any claims that the Heglig area is disputed,’’ meaning it belongs to Sudan. The Arab League also called for an international fact-finding mission to assess the damage caused by the attack on Heglig. It said the two nations must resolve their differences through
negotiations and called on League members to offer immediate financial aid to Sudan to rebuild oil installations in Heglig. South Sudan is mainly animist and Christian, and its people are linguistically and ethnically linked to sub-Saharan Africa. The north is overwhelmingly Muslim, and many members of the government consider themselves Arabs. Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir gave a fiery speech last week in which he said there will be no negotiations with the ``poisonous insects’’ who are challenging Sudan’s claim to disputed territory near the border. He also threatened to topple the South Sudan government in Juba. U.S. and U.N. leaders have pushed both sides to end fighting and resume negotiations. A South Sudan official said Sudan bowed to international pressure and didn’t resume attacks on the south Thursday after the violence ebbed earlier in the week. ``They have realized that what they are doing, nobody is happy about it,’’ South Sudan government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said. ``It has dawned on them, they are the ones who declared war, they are the ones calling us insects. I think they are beginning to feel the pressure.’’ The African Union also has said both countries should cease hostilities. The AU’s Peace and Security Council issued a seven-point roadmap calling for a halt to the fighting and giving Sudan and South Sudan two weeks to restart negotiations, which broke down earlier this month. The AU also warned the two countries against making inflammatory statements and propaganda against each other, which could fuel the conflict.
CAIRO (AP) _ An Egyptian court has sentenced one of the Arab world’s most famous comedic actors to jail for offending Islam in some of his most popular films.
where Islamist parties dominate the parliament after sweeping election victories.
Adel Imam was sentenced to three months in jail and fined 170 dollars for insulting Islam in roles he played.
He was initially found guilty in February in a case brought by an ultraconservative Islamist lawyer. He was given a retrial since he was first tried in absentia.
It was latest such case against a highprofile figure, underlining concerns about freedom of expression in Egypt,
Imam, 71, has acted in dozens of films in a career that spans nearly 50 years.
Imam has the right to appeal.
Explosion rocks Syrian capital as protesters mass By ALBERT AJI and BASSEM MROUE Associated Press DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) _ A suicide bomber blew himself up across the street from a mosque in the Syrian capital Friday, killing at least five people and wounding 20, state TV said. Thousands of Syrians protested elsewhere to denounce persistent violence by President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Special envoy Kofi Annan has tried to calm the crisis with a peace plan that has called for a ceasefire by both sides. The U.N. has 15 monitors in Syria who have been visiting flashpoints to try to salvage the plan, but the truce has been roundly ignored on the ground. An amateur video posted online Thursday showed people carrying the body of a boy said to have been shot dead by Syrian troops. U.N. vehicles are seen nearby.
The explosion was the latest in a wave of blasts in Syrian cities in recent months, despite a diplomatic push to end the year-old crisis. An uprising against Assad that began in March 2011 with largely peaceful protests has morphed into an armed insurgency. The blast in the capital’s Midan neighborhood went off across the street from a mosque. Anti-government protests, which usually take place on Fridays across the country, typically begin following noon prayers as worshippers stream out of mosques. Civilians and police were among those killed, according to state TV. In January, an explosion in the same area killed at least 26 people and wounded 63. Also Friday, activists reported that thousands of people protested in the northern city of Aleppo, the central region of Hama and the northern province of Idlib.
At one point some people jump on a U.N. vehicle while others bang on it with their hands. Others cordon the vehicles to protect the observers. More observers are expected in Syrian the coming days. The U.N. has approved increasing the mission to 300 observers. A U.N. spokesman said international monitors have moved into another hot spot in Syria to try to stop the violence. The U.N. monitoring team’s spokesman, Neeraj Singh, said two observers have been stationed in the southern city of Daraa, where the uprising began in March 2011.
The Muslim is the Brother of a Muslim Muslim Voice By Fathiyyah Bashshar The importance of brotherhood in Islam cannot be over stressed. There are many hadiths relating to the fact the Muslims are a single united body, each part responsible for the other. Accordingly if one of the parts is injured or hurt then the rest of the body immediately feels that pain and is certainly uncomfortable at the situation until it is rectified without delay. The brotherhood of Muslims is a very deep and wide concept that guarantees the safety and well being of the Society at large. Islam being a complete way of life is primarily for the society, it promotes a healthy and a well disciplined life style in every sense of the word. It is forbidden, for example, for two Muslims to start a whispering conversation in the presence of the third. This might offend the one left out and weaken the Brotherhood. It is not permissible for a Muslim to sever relations with his brother for more than three days. “ It is sufficient evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother. The life, wealth, and honor of a Muslim are inviolable by another Muslim” [Sahih Muslim]. As Muslims, our faith is not complete, and our worship is not sufficient, until we have built the strong bonds of brotherhood amongst ourselves. This fact is frequently forgotten by many Muslims, and these bonds are broken over minor disputes and arguments. This article discusses the importance of brotherhood in Islam, with evidence from the Quran, Sunnah. Brotherhood in the light of Holy Quran: Islam also teaches brotherhood with
regard to the original parentage. As far as their earthly origin is concerned, they are all descendants of the first pair of human being. So, the original common parentage is that of Adam and Eve and to this parentage, every human being belongs and of it he partakes. “O, mankind! Surely we have created you of a male and female and make you tribes and families that you know each other, surely the noblest among you unto Allah is one who fears him .Lo! Allah is Knower Aware” Al-Hujurat [49.13] However, Islam also teaches us another important aspect of our faith, which are the manners of how to deal with others. These manners are often neglected by Muslims. Unfortunately, it is all too common to find Muslims who perform their prayers and fasting perfectly, yet they lack the basic etiquettes taught to us by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). We as Muslims need to perfect both our worship and our manners in order to be successful and gain the pleasure of Allah. Human beings today are lonely as we have never been before. We live in a crowded world, but many of us feel very, very alone. Unless human bonds are again infused with affection and warmth of love and brotherhood, we will never be able to taste the rich joys and pleasures of living together. One of the greatest blessings of Islam is its admirable success in creating strong, warm, rich and durable bonds of love and brotherhood between human beings which no other religion has ever dreamed of. Love is the basic food for a wholesome life. Islam is the religion of love and affection. The entire world is a brotherhood of Allah’s people. Love and be loved is the wisdom which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) preached and practiced. Islam establishes human brotherhood on the basis of faith. The brotherhood of Muslims is a very deep and wide concept that guarantees the safety and
the well being of the society at large. For example, a Muslim is not really a believer if he eats his full while ignoring the plight of hungry neighbor. Ibn Abbas reported Allah’s Messenger (May peace be upon him) as saying: the person who eats his full and the neighbor in his surroundings is hungry is not Muslim” Thus, the Islamic concept of brotherhood is a blessing for us. It remained the greatest asset of Muslims in the past and it helped us a lot in order to overcome our difficulties. We get united against our enemies. The feeling of brotherhood is an essential prerequisite for unity. It shuns turmoil, turbulence, strife and dissension. But in the present era, the spirit of brotherhood is found absent among Muslims. Perhaps, never before in history has the Ummah been so aloof to the sufferings of their Muslim brethren as they are today. In short, if we want to regain our lost glory we should forget our self-made differences and be united as we are being
directed by Allah in the Holy Quran: “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you for ye were enemies and he joined your hearts in love, so that by his grace, ye become brothers; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it”. Al Imran [3:103] May Allah help us to establish the true spirit of brotherhood by forgetting our so-called differences. And it is only possible if we act upon the teachings of the Holy Quran and Holy Prophet especially in this regard. Let us step forward to promote ‘Islamic concept of brotherhood’ throughout the world. The world will InshaAllah be changed into a heavenly place. Where the differences of color, language, race and nationality will get vanished? May Allah guide us to the Straight path? Ameen!
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Food Recipes Chicken Tajin
Arabian Biryani By Chef Osama
By Chef Osama
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 whole chicken, approximately 3½ to 5 lbs.
4 tablespoons onion, chopped 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 medium onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced 1/2 Cup chopped Cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup chopped parsley
pinch saffron or turmeric pinch cayenne pepper, optional
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
1½ pounds boneless halal lamb, cubed
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees .
salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, and cayenne pepper and sauté over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
2 cups cooked basmati rice, stirred with a pinch of saffron or turmeric Garnish 2 tablespoons whole almonds
1 tablespoon golden raisins 1 hard-boiled egg, quartered
- Combine the onion mixture with the yogurt in the blender and puree until smooth. Set aside this mixture aside. - Heat the remaining butter and
sauté the meat, a few pieces at a time, until golden on all sides. Season with the salt and pepper then add the yogurt mixture, cover the saucepan, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. - Combine the meat with the rice and smooth the mixture into a large baking dish. You may cover the mixture with foil and refrigerate until ready to serve or bake the mixture for 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Garnish before serving.
1/2 tea spoon grated fresh ginger 1/2 tea spoon turmeric 2 Table spoon olive oil 1 Cup water 2 pickled lemons 1/2 Cup olives, not pitted Method - Rinse Chicken inside and out; rub with salt. Rinse well again and pat dry. - Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over a medium-high heat. - Mix together, onion, garlic, spices, parsley, cilantro, salt
and pepper to taste. - Rub the chicken with ½ of the mixture and carefully place in the heated pot; turning until the chicken is golden brown. Add water and cover. - Reduce heat and simmer for one hour or until cooked. - Chop one pickled lemon and combine with the remaining onion and spice mixture and add the mixture to the pot. - Rinse and drain the olives and add to the chicken. Continue to heat uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the chicken. Set aside in a warm place. - Continue to heat the remaining liquid until it is reduced. - Cut the remaining pickled lemon into strips. - Place chicken on a serving dish, garnish with the sauce, olives and pickled lemon strips
CALENDAR / ANNOUNCEMENTS
Phoenix Prayer Times
Tucson Prayer Times
May 2012 • Jumada Al-Awwal / Jumada Al-Akhar 1433 H
May 2012 • Jumada Al-Awwal / Jumada Al-Akhar 1433 H
DIRECTIONS TO THE ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER CEMETERY
ISLAMIC WEEKEND SCHOOLS Islamic Community Center of Phoenix:
Sunday at 9:45 am-1:20 pm.
Islamic Cultural Center:
Sunday at 10:00 am
Muslim Community Mosque:
Sunday at 10:00 am until 2:30 pm.
Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm.
ICNEV Weekend Islamic School
Tel: (480) 346-2081Classes held on Sunday
FROM THE ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER (ICC):
Check our website for up to date information www.tempemasjid.com
1) Go South on Forest to University Drive. Turn right. 2) Go West on University to the I-10 highway. Take I-10 East. 3) Proceed on I-10 East (~12 Miles). Exit at Queen Creek Rd. (EXIT #164). 4) Turn right on route 347 South. Proceed for about 14 miles. 5) Turn right on route 238 West. Proceed for about 8.7 miles. 6) Turn right on unnamed/unpaved street after you see the street sign which reads “36 miles” and proceed to the cemetery.
K thru’ grade 12 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. ACA Weekend School
Sunday 10:00 am-1:15 pm. www.azacademy.org/weekend
Sultan Education in Chandler
Saturdays & Sundays - children/adults 480-593-7066
Greenway Islamic Academy
Tajweed, Islamic Studies, & Arabic Language 602-565-0500
IN CASE OF DEATH • Call Sandy at Angel’s Burial, at 480-962-6435 • Total cost is $1,800.00
COLORING CONTEST April Winner
Feras Alhamdani Send your coloring to the Muslim Voice to enter the drawing for the best picture.
Hint: If the paper is too thin to color, make a Xerox copy then color it. Ages 3-12, please send a picture of yourself.
COLORING CONTEST FOR KIDS
ISLAMIC CENTERS IN ARIZONA
PHOENIX Arizona Cultural Academy 7810 S. 42nd Pl. • Phoenix 602-454-1222 Islamic Center of Arizona 9032 N. 9th St. • Phoenix
Islamic Center of N. Phoenix 13246 N. 23rd Ave. 85029 602-371-3440 Islamic Comnty Ctr of Phx 7516 N. Black Canyon Hwy. Phoenix • 602-249-0496 Muslim Community Mosque 1818 N. 32nd St. • Phoenix 602-306-4959 Masjid Al-Rahmah 2645 E. McDowell Rd. • Phoenix 602-275-5493 Masjid Muhammad Ibn Abdullah
5648 N. 15th ave. Phoenix, AZ 85015 602-413-5279
Al Rasoul Mosque 5302 N. 35th Ave. • Phoenix 602-864-1817
CHANDLER Masjid AsSalam 1071 N. Alma School Rd.• Chandler 480-250-7522
PEORIA Greenway Islamic Center 6724 West Greenway • Peoria, Islamic Center of East Valley AZ www.greenwaymasjid.com 425 N. Alma School Dr. • Chandler TEMPE 602-388-9900 Islamic Comnty Ctr of Tempe 131 E. 6th Street • Tempe LAVEEN 480-894-6070 Islamic Center of Laveen P.O. Box 1107 • Laveen Masjid Al Mahdi 602-361-4401 1016 S. River Dr. • Tempe 480-557-9699 MARICOPA Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah Masjid Omar Bin Al-Khattab 44370 W. Arizona Ave. 6225 S.McClintock • Tempe Maricopa Arizona 85138 480-775-6627 contact# (602)312-7913 MESA Masjid-el-Noor 55 N. Matlock • Mesa 480-644-0074 SCOTTSDALE Islamic Center of N.E. Valley 12125 E. Via Linda • Scottsdale 480-612-4044
CASA GRANDE Masjid Sajda is located c/o: The Legacy Suites 540 North Cacheris Court Casa Grande`, Arizona 85122 480.332.8618
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