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Muslim Voice ARIZONA

septmeber 2013 Shawal / thul Quidah

Monthly Newspaper

Fear of Failure and Mideast Peace Talks

New America Media, Commentary, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Posted: Aug 25, 2013 The 50th anniversary of the monumental 1963 March on Washington was accompanied by a wave of commemorative events that tried hard to recapture the energy and the spirit of the 1963 March. This was a tall order. The original march, punctuated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s towering “I Have a Dream” speech, acted as a powerful wrecking ball that crumbled the walls of legal segregation and ushered in an era of unbridled opportunities for many blacks. The results are unmistakable today. Blacks are better educated, more prosperous, own more businesses, hold more positions in the professions, and have more elected officials than ever before. Yet the towering racial improvements since the 1963 March on Washington mask the harsh reality: The challenges 50 years later are, in some ways, more daunting than what King and other civil rights leaders faced. When King marched in 1963, black leaders had already firmly staked out the moral high ground for a powerful and irresistible civil rights movement. It was classic good versus evil. Many white Americans were sickened by the gory news scenes of baton-battering racist Southern sheriffs, fire hoses, police dogs, and Klan violence unleashed against peaceful black protesters. Racial segregation was considered immoral and indefensible, and the civil rights leaders were hailed as martyrs and heroes in the fight for justice. As America unraveled in the 1960s in the anarchy of urban riots, campus takeovers, and anti-war street battles, the civil rights movement and its leaders fell apart, too. Continued on page Many of them fell victim to their own


Continued on page

American Muslims ‘Have A Dream’ CAIRO – As the world marks the fifties anniversary of Martin Luther King’s dream speech, American Muslims are gaining inspiration and lessons from the struggle of African Americans for their own struggle for civil rights and against growing hostility. “The ideas are inherently the same,” William Fahed Hattar, director of operations for the Arab American Association of New York, told UAE The National newspaper on Monday, August 26. “Being treated differently from every other citizen is a problem.”



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50 Years Later, Civil Rights Leaders Face Bigger Challenges

New America Media, Commentary, Ghassan Michel Rubeiz While U.S. media heap praise on Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, more critical still are recent developments across the region. Four factors, specifically, have proven decisive in enticing the two sides to the negotiating table. The real question now is whether an agreement can be reached before the window of opportunity closes again. The Palestinians have been urging peace talks for years. Surprisingly, a new round of negotiations began Monday in Washington D.C. after

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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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Muslim Voice

AMERICAN MUSLIM Community Newspaper

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Publisher Breek PUBLISHING INC. editor in Chief MARWAN AHMAD Community Editor Janan Atiyeh contributing writers

Sumbal Akhter • Mohamud Shalab • Fathiyyah Bashshar • Ahmad Daniels • Yousef Ahmad • Hasana Abdul-Quadir



Muslim Voice

1624 W. Thomas • Phoenix, AZ 85015 Phone: (602) 258-7770 Fax: 1(866) 859-8595 Email: Deadlines for submission of letters is the 20th of every month, and for advertisements by the 25th. Only letters and articles submitted on disk or email will be accepted for review. The Publisher reserves the right to refuse any letters, articles or advertisement or any other material. The Publisher will not be liable for more than the advertisement cost in case of an error. The Muslim Voice is not responsible for the contents of advertisements or articles nor endorses them in any way or form.

Remembering Our Beloved Sister Zarinah Awad By Maha Ahmed Muslim Voice inter I was touched by the poetic tribute to Sister Zarinah Awad, founder of the Cultural Cup Food Bank and Clinic, in last month’s issue of the Muslim Voice. She was a true role model because of her s e l fl e s s n e s s , spirit of charity, p o s i t i v e attitude, and compassion for others. When volunteering at the Cultural Cup Food Bank, it was wonderful to see her help the hungry, the homeless, and anyone else who needed a helping hand. Her good natured attitude and distinctive laugh touched everyone who met her. Her determination until the end is truly commendable. Even when she was ill, she would come in to sit beside her desk and facilitate the work that helped so many. Often a thankless job, she did it all with a smile and the biggest heart that I

have known. Her most amazing attribute was her acceptance of people just the way they were. One quickly realized that she did not see any of the barriers

that divide us—color, race, religion, age, and background—meant nothing to her. She was a good listener and used her gifts in the service of Allah (SWT). It is important to keep Sister Zarinah’s legacy alive, to better the community we are stewards of, and to show that Muslims do care. It is incredible that this is the

only Muslim-run food bank in all of Phoenix and it is our duty to make sure that Sister Zarinah’s work is not in vain. It was very disheartening to learn that the Cultural Cup was struggling financially and almost closed its doors in April. Helping the poor and the homeless is one of the most important pillars of our faith and I urge everyone to support the Cultural Cup in whatever capacity they can. We cannot afford to be apathetic to this cause. Our c o m m u n i t y, w o r k i n g together, can make a difference. There are plenty of ways to support the Cultural Cup, either by volunteering time, collecting food, or making a donation. For more information visit www.culturalcup. com. Together we are the only people who can keep the Cultural Cup alive Inshallah.


September 2013


ICC Holds Eid Picnic at Kiwanis Park By Heba Haleem Muslim Voice intern Imagine the perfect Eid Picnic for families. You’re probably thinking of a big green park, a couple inflatable bouncers, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy, and a petting zoo. The ICC mosque made your vision a reality, just this past month. Hosted by ICC at Kiwanis Park, the Eid Picnic brought together Muslims from all around the world. Families from Palestine, Somalia, Egypt, Jordan, India, Afghanistan, Morocco, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, and other countries enjoyed the various commodities on a hot but beautiful sunny day. Looking around, you saw laughing kids and smiling adults. A five-yearold girl was swinging on a play set while munching on some popcorn. A fifteen-year-old boy was kicking a soccer ball around with his friends on a bright green expanse. Mothers were chatting while sipping snow cones. Fathers were engaged in debates while sitting on benches under a ramada. It was a vibrant and lively scene, just as any Eid

Picnic would be. I decided to take this picnic as an opportunity to find out how different families celebrated their

Eids. Ayesha* said her family held an Eid potluck at her house. “We recently moved into a new house and everyone wanted to see it. So we

d e c i d e d to have a potluck,” she said with a big smile. Ranaa took things outside her home and headed to an Arizona resort, replete with a water park and restaurants. “It was so fun!” she exclaimed. S a r a h celebrated her Eid in an entirely new place- in the country of Palestine. “The first day you get dolled up and serve guests who come over to your house all


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day”, Sarah explained, “The second day is the fun one- you can go to an amusement park and other people’s houses. I went bowling this year.” Some, like Sidra, stayed within America’s boundaries and made a trip to Amazing Jakes, an entertainment center with games and rides. Soon, there was a call for Asr prayer. Families

made their way towards a prayer

set up, eager to fulfill their Muslim duties. Shortly after prayer, the food was served. From a distance, you could see takeout boxes stacked in high rows on tables ,and people

started forming a line at each table to retrieve their goodies. I grabbed the Styrofoam box and peaked inside. Today’s menu consisted of potato salad, veggie salad, a biscuit, and a piece of chicken. Kids were served, to their own delight, pizza. Looking around you could see everyone eagerly munching on a biscuit or tearing apart a chicken piece. At the end of the night, you could easily look back and say it was an exciting day, filled with exciting times.

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Eid al-Fitr -A Time of Celebration By Maha Ahmed Muslim Vioce intern Another Ramadan has come to a close with grand Eid celebrations throughout the valley to celebrate the culmination of our month-long efforts. Many Muslims chose to attend the morning prayer at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley (ICNEV). Families from around the valley showed up representing the diversity of our Muslim community. It was wonderful to observe the human panorama as everybody paraded in their finest ethnic clothes. Predicting there would be a large turnout, ICNEV had organized two shuttle services to transport the attendees from the overflow parking lot to the masjid. Takbir began promptly at 7:30 AM and soon the masjid was filled to capacity. Families poured into the

entrance greeting each other as they zigzagged their way through

Following Eid salaat, Imam Salaheddine Tomeh delivered a stirring qutbah about the actual purpose of our Ramadan fast. He summarized the importance of the abandonment of all the trappings of the world only for one purpose—to attain spiritual proximity to Allah (SWT). On a superficial level, for many of us Eid means feasting, beautiful clothes,

moved to the festive courtyard to greet each other and exchange pleasantries. Tables were set up to

the throngs of excited people waiting for salaat.

hennaed hands, and celebrating with friends and family. But on a deeper, spiritual level Eid alFitr signifies both our commitment to controlling our most basic needs and our sense of accomplishment. After Eid salaat at ICNEV, attendees

offer treats like baklava, hot chai, donuts, and halwa-poori to visitors. There was also an informational booth set up by the Arizona Cultural Academy to hand out information. The courtyard was bustling with activity and excitement for the rest of the Eid weekend. Thanks to the volunteers, the event was a huge success. The awesome display of diversity was thrilling and the excitement of all of the Eid celebrators was almost tangible in the prayer hall. An overview of the event is incomplete without a special thank you to all the volunteers w h o generously dedicated their time to organize and facilitate the festivities.

NATIONAL / OPINION Continued from p. 1

September 2013


American Muslims ‘Have A Dream’

US Muslim Students Learn About Rights “Muslim Martin Luther Kings” King: I Have a Dream. Obama: I Have a Drone. Hattar was reflecting on the historic speech in Lincoln Memorial where civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr gave his historic call for racial and economic justice 50 years ago. In a defining moment for the US legal segregation against African Americans, King proclaimed, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed … that all men are created equal.” For US Muslims suffering from wholesale spying by New York police, King’s vision is as relevant today as it was in 1963. “When we have a police force that openly flaunts constitutional protections and creates a spying division that seeks out nothing but Muslim and Arab communities there’s a problem with that and that’s not the dream that Martin Luther King had,” Hatter said. Since 9/11, Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing

their faith. Muslims’ anger has grown against the New York police following revelations in 2011 by the Associated Press that the NYPD used undercover agents to spy on Muslim communities. A report by the AP said that the NYPD sent out undercover officers into ethnic communities to track daily life and monitor mosques as well as Muslim student organizations. Ayisha Irfan, 25, is a PakistaniAmerican Brooklyn native who suffered from NYPD spies who infiltrated her Muslim student group even though they were not suspected of any wrongdoing. “We had friends who later turned out to be informants,” she said as she sipped coffee at a cafe in downtown Brooklyn. The incident helped in pushing her away from a conventional career in law towards community organizing. “Part of [King’s] speech was about the urgency of now, and definitely in the Muslim community in these past two years it’s got urgent,” Irfan said. “People finally realized you cannot afford not to be politicized because you’re going to be targeted either way. As American Muslims we’re going to have kids here, our


generations are going to flourish here, so what are you doing to make this world a more just place for them?” King’s Tactics Irfan noted that Muslims need to learn much from the tactics of King’s civil rights movement to be able to address their problem as one community. “The time of MLK was the time of a huge social movement that appealed to many people and it wasn’t just one small group of people getting involved,” she said. She pointed to the Arab American Association of New York, a nonprofit organization provides immigration services as well as medical advice and counseling, being at the forefront of a campaign to end the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” policy. More than four million New Yorkers, mainly black and Latino, were stopped and interrogated under the program since 2002, according to police data. Last week, after a federal judge ruled the police program unconstitutional, the city council overrode a mayoral veto on a law that will install an independent monitor of the NYPD to ensure the practice ends. Coming from a wide variety of

ethnic groups, King’s speech also has something to teach American Muslims about their own prejudices. “Islam means Muslims aren’t racist?” Ibrahim Abdul Matin, a business consultant and organizer with the Muslim Democratic Club who is the son of African-American Muslim converts, said. “That’s a great idea but in application Muslims are some of the worst when it comes to racial dynamics.” Sarab Al Jijakli, an advertising executive who is involved with the Syrian opposition in the US, said that King’s message “transcends borders, transcends geography”. “There is a small village called Kafranbel in Syria famous for holding up protest banners every week, all in English, as a message to the outside world,” he said. “Once the village gained liberation last August, their sign for that Friday protest was ‘I have a dream…’, basically paying homage to Martin Luther King. “When you talk about civil rights, when you look at struggles across the world, the things that unite us are these values - and that’s no different in Syria today or what MLK was talking about fifty years ago.”

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Not Every Immigrant is a ‘Dreamer’ But All of Them Have Dreams For immigration reform to mean anything it’s got to make it easier for all undocumented immigrants to regularize their status in the United States — not just DREAM-Act eligible young people. Yes, the “Dreamers” are, and have been for some time, immigration advocate darlings. This is not unearned. By and large they are articulate, photogenic, full of promise and hard to dismiss as “foreign invaders” since they are pretty thoroughly Americanized. Way back in earlier days of the immigration reform movement, the rationale in separating the fight for passage of the DREAMAct from the rest of the reform efforts hinged on this image. Or, to put in more bluntly, the Dreamers are the sympathetic undocumented immigrants. They themselves have helped their cause by showing their faces, telling their stories, being “undocumented and unafraid.” We heartily disagree with Washington Post columnist Ruben Navarrette’s assertions that the Dreamers are the poster

children for entitlement thinking. As our cover story this week about the Dream 9 indicates, this in-your-face, “undocumented and unafraid” activism has been, in many ways, the latest in the continuum of civil rights struggles to dismantle unjust law and policy in our nation. It takes courage and idealism — the opposite of entitled thinking — to risk stopping traffic, staging sit-ins at government offices, demanding rights for those in detention and defying deportation. But even the Dreamers themselves admit they’ve got it easier than other undocumented folk. At least Philadelphia’s own Dreamers Erika Nuñez, Sheila Quintana, Cesar and Fernanda Marroquin and Tania Chaírez said as much last year as they sat in the offices of AL DÍA being interviewed for a cover story. Like other Dreamers who have received an education and attained some economic stability because of the hard work and aspirations of their undocumented parents, they understand they have privileges

that those still working and striving in the shadows do not. In the case of the Dream 9, who crossed the border as a challenge to the Obama administration’s ongoing deportations, this privilege has manifested in the recent approval of the first step in their requests for asylum — their fears of the possibility of persecution have been found “credible” by the Department of Homeland Security. It has long been a matter of contention that undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America have to produce near-impossible documentation of threat to be accorded asylum in the U.S. The fact that the Dream 9 have attained that first marker is a measure of both their popular appeal (despite some vocal critics) and the efficacy of their act of civil disobedience. We hope the Dream 9 are able to legalize their status, and that they are accorded a way to become U.S. citizens within a reasonable amount of time: the five years offered by the Senate’s immigration bill for DREAMAct eligible young people, rather

than then 13+ years laid out as a possibility for non-Dreamers. But what we’d like even better is if non-Dreamers were also offered a reasonable five-year wait time. The photos that accompany this editorial are of immigrants who are not “Dreamers,” but still came to the nation with dreams. One is a pastor with 20+ years serving the Philadelphia community. One is a young mother whose deportation would be to a country with one of the highest femicide rates in the Western Hemisphere. The third is a hardworking baker who finds time to help other immigrants. Though stays of deportation have been lifesavers for them and others in Philadelphia, they, too, deserve a reasonable path to legalization and citizenship so they can live out their dreams here, with loved ones. Whatever immigration reform we are able to get approved in Congress must have sympathy for all immigrants — not just our favorites — at its heart.

New School Year Brings New Academic Standards Richmond Pulse, Commentary, Antoinette Evans If all goes according to plan, Richmond public schools — and the students they serve — will have something positive to look forward to, this fall and beyond. Back in 2010, California’s State Board of Education voted to adopt a new set of federal academic guidelines referred to as “Common Core”. This year, California public schools including those in Richmond will take one step closer toward the goal of fully implementing those standards by the 2014/15 Academic Year. Along with California, 45 other states are also in various stages of implementing Common Core. Teachers, parents and education experts developed the new standards for the purpose of better preparing students with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to have success in college and eventually, in a career. Common Core is expected to provide a consistent and clear understanding for teachers, parents and students alike, of what students in all grade levels are expected to learn and should know. I discussed the transition to

Common Core with my fellow West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) colleagues, who will be tasked with implementing these guidelines into their schools and classrooms. I was curious to hear their general thoughts about introducing Common Core to a generation of students who sometimes seem more interested in Facebook, Youtube and music videos than they do in reading or arithmetic; especially because Common Core was designed to be a bridge for teachers to connect with students in a more creative and engaging manner, with an added emphasis on new technology. “Students will benefit from receiving instruction that is enriching and inspiring,” according to Valerie Garrett, principal at Verde Elementary School who has been actively preparing her staff for the transition to Common Core. “The standards are bringing about uniformity, and promise to assist our teachers with the promotion of standards-based instruction in a meaningful manner.” Garrett describes the new standards as a base that will allow districts and schools to identify areas of challenge

for students, with the goal of tailoring instruction so schools can meet or even exceed their academic benchmarks. It’s an outcome many educators like myself are patiently waiting to see. “Eventually all students will thrive,” affirms Mike Aaronian, Coordinator of Educational Services for WCCUSD. “There are even Common Core ELD (English Language Development) standards which will directly affect CELDT (California English Language Development Test) scores. With more emphasis on writing across the curriculum and learning math ‘outside of the box’ and integrating technology, our students test scores should excel and their goals will be endless,” adds Karolyn Langston-Haynes, a teacher from Grant Elementary. With all of this said, we must also expect some hesitation and uncertainty from those who may feel differently about the looming new standards. “Some teachers will immediately be enthusiastic and some will initially resist, but there will always be those resistant to change,” says Aaronian, who confidently adds that most teachers will eventually come to

embrace the changes. And as for the students? Judging from my experience, most students are hungry for a curriculum that will empower them to think critically and gain knowledge they can apply to their everyday experiences. They also want an education that will prepare them for future careers. As a new teacher, I’m enthused to use the Common Core Standards in my classroom. The Common Core should give teachers more freedom to be creative as long as they stay within their district guidelines. For other teachers with more experience under their belt, transitioning to a new set of standards may prove more difficult. Luckily, over the last few years, “there have been [Common Core] trainings and workshops for teachers and administrators” says 6th Grade Teacher Karolyn Langston-Haynes from Grant Elementary School in Richmond. “Most of us have been involved in training at one level or another, so this transition should not come as a surprise.” Sounds like most of us are well prepared to embark on the new journey! Now let’s see where that journey takes us.


September 2013


The Forgotten the Apartheid System Victimizes Somalis in South Africa

By: Mohamud Shalab Muslim Voice contributor In a country where violence is a prominent issue, seeking refuge elsewhere is the only option for some. Somalia has been in civil war for over twenty years. In this dire time homes, businesses, and even schools were demolished. Somalis were a homogenous people with a fully Sunni Islamic sect until tribalism got in the way. As result a large number of civilians were displaced, and poverty took on a whole new meaning. This was when the population dispersed. You can find a number of Somalis all over the African continent, in the Arabian Peninsula, Europe and North America. These individuals emigrated due to several life threatening push factors. But what happens when these threats follow you into your place of refuge? It seems all over the world there’s been uproar of violence against Somalis. In South Africa there were reported cases of heinous crimes where, too often, a Somali was the victim. Most recent in the news was an attack on a male in his twenties. A business owner living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa was attacked by a mob of South Africans along with his brother and sister. Though his brother and sister escaped, the mob caught up to him and took turns repeatedly dropping heavy rocks onto his head and body while kicking him with extreme force. The young male

inevitably succumbed to his wounds. This type of violence is not something you would expect to see in any civilized nation. It is preposterous that a country would allow refugees in only to have them treated like nothing less than animals. It all seems very counterproductive since the reason they left their homeland in the first place was to avoid such violence. The most barbaric of crimes are being committed. Women are rape victims, men are being slain and burnt alive and it is the silence from the South African government that is permitting all of this to happen. During the apartheid system Somalia was the first country to provide assistance. They helped train South African soldiers. How could the South African government ignore the relationship they once had? Now that we see the treatment of Somali refugees in South Africa and it leads one to believe otherwise. Saudi Arabia and Yemen are committing all kinds of inhuman acts against Somalis as well. It is even more disheartening to see people of the same faith not providing aid to one another. As Muslims we believe in peace, stability, coexistence and unity, as we are one people. Giving Zakāt (charity) is one of the five pillars of Islam, so why is it that we cannot get help from our Muslim brothers and sisters? Somali immigrants are often mistreated, raped, and abused on the border of Saudi Arabia by Saudi and Yemeni forces. These immigrants are said to be ‘illegal’ however that shouldn’t sufficiently justify murder and rape. Countries of

the Islamic faith should be the first ones offering shelter, not killing or raping the ones in need of it. While expectations of our Muslim brothers and sisters are dwindling, hope for a better life is restored in North America and Europe. In these exceptional countries you can find equal security and protection under the rule of law. It seems refuge is found where you least expect it to be. In these western countries equality is held at appropriate standards. Children are given a proper elementary education and a chance for post secondary education as well. Adults have job opportunities and government aid if it’s required. There are shelters for the homeless or people who are new to the country as well. Somalis have been victims of inequity and corruption for far too long by their own doing. To add to that, they’ve also been tormented by terrorist groups who have the wrong Islamic ideology. With a country that has been ravaged and destroyed by years of civil war, it is only appropriate that their neighboring countries give assistance to those in need. Somalis all over have cried out in horror over the morally abhorrent crimes that have been aimed at Somali refugees. The silence from the governments is only hindering change. This is a silent genocide, and recognition is required. If that is not enough to stop these crimes, then Somalia’s last hope is within itself. The government of Somalia must stabilize the country so its

mistreated refugees can return to their homeland and live in peace once again. This may seem next to impossible as the current new government of Somalia is indeed fueling the tension between tribal adversaries. An example of that would be an incident that occurred in Jubaland state of Somalia, Kismayo. A battle strategically orchestrated by the government claimed 75 lives. The conflict arose due to the fact that Kismayo had set up their own legislative assembly that the government did not approve of for inconsiderate reasons. I don’t want to get too far into the subject, as I will be writing a separate article concerning this specific issue. June 15th, a battle broke lose in the region Shabellaha dhexe. The people living in the city Jowhar are now living in terror. The local citizens are pointing their fingers at the federal government. Their weapons for self-defense were seized and the violence surely did not stop there. The men wearing the army uniform that were of the same tribe as the president feel that no harm will come to them since they have the president on their side. This type of logic is what the president is permitting because of his obvious, but unspoken, support for tribalism. At this pace it seems the Somalia people are going in reverse on their road to a stable government. It is now our responsibility as Somali citizens to take immediate action and end this savagery going on in our nation. The current state that Somalia is in cannot change if we are not willing to change ourselves first.

Howard University to Expand Online Course Offerings said Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick in a statement. “It builds faculty capacity to enhance our instruction delivery to meet the needs of the 21st century learner as well as our reach beyond our Washington-based campus to the world through our new partnership with Pearson.” HU-Online is designed to enable the university, one of the most prestigious HBCUs in the country, to expand its reach beyond the campus to students around the world. Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students can pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to




professional degrees.

Howard University this month announced a new comprehensive initiative to expand the institution’s array of online/ blended courses and programs. “Howard University Online” (HU-Online) is being created in partnership with Pearson, one of the world’s leading providers of online services to higher education. Beginning in the fall 2014-2015 academic year, Howard will offer select online degree programs with the goal of creating up to 25 online programs over the next few years. “This new initiative directly supports the University’s strategic priority to enhance teaching, learning and research,”

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Continued from p. 1

50 Years Later, Civil Rights Leaders Face Bigger Challenges

success and failure. When they broke down the racially restricted doors of corporations, government agencies, and universities, it was middle-class blacks, not the poor, who rushed headlong through them. As King embraced the rhetoric of the militant anti-war movement, he became a political pariah shunned by the White House, as well as mainstream white and black leaders. King’s murder in 1968 was a turning point for race relations in America. The self-destruction from within and political sabotage from outside of black organizations left the black poor organizationally fragmented and politically rudderless. The black poor, lacking competitive technical skills and professional training, and shunned by many middle-class black leaders, became expendable jail and street and cemetery fodder. Some turned to gangs, guns and drugs to survive. A Pew study specifically released to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations graphically made the point that the economic and social gaps between whites and African-Americans have widened over the last few decades despite massive spending by federal and state governments, state and federal civil rights laws, and two decades of affirmative action programs. The racial polarization has been endemic between blacks and whites on everything from the George Zimmerman trial to just about every other controversial case that involves black and white

perceptions of the workings of the criminal justice system. A half century later, the task of redeeming King’s dream means confronting the crises of family breakdown, the rash of shamefully failing public schools, racial profiling, urban police violence,

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the obscene racial disparities in the prison and criminal justice system, and HIV/AIDS. These are beguiling problems that sledgehammer the black poor and these are the problems that King and the civil rights movement of his day only had begun to recognize and address. Civil rights leaders today also have to confront something else that King did not have to face. King had the sympathy and goodwill of millions of whites, politicians, and business leaders in the peak years of the civil rights movement. Much of that goodwill has vanished in the belief that blacks have attained full equality. Then there’s the reality that race matters in America can no longer be framed exclusively in black and white. Latinos and Asians have become major players in the fight for political and economic empowerment and figure big in the political strategies of Democratic and Republican presidential contenders. Today’s civil rights leaders will have to figure out ways to balance the competing and sometimes contradictory needs of these and other ethnic groups and patch them into a workable coalition for change. It’s grossly unfair to expect today’s civil rights leaders to be the charismatic, aggressive champions of, and martyrs for, civil rights that King was. Or to think that 50 years later, another March on Washington can solve the seemingly intractable problems of the black poor. The times and circumstances have changed too much for that. Still, civil rights leaders can draw strength from King’s courage, vision and dedication and fight the hardest they can against racial and economic injustices that have hardly disappeared. This is still a significant step toward redeeming King’s dream.

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As CA Health Care Enrollment Begins, Advocates Make Sure No One Is Left Out Californians will be able to start enrolling in Medi-Cal and Covered California in less than six weeks. But a study by UCLA and UC Berkeley, funded in part by CPEHN, has shown that people with limited English proficiency are expected to enroll at lower rates than their English proficient counterparts, unless there’s more outreach and education. Our report, Achieving Equity by Building a Bridge from Eligible to Enrolled, provides data supporting what we already intuitively know, that culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach will be critical to the success of Obamacare. We believe that the state also understands the importance of culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach. Covered California has worked with stakeholders from diverse communities from the start and continues to develop strategies to maximize participation. They have funded $37 million in outreach grants to 48 lead grantees (and hundreds of subcontractors) across the state. According to Covered California, out of the 48 community-focused grants, 37 are Latino- focused, 32 are African American and “some 20 grants specifically target outreach to the diverse AsianPacific Islander communities.” With regards to Medi-Cal enrollment, the Department of Health Care Services will spend $53 million (funded by The California Endowment with matching federal funds) to help with enrollment in Medi-Cal. A portion of these funds (around $28 million) will go to counties to partner with local community organizations to outreach the hard-to-reach populations. CPEHN will continue to provide input throughout the process and is cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to enroll a large percentage of the eligible LEP [Limited English Proficiency] population. Researchers recommend that available resources should be targeted to consumers with the highest need. Do you think the state is providing in-person assistance to those who may lack Internet access? Low-income new immigrants are unlikely to

know how to access the Internet. What is being done to ensure that this group of people is educated about Obamacare and the exchange? In CPEHN’s report, Equity in the Digital Age: How Health Information Can Reduce

CPEHN is also developing a fact sheet for our community partners to use to understand the coverage that is available to immigrants. Of the 300,000 Californians who will not enroll in Medi-Cal or the exchange, either because

Disparities, we discuss the need to develop technological tools that are accessible by everyone, especially given the digital divide. For example studies show that while low-income communities of color may not have access to the Internet, they often do have smart phones, so the online application needs to be mobile compatible. We also recommend that even given all of the technologies in place, in-person culturally and linguistically assistance MUST be available. We have heard commitment from Covered California that they are hiring customer service representatives in the 13 different Medi-Cal Managed Care threshold languages (Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, English, Farsi, Hmong, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese) and have the capacity to provide oral interpretation in any language through their call center. Additionally, the paper application will be translated into 11 languages and the online application is available in both English and Spanish. We continue to work with the state to make sure consumers are aware of the availability of language assistance on the paper application and online web portal.

they don’t know they can, or don’t know how to, 70 percent of them will be people of color, unless more outreach is done. These uninsured will strain the Emergency Rooms and community health clinics. Are you concerned about this? We strongly support culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach efforts for the state’s communities of color, but we know that there will still be a number of individuals who will remain uninsured. However, anyone who is uninsured after the implementation of Obamacare is likely to be uninsured now and is currently relying on local ERs and community health centers for their care. When the ACA is fully implemented, the number of uninsured in California will drop dramatically, so the strain on local ERs and community health centers will presumably be less than it is currently. What we are concerned about, however, is whether the counties will have enough resources to provide services to the remaining uninsured, given the $300 million cut in funding passed in the state budget. We will continue to advocate for access to affordable health coverage for the 3-4 million remaining uninsured. California recently passed a law to expand Medi-Cal,

which includes immigrants. Can you explain some of the major elements of the MediCal expansion as it relates to immigrants? The Medi-Cal expansion bill, ABx1 1 (John Perez) and SBx 1 1 (Ed Hernandez), expanded MediCal for parents and caretakers (caretakers defined as a relative by blood, adoption, or marriage, as well as a domestic partner) from those making up to 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($11,490 for an individual and $19,530 for a family of three) [to those making] up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. It also expanded Medi-Cal to childless adults who are new qualified immigrants and individuals permanently residing under color of law (PRUCOLs) up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This was a major legislative victory and means that thousands of immigrants are able to access affordable health coverage. Under Obamacare, starting Jan. 1, 2014, former foster care youth will remain eligible for MediCal until they turn 26, provided they were covered by Medi-Cal on their 18th birthday. Do they, like other Medi-Cal beneficiaries, have to meet the federal poverty level guidelines as others do? No, former foster youth who were in Medi-Cal on their 18th birthday remain eligible for Medi-Cal until they turn 26, regardless of their income. They do not have to meet income eligible requirements. In addition, through the state’s fiscal year 2013-14 budget, former foster youth who turn 21 between June 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2013 will stay covered in Medi-Cal. Under current Medi-Cal provisions, are beneficiaries not eligible for mental health and substance abuse treatment? In the current Medi-Cal program, beneficiaries are eligible for mental health services, but through a referral to the county mental health program. Mental health was considered a “carve out” benefit in managed care (i.e. it was not included in the benefits the beneficiaries got through their managed care plan). The expanded mental health services in Medi-Cal now include some mental health services through the health plan.


September 2013


Millions Face Cuts In Food Assistance DEARBORN, Mich. -- In Michigan, 1.8 million people will see a cut in their food assistance benefits this fall, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps — is set to expire, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. All of the more than 47 million Americans, including 22 million children, who receive SNAP will see their food assistance reduced, when a modest boost in benefits to SNAP recipients, which policymakers included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to strengthen the economy and ease hardship, expires on Oct. 31. For a family of three, that cut will mean a reduction of $29 a month—$319 for the remaining 11 months of the fiscal year. This is a serious loss for families whose benefits, after this cut, will average less than $1.40 per person, per meal. “So many struggling families in Michigan have been helped by this small increase in food assistance benefits at a time when we faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” stated Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “This modest assistance is a lifeline to many families with breadwinners, who are struggling to find work, or are working at jobs that do not pay

them enough to put food on the table.” In addition to helping feed hungry families, SNAP is one of the fastest, most effective, ways to stimulate a struggling

board cuts to the program, the U.S. House of Representatives recently defeated legislation that would have cut $20 billion from SNAP, eliminating food assistance for nearly 2 million

economy. Every $1 increase in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in economic activity. The across-the-board cuts, scheduled for November, will reduce the program by $5 billion in fiscal year 2014 alone. In Michigan, it will mean an estimated loss of $183 million in benefits. Cuts of that magnitude will have a significant impact on low-income families. It will be the first time SNAP reductions impact all participants, including 22 million children nationwide. Kareemah El-Amin, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, said nearly 24 percent of Michigan children are food insecure. On top of these across-the-

people. That legislation



provided strong financial incentives to states to reduce their caseloads. This could leave many families and their children without assistance to put food on the table when they need it most. The House is considering, and could vote on, even deeper cuts to the program in the coming weeks. “Most of the people on the Food Assistance Program are either unable to work, or are already working,” said Terri Stangl, executive director of the Center for Civil Justice, which operates a Food and Nutrition Program helpline. “The program is doing what it was designed to do: Meet a temporary need when families are struggling, because someone is laid off, or offered fewer hours of work. Now is not the time to reduce this modest source of help with something as basic as food.”


september 2013


The Process of Change; Am I prejudice? By Lolita V Jefferson Ed.D Change is the only constant in life, yet for reasons of etiquette, society and parental approval, we maintain an unconscious fight to preserve our limited self-sense to maintain our disease. In order to challenge change one aspect must be to rid ourselves of devastating prejudice. Prejudice refers to an unsubstantiated negative prejudgment of individuals or groups, usually because of ETHNICITY, RELIGION or race ,but it could be based on any quality, including gender, age, physical appearance or disability. Discrimination is the exclusion of individuals or groups from full participation in society because of prejudice. Prejudice (an attitude) and discrimination (behavior) are usually linked, but they are distinct phenomena. In a vicious circle, prejudice frequently leads to discriminatory behavior while discrimination reinforces or creates social and economic inequalities which then reinforce prejudices. People sometimes say that discrimination is created when prejudice is combined with power. Prejudice is the attitude of someone whose opinion is not based on fact. Prejudice can be triggered by differences of religion, race, colour, sex, language, disability or age. Prejudice is not illegal, as an attitude can’t be illegal, but discrimination is illegal. All forms of discrimination go against the first two Articles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights: Article 1 states: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 2 states: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. The Qur’an (the Divine Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH) teaches that everyone was created by Allah and that everyone is equal: Of His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colours. Surah 30:22 O mankind, we have created you from male and female; and We have divided you into tribes and sub-tribes for greater facility of intercourse. Verily, the most honoured among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.’ Surah 49:14 Therefore there is no reason to treat people of different races differently. The Prophet Muhammad showed how important this teaching was in his last sermon, when he said:

All mankind is descended from Adam and Eve, an Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab; a white person is not better than a black person, nor is a black person better than a white person except by piety and good actions. Learn that every Muslim is the brother o f

every other Muslim and that Muslims form one brotherhood. No one can follow these teachings perfectly and there will be occasion when Muslims, like those of other faiths, are guilty of prejudice and discrimination. Attitudes towards women Islam also teaches that men and women are equal in the sight of Allah. They are individually accountable for their actions, and will be judged equally by Allah. However, although men and women are equal, they are not the same. They have different purposes. It is part of Allah’s design and purpose for men and women to have different physical characteristics; likewise it is the duty of a man to provide for the financial needs of his family, and for a woman to look after the home and family. Some of these differences and responsibilities are mentioned in the following words from the Quran: O Prophet, direct thy wives and daughters and the women of the believers that they should pull down their outer cloaks from their heads over their faces. This will make it possible for them to be distinguished so that they will not be molested. Surah 33:59 Wives have rights corresponding to those which the husbands have, in equitable reciprocity, though; in certain situations men would have the final word and would thus enjoy a preference. Surah 2:229 Men are appointed guardians over

women, because of that in respect of which Allah has made some of them excel others, and because men spend of their wealth. Surah 4:35 Although the rights

o f women are different to those of men, they do have the right to choose whom they marry, to divorce, to study, to own property, to conduct business

and to take part in politics. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stressed the importance of women and the respect that should be shown to them when he said: Paradise lies at the feet of your mother. (Sunan AnNasa’i). So we can see where Islam teaches us that these forms of prejudice are not allowed. A prejudice is an opinion, prejudgment, or attitude about a group or its individual members. Prejudice is often accompanied by fear, ignorance, or hatred, as well as attempts at psychological bolstering or even real-world gaining of status by building attachment to an in-group and trying to separate one from outgroups. Putting an end to prejudices and all its negative consequences begin with each of us. We must be aware of our hidden biases so we do not let them inadvertently affect us, and so that we can work on removing them. Remember that prejudice forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction.


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Continued from p. 1

Fear of Failure Could Prove Critical in Upcoming Mideast Peace Talks

a three-year hiatus, when Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat met with President Obama. The meeting was preceded by the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. Kerry, who in the past five months has made six visits to the Middle East, told reporters at a press conference that another meeting would be held in the next two weeks in either Israel or the Palestinian Territories. What has brought Israel’s hard line Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the peace table? One factor involves a recent decision by the European Union (EU) to boycott Israeli products produced by Israeli settlers. The economic sanctions sent a clear message: the EU considers the Israeli occupation illegitimate. In barring Israeli imports, partnerships and other forms of business from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the EU is effectively enforcing a policy of rejecting the 1967 occupation; the EU is declaring the Israeli occupation a violation of international law. The boycott has also exposed two rarely discussed United Nations Security Council Resolutions, 242

and 338. Over four decades ago these resolutions stipulated that Israel should withdraw from the Occupied Territories in the context of a regional peace settlement. For Israelis, the EU boycott evokes fear of association of their occupation with the sobering 1980s transformation of South Africa. The stigma of the Israeli occupation is neither new nor hidden, for Israel’s strong critics have repeatedly labeled the Zionist occupation a form of “apartheid.” After the United States, Europe is the second most important friend and partner of Israel. Israel got the boycott message: if EU sanctions gain acceptance internationally, the cycle of diplomatic isolation of the Jewish state could escalate. U.S. public opinion would no longer be an exception. President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Defense Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (General) Dempsey have all already warned Israel that the occupation is bound to “hurt” and “isolate” the occupier. The EU boycott has suddenly given Israel pause. The second relevant event relates to the ongoing civil war in Syria. Hezbollah, one of Tel Aviv’s most threatening adversaries, has

increasingly become entangled in that unfolding tragedy as it seeks to rescue the Alawite-affiliated regime of Bashar al Assad in Damascus. Hezbollah’s military diversion from Israel to Syria may have given Netanyahu’s cabinet a sense of security, calculating perhaps that Syria will prove to be the burying ground for its longtime foe. The EU’s designation of Hezbollah’s militant wing as a terrorist organization last week may also have added to Israel’s confidence, encouraging a reluctant government to come to the peace table. The third key ingredient involves the unanticipated toppling of President Morsi in Egypt. Egypt’s military-led post-Morsi regime now seems keen on limiting the power of Hamas, which has ruled Gaza and has long been viewed as a direct threat to Israel’s security. The new government in Cairo has in recent days closed the majority of secret tunnels that link Gaza with Egypt. Today, like Hezbollah, Hamas is weak: abandoned by a troubled Syrian regime and an insecure Egyptian government. With Hamas and Hezbollah, not to mention Syria and Egypt, facing serious obstacles, Israel has never been safer militarily. By accepting offers to negotiate

some level of withdrawal from the 1967 borders, the Jewish state may be seizing a moment of military superiority, ironically paralleled by diplomatic isolation, to offer some level of concessions. Whether the concessions will be historic and strategic or tactical and insignificant remains to be seen. Finally, there is a fourth factor informing Tel Aviv’s change in tune: Iran. The new moderate Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, assumes power in August. Israel wishes to face what it considers a nearly nuclear-ready Iran with maximum diplomatic strength. By going to the Palestinian peace table, Israel partially frees itself, at least momentarily, from the moral burden of being an occupier-in-denial. By being, or appearing to be, totally committed to diplomacy, Israel feels it could better influence the next critical round of nuclear negotiations with Iran. If, on the other hand, this latest round of talks fails it may very well spell the end of the peace process. Fear of such failure could turn out to be the most hopeful ingredient in shaping future Mideast political compromise.

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Muslim Voice September 2013 issue  

Muslim Voice September 2013 issue

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