Chicago company hosts 1st Muslim Spelling Bee
Spelling Bees were made famous by the 2006 movie “Aqeelah and the Bee,” about a young girl from a bad neighbourhood with a talent for spelling, who works hard, finds a teacher to prep her for spelling competitions, and becomes a champion speller.
Pakistani designer is changing the fashion landscape BY MONIZA KHOKHAR ELAN MAGAZINE Deepak Perwani, 38, is one of Pakistan’s hottest designers. Born in Mirpurkhas, raised in Karachi and New York, Perwani’s designs have captivated his audience for years. Launching his brand in 1994, Perwani brought his personal style to the Pakistani market and has been expanding globally ever since. He sheds light on the booming fashion industry in
Chicago based entrepreneur Tausif Malik and his wife Dr. Asma Rizvi, perceived a need for a platform of competition in which children could engage from around the world. “Muslims are not aware of spelling bees because they are focused on getting their children into engineering or medicine,” Malik said. Hence, choosing a talent that is universal to the age group helped us select ‘spelling’. TMA Worldwide, the Group
School libraries are the keepers of information, and librarians the storytellers of early childhood. However, they are not the only ones with an influence on what books are made available to your children. Each district has its own policy on how the library collection is developed, and most of these districts include the input of teachers, students and the community. Often times a committee is created to
The purpose of the program is “to get Muslim children into the mainstream”, Malik said. The competition will be held in each city at a Muslim private school; however it will be open to students from private schools, public schools or home schools, for children up to 14 years of age. “We expect over 500 children participating from each city,” leading to several rounds of judgement before BEE continues on page 9 >>
Pakistan and how overall misconceptions of the country are in fact overlooking the true artistic talent within. We got a chance to speak with Perwani. Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background and how you got started in the fashion industry? Deepak Perwani: It was in 1994, I was PERWANI continues on page 6 >>
Steps to updating books about Islam in your children’s school libraries BY KENA SOSA
organising the inter-school, inter-state, inter-region competition is also launching other educational competitions such as Muslim Science Bee, Muslim Math Bee, Muslim Geography Bee and Muslim Science Projects.
ensure that the wants and needs of the campus and community are included. Once the ideas of the committee are shared, it is up to the librarian to create the lists of books that will best add to the school’s collection. For this reason, they, the librarians, have the final say in what books end up in the library and whether or not books that represent many different backgrounds are available for children to read. Librarians tend to base their decisions off the recommendations of the selection committee, the specific
academic needs of their campuses, and reviews of children’s literature from respected magazines such as School Library Journal. They try to choose newer books and award winners as often as possible. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which are the curriculum mandated by the state for lower grades include reading and listening to culturally-diverse texts. Thus, this should also be a factor in their decisions. LIBRARIES continues on page 8 >>
` Social media and the power it has on a revolution ................................................................ ` Interview with Noam Chomsky about the Arab Spring ................................................................ ` MPAC’s Media Awards honor ‘Miral,’ ‘The Good Wife,’ & ‘Fordson’ ................................................................ ` Briefs ................................................................ ` Briefs ................................................................ ` Briefs ................................................................
Santorum’s anti-Muslim speech come to light RICHARD SILVERSTEIN TIKUN OLAM Max Blumenthal has dug up a speech (transcript) delivered by Rick Santorum at David Horowitz’s invitation in 2007, in which he stated that Islam was a religion that had to be “eradicated” in a “long war:” …This will be a long war. This will — remember, when they [Muslims] had the technological ability to fight us, they did, for a thousand years. A thousand years. This is hard for us to understand — a country scantly 250 years of age. A thousand years is incomprehensible to us. It is not to them. It is not to them. Their history is that history. And they know their history. They know who they are. They know who we are. And we have no idea who they are… …They are in a whole new war with us. We can choose not to be in one; doesn’t mean we aren’t. We are in a war, and theology is its basis. Just like we were in a war against Communism, and ideology was its basis. We need to understand that. And here’s the kicker: “What must we do to win [against
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Islam]? We must educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate.” Americans need to ask themselves if they want a president, or even a presidential candidate who’s talked dead-seriously about engaging in a holy war with an entire religion consisting of a billion and a half adherents. Republicans who like what they’re
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hearing from Santorum these days because he’s a family values guy should think whether these are the sort of family values they want their president to espouse. Adopting the anti-Muslim terminology of far-right sources like Gates of Vienna, Pam Geller, and the Scandinavian terrorist Anders Breivik, Santorum claimed that Europe was on the verge of losing to the Muslim hordes seeking to overrun it. It was well on the way to becoming “Eurabia:” “Look at Europe. Europe is on the way to losing. The most popular male name in Belgium — Mohammad… They [Christian Europeans] are losing because they are not having children, they have no faith, they have nothing to counteract it. They are balkanizing Islam, but that’s exactly what they want. And they’re creating an opportunity for the creation of Eurabia, or Euristan in the future… Europe will not be in this battle with us. Because there will be no Europe left to fight.” “The other thing we need to do is eradicate, and that’s the final thing. As I said, this is going to be a long war.” Santorum provided a further faux theological treatise on Islamic history in this passage, worth reading for its sheer out-there quality: For a thousand years, Sunni Islam fought Christendom — a thousand years. And in fact, for most of the time, won; for the most of the time, was on the offensive. It wasn’t till the late 17th century that Islam was stopped. And it was stopped at the gates of Vienna, in the heart of Europe, in Austria. The siege of Vienna — the second siege of Vienna in 1683 — that ultimately was the highwater mark of Islam.
Does anybody know when the highwater mark of Islam was? September the 11th, 1683. It was the very next day, on the plains of Vienna, that Christendom — the Holy League, it was called — united. All of Europe…, we conquered — they conquered — the Sunnis, and drove them into finally a treaty in 1699. And for 300 years, they have been silent. Why? Because they didn’t have the resources or the technology to compete with the modern world. For 300 years, they lay silent. But now Sunni Islam, through alQaeda, which is Sunni; through resources, known as oil; through technology that is now off-the-shelf, and through frustration — imagine you’re a Muslim. You are the person who has the faith that is the successor to the two incomplete faiths — Judaism and Christianity. You are the final revelation. You are the one that is going to control the world. You are the one for a thousand years dominated the world. And for 300 years, you sit in a backwater, looking at Christendom thrive, while you sit in squalor and poverty. How can this be? …This is what we fight. They want to reconquer the world. They want to establish a new Kalifat… So Santorum has adopted the apocalyptic, holy war rhetoric–even injecting the title of the infamous Gates of Vienna blog into his speech–of the loony extreme right in characterizing the Muslim world. Instead of being a religion or spiritual community just like any other in the world with which we must learn to coexist, it becomes a satanic force only to be dealt with in the context of a crusade or holy war. SANTORUM continues on page 6 >>
Briefs . . .
SAN FRANCISCO TROUP DANCES PAST AFGHANI STEREOTYPES
Qur’anic recitations, children’s’ stories Choreographer Miriam Peretz says the news media too often only shows the the bad, the ugly and the evil of Afghanistan, a country that has been engaged in conflict and war, on and off since the 1970s. The dance troupe, Ballet Afsaneh is working to change those perceptions through the arts. Afsaneh means, mythic story. Their story began when they formed in 1986, but their big push came after the Taliban took power and began to put limits on art and culture. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ballet Afsaneh travels to venues and festivals around the world, performing dances of Central Asia. One of those dance forms is the Attan, the traditional Afghan dance. Attan has long been performed at weddings or other celebrations throughout Afghan history. Many consider it the national dance of Afghanistan, but it’s a part of Afghan culture that many in the West rarely see. Now, these women are taking it upon themselves to break down stereotypes and to keep ancient traditions alive. Ballet Afsaneh consists of people of all ethnic backgrounds and is not just limited to people of Afghan decent. Here is a peek at the world premiere of the Attan: Parwaz - Fly Free from this year’s San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. The dancers are accompanied by world class masters of Afghan music, Homayun Sakhi and Salar Nade. ~ ANSER HASSAN, ILLUME MAGAZINE COFFEE-TABLE BOOK, ‘GREEN CARD STORIES,’ FEATURES DRAMATIC STORIES OF 50 IMMIGRANTS Soumaya Khalifa, who also works for the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB), is one of 50 people featured in the book, “Green Card Stories,” a coffee table style book that features dramatic narratives of 50 recent U.S. immigrants — each with permanent residence or citizenship — in compelling essays. The book is a project of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers and was written by nationally recognized journalist Saundra Amrhein with portraits by awardwinning documentary photographer Ariana Lindquist. At a time when the immigration debate in America threatens to boil over, Americans are losing the ability to talk about a phenomenon that has defined who we are as a nation—a nation of immigrants from all walks of life, from all corners of the earth, who have fueled America’s success with individual talents. Immigration tells our essential story: E pluribus unum — Out of many, one. “Green Card Stories” dispels the myth that today’s immigrants are not as hardworking, energetic, or eager to contribute to U.S. society as past generations of new arrivals. In BRIEFS continues on page 5 >>
BRIEFS continued from page 4 >>
fact, it illustrates the energy and passion of these people and conveys a collective determination to fulfill their potential in America . “Green Card Stories” features the dramatic narratives of 50 recent immigrants — each with permanent residence or citizenship — by nationally-recognized journalist Saundra Amrhein, with compelling portraits by photographer Ariana Lindquist, created and produced in collaboration with renowned immigration lawyers and scholars Laura Danielson and Stephen Yale-Loehr. Khalifa, who was born in Egypt, longed to share the complexities of her Muslim religion and background with fellow Americans with different faiths. She never imagined her first experience in doing so would be right after the horrific events of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Today, her Islamic Speakers Bureau chapter reaches thousands of people, focusing on education and debunking negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. SAN FRANCISCO TROUP DANCES PAST AFGHANI STEREOTYPES Family members, friends and many national Muslim organizations are calling upon Iran to halt the execution of Amir Hekmati, an American who has been sentenced to death for espionage, and give him his rights to due process, access to legal counsel and a fair trial. Along with this, concerned citizens are encouraged to sign a petition asking for his immediate release. Go to www. facebook.com/FreeAmirHekmati for more informaiton. “Unfortunately, Amir Hekmati has been caught it a treacherous game of power, which has put his life in danger” said Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC President. “Hekmati deserves one thing - his right to due process. The continual denial of his American citizenship and the right to legal counsel, further the fear that Iran is using him as a pawn and will not honor requests made from the State Department and his friends and family.” Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who traveled to Iran to visit relatives, was detained by the Iranian government in August and convicted of “working for an enemy country,” as well as membership in the CIA and “efforts to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorism.” Hekmati served in the Marines from 2001 to 2005, and then started his own linguistics company and contracted his services to the military as well as civilian businesses. His military contracts included cultural competency training. He worked with troops at military bases to promote understanding and positive communication with people of other cultures. His arrest comes amid rising tension between the U.S. and Iran. U.S. State Department strongly condemned the verdict. “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for or was sent to Iran by the CIA are simply untrue,” said department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.” The department urged Iran “to grant the Swiss protecting power immediate access to Mr. Hekmati, grant him access to legal counsel, and release him without delay. “ Hekmati is the latest in a series of Americans to face arrest in the country in recent years. Three U.S. hikers, also accused of spying, were arrested in 2009 and ultimately released. Sarah Shourd was freed on medical grounds in 2010; Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were freed in September 2011. Journalist Roxana Saberi was arrested in January 2009 and convicted of espionage in a one-day trial that was closed to the public. She was freed in May that year. Iranian-American Kian Tajbakhsh was among many people arrested in July 2009, amid a massive government crackdown. In March the next year, he was allowed temporary release within the country to celebrate the Persian New Year. That temporary release was later extended, according to the website freekian09.org, which works for his release.
PERWANI continued from page 1 >>
“What must we do to win [against Islam]? We must educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate.” ~ Rick Santorum
SANTORUM continues on page 6 >>
For Santorum, it’s not just the Muslims against whom his fellow rightists must fight a holy war: But it’s not just radical Islam; it is also the radical left. Because what we’re seeing now is the old adage you learned when you were a kid — the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And the left — whether it’s here in this country, and certainly around the world — sees America today as the enemy. They fight us on college campuses, and they fight us in the streets of Central and South American countries, in North Korea, in other places. Those of us on the left must understand that if this deluded soul believes even half of what he says, a Santorum
presidency would involve not just the type of repression that we saw during the Bush-Cheney years, but an outright physical assault on everything the left represents in American society. It will be yet another holy war except carried out against political targets. That is, you and me. We must force American politicians like Santorum to choose between substantive political debate and hate-mongering. If they choose the latter they must be made to pay the price. The highest possible price. That is, political annihilation. This is the only way to convey to extremists like Santorum and Gingrich, that racism and pummeling American Muslims and other minorities not only won’t work, it will sentence you to political Purgatory.
was this fashionable child, who had returned to Pakistan from New York with lots of ideas and excitement. I went to buy some clothes for myself and couldn’t find anything cool or decent to wear. I mean I am talking about an era when no one wore a red shirt, even in this country. So I started tailoring my own shirts and wearing them. Everywhere I went, I was asked if people could buy them off me. So, I made a collection in 1995 of 28 shirts and had a show. It was sold out in 40 minutes and thus the cycle started. Q: You personally, are from a Hindu family, living in Pakistan. Have you ever had an issue as a minority in Pakistan? DP: Well I am a minority but I guess it helps to be privileged. I come from a land owning semi-feudalistic family. When I was young, things were different. There was no Internet, media and reach was limited. I guess going to good schools, traveling abroad helped and so did my parents lifestyle. I had some problems initially in terms of clients saying that they love my clothes but they cant buy from a Hindu, but that was a long time ago. Things have changed for the better in the last decade or so. Q: What does the Deepak Perwani brand stand for?
DP: It stands for fusion, for progression, for breaking the boundaries of Pakistani fashion and pushing the envelope as far as you can you go. Q: What’s one of the greatest challenges that you’ve had to overcome in your career? PERWANI continues on page 10 >>
Suggestions to help with library update LIBRARIES continued from page 1 >>
Based on this premise, if you find that the school library is lacking in culturally diverse texts, as a parent you might consider approaching the librarian with some books that would be good additions to your school library. Make sure to be clear about your reasons so that your
motives are clear. The goal would be to make sure that a variety of cultures are represented in the collection. Books that can ensure multiculturalism could depict real life stories of Muslims, the lifestyle practiced by Muslims, or simply feature Muslim characters interacting with their world in an ordinary, non-biased way.
The point is being that all cultural groups should be represented. I have created a list of twenty books which are culturally rich and portray their Muslim characters and customs in a positive way. Other resources for children’s literature related to the Muslim faith can be found at http://www.islamic-foundation.com/.
Bibliography of Muslim Children’s Literature Addasi, Maha. Time to Pray. Boyds Mills Press: bilingual edition, 2010. In English and Arabic, Time to Pray is the story of Yasmin, who, during a visit to her grandmother learns the ritual and practice of prayer. Barnard, Bryn. The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011. For ages 8 and up, The Genius of Islam describes the contributions of the Islamic Empire to the advancement of humanity in mathematics, science and civilization. Bunting, Eve. One Green Apple. Clarion Books, 2006. Farah is a young Muslim immigrant trying to find happiness in her new life away from home. She finds a connection to her peers through their experience at an apple orchard. Demi. Muhammad. Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1st edition, 2003. The story of Muhammad, prophet of Islam, as told for young readers, includes colorful and eye-catching illustrations. Gilani-Williams, Fawzia. Nabeel’s New Pants: An Eid Tale. Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books, 2010. As his family prepares for Eid, Nabeel can’t find anyone with time to help him mend his new pants. Will he find help in time for Eid? Gilani-Williams, Fawzia. The Lost Ring: An Eid Story. The Islamic Foundation, 2009. Grandma’s special ring disappears as the family prepares their special meal for Eid. Will they find it in time? Mohammed, Khadra and Karen Lynn Williams. Four Feet, Two Sandals. Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 2007. On the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in a refugee camp, two girls share a pair of sandals and a special friendship as they do more than just survive, waiting for the chance to escape to a new life. Kezzeiz, Ediba. Grandma’s Garden. American Trust Publications, 2005. Zahra and Ghusen enjoy gardening with their grandmother. When she passes they must come to understand what this means through their beliefs and their gardening. Khan, Aisha Karen. What You will See Inside a Mosque. Skylight Paths Publishing, 2008. The colorful photographs inside this book will spur conversations and provide comprehension into how Muslims practice their faith in a respectful and educational way. Khan, Hena. Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story. Chronicle Books, 2008. A young girl comes to understand how Muslim celebrations use the BOOKS continues on page 9 >>
BOOKS continued from page 8 >>
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2009. With illustrations inspired by detailed Iranian art, this book demonstrates the meaning of Ramadan and Eid and their ties to the cycle of the moon.
the finalists are selected. “We aim to encourage children and develop their skills, we will reward each student with a certificate of participation and maximise giving away prizes to students.”
Ruelle, Karen Gray. The Grand Mosque of Paris. Holiday House, 2010. During the Holocaust, few groups reached out to Jews in Paris. Yet many found refuge in an unlikely place, the Grand Mosque of Paris.
The competition is scheduled to begin in March 2012 and conclude in May 2012 at Chicago; Los Angeles; Tampa, Fla.; New York; New Jersey; Phoenix; Houston; and Washington, DC; it will be a weekend affair in each city and the finals will be held in Chicago.
lunar calendar as she celebrates Ramadan with her family. Khan, Rukhsana. Muslim ChildUnderstanding Islam Through Stories and Poems. Albert Whitman & Company, 2002. A collection of stories, this book depicts some of the internal conflicts Muslim children might face within their peer group and how they find resolutions to these issues. Whether it be not wanting to wake up for prayer, or eating snacks with prohibited ingredients, the children peace within themselves. Mortenson, Greg. Listen to the Wind. Dial Books, 2009. The children of Korphe tell how a man who promised to build them a school, realized his goal. Colorful collage illustrations add to the real feeling of the book. Nye, Naomi Shihab. Sitti’s Secrets. Aladdin, 1997. Mona visits her grandmother or “Sitti” in a Palestinian village. Although they do not speak the same language they understand their physical, familial bond and the need for peace. Nayeer, Anaya. Let’s Go Dua Catching. Greenbird Books, 2011. Eysa and Mr. Cat delight as they show the meaning of Dua and learn about prayer. Robert, Na’ima B. Ramadan Moon.
Rumford, James. Silent Music. Roaring Book Press, 2008. Ali is a normal child growing up in Baghdad. Yet the conflicts around him affect him. He finds comfort in a pen and the ancient art of calligraphy. Winter, Jeanette. Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq. Harcourt Children’s Books, 2005. A dedicated librarian, Alia Muhammad Baker, fears the precious books that have united, educated and entertained her community will be destroyed by fire. She smuggles them out to save them, hoping a time will come when they can enlighten readers again. Winter, Jeanette. Nasreen’s Secret School. Beach Lane Books, 2009. The disappearance of Nasreen’s parents has left her silent. To help, her grandmother secretly finds a way for her to attend school hoping it will break her of her frightened shell. A true story from Afghanistan, Nasreen and her family will inspire you.
The entry fee will be $50 per student will have to fill out an application and pay the fee online or via cheque. After completion of the registrations, participants will receive an exhaustive word list to refer. On the set day, student arrives at the testing location and will need to take a written test followed by an oral competition. We have engaged with advanced systems to scrutinise the performance and scientific point’s methodology to ensure fairness. Our team of experts are academicians, events and management consultants. Malik said there will be a cash prize, scholarships, college sponsorships, companies giving holiday gifts as benefits for the families of children participating in Muslim Spelling Bee Competition. Malik said he images with several
For more information: Tausif Malik 773.536.9786 email@example.com www.muslimspellingbee.com career and livelihood options around, there’s a notable shift in children opting out of education focus programs. There’s a hidden talent in every child, the Gift of Lord, Gift of Innovation and Creation. Malik said he believes his program of competitions will move the Muslim community towards connecting communities. His aim is to begin with a spelling bee but to expand into other areas, with science competitions, geography bees, math bees – “an Olympiad.” If you are interested in getting involved in the Muslim spelling bee, visit www. muslimspellingbee.com.
Pakistan has more to Become rich by giving offer than we’ve seen PERWANI continued from page 1 >>
DP: I think the biggest challenge was to become a designer it wasn’t something I planned. If I weren’t a fashion designer I would be a merchandizer or an actor. Q: Pakistan’s fashion industry is booming! What are your thoughts on all the attention? DP: I think its fantastic! You know what they say: the best comes out of any country when it’s repressed, but Pakistan’s reality is very different, we are not suppressed. Art, culture, cinema, fashion, and music are a huge part of our upbringing. If we look at the history the Moghul’s left us with all of these traits: costumes, architecture poetry, music, etc. Q: Many people outside of Pakistan are surprised that there is a large fashion, arts, and music community in Pakistan. How are you and other designers actively trying to change that perception? DP: We consider ourselves not just as Pakistani designers but apart of a global village. Pakistani fashion is not just limited to Pakistan but is worn all over the world now that we have phenomenal talent in this country. We are just badly
exposed and that goes across the board for all creative arts in Pakistan.
The West is not interested in anything positive coming out of Pakistan. I have had many conversations with journalists from the Associated Press, Reuters, etc. and they say that the rules of engagement for Pakistan are very different. They are only interested in the negative stories rather then the positive ones. Q: What can we expect from the Deepak Perwani brand in the upcoming year? DP: Oh lots of things! We want to be available all over the world and are already have a presence in Dubai, London, New York, Washington, Dallas, Houston, Singapore, Sydney, etc. and the brand is growing every year with 5 stores currently in Pakistan and stock all over. The game has only just begun. As for Pakistani fashion it’s there to stay and move forward. You have only seen the tip of the iceberg from this so called “bomb ridden country.” You should definitely come and see the next fashion week, only the amount of Birkins that women carry will blow you away! Follow Deepak Perwani’s page on Facebook.
How to become rich? I mean pockets full of cash and wallets bursting at the seams rich. How? What I’m about to tell you may seem counterproductive to your goal but trust me, it works. The way to become rich is by doing one thing: give. In Surah Baqarah we read, “The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain that grows (into) seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies for whom he will. And Allah is all-sufficient for his creatures’ needs, all-knower” (2:261).
So say you give one dollar to a person in need. According to this ayat, Allah will return that to you sevenfold, turning your one dollar into seven dollars. Donating to charity is a way for Muslims to purify their wealth; by giving a small part of you earnings away you remove the possibility of having any doubtful wealth such as interest. How many times have you felt like you were running low on cash when, out of nowhere, you seem to come upon enough to, Alhumdulillah, cover your expenses? Those things that we often consider coincidence are more often
Allah’s mercy raining down upon us but we take little notice of them.
But I know what you’re about to say. You’re only a student or you’re making merely enough to get by and you’re just unable to give right now. Forget a dollar, what about a quarter? Once a week? Seems pretty reasonable now, doesn’t it? It doesn’t matter what you give, it’s more important that you give something on a consistent basis. In a hadith from the collection of Bukhari it states that our Prophet (saw) said, “The most GIVING continues on page 15 >>
Supreme Court Needs to be Applauded for upholding religious freedom clause On Jan. 11, 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), one of the most important religious freedom cases. The Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot tell religious institutions who they can hire and fire, essentially commanding noninterference by the government into faith-based institutions when it comes to matters of employment issues. Arguments for the case were first heard on Oct. 5, 2011, with the EEOC arguing in favor of Cheryl Perich, who was fired from her teaching position at the Hosanna Tabor Lutheran Church and School on grounds of insubordination. The church, argued in favor of her firing using the First Amendment’s religious freedom clause. “Courts should not rule on religious questions, such as determining what is the correct interpretation
of church doctrine. One outgrowth of this principle is the ministerial exception, which its defenders say is aimed at keeping courts out of employment disputes involving religious institutions and their clergy, or other employees who perform important religious functions,” cited the church from a Pew Forum’s legal backgrounder on the case. While the Court heard the arguments, organizations were able to submit amicus curiae, or “friend of the court” briefs. The Muslim Public Affairs Council submitted a brief on behalf of the church and upholding their right to manage their employees based on who they saw fit for their available positions. “Religious organizations should be ‘free to “select their own leaders, define their own doctrines, resolve their own disputes, and run their own institutions,” ‘ MPAC submitted along with United Sikhs, Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, International Society for Krishna
Consciousness, O Centro Beneficente Uniao Do Vegetal, and Templo Yoruba Omo Orisha in Support of Petitioner and Urging Reversal. The case holds such monumental
significance because it highlights our nation’s dedications to religious freedom, which also covers freedoms for faith-based institutions, as well. In SUPREME COURT continues on page 15 >>
All American Muslims need to get ready for a new reality - the NDAA While many Muslims (and people outside the faith for that matter) were heavily embedded in a debate over the controversy surrounding hardware store Lowe’s and its recent decision to remove ads from TLC’s reality show “All American Muslim,” a more detrimental attack against their future was all but finalized. Reversing an earlier decision to veto provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012, President Barack Obama made the disturbing announcement that he would sign this legislation into law and thereby solidify the ability of the military and other factions to indefinitely detain anyone they deem an enemy of the state. And on New Year’s Eve, the President unfortunately made good on this promise with the stroke of his pen. At a time when the United States is grossly engaged in both active combat and covert drone campaigns
It is an unfortunate reflection of how marginalized groups often times suffer under the radar without a representative voice in government and in the mainstream.
in a multitude of Muslim nations, and when loosely defined terms like ‘terrorist’ can be arbitrarily thrown about, Muslims specifically -- and all of society generally -- shouldn’t take this disturbing development lightly. In post-9/11 America, many have sadly grown accustomed and tolerant to routine practices of racial profiling, bias and even attacks against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. But in addition to blatant violence, workplace discrimination and subliminal acts of racism, Muslims have also become aware of another nuance that other Americans may not even realize exists -- hesitation to give to charity. Because of fear that any
charitable Muslim organization or mosque could suddenly be called out for links to a lone extremist faction (whether it’s justified or not), many pulled their money and cut back on donations to the extent that longestablished charities found it virtually impossible to survive. Usually without any valid reason, many stopped supporting Muslim aide groups for the simple notion that anyone, anywhere could at any moment single out that organization and in turn put all those who gave money out of goodwill at risk for associating with them. The victims in all this? The impoverished and destitute in many “third world” countries.
At the same time, tragically, other active Muslims who were entrenched in the community or worked in an organizing capacity (much like our president once did for the disenfranchised), ceased their activities over trepidation as to how their efforts towards equality could one day be misconstrued for something nefarious. The climate of society forced many followers of the Islamic faith to alter their involvement on a plethora of levels. Even today, as forces like the NYPD keep Muslims under intrusive surveillance and continued cases of FBI entrapment emerge, many have stopped attending mosques or interacting too much within the community out of sheer apprehension over unwarranted government action. It is an unfortunate reflection of how marginalized groups often times MUSLIM continues on page 14 >>
Social media -- the path to a quicker & brutality-free revolution With the advent of social media the world has made a leap forward in empowering the citizenry. We are shaping the future of our world, and we must consider now that the “powers that be” will no longer be dictating “their story” via the “embedded journalist.” It will be “THE story” as whatever event occurs in the world, because we now have the permanent “embedded journalist.” The citizen soldier armed with the simple tools -- an iPhone and the courage to capture and broadcast unedited footage. As they have no need for the “official story” sanitized so that it meets the state agenda, they have only truth and the evidence at hand. The jeanie was let out of the bottle as we watched the strongest autocratic military states in the Middle East felled by a cell phone and social media. Even at the crescendo of the build up, the Hosni Mubarak regime in Egypt tried to close the door on social media by “cutting the cable” and shutting down the internet and phone service. All that did was light the fuse and put the people’s feet on the streets. We watched as the regimes fell like dominoes. The worst of the oppressors in the region armed up and forced their populations to fall back to the revolution of old, the gun and bomb. Lybia tossed and turned in pain for months as the traditional revolution rolled forward to its bitter end. Compare the two, one a brutal game of attrition taking many months to unfold, and the new age revolution of social media and citizen conscience, gave the ability of the populace to communicate freely and from their hearts. The new revolution had a very low mortality rate and a blinding speed to change. Now we stand aside and watch as Syria is tested, and the governments of the world cry foul. But what of Bahrain? Should I patronize them? The Western world knew what was going on in Bahrain and said nothing. They said nothing because the oil barons of Saudi Arabia are looked after by the West as they prove time and again that oil is thicker than blood So the Bahrain majority was brutalized by the minority rulers and the West hardly batted an eye. But
John Moore/Getty Images
now comes Syria dealing in kind with its own social revolution, and the West only so eagerly condemns and vilifies the Bashar al-Asaad regime. We must note that Syria is bordered by the “Pariah State,” and there will always be a double standard when the “Pariah State” is involved. No longer will the governments of the world be able to hide under the “fog of war” and under the cover of darkness commit atrocities on the innocent to hold on to their ill gotten reins of power. Truth has become manifest, and it is being broadcast worldwide. The spurs of technology are striking the sides of the story, and it is galloping away at the speed of light to all corners of the digital world. It is interesting to note that the most highly integrated “spy state” -- Great Britain, with London under a heavy blanket of surveillance devices -- has made subtle public comments about how it needs to be able to stem the social media in case of coordinated civil unrest takes place. In truth is reads: “in order to force status quo on the social order…” Great Britain should be watched closely by the citizenry, and our social media devices should be armed and ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. Which brings me to the moment’s notice. I recall a night two years ago, when I was at Afra with close friends celebrated SOCIAL MEDIA continues on page 15 >>
MUSLIM continued from page 12 >>
Congress overruled his veto in the end). The truly tragic and troubling thing about today’s NDAA is that President Obama isn’t even attempting to veto it anymore; he is instead giving it his stamp of approval. Even though the president stated that he has “serious reservations” regarding the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists, and even though he emphasizes that his administration will not indefinitely militarily detain American citizens without trial, what happens after he is no longer in office? Future leaders of the free world, after all, have absolutely no obligation to honor Obama’s signing statement, nor follow in his footsteps.
suffer under the radar without a representative voice in government and in the mainstream. Throughout modern history, we’ve had other instances of outrageous fear mongering, bias and injustice against those whose patriotism we questioned. Though it is rarely covered in classrooms, the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese and those of Japanese ancestry during WWII is a perfect example. Literally rounded up and “excluded” from living in the cities and towns they resided in, these “suspicious” individuals were interned in camps because their allegiance to the country “could not be determined.” In 1950, at the height of the great red scare, Congress passed the Internal Security Act which required the American Communist Party, affiliated organizations and all ‘subversives’ to get fingerprinted and officially register with the Attorney General. This draconian law was so outrageous that thenPresident Harry Truman even vetoed it (though
Yes, our first African American president has changed much of the vitriolic language used when covering the topic of terrorism, and yes he has taken great caution to ensure that Muslims and terror itself are not juxtaposed together. For that, he should be commended. But by finalizing the ability of any president to deem persons -- including U.S. citizens (if they so interpret this bill) -- an enemy that could then be indefinitely detained without charge or without trial, he sets into motion a frightening precedent. As a former constitutional law professor, President Obama should be inherently aware of the impending ramifications. During the struggle for civil rights, many journalists, activists and those vocal citizens working alongside Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and other leaders suddenly found themselves targeted for their activities. Countless advocates became political prisoners and others saw their careers and lives ruined. Now at a time when we already have legislation like the Patriot Act renewed, and warrantless wiretapping is openly put into practice, this defense act not only indoctrinates AUMF (2001 Authorization for use of Military Force)
and many activities that were previously in existence, but it also leaves open the possibility of silencing anyone on a level with which we never even imagined. As American Muslims, we’re happy that some are starting to ease the negative imaging and stereotyping against us, and are instead open to learning more about what the Islamic faith truly stands for. As a routinely alienated group, we’re overly ecstatic when a program like All American Muslim actually portrays us in a light other than that of some extremist radical. But while we should embrace the boycott of Lowe’s for its open bigotry, and praise folks like Russell Simmons for stepping up to the plate to purchase ads for the program, we should put just as much focus into the potential of someone like a Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum taking over the White House and having full reign to detain whomever he pleases. Just remember the Bush-era verbiage of “you’re either with us or against us” and the atmosphere of intolerance that permeated under his presidency, and couple that with the ability of someone with his mentality being able to willfully determine any one of us a “traitor,” lock us up and throw away the key. If Muslims scaled back their activities in the community and their charitable donations out of paranoia over the unrealistic possibility of being tied to something suspicious, just imagine the fear that will ensue if anyone can be instantly and militarily detained over accusations where the burden of proof won’t even be on the accuser. It is indeed an alarming scenario that can (and in all likelihood will) give new meaning to the term reality -- no TV required. Nida Khan is a regular writer and contributer to Illume Magazine, an online Muslim American publication.
SUPREME COURT continued from page 11 >>
Justice of Supreme Court John Roberts.
a rare judgment, all nine justices voted in favor of Hosanna-Tabor, pointing to the importance of our fundamental principles of religious freedom.
In the end, the case was won based on the religious liberty clause in the First Amendment that prohibits government interference in the affairs of religious groups and the selection of their leaders.
“The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important. But so, too, is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission,” wrote Chief
Marium F. Mohiuddin is the Communications Coordinator for the Muslim Public Affairs Council and has worked in communications and publishing for the past 15 years.
Egyptian State TV
SOCIAL MEDIA continues on page 15 >>
would I have said the same?
the marriage of a friend to a prominent Egyptian family.
Yes, I do not color my comments to please others, I plainly speak the truth as I see it. And now here we are two years later, and all over the world I see the pictures of Mubarak in a cage being broadcast on every media network.
Later that evening as we sipped Moroccan tea, the discussion turned to politics, Egypt and Mubarak. Those who know me, know that I am want to speak my mind and that sometimes my words hit the audience with blunt force, as sometimes I do not politically color my comments. My words are raw and to the point of the nerve. So, in response to the subject of Mubarak I said, “Do you know what history as proven? Every tyrant falls.” No sooner were the words off my lips than did my friend Issa kicked me under the table. Had I known which family it was our friend was marrying into,
How sweet the truth is when you speak it, and God agrees with your heart and manifests that truth for all to see. Speak truth to power, as God is your shield; speak truth to power, as God is your sword; speak truth to power, as God is the truth; and there is no more powerful weapon than the truth. Opinion article written by Abdullah Mikail
GIVING continued from page 10 >>
beloved of deeds to Allah (swt) are the most consistent of them, even if they are few.” So take an empty jar and every Friday put a quarter, a dollar, a check, an IOU — whatever you can — and put some money aside for those who are struggling to get the things you don’t think twice about like food, water, shelter and clothing. Whether you want to donate to people in Somalia who are living in famine and drought, or Syrian refugees who are seeking political asylum, find a charity you can trust so you can be confident about where your hard-earned money is going. If you feel like you want to give but
you’re unable to, volunteering your time is another way to perform charity. Find a local organization that does something you can be a part of like volunteering at a soup kitchen, organizing a food pantry, or collecting sweaters and clothes to keep someone warm this winter. I n another hadith from Bukhari, it states that our Prophet (saw) said, “If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity.” Find a way to give that best suits you and stick to it in Rubina Ali is the Communications Coordinator at Zakat Foundation of America, a Chicago-based charity organization that helps people reach out to those in need around the world. Learn more about ZF at www. zakat.org or contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.