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From The Editor’s Desk – October 2015
Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh, Fall Expo Recap ..................................................................... 05 Seeking the Perfection of Salaat (Part 1) ....................... 06,07 The Growth of ICC-South .................................................... 08 Pre-Columbian Muslim Americans .............................. 10,11 Dawah at the Apple Festival ................................................ 05 Subscribe to our upcoming digital edition at:
September -2015, Volume 1, Issue 9 ISSN 2377 - 9624 Publisher & Editor-in-Chief: Mohamed Haroon Sait Editor: Duston Barto Design & Layout: Mubin M.K. All content Copyright © 2015 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain reprint permission and guidelines. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the advertisers or individual contributing writers and not necessarily those of the editor or publisher of this magazine. This magazine is published monthly. Article submissions are welcome, email: Editor@MuslimAmerican.com Advertising inquiries should email: Ads@MuslimAmerican.com
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Nearly every day we are faced with new flavors of Islamophobia. The FBI agrees that anti-Muslim sentiment and crimes against Muslims and Islamic centers is at the highest it has been in the last ten years. Whether this is due to the rise and apparent increase in violence by ISIS or merely a scenario where people have started acting out after 14 years of bad press that we Muslims have received is unclear. What is clear, however, is that no amount of islamophobia that we meet in the modern United States can compare with the horrors that the first Muslims endured. In America we are guaranteed equality under the law and in spite of ugly comments from some politicians we all have access to the same liberty. Are we oppressed? Certainly, we must fight our oppression using the tools of logic, reason and intellect. Do not lose hope, do not despair. The struggle of Muslims from the past should inspire us to work harder, to give dawah with a renewed effort as they did. Not with the goal of converting people to Islam, only Allah (SWT) can do that; but to give people knowledge about Islam. To share with our neighbors the hopes, dreams and aspirations that we have for ourselves and society. To communicate the desire for all people to live in peace wherein everyone can live with equity, liberty and justice. In sharing these thoughts with sincerity and love, we can each help to change the condition of a person’s heart from that of hate to that of acceptance. Remember that if Allah so willed, he would convert the entire world to Islam and compel mankind to be Muslim.
The Charlotte Community was very pleased to have Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans to visit for Eid Ul Adha. He gave a wonderful khutbah delivering lessons on faith that we should all take from the rituals of hajj. Ustadh Evans is the first African-American graduate from Al-Azhar university, insh’allah we will see many more in the coming years. Visit our Facebook page to see more images from Eid salaat. 4
We must, therefore, respect the choices that people make in their lives even if we disagree with them. Remember that Allah has commanded us to use the litmus of “La Ikraha Fi Deen” “No Coercion in matters of faith.” (Qur’an 2:256) as a part of the way of life. What that tells me is that I should not concern myself with what others do if they are not Muslim. My Muslim brothers and sisters need my gentle and loving guidance to righteousness but non-Muslims have a different standard for righteousness. It does not violate our faith to recognize that difference and appreciate that others have the right to live as they feel led to do so. We should seek to protect others from oppression so that Allah will protect us. Let us be more inclusive in our dialog with nonMuslims and lead with kindness instead of judgment so that they will do the same with us.
May Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you all,
Editor, Muslim American magazine www.MuslimAmerican.com
Muslim Americanâ€™s First Annual Fall Exhibition With Eid rapidly approaching, we decided to hold our first ever Eid Bazaar and Fall Exhibition! Why a Fall Exhibition? Muslim American intends to have several events throughout the year to bring in vendors and products of specific types to cater to the needs of our communities. On Sunday, the 20th of September, 2015 we opened our doors to bring in nearly a dozen vendors bringing in clothing, food, perfumes and many other things. Customers came from all over the greater Charlotte area and some as far away as Cary and Fayetteville. Everyone enjoyed great bargains, beautiful henna and joyful conversation. Many women came to find beautiful Eid dresses for themselves and their children along with new jewelry and other accessories. After shopping, a wonderful local henna artist was on hand to provide elegant designs for women and fun, colorful designs for the kids. Then it was time to get some delicious food and enjoy lively conversation with everyone. Keep reading Muslim American for our announcement for the next Muslim American event! Donâ€™t miss a thing! Sign up for newsletters on our website and like our page on Facebook!
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Seeking the Perfection of Salaat (Part 1) Shaykh Muhammad S.Adly
There are Muslims who come to me saying “Oh Shaykh, I have been Muslim for 6 years and I am only now learning this thing or that thing.” So I say to you as I say to them; don’t worry! I have been Muslim for 66 years and I’m still finding and learning things every day about salah and other aspects of worship. All of us, Muslims, are on a path of knowledge and we must continue to work the best we can to perfect the way that we submit ourselves to Allah (SWT). The issue of Salaah and the perfection of prayer will take several stages to understand and insha’Allah we will complete these lessons in the following issues of the magazine. Before we start to talk about perfecting salaat, we must first talk about the importance of prayer. What does it mean to be in Salah? It means to be in a private session with Allah (SWT) and to be in communication with the Almighty Creator. It is a scheduled meeting with Him to seek His guidance, protection, and mercy. Rasoulullah (SAWS) said, “… the coolness of my eyes is in prayer,” which indicates the extreme level of peace and tranquility that we should find in prayer. In fact, the solution to all our problems is supposed to be found through salaah by communicating with our Rabb (Creator). Every year, I see news about sales, like on Black Friday, when people will stand outside of stores all night long to get a 30% discount on a television. Even Muslims, subhanallah, will spend all this energy and focus into discount shopping. There is nothing wrong with getting a good deal, but we have to ask ourselves if we are taking advantage of the opportunity for salaat and putting the same kind of energy into our prayers. It is our nature to put attention, devotion and dedication to the things that are most important to us. What is more important? Half price off the newest game system or communication with your Lord? Which one are we 6
really putting the most attention, devotion and dedication toward? Let us focus on the next two hadiths to see the beauty of being in salaat: It was narrated by alBukhaari in his Saheeh (1145) and by Muslim (1261) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”
because they have not attained humility and devotion in salaat.
If you compare your prayer to the description in the Qur’an and Hadith, then you may find a big difference between what you are doing and what Allah has prescribed. We have to learn the right way, the proper way to be mindful, to be reflective, and to focus on It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that our success which comes from having the Prophet (SAWS) said: “Whoever our mind and heart in salah. offers a prayer in which he does not recite Umm al-Kitaab (i.e., al-Faatihah), it is Consider the following hadith; which defective” and he said it three times. It may apply to many of us: was said to Abu Hurayrah, “(What if) we The Prophet (SAWS) said to one who are behind the imam?” He said, “Recite prayed badly and was not tranquil and it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger dignified in his prayer: “Go back and of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah pray for you have not prayed.” And he be upon him) say, ‘Allah said: I have did that three times. Then the man said: divided prayer between Myself and My slave “O Messenger of Allaah, by the One into two halves, and My slave shall have what Who sent you with the truth, I cannot he has asked for. do any better than this, teach me.” The When the slave says: Al-hamdu lillahi Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah rabbi l-alamin (All the praises and thanks be upon him) said: “When you stand up be to Allaah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen to pray, do wudoo’ well, then turn to face (mankind, jinn and all that exists)), Allah the qiblah and say takbeer, and recite whatever you can of Qur’aan. Then says: My slave has praised Me.” bow until you are at ease in bowing, then Allah (SWT) has promised us in the raise your head until you are standing up Qur’an “Indeed, success is for the believers.” straight. Then prostrate until you are at (23:1) Who are the successful ones? ease in prostration, then sit up until you Who are the believers? The first thing are sitting up straight and are at ease in that Allah (SWT) gives us as a quality of sitting. Then prostrate until you are at the successful is “those who are humble in ease in prostration, then get up until you prayer” (23:2). How many people pray, are standing up straight. Then do that but they are not praying? People assume throughout your prayer.” (Agreed upon that they are praying, but they are not as Sahih). www.MuslimAmerican.com
The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) tells us in an authentic hadith, “The first thing the people will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment is prayer, Allah will say to His angels (even though He already knows): “Look at my servants’ prayers. Were they complete or not?” If they were complete, it will be written as complete. If they were not fully complete, Allah will say: “See if my servant has voluntary prayers;” if he has them, Allah will say: “Complete his obligatory prayers shortage with his voluntary prayers.” Then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner.” (Reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nisa’i, and Al-Hakim) Not hajj, not fasting… but prayer! Hajj you do once, just one time in your life if you can afford it. Fasting you are required to do one month a year. However, Salah you are supposed to be doing five times a day! Surah al-Ma’un says, in verse 4-6 “So woe to those worshippers, Those who are heedless of their prayers. Those who do things only to be seen by others.” Therefore, the sincerity of worship is very serious. Also, missing prayer is a sin; you have to seek forgiveness and make tawba. Sometimes people have problems, their minds are fogged up with other problems of this world, and they get distracted. If a Muslim doesn’t pray for a week, he is still Muslim, but he has committed a serious sin. The solution and restitution is to return to prayer; when you are in prayer, you find success, and in sujood, you are the closest to Allah because you are in submission. This is where you reconnect with Allah and find ease to your problems. How important is Salah? It is so important that when Allah (SWT) greeted Moses (AS) for the first time, He said, “Indeed I am Allah, so worship me and establish the prayer for my remembrance” (20:14). When Jesus (AS) spoke as a baby, the first thing we are told that he said was, “I am indeed a servant of God; He has given me revelation and made me a prophet, And He has made me blessed wherever I am, and has recommended to me prayer and the paying of zakat as long as I live.” (19:20-21) To advertise call (704) 597-5424
If salah is good, everything will be good, 3. Consider the place you are going to pray. Is there a distraction? Is there if salah is corrupt, then everything to anything that would keep you from follow is corrupted. This is because focusing on salaat? Is the TV on? salah is purification of the heart; it is Are there lectures or other noises an expression of love and devotion to playing in the background? Is the Allah. Every stage of Salah is significant room too hot or too cold? You physically and spiritually, starting with should be comfortable and free ablution and ensuring that you are from distraction where you make clean from impurities; so your mindset prayer so that you won’t be rushing is focused on cleanliness and purity for in your prayer. Salah. Before the salah, the Prophet 4. Consider your physical condition before making salaat. If you are (SAWS) used to remind the believing hungry, eat first (unless you are Companions and say, “Pray as if this is fasting of course). If you have to your last prayer.” – If this is going to be use the bathroom, then do that and the last prayer, how much perfection and replace your wudu; don’t be lazy devotion can you put into it? Here are and spend the whole time in salaat five things that we must keep in mind dancing because you neglected the before we even make takbir to begin our rights that your body has over you! salaat: Get yourself into a condition that 1. Rasoulullah (SAWS) said, “If you is at peace so that you can put your come to the prayer, come walking, devotion and focus on prayer. not running” This prepares you before the salah to have respect and 5. Go to the masjid early and wait for the prayer, do not delay. This relates devotion, to consider each step. It to the first point, but it is especially also indicates that you should not important for Jumuah. If you be rushing in at the last minute, come in the middle of the khutbah, but that you have been mindful of then make your two “welcome the prayer and that you have made rak’at” and sit down. Do not go the intention to pray on time even into either extreme of sitting down before the Athan is called. while neglecting your two rak’at or 2. How do you meet and speak with praying a full sunnah of four rak’at Allah? Allah commands us, “Put on after the two “welcome rak’at”. Be your adornment (proper and decent dress) respectful to the khatib and your when you attend your Masjid at the time other brothers and sisters in Islam. of every prayer.” (7:31) That means Arrive early, pray every prayer that we should be mindful of what we you intend to pray and give yourself wear so that it is not only modest enough time to pray them properly but also proper to make salaah in. with full devotion. Do not go in sloppy clothing, a torn T-shirt or something with a foul Insha’Allah next month, we will slogan or image. Do not go without continue with more points to focus on grooming yourself properly to stand in purifying the salaat to prepare for in salaat. So many people stagger out the greatest success in this life and the of bed and stand in prayer without hereafter. taking a moment to make themselves presentable to Allah (SWT). How devoted and focused can you be if you Sh. Muhammad S. Adly is an author of do not take a moment to straighten over 37 books on Islamic topics, including a your hair? Have the mindset of being comprehensive book on salaat for new Muslims. in a private session with Allah to ask Please visit him online at www.adlyonline. for his mercy, to seek his forgiveness. com and youtube.com/muhammadadly for Allah is the most worthy one for more lessons from the respected Imam and to purchase his books. whom we beautify ourselves for. 7
The Growth of ICC-South Charlotte By Duston Barto What started in the late 1990s as a satellite prayer facility for people too far south to drive to ICC for every prayer has evolved into a fully self-sufficient Masjid. The growth of ICC-South Musallah is typical of many mosques which pop up in suburbs around major cities across the United States. However, ICC-South Charlotte boasts a more diverse mix than many. While all of those attending are Sunni, they do represent all the various schools of thought. People who were raised or have studied the schools of Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali and Shaafi all gather under the guidance of Imam Abddahir AlAzham. Sheikh Abddahir has the challenge of expressing the various interpretations on certain issues while giving guidance that is universal.
Construction of the outer wall finished shortly before certificate of occupancy was given. and have taraweeh prayers to inaugurate the new location properly! The new building boasts a large 1500 square foot area which provides the community with an ample prayer space for the 300+ worshipers who come every Jummuah. In addition to prayer space, the facility has a gymnasium, a smaller private gym and classrooms. Currently they hold weekend Islamic school for the kids and plans are already in the works for a full time Islamic School.
In nearly every masjid I have visited across America, the majority ethnicity of the community is reflected in the Imam, this is not the case at ICCSC. Although the Imam is Somali, the community is incredibly diverse with nearly every MuslimMajority region well represented in ethnic background. It may be in this diversity that the community has found a niche of This community is a wonderful example of what can be done when people of diverse backgrounds with a united focus in strength. Islam can achieve. In only 20 years the community evolved In 2005 this diverse group of Muslims began fundraising from praying in each otherâ€™s homes to the construction of for the construction of a masjid and, eventually, a school. a massive building that will function as a masjid, school, With a major push throughout 2006 they were able to start community center, and most importantly; as a beacon for the construction and continue struggling each stage along the way. light of Islam to shine in south Charlotte! Alhamdulillah, in the last 10 days of Ramadan this year they ICCSC is located at 1048 Gant Rd, Fort Mill, SC. For more information, finally received the certificate of occupancy for the new Masjid visit their website at www.iccsc.org or find them on Facebook. Donations building which allowed them to hold a dinner in celebration to the building fund can be made via the Paypal link on the website.
Artistâ€™s representation of the final stage of construction
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In Search of Pre-Columbian Muslim Americans Tori Dominski
were recorded; one in the early 1100s included the brilliant geographer alIdrisi. This group was captured by a native tribe somewhere in the Caribbean and was later freed when a member of the tribe who spoke Arabic was able to help them negotiate. How did this Arabic translator come to be? Who was he? How did he encounter Muslims Cartography was one of many sciences prior to the 1100s? advanced by the Muslim Golden Ages. For example, in the 800s, during the Jose V. Pimienta-Bey uses linguist/ Abbasid Caliph al-Ma’mun, the brightest archaeologist Barry Fell’s findings of minds were gathered to calculate the cultural and language similarities between Earth’s total circumference and the Muslims from the African continent to calculation is only off by 4% of the present his claim that Muslims had indeed measurement determined by 21st visited the area preceding Christopher century science! As early as 956, Abu Columbus, interacted with the natives, Al-Hasan al Masudi wrote of voyages and influenced their customs. Fell says from Al-Andalus to what he referred to that there are petroglyphs predating as “The Unknown Land” where trading Columbus’ arrival that are written in Arabic. These appear in California and was done across the ocean. other parts of the Southwest. Another example is the appearance of the naja, or a crescent moon shape that is found predominantly among the Navjo people and is used as decoration for dress and decor. Pimienta-Bay says that he finds it abnormal that the Christian Spaniards would tote around crescent-moon symbols since they had only recently finished a war with Muslims before exploration of the Americas began. In recent years, there have been differing opinions and theories concerning possible evidence of a pre-Columbian Muslim presence in the Americas. We will discuss some select theories and research with their respective evidence and, insha’Allah, help to bring light to this complex and fascinating subject.
Pimienta-Bey then moves on to Ivan van Sertima and his research on African Americans for more evidence and support. Van Sertima points out that a The World map from 956, penned by Abu few 12th-13th century Chinese scripts al-Hasan al-Masudi indicating the lands mention Arab Muslim commerce we now know as America. spanning past West Africa’s Atlantic shore. Author and Orientalist DeLacy There were several excursions from O’Leary wrote that the so-called Muslim Spain across the Atlantic that “western Maghreb” was reaching still 10
beyond that. Barry Fell’s entire research on the topic of pre-Columbian explorers outlines a trade system between the Americas and the “Old World” that began with the Phoenicians in the 3rd century BCE and increased with frequency and diversity. Muslims were not the first to discover America across the Atlantic, but the fact that they came far before Columbus did and apparently established settlements is significant. The oldest Islamic inscriptions are dated between 700CE and 1000CE and are in a combination of Kufic Arabic script and the Mandingo language (which uses Arabic script). The inscriptions catalogued by Barry Fell are: • Ismi’Allah – In the name of Allah • Nabi `llah Muhammad – Prophet of God, Muhammad • Shaytan maha mayam – Satan is a fount of lies • Isus bin Mariyam – Jesus, Son of Mary • Hamid (just a name) These inscriptions all escaped archaeologists prior to the late 20th century as the people studying native American languages were not equally versed in Kufic Arabic, Mandingo and other African written languages. Barry Fell, being an expert on languages, was able to bridge the gap. While quite a bit of Fell’s work has come under harsh criticism for his conclusions regarding the Islamic influence in preColumbian America, none of his critics are able to discredit the fact that the www.MuslimAmerican.com
likely the Arabic script that he found was written were when he says it was written and says companions of Mansa Abu Bakr of Mali and what he has translated it to say. their descendants. Christopher Columbus himself knew of the Muslim interaction with this “New In the 700s, Islam World” as evident by the fact that he entered the region of hired “Moorish” Muslim navigators Mali, in West Africa. in spite of heavy criticism from the Mali was already a Spanish crown who were fresh from wealthy empire with heavy fighting to expel Muslims from a center of learning only grew Andalusia. In fact, many of Columbus’s that crew were Muslims that had been exponentially as they conscripted after the Battle of Al-Uqab. adopted the Arabic These Muslims guided Columbus across script to enhance the ocean and he accounts that many the written form fled to join the tribes in America. This of the language of indicates that the Muslims felt that they Mandingo. The tenth Mansa (King) of would have shelter and companionship Mali was Musa I, who came to power with the people that they encountered. when his brother, Mansa Abu Bakr led an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean One of the most popular stories told to colonize the Americas; abdicating the is that Christopher Columbus wrote throne to Musa. Musa explained this down that he saw a masjid (mosque) entire scenario during his epic Hajj of built on the top of a mountain off the 1324. As Mansa Musa I travelled with Cuban coast. Still, others dispute this an entourage of 60,000 people from and say that Columbus did not see an actual masjid, but that the mountain itself resembled a masjid or that there was a similar structure that could cause confusion. Ruins of masjids are also said to have been discovered in Mexico, Texas, and Nevada. Columbus’s crew members reported interesting things while exploring South America. They said that the native peoples were using large woven cotton cloths and clothes that very much resembled those of Guinea. The cloths were called “Almayzars” - stemming from an Arabic word roughly meaning “cover” that Spanish/North African Muslims took from Guinea to nearby countries. Columbus himself remarked that married native women covered more significantly. A Spanish conqueror, Hernan Cortes, said that the native women wore “long veils” and that the men wore interestingly colored pants in a “Moorish” style. An interesting claim is that anthropologists say they’ve proven that a group of people called “Mandinkos” adventured to various areas in North America via its rivers, and even brought elephants with them. These Mandinkos To advertise call (704) 597-5424
A depiction of Mansa Musa
his kingdom in Mali to Mecca for Hajj, he distributed gifts of gold to the poor along the way and told the history of his people to others in Egypt, Ethiopia and in Mecca. This journey left a massive impression on the people of the time, so his account of the history of his brother’s journey was left behind with the people he encountered. During his reign, Mansa Abu Bakr was inspired by stories that he had heard of lands across the seas, so he commissioned 400 ships to go exploring. Only one ship returned to report about the land that had been found. In response, Abu Bakr abdicated his throne and outfitted 2,000 ships with people, animals and goods and set sail with the intent of colonization.
They were never heard from again in Mali, however evidence of their landing can be found across the Americas. The Spaniard Conquistadores were familiar with Mandinko culture and they recorded the presence of settlements and abandoned cities from areas as far south as Brazil to as far north as the United States. There are modern petroglyphs (more current than 1000CE) which depict elephants (no longer native to the Americas) and inscriptions in the Mandinko language. Returning to Barry Fell’s archaeological work, research, and findings, there is supposedly “solid scientific evidence” to prove that Muslims preceded Columbus. Fell discovered remains of Islamic schools throughout the midand southwest of the United States from about 700-800 C.E... He found engravings in a form of Arabic that suggested many different subjects and grades being taught. It is likely that many Native Americans are descendants of these early Muslim explorers of the Americas. The existence of Muslim explorers in pre-Columbian America along with the settlement of those explorers is an important thread in the tapestry of Muslim American history. It is our hope that others will take the inspiration to dig deeper and uncover more knowledge about the past, so that we have a clearer foundation upon which to build our future. Resources: 1. www.hispanicmuslims.com/articles/other/ beforecolumbus.html 2. www.sunnah.org/history/precolmb.htm 3. Saga America, Barry Fell 1980 4. lostislamichistory.com 5. elwahat.univ-ghardaia.dz/annonce/03/ Pre-Columbian%20Islamic.pdf 6. Winters, Clyde-Ahmad. “Islam in Early North and South America.” Al-Ittihad Volume 14. July-October (1977): pp57-67. Print. 11
Dawah at the Lincoln County Apple Festival
Thousands of people gathered for the 44th Annual Lincoln County Apple Festival on Saturday, September 19th, 2015. Allah provided us with a beautiful sunny day which elevated spirits.
American Islamic Outreach Foundation (AIOF) brought the Qur’anMobile for the first time to Lincolnton, NC to expose the community to more Islamic knowledge following anti-Muslim sentiment expressed by local Lincoln County lawmaker, Carrol Mitchem. For many in Lincoln County, the primary source of information about Islam is the evening news.
Volunteers for AOIF talked to thousands of people throughout the day as they gave out over 550 Qur’an to locals, most of whom had never met a Muslim face-toface before, let alone talked to one.
Many women were happy to get free henna from AIOF volunteers who were happy to bring the art to the Apple Festival for the first time. Sisters were able to give dawah while sharing this art.
Some Lincoln County residents had in depth questions about Islam, Muslims and how American we really are. With politicians pandering to people’s fears, concerns about Muslims are at a very high level right now.
Women were given the opportunity to try on hijab as AIOF volunteers helped them wrap and pin it to see how they would look. 12
Knowledge about Islam is important to share in every corner of America. Throughout the day, dae’es constantly expressed “We are not asking you to convert, we are asking you to learn more and decide for yourself instead of listening to everyone else.” AIOF was able to give out all 550 Qur’an, thousands of brochures and took requests to mail information. The immediate fruits of their efforts? Two people embraced Islam, and thousands of people were able to learn more about Islam. There are still millions across the Carolinas that AIOF seeks to reach. www.MuslimAmerican.com
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Published on Oct 2, 2015
All content Copyright © 2015 Muslim American, Inc. except where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher directly to obtain r...