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News, August 2011

 
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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

 

Muslim American News Briefs, August 14, 2011

Hadith: What have I to do with this world?

CAIR: S. Fla. Muslims to Distribute Free School Supplies

CAIR-Houston: Rick Perry's Relationship with Muslims Set Him Apart

CAIR-Houston: Grief for Emirati Gunshot Victim

Minn. Man Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime Against Somali Man

Anti-Muslim Sentiment Clouds $1M Gift to Missouri Schools

State Department Awards $200K to Think-Tank Cited by Norway Terrorist

CAIR-CA: Bay Area Mosques Host Ramadan Open Houses

Va. Mosque Offering Free Dinners to Public During Ramadan

Study: Religious Beliefs Shape Health Care Attitudes Among U.S. Muslims

Children's Museum of Manhattan Receives Grant for Muslim Exhibit

CAIR-NY: Children's Museum Gets Funding for 'Muslim Worlds' Exhibit

Video: U.S. Islamic Hip-Hop Act Tours Indonesia

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HADITH OF THE DAY: WHAT HAVE I TO DO WITH THIS WORLD? - TOP

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once slept on a reed mat and got up with the marks of it on his body. His companions saw the marks and expressed concern that they should have made him more comfortable. The Prophet replied: "What have I to do with this world? In relation to this world, I am like a rider who shades himself under a tree and then (continues on his way)."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1351

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CAIR: S. FLA. MUSLIMS TO DISTRIBUTE FREE SCHOOL SUPPLIES - TOP

(SOUTH FLORIDA, 8/11/11) - The South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFL), in cooperation with several other area Muslim organizations, will give 500 backpacks filled with school supplies to children from low income families during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA Relief Florida), the Florida Islamic Association, Friends of Humanity, and CAIR-SFL will host two school supply giveaways during the ongoing fast of Ramadan. (More)

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CAIR-HOUSTON: RICK PERRY'S RELATIONSHIP WITH MUSLIMS MAY SET HIM APART - TOP Kate Shellnutt, Houston Chronicle, 8/11/2011

Gov. Rick Perry's friendly relationship with some Texas Muslims was touted in a recent story on Salon.com.

While some other presidential candidates bring up concerns about American Muslims' loyalty and decry Islamic law in the U.S., here's a Christian, Republican politician who initiated a teacher-training program on Islamic history and has been friends for years with the Aga Khan, head of an Islamic sect called Ismailis, Salon points out. Perry even laid the first brick at the groundbreaking ceremony for an Ismaili worship center in Plano in 2005....

"The Muslim community has a significant number of political conservatives, and they do support Perry," said Mustafa Carroll, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Houston, a group that took a position against Perry's recent Christian-only prayer rally.

Carroll notes that Muslims donated to President George Bush's campaign and have given to Perry's gubernatorial campaigns. (More)

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CAIR-HOUSTON: GRIEF FOR EMIRATI GUNSHOT VICTIM - TOP Omar Karmi, The National, 8/11/2011

HOUSTON // Inside the masjid on Almeda Road in Houston on Tuesday evening, the floor had been prepared for breaking the fast.

A large crowd quietly gathered after sunset prayers. Houston was hot and humid. Liquids and soups were quickly finished.

But prayer, hunger and heat were not the only things on their minds, as might be expected of a tight-knit community recently afflicted by tragedy.

It was at this small mosque in the Medical Centre area that Salem Saif Al Mazroui, a young UAE army captain, had come to pray and break the fast on Sunday with his cancer-stricken father.

After those prayers the two men stopped to pick up some medicine on their way to a neighbour's gathering and were attacked in their flat by two armed men.

Salem Saif was shot and killed before the attackers, described as two African-Americans, fled, stealing a car and a wallet. The car and discarded wallet were later found nearby.

Houston police are still searching for the attackers. But while there was some suggestion early in the investigation that the crime might have been motivated by hatred toward Muslims, this has since been dismissed.

"At this point, the investigation is not leading us to conclude that this was a hate crime," said Jodi Silva, a spokeswoman with the Houston Police Department.

There have been 90 murders and 3,780 robberies in Houston in the first six months of this year. Investigators had seen nothing to suggest the murder was anything other than a violent robbery, Ms. Silva said.

Members of the congregation at the masjid agreed. Certainly, no one seemed worried about security.

"There has never been anything similar to this [murder] that I've heard of," said one man, Mazen H, a nurse at a nearby hospital who has lived in Houston for more than 20 years. (More)

SEE ALSO:

MINN. MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO HATE CRIME IN ASSAULT ON SOMALI MAN - TOP Randy Furst, Twin Cities Star Tribune, 8/10/2011

A 64-year-old man pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating the civil rights of an 83-year-old Somali man he assaulted in Minneapolis last year while yelling that his victim was a Muslim and should go back to Africa.

George Thompson of Minneapolis appeared before U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in federal court in St. Paul.

Court papers said that Thompson, a former employee of the Transportation Security Administration, attacked his victim on May 4, 2010, because of the man's "actual and perceived religion and national origin." (More)

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ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT CLOUDS $1M GIFT TO MISSOURI SCHOOLS - TOP Randy Turner, Huffington Post, 8/10/2011

It was one of those feel-good stories that have popped up day after day since the May 22 Joplin Tornado.

The United Arab Emirates embassy pledged half a million dollars to the Joplin Schools for the One-to-One program, which is designed to give every high school student a laptop for the 2011-2012 school year.

That pledge is backed by an additional pledge of another half million if other donors can match the original amount.... Who could argue with such an outpouring of humanity? Who could argue with the evidence of the effect Joplin has had on the world?

Sadly, some of those who are arguing come from within Joplin. They lurk on the comment sections of blogs, including mine, and the local newspaper.

Deep torrents of bigotry are unleashed in these comments, almost always by people who hide behind the cloak of anonymity. (More)

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STATE DEPARTMENT AWARDS $200K TO THINK-TANK CITED BY NORWAY TERRORIST - TOP Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 8/11/2011

Jim Lobe asks, How many times did mass murderer Anders Breivik refer to the Middle East Media Research Institute in his Islamophobic manifesto?

Well I just went to Breivik's manifesto and I counted, 23 references to MEMRI or MEMRITV.

MEMRI is an Israel lobby shop. Its directors include Elliott Abrams. Its advisers include a lot of Bush-era neocons, Bernard Lewis, Norman Podhoretz, John Bolton, not to mention Mort Zuckerman, Ehud Barak (the former Israeli P.M.) and Edgar Bronfman. (More)

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CAIR-CA: BAY AREA MOSQUES HOST RAMADAN OPEN HOUSES - TOP

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 8/12/11) -- Beginning August 13, seven Bay Area mosques, in collaboration with the San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) will host local residents at Ramadan Mosque Open Houses.

The events will offer opportunities for people of all faiths to experience the Muslim month of fasting. Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset, ending their fasts with a meal after sunset prayers. They also invite friends and family to their homes and mosques to share meals together at this special time of the year.

The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God's commandments. Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the "five pillars" of Islam. The end of Ramadan is marked by communal prayers called "Eid ul-Fitr," or Feast of the Fast-Breaking.

(Find Iftar dates and times here.)

SEE ALSO:

NORTHERN VA. MOSQUE OFFERING FREE DINNERS TO PUBLIC DURING RAMADAN - TOP The Associated Press, 8/11/2011

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- The Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center is offering free dinners to needy families in Falls Church during Ramadan.

The meals are open to people of all faiths.

During Ramadan, which runs this year from Aug. 1 to Aug. 30, observant Muslims are fasting from dawn to sunset.

Dar Al-Hijrah, one of the largest mosques in the Washington area, regularly hosts community dinners during Ramadan that feed more than 800 people. This year, the mosque decided to open the dinners to people of all faiths.

Mosque officials say the only requirements to be served in the dining hall for the sunset meals are modest dress and sobriety. (More)

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STUDY: RELIGIOUS BELIEFS SHAPE HEALTH CARE ATTITUDES AMONG U.S. MUSLIMS - TOP Robert Mitchum, EurekAlert, 8/12/2011

The perceived role of God in illness and recovery is a primary influence upon the health care beliefs and behaviors of American Muslims, a first-of-its-kind study has discovered. Outreach and education efforts by the health care community can help address Muslim concerns and improve health care quality in this rapidly growing population, the report recommends.

The traditional Ramadan fasting occurring this month is but one of many facets of the Islamic faith that might influence a patient's health behaviors. But few studies have comprehensively examined how religious beliefs and cultural attitudes across the different sub-communities within the American Muslim community shape a Muslim patient's experience.

"The idea was to talk about the health care values of American Muslim patients and the challenges they face inside the health care system," said Aasim Padela, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Initiative on Islam and Medicine at the University of Chicago. "The findings can guide us as we move forward on accommodating these patients and others."

For the report, "Meeting the Healthcare Needs of American Muslims," researchers interviewed people who share Islamic faith from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to gauge how their faith influences behaviors and the cultural obstacles they face within the health care environment.

Muslims are one of the fastest-growing minorities in the United States, with an estimated 7 million Americans identifying as Muslim and more than 2,000 active mosques in the country according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Muslims also are the most diverse religious group in the United States, with contingents of Arab origin, of South Asian (predominantly Indian and Pakistani) origin, and African-Americans. (More)

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CHILDREN'S MUSEUM OF MANHATTAN RECEIVES GRANT FOR MUSLIM EXHIBITION - TOP Kate Taylor, The New York Times, 8/10/2011

The Children's Museum of Manhattan has received a $40,000 planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a major exhibition on Muslim culture, the museum said on Wednesday. The exhibition, planned for 2014, will be called "Muslim Worlds" and will emphasize the diversity of Muslim culture.

In a recent interview, the museum's executive director, Andrew Ackerman, said the idea was to educate children and families about the Islamic world and, by "putting it in a larger context, to remove many of the stereotypes." The museum said it would be the first exhibition of its kind intended for a family audience in the United States. In planning the exhibition, it said it would engage an advisory committee of educators, scholars and community leaders to explore exhibition ideas, review research, and make recommendations.

Mr. Ackerman said that the exhibition would not deal with Islamic extremism, but that it would be accompanied by a series of programs for adults, some of which would address "how to talk to your children about stereotypes, and about extremism of all different types." The museum has also received initial financing from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. (More)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-NY: CHILDREN'S MUSEUM GETS FUNDING FOR 'MUSLIM WORLDS' EXHIBIT - TOP Julia Furlan, WNYC, 8/11/2011

Whirling dervishes, mosaics and 1,001 tales will soon be coming to the Upper West Side, thanks to a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The Children's Museum of Manhattan says its future exhibition new "Muslim Worlds" is the first show of its kind in the U.S. geared toward a family audience....

Cyrus McGoldrick, the civil rights manager of the New York Council on American Islamic Relations, argues that the exhibit will do good things for the Muslim community. He said a lot of the civil rights violations that he investigates happen to Muslim kids who are mocked by their peers at school.

"Kids are growing up learning or inheriting bigotry and prejudice and using this rhetoric of Islamic terrorism against their fellow students," he said. "That tells me that kids are not immune to the aftereffects or the ripple effects of 9/11. But because of the availability of information, the world is much smaller and the city is much smaller. I hope that we can all be more acquainted with each other's cultures and this is a great place to start."

There is plenty of time for debate and polemics between supporters and detractors of the exhibit. The tentative start date for the "Muslim Worlds" exhibit at the Children's Museum of Manhattan is 2014. (More)

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VIDEO: U.S. ISLAMIC HIP-HOP ACT TOURS INDONESIA - TOP Karishma Vaswani, BBC, 8/12/2011

American Islamic hip-hop group Native Deen are touring Indonesia on a "diplomatic mission", to help spread tolerance and faith through music.

As the US scales down its presence in Iraq, Washington is keen to start focusing on "soft" power, so that it can increase its influence in Muslim-dominated countries.

Indonesia is a key ally of the US, and is the world's most populous Muslim nation. (Watch the video.)





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