Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, May 2011
Travel, Files, and Attacks on Shari'a
CAIR-OH: Tips for 'Traveling While Muslim'
Video: Michigan Muslim Capitol Day
(CAIR-MI) CAIR-CA: Muslim Youth Leadership Program (MYLP) 2011
What Has Islam Contributed to the Field of Astronomy?
HADITH OF THE DAY: MILITARY COMMANDERS SHOULD DISOBEY IMPROPER ORDERS - TOP
A military commander appointed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once issued an improper order to his troops. When the soldiers asked the Prophet about how they should have reacted to the order, he said: "(There is) no obedience (required) for evil deeds, obedience is required only in what is good."
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Hadith 363
CAIR CONDEMNS KILLING OF PROTESTERS IN SYRIA, YEMEN, BAHRAIN - TOP Obama administration urged to support those seeking political reforms
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/28/11) -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today condemned the killing and brutal repression of peaceful protesters seeking political reforms in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the Obama administration and Congress to support citizens exercising their universal human right to freedom of political expression in those nations.
Attacks on non-violent protests in the Middle East have resulted in hundreds of deaths. Twelve protesters were killed on Wednesday in Yemen's capital Sanaa. On Thursday, a military court in Bahrain sentenced four protesters to death. Human rights groups report that more than 450 civilians have been killed in Syria since protests against the regime began in March.
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"We condemn the killing and brutal repression of those engaged in peaceful protests in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. The right to peacefully protest in support of political reform is universal and not restricted to a particular culture or region. Our government should do whatever it can, in cooperation with the international community, to ensure that those who seek freedom and dignity are protected and that regimes that target protesters face appropriate sanctions."
Awad added that CAIR has been contacted by many American Muslims who fear for the safety of family members in the Middle East. He said CAIR appreciates the Obama administration's support for political reform in the region.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
CAIR-OH: TIPS FOR 'TRAVELING WHILE MUSLIM' - TOP Robert L. Smith, The Plain Dealer, 4/28/11
For years, area Muslims have complained of unwarranted attention when they travel, scrutiny from people with badges and guns. They say they are singled out for searches and sometimes intimidation at border crossings and at airports.
On Saturday, the community's most prominent grievance will be given a hearing. Representatives of several federal law enforcement agencies--including the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection--will join a town hall-style meeting at the Grand Mosque.
A program titled "Procedures and Practices When Flying and/or Crossing the Border" begins at 3 p.m. in the community room of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, 6055 West 130th St., Parma.
Local Muslim leaders have been urging members of their community to come forward with complaints that many have been embarrassed to publicize.
"Nobody wants to bring attention to themselves," said Julia Shearson, executive director of the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
She said her office hears frequently from Muslim professionals who say they were stopped coming home from Canada, ordered from the car at gunpoint, separated from children, and interrogated by federal agents working from watch lists.
CAIR shared its concerns with Steven Dettelbach, the U.S. attorney for the northern district of Ohio, and introduced him to Shehadeh Abdelkarim, the president of the Grand Mosque. (More)
CAIR: GOV'T MISLED COURT IN DISPUTE OVER MUSLIMS' ACCESS TO FBI FILES - TOP Associated Press, 4/27/11
SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a group of Muslim activists and organizations cannot review additional records of FBI inquiries into their activities but berated the government for misleading the court about the existence of the files. (More)
CAIR-MI: SHARIA DOES NOT CONFLICT WITH LAW OF THE LAND - TOP Dawud Walid, Detroit Free Press, 4/28/11
From anti-Islam legislation proposed in Texas in which a legislator states that Dearborn is governed by Islamic law to the recent media circus surrounding Pastor Terry Jones, the term "Shari'a" has become perhaps the most misunderstood term in America's contemporary lexicon.
Shari'a is generally defined by Oxford Professor Tariq Ramadan as a "path toward faithfulness," meaning the Muslims' compass toward living life pleasing to God. As the original meaning of "Shari'a" is a path toward water, Islam teaches that souls need spiritual and intellectual water to sustain and protect their physical and material selves in societies. To be clear, Shari'a does not mean a fixed codex of laws, but a guidepost toward promoting well-being. (More)
TN: BIG BROTHER ANTI-SHARIA BILL ADVANCES - TOP Memphis Commercial Appeal, 4/28/11
The Tennessee General Assembly amended the so-called "Shariah bill" this week but clearly indicated that its targets include members of the Islamic faith.
Whether it was out of a failure to understand American principles of due process and religious freedom or simply fear of things not well understood, committees of the House and Senate endorsed HB1353/SB1028, the "Material Support to Designated Entities Act," which permits the governor and the state attorney general to publicly stamp the label of "terrorist organization" on groups that have neither committed nor planned a terrorist act.
The informally designated "Shariah bill" was originally written to aim specifically at Muslims, who would come under a cloud of suspicion, potentially leading to false accusations and certainly to stigma, because of a set of Islamic principles known as Shariah.
References to Shariah and Islam are not included in the amended version, but the bill's supporters clearly indicated in their testimony, quoting sections of the Quran, that their intent is to target people on the basis of religious beliefs.
The idea is not only contrary to American democratic ideals, it is potentially costly -- both monetarily and in terms of the state's image. (More)
--- NC: ANTI-SHARIA BILL WOULD BAN COURTS FROM USING 'FOREIGN LAW' - TOP Michael Biesecker, News-Observer, 4/28/11
RALEIGH -- A group of Republican legislators is backing a measure that would make it illegal for judges to consider "foreign law" when making rulings in North Carolina's courts.
Though the federal and state constitutions already guarantee the supremacy of U.S. law in domestic cases, primary sponsor Rep. George Cleveland said he is concerned that Shariah law could gain a foothold in American communities with sizable Muslim populations.
House Bill 640 makes no mention of the Islamic legal code. But Cleveland said Shariah would be defined as a "foreign law" under his bill, and therefore banned from North Carolina's courtrooms if the legislation he proposes is approved. (More)
----- VIDEO: MICHIGAN MUSLIM CAPITOL DAY (CAIR-MI) - TOP
The Michigan Muslim community came together for a day at the state capitol in Lansing. A diverse nonpartisan group of Muslims from across the state of Michigan visited Lansing to meet with over 35 state legislators and to discuss how the Muslim community can help in moving Michigan forward and also raised community concerns to the elected officials.
Watch the video.
CAIR-CA: MUSLIM YOUTH LEADERSHIP PROGRAM (MYLP) 2011 - TOP
CAIR-CA is looking to recruit the best and brightest Muslim high schoolers in California for the seventh annual Muslim Youth Leadership Program
The Muslim Youth Leadership Program (MYLP) is a four-day intensive political immersion and leadership building retreat in Sacramento from July 28, 2011 to July 31, 2011 that will provide an in-depth understanding of the legislative process, as well as hands-on training in the areas of civic engagement and media advocacy.
If you're intent on transforming your community, and want the training that will help you become one of tomorrow's leaders, then apply to your local CAIR-CA chapter!
NOTE : Deadline to apply is June 10, 2011.
----- ILL. MAN ADMITS ANTI-MUSLIM THREATS, FAKE-BOMB STANDOFF - TOP Robert Patrick, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4/28/11
A man whose threats sparked a seven-hour standoff with federal agents and police outside his home in Fairview Heights last year took responsibility for it Wednesday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.
Roman Otto Conaway, 51, pleaded guilty to charges of making false threats to detonate an explosive device and threatening a federal official.
There was no mention of the specifics of the crime in open court, but Conaway's public defender, Phillip J. Kavanaugh III, said the plea agreement mirrored Conaway's indictment.
That document says that on Sept. 21, 2010, Conaway called a St. Louis-area mosque and said he was planning to burn a Quran and make a video of it.
Conaway said he wanted to start a war between Christians and Muslims, kill President Barack Obama and other government officials, end the war in Afghanistan and 'start an Apocalypse," court documents say.
When three federal agents arrived around 7 p.m. at his house in the 9000 block of Summit Drive, his front door slammed shut. He emerged a short time later wearing a fake explosives belt and claiming that a curling-iron detonator would set off two 55-gallon drums full of combustible chemicals in the front yard and another in the rear. (More)
----- OK: MUSLIM BRINGS HUMOR TO HIS ROLE AS RELIGIOUS LEADER - TOP Carla Hinton, Oklahoman, 4/24/11
As one of the more prominent Muslim leaders in the Oklahoma City metro area, Imad Enchassi's quick smile and endless supply of jokes often diffuses any tension over religious differences.
Enchassi, the imam and president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said he learned that making people laugh humanizes him so that people learn to look beyond common Muslim stereotypes.
"Comedy is part of our 'treach' -- preach and teach," he said.
"We've (Muslims) been dehumanized so when I go and crack a couple of jokes, they say 'This imam, he's funny, he's human.'"
Enchassi, 46, readily brings his humor to the forefront, but his life has not always been filled with fun and jokes. Prejudice and religious bigotry have marked portions of his life, but he said he refuses to be defined by it.
Enchassi grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Syrian mother and Palestinian father. He said he spent his teen years in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps and was there in September 1982 when the camps were set upon by a group called the Lebanese Christian militiamen and hundreds of refugees were killed.
Enchassi said surviving the massacre made him think long and hard about the power and destructiveness of hatred.
"I knew that hatred had to stop. What hatred is so deep that would make someone cut a baby from the womb?" he said.
Enchassi said he immigrated to the United States soon after the massacre and attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and Texas Wesleyan College in Fort Worth. He said he worked his way through college (he obtained a graduate degree in human resources management) with a cafeteria chain that eventually sent him to Oklahoma City to operate one of its restaurants. (More)
SEE ALSO: ISLAM & SPACE - TOP Ali Khimji, Emel, May 2011 Astronomical advancements aren't always about rocket ships and gravity boots. Ali Khimji looks at Islam's contribution to the field.
In March this year, the moon reached its closest point to Earth for over two decades. However, with government cuts on space programmes, it seems that we are drifting further away from physically exploring the boundaries of our solar system. Last year, President Obama cut NASA's Constellation programme, which was planning to re-launch moon missions by 2020, and put humans on Mars by the middle of the century. After nearly 30 years in service, the Space Shuttle programme is nearing retirement. The shuttle Discovery landed on Earth for the last time on 9th March, and in its 26 years of service, it has spent 365 days in space and logged up nearly 240 million km.
Although we may not be venturing out there, that has not held back further discoveries from the ground. Astronomers discovered a planetary system known as Kepler-11 consisting of six planets orbiting a Sun-like star, which is more than 2,000 light years away from Earth. NASA's Cassini probe detected oxygen in the atmosphere of Rhea, Saturn's icy moon. This is the first time that oxygen has been found in another environment outside our own.
So, what has Islam contributed to the field of astronomy? (More)
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