Friday, September 28, 2007

Burma has long record of persecuting Muslims

Human Rights Watch has long chronicled the oppressive regime of Burma's human right's record. The brutality perpetrated upon this 90% Buddhist nation populace also includes severe repression of its Muslim population, which is approximately 5%.

SEE: http://hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/burma-bck3.htm

I stumbled across an interesting article, which highlights the interfaith activism among the Burmese people to unite in resistance against the military junta. Christians, Hindus and Muslims are not only marching against the government but also protecting the Buddhist monastaries.

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http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=484

Local residents thwart monastery raids
Sep 28, 2007 (DVB)–Army troops attempting to raid monasteries in Mandalay and Rangoon last night were forced to withdraw by local residents.


Troops approaching the monasteries backed off after seeing people from the surrounding areas armed with sticks and slingshots preparing to stop them.

In Mandalay, Masoyein (Old and New), Mya Taung, Veitthudayon, Phayagyi and Dhammikarama monasteries were targeted.

Residents had heard rumours of impending raids and made preparations to thwart the security forces’ approach.

“We set up an alert system of banging pots and pans when anyone saw soldiers approaching the monastery, and we prepared ourselves with any available weapons to stop these unholy people from harassing the monks,” said a Mandalay resident.

However, despite the residents’ efforts, Pauk Myaing monastery was raided by government troops at around 7pm yesterday.

“They kicked the monks with their army boots and beat them up before arresting about 40 monks,” said another local resident.

“If we just stood by, not even dogs would survive in Burma under these bastards’ brutality and inhumanity,” the resident continued, pledging that residents were ready to assist the monks whenever their help was needed.

In Rangoon, troops encountered resistance from local residents as they approached Sasana Alin Yaung, Sanana Wuntha and Min Nanda monasteries in Daw Pon and Tharkayta townships.

At Min Nanda monastery, which backs on to Pazuntaung creek, troops tried to approach from both land and water but retreated when they saw the strength of local resistance.

“There were not only Buddhist people but also Muslims, Christians and Hindus defending the monasteries,” said a resident of Tharkayta township.(MORE)

Walid speaks about "Building Bridges" at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Receives Award


Picture above of Dawud Walid and the Mayor of Lansing after receiving a special recognition award from the City of Lansing.

Last night's speech was delivered at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.

Cut & paste to listen to speech:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10020

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Message for Friday - If you want more, give more

قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ أَنْفِقْ أُنْفِقْ عَلَيْكَ

G'd says (in hadeeth qudsi), "Oh son of Adam! Spend, then I will spend on you."

Ramadan is the month where Muslims strive to give more in charity. One of the lessons of Ramadan is that the blessings of G'd are multiplied in countless measure for those who are charitable.

Spending means more than just giving a few dollars. People who cannot give money can give their time and energy, which may be worth even more than money.

The simple lesson that G'd teaches the children of Adam is that those who place their thoughts, time and resources for the benefit of others will receive more of the blessings of G'd than the stingy. These blessings are not just the increasement of tangible wealth. These blessings may include protection from calamities to the bestowal of tranquility to the heart and peace of mind.

Giving charity is an investment of the soul that gives a greater dividend than any stock could ever give on Wall Street.

And surely G'd knows best.

Iranian university chancellors ask Bollinger 10 questions

With all the hoopla over the recent visit of the Iranian President to Columbia University, I found this letter to be interesting in regards to how differenly our two societies view world events. If anything, this shows that we truly need dialogue among civilizations.

At the end of the Iranian President's speech, he accepted the challenge given to him to allow academics and students to come to an Iranian university to discuss freedom of speech and other issues. We'll see if this was a sincere request as well as a sincere invitation.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6888

Seven chancellors and presidents of Iranian universities and research centers, in a letter addressed to their counterpart in the US, Colombia University, denounced Lee Bollinger's insulting words against the Iranian nation and president and invited him to provide responses to 10 questions by Iranian academics and intellectuals.

The following is the full text of the letter:

Mr. Lee Bollinger
Columbia University President

We, the professors and heads of universities and research institutions in Tehran, hereby announce our displeasure and protest at your impolite remarks prior to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent speech at Columbia University.

We would like to inform you that President Ahmadinejad was elected directly by the Iranian people through an enthusiastic two-round poll in which almost all of the country's political parties and groups participated. To assess the quality and nature of these elections you may refer to US news reports on the poll dated June 2005.

Your insult, in a scholarly atmosphere, to the president of a country with a population of 72 million and a recorded history of 7,000 years of civilization and culture is deeply shameful.

Your comments, filled with hate and disgust, may well have been influenced by extreme pressure from the media, but it is regrettable that media policy-makers can determine the stance a university president adopts in his speech.

Your remarks about our country included unsubstantiated accusations that were the product of guesswork as well as media propaganda. Some of your claims result from misunderstandings that can be clarified through dialogue and further research.

During his speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad answered a number of your questions and those of students. We are prepared to answer any remaining questions in a scientific, open and direct debate.

You asked the president approximately ten questions. Allow us to ask you ten of our own questions in the hope that your response will help clear the atmosphere of misunderstanding and distrust between our two countries and reveal the truth.

1- Why did the US media put you under so much pressure to prevent Mr. Ahmadinejad from delivering his speech at Columbia University? And why have American TV networks been broadcasting hours of news reports insulting our president while refusing to allow him the opportunity to respond? Is this not against the principle of freedom of speech?

2- Why, in 1953, did the US administration overthrow Iran's national government under Dr Mohammad Mosaddegh and go on to support the Shah's dictatorship?

3- Why did the US support the blood-thirsty dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 Iraqi-imposed war on Iran, considering his reckless use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers defending their land and even against his own people?

4- Why is the US putting pressure on the government elected by the majority of Palestinians in Gaza instead of officially recognizing it? And why does it oppose Iran's proposal to resolve the 60-year-old Palestinian issue through a general referendum?

5- Why has the US military failed to find Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden even with all its advanced equipment? How do you justify the old friendship between the Bush and Bin Laden families and their cooperation on oil deals? How can you justify the Bush administration's efforts to disrupt investigations concerning the September 11 attacks?

6- Why does the US administration support the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) despite the fact that the group has officially and openly accepted the responsibility for numerous deadly bombings and massacres in Iran and Iraq? Why does the US refuse to allow Iran's current government to act against the MKO's main base in Iraq?

7- Was the US invasion of Iraq based on international consensus and did international institutions support it? What was the real purpose behind the invasion which has claimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives? Where are the weapons of mass destruction that the US claimed were being stockpiled in Iraq?

8- Why do America's closest allies in the Middle East come from extremely undemocratic governments with absolutist monarchical regimes?

9- Why did the US oppose the plan for a Middle East free of unconventional weapons in the recent session of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors despite the fact the move won the support of all members other than Israel?

10- Why is the US displeased with Iran's agreement with the IAEA and why does it openly oppose any progress in talks between Iran and the agency to resolve the nuclear issue under international law?

Finally, we would like to express our readiness to invite you and other scientific delegations to our country. A trip to Iran would allow you and your colleagues to speak directly with Iranians from all walks of life including intellectuals and university scholars. You could then assess the realities of Iranian society without media censorship before making judgments about the Iranian nation and government.

You can be assured that Iranians are very polite and hospitable toward their guests.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Walid speaks about Islam & the Constitution

Last night's presentation regarding Islam and the US Constitution was given at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Cut & paste to listen:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10019

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ramadan meal aims to deepen understanding

http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070924/NEWS01/709240337/1001/news

Published September 24, 2007
[ From Lansing State Journal ]

Ramadan meal aims to deepen understanding
Unity event will share cultures, aid Lansing food bank

Kathleen Lavey
Lansing State Journal


Hate crimes against Muslims are on the increase since 2002, says Dawud Walid, leader of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

And that makes promoting cross-cultural understanding imperative.

"It's incumbent for us to break out of our comfort zones and to learn each other's varying cultural and religious practices," Walid said.

He will be the keynote speaker Thursday at a Lansing event that aims to do just that.

"Building Bridges" is the theme of a Ramadan unity dinner sponsored by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and East Lansing Mayor Sam Singh.

Proceeds from the $15-a-ticket dinner benefit the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

"It's an opportunity for everyone in the community to unite together towards a single goal, which is to support the hungry in our community. This is the very spirit of Ramadan," said Sadia Gul, who works in Bernero's office and coordinated the event.

During the holy month of Ramadan, which began Sept. 13 and likely will end Oct. 13, Muslims around the world put an emphasis on prayer and works of charity. They fast through daylight hours and break the fast with festive meals at dusk.(MORE)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Do the clerics of Iran want nukes?

Despite the hype, it has long been recorded that Iran's clergy has been against nuclear weapons. Ayatullah Al-Khumayni used to refer to them as "tools of Satan."

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/a/2003/10/31/MNGHJ2NFRE1.DTL

Nuclear weapons unholy, Iran says
Islam forbids use, clerics proclaim
Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, October 31, 2003

(10-31) 04:00 PDT Qom, Iran -- In a surprising development, Iran's hard-line clerical establishment, which had bitterly resisted American pressure to open the country's nuclear facilities to inspection, is using its religious influence to rally support for an agreement with the West to foreswear the development of nuclear weapons.

Led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation's "supreme leader," Iranian clerics have repeatedly declared that Islam forbids the development and use of all weapons of mass destruction.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran, based on its fundamental religious and legal beliefs, would never resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction," Khamenei said recently. "In contrast to the propaganda of our enemies, fundamentally we are against any production of weapons of mass destruction in any form."

These and other statements from senior Iranian clerics appear to have bolstered domestic support for an agreement signed Oct. 21 with Britain, France and Germany that will allow international inspections of the country's nuclear program.

Bush administration officials and many Western arms experts remain skeptical of Iran's intentions, believing that the country is using its civilian nuclear program to hide a covert weapons program. They cite intelligence, such as the discovery of enriched uranium at two Iranian sites, to support their contention.

But other analysts, diplomats and Iranian clerics say that the unexpectedly strong pronouncements from Khamenei and others have produced a strong domestic consensus on the issue that would be hard for the ruling religious establishment to reverse. "I haven't seen anything like it, this kind of consensus," said one Western diplomat in Tehran. "Even if you view it cynically, as I do, religion seems to be the rhetorical glue that holds it all together."

In an interview, one of Khamenei's top aides hinted that while some prohibited nuclear weapons work may have been carried out, the government has decided to put a stop to it.

"Those in Iran who clandestinely believed they could develop nuclear weapons have now been forced to admit that is forbidden under Islam," said Hussein Shariatmadari, who is president of the Kayhan chain of newspapers, controlled by Khamenei, and an unofficial spokesman for the supreme leader.

Shariatmadari added that there also are practical considerations behind the theological ban.

"A nuclear bomb is not like wine -- you can make in your home and hide it easily," he said. "No, the IAEA can find anything. So if you can't use it, why have it?" (MORE)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Message for Friday - Prayer is the weapon of the beleiver


الدعاء سلاح المؤمن، وعماد الدين ونور السماوات والأرض

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "Supplication is a weapon of the faithful, a pillar of the religion, and the light of the heavens and the earth."

During Ramadan, Muslims devote themselves more in prayer, supplication and rememberance of G'd. The Islamic teaching is that prayers are answered only if the prayer believes that their prayers will be eventually answered.

Thus, the strength of a Muslim resides soley in his/her faith, not in numerical, military or monetary strength. Muslims that seek soley to alleviate difficult conditions via the accumulation of funds or weapons are misguided.

Connect to G'd with prayer

الله نور السموات والأرض

G'd says in the Qur'an (Surah Al-Nur: 35): G'd is the Light of the Heavens and the earth.

The Light of G'd illuminates the intellect of the believer, which guides him/her towards success in the material world. Humility through sincere prayer is a recognition that G'd is the Powerful and the Giver, who is the sole One that can guide aright and protect against danger.

And surely G'd knows best.

Strange few days in the news?

From the ludicrous to the bigoted is what I'd refer to the last few news days.

1) O.J. Simpson being arrested for numerous felonies and getting out on bail. It seems like a repeat. Can one get set up for coming into someone's room and using force to take property even if some of the "stuff" is the person's?

O.J., I don't think so.

2) Osama Bin Laden (OBL) supposedly threatens to get rid of the Pakistani dictator Musharraf and to escalate violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur. Is this wacko serious?

OBL couldn't overthrow the Saudi regime, the country in which he's a citizen. He has nothing to do with the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, which is now fighiting "foreigners" that have affinity for him, and Al-Qaeda has nothing to do with the conflict in Darfur.

OBL, you're not fooling anyone but the totatlly uninformed.

3) Rep. Peter King (R-NY), a known Islamophobe, stated that "we have too many mosques in this country."

I'm sure that Rep. King is frustrated that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, including the U.S., despite his Islamophobic rhetoric and media saturation of negative images about Muslims.

4) Crowds of African-Americans have flocked to Jena, Louisiana to protest the harsh prison sentences given to the Jena 6, a group of African-Americans who assaulted some whites after a racial incident where whites hung lynching ropes (nooses) because black students sat under the "white tree." Rev. Jesse Jackson is critical of Sen. Obama because he thinks that Obama is acting too "white" on this issue.

The Jena 6 were sentenced to extremely harsh sentences while the whites were not punished for hanging nooses. The sentencing length was a serious injustice; however, the "brothers" did break the law. It's an unfortunate reality, but blacks should realize by now that there has never been fair sentencing in the American historical context. Don't do the crime!

As far as Rev. Jackson's comments, he should know better than anyone that Obama is in a very sensitive position running as a black canidate for President. Of course, Mrs. Clinton is "blacker" than him on this issue and other issues. Obama is struggling within a historical context; he cannot appear to be too "black" and expect to keep his bridge builder image with white voters.

Personally, I think that Obama is just as "black" as Oprah Winfrey.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Walid speaks regarding misconceptons about Islam and the Muslim world

Yesterday's lecture was given at Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, Michigan.

Cut & paste to listen:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10018

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Islamic teachings is the standard scapegoat

The following letter is right on. It's amazing to me that our countrymen have little to no knowledge of the historical contexts behind current violence in the some countries in the Middle East or the civil strife, which plagues many countries in Africa.

Media outlets knowingly and in many cases unknowingly add to the confusion. Many of these present simple black and white examples, those who are right and those who are wrong, and those who are winners and those who are losers. Moreover, the stories seem to neglect the role in which our government has played in some of these conflicts.

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20070918/OPINION/709180716/1029

Your recent article "Muslim Americans seek acceptance in the U.S." was on the mark.

As a Christian, married to a Muslim, I do not underestimate the link between the ability to accept others and our own education. Yet I am constantly surprised at how often the American media have utterly failed to put into comprehensible form the politics behind countries wherein Islam is predominant. Reporting seems biased beyond hope, often void of any real world knowledge of the problems people face in these countries -- knowledge that could yield better explanations of underlying tensions than the standard fall guy: Islamic teaching.

Even nonreligious people from the Middle East and North Africa laugh at the version of Islam put forth in the America press, dominated by subjects that cast dubious light on the practitioners themselves, without any serious explanation of the historical, political or economical problems that could have led to unrest in places like Iraq and Palestine.

Perhaps those who are utterly perplexed by how human beings could practice this religion would do well to exercise their fundamental American rights and take a stroll down to the local mosque. By introducing themselves to the local imam, who is as American as I am, and by attending a Friday midday prayer service, they would find that loyal Americans exist in force.

Krista Cole

Sarasota

Monday, September 17, 2007

Walid to speak in Saginaw area about Islam

http://www.svsu.edu/clubs/vanguard/stories/1454

Lecture on Islam

Dawud Walid, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Michigan, will be speaking at SVSU on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

Walid will be answering questions about Islam, such as what is Ramadan, do Muslims worship a different God than Jews and Christians, is the Darfur crisis a genocide of Arab Muslims upon indigenous Black Africans, are Muslim females second class citizens under Islamic Law, is the Palestinian/Israeli conflict a war between Islam against Judaism, as well as several others.

The event is open to the public. Admission is free of charge, and is sponsored by the Muslim Students Association of SVSU.

Saudi scholar slams Bin Laden

This new condemnation is just one of several from top Islamic scholars who have denounced Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden. Most Saudis, including the scholars, do NOT support Bin Laden and his Kharajite cronies.

The urban legend that most Saudis love Osama and subscribe to the Kharaji creed is one of the biggest lies told by media and so-called terrorism experts who have never visited Saudi Arabia.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=101271&d=17&m=9&y=2007&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

Oudah Denounces Bin Laden’s Ideology
Khaled Al-Awadh, Arab News

BURAIDAH, 17 September 2007 — In a major blow to the ideology of Osama Bin Laden and his followers in the Kingdom, Sheikh Salman ibn Fahad Al-Oudah, a popular Saudi religious scholar, has criticized the way in which Bin Laden has ruined Islam’s global image. “We as scholars of Islam reject what Osama does,” Al-Oudah wrote in an open letter posted on his website www.islamtoday.com. Al-Oudah also questioned the validity of Al-Qaeda using violence. “What have we gained from the destruction of a whole country such as Iraq and Afghanistan?” Al-Oudah said, adding that these wars have led to civil wars in the region. “Who benefits from turning countries like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco into insecure places?” he asked.

Many experts considered the letter as a major setback to Al-Qaeda’s ideology, as it comes from an influential Saudi scholar, who is not part of the official religious establishment.

“Brother Osama. How many wars and how much bloodshed have occurred in the name of Al-Qaeda? How many innocents, old men, children are killed in the name of Al-Qaeda? Are you happy to meet God carrying this heavy burden on your shoulders?” Al-Oudah asked.

He also criticized the Al-Qaeda leader’s lust for power at the expense of thousands of Muslims, who have been killed in wars initiated by Al-Qaeda. “Who is responsible for promoting the culture of killing and violence that has led to the destruction of families and societies? Who is responsible for the youths sent to wars leaving their crying mothers and sons?” Al-Oudah said.

“The attacks of Sept. 11 resulted in the deaths of thousands of human beings. Unknown callers to Islam (missionaries) are by far better. They help tens of thousands become Muslims without shedding blood,” he said.

Al-Oudah further slammed Al-Qaeda’s violent philosophy and attributed a decrease in the work of Islamic charities to Al-Qaeda. “Who is responsible for pursuing every charitable project in the world?” he said, adding that Al-Qaeda is responsible for filling prisons with Muslim youth — a phenomenon that will lead only to more violent and extremist acts.

Al-Oudah expressed sorrow over the current negative image of Islam saying that it has been severely damaged because of Al-Qaeda’s violent acts. “The image of Islam is not the one it used to be. The world is talking of Muslims killing non-Muslims. Even the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not kill hypocrites who were mentioned in the Qur’an for fear of people describing the Prophet as a man who kills his companions,” Al-Oudah reminded Bin Laden in his letter.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No marijuana inside and outside of Ramadan

I've become a little troubled by the amount of people, who are finding this blog by googling "marijuana Ramadan." Muslims from Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia to the USA are making these inquires.

Clearly in Islam, all intoxicants are forbidden, which includes marijuana.

I know, it comes from "the earth" and we are allowed to use the "herbs." Nevertheless, it is impermissible in Islam and illegal in America.

Moving to the subject of qat, a stimulant leaf that is popularly chewed in Ethiopia and Yemen, some scholars in Yemen do not deem qat as impermissible. Qat, however, is illegal in America, and its use is not legitimate here. It's illegal! The one who smuggled it into America is a criminal just as the chewer is a violator of the law.

So for Ramadan, quit your marijuana and qat habits. And no drinking of a glass of red wine a day because the doctor said that it's "good for the blood."

SEE references below:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was once asked about certain drinks made from honey, corn, or barley by the process of fermenting them until they became alcoholic. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) succinctly replied, "Every intoxicant is Khamr, and every Khamr is haram." (Reported by Muslim.)

And `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) declared from the pulpit of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that "Khamr is that which befogs the mind." (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Of that which intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount is haram." (Reported by Ahmad Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi.) And again, "If a bucketful intoxicates, a sip of it is haram." (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi.)

Profile of Ish Ahmed

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070916/NEWS06/709160565/1001/NEWS

OUT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Acting DHS boss hopes to help people
September 16, 2007

BY JACK KRESNAK

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Ismael Ahmed fought poverty and racism as an activist in college, worked on an auto assembly line and managed a punk rock band called the Buzzards.

Last week, the 60-year-old longtime community organizer and executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) took over as acting director of one of the state's largest and most troubled agencies, the Department of Human Services.

The state Senate has scheduled an Oct. 9 confirmation hearing for Ahmed.

"I've gone into this job to make a difference," Ahmed told the Free Press as he prepared to take over the post. "There's no other reason for me to take this job at this time in my life. And so, if I can leave and say that I made some difference in the lives of people, then I'll feel good about it."

The success of ACCESS -- a private nonprofit that grew from a storefront operation helping about 125 people in 1971 to an agency with a $15-million budget that helps 50,000 people a year -- convinced Gov. Jennifer Granholm that Ahmed could boost morale and restore confidence in DHS. The department has nearly 10,000 employees and a $4-billion annual budget.

ACCESS helps recent immigrants, primarily but not exclusively from the Middle East; offers employment training and job placement to the poor; feeds and tutors hundreds of children from many ethnic groups, and provides health care and mental health counseling, including -- with a United Nations grant -- to victims of torture...

Grandmother's grand impact

Ahmed's mentor was his maternal grandmother, Haji Aliya Hassen, a Muslim feminist and confidante of civil rights leader Malcolm X who "counseled him to take a more universal approach to Islam," Ahmed said.

Hassen, who participated in a cleansing ritual at Malcolm X's funeral after his assassination in 1965, moved from New York City to Detroit in the mid-1970s to lead ACCESS.

His grandmother took a particular interest in Ahmed's education and got him subscriptions to comic books to improve his reading. It was she, he said, who taught him that going to protest rallies was fine but what really mattered was helping people in practical ways.

When times were tough at ACCESS and the organization was scraping by on small donations, Hassen "would always take us all in hand and say, 'Look, this person had food today. That matters.'

"All of us here at ACCESS learned lessons from her," said Ahmed, who was a volunteer at the agency until becoming its executive director in 1983.

Ahmed, whose father was Egyptian and whose mother's family emigrated from Lebanon to South Dakota in the 19th Century, has been a Democrat since the 1980s and was elected third vice chairman of the state party in February. But his new job is not about politics, he said.(MORE)

Detroiter makes impact on U.S. Muslim community

Excerpt of article from today's Detroit Free Press.


http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070916/CFP11/709160339/1110/NEWS

September 16, 2007

BY ALEX P. KELLOGG

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER


For two-plus years, Walid has been the executive director of the Michigan office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Southfield; CAIR is headquartered in Washington, D.C., has 32 offices in the United States and Canada and is considered the leading civil rights group in the United States for Muslims.

Walid is everywhere, it seems. His eloquence and charisma have him speaking throughout metro Detroit and even nationwide, including appearances on CNN and C-SPAN.

In the spring, he was at Harvard University talking about the importance of getting out the black vote. This summer, he was on Free Press staffer Mitch Albom's radio show talking about a government raid of two Islamic charities, and in Kalamazoo speaking to thousands at a rally meant to promote diversity.

"Islam makes life easier, and it makes sense to me. In Islam, we have very clear directives and prohibitions," he said, pointing to the prohibitions against gambling and drinking as examples. "Having those frees the mind to contemplate other things."

For Walid, that means hours poring over books, often rereading them (recently, "King Leopold's Ghost," about the Belgian genocide in colonial Zaire, and "Emotional Intelligence," a book about alternatives to the IQ test). He listens to talk shows while at his desk at work or while driving between engagements, including those on which Muslims are often criticized.

"You may not agree with every perspective out there, but you always gain something small from listening to opposing views," said Walid.

It's a vision he says he lacked when he was young, though it was the diversity of his upbringing -- he recollects fondly the ethnically and racially mixed classrooms of his public school education in Richmond, Va. -- that grounded him firmly in moderate Islam.

He represents a swath of black American Muslims who've transitioned from the extremes of the Nation of Islam to the moderation of orthodox Islam over the past three decades, becoming part of America's growing and increasingly vocal Muslim minority.

"He represents the true image of a Muslim, which is always internationally tuned in," said Abdullah El-Amin, a 62-year-old African-American Muslim activist and Detroiter who also converted to Islam as a youth and has known Walid for years.

"Walid just naturally fits into that mold of Islam" that embraces diversity, El-Amin said. "He lives it and he believes in it, and he's doing a great job of bringing that part of the religion to life."

Najah Bazzy, a descendant of Middle Eastern Muslims and a Canton resident, recalls meeting Walid 8 years ago at a youth ministry and being taken by his enthusiasm.

"He's extremely media savvy," said Bazzy, 47 and a mother of four, who says she often finds herself sharing a podium with him at speaking engagements.

Bazzy, a Muslim, is the director of Zaman International, an interfaith charity that does work throughout metro Detroit. "He's a really good bridge builder between Sunnis and Shiites, too," she said.(MORE)

Walid gives sermon about inner aspects of Ramadan fast

Last Friday's sermon was given at the University Islamic Center (Wayne State University)in Detroit, Michigan regarding the inner aspects of fasting Ramadan.

Cut & paste to listen:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10017

Walid speaks regarding the Mercy of ALLAH (G'd)

Last night's lecture regarding the "Mercy of ALLAH" was held at the Muslim Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Last night's lecture was sponsored by the Muslim American Society (MAS) Youth Group of Detroit as part of a Ramadan Qiyaamul Layl program.

*NOTE* - ALLAH means the G'd in the Arabic language. Christian Arabs use the term ALLAH when referring to G'd, and ALLAH a the term that is used in Arabic bibles.

Cut & paste to listen:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10016

Friday, September 14, 2007

Xenophobic legislation built upon confusion?

Is she opposed to funding programs that help legal immigrants as well since "she's tired of the government having to pay for bilingual programs?"

This MI lawmaker has either not read the anti-profiling ordinance in Detroit and is highly confused about it or she's a blatant xenophobe.

G'd knows best, but I predict that this proposed measure will not make it through the State House, especially if this is one of her stronger arguments.


http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070914/NEWS05/709140403/1001/NEWS

Immigration backlash LEGISLATURE
Bill hits cities that ban profiling
September 14, 2007

BY NIRAJ WARIKOO

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Fed up with illegal immigration, a state legislator wants to crack down on communities with ordinances that prohibit the profiling of immigrants and minorities by hitting the municipalities in the pocketbook.

Under a bill introduced this week by State Rep. Kim Meltzer, R-Clinton Township, cities such as Detroit would lose millions in state revenue sharing money if they have laws that prohibit police and other city employees from targeting people based on appearance.

The Detroit City Council passed an anti-profiling ordinance in May after receiving complaints from immigrants and U.S. citizens who said they were being pulled over by police and asked about their immigration status based on how they look. Hamtramck is considering a similar ordinance.

But Meltzer said she's tired of the government having to pay for bilingual programs for students and those who are in the United States illegally. National security also is a concern, she said.

"We've had enough of this," Meltzer said. "It's so unfair and wrong ... let's push back."

Supporters of the anti-profiling ordinances say that Meltzer's bill ignores the fact that the ordinances allow police investigating crimes to ask people about their immigration status.

"There's nothing radical at all about this ordinance," Juan Escareño said of the Detroit anti-profiling law. He works on immigration issues for Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES), a Detroit-based coalition of 65 groups in southeastern Michigan that led the push for the Detroit ordinance. "In fact, it's based on the U.S. Constitution," which protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures.

He and others said Meltzer's bill was a publicity stunt that divides the region.

"All this ordinance does is clarify a person's constitutional rights," Escareño said of the Detroit anti-profiling ordinance. "Instead of writing this bill, she should spend time reading the U.S. Constitution and think about the state budget crisis."

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was one of the supporters of the Detroit anti-profiling ordinance.

"It's really shameful that an elected official is using proposed legislation to cause more racial division in Michigan," Walid said. "Michigan is a state that is in a dire fiscal crisis and does not need to be seen ... as an immigrant-unfriendly state. ... How can a person just look at someone and suspect whether they're legal or not?"(MORE)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Message for Friday - Keep the inner fast

Hujjatul Islam Abu Hamid Al-Ghalazi (RH) stated that for every outer form of worship, there is an inward form. This hold true for fasting in Ramadan.

Fasting is prescribed for Muslims who are of the age of puberty, sane and not suffering from illness. Those who are traveling a significant distance are exempt from traveling until the end their traveling.

The jurisprudence of outward fasting in Al-Islam is abstaining from food, drink and lawful sexual relations from dawn to dusk.

The inward aspects of fasting are:

1) Avoiding evil talk - i.e. lying, gossiping, back-biting and cursing.

2) Avoiding listening to repugnant speech - i.e. profanity laced music and television/movie shows and giving one's ear willfully to evil talk.

3) Avoiding looking at unlawful objects - i.e. watching television/movies/websites with indecent images and nudity and lowering one's gaze around the opposite sex.

4) Avoiding handling or touching that which is unlawful - i.e. touching the opposite sex, especially with those who feel attraction towards the person or vice versa, stealing and earning money off of unlawful business (selling, transporting, making or buying alcohol or illicit drugs, selling or buying pornography, pork or lottery tickets).

The outward fast is for the purpose of developing more discipline and consciousness for one's daily activities in accordance with the ordinances of G'd.

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) taught us, for example, that G'd is in no need of a person giving up food and drink if he/she does not give up lying or ill speech.

And surely G'd knows best.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Walid comments on holy month of Ramadan

http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-09-12-voa42.cfm

American Muslims Prepare for Holy Month of Ramadan
By Mohamed Elshinnawi
Washington
12 September 2007

Cut & paste to view:
http://www.voanews.com/mediaassets/english/2007_09/Video/wmv/RamadaninAmerica_bb.wmv

As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins, Muslim Americans across the United States are gathering in mosques and homes just as Muslims do around the world. VOA's Mohamed Elshinnawi tells us how American Muslims are observing their holy month.


There are an estimated six to eight million Muslims in the United States, comprised mainly of immigrants from the Arab world, as well as converts to Islam. Regardless of their country of origin, American Muslims observe Ramadan with a set of traditional rituals. Families shop at Halal meat stores, prepare Iftar meals to break their fast with family and friends and pray together. Some Muslim Americans shop for special items such as dates and Ramadan sweets at specialty food stores.

Shala Haroun, an American Muslim from Kashmir, misses the big family gathering on Ramadan. "Ramadan back home is a lot more fun, there is a lot more family, a bigger Indian community and you get your whole family together, while here you are with just a couple of your family."

Islamic centers and mosques are thriving with Muslim American praying and reading the Koran. Imam Hassan Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan says the center has a special program for Ramadan. "Every night, after the nightly prayers, the Islamic Center will hold a special session that consists of recitation of the holy Koran, the interpretation of the Koran, as well as some other lectures."

He says as many as 1,000 people go to daily evening prayers at the Islamic Center of America during Ramadan, and there will be a special program for American-born Muslim Americans.

"The English-speaking part of our congregation, we will have a special program for them. We believe that these will be the ambassadors of Islam to non-Muslims. They will be the ones who will carry the banner of Islam, therefore there will be a very specialized program catered to the youth."

For Muslim American groups, Ramadan has served as a means to educate the American public about the holidays of Muslims and the Islamic faith. Dawud Walid is the executive director in Michigan of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "[The] Council on American Islamic Relations sends out information relating to Ramadan to our non-Muslim constituency and friends as well as we organize programs in which we speak about Ramadan. We do this in conjunction with not only Islamic centers but even with groups and interfaith groups as well, so this has been a highly successful campaign."

Some events planned by Muslim Americans to educate other Americans about Islam during Ramadan include holding open houses at local mosques and Islamic centers, public lectures on Ramadan and interfaith Iftars. Muslim American organizations also place TV ads to remind all Americans that Muslims are an integral part of the American society.

Since the early 1990s, the president has issued happy Ramadan greetings to the more 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide, and he invites the ambassadors of Muslim countries and Muslim American leaders to the White House for Iftar.

Concurrent holy days unite Jews & Muslims

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070912/LIFESTYLE04/709120397/1003/METRO

Concurrent holy days unite Jews and Muslims

The dual observances of Rosh Hashana and Ramadan, which begin today, is 'rare occurrence.'

Mark Hicks / The Detroit News

What they are: Ramadan, the month of fasting and contemplation marking the archangel Gabriel revealing the Koran to Muhammad. Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, starts the Days of Awe, when followers reflect and ask for forgiveness for sins.
When they begin: After sunset today

After sundown today, Tammam Alwan will be spiritually attuned.

The West Bloomfield Township native and interdisciplinary humanities major at Michigan State University will mark the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and contemplation, by praying at the Islamic Center of Greater Lansing.

Between adjusting his fasting schedule and studying the Koran, Alwan, 19, also plans a spiritual expansion. Acknowledging Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, which begins today and launches 10 holy days, he said he hopes to accompany a Jewish friend to a synagogue.

Examining relations during venerated times for both faiths "helps build bridges," Alwan said. "Relationships build unity. We can come closer to peace."

Tonight, some 200,000 Jews and Muslims throughout Metro Detroit will simultaneously begin their holiest periods -- Ramadan, the month memorializing the archangel Gabriel revealing the Koran to Muhammad, and Rosh Hashana, which begins the Days of Awe when followers reflect and ask for forgiveness for sins.

"It's almost once in a lifetime," Victor Begg, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, said of the simultaneous holy days. "It's a wonderful opportunity."

To celebrate the dual holy periods, the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan is partnering with the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation, a group of about 70 Jewish families, to coordinate an interfaith program by month's end.

While the convergence is a "rare occurrence," said CAIR-MI executive director Dawud Walid, joint observances can serve as a "reminder of our shared humanity and spiritual principles."(MORE)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blessed Ramadan!

Ramadan will begin, G'd willing, tomorrow, 9/12/07, at dusk.

Below is a well known sermon given by Prophet Muhammad to welcome Ramadan:

حديث سلمان رواه ابن خزيمة في صحيحه فقال: باب في فضائل شهر رمضان إن صح الخبر، ثم قال: حدثنا علي بن حجر السعدي حدثنا يوسف بن زياد حدثنا همام بن يحيى عن علي بن زيد بن جدعان عن سعيد بن المسيب عن سلمان قال: خطبنا رسول الله في آخر يوم من شعبان فقال: «أيها الناس: قد أظلكم شهر عظيم، شهر مبارك، شهر فيه ليلة خير من ألف شهر، جعل الله صيامه فريضة وقيام ليله تطوعا من تقرب فيه بخصلة من الخير كان كمن أدى فريضة فيما سواه، ومن أدى فيه فريضة كان كمن أدى سبعين فريضة فيما سواه وهو شهر الصبر والصبر ثوابه الجنة، وشهر المواساة، وشهر يزداد فيه رزق المؤمن، من فطر فيه صائماً كان مغفرة لذنوبه وعتق رقبته من النار وكان له مثل أجره من غير أن ينتقص من أجره شيء

"Oh people! A great month is coming to you. A blessed month. A month in which there is one night that is better than a thousand months. A month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night.

Whoever draws nearer to Allah by performing any of the voluntary good deeds in this month shall receive the same reward as is there for performing an obligatory deed at any other time. And whoever discharges an obligatory deed in this month shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time.

It is the month of Sabr (patience), and the reward for sabr is Heaven. It is the month of kindness and charity. It is a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased.

Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without the latter's reward being diminished at all." [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]

Walid speaks about increased Islamophobia 6 years after 9-11

*This was translated from Arabic to English. Accuse the cumbersome translation.*

Original article is in Arabic:
http://www.swissinfo.org/ara/front/detail.html?siteSect=105&sid=8202372&cKey=1189518888000&ty=st

Islamophobia increasing six years after the attacks of September

"الحرب على الإرهاب قد تتواصل 30 عاما"
"The war on terrorism may continue 30 years"

مشاعر متناقضة جاءت بها إلى المجتمع الأمريكي الذكرى السادسة لهجمات سبتمبر الإرهابية. Contradictory feelings came to American society on the sixth anniversary of the September terrorist attacks.

فقد حاول المسلمون الأمريكيون التأكيد من جديد على أنهم جزء لا يتجزّأ من نسيج ذلك المجتمع وأنهم، وإن اختلفوا في تقاليدهم وشعائرهم الدينية، فإنهم ليسوا أقل وطنية ولا حبا للسلام والأمن من باقي المواطنين الأمريكيين.
Muslim Americans have tried to reaffirm that they are an integral part of the fabric of society and that they, but differ in their traditions and their religion. They are less nationalistic, but love peace and security of the all American citizens.

فقد خرج مئات من المسلمين الأمريكيين في مسيرة في شوارع نيويورك للتعبير عن إدانتهم لهجمات سبتمبر الإرهابية، رافعين لافتات تؤكِّـد أن الإسلام دين سلام يحترم الكرامة الإنسانية ويكفل التعايش السلمي والاحترام للديانات السماوية الأخرى.
Hundreds of Muslim Americans in a march in the streets of New York recently expressed their condemnation of the September terrorist attacks, carrying banners, confirming that Islam is a religion of peace that respects human dignity and ensures peaceful coexistence and respect for other monotheistic religions.

وجاء الرد سريعا من عشرات المحتجِّـين الأمريكيين، الذين أحاطوا بمسيرة المسلمين الأمريكيين وهتفوا بشعارات مُـعادية للإسلام، واضطرت قوات الشرطة إلى التفريق بين الجانبين.
The reply came quickly from dozens of counter-protesters, who marched and shouted slogans hostile to Islam, and forced police forces to separate them from the other side.

ورغم أن نسبة الأمريكيين الذين يكِـنُّـون مشاعر معادية للإسلام، كانت 13% في أعقاب هجمات سبتمبر، فإنها ارتفعت إلى 46% بعد مرور ستة أعوام على تلك الهجمات.
Although the percentage of Americans who harbor feelings of against Islam, was 13% in the wake of the September attacks, it rose to 46% after six years on those attacks.

ولتفسير تلك الظاهرة المزعجة، توجّـهت سويس إنفو إلى مدينة ديربورن بولاية ميشيغان، حيث يوجد أكبر تجمّـع للمسلمين الأمريكيين في مدينة واحدة، والتقت بالإمام حسن القزويني، إمام المركز الإسلامي في أمريكا، أكبر المراكز الإسلامية في الولايات المتحدة فقال: "إن وسائل الإعلام الأمريكية تُـروِّج أفكارا خاطئة عن الإسلام والمسلمين وتشيّـع أجواءً من الخوف من الإسلام، بتصويره على أنه ديانة تدعو إلى العنف، بينما تروّج أوساط أمريكية أخرى لنظرية صِـراع الحضارات التي طرحها صامويل هنتنجتون قبل هجمات سبتمبر، وتحاول تصوير الإسلام كديانة وثقافة لا يمكن أن تنسجِـم مع الثقافة الغربية، وبالتالي، فإن الصِّـراع حتمِـي بين ثقافة الشرق الإسلامي وثقافة الغرب العلماني، وتمّ استغلال هجمات سبتمبر كنموذج لذلك الصراع المزعوم وإشاعة المخاوف من الإسلام والمسلمين، لذلك، تتزايد نسبة الأمريكيين الذين يكِـنون مشاعر سلبية إزاء الإسلام، رغم مرور ستة أعوام على هجمات سبتمبر".
To explain this phenomenon disturbing, Swiss Info traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, where the largest gathering of Muslim Americans in one city, and met Al-Alim Hassan Qazwini, in front of the Islamic Center of America, the largest Islamic center in the United States. Qazwini said, "The American media promotes incorrent ideas about Islam and Muslims and foster an atmosphere of fear of Islam, that the religion calls for violence, while promoting among Americans "The Conflict of Civilizations" theory. Samuel [Huntington] put forth this theory before the September attacks, and tried to portray the Islamic religion and culture that it cannot coexist with Western culture. Therefore, he stated that there would be an inevitable conflict between Islamic culture and the culture of the secular Middle West secular. He has now exploited the September attacks as a model of the alleged conflict, which has spread fears of Islam and Muslims; therefore, increasing the proportion of Americans who harbor negative feelings about Islam, despite the passage of six years since the September attacks. "

ويري الإمام القزويني أن هناك دورا محوريا يتعيَّـن على المسلمين في أمريكا القيام به لتغيير ذلك التوجّـه من خلال زيادة مشاركتهم في الحياة العامة والعمل السياسي، وزيادة مشاركتهم في التصويت في الانتخابات المحلية والقومية والتحول بعيدا عن السلبية بتفهم أهمية دور المواطن الإيجابي بالكِـتابة إلى الصحف لتصحيح الخطأ وردّ المزاعم وتفنيدها، والكتابة أو الاتصال بممثليهم في الكونغرس بمجلسيه وبذل جهود منظمة ومتّـسقة ومتواصلة لشرح الوجه الحضاري الحقيقي للإسلام، وإظهار التزامهم باحترام القانون الأمريكي والدخول في حوار مع جيرانهم وأصدقائهم من غير المسلمين في المجتمع الأمريكي، باعتبار أن الناس أعداء ما جهلوا، ومُـعظم الأمريكيين لا يعرفون الكثير عن الإسلام، وأضاف الإمام القزويني يقول:
Qazwini believes that there must be a central role for Muslims in America to change this trend by increasing their participation in public life and political work, and to increase their participation in voting in local and national elections and the shift away from the negative understanding to the importance of the positive role of a citizen by writing to newspapers to correct the errorenous allegations and refute them. Also to write or call their congressmen and both houses to explain the true face of Islam, and to demonstrate their commitment to respecting American law. Moreover to engage in a dialogue with Non-Muslim neighbors and friends in American society, for most Americans do not know much of Islam."

"إذا كان هناك قُـرابة ثمانية ملايين مسلم في الولايات المتحدة يعملون بكل جِـدّ واجتهاد من أجل أسَـرِهم والمجتمع الذي يعيشون فيه ويُـظهرون كل يوم كيف أنهم مواطنون صالحون وسفراء طيِّـبون لدينهم الإسلامي ويتعاملون بسماحة مع أبناء الديانات الأخرى، مع مواصلة زعماء المسلمين الأمريكيين تعميق وتعزيز مشاعر التسامح الديني بين المسلمين الأمريكيين في تعاملهم كأقلية مع المجتمع الأمريكي، بل والدخول في حوار متحضِّـر مع رجال الدين المسيحي واليهودي في الولايات المتحدة، فسيؤدي هذا في نهاية المطاف إلى تغيير تلك المشاعر السلبية".
"If there are approximately eight million Muslims in the United States that are working very hard and diligently for their families and the society in which they live every day, they will show that they are good citizens and ambassadors of happiness and the Islamic religion when dealing with the other religions. The leaders of Muslim Americans continue to deepen and strengthen the feelings of religious tolerance among American Muslims as a minority in their dealings with American society, and to engage in a civilized dialogue with the clergy of Christians and Jews in the United States. This will lead eventually to changing those negative feelings."

إساءة المسؤولين الأمريكيين إلى الإسلام
American officials to misuse Islam

أما السيد داود وليد، المدير التنفيذي لمجلس العلاقات الإسلامية الأمريكية في ولاية ميشيغان، فيرى أن هناك سببان في زيادة المشاعر المناهضة للإسلام والمسلمين في المجتمع الأمريكي بعد ستة أعوام من هجمات سبتمبر:
Mr. Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in the state of Michigan, thinks that there are two reasons for increasing feelings against Islam and Muslims in American society after six years of the September attacks:

أولا، أن قرارات السياسة الخارجية الأمريكية لإدارة الرئيس بوش فيما يتعلق بالدول العربية والإسلامية تثير مشاعر الغضب، بل وتفضي إلى احتجاجات عنيفة في بعض أرجاء العالم الإسلامي، وعندما تركِّـز عليها وسائل الإعلام الأمريكية، وخاصة شبكتي فوكس وسي إن إن وتربطها بكون المحتجِّـين من المسلمين، فإنها تُـثير مشاعر الخوف من الإسلام بين جمهور الأمريكيين وتخلق بذلك نوعا من ردود الفعل السلبية لدى المواطنين الأمريكيين.
First, the American foreign policy decisions of President Bush's administration with regard to the Arab and Islamic states raises feelings of anger, and even lead to violent protests in some parts of the Islamic world, and when the focus of the American media, especially the Fox network, stresses that the sole reason for the responses is the the fact that the protesters are Muslims, they raise fears against Islam among the American public. Thereby, they help create negative reactions from the American citizens.

ثانيا، إساءة بعض المسؤولين الأمريكيين إلى الإسلام، مثل توم كونتريدو، عضو الكونغرس من ولاية كولورادو، الذي دعا إلى قصف الكعبة المشرّفة وتدمير مدينة مكّـة، لوقف ما زعم أنه عُـنف الإسلام، ووصف أعضاء آخرين لمنظمات إسلامية أمريكية عريقة، مثل الجمعية الإسلامية لأمريكا الشمالية بأنها منظمات تضُـم جِـهاديين يسعَـون لاستخدام العنف ضد الولايات المتحدة وطرح أفكار عنصرية تُـطالب بترحيل المسلمين من أمريكا، ثم وقوع الرئيس بوش نفسه في إغراء الإساءة إلى الإسلام بالحديث عمّـا وصفه بخطر الفاشية الإسلامية!
Secondly, some American officials abuse invoking Islam concerning issues, such as Tom Tancredo, Congressman from the State of Colorado, who called for the bombing and destruction of the Kaaba in Mecca to stop what he alleges is the violence of Islam. He also describes American Islamic organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America as seeking to use violence against the United States and advocates racist ideas such as expelling Muslims from America. President Bush once made offense remarks saying that the [new] danger is 'Islamic-fascism.'

ويرى السيد داود وليد أنه عندما يسمع المواطن الأمريكي مثل هذه الطنطنة الإعلامية والتصريحات النارية المعادية للإسلام والمسلمين من مسؤولين أمريكيين، فإن النتيجة المنطِـقية هي زيادة المشاعر السلبية عن الإسلام والمسلمين، حتى بعد مرور ستة أعوام على هجمات سبتمبر.
According to Mr. Dawud Walid, when American citizens receive such information and statements from American officials that are hostile to Islam and Muslims, the logical outcome is increasing negative feelings about Islam and Muslims, even after six years on September attacks.

جرائم الكراهية في تصاعد
Hate crimes on the rise

وردّا على سؤال لسويس إنفو، عما إذا كانت المشاعر السلبية عن الإسلام والمسلمين قد أدّت إلى زيادة في حالات انتهاكات الحقوق المدنية للمسلمين الأمريكيين، قال المدير التنفيذي لمجلس العلاقات الأمريكية الإسلامية في ولاية شيكاغو:
Replying to a question by Swiss Info, whether negative feelings about Islam and Muslims have led to an increase in cases of violations of the civil rights of Muslim Americans, said the Executive Director of the Council of American Islamic Relations in Chicago:

"منذ وقوع هجمات سبتمبر قبل ستة أعوام، تتزايد جرائم الكراهية والتمييز ضد المسلمين في أمريكا عاما بعد عام، ومع أن كثيرا من الناس يعتقدون أن عدد تلك الجرائم كان أكبر في أعقاب وقوع تلك الهجمات، فإنه لسوء الحظ، عدد جرائم الكراهية والتمييز ضد المسلمين في أمريكا في عام 2006 تضاعف عدة مرات بالمقارنة مع ما كان عليه الحال في عامي 2001 و2002، كما يتعرض المسلمون في المطارات ونِـقاط الحدود الأمريكية إلى عمليات تفتيش واستجواب على أساس تصنيفهم العرقي، كما تتعرض مؤسساتهم الخيرية لغارات من مكتب المباحث الفدرالي، بحجّـة تمويلهم لمساعدات إنسانية في غزة وفي لبنان، مما جعل المسلمين الأمريكيين يتردّدون في التبرع للأعمال الخيرية، خِـشية اتهامهم بتمويل الإرهاب"!
"Since the attacks of September six years ago, hate crimes and discrimination have increased against Muslims in America year after year. Many people believe that the number of those crimes was the largest in the wake of those attacks. It is, unfortunate that the number of hate crimes and discrimination against Muslims in America in 2006 doubled several times compared to what was the case in 2001 and 2002, which includes discrimination against Muslims at airports and border points to the American search operations and questioning on the basis of racial classification, as well as raids on charities by the Office of Federal Investigations, on the pretext of financing humanitarian aid Gaza and in Lebanon, which is making American Muslims more reluctant to donate to charitable works because they don't want to be accused of financing terrorism."

وتوقع السيد وليد أن تتزايد حالات التمييز والتفرقة ضد المسلمين الأمريكيين في المدى القصير، ولكن مع تزايد القوة السياسية للمسلمين الأمريكيين وزيادة مشاركتهم في الانتخابات والعملية السياسية وانخراطهم بشكل أكبر في الحوار مع الأمريكيين من غير المسلمين وشرح الوجه الحقيقي للإسلام، بعيدا عن الصور النمطية السلبية التي تخاطب المواطن الأمريكي، سيتمكّـن المسلمون الأمريكيون في المدى البعيد من عكس تلك المشاعر السلبية عن الإسلام والمسلمين.
Mr. Walid expects increasing instances of discrimination against Muslim Americans in the short term, but with the growing political strength of Muslims in American. With increased participation in the elections and the political process and engaging in more dialogue with the non-Muslim Americans to explain the true face of Islam, away from the negative stereotypes, Muslim Americans will be able in the long run to reverse those negative feelings about Islam and Muslims.

وخلّـص السيد وليد إلى أنه يتعيّـن على المسلمين الأمريكيين بذل جهود لتغيير ذلك الواقع، من خلال المشاركة في التصويت، بل والترشّـح للوظائف العامة والمجالس المحلية والتفاعل الإيجابي مع ممثليهم في الكونغرس، سواء باللقاء المباشر أو بالكتابة إليهم وشرح مواقف المسلمين الأمريكيين والتعبير عن اهتماماتهم، وأن لا يركن المسلم الأمريكي إلى الصمت، حينما يسمع أو يشاهد أو يقرأ أي تشويه أو مغالطة عن الإسلام أو المسلمين في وسائل الإعلام الأمريكية، بل يسارع إلى الرد لتوضيح الحقيقة، وفضلا عن ذلك، يتعيّـن انخراط المسلمين الأمريكيين فيه ومساندتهم للمؤسسات الإسلامية الأمريكية، التي تبذل جهودا منظمة لنشر الصورة الحقيقة للإسلام والمسلمين في المجتمع الأمريكي وتدافع عن حقوقهم المدنية والسياسية.
Mr. Walid concluded that the American Muslims must make efforts to change that reality, through participation in voting, and even running for public office and local councils, positive interaction with their representatives in Congress, either meeting them directly or writing to them to explain the positions of American Muslims and express their concerns, not being silent. When hearing, seeing, or reading any distortions or fallacies about Islam or Muslims in the American media, there needs to be a quick response to present the truth. Furthermore, Muslim Americans must support their American Islamic institutions, which make efforts to disseminate the true image of Islam and Muslims in American society and defend their civil and political rights.

الحياة أصعب بعد هجمات سبتمبر
Life harder after the September attacks

وتشير أحدث دراسة أجراها مركز بيو لدراسات الرأي العام، إلى أن المسلمين الأمريكيين يرون أن حياتهم قد أصبحت أكثر صعوبة منذ هجمات سبتمبر قبل ستة أعوام، رغم مسارعتهم إلى إدانة تلك الهجمات ورفضهم للتطرف الإسلامي من قِـبل أشخاص يحاولون استغلال الدِّين الإسلامي، لتحقيق أهداف سياسية باستخدام العنف.
The latest study by the Center for Bio studies public opinion states that Muslim Americans feel that their lives had become more difficult since the attacks of September six years ago, although they condemn those attacks and they have reject extremism in the name of Islam by people trying to exploit the Islamic religion to achieve political goals using violence.

وعدّدت الدراسة المصاعب، التي يواجهها المسلمون في أمريكا منذ هجمات سبتمبر، فقالت إنها تراوحت بين التمييز والتفرقة والاستهداف بالمراقبة من أجهزة الأمن، وبين الوقوع ضحية لجهل الأمريكيين بالإسلام واستسلامهم للصور السلبية النمطية التي تبثها وسائل الإعلام، والربط المزعوم بين الإسلام والعنف والإرهاب.
The study mentions difficulties faced by Muslims in America since the September attacks. They ranged between discrimination and segregation and targeted control of the security organs, and falling victim to the ignorance of Americans to Islam and surrendering to negative stereotypical images broadcast by the media, and the alleged link between Islam and violence and terrorism.

وهكذا، يبدو أن حلول ذكرى هجمات سبتمبر تُـجدد نشاط تلك الصور السلبية عن الإسلام وتتجدّد معها حُـجة أن المسلمين الأمريكيين لم يعبِّـروا بشكل كافٍ عن إدانتهم لهجمات سبتمبر، وفي بلد يطالب حكومات العالم بالالتزام بالحقوق الأساسية للإنسان، لا تحرّك منظمات حقوق الإنسان والحقوق المدنية ساكنا إزاء الانتقاص المتواصل للحقوق المدنية للمسلمين في الولايات المتحدة من خلال قوانين مكافحة الإرهاب، وما يسمى بقانون الباتريوت وغيره، والتي تُـعطي صلاحيات استثنائية لملاحقة واعتقال كل من تحُـوم حوله الشُّـبهات، حتى بدون أدلة وبدون توجيه اتهام!
Thus, it appears that the solutions to the memory of the September attacks renewed activity of these negative images of Islam and renewed with the argument that Muslim Americans have not adequately express their condemnation of the September attacks demands commitment in fundamental human rights, not quieting human rights organizations about the erosion civil right for Muslims in the United States through the anti-terrorism laws, and so-called Alpatriot and other law, which gives special powers to prosecute and arrest anybody who hovers around suspicions, even without evidence and without charge!

Reflecting upon 9-11

Six years after the tragic events of 9-11, we have witnessed the following:

1) US military has not caught Osama bin Laden and has lost ground in Afghanistan since the initial invasion. President Karzai is basically bunkered down in Kabul, suicide bombings, which never took place before there, are on the rise and Afghanistan is the number grower of opium and supplier of Heroin to America.

2) Sectarian violence in Iraq is steadily rising in the last 18 months with approximately 4 million Iraqis displaced outside and inside the country, Sunni Arabs being the majority. There were no suicide bombings in Iraq from 1980 - 2002 according to Dr. Robert Pape, who started the first suicide terrorism database. Now, Iraq leads the world in terrorist attacks within its borders. The majority of the victims have been Muslims.

3) Islamophobia in the media and hate crimes against Muslims have exponetially increased in the last 5 years. Anti-Semitism is unacceptable in America and being overtly anti-Black may cost someone a job here or there such as Don Imus. Being anti-Muslim in many segments of our society is not only seen as acceptable, but it's seen as being patriotic.

4) World opinion of the USA has decline all over the world including Europe. Within the past year, non-Muslim extermists attacked our embassy in Greece. President Bush's recent visits to Europe were met with large protests, except in Muslim majority Albania.

In regards to the 9-11 attack, one of the biggest misnomers that Islamophobes proprogate is that Muslims do not speak out against terrorism and that no Muslim groups condemned 9-11. This is preposterous!

Following the 9-11 attacks, almost every major Islamic religious authority condemned the 9-11 terrorist attacks. In fact, nations and organizations who we have designated as terrorists such as Iran and Hamas condemned 9-11!

SEE Juan Cole's blog with list of those who condemned 9-11:
http://www.juancole.com/2005/07/friedman-wrong-about-muslims-again-and.html

Let's pray for peace and justice on this day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Comments at grand opening of Islamic school

Today was the grand opening of Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, a pre-K - 12th grade private school, at its new location in Detroit, Michigan on the Hamtramck border.

Cut & paste to listen:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10015

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Walid speaks at program with African scholars regarding Ramadan


Picture above from left to right (Hafiz Ibrahim from Gambia, Dawud Walid, Imam Mamadou Ceesay - Imam of Gambian Muslim Community of Michigan, President of Mouride Sufi Order in Michigan from Senegal)


Last night at the Muslim Center in Detroit, the Gambian Muslim Association of Michigan held a Pre Ramadan program in honor of the life of Prophet Muhammd(SAAS).

Speakers who also spoke last night included two local Gambian American scholars, the President of the Tijani Sufi Order in Michigan, who is from Senegal and the President of the Mouride Sufi Order in Michigan, who is also from Senegal.

Cut & paste to listen to lecture:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10014

US Muslims wary of giving charity

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/theworld/2007/September/theworld_September227.xml§ion=theworld

US Muslims wary of giving charity
(AFP)

9 September 2007

DETROIT, Michigan - As Ramadan approaches, many US Muslims are worried about how they will manage to fulfill their charitable obligations without raising the ire or attention of federal authorities.

The start of Ramadan sometime next week coincides with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks which prompted anti-terrorism crackdowns that many here say unfairly target Muslims.

Six major Muslim charities operating in the United States have been shut down after being designated as fund raisers for terrorist organizations and several others have been raided or closed.

“These are indirect ways of having Islamic charities close down without due process,” said Dawud Walid, director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“It scares away the donors and even some employees.”

There has also been a very suspicious pattern of raids taking place just ahead of Ramadan when Muslims typically do the bulk of their required giving known as “zakat”, said Shereef Akeel, a lawyer who represents two of the raided charities.

In 2004, Missouri-based Islamic American Relief Agency was shut down in the days leading up to Ramadan because of alleged ties to the militant Palestinian group Hamas and Al Qaeda. It was indicted in March for providing aid without a license in Iraq while the country was under US sanctions.

In 2005, federal agents knocked on the doors of prominent Detroit-area Muslims and asked them if they were planning on donating to Michigan-based Life for Relief and Development and other charities.

And in 2006, Life was raided and every local television station was on hand to capture images of federal agents carting away computers and boxes of documents.

While it is important to ensure that charitable funds are not diverted to terrorist activities, the federal government’s inability or refusal to provide hard evidence against the charities has created a backlash, said Akeel.

Especially since many Muslims have stopped donating to overseas programs out of fear that the money will be either frozen or tied up in legal fees and that they could be held liable for inadvertently funding terrorism.

“What we have done is compromise our image and our standing abroad,” he told AFP. “There’s no better PR than when you have American organizations on the ground.”

Life for Relief and Development has managed to keep operating despite the bad publicity from the 2006 raid, said administrative director Mohammad Alomari.

But it had to go to court to prevent its bank from flagging it as a money launderer or terrorist financer when the charity’s account was closed shortly after the raid.

It was back in court last month to stop the Justice Department from charging it 115,000 dollars in copying fees so it could get its documents back.

While charges have not yet been filed, the charity believes it is being investigated for work it did in Iraq while the country was still under sanctions.

It has managed to avoid being tied to terrorism because it carefully followed all regulations and chose not to come to the aid of orphans in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, Alomari said.

“People in the Muslim community are scared. They have to give zakat. But how do you give it? Do you give it only to the mosque? Do you give it to a friend who takes it overseas? The avenues of giving are narrower,” Alomari said in his suburban Detroit office.

“There used to be a lot of different organizations. We certainly weren’t the largest. But by default now we’re the largest because they closed down the other ones.”

Federal officials say they are committed to protecting legitimate charitable work and only target organizations when they have strong evidence that the money is being misdirected.

“These actions are not going after people who are sending legitimate funds for legitimate purposes and are accidentally swept up,” said Molly Millerwise, a Treasury Department official.

“Every one of our charitable designations that has been tested in US court has been upheld,” she said.

The nation’s largest Muslim charity, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, is currently in court defending itself against allegations of funding terrorism by supporting Hamas.

In late July, the Treasury Department froze the assets of Michigan-based Goodwill Charitable Organization after it was declared a front for the anti-Israeli militant group Hezbollah.

The Treasury department has worked closely with the charitable community to develop guidelines that will help them ensure their funds are not being misdirected towards terrorist activities, Millerwise added.

“The charitable sector and the US government share the same goal: we want charitable giving to continue but we don’t want the money going to terrorists,” Millerwise said.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Grand opening of new Islamic facility in Hamtramck area

Yesterday, the Islamic Center of North Detroit (Masjid Al-Falah) held its grand opening in its new location off of McDougal in Detroit. The new facility used to be a Catholic school and community center with housing for Catholic teachers.

Yesterday's Friday sermon had well over 1,000 Muslims in attendance.

Monday will be the first day of classes for Al-Ikhlas Training Academy at this location, a Pre-K through 12th grade school, which was established approximately 15 years ago. The nationalities of the staff and students are African-American, Bengali-American, Yemeni-American, Palestinian-American, Somali-American, Ethiopian-American, Sudanese-American, Gambian-American and White-American.

Cut & paste to listen to brief comments made at the opening:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10013

Friday, September 07, 2007

Walid comments on lack of Iraqi Muslims being allowed in USA as refugees

Agence France Presse -- English

September 6, 2007

Thursday 4:06 AM GMT

Sectarian tensions rise among US Iraqis

BYLINE: Mira Oberman

LENGTH: 889 words

DATELINE: DETROIT, Michigan, Sept 6 2007

In a modest home in a Detroit suburb, stands a small shrine to a man killed by a car bomb in Iraq. Three women sit next to the yellowing flowers and pass around photos of others killed in the conflict.

As the daily violence in Iraq claims even more lives, tensions are rising here among US Iraqis over the refugee crisis, with many preferring solutions along solidly sectarian lines.

"By the time we start praying for one, we hear news that there's another one kidnapped or killed," said Sarah Farg, a Christian who fled Saddam Hussein's regime 15 years ago.

"It's the same in every Iraqi house" in Detroit, Farg told AFP, adding she fears for dozens of family members left behind in Iraq.

"What I can I do? I hope somebody will listen to us and to do something for every Christian there, not just my cousins and my sisters, but for everyone there."

The Christians -- who are the largest and most established group of Iraqis in the United States -- say they are the most deserving of entry to the United States because they are the most vulnerable: a religious minority with no militias or tribal ties to protect them.

But the Sunnis bristle at these pronouncements and say travel permits should be handed out evenly among the refugee population, not just to those with family ties in the United States.

The Shiites -- a more radical group comprised primarily of those who fled in the 1990s after the first Gulf War -- say they don't want any "Baathists" to be allowed to export to the United States the violence plaguing Iraq.

Here the Sunnis bristle again, saying fear-mongering about "Baathists" -- followers of late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein -- is merely a code-word for keeping Sunnis out.

Meanwhile, the mayor of the Detroit suburb of Warren with a large Iraqi community has vowed to protect the town with a high unemployment rate from being "unfairly burdened" with thousands of refugees.

An estimated 4.2 million of Iraq's 27 million people have fled their homes because of sectarian violence, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

More than half are displaced within Iraq, barely surviving in makeshift camps that are inaccessible to aid workers for security reasons, while most of the rest have fled to neighboring Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.

But less than 1,000 Iraqi refugees have been admitted to the United States since the war began, and Washington, which led the 2003 invasion, has been widely criticized for not doing enough to address the crisis.

The US seems unlikely to deliver on a promise to admit another 7,000 before the fiscal year ends October 31 since only 190 had been admitted as of July 31, the latest figures available.

The State Department does not collect data on which ethnic groups those refugees belong to.

But the agency charged with resettling many of the refugees in the Detroit area, Lutheran Social Services, said nearly all of the 83 Iraqis scheduled to arrive in August were Christians.

"If there's preferential treatment given to Christian refugees while Muslims are the primary refugees then this is a biased policy that has international ramifications," said Dawud Walid, director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"It furthers the perception that the American and British occupation of Iraq is really a war against Islam."

The delay in admitting large numbers of Iraqi refugees to the United States is unconscionable, added Walid, noting that around 100,000 refugees were granted security clearances to work with US forces and were then forced to flee Iraq because of that collaboration.

Shiite Sheikh Husham al-Husainy says refugees should only be allowed in for humanitarian reasons, such as orphans, widows, the elderly and people badly injured in the war.

"We are worried about the national security of this country," said al-Husainy, who recently installed a new security system after his mosque was vandalized for the fourth time in the past year.

"I'm worried about this new group that is coming. Most of them are Baathists -- the oppressors who have bloody hands," he said, adding that those who truly love Iraq ought to stay and fight for stability and democracy.

But staying in Iraq is a death sentence for Christians who are being chased from their homes with threats, tribute taxes and demands to convert to Islam, said Joseph Kassab, director of the Chaldean Federation of America.

"These are not terrorists, these are not fundamentalists, they are running away," he said in an interview.

"The Iraqi government can't protect them. They can't protect themselves. We are the weakest of the weak ... our people cannot survive."

While the plight of the Christians is serious, that does not mean they should be the first -- or only -- refugees to find safety in the United States, said Sunni community leader Mohammad Alomari.

"Ninety seven percent of the Iraqi population is Muslim and due to the sectarian killings and militias the majority of the refugees are Muslim," said Alomari, administrative director of a local charity, Life for Relief and Development.

The first priority should be to help the 2.2 million internally displaced Iraqis living in tents in the desert or under highway overpasses because they were too poor or too afraid to go to a Shiite-controlled government office to get a passport, Alomari said. And many of those are Sunnis.

Rebuttal to op-ed regarding "footbaths"

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070907/OPINION01/709070313/1008

Bishop Keith Butler completely misses the mark with his Aug. 29 op-ed, "Provide religious liberty and justice for all."

Christians organize student clubs and have activities in schools throughout America, including having prayer. Moreover, government funded institutions often make provisions for the special needs of their students such as Columbia University providing Kosher meals. All religious groups exercise these rights.

A university installing "footbaths" for safety reasons with student activity funds and Muslims bringing rugs for prayer hardly constitutes promoting Islam over other faiths.

Butler's troubling assertion that the agnostic Thomas Jefferson was in favor of separation of church and state on the grounds that he was against "establishment of a particular form of Christianity" implies that Butler believes that Christianity should be given preference.

His op-ed sounds less like advocating religious freedom for all and more like anxiety over Muslims openly practicing their faith.

Dawud Walid
Executive Director
Council on American-Islamic Relations - Michigan (CAIR-MI)
Southfield

Anti-profiling issue in Hamtramck

How does a person in non-legal citizenship status look or talk? Does he/she have dark skin? Maybe dark skin with a cowboy hat? Face veil? Speaks with a broken accent?

There are no exact physical descriptions that can alert a city clerk or a city police officer if someone is undocumented. This is the point of the ordinance, to protect CITIZENS, who could be profiled or harrassed based upon them having one of the traits listed above.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070907/METRO/709070370

Immigration issue heats up in Hamtramck

City wants to forbid police from questioning status

Jonnelle Marte / The Detroit News

HAMTRAMCK -- Michigan's most diverse city is wading into the emotional national debate about what role local police should play in enforcing federal immigration laws.

As Congress mulls what to do with those illegally in the country, Hamtramck officials are preparing an ordinance to forbid police and other city officials from asking anyone about their immigration status unless it's relevant to investigations or during arrest bookings.

Supporters say Hamtramck, which is so diverse 26 languages are spoken in its schools, is no stranger to culture clashes and the law would provide a safeguard for immigrants wary about cooperating with police if they fear deportation or harassment.

"We don't want (local public officials) to go beyond their call of duty to carry out responsibilities of federal immigration officials," said Anthony Mosko, of the Detroit faith-based organization Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength. "There's no way to know that just by looking at somebody if they are documented or undocumented."

Such logic outrages foes who say police are sworn to enforce all laws. The proposal, which council members could consider next month, is modeled after an ordinance Detroit adopted in May and is similar to ones in Los Angeles and Chicago. But it goes against a national trend of municipalities teaming with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to allow cops to identify and report undocumented residents...

In 2004, the city was thrust into the national spotlight when the City Council initially refused a mosque's request to broadcast a call-to-prayer before repealing a noise ordinance that forbid it. The city was sued after a 1999 election on allegations officials prevented 40 voters of Arab and Bengali descent from voting.

"Due to the history of that situation happening in Hamtramck, it's good to have such an ordinance on the books," said Dawud Walid, director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations that supports the measure.(MORE)

Message for Friday - Growth comes via tests

إذا أحب الله عبدا ابتلاه

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "When G'd loves a servant, He tests him."

Many have asked the question to G'd, "Why me? What have I done to deserve this?"

When a calamity visits, people tend to view it as a punishment. A calamity can be a punishment, but it can also be a time for growth. G'd allows us the opportunity for inward growth via tests.

When a weighlifter grows in muscle mass, he/she must increase the weight in which is lifted. The increasement of weight will initially seem like an incredible burden, causing muscle burning due to lactic acid build up. Over time, however, the weightlifter's muscles make the appropriate physiological adjustments and muscle mass increases, which causes the once heavy weight to feel ligther.

The spiritual and intellectual weight that affect humans in life increases pyschological strength when coupled with faith and patience.

وَعَسَى أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَعَسَى أَنْ تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُمْ

G'd says in the Qur'an (2:216):
[A}and perhaps you may dislike a thing, but it is good for you. And perhaps you may love a thing, but it is bad for you.

And surely G'd knows best.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Forum with Department of Treasury regarding charities

Relating to my quote in today's Detroit Free Press, I raised the question of the possibility that any Muslim charity that operates in Gaza or Southern Lebanon could be raided on the grounds that it is in "collusion" with Hamas or Hizbullah for giving aid in areas that are controlled by them.

Although we have designated them as terrorist groups, the reality is that Hamas is the government in Gaza and Hizbullah, not the Lebanese Army, controls Southern Lebanon.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/NEWS05/70905029/1006/NEWS04

Official: Muslims should be careful with donations
September 5, 2007

BY NIRAJ WARIKO

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

A senior counterterrorism official in the U.S. Treasury Department told a crowd of Muslims in Dearborn they should be careful about which charities they donate to, suggesting they give money to groups the U.S. government works with.

"If you were buying a car, or buying a house, of course you would try to find out who you were dealing with," said Michael Rosen, a policy adviser with the Treasury's Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, on Tuesday night. "And in essence, when you're making a charitable donation, that's exactly what you're trying to do. "

"You're trying to figure out, to whom am I giving? Who are these people? How did they run their business?"

Rosen's discussion was part of what has become an annual public forum with local Muslims and federal law enforcement officials around the start of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month when many Muslims donate money to charities.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the United States cracked down on some Islamic charities, concerned they were funnelling money toward violent groups in the Muslim world. Over the past year, three Muslim charities have been raided in metro Detroit.

Held inside a Dearborn library, the discussion was testy at times, with some Muslims expressing frustration at the government crackdown. With Ramadan starting next week, some called for the government to make clear what charities are legitimate and which ones are off-limits.

"What is declared legal today could be declared illegal tomorrow," said Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who cohosted the forum along with First Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit Terrence Berg. "Have some sort of regulator."...

Others expressed concern that the U.S. government is making it impossible to help Muslims in certain areas that are controlled by groups that are labeled as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government.

"Hizballah and Hamas, although we designate them as terrorist organizations, they're considered legitimate governments of the people," said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "You can't operate or do any type of business in Gaza without having contact with Hamas. You can't do any business in southern Lebanon, realistically, without having some type of contact ... with Hizballah."

Rosen said there are ways to help people in those areas without dealing with terrorist groups.(MORE)

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/METRO/709050383/1003

Feds discuss charity

Attorney's Office meets with Muslims to clarify donation policy.

Paul Egan / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Area Muslim and Arab-Americans had a spirited exchange over charitable giving Tuesday night with two representatives of the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes.

The meeting in Dearborn was organized by the U.S. Attorney's Office and Muslim leaders to address questions and concerns in the lead-up to Ramadan, a Muslim holy month of fasting and charitable giving, which begins at dusk Sept. 12.

In the last year, the FBI and other federal agencies have raided three Detroit-area Muslim charities: Life for Relief and Development, Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization and Goodwill Charitable Organization Inc.

Nobody from any of the charities has been charged with a crime, and only the Goodwill Charitable Organization -- which has no connection with Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit -- has been designated a terrorist front by the Treasury Department.

Audience members unsuccessfully sought absolute assurances they could not be prosecuted for giving to a charity that is legal today but could be deemed a terrorist front tomorrow...

Though the meeting at Henry Ford Centennial Library was useful, "I don't think (it) is going to put the Muslim community's anxieties at rest," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Michigan.(MORE)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The don'ts of Ramadan

Ramadan, the 9th lunar month on the Islamic calendar, should begin this year at dusk on September 12th.

Whether visiting the Middle East or driving through Dearborn, Michigan, one may observe a festival like atmosphere during the night time. Restaurants are packed, hookah cafes are full, bakeries are open 24/7 and colorful lights and banners hang from some businesses. This carvinal like spirit or party atmosphere, however, has nothing to do with the Islamic faith and the religious emphasis of Ramadan. This is cultural expression that is in some ways antithetical to the purpose of Ramadan.

Ramadan is not a party month. Its importance is based upon the Qur'an and prophetic traditions as follows:

1) Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an was revealed upon the heart of Prophet Muhammad (SAAS). Some narrations even state that the Scrolls of Abraham, the Torah given to Moses, the Psalms given to David and the Gospels given to Jesus the Messiah were all revealed during Ramadan. Muslims strive to read the entire Qur'an during Ramadan.

2) In Ramadan, there is a night in which the Qur'an was revealed, Laylah Al-Qadr, in which G'd says is better than 1,000 months. Many Muslims believe that this night falls on the 27th night although the majority of Muslims believe that it can be on any odd night within the last 10 nights of Ramadan. Muslims, who practice their religion, attempt to stay up as long as they can this night in devotion to G'd.

3) Ramadan is the month of fasting, giving up food, drink and lawful sexual relations from dawn to dusk. Fasting instills discipline and brings about natural empathy for the poor and destitute, who lack sufficient food and water.

4) Ramadan is the month of giving extra attention to refraining from anti-social conversations such as gossip, back biting and deceptive speech.

5) Ramadan is the month of charitable giving to the poor, mentally challenged and orphans.

6) Ramadan is the month of showing mercy in general and increasing good deeds for the benefit of others.

Ramadan was not a party time during the era of the Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) and the earlier pious generations of Muslims. Outside of making a living, they spent their time in prayer, religious learning and charitable donation.

Did the Prophet (SAAS) break his fast with large meals and an array of sweets? No! He (SAAS) broke his fast with 3 dates and some water. These days, many Muslims actually gain weight during the month of the fast, which is almost sacrilegious. In fact, the Prophet (SAAS) taught us not to eat until we are full (stuffed). Over-eating is consuming food that could be used to alleviate hunger for another person.

The other extreme is to make things unlawful during Ramadan that are not unlawful or to give up unlawful items just for Ramadan to return to them immediately after it.

One example is those people who say that they will give up music during Ramadan, even stating that it is unlawful doutside Ramadan. What is clearly unlawful during Ramadan would be clearly unlawful outside of Ramadan as well. If the music is lawful and decent outside of Ramadan, then it is lawful during Ramadan.

If a Muslim, however, is going to give up listening to 50 Cent or Lil Wayne during Ramadan on the basis that their lyrics are repugnant and promoting un-Islamic behavior, the ban should extend past Ramadan. The same holds true for Muslims that smoke marijuana or patronize "gentlemen's clubs" outside of Ramadan, or Muslim merchants that increase their charitable donating during Ramadan from money that is earned unlawfully or illegally (ex. selling pornography, alcohol, lottery & drug paraphernalia).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

MI congressman attacks mainstream Muslim group

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070831/NEWS06/70831115/1003/NEWS01

Feds defend decision to associate with Muslim group
August 31, 2007

By NIRAJ WARIKOO

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Facing criticism from a Michigan Congressman, the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday defended its decision to associate with a Muslim group at its annual convention this weekend.

U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) sent a letter on Tuesday to the Attorney General at the Department of Justice, slamming it for working with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Muslim group that is holding its convention in Rosemont, Illinois, from Friday through Sept. 4...

In response, Justice Department officials said Friday they are reaching out as part of a general effort to engage communities.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a letter sent Friday that the "Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and Community Relations Service will be operating a literature and information table at the conference."

Officials with ISNA could not be reached Friday afternoon, but local Muslims defended the group.

The secretary-general of ISNA is Muneer Fareed, who is from Oakland County and was once an imam at the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, based in Rochester Hills, said a local Muslim leader.

"If Mr. Hoekstra has a problem with ISNA, then he is stating his disdain for the mainstream Muslim community," said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "ISNA is not an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, and even if it was, the Muslim Brotherhood is not designated by our country as a terrorist organization."(MORE)

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