Thursday, August 30, 2007

Walid comments on new TSA rules that affect Muslims, Sikhs

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1139891

New Airport Screenings Affect Muslims, Sikhs
Sarah Hulett

DEARBORN, MICH. (2007-08-30) A local Muslim advocacy group is putting air travelers on notice about a new airport screening policy.

The Transportation Security Administration is subjecting anyone wearing a head covering to the possibility of a search of the hat, turban, or head scarf.

"We are advising that Muslims and Sikhs who are wearing head scarves or turbans should go to the security areas maybe 15 to 20 minutes early, expecting the delayed time of going through security so they don't miss their flights," said Dawud Walid, who heads the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Michigan.(MORE)

Cut & paste to listen to full story:
http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan/news.mediaplayer?STATION_NAME=michigan&MEDIA_ID=623121&MEDIA_EXTENSION=mp3&MODULE=news

Message for Friday - Change comes from within

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ

G'd says in the Qur'an (Surah Ar-Ra'd, ayah 11):
Surely G'd does not change a condition of a people until they change what is inside of themselves.

One of the misconceptions that many have within the Abrahamic faith traditions, moreso among Muslims and Christians than Jews, is the longing of a Messiah that will resolve all grievances without any self effort.

Messiah or Al-Maseeh in Arabic is a concept within Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The purified one in Islam is Jesus (AS) who will accompany the Imam of the Age, Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi - Al-Mahdi means the guided one.

In Islam, those who will benefit from the restoration movement of Jesus and Imam Al-Mahdi are those we seek to repair themselves internally, not those who are lazy and have a blind, "pie in the sky" belief concept.

The change within comes in two aspects of the inner self (nafs)which regulate correct actions:

1) Changing one's heart through purifying intentions

2) Changing one's mind through refining the intellect

INTENTIONS

عن عمر رضي الله عنه قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ( إنما الأعمال بالنيات , وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى

The Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) stated, "Actions are but by their intentions (motives), and everyone gets what he intends."

إن الله طيب ، لا يقبل إلا طيبا

He (SAAS) also stated, "Surely G'd is good; He accepts not except goodness (wholesomeness)."

In Islam, actions are based upon their motives to do good primarily for the pleasure of the Creator, not men. In order to change innerward conditions, this may mean bucking the trends or reviving certain principles that have declined or may be absent in society. In reading the Qur'an and the Gospels, Jesus was counter-culture. Purification of intentions, therefore, is to place social or material status in a subordinate position in relationship to adhering to what has been revealed via the Spirit of G'd.

INTELLECT

وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي يَنْعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسْمَعُ إِلَّا دُعَاءً وَنِدَاءً صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ

G'd says in the Qur'an (Surah Al-Baqarah, ayah 171):
The likeness of those who reject [truth] is as the likeness of one who calls unto that which hears naught except a shout and cry. Deaf, dumb, blind, therefore they have no sense.

The intellect of man is alive when it's illuminated with the Light of G'd, meaning when the intellect is engaged and reflects upon the Signs of G'd in His revelations and creation. People are blind when they give their minds too much to frivolity instead of acquistion of beneficial knowledge and contemplation.

Therefore when a group of people begin purify their intentions and refine their intellects, the group will begin to progress.

How can the African-American community, for example, progress from its current situation when a large segment of its youth and young adults give themselves to the "gangsta" culture of thug hip hop, glorification of smoking marijuana and pimping? The African-American leadership must address internal problems more than external racism for the community's condition will truly change. Government programs and enforcement of legislation alone will never change the community's condition.

This also holds true for the systemic problems within the Muslim world and Africa. The West cannot truly save Iraq, Africa or Darfur. It's not possible.

And surely G'd knows best.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

1 year anniversary of my blog

Many events have been chronicled on this blog over the past year.

This time last year, US Airways had denied flight to a Jackson, Michigan Muslim female under the suspicion that she was carrying "explosive water." After being cleared by the FBI, she was still denied flight.

The Lebanese/Palestinian - Israeli conflict just concluded. Thousands of US citizens were stranded in Lebanon during the conflict in a delayed evacuation effort by the US Government. European countries, somehow, were able to evacuate their citizens immediately while ours languished like Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

CAIR sponsored an historic panel discussion in Washington DC related to the paper of Professor John J. Mearsheimer and Professor Stephen Walt regarding the influence of the Israeli lobby on US foreign policy. A year later, their book, which is about to be released is the center of controversy even prior to its release similiar to controversy and anti-Semetic labeling, which former President Jimmy Carter endured regarding his book, "Palestinian Peace, Not Aparthied."

Despite many reactive news stories and opinions that have been posted on this blog, America is still the best place in the world to be a Muslim in my opinion. In the short term, Islamophobia will probably increase, but it will most likely subside in the long term.

In the upcoming year, I believe that the government will have a major legal set back regarding its case against a Muslim charity, the Democratic presidential candidates will increase their "macho" talk regarding national security including calling for action against Iran, a major portion of the Hurricane Katrina victims still will not make it home, the situation in Iraq will crumble further and Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf will either be forced to resign or will be unseated in a coup.

However, G'd knows best. I could be incorrect in these predictions, but they are safe ones to make.

We'll see what the following year brings, G'd willing.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Islamic and Jewish holy times start on same day this year

On September 12th at dusk, the Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, and the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, begin simultaneously. Also falling in the Ramadan this year is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Interfaith leaders - this could be an excellent opportunity to have Muslim and Jewish dialogues about the SPIRITUAL aspects of this time period and the shared values that these two monothestic faiths share.

Walid delivers sermon in Ann Arbor

The following sermon was delivered yesterday at the Islamic Center of Ann Arbor in Ann Arbor, Michigan regarding the inner aspects of da'wah. The sermon is a repeated topic from last week with a slight variance.

Cut & paste to listen:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10011

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Message for Friday - Mujahideen does not equal "holy warrior" or terrorist

والمجاهد من جاهد نفسه في طاعة الله، والمهاجر من هجر الخطايا والذنوب

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "The Mujahid is he who strives in his soul regarding the command of G'd, and the Muhajir (immigrant) is he who leaves sin and wrong doing."

Relating to the word jihad, which means struggle in Arabic, the mujahid, person who performances jihad, is anyone who strives to perform actions in accordance with the decrees of G'd. Hence in Islam, a person who leaves home and studies knowledge is a mujahid. A person who stays up late at night to contemplate solving social problems is a mujahid just as the mujahid who physically protects his property.

In Islam, jihad is based upon an inward state, thus the stressing of the word soul (nafs) in the prophetic statement above. Suicide bombing and terrorism are not jihad because they violate the commands of G'd.

Thus everyday, G'd fearing people are in a state of jihad. Life is about struggle as well as leaving matters that are destructive to spiritual/pyschological wellness.

And surely G'd knows best.

Feds attempting to levy fee upon uncharged Muslim charity for its own paperwork?

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070823/METRO/708230362/1003

Charity raided by feds seeks files

Muslim agency under probe says U.S. attorney is charging up to $115K for return of its records.

Paul Egan / The Detroit News

When FBI agents raided the Muslim charity Life for Relief and Development last September, they carted away computers and records but charged nobody and allowed the agency to continue operating.

Nearly one year later, the charity is today asking U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds to order the return of nearly 200 boxes of paperwork it says are critical to its operations, including tasks such as filing its federal tax return.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is willing to provide the records, but only if Life for Relief pays copying charges of between $21,000 and $115,000, the charity said in a recent federal court filing. Those charges are higher than normal because the government insists copies be made inside FBI offices by a company with a U.S. security clearance.

"It strikes me that after this period of time, they ought to be in a position of either moving forward or being able to return the records," Life for Relief attorney Thomas Cranmer said Wednesday.

Today's hearing is three weeks before the start of Ramadan, a month of fasting and charitable giving for Muslims. Islamic leaders have complained that raids on Life for Relief and other Muslim charities in the United States have chilled donors.

The government, which has copied and returned computerized files but continues to hold reams of paper records, has filed sealed documents, which only the judge can look at, putting forth its reasons why Life for Relief, and not the government, should pay the copying charges.

Feds: There's no unfair delay

A "wide-ranging and substantial investigation" of the charity continues and there has been no unreasonable delay, government lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department's national security division in Washington, D.C., said in a July court filing.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said charging Life for Relief for photocopying is akin to making the agency pay the FBI for the cost of its investigation.

"These kinds of charges would be putting an exceedingly high burden on a nonprofit organization that seeks to use these funds to help people who are facing starvation," Walid said.

Probe is not terror-related

Ihsan Alkhatib, director of legal and public policy for Life for Relief, said in an affidavit that the FBI agent in charge of the raid told him on the day of the raid that the investigation was not terror-related.

Life for Relief describes itself on its Web site as the largest American Muslim humanitarian relief.(MORE)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Two charities searched, one closed, one still open and has not been charged

Clarification to this headline. Al-Mabarrat charity organization has not been charged with any crimes and is still open for business.

Goodwill Charities has been closed by order of the US Department of Charity.

http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?article_id=435ccffd6f487a0859706c22db94a03c

Two Muslim Charities Shut Down

Muslim Observer, News Feature, Adil James, Posted: Aug 21, 2007

Editor's note: That America's strained relationship with Iran has affected Michigan-based charities and the American Lebanese community should surprise no one. The short-term prognosis indicates that there will be increasing, politicalyl expedient scrutiny of America's Shi'a communities.

DEARBORN, Mich. –– Two more Muslim charities are under heavy suspicion this month.

Dearborn leaders and community members feel some dismay over the closing of one charity and the confiscation of another’s computers. The two charities are Goodwill Charitable Organization (GCO) and Mabarrat, both of which are based in downtown Dearborn. In an event widely reported in Detroit newspapers and indeed around the nation, in late July federal officials with warrants visited both facilities and closed GCO and took Mabarrat’s computers.

Imam Walid of CAIR [The Council on American-Islamic Relations] Michigan raised the issue that it “could politicize the opening day of the trial of the Holy Land Foundation case, which was on the same day that Mabarrat and Goodwill Charities Organization were raided,” saying that he finds it “hard to believe that that was just a coincidence.”

“This could have a prejudicial effect on the jury in the Holy Land case.”

Imam Walid said of the raid that it raises troubling questions because there are non-Muslim charities which do development and humanitarian aid work in Gaza and southern Lebanon that do not get raided, while Muslim charities doing the same work have been raided.

He said that he suspected a “political motivation, if not in the raids themselves, then in the timing of the raids,” because of the simultaneous Holy Land Trial beginning.

The Rajab raid was in fact eerily similar to a raid last year during Sha`ban, immediately before Ramadan, at Life for Relief and Development, also based in Dearborn–Life’s computers were also taken by the FBI and the raid sparked doubts regarding Life’s status and made it difficult for them to collect money exactly during the normally lucrative Ramadan.

Life for Relief did receive their computers back eventually.

Both GCO and Mabarrat were based in downtown Dearborn, which is home to what is generally agreed to be the largest concentration of Lebanese people outside of Lebanon, many of them especially from Bint Jebail in the south of Lebanon, where the attacks by Israeli soldiers hit especially hard last year, but which at the end of the war had not been taken by the Israelis.

GCO could not be reached by telephone, as their phones are disconnected. Mabarrat declined comment on the case.

Imam Elahi, the leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, hosted a meeting of Muslim leaders immediately after the closing and confiscation, where the leaders complained of concerns that very public raids alleging terrorism could easily spark anti-Muslim sentiment, which the Muslim community can ill afford. Speaking to TMO on Monday, Imam Elahi explained that while he had “had no idea of the existence of these organizations” before they were raided, but said that in the press conference at IHW “we talked very frankly and seriously about the subject of our concern about any action like that that might bring a confusing message to the community.”

“Our concern,” said the imam, “is that this kind of action may bring more Islamophobia and more prejudice.” He noted that he sees now that in the wake of several high-profile government raids, fundraising is more difficult than it was in the past for his mosque, although he emphasized the distinction between mosques and the charitable organizations that have thus far been the targets of investigations. This has a “negative impact on charity giving among people.”

Imam Walid echoed this sentiment, explaining that the Islamic Center of America had conducted a large scale fundraiser for southern Lebanon and had deliberately given the money raised to a non-Muslim charitable organization in order to allay any suspicions.

This raid follows a larger trend.

GCO has now joined the small unfortunate group of “Specially Designated National (SDN)” or “Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT)” organizations listed by the Treasury Department (according to Guidestar, an American organization which tracks American not-for-profits).

The other seven are Al Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc. (SDGT-tax exemption revoked), Benevolence International Foundation (SDGT-tax exemption revoked), Global Relief Foundation (SDGT-tax exemption revoked), Goodwill Charitable Organization Inc. (SDN-remains tax exempt but assets frozen), Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (SDGT-tax exemption revoked), Islamic American Relief Agency–USA (SDGT-tax exemption revoked), Kindhearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development (SDN-remains tax exempt but assets frozen), and The Rabbi Meir Kahana Memorial Fund (SDGT-tax exemption revoked).

Mabarrat was, by the admission of its own website, organized by Sheik Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a prominent cleric based in Lebanon who is the marja (religious authority) for millions of Shi’a Muslims. Fadlallah, however, has also been tied to Hezbollah and does not deny this assertion on his website. In a Washington Post article posted on Fadlallah’s website, David Ignatius interviews Fadlallah and describes him as “the spiritual leader of the Hezbollah fighters whose suicide bombs drove U.S. troops from Lebanon in 1984.”

Imam Dawud Walid of CAIR Michigan explains though that in fact Mabarrat and Hezbollah have competing interests and go to the same pool for money. Hezbollah, he says, has a vast humanitarian relief wing and thus there is some natural tension between them and Mabarrat, just as there would be between any two organizations with some competing interests. Although Imam Fadlallah is sometimes called the spiritual guide of Hezbollah during the 80’s, Imam Walid explains that “today the spiritual guide of Hezbollah is without doubt Hassan Nasrallah.”

These raids are somewhat surprising in light of the relative unimportance of the two organizations.

GCO listed gross receipts of $168,000 in 2005 (the last year for which their online Form 990 was available), and Mabarrat listed gross receipts of only $954,000 in their tax forms for 2004. The two previous years for each organization are similar–in consideration of the huge scale of the 2006 war with Israel, such amounts of money are relatively insignificant, and this raises the question whether the FBI raided these two Shi’a organizations as a “shot across the bow” of the Shi’a community, which until now has remained relatively shielded from government investigations and aggressive surveillance.

Perhaps this is an unintended consequence of Hezbollah’s perceived victory over Israel last year, or possibly a precursor to the Bush administration’s future plans toward Lebanon’s large Shi’a neighbor, Iran, which has been popularly expected to respond to any attack on its territory or interests via Hezbollah proxies against the United States.

Good points in recent LA Times editorial regarding "foot baths", but...

On August 18th, the LA Times had a very interesting editorial regarding the on-going controversy of "foot baths" at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Again, this issue is about hygiene and safety concerns as it directly effects the student population at U of M-Dearborn.

Below are some excerpts of the editorial with my comments.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-footbaths18aug18,1,1088017.column?ctrack=1&cset=true

University toes the line
The University of Michigan may have stepped over the line in constructing footbaths for Muslim students.
August 18, 2007


It doesn't involve a creche or a menorah. It has nothing to do with the phrase "under God." It's a simple plan to install foot baths in a couple of bathrooms on a college campus -- but it has sparked a blogosphere frenzy over church and state.

At the University of Michigan at Dearborn, one in 10 students is Muslim. Those who pray five times a day wash their feet as part of wudu, or ablution before prayer. After reports of puddles on bathroom floors and sinks separating from walls -- and after a student fell while washing her feet in a sink at another school -- the university sensibly decided to install some foot baths. Precedent was on its side: Eastern Michigan University at Ypsilanti had installed foot baths without a hitch.

The university at Dearborn was right to approach the puddles as a health and safety issue, not a religious one. Foot baths don't promote Islam over other faiths...

But the university's decision seemed more culturally paranoid than culturally aware. It's not inappropriate to ask students to take responsibility for the hazards they may generate. Campus officials could have posted notices asking those using the sinks in unconventional ways to clean up afterward...

Excellent point! Muslims should clean up after themselves when splashing water on the sink areas and/or floor. The overiding concern, however, is of the possibility that people will get injured because of the practice of full ablution using sinks.

Islam is very flexible, and it wouldn't have hurt for university officials to discuss these problems with Muslim students beforehand. In many Islamic traditions, it's permissible in wudu to wipe a damp hand over besocked feet. In fact, all Muslims are encouraged not to splash or waste water. Just holding to that basic recommendation could have helped solve Dearborn's puddle problems for -- let's do the math here -- zero dollars...

The key phrase is "in many Islamic traditions." The author is stating that according to varying schools of jurisprudence in Islam, wiping over socks is not sufficient. I wipe over my socks; others do not. Thus, the author negates his/her own implied statement that Muslims should just wipe over their socks, which would negate the splashing of water. The author is correct, however, in stating that Islam does not promote the usage of excess amounts of water. Image Muslims 1,400 years ago in the Arabian desert using excess water to wash their feet. It didn't take place.

European Christian missionaries in Iraq?

As I was listenting to two young Chaldean women yesterday discuss the difficulties, which Christians are facing in Iraq, it made me reflect on the difficulties, which all Iraqis are facing. Unfortunately for Turkomen Muslims, Chaldeans and Assyrians, they have no militias to protect them in the current state of anarchy in Iraq. So they are more vulnerable to attacks by religious zealots and more often criminals that kidnap for monetary ransoms.

While they mentioned priests being killed in Iraq, I also thought of the numerous Imams that have also been killed as well as the large number of mosques that have been destroyed.

Another disgusting segment in the tragic Iraqi saga is how, with the protection of US troops, European Christian missionaries are prosteletizing in Iraq. Don't they realize that this is ammunition to those who believe and recruit insurgents on the basis that the US and British armies are waging a war against Islam? Don't they understand that Africans and Arabs still have in their collective memory the history of colonialism and that missionaries always accompanied armies when they occupied lands and robbed them of their natural resources?

Missionaries equal explotation to the masses.

Another ignorant policy to add on to the countless mistakes made in Iraq.

SEE video below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owCXbDVTLRE

Monday, August 20, 2007

Walid discusses racial profiling in Hamtramck

http://hamtramckstar.com/index.php/2007/08/18/p1010#more1010

CAIR-MI: RACIAL PROFILING ORDINANCE DISCUSSED AT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Hamtramck Star, 8/18/07
http://hamtramckstar.com/index.php/2007/08/18/city_council_8_14_07

[D]awud Walid of CAIR said his organization feels that police should not ask questions about immigration status based on ethnic and religious attire. Immigrants are less likely to call the police. Visitors to Hamtramck are effected as well as residents. It is the responsibility of the federal government to enforce immigration law. Local police agencies should protect legal immigrants and encourage reporting.

Juan Escareno of MOSES is just learning about Hamtramck and has come to respect councilmembers he has met with and the mayor. Hamtramck is diverse and welcoming to immigrants, and the bias-based policing ordinance would reinforce what the city is already doing by ensuring repercussions for the violation of the constitutional rights of minorities. Hamtramck is on the verge of being the second to pass an ordinance of this type. Other ordinances are more narrow. Profiling effects all of us.

Bill Meyer, chairman of the Human Relations Commission, hoped the council researched the ordinance ahead. He urged the council to pursue the bias-based policing ordinance.

Nadia El-Zein of ACCESS said immigrants have the right to feel safe and many do not report crimes...

SEE video: http://hamtramckstar.com/index.php/2007/08/15/city_council_8_14_07_video

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Resources for studying the current crisis and civil conflict in Darfur, Sudan & Chad

Website about understanding Sudan by the University of California, Berkely:
http://www.understandingsudan.org/

Prof. Michael Kevane of Santa Clara University (15 min. video summary):
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8710663943449172339&q=darfur&pl=true

"The Crisis in Darfur: Community Building ande Identity Politics" by Prof. John Voll, Georgetown University:
http://www.ispu.us/policy_briefs/articledetailpb-45.html

United Nations' report - "Environmental Degradation Triggering Tensions and Conflict in Sudan:
http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=512&ArticleID=5621&l=en

5 Truths About Darfur by Emily Wax of the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/21/AR2006042101752_pf.html

The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency review by Mahmood Mamdani of Columbia University
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n05/mamd01_.html

Friday, August 17, 2007

Walid gives sermon - "Spiritual qualifications of da'wah"

Today's sermon was given at Masjid Mu'adh bin Jabal in Detroit, Michigan near Hamtramck. Approximately 2,000 people were in attendance.

Cut & Paste to listen:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10010

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Message for Friday - G'd gives us conditions

إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ

G'd says in the Qur'an (Surah Maryam - Ayah 7):
If you help [in the cause] of G'd, he will help you.

فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ
He also says (Surah Al-Baqarah - Ayah 152):
Remember me, then I will remember you.

Humans beings can never fully repay G'd for the countless blessings and mercy, which He has bestowed. Even the people who reject G'd are not cut off from His some of His blessings. He allows humans physical health, means of getting daily provisions and the ability to obtain temporal hapiness.

G'd, however, gives his special blessings to those who rely on and obey Him. So Muslims understand that G'd has given directives that human beings are free to accept or reject. They, however, strive to adhere to His directives not only out of love of G'd, but also for the benefit of their souls in this life and the greater life to come.

واتقو الله لعلكم ترحمون
G'd says in the Qur'an (Surah Al-Hujurat - Ayah 10):
Respect your relationship with G'd in order that you receive mercy.

Therefore, this life is not just for folly and play. There are natural rules of reciprocity that G'd built into the creation. Buddhists call it karma. In other words, what goes around, comes around.

And surely G'd knows best.

Walid scheduled to be on talk radio discussing divestment of Sudan

Monday, 8/20/07, from 11 AM to Noon on WDET 101.9 FM in Detroit will be an hour segment focusing on the campaign to divestment from Sudan due to the horrible humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Also scheduled to be on the show are MI State Reps Hansen Clarke (D) and Alma Wheeler Smith (D).

You may listen via stream on http://www.wdetfm.org/listenlive/

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Save Darfur Coalition embellishing stats?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/opinion/12dealey.html

An Atrocity That Needs No Exaggeration

By SAM DEALEY
Published: August 12, 2007
Washington

JUST last month, the House of Representatives passed the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act and the United Nations Security Council decided to deploy up to 26,000 peacekeepers to Sudan. Both actions were due in no small way to the work of the Save Darfur Coalition. Through aggressive advertising campaigns, this group has done more than any other to focus world attention on the conflict in the Sudanese region.

But with a ruling Wednesday from Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority, Save Darfur now finds itself in the spotlight. Siding with a business group allied with the Sudanese government in Khartoum, the authority ruled that the high death tolls Save Darfur cites in its advertisements breached standards of truthfulness.(MORE)

Sunni - Shi'i cooperation in Michigan


The above picture is of a meeting organized by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) regarding increasing cooperation and brotherhood between the Sunni and Shi'i schools of thought. Can you tell who are the Sunnis and who are the Shi'is in this picture?

Historically in Michigan going back to the 1930's, there has never been a major issue between Sunni and Shi'i relating to a void in cooperation and dialogue. In fact among the Syrians, whose families have been in Metro Detroit for approximately a centurty, there has always been intermarriages between Sunnis and Shi'is. Many Syrians and Lebanese have families that are half and half.

Furthermore, there has been interchanging of ideas and joint programs taking place between Sunni and Shi'i leaders going back to the Islamic Center of America's founding Imam and the founding Imam of the Albanian Islamic Center. We're talking about the 1960's here, not yesterday.

Sunni leaders have given lectures and led prayers in Shi'i majority centers and Shi'is have done similiar. In fact, I'm not a Shi'i, yet I've led prayers and have lectured in 6 Shi'i majority mosques in Metro Detroit.

Cut & paste to listen to a lecture that I gave about Sunni-Shi'i relations in November 2003:
http://www.ymaaudio.com/ram/Ramadan11162003_02.ram

After a rash of vandalism, which took place after the execution of Saddam Hussein, conspiracy theories flew around that perhaps Sunnis vandalized Shi'i centers like what's going on in Iraq.

That extrapolation, however, is only conjecture, not fact.

One theory is that so-called Yemeni Wahhabis aka Salafis were behind the vandalisms because of their love for Saddam. The fact of the matter is that Salafis are anti-nationalism and did not support Saddam's Ba'athist/Socialist government, which was far from a theocracy. Those outside of Iraq, such as some in Yemen, who were Pro-Saddam, are the same people who were or would have been Pro-Gamal Abdel Nasser, the deceased Arab Nationalist, who repressed Islamic movements in Egypt. Ironically, Abdel Nasser did give seed money, which helped the Islamic Center of America (Shi'i majority mosque) to get built.

Anyway, hardcore Ba'athists were and are primarily secular minded, not religious - the Ba'ath party was started by an Arab Christian by the way. Many of the top Ba'athists were also Shi'i such as the 1st Iraqi Prime Minister after the invasion, Ayad Al-Allawi. Tariq Aziz, Iraqi's Deputy Prime Minister under Saddam, is Christian.

Domestically speaking, the Iraqi Sunni population in Metro Detroit is miniscule. The portion of the Iraqi American population that benefitted the most from Saddam were Chaldeans, Iraqi Catholics. Saddam donated approximately half of a million dollars for the construction of a Chaldean Church and the Chaldean Community Center off of E. 7 Mile in Detroit.

SEE:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/26/iraq/main546287.shtml

In fact due to his generous donations to the Chaldeans, Saddam received the Key to the City of Detroit while Mayor Coleman Young was in office.

This is not an assertion that a Chaldean or Arab Christian was behind the vandalisms. This is simply providing information to broaden the horizons of those who read about one belligerent call to an Iraqi-American restaurant in Arabic, which was vandalized or vandalism to the Karabala Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn that was stenciled grafitti in Arabic not to jump to conclusions. The FBI, Dearborn Police and Detroit Police have caught no one, and the acts of vandalism that increased in January 2007 appear to be unrelated.

There is no major Sunni - Shi'i split here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Contradictory polices regarding Iraq


I just wanted to presented a couple of glaring contradictions regarding the Bush administration's policies regarding Iraq.

The more current contradiction is regarding our policy towards Iran as it relates to Iraq. On one hand, the Bush administration states that Iran is part of the "Axis of Evil" and is one of the major reasons of the instability in Iraq. On the other hand, "our guys" in Iraq and Afghanistan are not only on friendly terms with Iran but are also supported by them.

The older contradiction that has faded away is our excuse for being in Iraq in regards to promoting democracy in the region. Is there democracy in Iraq now with the current administration and legislature now in Iraq?

If we want to bring about democractic reform in the Middle East, shouldn't we have started with Egypt, who receives the most foreign aid from American besides Israel? Then again, maybe we don't want democracy in Egypt because the Egyptians might vote like the Palestinians did in the last election, right?

Of course, entire books can be writen about these two glaring contradictions.

Friday, August 10, 2007

W. Deen Mohammed speaks about NOI

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2007/08/10/news/081107lrmohammed.txt

Muslim Americans Setting Example For Muslims Abroad, Leader Says
This article was published on Friday, August 10, 2007 6:52 PM CDT in News
By Jason Wiest
THE MORNING NEWS

LITTLE ROCK -- The leader of the largest Muslim community in America said Friday that Muslims here live in harmony overall with people of other religious backgrounds and Muslim nations abroad are taking note.

"I believe that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and perhaps many other Muslim nations, are really studying (Muslim) life here in America to see how they can benefit from what's our strategies over here and our embracing one another over here," Imam W. Deen Mohammed said Friday at the Clinton Presidential Center.

Mohammed is the son of the late Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam until his death in 1975. While his father's teachings included the belief white people are "devils," Mohammed publicly opposed his father and after his death dissolved the organization. He established a new Muslim American Society, declared it part of the orthodox worldwide Sunni Islamic community and taught tolerance.

Since then, Louis Farrakhan has re-established the Nation of Islam under its original teachings, but Mohammed said the organization is starting to shed its intolerance and align with orthodox Muslims.

"The time for those leaders who had that hate rhetoric has come and passed and they know it," Mohammed told reporters after a question-and-answer session with the audience.

His appearance was part of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service fall lecture series.

"I think there's a merger coming," Mohammed said, noting that student ministers in the Nation of Islam have been studying with orthodox Muslims. "A quiet merging of leaders of the Nation of Islam and leaders in my community."

Calls to a number of Islamic mosques and centers in Little Rock and around the state went unanswered Friday, as did a call to the Houston office of the Southwest Region of the Nation of Islam, which includes Arkansas.

Today, Mohammed is a Muslim elder statesman leading approximately 2.5 million American Muslims. He is a member of the World Supreme Council of Mosques, the Peace Council and an international president of the World Conference of Religion and Peace.(MORE)

Walid gives sermon regarding intellect's role in Islam

Today's sermon was given at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit, MI.

Cut & paste to listen:
http://www.twango.com/media/DawudWalid.public/DawudWalid.10009

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Message for Friday - Islam is the religion of intellect

لا فقر أشد من الجهل و لا مال أنفع من العقل

It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "There is no poverty worse than ignorance, and there is no wealth more beneficial than intellect."

Last year, there was serious tension between the Muslim world and the Vatican over a speech given by the Pope, which inferred that Islam is a religion of slavish submission, not of rationale. From this speech and the reactions that it invoked, some of them being irrational ironically, Muslims were summoned to rehash history of how Islamic scholars assisted Jewish and Christian scholars with their reconciliation of faith with reason.

In the 8th century CE, Muslim scholars were conducting vigorous research and engaging in robust debates about the nature of creation and its relationship to all sciences. From this period which extended for centuries into Muslim Spain, Muslims revived the classical works of pagan Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and advanced the world's understanding of not only mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and medicine, but also on the relationship of these scientific endeavors within the master plan of the Divine. In other words, scientific inquiry and critical thinking were viewed as acts of worship by Muslims in respecting and utilizing the blessing of intellect. In this context, it can be easily understood why early Islamic philosophers said that "Al-Islam is the religion of intellect."

G'd in His ultimate mercy blessed the prolific Jewish theologian Maimonides and the Catholic theolgian Thomas Aquinas to reconcile faith with reason. Prior to Muslims coming to Europe and Christians being exposed to the likes of the great Muslim theologian Ibn Rushd aka Averroes, formal studying of medicine was void, bathing was considered sinful and physics was an unknown science.

Taliban style Muslims, who reject the use of critical thinking and do not encourage the advancement of the sciences for men and women have forgotten their own Muslim heritage. So the advancements of Western civilization should not be seen by Muslims as antithetical to Islamic tradition; those advancements should be seen as an extension of Islamic civilization and sanctioned within the decree of the Divine.

And surely G'd knows best.

Hamtramck Muslim politicians in the mainstream

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070808/NEWS02/70808042/0/NEWS02

Muslims garner 2 of top 3 spots on Hamtramck council ballot
August 8, 2007

By NIRAJ WARIKOO

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

In a display of their emerging political power, Muslims were two of the top three vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary election in Hamtramck for City Council.

Shahab Ahmed, an incumbent, received 574 votes, the most out of 12 candidates on the ballot. Delawar Mohamed Hussain came in third, with 428 votes...

“It’s very noteworthy because not only does it reflect the changing demographics, but it also shows that Muslim politicians can appeal to voters outside their religious group,” said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “A Muslim can’t be elected in Hamtramck just by depending on Muslims alone supporting them.”(MORE)

Blog on African-Americans in Islam on BET

This week, Black Entertainment Network (BET) began a blog called "Meet the Faith", which is featuring African-Americans in Islam. Writing on the blog this week is Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, who is a scholar of Islamic history pertaining to Islam in America and student of Imam WD Mohammed.

SEE: http://betintroduces.com/shows/meetthefaith/

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Agents target charity offices

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070807/NEWS05/708070390

Agents target charity offices
Raiders look for links to Mideast terrorism
August 7, 2007

BY NIRAJ WARIKOO

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Federal agents were looking for information on terrorist operations and Hizballah activity when they raided two Muslim charities last month, court records show.

The agents hauled away computers, files, money and other items from the Dearborn offices of Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization and Goodwill Charitable Organization, two Shi'ite Muslim groups that raised money in metro Detroit...

From the home of Safiedine, agents seized computers, checks, an Al-Mabarrat receipt, a Goodwill memo and a portrait of the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

A woman who answered the phone at Safiedine's home said the family was not available to comment; Ghosn could not be reached.

Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, "we're concerned about Al-Mabarrat being able to function, being allowed due process and not being tried in the court of public opinion."

He added, "Al-Mabarrat emphatically denies any connection to Hizballah."

Regarding the photo of Khomeini, Muslim leaders said that's protected under the Constitution.

"Having a picture or book related to a figure does not equal full endorsement," Walid said.(MORE)

Charity probes worry South Asians

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070807/METRO/708070356

Charity probes worry South Asians

They fear raids on Muslim groups will hurt donations for flood victims.

Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

There is concern in the large South Asian community in Metro Detroit that efforts to provide relief for flood-ravaged Bangladesh and India will be discouraged by recent federal investigations of Muslim charities.

"People are concerned about doing fund-raising and relief work amid some of these statements that, for example, contributing to orphans is used as a euphemism for supporting terrorists," said Dawud Walid, director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan.

In the past year, at least three local charities have been raided, including Life for Relief & Development in Southfield and Al-Mabarrat in Dearborn.

No charges have resulted, and contributions to both organizations remain lawful because neither is banned by the federal government.

But Muslims in Metro Detroit raising money for relief or other efforts remain wary.

And the recent raids are of particular concern to Metro Detroiters of Bangladeshi and Indian descent, who are mobilizing to send relief to both countries, where 1,500 people are dead and 19 million displaced in floods from monsoon rains this summer.(MORE)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Walid gives sermon - "Mercy with all people"

Yesterday's sermon was given at the Islamic Center of Toledo in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Cut & paste to listen:
http://media.putfile.com/Mercy-for-all-of-the-people

Friday, August 03, 2007

Message for Friday - All men are children of Adam (AS)

كلكم بنو آدم وآدم خلق من تراب

Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, "All of you are children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust."

الإنسان أخو الإنسان أحب أم كره

He (SAAS) also said, "Man is the brother of man whether he likes it or dislike it."

Supremacist mindsets among people are based upon the false notion that they are of a superior creation to the exclusion of others. The Islamic teaching of the intrinsic equality of man is very clear. All men are children of Adam, who was created from what many would deem a lowly substance, dust.

لا فضل لعربي على أعجمي

He (SAAS) said, "There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab."

Such a statement was revolutionary in a time when tribalism and ethnocentricity was the order of the day among human beings. Islam respects the culture of all humans and teaches its adherents that these cultures should be respected because of their interconnected nature.

In this global economy and information age, all humans should realize their interconnectedness and interdependence. If this reality can be realized, then mutual respect should grow in a natural, fluid form.

And surely G'd knows best.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Is media coverage of terrorist activities responsible for spreading terror?

*NOTE* - I do not agree 100% with this analysis; however, I thought that his perspective was interesting enough to share. There is no doubt that the media coverage of terrorists unintentionally glorifies them or turns them into heroes for disenchanted, disenfranchised youth.

It is similiar to Latino and African-American youth in America, who idolize the "gangsta" culture within Hip-Hop or admire the likes of the cult figure Tony Montana from the movie "Scarface."

How do you think kids in rural areas began to wear their pants hanging off of their behinds and claim to be "Bloods" and "Crips" when no "Bloods" or "Crips" ever came to their towns?

http://allafrica.com/stories/200707310258.html

Accra Mail (Accra)

OPINION
30 July 2007
Posted to the web 31 July 2007

Abdulhadi Hairan
Accra

All of us are aware of the importance of media in prevailing political and geographical situations and know also about the day-to-day events of terror across the world.

By nature, the human being inspires from the events taking place around him and if these events are linked to his or her religious thoughts and ideas then the effects of such events would be more deep and effectual.

There is no doubt that the media is giving more importance to incidents of terrorism and extremism taking place in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the world.

In the last few years, major incidents of terror took place in which thousands of people were killed or wounded but there's neem no let up in place terrorist activities. The major reason behind the no letting up in terror activities in the region is the widespread coverage of terrorists and their activities.

It is indeed a matter of great concern that underage boys are often used in carrying out suicide attacks. When they watch or hear militants on TV screens being interviewed by electronic and print media, the youth get inspiration from their activities. In addition, inflammatory statements of extremist clerics further fuel their intentions to take part in terrorism thinking as if it is a job of heroism.

Nowadays, all TV channels and newspapers are flooded with the news of suicide attacks and bomb blasts across the world. The most harmful thing is the coverage of such incidents by international and local media. They pose a serious threat to the overall economic and political situation of the countries affected by terrorism and extremism:

1) The excessive coverage of terror acts encourages terrorists and they get attention.

2) Fanatic elements and low age youth get inspiration from these happenings.

3) Common people feel insecurity and remain in constant fear.

4) Threat of more terror activities would increase.

The more excessive the media give coverage to the terrorists and their activities, the more they will become famous and active.

If the media gives coverage to healthy activities and other key political issues concerning scientists, intellectuals, players, artists, inventions, reconstruction, education and other positive things, it would be in the larger interests of every one as it would divert the attention of the youth from terrorism to constructive activities. This will help in creating healthy societies.

For example, there are NATO, Coalition Forces and armies of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been fighting against terrorism for nearly seven years in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have got more strength and terrorism is growing every passing day. It is because the media is giving extraordinary coverage to their activities and thus helping them to be popular and reorganized. This is a negative aspect of the media coverage.

On the contrary, when Gen. Musharraf suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chohadry, lawyers launched a historical movement until the Supreme Court reinstated the CJ. Lawyers won this war by their firm stand and excessive media coverage. This was a war between democracy and dictatorship and democracy won it. This is a positive aspect of media coverage.

If media give coverage to healthy activities, it will create a healthy society, and, if the media will give coverage to terrorist activities, it will help the terrorists to grow their activities and it will bring the society nothing but more terrorism, extremism, violence, fear, uncertainty and insecurity.

I think media persons are a responsible community of the global society who should immediately recognize this fact and stop coverage of terrorist and extremist activities. Ignore them for only one year, I assure you, 90 percent of them will die!

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