infocusonline-june06-100401212714-phpapp02 by arifahmed224

VIEWS: 57 PAGES: 32

									              Vol. 2 Issue No. 5 (Monthly)                                                June 2006                                         Jumada Al-Awal/Jumada Ath-Thani - 1427H


                                           House of                                                                                                                  Nurturing
                                         Reps Passes
                                                                                                                                                                      Love and
                                         Bill Isolating
                                         Palestinians                                                                                                                  Racial
                                        By Sarah Hassaine
                                                                                                                                                                     Harmony...
Forgiveness and Redemption:             The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism
      Reverend Lapsley                  Act (HR 4681) was passed with                                                                                                   p. 18
                     ...Page 5          a 361-37 vote on May 23 further
                                        isolating the Palestinian people
                                        by restricting U.S. and interna-
                                        tional humanitarian aid.

                                             SEE HOUSE BILL * PAGE 10

                                             Earthquake
                                             Devastates
      Marines Killed                          Indonesia
   Iraqi Family: Murtha
                     ...Page 12         American Muslims Provide
                                        Relief Aid



                                                                                FINDING COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD

     Idris Al-Oboudi:
  Advocate of Recreation
               ...Page 13




                                        By Aidan Muhammad Qasim

                                        A 6.3 magnitude earthquake on           Comedians Preacher Moss (left) and Azhar Usman (right)
                                        the island of Java in Indonesia
                                        has left the death toll at 6,000        CAIR’s 2nd Annual                    the expectation of an outstand-       attendees and not make the enor-
                                                                                                                     ing 600 guests for that Saturday      mous auditorium look so desolate.
   The Da Vinci Code                    people, according to govern-            Entertainment Night                  night (150 more people than were      Ushers showed families to their
                                        ment officials. The earthquake
   Review    ...Page 23
                                        has come in a long progression
                                                                                For Civil Rights                     in attendance the year before),       seats, filling in gaps and assuring
                                                                                                                     ropes bordered off rows of seats
                                        of seismic activity in the area,
                                                                                By Nadia Afghani                     so as to consolidate the amount of      SEE ENTERTAINMENT NIGHT * PAGE 3
                                        which includes the December
                                        2004 earthquake off the coast of
                                                                                One thing holds true to any event:
                                        Ache, Indonesia, which triggered
                                        a tsunami that killed 170,000
                                                                                If you flyer it, they will come.       The New Muslim TV: Media-Savvy,
                                                                                                                            Modern, and Moderate
                                        people and left half a million
                                                                                But no one--not even the orga-
                                        people homeless. With an epicen-
                                                                                nizers of CAIR’s 2nd Annual
                                        ter near the city of Yogyakarta,                                                                                       Sabreen was at the peak of
                                                                                Entertainment Night for Civil
                                        which lies under the shadow of                                                                                         her fame when, in 2001, she
                                                                                Rights -- could have predicted
                                        Mount Merapi, an active volcano                                                                                        underwent a religious “awak-
                                                                                the unprecedented attendance
   Protecting Charities,                                                        at last month’s event at the                                                   ening,” retired from acting,
  Mosques & Non-profits                        SEE QUAKE * PAGE 14              Anaheim Heritage Forum. With                                                   and donned the veil.
               ...Page 24                                                                                                                                      Now she’s back on television,
                                                                                                                                                               hosting a talk show on a
           INDEX                             Law: Not Just a Career,                                                                                           new Islamic satellite chan-
                                                                                                                     The new Islamic satellite channel called nel called Al Risala (“The
LOCAL                  [3]
NO. CALIFORNIA
                       [8 ]                    An Islamic Calling                                                    Al Risala (“The Message”).
                                                                                                                     By Ursula Lindsey
                                                                                                                                                               Message”). Sabreen says she
                                                                                                                                                               chose to make her come-back
                                                                                            enjoying the early                                             on Al Risala because the channel
NATIONAL               [ 10 ]                                                               stages of fatherhood     Contributor to The Christian Sci- “talks about Islam in an enlight-
INTERNATIONAL          [ 11 ]                                                               with his newborn
                                                                                            son Ennes and wife,
                                                                                                                     ence Monitor                          ened, moderate way ... a very
                                                                                                                                                           honest and frank way.”
PROFILE                [ 13 ]                                                               Sondos.                  CAIRO – The Egyptian actress
FEATURE                                                                                                                                                         SEE MUSLIM TV * PAGE 14
                       [ 14 ]                                                           It is a lot to manage
MASJID PROFILE
                       [ 18 ]                                                           for a 25-year-old, but       Southern California InFocus
                                                                                                                     2180 W. Crescent Ave. Suite G
                                                                                                                                                     Address Service Requested

                                                                                        Kahf is doing this not                                                                      PRESORTED
KIDS CORNER            [ 20]                                                            only for his family
                                                                                                                     Anaheim, CA 92801
                                                                                                                     ph: (714) 678-1820
                                                                                                                                                                                     STANDARD
                                                                                                                                                                                 U.S. POSTAGE PAID
HEALTH/FOOD REVIEW
                       [ 21 ]                                                           and their future, but
                                                                                        also for the future
                                                                                                                     TIME DATED MATERIAL - DO NOT DELAY
                                                                                                                                                                                   FULLERTON CA
                                                                                                                                                                                   PERMIT NO. 519

ARTS/BOOKS             [ 23 ]           Barra Kahf, second year law student at UC Davis
                                                                                        of the Islamic com-
MONEY/LEGAL                                                                             munity.
                       [ 24 ]
ISLAM                                   By Afsha Bawany                                    “My religion, my
                       [ 25 ]                                                   community, and the values in
                                        It’s finals week and as if that’s not
TRAVEL                 [ 27 ]           enough to keep first-year law stu-
                                                                                my religion encourage justice
                                                                                and equality,” said Kahf, who is
COMMENTARY             [ 28 ]           dent Baraa Kahf busy studying
                                        the basics of civil procedure and
EDTIORIAL/LETTERS      [ 30 ]           constitutional law, Kahf is also
                                                                                    SEE MUSLIM LAW * PAGE 16
2 June 2006   ADVERTISEMENT   Southern California InFocus
Southern California InFocus                                                         LOCAL                                                                                       June 2006         3
                                     Sanchez also acknowledged each         imitations of typical aunti phone     for crime in Harlem, or wine in
   ENT. NIGHT
          FROM PAGE 1
                                     of the awardees with certificates
                                     of recognition. Special honor was
                                     given to Zeke Hernandez, active
                                                                            chatter that can go on and on
                                                                            simply using variations of the
                                                                            word “yes” and stories of grow-
                                                                                                                  a liquor store, or stupidity in the
                                                                                                                  White House. It’s right there.”           STAFF
                                     President of League of United          ing up Southern Baptist in a          But the night could not be com-         SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
everyone a perfect view.
                                     Latin American Citizens (LU-           church with a vocal-chord-less        plete without the “Ayatollah of               INFOCUS
                                     LAC), for his exceptional work         choir singer.                         Comedy” himself, Azhar Usman.
But as the night waged on and
                                     in civil rights.                                                             Quite possibly the most recog-          2180 W. Crescent Ave., Suite G
the seats were filled, and the                                                                                                                                 Anaheim, CA 92801
                                                                                                                  nizable Muslim comedian in the
                                                                                                                  world, Azhar has been dubbed                 Phone: (714) 678-1820
                                                                                                                  the title “Bin Laughin” after he             Fax:   (714) 776-8340
                                                                                                                  once said, “I’m not Osama Bin
                                                                                                                  Laden’s evil twin brother; I’m           email: info@infocusnews.net
                                                                                                                  his cousin! You can just call me          web: www.infocusnews.net
                                                                                                                  Bin Laughin.” He even stars in
                                                                                                                  his own iTunes webcast called          Southern California InFocus is the
                                                                                                                                                         largest American Muslim newspa-
                                                                                                                  Tinku’s World.                          per serving Muslims in California.
                                                                                                                                                            It is a monthly newspaper and
                                                                                                                  But that night, he put comedy            is published on the first of every
                                                                                                                  back into the Muslim world, mak-                      month.
                                                                                                                  ing light of heavy situations like
                                                                                                                  racial profiling in airports. “Peo-                    Publisher
                                                                                                                  ple are in shock,” he explained,                 GOOD TREE INC.
                                                                                                                  when other passengers see him
                                                                                                                  board. “I’m just waiting for the
(Top row, left to right) Nour Kweider, Nedda Salimian, Ambreen Basria, Genene Salman, Zeke Her-                   real honest passenger at the end                   Managing Editor

nandez, (bottom row, left to right) Hisham Labanieh, Amina Abid, Ahmad Almutawa, Marya Bangee,                    of the flight to go, ‘Excuse me                    ASMA AHMAD

Yasmin El-Haj                                                                                                     sir, but I thought you were go-                editor@infocusnews.net
                                                                                                                  ing to kill us. Sorry about that.
blocked rows were opened, and                                               He addressed the now well-known       Remember when you got up to                         Deputy Editor
more seats were filled, and ush- The end of the first half broke            Albert Brooks movie, Looking for      go to the bathroom? I was going                 MUNEER ADHAMI
ers found themselves                               with prayer…but          Comedy in the Muslim World.           to stab you.’ Really, if I was a
                                                                                                                                                                muneer@infocusnews.net
lost within the sea of                             where do you put         “It’s like we don’t have a sense      crazy Muslim fundamentalist
attendees, it became                               1,600 Muslims an-        of humor, like we don’t smile,”       terrorist, this isn’t the disguise I
evident that the 600                               gled towards the ho-     Moss said. “That’s like looking       would choose.”                                 STAFF WRITERS
expected guests had                                liest of holy lands                                                                                       ABDUSSALAM MOHAMED
brought along a friend                             with enough room to                                                                                              AFSHA BAWANY
or two or thousand with                            prostrate in prayer?       The Activist of the year be-                                                        ANAYAT DURRANI
them. And before any- Master of Ceremonies, Shaikh Why, the massive           longed to Zeke Hernandez, the       Social Activism:                                 ALI A. MOHAMED
                                                                              Deputy District Director for
one knew it, the hall Yasser Fazaga                stage of course. And,                                                                                         AMEL S. ABDULLAH
                                                                              League of United Latin Ameri-       1st Place: ($500)- Genene Salman
was packed with ap-                                basically, any other                                                                                            ANGELA COLLNS
                                                                              can Citizens (LULAC) and 9          2nd Place ($400- Hisham Labanieh
proximately 1,600 onlookers just available space: the stage, the
                                                                              youths received Congressional       3rd Place ($250)- Amina Abid                     ANGIE EL SHERIF
waiting to have their funny bones steps, the rows, the seats, the
                                                                              recognition from the offices of                                                        FATIMA KHAN
tickled.                             walkways. It was like a snapshot         Congresswomen Loretta and
                                     of Hajj right here in Anaheim.                                               Religious Activism:                             FERDAUS SERHAL
                                                                              Linda Sanchez
The first half of the Entertain-                                                                                                                                   GENENE SALMAN
ment Night for Civil Rights paid But it wasn’t until after prayer                                                 1st Place: ($500)- Ahmad Almutawa                GHALIA MOHDER
                                                                              Civic Activism:
tribute to nine Muslim youths that the real “entertainment”                                                                                                        MARIE MOURADI
                                                                                                                  2nd Place ($400)- Marya Bangee
who displayed extraordinary ef- began. Preacher Moss, original                1st Place: ($500)- Nour Kweider,                                                      MUNIRA SYEDA
forts in civil, social and religious founder of the Allah Made Me             2nd Place ($400)- Nedda Salimian                                                SAAQIB RANGOONWALA
                                                                                                                  3rd Place ($250)- Yasmin El-Haj
activism. The offices of Con- Funny tour, first took the stage.               3rd Place ($250)- Ambreen Basria                                                       SAMA WAREH
gresswomen Loretta and Linda He charmed the audience with                                                                                                            SAMY CHOUIA
                                                                                                                                                                    TRACY AHMED


CAIR Holds Legal Meeting to Resolve Immigration Delays                                                                                                             COLUMNISTS
By Ghalia Mohder                     be naturalized. This is a totally      members will be passive about         immigration delays can take to                  CONNIE REGENER
                                     unfair situation for these immi-       their rights since they come from     help resolve the matter, which                  LAWRENCE SWAIM
More than 70 people attended a       grants and their families. Some-       oppressive countries that do not      include: asking senators and                SALAAM ABDUL KHALIQ
meeting held by the Los Angeles      thing is obviously broken with         allow their citizens to challenge     representatives in Congress to                    SAGHIR ASLAM
chapter of the Council on Ameri-     the system and we would like to        the government. But in America,       contact the U.S Citizenship and                 YASMIN MOGAHED
can-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA)      try and fix it,” said Cecillia Wang,   the law is on our side and protects   Immigration Services (USCIS),
on May 25 in Anaheim to discuss      Senior Staff Counsel of                                                      filing a complaint with the Office
options for resolving citizenship    the ACLU.                                                                    of Civil Rights of the Department       POLITICAL CARTOONIST
and green card delays. The meet-                                                                                  of Homeland Security, and if all                  KHALIL BENDIB
ing was prompted by hundreds         At the meeting, emo-                                                         else fails, pursing legal action in
of complaints received by CAIR       tions ran high as many                                                       federal court. CAIR and ACLU            CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
from community members who           individuals shared                                                           also explained their plans for             AIDAN MUHAMMAD QASIM
say they have been made to wait      their plight with the                                                        a multi-plaintiff class action                ALEXANDER GAINEM
for an excessive period while        attendees. “I have been                                                      lawsuit on behalf of delayed ap-
                                                                                                                                                               REV. CONNIE REGENER
their citizenship applications are   waiting to receive my                                                        plicants against the USCIS in
                                                                                                                                                                  HUSSAM AYLOUSH
pending review. This despite the     citizenship for more                                                         order to get it to comply with the
current law that places a 120-day    than 12 years. When-                                                         120-day limit imposed by federal                LAWRENCE SWAIM
limit on the evaluation process      ever I inquire about my                                                      law.                                          MAUREEN DADABHOY
once an applicant has been in-       status, they always give                                                                                                       PARVEZ AHMED
terviewed. The event, which          me the same response: (from left to right) Hussam Ayloush, Todd Gall-        “These citizenship delays are a                   DANIEL WITTER
was also co-sponsored by the         we’re waiting on a name inger, Ranjana Nataranjan, Cecilia Wang              result of discrimination and bu-                   RADIA HUSAIN
American Civil Liberties Union       check. I wonder if there                                                     reaucratic incompetence. I would               RUMI ABDUL CADER
(ACLU), restricted attendance to     is ever an end,” said               everyone,” said CAIR Executive           recommend that everyone who is                    SALMAN JAFRI
those who have delayed immigra-      Ammar Imreish, 42.                  Director Hussam Ayloush.                 in this situation to contact CAIR               SONDOS KHOLOKI
tion applications.                                                                                                because the problem will not be                SUMAIR MAHMOOD
                                     “Some in the Department of             During the event, lawyers from        solved if people don’t take proac-              ZABIE MANSOORY
“We’ve been hearing reports from     Homeland Security are abusing          the ACLU and CAIR outlined            tive measures,” said Immigration
                                                                                                                                                                     ZAID SHAKUR
all over the country from people     their power because they know          steps that individuals facing         Attorney Todd Gallinger.
who’ve been waiting for years to     that many of our community
                                                                                                                                                            BOARD OF DIRECTORS
                                                                                                                                                                     ASEM ABUSIR

       InFocus is the largest                                                                                                                                   BASIM ABDULKARIM
                                                                                                                                                                      FAISAL QAZI
       Muslim newspaper in                                                                                                                                      MOHAMMAD AUWAL

    California, in operation                                                                                                                                   NEVEEN ABDELGHANI
                                                                                                                                                               SAAQIB RANGOOWALA

     for over 16 months.                                                                                                                                          SONDOS KHOLOKI
                                                                                                                                                                 SUMAIR MAHMOOD



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4 June 2006                                                                          LOCAL                                                                Southern California InFocus

        WORD ON THE STREET
By Ghalia Mohder
                  Fathers in Focus
                                                             he’s shared with me and
                                                                                                                         Lotus
With our hectic lifestyles, many of us don’t
get the chance to express our feelings to-
                                                             my siblings. He has always
                                                             been there for our family
                                                             and I’m glad that I’m able
                                                                                                                Chinese Eatery
wards our loved ones. With Father’s Day                      to serve him now at the age
just around the corner, InFocus decided                      of 90.” (Mohsen Abbas, 45,
to give our readers the opportunity to
dedicate a message to their father.
                                                             Bakersfield)
                                                                                                  New Halal Islamic Chinese Restaurant
                                                            “I would like to thank him
             “My father is no longer with                   for his support and encour-
             us. I would like to take this                  agement. He always pushed
             chance to say that may Al-
             lah (SWT) bless his soul and
                                                            me to reach my potential.”
                                                            (Mona Hadaya, 24, Los
                                                                                                   Rated the best Restaurant in 2005 by
             enter him into paradise. He
             was always there for me
                                                            Angeles)                              the Orange County Register & Orange
             when I needed him, and
I really miss his presence.” (Masood
                                               “Padrar jan, May Allah
                                               (SWT) bless you for all the
                                                                                                           County Weekly News
Malik, 48, Brea)                               love and support you’ve given
                                               me and my sisters.” (Wa-
              “I would like to say that        heeda Samedy, 24, San                             DINE-IN * TAKE OUT * BANQUET * CATER
              I love you. Your sense of        Diego)
              humor always makes me
              smile. You mean the world
              to me.” (Dema Sabha, 24,
              La Palma)
                                                              “I want to thank him for his
                                                              love, support, encourage-
                                                              ment and patience. I would
                                                                                                           Open 7 Days a week
                                                              not be who I am today with-
“Thank you for teaching                                       out him.” (Firas Dakak,
me to believe in myself and
to know that I can do any-
                                                              27, Los Angeles)
                                                                                                        Sun - Thu: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
thing that I set my mind to.                                    “Dad, you have always
Thank you for supporting                                        worked hard to give me                               4:30 pm - 9:30 pm
me 1000% in everything                                          and Sara the best of ev-
that I do.” (Khadija Lang,                                      erything. I know I can be a              Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
40, Los Angeles)                                                troublemaker sometimes,
                                                                so thanks for putting up                             4:30 pm - 10:00 pm
              “I encourage myself and                           with me. You’re the best
              other fathers to continually     father ever. I love you!” (Basheer Khat-
              thank Allah (SWT) for the
              great privilege of being a
                                               ib, 12, Huntington Beach, CA)
                                                                                                                16883 Beach Blvd
              father and husband. To           Some might argue that Father’s Day is
              my father, I would say I         just another commercial holiday for busi-                    Hunington Beach, CA 92647
              understand now what I            nesses to profit from. Others even go as
              hadn’t growing up, namely
that his discipline arose out of genuine
                                               far as to say that it is haram (forbidden) to
                                               celebrate it. While it’s true that Mother’s
                                                                                                                     Tel: (714) 848-4940
love and concern. A learned elder in our       Day and Father’s Day have no basis in our
community recently said to me: ‘If the         Islamic history, it does not do harm to take                            Fax: (714) 843-2050
youth knew the good their parents wanted       every chance we get to show our apprecia-
for them, they would kiss their feet out of    tion to our loved ones. We can partake in
utter respect.” (Sharif Rosen, 26, Los
Angeles)
                                               festivities as long as we remember that
                                               Islam teaches us to honor and cherish our         Community Leaders Seek Answers
“I would like to thank him for all the won-
                                               parents on a daily basis. Father’s Day only
                                               serves as a reminder, and a hallmark card       about Government Spying on Mosques
derful things and accomplishments that         can never hurt.                                 By Sondos Kholoki                             inaccurate statements and evidence pre-
                                                                                                                                             sented by FBI paid informants, many in


      URGENT APPEAL
                                                                                               In response to government monitoring of       the community want to be reassured that
                                                                                               mosques, the American Civil Liberties         they are not victims of such misinforma-
                                                                                               Union of Southern California (ACLU/SC)        tion. And if any wrong information is being
                                                                                               filed a Freedom of Information Act request    gathered about them, they would like an
  KIDNEY DONOR NEEDED                                                                          on May 15. This request was filed on behalf
                                                                                               of several Southern California area Mus-
                                                                                                                                             opportunity to address the inaccuracies.

                                                                                               lim organizations and their leaders seek-     “We are people of faith and our mosques
  Young Muslim mother in need of a kidney transplant                                           ing answers from the FBI about suspected      are peaceful and tolerant places of wor-
                  Has been on dialysis                                                         monitoring of religious institutions.         ship,” said Shakeel Syed, executive di-
             Must be O Positive blood type                                                                                                   rector of the Islamic Shura Council, an
                                                                                               “In light of the news about the National      umbrella organization that represents the
  Help your sister in need and you will be rewarded by                                         Secutity Agency (NSA) spying on law-abid-     70 mosques in the region.
                 Allah (swt) InshaAllah                                                        ing American citizens without probable
                                                                                               cause, it is our right to expect transpar-    According to Ranjana Natarajan, staff at-
           PLEASE CONTACT                                                                      ency from our government,” said Hussam
                                                                                               Ayloush, executive director of Council on
                                                                                                                                             torney for the ACLU/SC, the government
                                                                                                                                             has 20 days to respond to this request,
 (909) 861-3848  Lubbi01@hotmail.com                                                         American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)             which seeks information pertaining to
                                                                                                                                             whether area mosques and community

          Human Rights Forum
                                                                                               Community leaders say that considering        leaders are being monitored and if so,
                                                                                               the many recent reports of fabricated and     why?

       Encourages Youth Influence
By Zabie Mansoory                              “They are the only group with no special                ARIZONA REAL ESTATE
                                               interest. While politicians, religious and
With the room packed more than capac-          special interest groups will try to bring                                     1% to 4% Listing Fee
ity, the Muslim Student Association at         change, it is not going to happen if their
Cal-State University of                                          motivation is one of spe-                               Up to 67% Buyers Commission
Northridge (MSA CSUN)                                            cial interest.”
hosted a forum entitled,                                                                                                        Discount Rebate
Human Rights and Is-                                           “You are among the
lam. Students in Reli-                                         small minority in the
gious Studies programs                                         world who have an op-                               Mohamed Hegazy, Realtor
questioned Dr. Maher                                           portunity to actually
Hathout, senior advisor                                        influence polices that                              Top Volume Producer with
to the Muslim Public                                           affect people around
Affairs Council, about                                         the world,” said Dr. Ha-
                                                                                                                       DPR Realty, LLC
issues ranging from hu- Dr. Maher Hathout, senior advisor thout.
man rights in Islam to to the Muslim Public Affairs Coun-
global politics to how Is- cil addresses students.             “This was a tremendous
                                                                                                       Mobile:              (602) 326-3552
lam is intertwined with                                        opportunity for us to                           MoeHegazy@yahoo.com
current events.                                                educate our fellow stu-
                                              dents about our religion,” said CSUN MSA
                                                                                                       Office: 480-994-0800, Fax: 480-802-1133
“If any change has to happen, the only President Fatima Billoo. “We are looking
group who is qualified to do so is young forward to having similar events in the                  http://www.ArizonaRebateRealty.com
educated Americans,” said Dr. Hathout. upcoming semester.”                                     This is not a solicitation of business from clients of other brokers
Southern California InFocus                                                        LOCAL                                                                                    June 2006   5
                      FORGIVENESS AND REDEMPTION: Hope and Courage in Dark Times
By Samy Chouia                        sought revenge. His response                                               dignity?” He went through a long         explained, “we must release that
                                      was a peaceful one. The incident     Reverend Dr. George Regas,            list of American past and present        poison within and not yield to the
On April 28, 1990, Reverend Mi-       changed his life and made him                                              war iniquities, beginning with Hi-       automatic impulse of revenge.”
chael Lapsley had just come home      more eager to preach forgiveness                                           roshima and Nakasaki and ending          If retained, pain will turn into
from a farewell party on a quiet      and brotherly love.                                                        with the invasion and occupation         aggression, he argued, and ag-
evening in Harare, Zimbabwe. As                                                                                  of Iraq, which he termed “morally        gression will inevitably turn the
he started going through the mail,    At a recent luncheon at the St.                                            repugnant.”                              victim into victimizer.
he came across a bulky envelope       Paul Lutheran Church on May 18
that purported to contain religious   in Los Angeles, Reverend Lapsley                                           Reverend Lapsley spoke of Re-            The Reverend spoke with a pas-
literature. Once he opened it and     told his audience, made up mainly                                          storative Justice, an expression         sion born of a long experience of
turned over the first page, BOOM!     of members of the Interfaith Com-                                          he said that could not be spelt in       trying to cope with his own pain
An explosion sent him flying back-    munity United for Peace and Jus-                                           American idiom. “How can you             and the cruelty of the world, a
ward, bloody and unconscious.         tice, that there were two kinds of                                         restore relationships damaged by         world he hopes to change word-by-
The next day when he woke up in       memories—a destructive memory                                              injustice and wrong deeds?” One of       word, lecture-by-lecture and coun-
the hospital, his two hands were      and a redemptive one. “Most of the                                         the first actions of restorative jus-    try-by-country. The New Zealand-
missing, one of his eardrums was      human family is characterized by      Reverend Lapsley speakes about       tice, he said, is for the victimizer     born Reverend demanded that
                                                                            forgiveness after surviving a
shattered and his right eye was       destructive memory,” the Rev-                                              to “acknowledge” the wrong. “So          torture be abolished all over the
                                                                            homicide attempt in Aparthied
blind. Reverend Lapsley had no        erend said. “Parents and grand-                                            often we forget to say we’re sorry!”     world, beginning with the United
                                                                            South Africa
doubt about the identity of the       parents teach their kids never to                                          He cited 9/11 as an example.             States, which is supposed to be a
sender. “It came from (South Af-      trust others. Imagine if (former                                           Whereas the United States gained         beacon of justice and liberty.
rica’s) death Squads,” he recalled    South African president) Nelson      Professor Emeritus from the All       the sympathy of the whole world
painfully. His membership with        Mandela had said, ‘Let’s get the     Saints church in Pasadena, wore       following the tragic incident,           “How do we react when evil hap-
the African National Congress         bastards!’” Reverend Lapsley,        a mix of dignity and remorse on       that sympathy quickly dissipated         pens to us?” Reverend Lapsley
(ANC) and peaceful opposition         like Mandela, chose the redemp-      his solemn face. He spoke with the    when the United States invaded           asked. “When the poison is inside,
to the Apartheid regime almost        tive kind of memory and has been     eloquence of a deeply introspective   Afghanistan and then Iraq, the           we need to channel it out.” The
cost him his life. However, and       preaching it around the world ever   and educated man, “Is forgiveness     latter being totally unprovoked          forgiving Reverend certainly prac-
predictably, the Reverend never       since his tragic incident in 1990.   possible on a national level?” He     and simply wrong. “This,” the            tices what he preaches. The people
                                                                                               asked. “Can a     Reverend added, “is an example           responsible for maiming him have

     Understanding Differences
                                                                                               nation stand      of a victim that turned into a           long been forgiven. His message is
                                                                                               up in shame       victimizer.” Something he himself        simple, “Forgiveness is the only
                                                                                               before it can
     through Art and Dialogue
                                                                                                                 avoided at all cost because, as he       way to redemption.”
                                                                                               stand up in

By Aidan Muhammad Qasim

Two hundred students,
                                              nizer Rigo Martinez. Martinez, who is of
                                              Mexican origin, experienced some of the
                                                             September 11 backlash
                                                                                                  Al Huda Islamic School
parents and instruc-                                         directed at Muslims and
tors packed the Willard                                      Arabs because of his skin                Immediate Principal Position Opening
Middle School Cafete-                                        color and felt that the com-
ria in Santa Ana for                                         monalities between the
a night of food, pho-                                        Latino community and the
                                                                                                      Minimum Requirements:                       Accepting applications for
tography and commu-                                          Muslim community could                                                                  Office Manager &
nity, sponsored by the                                       be built upon.                     * Bachelors Degree (US degree                     TEACHING POSITIONS of
Orange County Human
Relations (OCHR) and                                         Jessica Florez, 12, par-             preferable)                                                 all subjects.
the Irvine New Hori-                                         ticipated in the interac-          * Fluency in English                             Benefits
zon Islamic School on                                        tive learning experience           * Authorized to work in U.S.
April 15. The event                                          by visiting New Horizon                                                             * Salary is based on
was the culmination                                          School and the Islamic             * Past administrative experience.                  qualifications & experience
of a yearlong effort to                                      Center and felt that there         * Good communication and computer                * Islamic working environment
raise awareness be-                                          was no difference between            skills
tween youth from the                                         Muslims and others. “I                                                              * Health insurance
Muslim and Latino                                            didn’t know any Muslims,
communities.                                  but I know they aren’t weird or anything,                          Al Huda Islamic School                  Please e-mail your
                                              and my partner [Sereena Ahmad, a fifth                             12209 Hawthorne Way,                        resume to:
The program was facilitated over the          grader at New Horizon] likes the same                               Hawthorne, CA 90250                    alhuda.boe@gmail.com
course of the school year by OCHR orga-       stuff as me.”                                       Enrollment is Open: KG-8th grade                       Att: Board of Education


            Faith Leaders                                                                                           “Si Se Puede!”
     Call For More Cooperartion                                                                Immigration Protests in Santa                    Courtyard of the Flags at the Santa Ana
                                                                                                                                                Federal building.
By Ali A. Mohamed                             cussion organized by the World Affairs           Ana
                                              Council of Orange County. Dr. Hathout                                                             “We are here to show that migrant work-
Religious leaders representing Islam,         expressed frustration with the pervasive                                                                            ers are humans and
Christianity and Judaism in southern Cal-     stereotype in mainstream America that                                                                               that they are proud to
ifornia have called for closer cooperation    Islam is linked to terrorism. “I have been                                                                          be here in the United
between the various faiths as the most        on CNN, Larry King Live, Fox News and                                                                               States,” said Denise
effective tool in advancing world peace.      indeed all major news networks explain-                                                                             Velasco, one of the
                                              ing that Islam is against taking of lives.                                                                          many organizers of the
Prominent Muslim leader Dr. Maher             We have been screaming the loudest, but                                                                             event and employee of
Hathout, Executive vice chairman of the       unfortunately our voices are not heard,”                                                                            the SEIU Local 1877,
Board of Rabbis in Southern California,       he said.                                                                                                            a service employees
Rabbi Mark S. Diamond and Los Angeles                                                                                                                             international union.
Bishop J. Jon Bruno all spoke passion-        The leaders discussed international sup-
ately about the need to work together to      port to the Hamas-led government in                                                                            The local Muslim Stu-
confront the common threats to society.       Palestine and added their voice to the                                                                        dent Associations came
They singled out terrorism as one area        raging debate over immigration reform.                                                                        out to support the
the faiths can confront the vices through     They agreed that while it was impractical                                                                     immigrant protests,
closer cooperation.                           to grant amnesty to all illegal aliens or                                                                     many saying that it
                                              deport all of them, the reforms must be                                                                       was important to stand
They were speaking at the Costa Mesa          carried out with fairness and dignity.                                                                        up against the same
Hilton on May 18 during a panel dis-                                                                                                                        group of individuals
                                                                                              Local Muslims protesting for workers rights
                                                                                                                                                            who label Islam and
  SECURITY CONSULTANT SPECIALISTS                                                             By Aidan Muhammad Qasim
                                                                                                                                                            Muslims as terrorists
                                                                                                                                          and who are now trying to label migrant
       Industrial * Commercial * Residential * Hotels
                                                                                                                                          workers as “felons.”
                           Available All Over California                                      May 1, also known as May Day and
   Best Hourly Rates                                                                        Workers Day, is celebrated by millions Alia Aboul-Nasr, Development & Pro-
                                           Job Openings!
   Services Offered on a Trial Basis                                                        of people across the world as the day to grams Coordinator for the Council on
                                        For more information                                  recognize workers rights. In the US we American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),
   Computerized DETEX CLOCK System
                                        and a list of available                               know and celebrate this day as Labor Southern California office, reminded
   Fully Trained Security Officers                                                          Day on the first Monday of September. participants “that our own Congress and
                                         positions, please call
   Marked Vehicles                                                                          However, this year the May Day protests White House has spent over $400 billion
                                            800-482-7371.
   Armed or Unarmed                                                                         for immigration rights were historically dollars, that’s about $10 billion dollars a
                                                                                              unprecedented. In Santa Ana, organiz- month, on the illegal and immoral war
             All Action Security and Consulting Group, Inc.                                   ers of the protest had a human chain in Iraq. Congress should be the last to
                  For more information or brochures, please give us a call.
                                                                                              marching around the Federal courthouse talk about economic or human hardship
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                   Hamid Arian or Fahim Abid
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                                                                                              building with protesters shouting, “Si (faced by America because of migrant
                                                                                              Se Puede!” (Yes we can!), and speakers workers).”
                                                                                              addressed thousands of people in the
              
6 June 2006                         LOCAL                        Southern California InFocus

         Local MSA’s Hold Palestine      Contributing to Modern Literature- A
              Awareness Week               Competition About the Prophet
                                                                                               By Sama Wareh                                   Quran was revealed in poetic verses - so
By Genene Salman                                are necessary building blocks for peace.                                                       that it may relate to the people. Abdur-
                                                “Peace between the Muslims and Jews is         When flipping the pages of current Eng-         Rahman also says that Prophet Muham-
The Muslim Students Association, along          possible, but it requires the participation    lish textbooks, almost every subject is         mad never uttered any poetry himself, but
with other campus organizations at Un-          of everyone,” she said.                        present in the poetry section except for        he praised other people’s poetry.
versity of California, Irvine, Los Angles                                                      one - a subject that captures the hearts of
and San Diego hosted a week-long series         Munira Syeda contributed to this story.        over 1.5 billion Muslims across the world:      The goal of this competition is to serve as
of activities to raise awareness                                                               Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).           a way for the international community
about the Palestinian-Israeli                                                                  In order to fill this void, an international    from every region to be informed about
conflict. The activities, which                                                                poetry contest has been put into place.         Prophet Muhammad, who he was, and
included lectures, films, a                                                                    The first ever Praise the Prophet poetry        how he contributed to the world. Another
staged apartheid wall, and a                                                                   competition, offering up to $4,000 dollars      goal, as Abdur-Rahman Ibn Yusuf says,
mock checkpoint, were intend-                                                                  in prizes, is now accepting entries and         is a method of encouraging people to do
ed to make the 58-year-long                                                                    comes to a close on August 31.                  more research. “This poetry contest is open
oppression of the Palestin-                                                                                                                    to Muslims and non-Muslims, and when
ians more visible on college                                                                   “English literature is deprived of sufficient   participants go on the website to submit
campuses.                                                                                      material about Prophet Muhammad. As             poetry, it kind of forces the participants to
                                                                                               English speaking people, we should be           get more knowledge about the Prophet.”
Dr. Norman Finkelstein, re-                                                                    ashamed,” Abdur-Rahman ibn
nowned author and Professor                                                                    Yusuf, a Muslim scholar and author in           Details on rules and prizes are available
at DePaul University, cited                                                                    Santa Barbara, California and originator        at Islamicpoetry.org. Besides the compe-
powerful evidence that Is-                                                                     of Islamicpoetry.org told InFocus.              tition, Islamic Poetry.org is also taking
rael had committed numerous A mock wall was erected by the Muslim students at UCI to                                                           submissions for poetry that the general au-
atrocities against the Pales- depecit the Israeli wall built around the West Bank
                                                                                               As clothing recycles old trends, so does        dience can read. For those not into poetry,
tinians and violated multiple
                                                                                               poetry to the Muslim World. Poetry was a        look out for the upcoming essay writing
international laws on critical
                                                                                               common trend and key form of entertain-         competition.
fronts, and that in fact, the Palestinian-
Israeli conflict is quite simple. “We’re told
                                              1948 Remembered                                  ment in the early 600s, which is why the
it’s complicated but it’s not complicated at
all,” said Finkelstein.
                                              By Anayat Durrani
                                                                                               A Night with Project26 and Dawud Wharnsby Ali
                                                It is not often that the American public can                                                            ment and artistic creativity with
In his talk, Finkelstein laid out facts that
                                                hear firsthand the experiences of Palestin-                                                             world renown nasheed artist
Israel ignored the World Court’s advisory,
which stated that West Bank, Gaza, and          ians, particularly as told by the generation                                                            Dawud Wharnsby Ali on May 28
East Jerusalem were occupied Palestin-          who painfully lived through Al-Nakba.                                                                   at the Brea Civic Center. Per-
ian territories. The vote on the advisory       Two Palestinians, one from Beitunia and                                                                 forming in front of a filled Curtis
was 14 to 1, with the U.S. judge opposing.      one from Jerusalem, spoke to a packed                                                                   Theater, Project26, consisting
Even though the American judge voted            audience of about 100 at the Women’s                                                                    of Ali and Omair Qazi, Mudas-
against the advisory, he still agreed with      Center at the University of California, San                                                             sir Ahmed, and Irfan Shoukat,
the other judges that the settlements, the      Diego (UCSD), taking their audience back                                                                opened for Dawud Wharnsby
wall-building and other Israeli offenses        to 1948 Palestine.                                                                                      Ali performing their hit tracks
are illegal.                                                                                                                                            “Iraq,” “Burn,” and many popular
                                                The event marked the 58th Anniversary                                                                   Urdu songs as well.
Speakers criticized the mainstream me-          of the Nakba Commemoration. Al-Nakba,
dia for their inaccurate coverage of the        an Arabic word that means The Catas-                                                                           Dawud Wharnsby Ali is
conflict, in which Palestinians are deemed      trophe, refers to the mass expulsion and
                                                dispossession of the Palestinian people        (from left to right) Irfan Shoukat, Dawud viewed by many in the Muslim
terrorists. Wafa Shami, who worked
for the United Nations for eight years,         from their own homeland, which began in        Wharnsby Ali, Mudassir Ahmed, and Ali Qazi community as strictly a nasheed
                                                                                                                                          artist, but those in attendance
stated boldly that “Palestinians practice       1948. More than 450 Palestinian villages       performing “Prophet for Profit.”
                                                                                                                                                      got a chance to see him perform
nonviolence every single day” in that they      were destroyed and about three-quarters                                                               some of his other works. This
                                                                                               By Salman Jafri
must helplessly witness shootings, home         of a million Palestinians were forced from                                                     was Dawud Wharnsby Ali’s first trip to
demolitions, and other forms of injustices      their homes and lands by their Zionist                                                         Southern California in many years.
                                                                                               Project26, Southern California’s first Mus-
on a daily basis. Amir Abdul Malik, Imam        occupiers.
                                                                                               lim rock group, hosted a night of entertain-
of Masjid Al-Islam in Oakland, told the
audience to be wary of the terminology          Samir Bazlami from Jerusalem was only
used in the media, giving the example of        7-years-old in 1948. He told the audience
“disputed” territory, which is an intention-    he could not sleep the night before his pre-
ally misleading term for “occupied.”            sentation because of all the bad memories
                                                that had resurfaced. He said he realized
In an attempt to counter the distorted view     how deeply it had affected him all these
of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict presented   years and discussed what losing one’s
in the media, Directors Sufyan and Abdul-       home and experiencing occupation does
lah Omeish premiered their documentary          to a person. Zahiya Hasan of Beitunia
film Occupation 101. The film provides the      addressed the proliferation of propaganda
basic history of the conflict using poignant    and lies from the Israelis since 1948.
images and statements from distinguished
scholars such as Noam Chomsky. The              “You know, they always say Palestine was
goal, Sufyan said, was to bring the issue       a nomad’s land, and the Jews made the           Islamic Society of Corona/Norco hosted carnival on Memorial Day weekend on May 29.
of Palestine closer to home. “In America,       desert bloom,” said Hasan. “Our house and
we don’t feel their pain,” he said.             everyone’s house in Beitunia and the sur-
                                                rounding areas had fruit trees and green
                                                                                                 Muslim Women Activists in the Making
Although many of the events were met            everywhere. And my family was in Bei-          By Radia Husain
with some opposition aimed at silencing         tunia for 500 years, 1000 years. We were                                                       Assilmi conducted a workshop entitled
the Palestinian side, the program on the        there. Who do they think they are fooling,     Aminah Jandali asserts that a Muslim            Back to Basics, which touched upon Mus-
campuses ran smoothly. Adam El Sayed,           who are they trying to convince?”              woman activist must have “love for              lim characteristics and self evaluation.
Vice President of the Muslim Students                                                          people and the desire to serve them with        She reminded attendees that the “best
Association at UCLA, said that he hoped         The event was sponsored by Al-Awda             a spirit of altruism and sacrifice.” Jan-       way to teach is through example,” and to
these events would “encourage the rest of       San Diego, The Palestine Right to Return       dali, the co-founder and secretary of the       “verify what people tell you by checking
the campus to denounce the oppression and       Coalition, in conjunction with the Muslim      Board of Directors of Islamic Networks          the knowledge in Quran and Hadith.”
fight for the rights of the oppressed.” Asma    Student Association at UCSD as part of         Group, was one of several speakers at the
Men, a student at UCI and attendee, added       their Justice in Palestine Week.               Third Annual Muslim Women’s Confer-             A few controversial issues about Muslim
that unity and the formation of coalitions                                                     ence entitled, The Strongest Fortress: A        student protestors were addressed by
                                                                                               Righteous Women. Approximately 100              Jandali, who said that “the way we dress
                                                                                               women attended the day-long event held          conveys a message and reality, so look-
                                                                                               at California State University, Long Beach      ing merciful and compassionate makes a
                                                                                               on May 20..                                     difference and creates a positive image.”
                                                                                                                                               She advised her audience to use wisdom
                                                                                               Annan Aboul-Nasr, event moderator, ex-          in approach by shying away from wear-
                                                                                               plained that the aim of the conference was      ing any stereotypical clothing such as all
                                                                                               to “inspire women to become active in the       black ethnic outfits or chanting in Arabic
                                                                                               community.” She added that organizers           during protests.
                                                                                               had brought “successful Muslim women
                                                                                               leaders” as speakers, including Aminah          Merusha Nasoordeen, a college student,
                                                                                               Assilmi, an Emmy award winning radio            felt that the conference fostered sisterhood
                                                                                               show producer and the director of the           bonding and made for an enlightening ex-
                                                                                               International Union of Muslim Women,            perience. “If only we knew our capabilities
                                                                                               and Ustadha Maha Hamoui, the founder            as individuals and how we could contrib-
                                                                                               and president of the Islamic Outreach           ute to society, our ummah would benefit
                                                                                               Foundation (IOF) and the director of the        by our efforts and energy,” she said.
                                                                                               IOF Learning Center.
Southern California InFocus                                                          LOCAL                                                                               June 2006    7
                                                           LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS
Southland Health Professionals                  perience for anyone, not the least for a       Mayor of Irvine, Beth Krom, said, “We’ve      white tents for the international perfor-
                                                resident of Southern California. If you’re     watched the school grow from scratch to       mances from each grade level, including
Converse                                        a practicing Muslim, chances are that          turning into something that we can all        traditional Indian Dandiya Dances, songs
                                                you’ve discussed “renting forever” versus      benefit from.”                                performed in various languages, and free-
By InFocus News Staff                           owning more than once with your family                                                       ing of the birds of peace. The lawn was
                                                and friends.                                   Krom was one of the speakers at a fund-       host to a number of historical artifacts, and
In the spirit of cooperation and collabora-                                                    raising dinner for the school on May 7 at     the conference room was converted into an
tion, local southern California healthcare      Fortunate for the would-be home buyer is       the Irvine Marriot, where $100,000 was        international dining hall with an incred-
affiliated Muslims had an opportunity to        the fact that the last quarter century has     raised through auction of items rang-         ible array of international dishes.
attend a networking luncheon on May 21          witnessed the development of a number          ing from Qur’an lessons, to hand-made
in the city of Brea at the Amazing Kabob        of shariah compliant Islamic financial         paintings and jewelry, to a brand new         The multi-cultural traditions of Muslims
House restaurant hosted by the Asso-            products from Guidance Financial, Ameri-       Mercedes.                                     from all over the world gave colorful mean-
ciation of Muslim Health Professionals          can Finance House LaRiba, Devon Bank,                                                        ing to the term “melting pot,” or as Dr.
(AMHP).                                         HSBC Amanah, and the Samad Group.                                                            Muzzamil Siddiqi so eloquently stated, “I
                                                These companies have offered a mix of                                                        think I would rather it be a salad, where
                                                creative financing ideas, which include                                                      one can see and taste all the different
                                                rent-to-ownership, home stock buy back                                                       things that Allah (swt) has created.”
                                                plans, etc. They make ends meet through
                                                rental/utility fees, service charges, and                                                    The day was organized by the Parent
                                                indexes which they apply to monthly                                                          Teacher Organization (PTO) and coordi-
                                                payments.                                                                                    nated by the 8th grade students.

                                                On April 13, Guidance Financial held a                                                       Women’s Muslim Basketball
                                                private dinner for Islamic leadership in
                                                Southern California to introduce their                                                       League Allows Female Athletes
                                                Declining Balance Co-Ownership Program                                                       to Shine
About 65 people attended the luncheon           and to announce that Guidance now offers       Other speakers included former Chair-
that nearly outgrew the capacity of the         an Islamic product equivalent to the jumbo     person of the school Magdy Eletreby, and      By Ghalia Mohder
restaurant. Saba Siddiqui, an organizing        loan. Because the median price of a single     keynote speaker Edina Lekovic, Commu-
committee member, found the meeting             family home in Orange County is upwards        nications Director of the Muslim Public       More than 80 players of various ages and
to be successful beyond her expectations.       of $600,000, this was important news.          Affairs Council (MPAC).                       backgrounds participated in the first an-
“People truly appreciated this opportu-                                                                                                      nual Women’s Muslim Basketball League
nity,” she said. Dr. Rumi Cader, professor      The Embassy Suites in Anaheim was              “Just ten years ago, most Muslims would       (WMBL) tournament, which took place on
of Internal Medicine at UCLA, was the           packed with noteworthy representatives         either be engineers or doctors, and those     May 7 at the Anaheim Downtown Youth
keynote speaker who gave a motivational         from all corners of the Southern California    were the only choices. In the next gen-       Center. Hosted by the Muslim Sports and
talk on volunteerism based on his personal      Islamic landscape. The meeting was very        eration, thanks to New Horizon and such,      Entertainment Foundation, the tourna-
experiences.                                    well attended, with well over two hundred      we’re going to have Muslims in all fields,”   ment offered an exclusive female facility
                                                Islamic scholars and leaders in tow.           Lekovic said.                                 that gave Muslim women the opportunity
AMHP is a national organization that has                                                                                                     to play basketball without compromising
succeeded in bringing together a diverse        The highlight of the evening was the open      Several awards were also presented to         their values.
group of Muslims from professional back-        forum during which guests asked sensitive      school supporters and helpers including
grounds in health policy, administration,       questions regarding the company’s model        the Circle of Friends Award given to Sa-      The games proved to be competitive as
clinical fields, and social work. As a result   and methodology.                               brina Mowery, avid helper of the school       each team battled aggressively for the win.
of this coordinated effort, AMHP members                                                       since 2002.                                   Despite some heated disputes that arose
have held dialogue and networking events                                                                                                     over referee calls, all players conducted
                                                Health Fair at Hawthorne                                                                     themselves properly, and sisterhood pre-
across the country. Such meetings have                                                         San Diegans Remember
sought to address the issues in the area        Mosque                                                                                       vailed at the end of the day.
of public health and to propose solutions                                                      Pakistan with Giant
for existing problems.                          By Rumi Abdul Cader                            Rummage Sale                                  “The tournament was awesome! There
                                                                                                                                             were so many girls playing that I had
Visit www.amhp.us for further informa-          More than 200 Muslims and non-Muslims          By Zaid Shakur                                never seen or met before and I was very
tion.                                           flocked to the Islamic Center of Hawthorne                                                   impressed by the level of basketball skills
                                                on May 6 in a unique event hosted by the       Muslim Community Services of San Diego        present. I can’t wait to see what the league
                                                UMMA Community Clinic to promote               held its second annual Disaster Relief        has to offer,” said Hina Chowdhry, 15.
Restoring Hope One Eye at                       health and well-being in the community.        Rummage Sale on May 7 to raise funds
a Time                                                                                         for the massive reconstruction effort un-     “The purpose of the event was to bring
                                                Volunteer physicians and undergraduates        derway in the earthquake ravaged areas        sisters together to compete and have fun
Al-Shifa Foundation Fundraiser                  from UMMA Community Clinic and UCLA            of Pakistan. The event was held in associa-   in a Halal environment,” said Hisham
Dinner                                          UMMA Volunteer Project (UVP) provided          tion with the Islamic Center of San Diego     Labanieh, co-founder of WMBL and one of
                                                services such as blood pressure checks, dia-   (ICSD) and sponsored by Islamic Relief.       the organizers of the tournament
By Aidan Muhammad Qasim                         betes and cholesterol screenings, obesity
                                                screenings, colon cancer education, and        Community members generously donated          WMBL will kick off its first season this
Fifty dedicated professionals from South-       skin cancer screenings.                        hundreds of gently used items including       summer from June 11 to August 13. For
ern California gathered at the Long                                                            furniture, appliances, clothing, toys, and    more information about WMBL, visit: www.
Beach Marriot Hotel for the Al Shifa                                                           electronics which were then sorted and        mbleague.com
Trust fundraiser on May 13. Raising more                                                       sold by volunteers.
than $100,000, the night was filled with                                                                                                     Orange County Human Rela-
entertainment and education where Noor                                                         The ICSD Women’s Committee baked a            tions Awards Maria Khani
Mohmad Jadmani, the Pakistani General                                                          number of tasty dishes and the Muslim
Consul, and retired General Jahandad                                                           Girl Scout Troop exhibited a hand-made        By Aidan Muhammad Qasim
Khan, the president of Al Shifa Trust                                                          montage of Islamic art and architecture.
discussed the critical need for clinics in                                                                                                   On May 4, Orange County Human Rela-
Pakistan.                                                                                      Carla Hernandez, one of the more than         tions (OCHR) rolled out the red carpet for
                                                                                               600 bargain shoppers who showed up            500 influential Orange County figures at
Established in 1985, Al Shifa, an Arabic                                                       throughout the day commented on the           the Grove of Anaheim. The Awards 35,
word that means ‘healing,’ has helped                                                          photos of the Pakistani earthquake victims    “Building Bridges of Understanding,” is an
to build three eye clinics in Rawalpindi,                                                      which were provided by Islamic Relief         annual awards ceremony recognizing those
Sukkur, and Khohat with plans to build          Also, various health care lectures were        and interspersed throughout the aisles,       individuals and organizations assisting the
clinics in Quetta and Muzaffarabad, which       provided throughout the day on subjects        Hernandez by saying “Anybody who can          community and enriching the lives of OC
was recently devastated by the Kashmir          including women’s health, men’s health,        look at those pictures and not be moved       residents.
Earthquake in 2005.                             diabetes, heart disease, preventive medi-      to help isn’t human.”
                                                cine, childhood obesity, and smoking
                                                                                                                                             Maria Khani, a Huntington Beach resident,
“Volunteers have traveled to Pakistan and       cessation.                                     The sale raised more than $3,800 and the      was one of the individuals recognized. She
come back to the US with new ways to                                                           leftover items were gathered and donated      has been active in educating people about Is-
raise awareness,” says Gen. Khan. “She-         Kaiser Permanente collected blood from         to AMVETS charity.                            lam through her work in community forums
lina Kurwa organized an ‘Eye for an Eye’        more than 40 donors. Volunteer Health-                                                       and the Huntington Beach Living Room
program asking eye patients in the US for       care Providers included: Dr. Saeed Jaffer,     For more information, please visit www.       Dialogues, a project that brings together
donations to assist patients in Pakistan.       Dr. Khaliq Siddiq, Dr. Rumi Abdul Cader,       mcssd.org.                                    people from different faiths and ethnicities
It raised only $750, but more importantly,      Dr. Mansur Khan, Dr. Nilofer Kadri, Dr.                                                      to facilitate conversation and education
educated people about the condition of          Rahmi Mowjood; Dr. Altaf Kazi; Dr. Mah-
                                                moud Traina, Dr. Basim Abdelkarim, and
                                                                                               International Day at Orange                   about one another.
health in Pakistan and the dire need to
create access to such facilities.”              Dr. Abdallah Itani.                            Crescent School                               Her efforts helped to clarify myths about
                                                                                                                                             Islam and explain the tenets of her faith.
                                                                                               By Maureen Dadabhoy
Guidance Financial Makes                        $100,000 Raised for Islamic                                                                  “I am very honored by this recognition,
                                                                                                                                             but one person who has stood by me and
Home Ownership a Possibil-                      School                                         More than 400 students representing           encouraged me is my daughter,” acknowl-
ity                                                                                            almost 20 different countries celebrated      edged Khani in her acceptance speech.
                                                By Angie El Sherif                             their culture at the annual International     She also serves on the Board of Directors
Sumair Mahmood                                                                                 Day at Orange Crescent School (OCS) on        of Care “R” Us, an organization providing
                                                Just five years ago, New Horizon Elemen-       May 19.                                       basic social services to recent immigrant
                                                tary School in Irvine was nothing but a pile
Buying a home can be a daunting ex-                                                                                                          women and families.
                                                of rubble waiting to be built. But as the      The basketball courts were covered with
8 June 2006            NORTHERN CALIFORNIA         Southern California InFocus

   Vandals Shatter Front Door of Muslim Film Festival Coming
         Milpitas Mosque              to Fremont Theater
By Ghalia Mohder
                                             A couple of years ago, a previous incident       Organizer hopes to show Islam                   why Muslim women wear the hijab, the
When Milpitas Muslims came to attend         of vandalism occurred at a mobile home                                                           traditional Islamic head scarf.
the morning prayer at Masjid Dar Al-         property owned by Masjid Dar Al-Salaam.
                                                                                              in positive light
Salaam on May 16, they were shocked to       The property was vandalized with anti-                                                           “I felt I needed to do something that ex-
                                                                                              By Jonathan Jones,                              plained my identity,” recalled Aleem, who
discover that vandals had shattered the      Muslim graffiti. The teenagers involved
                                                                                              Inside Bay Area                                 wore a pink hijab during an interview Sat-
$350 front door. Although some believe the   were apprehended.
mosque was targeted, police say they have                                                                                                               urday at Central Park. “A lot of
no evidence linking it to a hate crime.      The Milpitas Police Department indicated                                                                   my friends were wearing the hi-
                                             that it’s investigating a string of recent                                                                 jab, and a lot of the high schools’
Yet, the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter      attacks at a Catholic Church with similar                                                                  (Muslim girls) were starting to
of the Council on American-Islamic Rela-     vandalism of windows smashed on five                                                                       wear the hijab. So it was a good
tions (CAIR) “attributes these incidents     different occasions.                                                                                       time to explore the issue.”
to existing levels of anti-Muslim bias in                                                                                                               After the documentary was ac-
American society and war-related senti-      “We have taken additional security mea-                                                                    cepted at film festivals, broadcast
ment,’’ the civil rights group wrote in a    sures,” said Milpitas Police Detective                                                                     on local cable television stations
statement.                                   Peter Prolo. “We’ve increased surveillance                                                                 and discussed at local schools,
                                             and heavy patrol in the area around the                                                                    Aleem said she became convinced
Mohammad Nada, a long standing board         mosque.”                                                                                                   a Muslim film festival could help
member of Dar Al-Salaam, told CBS                                                                                                                       shine more light on the fabric of
news, “The perpetrator did not leave any     No suspects have been identified in any of the                                                             modern Muslim life.
evidence, but we don’t know that it wasn’t   vandalism.
a hate crime for sure.”                                                                                                                                After holding the first festival
                                                                                                                                                       at UC Berkeley and at De Anza
                                                                                              FREMONT — Muslim snowboarders,                  College in Cupertino in 2004 — showing
                                                                                              gender divisions at mosques, praying            10 films ranging from Islamic hip-hop to
                                                                                              etiquette at American restaurants, and a        spoofs of Muslim stereotypes — Aleem
                                                                                              Hajj pilgrimage are some of the themes to       said she saw firsthand the importance of
                                                                                              be showcased at this year’s Muslim Film         encouraging cultural expression of inde-
                                                                                              Festival, an all-day event that comes to        pendent Muslim filmmakers in a post-9/11
                                                                                              Naz 8 Cinema in Fremont on July 29.             environment.

                                                                                              By basing the festival in Fremont, Juveria      This year, Aleem hopes the festival “pro-
                                                                                              Aleem, a Concord resident in her early 30s      vides an opportunity for non-Muslims to
                                                                                              and the main organizer of the festival,         come and actually learn what our culture
                                                                                              said she hopes to reach the local Muslim        is about.”
                                                                                              community and reach out to friends of
                                                                                              other faiths.                                   “We have comedies and heart-warming
                                                                                                                                              stories,” Aleem said. “It’s not going to be
                                                                                              “We’ve got a lot of great films,” Aleem said.   a preachy film festival and just focus on
                                                                                              “Now we need large numbers of people to         religion or praying or the hijab or Ra-
                                                                                              come out.”                                      madan. It’s none of that. It’s about basic
                                                                                                                                              human stories that everyone can relate
                                                                                              Aleem conceived the film festival in 1998,      to — except that the characters happen
                                                                                              while learning filmmaking at the Univer-        to be Muslim.”
                                                                                              sity of California, Berkeley, where she
                                                                                              produced a 20-minute documentary on             Reprinted from Inside Bay Area
Southern California InFocus   ADVERTISEMENT   June 2006   9
10 June 2006                                                                  NATIONAL                                                                    Southern California InFocus

                                     Muslim Women Shatter Stereotypes
Achievement and hard work make                                                                                                               working two jobs in Phoenix. She demands
                                               Indeed, we should be exporting the success     These women should reassure many Amer-         A-studded report cards from her teenage
for role models
                                               story to the rest of the world.                icans in these anxious times. They are         son and daughter.
                                                                                              intensely achieving -- as well as patriotic.
By Donna Gehrke White
                                               I found Muslim women achieving from            After all, they have as much to lose as any    “I am working so hard,” she told me. “My
                                               coast to coast. They are leading worldwide     other American if our economic and politi-     dream is for my children to go to college.”
She should be one of those red-white-and-
                                               humanitarian groups in                                                 cal systems come
blue success stories: An immigrant, she
                                               Washington, presiding                                                  under attack.          In Erie, Pa., Senada Alihodzic, a refugee
worked her way through med school and
                                               over juvenile court in                                                                        from the Bosnian violence, is just as deter-
now directs the laboratories of two Florida
                                               Baltimore, delivering                                                Since 1990, the          mined that her two sons and daughter will
hospitals. She passed her career drive on
                                               babies in Los Angeles,                                               United States has        go to college. “They can have a better life
to her daughters: One just graduated from
                                               teaching in Miami and                                                welcomed more            here,” she said.
Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing;
                                               helping the homeless in                                              than 300,000
the other is an investigator for the Miami-
                                               Las Vegas.                                                           Muslim refugees          Meanwhile, more American mosques are
Dade State Attorney’s Office.
                                                                                                                    fleeing war and          making an effort to ensure women are
                                               Just like other Ameri-                                               persecution. They        treated equally. In northern Virginia,
This feminist vision of a successful family,
                                               can women, the Mus-                                                  have come from           Cathy Drake, an American-born, home-
though, has a flaw: Shahida Shakir and her
                                               limah -- or Muslim                                                   77 nations. Unlike       schooling mom, told me that she would
daughters, Sadia and Sofia, are Muslim.
                                               woman -- have made                                                   the poor North Af-       not have converted to Islam had she not
                                               startling progress in                                                ricans who went to       felt comfortable.
They’re supposed to be downtrodden. Or so
                                               the workplace in the                                                 Europe for a better
that’s what most Americans think.
                                               last 30 years. In fact,                                              life, our Muslim         Does more work need to be done? Yes,
                                               except for the recent                                                poor have been           judging from several Muslim women who
In a Washington Post/ABC poll last month,
                                               refugees, Muslim wom-                                                given more oppor-        have come up to me while on a recent
nearly half of Americans admitted that
                                               en are among the most                                                tunities to better       book tour to complain about their own
they have a negative view of Islam. In a
                                               educated in the United                                               themselves, and          mosque’s inadequacies. But Ingrid Matt-
poll conducted for the Council of Ameri-
                                               States. Most of the 50                                               have become part         son, vice president of the Islamic Society
can-Islamic Relations, most people also
                                               women profiled in the                                                of the American          of North America, promises that change
said that they would feel better about
                                               book have at least col-                                              fabric. The Ari-         is coming.
the religion if they thought Islam treated
                                               lege degrees. And they                                               zona Community
women better.
                                               are far from the stereo-                                             Refugee Center in        “I believe,” she said, “the struggle is now
                                               type of the secluded Muslim woman. One         a Phoenix suburb, for example, teaches         out in the open and that it will get better
The evidence is in our own back yard:
                                               ran for county office in northern Virginia     many women to read and write for the first     soon.”
While researching my book, “The Face
                                               while a University of Louisville professor     time. The center also provides programs
Behind the Veil: The Extraordinary Lives
                                               crusades against “honor killings” of Third     for their children.                            DONNA GEHRKE-WHITE is the author of
of Muslim Women in America,” I found
                                               World women suspected of adultery or pre-                                                     “The Face Behind the Veil: The Extraordi-
Muslims are among the most achieving
                                               marital sex. Another risked her life to help   The great majority of these new refugees       nary Lives of Muslim Women in America”
women in the United States. They are doc-
                                               women under the thumb of Afghanistan’s         insist that their children study hard. Ba-     (Citadel).
tors, lawyers, engineers, professors, social
                                               oppressive Taliban.                            tool Shamil is an Iraqi Shiite single mom
workers and artists.

       HOUSE BILL                              tor of the Council on American-Islamic
                                               Relations (CAIR) said that HR 4681 sup-
                                                                                                            California Congresspersons Sponsorship
              FROM PAGE 1                      ports “unilateral actions such as settle-                              and Vote on HR 4681
                                               ment land grabs, Apartheid-style walls or
                                               denial of basic humanitarian needs that         Those that did not vote are marked (NV), those who were present are
Officially, the bill serves to “promote the    block progress toward a just resolution of      marked (Present).
development of democratic institutions in      the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
areas under the administrative control of
the Palestinian Authority (PA), and for        President Bush and American officials                          California                                                  HR
other purposes.” The U.S. administration       should engage in dialogue with the Pales-
                                                                                                                                               SPONSORED
considers Hamas a “foreign terrorist orga-     tinian people: “If we truly seek to promote                 Congresspersons                     HR 4628                   4681
nization” that does not support democracy      democracy in the Muslim world, we should
and peace.                                     respect the results of elections and not         Baca, Joe (D-43)                                                       Yes
                                               starve those who exercise their democratic       Becerra, Xavier (D-31)                                                   No
Since the victory of the democratically        rights,” said Iftikhar.                          Berman, Howard (D-28)                                                  Yes
elected Hamas earlier this year, the White                                                      Bono, Mary (R-45)                                                       Yes
House has closed off direct aid to the Pal-    HR 4681 passed by a roll call vote, with         Calvert, Ken (R-44)                                                     Yes
estinian government. Its international         84% in favor and 9% in opposition.               Campbell, John (R-48)                                                   Yes
boycott of assistance to                                                                        Capps, Lois (D-23)                                                       No
the PA plunged the Oc-                                            Nine Congress mem-            Cardoza, Dennis (D-18)                                                 Yes
cupied Territories into a                                         bers spoke out strongly       Costa, Jim (D-20)                                                      Yes
financial and humani-                                             against the bill: Ray
                                                                                                Cunningham, Randall ( R-50)                   Not in office           Not in office
tarian crisis.                                                    LaHood (R-IL), Nick
                                                                                                Davis, Susan (D-53)                                                    Yes
                                                                                                Doolittle, John (R-04)                                                  NV
                                                                  Rahall (D-WV), Earl           Dreier, David (R-26)                                                    Yes
The provisions will pro-                                          Blumenauer (D-OR),            Eshoo, Anna (D-14)                                                       No
hibit official Palestin-                                          Lois Capps (D-CA),            Farr, Sam (D-14)                                                         No
ian diplomacy or rep-                                             John Dingell (D-MI),          Filner, Bob (D-51)                                                     Yes
resentation in the U.S.                                           Maurice Hinchey (D-           Gallegly, Elton (R-24)                                                 Yes
and reduce U.S. dues                                              NY), Marcy Kaptur (D-         Harman, Jane (D-36)                                                    Yes
to the United Nations                                             OH), Dennis Kucinich          Herger, Walter (R-02)                                                  Yes
bodies that were specifi-                                         (D-OH), Betty McCol-          Honda, Michael (D-15)                                                  Yes
cally created to advocate                                         lum (D-MN), and David         Hunter, Duncan (R-52)                                                    NV
for Palestinian human                                             Price (D-NC).                 Issa, Darrell (R-49)                                                     NV
rights. HR 4681 also sets                                                                       Lantos, Tom (D-12)                                                     Yes
forth extensive travel                                            Congressman Rahall
                                                                                                Lee, Barbara (D-09)                                                      No
and visa restrictions.                                                                          Lewis, Jerry (R-41)                                                    Yes
                                                                  said, “Make no mis-           Lofgren, Zoe (D-16)                                                     Yes
                                                                  take, a vote cast in fa-      Lungren, Daniel (R-03)                                                 Yes
Afif Safieh, PLO Am- A Palestinian detained child at an Israeli   vor of HR 4681 is not a       Matsui, Doris (D-05)                                                   Yes
bassador to the United checkpoint in Hebron.                      vote for peace, it is not     McKeon, Howard (R-25)                                                  Yes
States, said in an inter-                                         a vote for America…”          Millender-McDonald, Juanita (D-37)                                      Yes
view with radio show Democracy Now that                                                         Miller, Gary (R-42)                                                     Yes
HR 4681 is “extremely unfortunate.”         Congressman LaHood stated that the                  Miller, George (D-07)                                                    No
                                            legislation “hurts the Palestinian people.          Napolitano, Grace (D-38)                                                NV
“Direct assistance” to the PA will only be There is no other way to put it. And I do            Nunes, Devin (R-21)                                                    Yes
made available if the President of the U.S. not know why you are doing this.”                   Pelosi, Nancy (D-08)                                                   Yes
makes a certification to Congress. That                                                         Pombo, Richard (R-11)                                                   NV
would involve additional bureaucratic CAIR praised the tremendous grassroots                    Radanovich, George (R-19)                                              Yes
delays and procedures before government opposition, saying that it prevented the                Rochrabacher, Dana (R-46)                                               Yes
funds are actually disbursed Safieh said.
                                                                                                Roybal-Allard, Lucille (D-34)                                           Yes
                                            bill’s supporters from rushing it through           Royce, Edward (R-40)                                                   Yes
                                            for a quick vote with no debate. It was             Sanchez, Linda (D-39)                                                  Yes
According to Nidal M. Ibrahim, the Ex- also reported that the opposition man-                   Sanchez, Loretta (D-47)                                                 Yes
ecutive Director of the Arab-American aged to rouse the House floor by igniting                 Schiff, Adam (D-29)                                                    Yes
Institute (AAI) in Washington D.C., the an open debate about U.S. policy toward                 Sherman, Brad (D-27)                                                   Yes
bill is counterproductive in that “it will Israel/Palestine.                                    Solis, Hilda (D-32)                                                     Yes
simply exacerbate our already grave image                                                       Stark, Fortney (D-13)                                                    No
problems in the region…” He also said “As Now that the bill has passed in the House,            Tauscher, Ellen (D-10)                                                  Yes
a country, we must not view the surrender it will go on to the Senate. Even though a            Thomas, William (R-22)                                                  Yes
by starvation of the Palestinian people as less restrictive measure is being considered         Thompson, Mike (D-01)                                                  Yes
a sound strategy in pursuing our goal of a in the Senate, it will need to be reconciled         Waters, Maxine (D-35)                                                   Yes
                                                                                                Watson, Diane (D-33)                                                    Present
two-state solution.”                        by both houses and signed by the President                                                                                    Yes
Arsalan T. Iftikhar, National Legal Direc- before becoming law.
                                                                                                Waxman, Henry (D-30)                                 
                                                                                                Woolsey, Lynn (D-06)                                                      Yes
Southern California InFocus                                               INTERNATIONAL                                                                            June 2006    11
US Must Close Secret Prisons,
   End “Renditions”: UN
                                                                                                sahara falafel                                                                 100%
                                                                                                                                                                               HALAL
(IslamOnline.net & News Agencies)               “The state party (the United States) should
                                                take immediate measures to eradicate all
The top United Nations anti-torture body        forms of torture and ill-treatment of de-
on May 19, told the United States it should     tainees by its military or civilian personnel
close its overseas secret detention facili-     ... and should promptly and thoroughly
ties and the Guantanamo Bay facility in         investigate such acts and prosecute all
Cuba, stop transferring detainees to other      those responsible...,” it said.
countries for questioning and rescind cruel
                                                           The committee said all detain-
                                                           ees should be registered and
                                                           a record kept of the time and
                                                           place of interrogations, urging
                                                           Washington to report back in
                                                                                                 Enjoy Middle Eastern Cuisine, Halal Shawarma,
                                                           a year.                              Gyro, Hummus, Falafel, Stuffed Lamb, and more!
                                                           “State Secrets”
                                                                                                                     714-491-0400
                                                           The UN report comes one day
                                                           after a US federal court dis-
                                                                                                590 S. Brookhurst St. Anaheim, CA 92804
                                                           missed a lawsuit by a German
                                                           national, who claimed that he
                                                           was abducted and tortured in
                                                           a secret “rendition” operation,
Muslim detaines at Guantanamo Bay facility                 Agence France-Presse (AFP)
in Cuba                                                    reported.

interrogation techniques of detainees.                     Khaled El-Masri filed a lawsuit
                                                against former CIA chief George Tenet
“The United States should ensure that           for being forcibly seized in a CIA rendi-
no one is detained in any secret detention      tion operation in Skopje, Macedonia, on
facility under its de facto effective control   December 31, 2003.
and investigate and disclose the existence
of any such facilities,” The United Nations     He said he was abducted by the CIA,
Committee on Torture said in a report, a        beaten and transported to a secret prison
copy of which was obtained by Reuters.          in Afghanistan, where he was held incom-
                                                municado long after his innocence was
In a report entitled, “Ending Secret Deten-     established. He was flown to Albania in
tion,” the American Human Rights Watch          May 2004 and released without being
said the US has more than 24 world deten-       charged.
tion camps, at least half of them operate in
                                                German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in
                                                                                                     Kashmir Talks End Amid
total secrecy, where the abuse of detainees
is “inevitable.”                                December 6 that the US admitted it made
                                                a mistake in abducting El-Masri and flying

                                                                                                         Fresh Violence
Eradicate Torture                               him to a secret prison in Afghanistan for
                                                questioning.

                                                                                                By Alia Aboul-Nasr                           leaders. Political organizations that op-

COMPLETE SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM                                                                    As India’s prime minister announced
                                                                                                                                             pose Indian rule boycotted the talks and
                                                                                                                                             branded them a “futile exercise.” “The
                                                                                                measures aimed at ending 16 year’s of        successful general strike makes it clear
                                                        $2095                                   separatist violence in Kashmir, the size
                                                                                                of the task was underlined by the death
                                                                                                                                             to India that the people of Kashmir want
                                                                                                                                             freedom.”
                                                  INFOCUS SPECIAL!                              of four tourists in a bomb blast on a bus.
                                                                                                According to a local police chief a bomb     Sign said his country was committed to

                                                877-801-5511                                    exploded in a tourist bus on May 25 just
                                                                                                minutes after Manmohan Singh ended a
                                                                                                meeting in Indian Kashmir’s main city
                                                                                                                                             living in harmony with neighboring rival
                                                                                                                                             Pakistan and to resolving the issue of
                                                                                                                                             Kashmir. A two-day protest strike called
                                                                                                of Srinagar aimed at restoring peace.        by the separatists to oppose the talks has
                                                                                                No one has claimed responsibility for        closed shops and offices in Srinagar and
                                                                                                the attack.                                  left the streets largely deserted. India
                                      Wholesale                                                                                              says it will only negotiate with militants
                                                                                                Kashmir’s dominant rebel group made          if they give up arms. More than 44,000
                                       Prices                                                   it clear that peace talks between politi-    people have died in Kashmir since the
                                                                                                cal parties would result in a settlement     insurgency erupted in 1989.
  Visit Us Online          www.2mcctv.com                                                       if the process would include militant


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12 June 2006                     INTERNATIONAL                 Southern California InFocus

         Yusuf Islam Sings to Bridge      Marines Killed Iraqi Family in
             Islam-West Divide                Cold Blood: Murtha
(IslamOnline.net & News Agencies)                                                             (www.Islam-Online.net)                         One third of U.S. troops returning from
                                               His UN-registered charity, Small Kind-                                                        Iraq needed at least one mental health
Yusuf Islam, previously British pop star       ness, provides humanitarian relief,            US forces allegedly killed an entire un-       consultation and one fifth were diagnosed
Cat Stevens, is returning with a new al-       through direct aid as well as social and       armed Iraqi family of 15 near Haditha          with combat-induced psychological prob-
bum to bridge the widening gap between         educational programs, to orphans and           last November, including seven women           lems, according to a recent U.S. study.
Islam and the West.                                   families in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq        and three children.                                            Troops returning from
                                                      and other regions of the world.         The troops retaliated                                          Iraq have the highest
“It is important for me to be                                                                 after their patrol was                                         rate of mental health
able to help bridge the cultur-                         Comeback                              attacked.                                                      consultation and psycho-
al gaps others are sometimes                                                                                                                                 logical problems among
frightened to cross,” Islam,                            Following a 17-year hiatus from       “There was no firefight                                        their peers deployed in
who left the world of the music                         the music business, he returned       that led to the shoot-                                         other countries.
business in 1979, told a press                          in 1995 and has since released        ings at close range,”
conference on Wednesday,                                three albums of Islam-related         stressed Pennsylva-                                             A British soldier, Ben
May 17, reported Reuters.                               songs, The Life of the Last Prophet   nia congressman John                                            Griffin, quit the army
                                                        (1995), Prayers of the Last Prophet   Murtha. “There were                                             in disgust of the “illegal
“Much has changed, but today                            (1999) and a record for children, A   no (roadside bombs)                                             and immoral” practices of
I am in a unique position as a                          Is for Allah (2000).                  that killed these in-                                           the US-led forces in Iraq.
looking glass through which                                                                   nocent people.”                                                 “As far as the Ameri-
Muslims can see the West and the West          “There were one hundred reasons for                                                                            cans were concerned,
can see Islam.”                                leaving the music industry back in 1979,       At least three Marine                                           the Iraqi people were
                                               not least because I had found what I was       officers are under offi-                                        sub-human.”
The new album is due for release this          looking for spiritually,” he said.             cial investigation, and
autumn.                                                                                       no official report has                                       Murtha, a critic of the
                                               “Today there are perhaps one hundred and       been released, accord-                                       Iraq war, introduced a
The former pop star reverted to Islam in       one good reasons why I feel right making       ing to Wednesday’s                                           resolution in Congress
1977 and has since become a prominent          music and singing about life in this fragile   Army Times.                                                  six months ago to with-
member of Britain’s Muslim community.          world again.”                                                                                               draw US troops from
                                                                                                                      Congressman John Murtha
                                                                                              Murtha, a Vietnam                                            Iraq. Since then, 370

World Cup Muslim Fans Urged to “Give Example”                                                 veteran, blamed in-                                          Americans have died,
                                                                                              adequate planning, training and troop nine billion dollars are spent monthly,
                                                                                              numbers for such killings of innocents. (attacks) have increased from 550 to 900
(Islam-Online.net)                             Anti-Iran
                                                                                              He said that the death toll could be “twice a week, and 1,000 Iraqis died in the last
                                                                                              as high.”                                   month,” he said.
By Ahmed Al-Matboli, IOL Correspon-            Days before the world event, German
dent                                           right-wing groups have already mobilized

BERLIN– With right-wing groups charg-
                                               to harass Muslim teams in the Mondial.
                                                                                                Tunisia Police Beat Rights Activists
ing batteries to provoke Muslim teams          The Iranians are the main focus of the
taking part in the FIFA World Cup, to          campaign. Right-wing groups are en-            (Al Jazeera.net)                               against militants and sidelining members
kick off on June 9, Muslim fans are urged      couraging supporters to flock to Iran’s                                                       who disagree with them.
not to fall into the trap and to serve as an   matches and use Israeli flags in support-      Tunisian police beat activists trying to at-
example.                                       ing any team playing against the Islamic       tend a planned meeting by the country’s        As a result of their complaints, a court
                                               republic.                                      only independent human rights body,            ruled that the meeting would be illegal
A German Muslim web-                                                                          witnesses say.                                 pending further judicial hearings next
site has exhorted Muslim                                          Anti-Racism Day                                                            month.
football supporters to take                                                                   Dozens of plainclothes policemen blocked
into their strides provoca-                                       Meanwhile, FIFA has         roads leading to the                                                 Hunger strike
tions by right-wingers.                                           set plans to stage an       headquarters of the
                                                                  anti-racism day dur-        Tunisian Human                                                  Meanwhile, Al-
“Muslim fans should give                                          ing the World Cup to        Rights League and                                               jazeera reports that
an example of Muslim                                              demonstrate opposition      allowed no one to ap-                                           members of the Tu-
behavior and enjoy the                                            to racism and discrimi-     proach the site, the                                            nisian National Or-
contests no matter what                                           nation.                     witnesses said on Sat-                                          ganization for Law-
the results are,” wrote the                                                                   urday.                                                          yers have begun a
“muslimmarkt” website.                                            Television ads and a                                                                        hunger strike in
                                                                  huge round banner           The incident was the                                            protest against the
The website urged Mus-                                            draped over the center      latest in a series of                                           law of the Supreme
lim fans to report any law                                        circle at each of the 12    what rights activists                                           Bar Institute which
violations to the police.                                         World Cup stadiums          say are government                                              was endorsed by
                                                                  are also planned as part    abuses, including                                               the Tunisian parlia-
                                                                                              beating lawyers, jail-     Moukhtar Tifri (right) described the ment.
“The far right-wingers                                            of the anti-racism cam-
are out to provoke the fans to cause riots,    paign.                                         ing opponents and          situation as shameful
particularly during the matches of the                                                        stifling the press.                                                  The lawyers ac-
Iranian team.”                                 Bearing the World Cup motto “A Time                                                           cused the ministry of justice of seeking to
                                               to Make Friends,” the World Cup logo           Accusations                                    control the lawyers syndicate.
T-shirts emblazoned with anti-Muslim           “Germany 2006” and the slogan “Say No
slurs are already been circulated by far       to Racism,” the banners will be displayed      Mokhtar Trifi, the president of the group,     Rights activists say Western governments
rightists. One of these T-shirts reads “Is-    at each of the 64 matches until shortly        said: “It is shameful that those invited to    tend to focus on Tunisia’s strong economic
lamophobic And Proud Of It.”                   before kick-off.                               support human rights in Tunisia cannot         performance and the government’s suc-
                                                                                              gain access to the headquarters of the hu-     cess in tackling Muslim extremists while
The football gala runs from June 9 through     “The aim is to send a clear message to         man rights league.”                            turning a blind eye to what they say is
July 9 with 32 teams competing for the         the world against racism,” the organizing                                                     often heavy-handed tactics to suppress
prestigious trophy.                            committee said.                                They accuse the league’s leadership of         dissent.
                                                                                              cronyism, physical and verbal violence
Southern California InFocus                                                         PROFILE                                                                              June 2006     13
                           Idris Al-Oboudi: Advocate of Recreation
By Angie El Sherif                              that the Iraqis and the Russians estab-         IA: Going on 25 years actually.                 IA: Any abuse is acted out by human be-
                                                lished for talented children in music and                                                       ings; I have never seen a can of paint get
Parks and recreation are an important           theatre. I had a scholarship to go study        IF: What exactly is it that you do at           up and spray itself on a wall. People act
part of every community. Here in South-         theatre in the Soviet Union, but instead        your current job?                               this way for different reasons. One thing
ern California we take pride in the beauty      I came to America. As far                                                                       that is said that is incorrect about recre-
and abundance of parks. But who can we          as my university education,                                                                     ation is that it is a diversion. Imagine that
thank for this? Plenty of men and women         that was all completed in the                                                                   you are a kid and after school you have
give their time and effort in managing our      United States. I studied at                                                                     no where to go. There is a lot of pent up
parks. Among them is Mr. Idris Al-Oboudi.       Western Michigan University                                                                     energy that is sometimes negative. So
This Iraqi born Arab-American profes-           where I took my Bachelors                                                                       people damage things in the park and do
sional was awarded the 2005 California          of Science and Recreation.                                                                      things like graffiti. What is recreation?
Parks and Recreation Society (CPRS)             When I came to California in                                                                    Recreation is constructive engagement.
Citation Award. This award recognizes           1985, I went for my Masters                                                                     It changes you as a person. What I recom-
outstanding contributions to CPRS and           in Science and Recreation at                                                                    mend to combat these things is engaging
the parks, recreation, and human services       Cal State Long Beach, but I                                                                     youth in positive alternative activities that
profession on a regional, sectional, state,     didn‘t complete my thesis due                                                                   have positive results. For those kids who
or national level according to their website    to family problems like my                                                                      want to get noticed, we can do murals or
http://www.cprs.org/about-awards.htm.           father passing away.                                                                            calligraphy contests. That way they are
The Awards Program honors individuals                                                                                                           getting their kicks in a positive way, It is a
who “embrace the core values of the profes-     IF: What initially got you                                                                      primary tool to fight anti-social behavior.
sion…show environmental stewardship…            interested in Recreation,
move the agency towards a stronger posi-        and what motivated you                                                                          IF: The California Park and Recre-
tion or role within the community.”             to choose this career?                                                                          ation Society has recently created a
                                                                                                                                                Youth Sports and Fitness Task Force
Currently, Al-Oboudi is a Recreation Ser-       IA: I believe that all of us as children love                                                   that focuses on enhancing organized
vices Manager for the City of Manhattan         to play. I was going to follow my father’s      IA: I create community and quality parks        sports. What motivated you to chair
Beach where he manages the Manhattan            footsteps in theatre, but when I came to        and programs. I’m a manager of parks            this task?
Beach Parks and Recreation, and par-            the United States, I was very strong physi-     and recreation here in Manhattan Beach.
ticipates in numerous community improve-        cally because of all the                                                                                      IA: The biggest motiva-
ment programs. Al-Oboudi believes in “life,
learning, loving, and leaving a legacy.” Al-
                                                training from Russian
                                                schools. So I took some
                                                                               “What is recreation? Recreation is                                             tor is the condition of our
                                                                                                                                                              youth right now in Califor-
Oboudi believes that this is what he wants
                           to accomplish in
                                                physical education and
                                                recreation classes and
                                                                             constructive engagement. It changes                                              nia. There is a nationwide
                                                                                                                                                              issue of the importance
                           his livelihood       that is when I fell in
                                                love with it. I found
                                                                            you as a person. What I recommend to                                              of engaging kids in posi-
                                                                                                                                                              tive recreational activities.
                           IF: Tell us
                           something
                                                recreation to be a very
                                                interesting tool not only
                                                                            combat these things is engaging youth                                             To walk into a park and
                                                                                                                                                              feel safe psychologically
                           about your           to bring joy, happiness,     in positive alternative activities that                                          and physically is the goal.
                           childhood and        health, and wellness to                                                                                       Kids need to get out there
                           your influ-          the individual but also              have positive results”                                                   and have fun. I want to
                           ences growing        to the community. It                                                                                          change the youth sports
                           up.                  was more than a pro-                                                                                          culture. They should have
                                                fession–it was like a calling to me. I felt     However, I started as a contract employee.      fun, enjoy themselves while they build up
Idris Al-Oboudi: I was born in Iraq back        that this is what I lived to do. I followed     Under my belt is facility operation and         their health and wellness and compete
in 1960. I grew up in Baghdad. I came to        it, excelled in it, and loved doing it.         that is anything that deals with reser-         with honor.
the United States when I was nineteen. I                                                        vations. We staff it and make sure that
am one of seven boys and one girl in my         IF: How long have you worked in this            everything is safe, clean, and green. I         IF: How has receiving the 2005 CPRS
family. I was very, very fortunate as a child   field of work?                                  have a playground program on four sites         Citation Award affected you?
to be selected to go to a very special school                                                   and two senior citizen clubs, a teen center,
                                                                                                twenty tennis courts, and a whole bunch of      IA: I always feel that with awards and
                                                                                                parks that we maintain. We have numer-          recognition come responsibility. In the
                                                                                                ous community events that we conduct            word responsibility, there are two words:
                                                                                                like family camp outs, sand castle design       respond and ability…the ability to re-
                                                                                                contests, etc. Then we have a whole vari-       spond. I want to respond by continuing
                                                                                                ety of recreation classes and camps for a       to communicate the vision that we are
                                                                                                variety of ages from the very exciting rock     responsible for the next generation. We
                                                                                                climbing, ski school and snowboarding to        have to change to get different results.
                                                                                                classes for cooking.                            Now that people know your work, you have
                                                                                                                                                to be more responsible and create modal-
                                                                                                IF: Does being Arab and Muslim influ-           ity for people. I am up to that challenge.
                                                                                                ence your work?                                 I am interested in making sure to use
                                                                                                                                                this publicity to better the community by
                                                                                                IA: It definitely does. I really feel that      means of recreation. Receiving the award
                                                                                                we are ambassadors of our own person            was a great honor.
                                                                                                and also ambassadors of our culture. All
                                                                                                of us have a duty to represent ourselves        IF: What are your other hobbies and
                                                                                                in the best light as possible. One of the       interests?
                                                                                                things I always use is you don’t get a sec-
                                                                                                ond chance at a first impression. That’s        IA: I’m a sportsman myself. I play soccer,
                                                                                                very important. The reason is that in this      I run; I am a diver and a snorkler. I travel
                                                                                                hurried time that we live in, a lot of people   a lot. I like long hikes and visiting national
                                                                                                don’t have the time to try to get to know       parks. I was at Joshua Tree just to see
                                                                                                you. I try to make people understand that       the beautiful flowers that come out in the
                                                                                                our culture is a contributor to the human       spring. I like to be out there in nature. I
                                                                                                civilization by our actions, not just by our    also enjoy reading and teaching.
                                                                                                words. If we are Arabs and Muslims and
                                                                                                enlightened people, we try to enlighten         IF: What are your future plans in
                                                                                                others, that is our duty. I’m definitely        work and life?
                                                                                                very proud of being an Arab, but that’s
                                                                                                not enough. You have to show why you            IA: My next goal is to have the next con-
                                                                                                are proud by your actions.                      ference in Sacramento to rally in the state
                                                                                                                                                capital about youth sports. I am also con-
                                                                                                IF: What benefits do you get from               tinuing work with the Vision Insight Plan
                                                                                                working to help your community,                 and that is to continue to instruct people
                                                                                                and what is the most satisfying part            about the benefits of parks and recreation.
                                                                                                of your job?                                    I am also working with the Islamic Centers
                                                                                                                                                of Hawthorne and Vermont by creating a
                                                                                                IA: One of the things I talk about a lot is     Vision Insight Plan based on Islam. The
                                                                                                that all of us as human beings want to feel     goal is to win back our kids. That our
                                                                                                that our existence mattered and made a          Islamic Centers are not only houses of
                                                                                                difference, whether big or small. I believe     worship but are houses of learning, com-
                                                                                                in leaving a legacy. In recreation, you get     munity, and joy. They should be of service
                                                                                                to do that. By serving others, we serve         to the greater community to strengthen
                                                                                                ourselves.                                      the Islamic community image. I am also
                                                                                                                                                working with producers from Al Jazeera
                                                                                                IF: Do you recall witnessing any                on concepts for children’s programs that
                                                                                                unruly behavior like graffiti, for ex-          encourage health and wellness recreation
                                                                                                ample, while managing your parks?               activities. We are of service to Allah by
                                                                                                What do you feel should be done to              being of service to humanity. That is why
                                                                                                preserve California parks?                      we exist.
14 June 2006                                                                     FEATURE                                                                 Southern California InFocus

       MUSLIM TV                              then we see Islam being very peaceful, very
                                              open. Respect of all humans, respect of all
                                                                                              Islam’s expansion.                           al Meligi, but “it’s very showy, not very
                                                                                              “In our understanding, Islamic media is spiritual.”
              FROM PAGE 1
                                              religions, respect of all races - that is the   any clean media,” he says. “So any pro-       Others are more enthusiastic. Al Risala
Mr. Abu Haiba, the station’s Cairo bureau     original message of Islam.”                     gram that is clean and has a message to “is really good,” says Radwa Atia, a 20-
manager, says the station espouses the        Swidan hosts a program called “The Mak-         improve a human being - improve them year-old art student. “It discusses a lot of
values of tolerance, peace, and progress,     ing of a Leader,” in which the shaikh puts      religiously, ethically, socially, push them things in a more free way. It discusses real
while being critical of some modern de-       aspiring young businessmen through              towards being productive and effective, life issues.”
velopments. Abu Haiba rails against cell      various tests. The station also airs music      having ambitions.”                            The only fault Atia finds with the station
phones and fast food, and says people         videos, although it eschews the hits of         The Kuwait-based channel started broad- is its cast of celebrity presenters. “All the
should “be honest, be punctual, and                                                           casting at the beginning of
not raise their voices.”                                                                      March on two satellite carri- “In our understanding, Islamic media is
                                                                                              ers that reach millions across
According to Abu Haiba, Al Risala is
                                                                                              the Middle East and in Eu-
                                                                                                                                 any clean media,” he says. “So any pro-
just the latest step in a “new Islamic
media” revolution. This movement                                                              rope .                            gram that is clean and has a message to
includes everything from Islamic                                                              Al Risala executives say data improve a human being - improve them
“televangelists,” who strut the stage                                                         isn’t available yet on the size
                                                                                              of the station’s audience. But
                                                                                                                                religiously, ethically, socially, push them
in business suits, calling on the
audience to tell personal stories, to                                                         they note that viewers are towards being productive and effective,
Islamic pop stars, who sell catchy                                                            sending thousands of daily                    having ambitions.”
tunes about the Prophet Muham-                                                                messages of support from
mad.                                                                                          their mobile phones.
                                                                                                                                           announcers are famous actors,” she says.
According to Al Risala’s executives,                                                           Yet some viewers say they’ve been put off
                                                                                                                                           “That annoyed me. When talking about re-
that media can be both secular Al Risala’s general manager, Shaikh Tarek Swidan               by what they see as Al Risala’s “commer-
                                                                                                                                           ligious matters, you should have someone
shows that undermine family values                                                            cialism.” Amir El Meligi is a 21-year-old
                                                                                                                                           who has done religious studies, someone
and religious programs that foment        scantily clad Lebanese pop stars in favor           Web designer. He says Al Risala is “Iqraa
                                                                                                                                           with experience. Not just anybody.”
extremism.                                of songs about religion and family. There           TV with a Rotana flavor”- referring on
“Islam has been changed throughout time,” is even a reality TV show, in which three           the one hand to a well-known conserva-
                                                                                                                                           This article was reprinted from The Chris-
says Al Risala’s general manager, Shaikh young men travel through Jordan, Syria ,             tive religious channel and on the other to
                                                                                                                                           tian Science Monitor
Tarek Swidan. “If we go back to the roots and Lebanon , following the path of early           a popular music video station. Al Risalah
                                                                                              “has a new way of introducing stuff,” says


             QUAKE                            Saints provided an airlift valued at $1.6
                                              million in emergency medical and hygiene
                                                                                              nesia… KFI is urging its huge listener base
                                                                                              to reach out to those in need and donate to
                                                                                                                                            200,000 rupiah ($21) for each survivor to
                                                                                                                                            cover clothing and household goods, and
              FROM PAGE 1                     supplies and sent in a 747 cargo plane          Islamic Relief,” said KFI’s Program Direc-    compensation for damaged houses, which
                                              from Salt Lake City on May 30. Islamic          tor, Robin Bertolucci.                        for many is not enough in the current
that has been spewing lava and smoke          Relief staff on the ground in Indonesia                                                       situation.
for the past month, an estimated 200,000      will distribute those goods, which were         With twenty-two countries already de-
people are now left homeless and in need      requested by the government of Indonesia        livering aid, many survivors spent a
of immediate aid.                             in the affected areas.                          week without shelter or supplies, with
                                                                                              uncertainty on the situation in remote             How you can help!
In response to the powerful earthquake,       The Los Angeles-based news talk radio           surrounding villages, many of which have
Islamic Relief, an international relief and   station, KFI AM 640, rated number one           been completely destroyed. Because of the                  Islamic Relief
development organization, has pledged         in the nation, has also extended the use of     extent of the destruction, the challenge is                http://www.irw.org
$928,000 for initial emergency projects and   prime airtime in all day parts and is car-      in distributing aid and providing medical
                                                                                                                                                      Helping Hand USA
is appealing for a further $3.7 million for   rying a prominent display on its website,       assistance to the injured. In the upcoming             www.helpinghandonline.org
the victims of the Java disaster. Islamic     www.kfiam640.com for the efforts to raise       days, aid workers are focusing on provid-
Relief has begun distributing blankets,       urgently needed funds for the victims.          ing medical aid, water and sanitation, and        International Red Cross/Crescent
clean water, and food and hygiene kits to                                                     emergency shelter.                                        http://www.ifrc.org/
the earthquake victims.                       “KFI is pleased to join with Islamic Relief’s
                                              efforts to raise money on behalf of the         The Indonesian government has pledged              International Rescue Committee
                                                                                                                                                       http://www.theirc.org/
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day      victims of the recent earthquake in Indo-       an initial 6 pounds of rice per family, and
Southern California InFocus   ADVERTISEMENT   June 2006   15
16 June 2006                                                                      FEATURE                                                                 Southern California InFocus

    MUSLIM LAW
                                              the growth of Muslim Law Students As-          years Muslims’ civil rights become a non-       known as MuslimJD. It was registered as
                                              sociations (MLSAs) and chapters in law         issue, there is always a constant circle of     a non-profit group in 2000.
                                              schools around the country are further         people being oppressed. It’s an Islamic
                FROM PAGE 1                   proof that more American-Muslims are           value to help your oppressed brothers – to      Working on Capitol Hill, Khera’s work
                                              choosing law.                                                                                               focused on the U.S. Patriot
attending the University of California, Da-
                                                                                                                                                          Act, racial and religious
vis School of Law. Kahf was the youngest
                                              According to NAML’s web site, 24                                                                            profiling, and other civil
person to join a Council on American- Is-
                                              MLSAs are located at several universi-                                                                      liberties issues. She joined
lamic Relations (CAIR) board of executives
                                              ties across the country, as well as five                                                                    NAML because her Wash-
by joining CAIR Southern California’s
                                              Muslim bar associations. At NAML’s                                                                          ington D.C. experience
Executive Committee at age 20 and served
                                              Washington D.C. conference in April,                                                                        helped her recognize the
until 2005 when he left to pursue his law
                                              40 percent of attendees were students                                                                       Islamic community is go-
studies.
                                              and 60 percent were lawyers, according                                                                      ing to grow. Khera feels
                                              to Khera.                                                                                                   that in order to become
Kahf is among a growing number of young
                                                                                                                                                          stronger, more Muslim
American-Muslims who are entering the
                                              “There was no such thing as a Muslim                                                                        lawyers will be needed to
legal profession and finding help along
                                              Law Students Association (when I was                                                                        understand the legal and
the way.
                                              a student),” said Khera, who graduated                                                                      political system.
                                              from New York’s Cornell University Law
Though the exact number of American-
                                              School in 1994. “There weren’t enough                                                               Among NAML’s prior-
Muslim lawyers is not available, Farhana
                                              Muslim students to create a chapter.”                                                               ities, Khera said, is to
Khera, executive director for the National
                                                                                                                                                  provide legal advice for
Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML),
                                              The events of September 11th were a Owais Qazi, an immigration lawyer from Corona, CA               Muslims, educate non-
said NAML has 500 members made up
                                              wake-up call for the Islamic community                                                              Muslims about Islam,
of lawyers and law students. Moreover,
                                              to start considering other careers, she    stand with the oppressed. We’re supposed                 protect charitable giving,
                                              said.                                      to help fight injustice.”                and help Muslim charitable institutions
     Job Opening                                                                                                                  improve their legal management. Khera
                                              “I do hear anecdotally that 9-11 and the Kahf was among the 200 people who at- is also working on fund-raising efforts and
                                              civil rights crisis that has been gripping tended NAML’s convention and plans to increasing membership.
                                              our nation since then has spurred
                                              young Muslims to pursue law school.                                                   While the Patriot Act has been reau-
      Temporary, Part-Time Editor Assistant   The increase in numbers is due in part                                                thorized, NAML’s web site provides
                                              because of 9-11, but also in part of the                                              information on Muslim workplace
 Responsible for story collection,            national evolution of our community,”                                                 rights, civil rights, and employment
 assigning, writing, editing, lay-            Khera said.                                                                           discrimination.
 out, soliciting and designing ads,
 managing company accounts,                   Most Muslim immigrants who came to                                                               “The mission broadly speaking is to pro-
 managing subscription & MORE                 the U.S. worked in engineering and sci-                                                          mote freedom and justice for all and that
 QUALIFICATIONS:                              ence-related professions. Now, the chil-                                                         includes protecting the rights of Muslim
 1. Excellent command over jour-              dren of these immigrants are entering a                                                          Americans and the founding values of
 nalistic-style writing, grammar, and         variety of professions from law to jour-                                                         our country,” Khera said.
 English composition.                         nalism, Khera added. This generation
 2. Demonstrated written communica-           also has the advantage of understanding                                                          Paraphrasing former Supreme Court
 tion skills.                                 the American culture and language bet-                                                           Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, Khera
 3. Experience with Adobe InDesign,           ter than their parents.                                                                          said, “She was quoted as saying some-
 Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator pre-                                                                                                             thing to the effect of, ‘statues and con-
                                              Muslim law students at Loyola Law                                                                stitutions don’t protect independence,
 ferred.
                                              School in Los Angeles set up the Mus-                                                            people do.’”
 4. Good management and interper-
                                              lim Law Students Association during
 sonal skills and ability to aggressively
                                              the beginning of the 2005 school year to                                                         A Muslim lawyer can play an instru-
 meet deadlines. management and
                                              create unity among Muslims on campus                                                             mental role in educating others about
 interpersonal skills and ability to ag-
                                              by providing iftars (fast breaking meals)                                                        Islam, whether providing facts to law
 gressively meet deadlines.
                                              during Ramadan and creating a space for                                                          enforcement officials, to judges and to
       Interested candidates should           students to pray during the day. They                                                            fellow co-workers, Khera said.
   submit their resume and cover letter to    later found their mission to be much
            info@infocusnews.net              greater.                                  Baraa Kahf studying with his son Ennes                 Owais Qazi, an immigration lawyer,
                                                                                                                                               echoed Khera’s sentiments.
                                              “More than ever before, we needed a            enter intellectual property law, or patent
                                              presence on campus,” wrote Firasat Tar,        litigation. Kahf said he was inspired by        He opened his own practice in Riverside
                                              the association’s vice president in an e-      the convention and realized the impact a        a year ago with a few associates working
                                              mail message. “There is a lot of misplaced     Muslim has in the legal world, no matter        with him. About half of his clients are
                                              anger and prejudice against Muslims and        what kind of law he or she practices.           Muslim. Qazi believes Muslim clients are
                                              moreover, Islam has been in the limelight                                                      comfortable with Muslim lawyers because
                                              so much recently that even if not (for the)    “We believe that lawyers are needed in all      there is a religious and cultural under-
                                              negative attention… I think we should use      areas of the law and whatever specialty or      standing between the two groups.
                                              the attention overall to be as beneficial as   background people have can be very use-
                                              we can. I think we should welcome and          ful,” said Khera, who spent six years as        Qazi, 27, added that he understands the
                                              encourage inquiries about Islam. So as a       a former counsel to U.S. Senator Russell        plight of the immigrant community since
                                              Muslim group on campus we are hoping           Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, before          his family immigrated from Saudi Arabia
                                              to educate and promote unity, awareness        she accepted the NAML position in June          many years ago, giving him a deeper
                                              and understanding among Muslims and            2005.                                           knowledge and sensitivity to his client’s
                                              non-Muslims.”                                                                                  needs.
                                                                                             Khera is the association’s only full-time
                                              Tar, who is a second-year law student, will    employee and recently moved to San Fran-        Knowing he has helped someone’s dream
                                              become president of the group next year.       cisco, where she is setting up a local branch   come true or brought families together,
                                              He estimates there are about 20 Muslim         of the office. The 36-year old also serves as   Qazi said, “This is the one field in which I
                                              law students in the group.                     executive director for Muslim Advocates,        can go home happy.”
                                                                                             an expansion of NAML that provides
                                              Both Tar, 24, and Kahf said they entered       educational resources. NAML began as            For more information, visit www.namlnet.
                                              law school to help resolve issues facing not   an e-mail discussion list in 1996 and was       org or www.muslimadvocates.org.
                                              only the Islamic community, but also the
                                              American community.

Farhana Khera, executive director for the     “This isn’t just about Muslim rights. This
National Association of Muslim Lawyers        is about minority rights in general,” Kahf
(NAML)                                        said. “Even if, let’s say within the next 50




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Southern California InFocus   ADVERTISEMENT   June 2006   17
18 June 2006               FEATURE             Southern California InFocus

        ISLAMIC CENTER OF SAN GABRIEL VALLEY:
             Nurturing Love and Racial Harmony
By Abdussalam Chouia                          Habib Mohamedy moved to the San Ga-             ter.” Khurram Qidwai, 24, a law student,       the responses came from California, from
                                              briel Valley in the late seventies from         started his life’s journey as an eight-year    none other than Hootan. “One thing that
Victoria Caldwell knew that her Christian India, his home country. He came to find            old at the center. “I grew up around this      drew me to his response was his sincerity.”
faith was right. She was as certain as the work and prosperity. However, his spiri-           masjid,” he said. “It is great because, one,   Victoria said. “He expressed himself very
sky was blue. She attended Church regu- tual life had to be nurtured as well. “We                                                                          well and told me everything
larly and prayed with her congregation needed a place to pray Jumu’ah [Friday                                                                               about himself.”
with fervor and devotion. But then, her prayer],” he recalls. “There were a few
strong sentiments suddenly encountered Muslims in the area and we agreed that
resistance when she met a certain Muslim it must be held somewhere.” One of the                                                                            Today, Victoria works with
on her college campus while she was still a Muslims offered his garage as a temporary                                                                      the Islamic center as a
sophomore. “We started talking about Je- solution. The Friday of that same week, 15                                                                        youth counselor. She had
sus,” she said. More precisely, their discus- people huddled together and offered their                                                                    already had a great im-
sions centered on the divinity of Jesus, a weekly congregational prayer in a carport.                                                                      pact on many young teen-
contentious issue that had always troubled Mohamedy, who also serves as a member                                                                           age girls. Among them is
                                                                on the board of trustees                                                                   Fatima Salman, 15. “She
                                                                of the Islamic center,                                                                     always helps us with our
                                                                added that two years                                                                       problems,” the teen said.
                                                                later the community                                                                        “One day I had this problem
                                                                grew to 200 and the                                                                        with my mom. I told Victo-
                                                                need for a bigger place                                                                    ria about it and she told me
                                                                was only predictable.                                                                      what to do and it worked,”
                                                                “We found a small shop                                                                     Salman recalls with a smile.
                                                                at a strip mall,” recalls                                                                  Many other teenage Muslim
                                                                Ashraf Jakvani, a very                                                                     girls nod their heads when
                                                                active middle-aged com-                                                                    asked about the impact of
                                                                munity member. “There                                                                      Victoria’s presence in their
                                                                we were able to hold          it is nice to be around Muslims, and two, it   midst. “She allows us to be open, we can
                                                                the five daily prayers.”      kind of structures your thinking,” he said.    tell her anything without fear,” they all
                                                                Then, in 1983, a der-         “You realize who you are growing up. This      said almost in unison.
                                                                elict Catholic Church on      environment supplements everything else
                                                                Walnut Drive was put          and it gives you a sense of who you are,”      Teenage boys feel the same way about
                                                                up for sale. The struc-       Qidwai added.                                  Hootan, who is also very active in the youth
Imam Said Saddek, Mubashir Ali abotu to wrestle while Hootan ture was on the market                                                          program. On carnival day he brought an
Afzali referees                                                 for the modest sum of         Hootan concurs with that feeling whole-        arm-wrestling table and organized a com-
                                                                125,000. “Within weeks,       heartedly. The young man has made this         petition for the youth. Everyone seemed
her. “That was the one thing I could not                        we were able to raise a       masjid a focus of his spiritual life. He       to admire and respect him. “He is so much
reconcile in my faith,” she recalls, “but I down payment,” said Jakvani, “and then            commutes from his home in Irvine at least      fun to be around,” said Ahmesh Shabud-
really never wanted to leave it.”             paid the full amount within months.”            twice every week. His attachment to the        din, who had just finished arm-wrestling
                                                                                              center seems to run in his bloodstream.        a much older Mubashir Ali who turned
Hootan Afzali was born in Iran but spent     As the community grew to about 60 fami-          Almost five years ago, Hootan wanted to        a certain defeat into a victory. Not far
most of his childhood traveling around the   lies, it inevitably turned its eyes to educa-    do what every male wants out of life: Get      from them, a sign on a door read “Clinic.”
world with his father who was a diplomat.    tion. “We were worried about our children        married and raise a family. “My parents        Jakvani explained that every Sunday a
He lived with his family in Europe, Russia   growing up in this culture,” recalls Moham-      tried to fix me up with some Persian girls,    volunteer doctor would treat community
and the Middle East, sometimes having to     edy, “So we started a Sunday school.” The        but once I met them I realized right away      members for free. The clinic even hands
pack only six months after unpacking. His    volunteer-run school went on for close to 15                                                                   out free medication.
parents were Muslim but non-practicing.      years. It was not until September 2005 that
Hootan grew up deprived of any knowledge     the community was finally able to open a                                                                        Within weeks after they
of God or a meaning to his existence. By     full-time school. However, the tuition fees                                                                     met, Victoria and Hootan
age 13, he and his family                                      have kept a lot of people at                                                                  started talking on the
immigrated to the United                                       bay. “We only have about                                                                      phone. A few months later,
States where Hootan started                                    fifteen students for now,”                                                                    they met in person and
asking the questions. “I                                       said Michelle Dumay, the                                                                      realized that the chemistry
knew there was more to life                                    school’s principal. Dumay,                                                                    was right and their inten-
than eating and having fun,”                                   herself a mother, substi-                                                                     tions were in line with their
he remembered. “A meaning-                                     tutes as a teacher as well.                                                                   destiny. Fate brought them
ful existence was something                                    “We wanted a curriculum                                                                       together in spite of the
I always aspired to.”                                          that incorporated values                                                                      odds and they knew they
                                                               that were also important                                                                      were meant to be together.
That lingering question had                                    to us as Muslims,” she                                                                        Hootan then pulled a cre-
to have an answer. A friend                                    added. Dumay is an Afri-                                                                      ative and romantic stunt.
of Hootan’s told him one                                       can American who holds a                                                                      He built a website, ar-
day that the Islamic Center                                    graduate degree in chem-                                                                      ranged flowers to be deliv-
of San Gabriel Valley was                                      istry and is as polished                                                                      ered to Victoria then called
having a summer camp and Meriam Abbas, 11 getting her face and articulate as a Har-           Victoria Caldwell and Hootan Afzali                            her from outside the house
that it would be fun to go. painted-                           vard professor. Most of                                                                       and asked her to check a
With some free time on his                                     the school’s teachers are      they were not my type,” he recalls. “I                         specific website. When she
hands, Hootan agreed. The                                      also women. In fact, the       wanted to marry a good Muslim woman,           did, she found the following typed in bold
experience at the camp turned out to be majority of Islamic schools across the na-            someone who put Islam as the focal point       letters: “Would you marry me?” There was
a life-changing one. “I knew immediately tion are made up mainly of female teach-             of her life.” His search was getting nowhere   a “yes” and “no” option. Victoria was blown
this is what I was looking for,” Hootan ers and principals. Many Muslim parents               because, Hootan believes, his nationality      away and could not resist directing the cur-
recalls.                                     balk at the idea of putting their children       and a certain prejudice against someone        sor to “yes.” Exactly five months from the
                                             in Islamic schools for reasons other than        from his assumed Shia background was           day they met, Victoria and Hootan were
Victoria was not so sure though. Her ques- the financial burden. They seem to doubt                                                          wed in South Carolina.
tions lead her to do extensive research on the capability and experience of an Islamic
the Internet and read many books includ- staff that operates in some cases out of                                                            To their surprise, their families were
ing Muslim/Christian dialogue. “I was a sub-standard school structure. Dumay                                                                 very accepting. Hootan’s parents came to
searching for something and didn’t know has a message to allay the parents’ fears.                                                           terms with the fact that their son was a
what it was but I knew I wanted to find it,” “Look at the curriculum and ask yourself:                                                       practicing Muslim and serious about his
she said. “Some people know that there is Is it on par with what is being offered in                                                         beliefs. Victoria’s parents also came to
more to life than what they have but are the public school?” She quickly followed                                                            terms with the fact that their daughter
not in a hurry to find it.” But that was with the answer, “We are exactly on if not                                                          embraced Islam out of conviction and was
not the case for Victoria. She was looking above par with the curriculum offered by                                                          now married to a Muslim man originally
for it and wanted to find it sooner rather the state.”                                                                                       from Iran. “My parents did not object to
than later even if that meant betraying                                                                                                      my wife being African American,” Hootan
a faith that she believed in deeply. “I The Islamic school organizes a carnival                                                              said. “As long as I was happy, my parents
fought the feeling for as long as I could. twice a year. Parents, teachers and com-           Neoofer Mohamad, Victoria Caldwell, Fatima     were happy too,” added Victoria. It was
I didn’t necessarily want to be Muslim. munity members mingle freely in the park-             Salman                                         faith that brought two people together from
But at the same time I wanted to do what ing lot of the center that gets turned tem-                                                         opposite ends of the physical, lingual and
was right.” Victoria said that she resisted porarily into carnival ground with giant          working to his disadvantage. Finally, he       racial spectrum. And everything would
Islam because it was going to revolution- inflatable water slides, food and clothing          decided to join the 21st century matchmak-     not have been possible without the Islamic
ize her belief system and would demand stalls. Emran Khan is the school’s admin-              ing lifestyle and do it the online way.        Center of San Gabriel Valley. Its presence
a lot more from her. All the tenets of her istrator and the organizer of the festivities.                                                    not only pioneered a faith community, but
Christian faith were suddenly held hostage “This is a chance for community members            In a small town in South Carolina, Vic-        it also brought about racial harmony.
to this new ideology, which, although not to meet and have a good time,” she said.            toria Caldwell visited a matrimonial site
a stretch from her own beliefs, was new to Khan is a mother of four children and              as a matter of curiosity and decided to        Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley is
her nevertheless. Seven months into her grandmother of a one-year old boy. “My                post a profile. Within a few days, she was     located on 19164 E. Walnut Dr. North,
new journey, Victoria’s quest came to a children practically grew up in the masjid,”          flooded with hundreds of responses. “I         Rowland Heights, CA 91748 - (626) 964-
fateful and undeniably obvious end.          she said. “This is our sanctuary. I cannot       was overwhelmed,” she recalls. “I had no       3596 - www.icsgv.com
                                             imagine my life without this Islamic cen-        idea it was going to be this huge.” One of
Southern California InFocus   ADVERTISEMENT   June 2006   19
20 June 2006                                                                KIDS CORNER                                                                    Southern California InFocus

                                  Special Delivery                                                                  Quiz on the Early Life of
By Fatima Khan

“Who’s gonna eat all this food? I
                                       and before he knew it, they were
                                       on an unpaved, dusty road. Majid
                                       shook with the car on the bumpy
                                                                            “Yes, Zainab Aunty,” answered
                                                                            a little girl.                                    Prophet
don’t have that much space in my
stomach!” Majid told his aunt.
                                       road. Dirt flew up as they drove
                                       past people’s homes. They were
                                                                            “That’s good. Now take this to
                                                                            your parents. Make sure they get              Muhammad (PBUH)
                                       shacks made of cardboard; oth-       it,” she said as she handed her a
His aunt was sitting on the floor      ers were made of fabric, and still   bag of food.
with two large pots of cooked rice     others were made of tin. Here,
                                                                                                                  W h a t w a s h i s f a t h e r ’s n a m e ?
and curry. In her lap was a pile of    too, children ran on the street,     “Umar, did your dad start work-
plastic bags.                          but their clothes were dirty, if     ing at Mr. Mukaty’s yet?” she
                                       they had any, and their hair was     looked at another little boy.         True or false: His father died before he was
“It’s not for us, silly! It’s a spe-
cial delivery,” answered Zainab                                             “Yes, Zainab Aunty. He really         born.
Aunty. “Come help me.”                                                      likes it there,” answered a little
                                                                            boy.
Majid was staying with his Aunt                                                                                   What was his mother’s name?
Zainab for his summer vacation                                              Zainab Aunty knew every child,
visit to Pakistan. Majid sat down                                           and she asked about others who
on the kitchen floor with his                                               were not present. She knew their
aunt, and together, they made                                               families, how old they were,          In what city was he born?
packets of food. When they were                                             and what was going on with
all done, they loaded the car and                                           their lives. Majid was stunned.
were on their way.                                                          It seems like Zainab Aunty has        How old was he when his mother died?
                                                                            known these people forever.
Majid looked out the window as
they drove past the houses on                                               When all the bags were distrib-
his aunt’s street. The sky was                                              uted, Zainab Aunty greeted the
                                                                                                                  Who was Haleemah?
clear and the sun was shining.                                              children, asking them to convey
Children were playing on the                                                her regards to their parents, and
street in their clean and pressed                                           they drove back home.                 What was his paternal grandfather’s
brand-name clothes. Some were
playing cricket and others were        unmade and bleached from the         On the way, Majid asked, “Zainab      name?
riding their BMX bikes.                sun. They looked at Majid, smil-     Aunty, how do you know these
                                       ing genuinely.                       people so well?”
He looked at the humongous two                                                                                    He was born in the year of _________.
story houses on the street. They       What’re we doing here? Thought       “Sweetie, everything we have is
had large front lawns and several      Majid. Weren’t we supposed to        from Allah, and He commanded
of them had security guards sit-                                            us to give of what we have and be
ting outside. He saw trees and
                                       deliver food to someone?
                                                                            kind to others who do not have
                                                                                                                  How old was he when his paternal grandfa-
grass everywhere, and the roads        “Let’s stop here,” said Zainab       as much. I have been coming to        ther died?
were paved.                            Aunty, as they pulled up near        these people for a long time now,
                                       the children who ran to the car,     so I know their families very well.
Majid wondered who the food was        crowding around the windows.         I consider them good friends of
for. Who would Zainab Aunty                                                 mine.”                                What was the name of the paternal uncle
spend so much time on? He
thought.
                                       “Assalamu alaikum!” said Zainab
                                                                            “I’m going to start making special
                                                                                                                  who cared for him?
                                       Aunty to the kids, smiling. “Fati-
                                       ma, where is your sister? Did she    deliveries, too,” Majid decided,
They made a few turns on roads                                              smiling.
                                                                                                                     nurse; Abdul Muttalib; elephant (570 AD); 8 years; Abu Talib
                                       have her eye surgery?”
he had not been on in the past,
                                                                                                                     Abdullah Ibn Adul-Muttalib; True; Amina bint-u-Wahab; Quraish; 6 years;




   Mas’ Islamic Restaurant
          Halal Chinese Restaurant
                   In Business for 25 years!
              First Chinese Halal Restaurant in
                      Southern California


                Open Seven Days a Week
                Sun-Thurs: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
                           5:00 PM - 9:30 PM

                  Fri -Sat: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
                            5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
   Dine-in * Take Out* Catering * Banquets

                         601 E. Orangethorpe Ave.
                                 Anaheim, CA 92801
                           (714) 446-9553
                Call for all your catering needs
Southern California InFocus                                       FOOD REVIEW/ HEALTH                                                                              June 2006    21
        WHAT’S COOKIN’                                                                                        UMMA
   Restaurant Review by Saaqib Rangoonwala                                                               Community Clinic
Am I the only American-born Muslim
who has always wanted to order a Ham
                                               ing at the words on the menu for a few
                                               minutes, I couldn’t convince myself to
                                                                                                          Health corner
& Cheese sandwich just to be able to           do it. It just felt strange to me. So in-
say that I have ordered one? I had the
chance to do just that – without compro-
                                               stead, I went with the Roast Beef, cold
                                               cut style. The thinly sliced meat was                                         Stroke!
mising my zabihah-conscious appetite           flavorful, while the lettuce, tomatoes,
                                                                                            By Khaliq Siddiq MD, MPH                        face, arm, or leg
– at Sub Hero Sub Zero, adjacent to            onions, pickles, and Provolone made it
Ontario Mills.                                 out of this world!
                                                                                            It can be sudden and devastating, but
                                                                                            knowing the warning signs of a stroke can       What should you do?
I have to admit, I used to have to make I learned that Pastrami is actually
                                                                                            save your life. Stroke is the third leading
a conscious effort to not say the name of corned beef that has been smoked. That
                                                                                            cause of death in the US. It can lead to        With stroke, time is of the essence! Vic-
the place with the accent of a Bollywood is what gives it such a distinct flavor.
                                                                                            severe long-term disability including in-       tims have the best chance if symptoms are
actor. (Take a                                                     Some would say
                                                                                            ability to walk, impaired speech, difficulty    recognized early and treatment is sought
moment and                                                         it is an acquired
imagine Am-          Sub Hero Sub Zero                             taste, and if you
                                                                                            eating, memory loss, and loss of aware-
                                                                                            ness of one’s surroundings.
                                                                                                                                            quickly. The immediate response should
                                                                                                                                            be to call 9-1-1 for immediate transport to
itabh Bachan              4451-A Ontario Mills Parkway             have it, I would
                                                                                                                                            an emergency room. A drug that dissolves
welcoming you                                                      suggest going out
                                   Ontario, CA 91764                                        What is a stroke?                               blood clots (tPA) can only be administered
to “Sub Hero Sub                                                   on a limb to try the                                                     to those who have been evaluated and
Zero.”) Upon vis-                 (909) 484-7244                   Pastrami Sauer-          A stroke results from a sudden decrease         diagnosed within 3 hours, if they are
iting however,            Mon. - Thur: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.             kraut Sandwich.          in supply of oxygen and nutrients to the        having an ischemic type of stroke. Time
I realize what                                                     Slices of hot pastra-
a clever name                 Friday: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.              mi, melted Swiss
                                                                                            brain. As a result, brain cells begin to die.   is brain tissue.
                                                                                            The death of brain tissue is irreversible.
owner Arshi              Sat. & Sun.: Temporarily                  cheese, Thousand         There are two major causes of stroke. In        What can you do to prevent a
Bharucha came                          Closed                      Island dressing,         the first type, called an ischemic stroke,      stroke?
up with. The                                                       and sauerkraut all       blood flow to the brain is temporarily or
neat and clean                                                     on toasted white         permanently blocked.                                                 As with other dis-
eatery serves hot and cold sub-style bread produced an aroma that is un-                    In the second type of                                                eases such as diabe-
sandwiches on one side, while serving a matched. If you want to play it safe,               stroke, a blood vessel                                               tes and high blood
number of flavors of ice cream, shakes, the Barbeque Beef or Barbeque Chicken               in the brain breaks and                                              pressure, lifestyle
and smoothies on the other.                  sandwiches will suffice. Often times,          bleeds into the brain.                                               changes can decrease
                                             barbeque sauce on a sandwich becomes           This is known as a                                                   your chances of hav-
                                             overwhelming. That’s not the case here,        hemorrhagic stroke.                                                  ing a stroke. High
During my outing to Sub Hero Sub Zero, where the barbeque sauce is dominant,                About 80% of strokes                                                 blood pressure, heart
I was treated well by Arshi’s sister, Neha, but not overpowering.                           are ischemic and 20%                                                 disease, smoking, di-
who was taking care of the store that                                                       are hemorrhagic.                                                     abetes and high cho-
particular day. She explained to me Sandwiches are available in six, nine,                                                                                       lesterol increase the
that everything on the menu is available or 12 inches and are made to order, just           Another term to be                                                   risk of stroke. High
                                                            like at other well-known        familiar with is TIA,                                                blood pressure alone
                                                              sandwich shops. The           or transient ischemic                                                increases the risk by
                                                              combo deal includes           attack. TIAs may have                                                4 to 6 times.
                                                              a six-inch sub, chips,        some or all the symp-
                                                              and a drink for a very        toms of a stroke, but before cells begin        If you smoke, quit now! Look for smok-
                                                              reasonable $5.99. If          to die, the blood flow is restored and the      ing cessation resources in your commu-
                                                              you want soup with            symptoms resolve without permanent              nity (call 1-800-NOBUTTS). If you have
                                                              your sandwich, there          damage. TIAs should not be ignored, as          diabetes or high blood pressure, see your
                                                              is a different soup each      more than one-third of people who experi-       doctor regularly to make sure they are
                                                              day as well. There is         ence TIAs will eventually go on to have         controlled. Keeping them under control
                                                              also a nice salad menu,       an actual stroke.                               will greatly reduce your chances of hav-
                                                              consisting of the stan-                                                       ing a stroke. Exercise on a regular basis.
                                                              dard Garden Salad,            The following may represent initial warn-       Also, adopt healthy eating habits by low-
                                                              Chicken Caesar Salad,         ing signs or onset of a stroke or TIA:          ering the fat in your diet (yes, cut back on
                                                              and Chef Salad or the         • Sudden, severe headache                       that biryani) and eating more fresh fruits
                                                              eye-catching Oriental         • Difficulty with speech, swallowing            and vegetables.
                                                              Chicken Salad – shred-        • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of
                                                              ded lettuce and carrots,      coordination, nausea/vomiting                   Dr. Siddiq is an internal medicine physi-
in zabihah except for the Meatball Sub. roasted chicken, red cabbage, red onions,           • Sudden changes in vision (seeing              cian practicing in Orange County. He
All employees are aware of the difference Italian parsley, chow mein noodles, and           double, loss of vision)                         co-founded the UMMA Clinic as a student
between zabihah and non-zabihah, but if sesame seeds – all tossed with Oriental             • Sudden inability to move a part of            at UCLA, and currently serves on its Ad-
you do not appear obvious as Muslim, you dressing! Yummy!                                   the body (paralysis)                            visory Board.
should specify that you want zabihah.                                                       • Sudden numbness or weakness if the
All zabihah sandwiches are served on For the kids who don’t know better,
white bread only because Neha discov- parents have the comfort of ordering
ered that all others contain gelatin.        every child’s favorite Peanut Butter &
                                               Jelly sandwich in a three-inch size with                        InFocus has 50,000
There is a great selection of cold cut sand-
wiches, including Roast Beef, Salami,
                                               a drink and ice cream for $3.99.
                                                                                                            readers across California.
and Almond Chicken. Hot subs include           I intend to go back to Sub Hero Sub Zero
Pastrami, Barbeque Beef, and Barbeque          to convince myself to at least try the Ham
Chicken.                                       & Cheese, and I vow to go back as many                          These readers could be
                                               times as it takes to do so. Meantime, the
I mentioned my opportunity to order a          Roast Beef is my plan B.                                          YOUR customers.
Ham & Cheese sub, which is actually
made with turkey ham. But after star-                                                                    (714) 678-1820 * info@infocusnews.net


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22 June 2006   ADVERTISEMENT   Southern California InFocus
Southern California InFocus                                          ARTS AND BOOKS                                                                              June 2006    23
         THE DA VINCI CODE:                                                                     Don’t Worry; Be Happy
 Or How Controversy Translates
                                                                                          By Genene Salman                               that “Read in the name of Allah” was the
                                                                                                                                         first revelation delivered to the Prophet
                                                                                          Don’t Be Sad (La Tahzan) by ‘Aaidh ibn         Muhammad (peace be upon him), and this
      Into Dollars Signs!                                                                 Abdullah al-Qarni is an easy-read dedi-
                                                                                          cated to instilling optimism. It is a self-
                                                                                                                                         “pastime” has so many benefits that we
                                                                                                                                         may not realize at first glance. Also, the
                                                                                          help book, drawing from Qur’anic verses,       book describes the contagious nature of the
 By Salaam Abdul Khaliq                      celibacy of Jesus Christ are put into
                                                                                          Prophetic sayings, and Islamic stories,        act of a charity as analogous to “perfume”
                                             question. One of the characters in the
                                                                                          along with sayings from many non-Muslim        in that “it benefits the user, the seller,
 Okay, by now, every human on the            book claims that Christian dogma as it
                                                                                          thinkers and philosophers. The book is         and the buyer.”
 planet has either read the book or seen     is known today was concocted by pagan
                                                                                          aimed at inspiring us to be optimists in a
 the film (or at least heard about it). If   Emperor Constantine and a group of
                                                                                          time when wars are raging and mental ill-      One minor but interesting detail of the
 you are among the dozen people or so        clergy at the council of Nicea in 325 A.D.
                                                                                          nesses such as depression                                         book is the section en-
 who have not, there is good news: you       Constantine injected a dose of his own
                                                                                          and anxiety are common in                                         titled “The Blessing of
 have not missed much. The Da Vinci          Roman-inspired paganism into Christi-
                                                                                          this country.                                                     Pain.” It is called a
 Code movie has proved it                                   anity, coining the trinity
                                                                                                                                                            blessing, for one, be-
 is critics’ proof. In spite of                             and the concept of three
                                                                                          From the outset, we are                                           cause pain may moti-
 scathing reviews, the film                                 gods in one. At the time,
                                                                                          reminded of the countless                                         vate us to pray and sup-
 has so far raked in over                                   there were other gospels,
                                                                                          blessings that Allah has                                          plicate to Allah. Also,
 $230 million in worldwide                                  which included the gospel
                                                                                          bestowed upon us, such                                            a thought-provoking
 box office glory. This is yet                              of Mary Magdalene. The
                                                                                          as a peaceful night’s rest,                                       point the book makes
 another tell-tale about                                    latter contradicted the
                                                                                          a breath of fresh air, or                                         is that it is through the
 critics. Someone ought to                                  four canonical gospels
                                                                                          the view of the sunset. It                                        experience of pain and
 tell these literary peddlers                               in regards to the divin-
                                                                                          encourages us to “live in                                         suffering that a poet or
 that maybe it is time to                                   ity of Jesus. The Church
                                                                                          the moment” and make                                              preacher is able to touch
 get a real day job like the                                decreed that all gospels
                                                                                          the most of our time. Call-                                       the hearts of his audi-
 rest of us.                                                that did not agree with
                                                                                          ing idleness the cause of                                         ence. “This is because
                                                            the newborn theology ad-
                                                                                          sadness, the book states,                                         he himself feels pain in
 The film, just like the                                    opted by the council must
                                                                                          “To isolate yourself to the                                       his heart, in his nerves,
 book, is a thrill ride from                                be burned. Anyone who
                                                                                          confines of your own room,                                        and in his blood, and
 start to finish, a little like                             believed anything other
                                                                                          while passing the hours away with lethal       as a result, he is able to infuse the same
 getting on a roller coaster                                than the new doctrine was
                                                                                          idleness, is a certain path to self-destruc-   emotions, via his work, into the hearts of
 and seeing the world zip                                   persecuted and killed.
                                                                                          tion.”                                         others.”
 by in a flash. But just like being on a
 roller coaster, you don’t get to think Controversial? Definitely. Is it re-
                                                                                          The book covers a variety of topics includ-    One of the flaws of the books is its lack
 much about the fun you are having. Con- ally news? At least not to Muslims.
                                                                                          ing “Do not Become a Mimicker,” “Patience      of organization. Topics do not seem to
 trary to what some critics alleged, the The divinity of Jesus has never been a
                                                                                          is Most Fitting,” and “The Art of Happi-       follow any certain order and are rather
 film is anything but                                           contentious issue
                                                                                          ness.” The book connects firmness in faith     scattered. Also, similar topics are re-
 boring. Almost two            “What should matter              in Islam. Although
                                                                                          in Allah with the alleviation of sadness,      peated throughout. Further, the examples
 and a half hours fly                                           a much-revered
 by like a lightening          about Jesus is not so            prophet, Jesus is
                                                                                          calling it “the greatest remedy.” Follow-      given of courageous individuals who have
                                                                                          ing the Islamic concept of pre-ordainment,     overcome obstacles, such as the Prophet
 bolt.                     much his person as much as human as any                        the true believer can accept the past and      Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his
                                                                other prophet. The
 Also, from the open- as his teachings. That is fact that he may
                                                                                          is ready to courageously tackle the chal-      great Companions are covered superfi-
                                                                                          lenges that lie ahead. In addition, the        cially. Perhaps reading the biography of
 ing scene the film          the core message of The or may not have                      strong believer considers the endurance of     the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon
 does not make any                                              married is really
 pretensions that it              Da Vinci Code.”               not relevant to his
                                                                                          hardships as “expiation for his sins” and as   him) alone is sufficient to instill optimism,
                                                                                          a means of drawing closer to Allah.            but this is still a great book to lighten up
 is anything but a                                              divinely-inspired
                                                                                                                                         our days.
 work of fiction. Everything is a pastiche message. The Priory of Scion, the keep-
                                                                                          Practical solutions are given to uplift
 of reality. The characters come across ers of the not-so-secret secret, might as
                                                                                          our spirits, which are also encouraged         Recommended Reading: Change Your
 as mere animated wooden stiffs with well have taken their secret straight
                                                                                          by our faith, such as reading books and        Reality: Change Your Life
 little or no life of their own. The reason from the Quran. What should matter
                                                                                          giving gifts. It is interesting to realize     By Robin McKnight, LPC
 is that The Da Vinci Code is primarily about Jesus is not so much his person
 plot-driven. It is not a character study as much as his teachings. That is the
 by any stretch of the imagination. Once core message of The Da Vinci Code. It
 the viewer realizes this fact, the film asks the questions: What IF Jesus was
 becomes fun to watch. It does have seri- mortal? What IF he fathered a daugh-               �������������������������������
 ous flaws nonetheless. The filmmakers ter? Humanizing the Son of God and
 did a decent job punching up the script, thwarting people from worshipping him
 improving on the novel and covering would of course upset the hierarchy of
 major plot holes, but in the process cre- the power-driven Catholic Church and
 ated other plot holes large enough to ruffle the feathers of millions of faithful
 drive a flock of gas-guzzling hummers whose entire faith revolves around the
 through.                                   divinity of Christ.                                   Dine-in or Take-out����������������������
                                                                                               ����������������������     ������������������������������
 The controversy surrounding The Da          Ironically, The Da Vinci Code book came
 Vinci Code is what really whetted the       out in April 2004, almost two months            ���������������������������  ������������������������������
 public’s appetite for the film and made     after The Passion of the Christ film             �������������������������  ����������������������������������
 it such a huge success. Some of the alle-   was released. Coincidence? Maybe not.
 gations made in the book have incensed      Hollywood has its own way of creating
                                                                                               ���������������������
                                                                                                                                       �����
 the Catholic Church and offended many       controversy, then reaping the benefits                   ��������
 faithful followers.                         at the box office. If there is any wisdom
                                             to be learned from The Da Vinci Code         ���������������������������������������������
 A secret society called The Priory of       (book and film) hullabaloo it is that all
 Scion has been protecting a deadly          things in our modern world boil down                   �������������������������������������������
 secret that, if revealed, would redefine    to one thing: the bottom line, the true                 �������������������������������������
 Christianity. Both the divinity and         pseudo religion of our time.
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24 June 2006                                                                MONEY/LEGAL                                                                       Southern California InFocus

Distributing Assets To Adult Children                                                                                Protecting Charities,
                  By Saghir
                  Aslam              If trusts are involved, you want       Do You Need To Make Spe-
                                                                                                                  Masjids, or Other Non-Profits
                                     a trustee who is impartial and         cial Distributions To Even            By Todd Gallinger                       income from the business for its
                   When your         who will deal fairly with all your     Out Inheritance?                                                              religious, educational, or charita-
                   children were     children. Think twice before                                                 One of the favorite parts of my         ble purposes and also protect the
                   young, your       naming one of your children as         Perhaps you have paid all college     job as an attorney is helping           organization from any liability
                   primary con-      trustee. With one sibling in a         costs for some children, while        non-profit organizations and            generated by the business inter-
                   cern may have     position to decide what happens        other children have not yet at-       masjids with their work in the          est. For example, if a non-profit
                   been how to       to another sibling’s inheritance,      tended college. You may want to       American Muslim community.              leases out part of a business it
provide for them in the event        this can cause disagreements           ensure that all children receive      Most of these groups are formed         owns directly and someone sues
you and your spouse died. Even       between siblings.                      a college education and then          as 501(c)(3)s, named after the          them, whether for breaking a
though they may now be grown                                                distribute the rest of your estate    section of the tax code that gives      lease or from any accident in the
up, your children are probably       Have You Thought About                 equally among your children.          tax-exempt status. In addition          building, the rest of the non-prof-
still the center of your estate      The Consequences Of A Child                                                  to the organization itself being        its assets will be at risk. Properly
plan. Just because they are          Divorcing?                             Should You Coordinate Your            tax-exempt, donations to these          forming a subsidiary to hold the
adults doesn’t mean that you                                                Estate Plan With Your Chil-           groups are tax deductible to the        real estate or other business asset
have to leave their entire inheri-   You probably don’t want some           dren’s Estate Plans?                  donor. I always receive questions       will generally limit the potential
tance to them outright. Consider     of your assets distributed to an                                             from these groups about the legal       liability only to the assets held
these factors first:                 ex-daughter-in-law or ex-son-in-       If your children have substantial     restrictions they face in exchange      by the subsidiary and protect the
                                                                                                                  for this tax-exempt status. One of      other property of the non-profit.
                                     law, so special provisions may         estates of their own, it may not
                                                                                                                  the most com-
Do You Want To Distribute            need to be added to trusts.            make sense to leave additional
                                                                                                                  mon inquiries is                                          In order to ob-
Your Estate Gradually?                                                      assets to them. They may prefer
                                                                                                                  into the type of                                          tain this protec-
                                     Have You Considered How                those assets go directly to their
                                                                                                                  activities that                                           tion, however,
If substantial assets are in-        Assets Will Be Distributed             children, helping to minimize
                                                                                                                  they can en-                                              the non-profit
volved, you may want to set up       Among Children?                        family estate taxes.
                                                                                                                  gage in to raise                                          must make sure
trusts to distribute your assets                                                                                  money.                                                    that it adheres
gradually, such as the thirds        Perhaps one child is better off        Another Way To Work On Your                                                                     to all corporate
when each child reaches age          financially then the other chil-       Estate Planning Is Gifts.             501(c)(3)s are                                            formalities.
25, 30, and 35. You can always       dren. Do you divide your estate        You may give a gift of $11,000        actually not re-                                          These formali-
give the trustee power to make       equally or give less to the finan-     to each one of your children or       stricted in the                                           ties must be
early distributions for items        cially well-off child? Children        grandchildren; between you and        ways they can                                             respected in
such as paying for college, start-   often feel a right to an equal         your spouse, you can give gift up     raise money.                                              terms of the
ing a business, or purchasing a      share of their parents’ estate,        to $22,000. If you follow this sys-   Charities and                                             non-profit and
home.                                even if they have a substantial        tem every single year, you can        other groups                                              the subsidiary.
                                     estate of their own. If you decide     slowly transfer the assets to your    can engage in activities that           Both groups must have filed all
Have You Selected A Trustee          to make unequal distributions,         children and grandchildren.           make a “profit,” meaning gener-         proper documents with the state
Carefully?                           be sure to explain why.                                                      ate income for the group. Ex-           and federal authorities. They
                                                                                                                  amples of this could be selling         must also have separate man-

  Amex Mulls Islamic Credit Card                                                                                  advertisements in a newsletter,
                                                                                                                  holding a bake sale, or leasing
                                                                                                                  a building the group owns. But
                                                                                                                                                          agement, hopefully with some
                                                                                                                                                          managers not in common. The
                                                                                                                                                          managers must meet regularly
         in Middle East                                                                                           regardless of where the income of
                                                                                                                  a nonprofit comes from, it has to
                                                                                                                                                          and properly authorize the activi-
                                                                                                                                                          ties of the group, including any
Gulf News                            Stokes said the biggest challenge                                            be used for the purposes stated in      monetary transfers from the sub-
                                     for the credit card industry was to    American Express’ credit card         the group’s formation documents,        sidiary to the parent non-profit.
By Arif Sharif                       lure an increasing number of con-      business in the Middle East,          whether it is religious, educa-         Making sure that all these rules
                                     sumers to use credit cards instead     which spans some 18 countries,        tional, or charitable. Also, none of    are followed is also important to
Dubai -- American Express,           of cash although a low user base       is expected to treble at the end of   the profit can ordinarily go to any     the managers and leaders of a
the world’s biggest charge card      meant there was potential for          2006 from three years ago while       individual, except as a reasonable      non-profit, because it can protect
issuer, is evaluating the pos-       rapid growth in the future.            the number of its card users is       salary properly approved by the         them from personal liability.
sibility of launching an Islamic                                            poised to double.                     leaders of the non-profit.
credit card and sees cash as its                                                                                                                          This is only a brief description of
biggest competitor in the Middle                                            Growth prospects                      The fact that a non-profit group        some of the steps that charities,
East, a top company official said                                                                                 can engage in business activi-          masjids, and other non-profits
yesterday.                                                                  Growth will be helped by the fact     ties does not necessarily mean          can engage in to protect their
                                                                            that the average person spends        that they should do so directly.        assets and ensure that they are
Trevor Stokes, Chief Executive                                              on American Express cards is          If the business activity is easily      able to carry out their mission.
of American Express’ Travel                                                 nearly three or four times that       segregable from the nonprofit           This article is not intended to
Related Services for the Middle                                             of a Visa or a Master Card. Be-       activities, like leasing out a build-   be legal advice and does not cre-
East and North Africa told Gulf                                             sides, some 20,000 new merchant       ing or running a book or grocery        ate any sort of attorney-client
News the Islamic card was one                                               establishments have signed up         store,the business should prob-         relationship. Any non-profit,
of several products the bank was     “The future of the credit card         in the past three years to accept     ably be held by a separate orga-        other group, or individual is
evaluating to better serve local     industry is indeed rosy because        American Express cards.               nization. The other organization        encouraged to contact a licensed
consumers.                           cash is really historic. If you look                                         could be a for-profit corporation       attorney for more information or
                                     at the US now, some 40 percent         Stokes said there were some           which the nonprofit owns stock in,      advice regarding the content of
“Our charge card is virtually a      of consumer transactions are           71 million American Express           a foundation, a trust, or another       this article.
Sharia-compliant credit card and     settled by credit cards and it         cards in circulation globally but     charity. This separate organiza-
we could easily adapt that to fit    won’t be long when there would         declined to say how many it had       tion, which holds the business          Todd Gallinger is an attorney
the needs of a Sharia-compli-        be a charge on cash payments. In       issued in the Middle East. Over-      asset, is called a subsidiary.          who often works with charities,
ant card,” said Stokes in Dubai,     the Middle East, though there is       all, the number of card users in                                              masjids, and other non-profit
where he attended a credit card      a discount on cash payments, this      the Middle East was growing at        Structuring the business activi-        groups. He has offices based in
industry event.                      is not a great help for the card       about 30 percent a year, though       ties this way could ensure that         Irvine and can be reached at (949)
                                     industry.”                             from a small base, he said.           the non-profit is able to use the       341-0207.
Southern California InFocus                                                             ISLAM                                                                           June 2006     25
                Finding Paradise                                                                          What Drew Me to Islam
                  By Yasmin Mogahed             “In this world there is a paradise to be
                                                entered; he who does not enter it, will not      By Ian Zacher                                 ing favoritism to one people? I studied
                  Where is paradise? It’s a     enter the paradise of the world to come….                                                      Buddhism and came to the conclusion
                  question we all ask. But      What can my enemies possibly do to me?           In my childhood I was raised by two           that there are way too many rituals to
                  few of us know where          My paradise is in my heart; wherever I go        parents who would be considered Hip-          remember, too many motions to act on,
                  to find it. Many of us        it goes with me, insepa¬rable from me.”          pies. Religion was not a thing that I was     too much superstition--it did not feel
                  go through our entire                                                          exposed to while growing up. My father        right to me.
                  lives searching for that      Paradise does indeed exist. There is a           was raised in a predominately Christian
                  contentment, and if ever      paradise of this life--and a paradise of the     household and my mother was raised as         Then a tragic thing happened to me--my
there was a pursuit that all humans share,      next. But what is that paradise of this life?    and is a baptized Mormon. Neither one         closest friend passed away violently. This
it would be that pursuit of happiness.          The prophet, peace be upon him, has said,        of them actually practiced their religion     sent me into a curse mode. I cursed the
                                                “There are a people who leave this earth         once they left the household. My parents      very existence of God. About a year later,
And in that pursuit, we search in all differ-   without ever tasting its sweetness.” When        never talked about faith or spirituality,     I started to think, why do I act upon this
ent places. Some of us search in wealth,        he was asked what that sweetness was, he         but never harbored any ill feelings to-       anger towards something that I don’t
status or worldly possessions. Some             replied, “Knowing God.”                          wards any particular faith. It just never     think exists? Then I got this feeling of
believe that if only they could attain the                                                       came up as a topic of discussion. I think     shock that there is a Creator, but what is
                                                                                                 it was this upbringing that allowed me        this and how do I get to understand what
                                                                                                 to objectively look into all forms of faith   it is we are here for? I looked towards the
     The prophet, peace be upon him, has said, “There                                            and have an unbiased understanding of         sky and asked this question. The answer
       are a people who leave this earth without ever                                            each religion.                                came to me not long afterwards.

     tasting its sweetness.” When he was asked what                                                                                                                                       I
      that sweetness was, he replied, “Knowing God.”                                              Then I got this feeling of shock that there is a
                                                                                                  Creator, but what is this and how do I get to
job or the salary they’ve always wanted,        In the absence of that knowledge of God,             understand what it is we are here for?
they would find that ever-coveted bliss.        one can never know true bliss in this life-
For others, happiness is                                      -or the next. Allah says:          My first exposure to any religion was go-     went to the library by my house and just
sought in living this life as                                 “Whosoever turns away              ing to Catholic school. I did not go there    looked into the religion section. Here was
if it were the end. For them,                                 from My remembrance,               for the religion but for the discipline and   this book that had writing I have never
the most important goal is                                    verily for him is a miser-         the education. While I was there, I had       seen before. I opened it and for the first
the maximization of worldly                                   able life, and We shall            to study the Bible two hours a day five       time I was being exposed to Allah. I read
pleasure.                                                     raise him up blind on the          days a week for three years. In my stud-      lots of books after that. I studied the
                                                              Day of Judgment” (Quran            ies with the book, I automatically found      beliefs and practices of this new religion
What is most sad about this                                   20:124).                           the inherent flaw: how is this explaining     called Islam. Then 9/11 happened. I be-
pursuit is how deceptive                                                                         God’s existence? If I had to go by this       came involved with the Peace movement
it can be. Like a mirage                                       This blindness on the Day         book for understanding God, then there        and I met a brother named Mike Clark,
in a desert, often we chase                                    of Judgment is only a con-        is no way there could be a God. I started     who helped me better understand certain
things only to find they were                                  tinuation of the spiritual        asking tough questions to the priests and     things like fasting, praying, etc. I was
nothing but illusions. After                                   blindness of those who turn       nuns but none of their answers were ever      hit by the feeling of truth. I continued to
spending our entire lives                                      away from God’s remem-            satisfying for me in reference to God’s       study Islam for another year. I then went
seeking these things, we find                                  brance in this life. That         existence.                                    to a park and did the Shahada by myself.
that once we achieve them,                                     remembrance, which one                                                          The Prophet (pbuh) said that when look-
we are still just as empty as                                  can develop by studying the       When I got into high school, I started        ing for knowledge you need to search for
we started.                                                    signs of God, is an essential     studying science havily and this seemed       it even if it takes you all around the earth,
                                                component of spiritual and emotional             to make more sense to me than religion.       then once it has been attained you need
What many people do not understand is           health. The overwhelming contentment             Stuff I can feel, touch, quantify and see     to hold onto it and run with it. That is
that such emptiness can only be filled in       that comes from pouring one’s heart into         I thought was it. I became a materialist.     exactly what I did. Allah had me looking
one way. Allah says in the Quran: “Those        prayer, standing in the middle of the night,     The material world is all that is here,       all over, and then once he opened up and
who believe, and whose hearts find sat-         or watching the greatness of God in the          what is before me is it. When I die, I just   showed me the real truth of His Oneness,
isfaction in the remembrance of Allah.          sunrise, is something that no amount of          become good fertilizer. I held on to this     I took it and ran with it. A year later, I
For without doubt in the remembrance of         money could ever buy.                            belief for quite some time.                   took Shahada at ICOI with Shaikh Sadul-
Allah do hearts find satisfaction” (Quran                                                                                                      lah Khan. In my whole life, I was never
13:28).                                         Yet people continue to search for it in every    At this time, I was still studying differ-    more welcomed by a community who had
                                                other place. But the truth is, while we’re       ent religions but none seemed to make         no idea who I was. Shaikh Sadullah asked
This satisfaction, referred to in the Quran     all searching for the very same thing, only      any sense. I read about Judaism and           me the reason why I entered Islam, and I
as ‘itmi’naan’ is what Shaykh ul Islam Ibn      those who can look beyond the mirage will        found out that I had to be born into this.    said, because of the peace it brings me.
Taymmiyah was speaking of when he said,         ever truly find it.                              I thought, how strange this God is, show-

                                                                                                Ian Zacher took his Shahdah during Ramadan in 2002, at the Islamic Center of
    AYAH TO PONDER                                                                              Irvine with Shaikh Sadullah Khan.

   “And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your monthers while you
   know nothing. And he gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give                 If you are new to Islam, send us your thoughts on what attracted you to Islam
   thanks to (to Allah).” (Quran 16:78)                                                         in 500 words. Please submit it via email to submissions@infocusnews.net,
                                                                                                with the subject “What Drew Me to Islam.” Include your name and when and
   PROPHETIC WISDOM                                                                             where you took the shahadah.
  The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The good deeds of any per-
  son will not make him enter Paradise (i.e., no one enters paradise only through
  his good deeds).” The Prophet’s companions asked: “Not even you?” The Prophet
  replied: “Not even myself, unless God bestows his favor and mercy on me. So be
                                                                                                Points of Benefit - From al-Fawaa`id of
  moderate in your religious deeds and do what is within your ability. None of you                      Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
  should wish for death, for if he is a doer of good, he may increase his good deeds,
  and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to God.”                                                “How can anyone who has common sense trade Paradise and
  Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Hadith 577                                                                   what is in it for the pleasure of one hour?”



                                                                                                                      EXPLORE THE

                    Scholars who participate on regular basis:
 Shaykh Abdul-Azzeez Aal Shaykh
 (Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia)
                                                Shaykh Muhammed As-Subayyal
                                                 (Imaam and Khateeb of Masjid
                                                                                                                   Qur’an
 Shaykh Abdullaah Al-Ghudyaan                   Al-Haraam)                                             CAIR has launched a campaign to distribute free
 (Member of Council of Senior Scholars)         Shaykh Abdur-Rehmaan As-Sudays
 Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan                       (Imaam and Khateeb of Masjid                          copies of the Qur’an. Over 30,000 copies have been
 (Member of Council of Senior Schoars)
 Shaykh Saalih Muhammed
                                                Al-Haraam)
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 Higher Judiciary Council)                      Masjid)..and many more!

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26 June 2006   ADVERTISEMENT   Southern California InFocus
Southern California InFocus                                                        TRAVEL                                                                              June 2006     27
                                           Learning Life Lessons in Egypt
By Daniel Witter                                                           what these people must think of       It appeared to me that some of         of a pantheon of gods and god-
                                      Yes, Egypt has the pyramids, the     foreigners like myself passing by     the Egyptians were embarrassed         desses, and they build mosques
The light of day began to fade over   deserts, and camels. But for a       on these hotel ships. I thought       by the bombings because they           instead of
Cairo, Egypt as I stared up at the    Caucasian American like myself,      they might harbor resentment          made an extra effort to welcome        pyramids and temples.
Great Pyramids and Sphinx on the      there is so much more to the         toward us because of this display     us. On several occasions following
desert plateau above me.              country of 70 million people, and    of wealth, even though I am not       the bombings, people warmly and        But really, the Egyptian people
                                      two weeks was not enough time to     wealthy.                              sincerely said,                        aren’t all that different from us.
As I contemplated the magnificent     absorb it all.                                                             “Welcome to Egypt.” It was im-         They have similar dreams of hav-
work of the Egyptian people, the                                           Surprisingly, I was wrong. Many       portant to me to thank them and        ing a better life for themselves
voice of a man chanting echoed off                                                                               let them know that I appreciated       and their children. Maybe many
the walls and across the rooftops
from somewhere behind me.

I turned to listen. Within mo-
ments, the sky was filled with
chants from a half dozen other
mosques within a half-mile calling
Muslims to evening prayers.

The sound filtered through the
surrounding conversations and
drowned them out. At that point,
I lost interest in everything else
and wanted to absorb the mo-
ment – the setting, the chanting      Children at the Citadel in Cairo
and that I was sitting right there
to hear it. I have never heard        One of the things that immedi-       seemed excited to see us. Children
anything so unique in my life and     ately struck me was the extent of    stopped what they were doing to
I found it to be a beautiful few      poverty. All along the Nile River,   wave and call out hellos to us from    Saleh al-Din mosque by the Citadel overlooking Cairo
moments.                              in villages great and small, stood   the shore many yards away.
                                      buildings made of mud brick.                                               their kindness. I wanted them to       of them will continue to be farmers
This experience was a long time       Most homes had no electricity.       The scene was a far cry from the      know that I didn’t let the bomb-       or housewives in small villages.
in coming. I remember watch-          Farmers harvested their crops by     city of Dabah, where terrorists       ings stain my perception of the        Maybe they will become doctors
ing TV documentaries about the        hand and moved them by carts         in April set off three bombs in a     Egyptian people, who I thought         and lawyers in the big cities. But
pyramids and the temple ruins as      and mules, while women washed        marketplace, killing mostly Egyp-     were quite friendly. I hope that       they all carry the same hope for
a child and thinking it would be      laundry in the river as the chil-    tians. I was in Aswan – several       message got across to them.            the future that we have.
a great place to explore because      dren played in the water.            hundred miles away from Dabah
it was so different from my home-                                          – when the bombings occurred.         There is much to learn from the        As I climbed aboard the plane to
town of Center City, Minnesota.       I was shocked to see such extreme    Naturally, I became concerned for     Egyptian people. I found my-           come home, I couldn’t help but
As an adult in California, I wanted   poverty. But then I took a closer    my safety. But then I was relieved    self envying their perseverance.       look at the world a little different-
to break out of my comfort zone       look and soon found myself hum-      to learn I was never in danger.       Despite the passing ages, the          ly. Good trips do that to a person.
and visit a place vastly different,   bled by the Egyptian people. They                                          invaders, catastrophes and the         I felt I changed a little.
see another culture and learn a       didn’t appear unhappy, starving,     The bombings didn’t seem to dis-      rise and fall of empires, Egypt
little bit more about the world I     or angry. On the contrary, most      turb life in Aswan at all. Scores     continues on.                          I saw things I’ve never seen before,
live in.                              seemed relatively content and        of Egyptian vacationers and resi-                                            felt humbled by them and left with
                                      happy.                               dents continued on with their         Today, Egyptians remain every bit      a little better grasp that there is
What I found in Egypt fulfilled                                            vacations, their picnics, and their   as faithful to their beliefs as they   much we can learn from them. All
both my childhood visions and         I began to feel a bit guilty as I    daily lives.                          did when they built the Pyramids.      we have to do is look and listen.
adult wishes.                         stood on my ship deck, wondering                                           Today they worship Allah instead




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28 June 2006                                                                  COMMENTARY                                                                     Southern California InFocus


                                 Is There a Muslim Lobby in the U.S.?
By Alexander Gainem                    “Arab and Muslim governments           “References to Arab or Muslim       ficiently targeted by journalists      for such a group to be formed.
                                       often conspire against one an-         lobbies occur only in the Arab      and pro-Israel groups.
Freelance Journalist – Canada          other, and their rivalries, espe-      and Muslim press, or in the pro-                                           In late October 2001, former US
                                       cially in the 1970s and 1980s,         paganda of pro-Israeli groups,”     When CAIR contacted FOX net-           ambassador to Egypt and Israel
When John Mearsheimer of the           were mirrored in the competition       says Abukhalil.                     work to raise the issue of negative    Edward Walker urged Arab gov-
University of Chicago and Ste-         and rivalries between Arab and                                             stereotyping of Muslims on the         ernments to set up measures
phen Walt of Harvard published         Muslim organizations                                                         popular TV thriller “24,” jour-      to counter Israel’s influence in
a report highlighting the efficacy     in the United States,”     “While the global population                      nalist Cliff Kincaid accused it      America’s policy-making.
of the Israeli lobby in molding
US domestic and foreign policy,
                                       he adds.
                                                                   of Jews is some 15 million,                      of being a “lobby” attempting
                                                                                                                    to intimidate the media.             “But you, the Arabs, can no longer
charges of malpractice and aca-        The deep divisions in       there are nearly 1.2 billion                                                          afford to just ignore Washington.
demic dishonesty were leveled at       the Arab world (along                                                       CAIR says its mission is to en-       Arab governments and institu-
the authors.                           sectarian and ethnic       Muslims in the world. If the                     hance understanding of Islam,         tions should start considering
However, in the vitriol exchanged
by supporters and detractors of
                                       lines) only impair the
                                       effectiveness of those
                                                                  logic of strength in numbers                     encourage dialogue, protect civil
                                                                                                                   liberties, empower American
                                                                                                                                                         how to affect public opinion in the
                                                                                                                                                         US,” he told a political discussion
the paper, an illuminating section     groups. “In the case       is applied, why then is there                    Muslims, and build coalitions         forum hosted by the University
is overlooked.                         of the Arab and Mus-                                                        that promote justice and mu-          of Jordan.
Mearsheimer and Walt, in com-          lim lobbies, there is       no Muslim lobby to balance                      tual understanding. It does not
paring the existence of the Israeli    a plethora of often        the strong influence of other                    lobby senators and congress-          “One can say that there never
lobby to the likelihood of the exis-   competing groups and                                                        men to affect pro-Muslim tilt in      was a serious attempt to create
tence of a similar Muslim or Arab      organizations, which               lobby groups?”                           US foreign policy.                    an Arab or Muslim lobby, and
grouping, say “pro-Arab interest       do not seem to adhere                                                                                             that whatever organizations that
groups, in so far as they exist at     to the same agenda,”                   Worldnetdaily.com, a website          Compare that to AIPAC’s mis-         exist today under that umbrella
all, are weak, which makes the         AbuKhalil remarks.                     that has featured commentary        sion statement as follows:             of a name have only succeeded
Israeli lobby’s task even easier.”                                            by writer Joseph Farah urging       Through more than 2,000 meet-          in effectively representing the
Although there is no national          Mearsheimer and Walt’s paper           the killing of 100 non-combat-      ings with members of Congress at       interests of ruling Arab dynas-
consensus data on the number           points to the Jewish Americans’        ant Palestinian adults for every    home and in Washington AIPAC           ties,” AbuKhalil says of Saudi
of Muslims in the United States,       skillfulness in setting up an im-      slain Israeli, regularly uses the   activists help pass more than          Arabian initiatives to influence
estimates put the figure between       pressive array of influential                                                        100 pro-Israel legisla-      US foreign policy regarding the
six and seven million, equal to the    organizations, of which the                                                          tive initiatives a year.     Kingdom.
number of Jews in the country.         American-Israel Public Af-                                                           From procuring nearly
Each religious group accounts          fairs Committee (AIPAC) is                                                           $3 billion in aid critical   “But those dynasties don’t even
for two percent of the US popula-      the most powerful and best                                                           to Israel’s security, to     rely on those loyal groups and
tion. While the global population      known.                                                                               funding joint US-Is-         organizations when they wish
of Jews is some 15 million, there                                                                                           raeli efforts to build       to advance a particular issue:
are nearly 1.2 billion Muslims in      AIPAC operates in near uni-                                                          a defense against un-        Instead, they hire ‘purely’ Ameri-
the world.                             son with several think tanks,                                                        conventional weapons,        can public relations and lobbying
                                       such as the Washington                                                               AIPAC members are            firms in order not to allow the
If the logic of strength in numbers    Institute, the Heritage Foun-                                                        involved in the most         Arab or Muslim stigma to hurt
is applied, why then is there no       dation, Project for a New                                                            crucial issues facing        their lobbying efforts.”
Muslim lobby to balance the            American Century (PNAC),                                                             Israel.
strong influence of other lobby        and others who share a com-                                                                                       With individual Middle Eastern
groups?                                mon denominator: pro-Israel                                                          Consequently, labeling       nations opting to choose public
                                       policies.                              term Islamic or Muslim lobby to              CAIR and other advo-          relations firms to represent their
As’ad AbuKhalil, professor of po-      They produce monthly reports           refer to advocacy groups trying     cacy groups as “lobbies” is an         interests in Washington, the
litical science at California State    culled from “experts” in Israel as     to combat Islamophobia through      exercise in journalistic inequity      prospect of a Muslim lobby ever
University at Stanislaus, says         well as journalists on the ground.     education and awareness cam-        and willful disinformation.            consolidating its efforts in the
Arabs and Muslims in the United        These are then used in a unified       paigns.                                                                    future remains murky.
States are far from being united       assault on the US Congress to                                              While no real unified Arab or
and are in a state of disagreement     influence policy to tilt in favor      One such advocacy group, the        Muslim lobbying platform can be        Alexander Gainem is a freelance
over many issues.                      of Israel.                             Council on American-Islamic         considered to be functional in the     journalist who has written exten-
                                                                              Relations (CAIR), has been suf-     United States, the need remains        sively on Middle East issues.



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                                          Where the Cross Meets the Crescent
                         Reflections on Muslim and Christian Spirituality in the Southland
By Rev. Connie Regener                 able learning ancient traditions       His interesting story is told       for in the Irvine Great Park. A        by many forms of transportation.
                                       new to us.                             in Genesis 14, the first book       place for the Melchizedeks and         What is on your wish list?
“I wouldn’t want to be there—all                                              of the Hebrew Torah and the         the Abrahams to mingle. What
of you would be fighting.”             I guess that implies I can learn       Christian Old Testament.            would that look like in today’s        The Wisdom Pavilion. Yes! I
                                       something from other ancient           Melchizedek is a Canaan-            Orange County? Let’s encour-           would want to be there. I’d want
With those words, a fellow con-        traditions. Perhaps you are not        ite priest-king who                      age the Corporation to put        to bask in the peace sculpture gar-
feree shot down my idea of creat-      familiar with Christians who           seems to have                             some acreage to our com-         den, walk the labyrinth, pause to
ing some sacred space, such as a                         display such an      knowledge of the                          mon ground vision. Send          honor the symbols of my wisdom
Wisdom Pavilion, at the Irvine                           open attitude        true God apart from                       your ideas to InFocus at         tradition, enjoy a quiet moment
Great Park.                                              of learning from     our father Abraham’s rev-           info@infocusnews.net. Title your       of meditation, connect to the an-
                                                   others. As a Christian,    elation. Abraham gave a             message “Great Park Sacred             cient and the everlasting. How
But I wasn’t about to be put down                I believe the Bible is       tithe (tenth) of goods to           Space,” and we’ll pass them on to      about you?
that easily. There were others at                 true, but I also believe    Melchizedek, declaring              the Corporation.
the Irvine Multicultural Associa-                              that not all   that they worshipped the                                                   The Wisdom Pavilion: that’s
tion Brain Rain (brainstorming)                                truth is in    same God, the Maker of heaven       One of the items on my wish list       where I find that the cross meets
meeting that championed my                                    the Bible.      and earth. Certainly, Melchize-     is a spiritually-themed wedding        the crescent…and the Star of
cause.                                                     Are you aware      dek held some Canaanite beliefs     pavilion near ethnic restaurants       David, and the lotus blossom, and
One person pointed out that we         there is an ancient story that sug-    that differed from Abraham’s        that would be an attractive al-        the kirpan (Sikh sword).
needed a neutral place where we        gests there is knowledge of God        beliefs, but they were able to      ternative to the secular Las
can come together to experience        and truth outside the Hebrew and       establish a common ground for       Vegas wedding chapels and ca-          Rev. Connie Regener, a graduate
each other’s holiday celebrations      Christian traditions? The central      relationship.                       sino buffets (so-called destination    of Fuller Theological Seminary
and significant rights of passage.     figure is Melchizedek, the king                                            weddings). Let’s make Orange           in Pasadena, is a religious com-
Others spoke of a safe, public         of Salem.                              A common ground for relation-       County a sacred and dignified          mentator in the Southland.
place where we could feel comfort-                                            ship—that’s what I am asking        wedding destination, accessible
Southern California InFocus                                                  COMMENTARY                                                                                    June 2006     29
   Health Care Not Only for                                                                            AN INTERFAITH VIEW
          Privileged
                    By Hussam Ayloush            Every person deserves medical care be-
                                                                                                      “The Battle of Boston”
                                                 cause God has decreed that every life is
                    Q: How should peo-           sacred and every person has dignity.                                 By Lawrence Swaim
                                                                                                                                                  Salma Kazmi, Assistant Director of
                    ple of faith respond         In another verse, God says: “...anyone who                            Religious liberty is one   the ISB, serves with Ms. Silverman on
                    to the growth in             saves a life, it shall be as if he had saved                          of the most precious       the Cambridge Peace Commission. “A
                    the number of peo-           the life of all humankind.” (Quran, 5:32)                             gifts bequeathed to us     Jewish Voice for Peace is an extremely
                    ple without ad-                                                                                    by the American Revo-      important ally for us,” she told InFocus.
                                                 Life, more importantly, a good quality of                             lution. We are indeed      “We’re all learning a lot.” The ISB is
                    equate health-care           life, is a fundamental human right of all,                            lucky, then, that the      also receiving support from Christians
coverage?                                        not just the privileged few. If one fails to      Islamic Society of Boston (ISB)—located        in the Cambridge/Somerville area, re-
                                                 attain medical care because of low income         in the city that gave birth to the Revolu-     portedly including the Clarendon Hill
A: Spiraling medical costs and a growing         or a debilitating disability, it becomes the      tion—is vigorously defending that same         Presbyterian Church. Sources report
uninsured population require that reli-          responsibility of society and government          precious liberty in court by advocating        that Temple Beth Shalom, a synagogue
gious leaders join the health-care debate        to carry that burden.                             the right of a faith community to build a      in Cambridge, has a regular discussion
and offer a solution.                                                                              house of worship for their own spiritual       group with ISB members, co-facilitated
                                                 As a society, we are as strong as our weak-       and communal advancement.                      by Ms. Kazmi.
Faced with ever-rising costs, more and           est members. If America, the most power-
more companies are dropping their health         ful economy and most advanced in medical          It’s no secret that the Islamic Society        Clearly, the David Project has no interest
insurance plans, depriving many families,        technology, will not take care of its sick,       of Boston has for years been building          in protecting Boston from terrorism—if
children and the elderly of much-needed          poor, the elderly and children, then who          a Mosque and Cultural Center in the            they had any real proof of illegal activity,
medical care. Today, an astounding 46mil-        will? A country that can spend so many            neighborhood of Roxbury—and many               they’d simply turn it over to law enforce-
lion Americans lack health insurance.            billions on warfare can certainly find the        Bostonians believe the complex can only        ment. What they really want, sadly, is to
                                                 necessary money to save lives at home.            benefit this often-disadvantaged area.         stop the construction of a house of wor-
Islam teaches that God intends for us,                                                             But in early 2003, the ISB became the          ship for Muslims. That is a fundamental
human beings, to strive for our societies        “None of you truly believes until he loves        target of a series of sensational articles     violation of the religious liberty of a com-
to set rights and obligations for all people,    for his brethren (fellow human being)             in the Boston Herald and on Fox TV             munity, not just of Boston’s Muslims in
protect the public interest and promote          what he loves for himself,” and “The most         Channel 25. In 2004, a resident of a           2006 but of future generations as well.
justice and compassion.                          beloved of people to God is the one who is        nearby neighborhood filed a lawsuit            This attempt to interfere with the spiri-
                                                 most helpful and beneficial to people,” are       alleging that the ISB had received city        tual and institutional growth of a faith
Many of our laws are being drafted by in-        two sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.              lands at rates unlawfully favorable to         community can and must be defeated.
terest groups and are increasingly devoid                                                          them. (Actually, the price paid by the So-
of ethical and moral values. They tend           Similar teachings are at the core of most         ciety will far exceed the land’s assessed      What really bothers the David Project is
to serve the interests of some people and        religions. Therefore, people of all faiths        value of $480,000.)                            that the organized Muslim community
victimize others, usually the economically       must work together to present and lobby
and politically weak.                            for a comprehensive and national health-
                                                 care solution.                                         “Supporting the right of the Muslims to build
“Verily, God enjoins the doing of justice
and compassion to others.” (Quran,               This article is reprinted from the OC
                                                                                                        their community facilities is a growing coali-
16:90)                                           Register                                                tion of progressive Christians and Jews, the
                                                                                                        driving force of the latter being the new Bos-
 A Sensible Way To Describe Terrorists                                                                     ton chapter of A Jewish Voice for Peace.”
                   By Parvez Ahmed               ism are the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, a
                                                 Marxist-Leninist group whose members              It turned out that the David Project, an       refuses to be intimidated by them and
                   The European Union            are overwhelmingly Hindu.                         extreme rightwing group espousing a            by other groups in the pro-Israel Lobby.
                   (EU) will soon distribute                                                       particularly unattractive form of Jew-         Instead, Muslims and their progressive
                   new guidelines to its         Diego Gambetta in “Making Sense of Sui-           ish nationalism, had arranged for the          allies (including A Jewish Voice for
                   25-member nations that        cide Missions” calls suicide missions “the        lawsuit against the ISB and coordinated        Peace) often offer a politically savvy,
                   recommend using “non-         high-precision artillery of the militarily        the negative media campaign. Also in-          morally-grounded defense of the Pales-
                   emotive lexicon for dis-      challenged” yet they all have a strategic         volved was discredited Islamophobe             tinian right to self-determination. That
                   cussing radicalization.”      objective.                                        Steven Emerson, who supplied much              is the real reason, I believe, why righ-
                                                                                                   of the misinformation used by media            twing groups hate the growing power
EU officials say that the guidelines, which      Pape writes, “From Lebanon to Israel to Sri       outlets—a mistake that will cost them          and credibility of Muslims in modern
are not legally binding, will ask European       Lanka to Kashmir to Chechnya, the spon-           dearly, since the ISB is suing them for        America. And it’s one more reason why
governments to shun the phrase “Islamic          sors of every campaign have been terrorist        defamation.                                    religious liberty for all the Children of
terrorism” in favor of “terrorists who           groups trying to establish or maintain                                                           the Book necessarily depends on the
abusively invoke Islam.” Other terms             political self determination by compelling        Supporting the right of the Muslims            right of Americans to debate the Middle
being considered by the review include           a democratic power to withdraw from a             to build their community facilities is a       East without defamation, covert attacks,
“Islamist,” “fundamentalist” and “jihad.”        territory they claim.”                            growing coalition of progressive Chris-        and reckless campaigns that divide our
                                                                                                   tians and Jews, the driving force of the       communities.
This first of its kind effort to separate        Occupation is the primary motivator and           latter being the new Boston chapter of
terrorism from its perceived roots is laud-      religion, at best, is an “aggravating” factor.    A Jewish Voice for Peace. “We’d like to
able. Associating the criminal enterprise        Considering this, the Iraq war has only           a have a dinner or some other sit-down         Lawrence Swaim is the Executive Direc-
of terrorism with the faith of 1.4 billion       amplified the problem.                            event in solidarity with the Islamic So-       tor of the Interfaith Freedom Foundation.
Muslims, 99.99 percent of whom will never                                                          ciety of Boston,” Hilda Silverman of the       He taught for eight years at Pacific Union
come near any act of terrorism, much less        Today we all live in fear of terrorism.           JVP told InFocus. “Of course we’d like         College, and his academic specialties
use Islam as a justification for their crimes,   Equating terrorism with Islam makes the           music and poetry, including both Arabic        are American Studies and American
is just plain wrong.                             mainstream Muslim community doubly                and Sephardic songs. And personally,           literature. His column addresses current
                                                 vulnerable to both the random acts of ter-        I’d like to have both Jewish and Muslim        affairs from an American Christian and
Unfortunately, all too often “Islam” and         ror and the ensuing backlash. Muslims             comedians. You just have to laugh at           Interfaith perspective.
“terrorism” are juxtaposed in news reports       worldwide are the primary victims of              politics these days.”
and editorials. A word search on news            terror.
stories published in major newspapers
over the past decade shows that reporters        Governments in Muslim-majority na-               war on terror is merely a euphemism for         Islam from terrorism is imperative.
are hundred times more likely to associate       tions, religious establishments and the          a war on Islam.
Islam with terrorism or militancy than           lay community have a vested interest in                                                          The EU seems to understand this crucial
all other faiths combined. Such lopsided         fighting back to isolate and marginalize         Terrorism is stateless and yet transnation-     point. Will others follow their lead or will
portrayal is indicative of deep-seated           the terrorists.                                  al. It will always require a stern response.    they choose to remain entrapped in their
misunderstandings about Islam, and                                                                However, it will never be defeated through      simplistic and counterproductive labels,
sometimes just plain prejudice. Surely all       Hidden from our headlines are on-going           force alone. It will have to be fought ideo-    which unfortunately spawn even more
terrorists are not Muslim, neither are all       efforts to do just that.                         logically by attempting to win the hearts       bizarre terms such as ‘Islamo-fascism,’ or
Muslims terrorists.                                                                               and minds of those vulnerable to terrorist      ‘militant jihadism’?
                                                 Fatwas (Islamic edicts) condemning ter-          manipulations.
The 9-11 attacks brought home the horrors        rorism and dissociating Islam from such                                                          Every religion has its own fair share of
of a new form of suicidal terrorism. In order    barbarism have been issued worldwide,            A recent policy brief by the Stanley Foun-      extremists who commit heinous acts in
to eradicate terrorism, it is important to       including in America.                            dation states that Western powers “should       the name of their faith. Why is Islam being
explore its root causes.                                                                          not focus on the religious and cultural         unfairly singled out?
                                                 One of the more successful efforts was con-      divisions between East and West when
More and more scholarly writings are             ducted by Turkey against PKK (a secular          approaching this issue (of terrorism), as       Parvez Ahmed, Ph.D., is board chairman
delving deeper into this issue offering us       group) suicide campaigns, which were part        this plays into the existing grievances of      of the Council on American-Islamic Rela-
new insights. Robert Pape’s book “Dying          of Kurdish aspirations for an independent        Arab and Muslim populations and creates         tions (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim
to Win” uses over two decades of data to         homeland.                                        a sense of clash between civilizations, all     civil rights and advocacy group. He may be
show the paucity of connection between                                                            of which hinder the resolution of differ-       contacted at: pahmed@cair-net.org.
suicide terrorism and any of the world           Falsely associating Islam with terrorism         ences.”
religions. The pioneering instigators and        weakens the efficacy of these efforts by
the largest purveyors of suicide terror-         creating the impression that the global          An attempt to institutionally dissociate
30 June 2006                                                           EDITORIAL/LETTERS                                                                      Southern California InFocus

   Come Forward and
  Support your InFocus
We began publishing InFocus 16         when we look forward, we see an
months ago for free distribution       infinite path lying ahead.
to the community in Southern
California. The monthly has            We dream of a day when our InFo-
since come a long way overcoming       cus will be available for all Ameri-
its take-off jitters and maturing      cans who want to know about
in its coverage of ‘glocal’ (simul-    Islam and Muslims, when its
taneously local and global) events     model will be replicated through-
and issues that concern Islam/         out the nation. We dream of a
Muslims and yet are of interest        day InFocus will be available for
to most Americans.                     pick up at every store or stalls
                                       alongside the LA Times or other
Now, InFocus has become the            major newspapers. Before that
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per that provides a window to          need to establish the model cor-
understanding glocal affairs from      rectly, expanding its outreach
a perspective that is largely miss-    and improving its quality and
ing in the mainstream or ethnic        range of coverage.
American press.
                                       It is not enough to have dreams
InFocus has gone beyond negative       as they vanish unless translated
and reactive news coverage that        into concrete plans, and it is not
characterizes the mainstream           enough to have plans unless they
press. InFocus has covered a           are put into action. We want
wide range of events and issues,       to move beyond our dreaming


                                                                                                   Letters to the Editor
from cases of fun and inspiration      and planning to make InFocus
to ones of pain and agony, from        available for free pick up at
domestic violence to international     every major bookstore, public
bloodshed, from local interfaith       library, university, community
dialogues to international peace       center, and every newsstand in         Immigration, an Im-                    always labels the insurgents as      cult and the process of rebuilding
                                                                                                                     either a “Sunni” Arab or “Shia”      communities from rubble may
efforts, from group terrorism          the Southland. This is how we          portant Issue                          Arab. By labeling each other the     appear to be unimaginable. It is
to state terrorism, and from Is-       want to pursue practical action to
lamophobia or anti-Islamism to         reach out to and educate greater                                              media hopes to increase the ten-     a process that will take a lot of
                                                                              Your feature on illegal immigra-       sion and animosity between the       time and tremendous effort, but
anti-Americanism.                      public about who we are and            tion was very informative and
                                       what worldviews and cultures                                                  two sides. By doing this, Iraqis     with the help of Allah (swt), the
                                                                              balanced. The feature analyzed         and as well as Muslims around        continuous involvement of orga-
In an effort to provide a holistic     are all about.                         the current legislation in place on
view of the complexity of the                                                                                        the world will be caught up in the   nizations, such as Islamic Relief,
                                                                              this issue, the reasons why people     Sunni vs. Shia power struggle,       and the generous contributions of
community, we have presented           But we are facing financial hur-       choose to cross the border, the so-
cover stories on Islamic centers,      dles in our way forward. InFocus                                              creating the chaos the US needs      the Muslim community, it can be
                                                                              cietal burden illegal immigration      in order to carry out its plans to   accomplished. As Afghani says,
profiled different faith groups        is a non-profit endeavor. So           creates, our moral obligation, and
like the Mormons and Orthodox          far we have been able to raise                                                “democratize and liberate” the       “let’s not forget again” and al-
                                                                              the ultimate solution to this issue.   Middle East.                         ways remember what the prophet
Jews, and featured the lives of        funds for its production and free      It was also interesting hearing
scholars and other personalities       distribution through donations,                                                                                    (pbuh) had said, “Allah (swt) is in
                                                                              what Muslims had to say about          Nedda Salimian                       the aid of his worshiper, as long
who serve as voices and role mod-      subscriptions and advertise-           this matter. It’s important that
els for the community. We have         ments. Currently, we are almost                                               Westminster, CA                      as his worshiper is in the aid of
                                                                              we stay informed about all issues,                                          his brother.”
also highlighted cases of the com-     breaking even for a circulation of     not just ones we think affect us
munity members who have been           25,000 copies. But to move to the      directly. Fortunately, InFocus is      Re: Remembering the
victimized by the post-911 racial      next stage of making it available                                                                                  Nora Qartoum
profiling, witch-hunt, incarcera-      for the larger community, we
                                                                              making sure we do just that.           Oct. 8 Earthquake                    Yorba Linda, CA
tion, and deportation orders. Our      need more and more funds.
                                                                              N e s s r e n e        A s s a r ,     Indeed it appears as though we
commentaries have analyzed
                                                                              San Diego, CA                          have forgotten the earthquake,       Write          to     us       at
the burning issues of our time,        W. H. Auden said, “History to the
which include the Qur’an des-          defeated/ May say alas/ But can-                                              but the fundraiser was a great       info@infocusnews.net!
ecration at Guantanamo, the            not help or pardon.” We believe        Avoid Labeling each                    reminder for all of
                                                                                                                     us. It was very mov-
Freedom House report targeting         our community has overcome             Other!                                 ing to listen to all of
mosques, tortures of prisoners         the defeatist mentality and will
in Guantanamo and Iraq, and            not let us down in this noble                                                 the guest speakers,
                                                                              Yasmin Mogahed’s article on            especially those who
the Patriot Act’s infringement on      endeavor.                              dropping the prefix and just being
civil liberties.                                                                                                     had just come from
                                                                              Muslim is very resonant in the         Pakistan and had
                                       We have organized a fundraising        United States’ current foreign
Indeed, InFocus has become an          banquet in support of InFocus.                                                witnessed the tur-
                                                                              policy. RAND’s suggestion of           moil first hand. The
eye, an ear, a voice, and an edu-      The eminent Muslim journal-            “divide and label” has been imple-
cator of and for the community.        ist Michael Wolf will give the                                                initial recovery from
                                                                              mented in Iraq today. When read-       the catastrophe is
Most importantly, InFocus has          keynote speech at the banquet          ing any article on Iraq, the press
become a virtual training ground       on June 25 in Anaheim at the                                                  without a doubt diffi-
for a new generation of bud-           Embassy Suites. We urge you
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