Positive Muslim News

News about good things Muslims are doing in North America and around the world.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Muslim Refugee Adopts Abandoned Baby


By Stephen Steele
Catholic News Service

FARCHANA REFUGEE CAMP, Chad (CNS) -- The faint cries of a newborn baby in the stillness of an August night woke Khadidja Mahamat Ahmat, a Sudanese refugee residing in the Farchana refugee camp in northeastern Chad.


She left her tent to investigate and under a tree about 150 yards from the nearest tent, she and a neighbor found a newborn baby lying naked on a small swatch of white cloth.

Ahmat, a Muslim, told the neighbor that she considered the baby a gift from God and that she would adopt it as one of her own. She then sought out a village chief to seek his help in registering the baby.

Another neighbor, Kaltouna Harbab Abdallah, agreed to nurse the baby, since she already was producing milk for her 2-month-old daughter.

The village chief took the women to the tent headquarters of Caritas, known in Chad by its French acronym, Secadev. Among those who greeted the women was Alan Isaac, a technical adviser for U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services, which has been offering logistical and technical assistance to Secadev.

"I was amazed that this woman was so willing to adopt this baby. It was amazing how both women teamed up to provide the baby with what it needed to survive," he said.


"It is true that there is not enough food, but I am trying to do my best to feed them," she said.

Once the baby stops nursing, Ahmat will have another person with whom to divide her family's rations. She already is caring for four children ranging in age from about 8 to 18. Increasing her food rations for the new child means navigating around the U.N. labyrinth of red tape, but she said she will worry about that when the day comes.

"God will provide," she said.

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Bosnian Muslim Leader Wins UNESCO Peace Prize


By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A former papal envoy and a Muslim leader in the Balkans were awarded a UNESCO peace prize for their efforts in promoting interreligious dialogue and peace.

French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray and Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric of Bosnia-Herzegovina received the 2003 Felix Houphouet-Boigny Award in a Sept. 21 ceremony at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.


Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger headed the international jury that selected the 2003 peace prize winners.

He said the two religious figures were chosen for "their action in favor of interreligious dialogue, tolerance and peace," according to the UNESCO Web site.

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Friday, September 24, 2004

UK Muslims on mercy mission


A team from the Muslim Council of Britain will tonight head for Baghdad to make a last-ditch plea to Islamic militants to spare the life of British hostage Ken Bigley.

The organisation confirmed that Dr Daud Abdullah and Dr Musharraf Hussain are to travel to Iraq to talk to religious leaders and urge the community to put pressure on the 62-year-old's captors.

Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "We appeal to the group that is holding Ken Bigley to release him without delay and without harm.

"He is an elderly man and he is due to become a grandfather soon.

"Be merciful. Our religion Islam does not allow us to harm the innocent.

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Islamic organization offers women glimmer of hope


Mumbai, Rajab 17/Sep 2 IINA – Muslim women in India are considered the poorest and most desperate lot, living as they door in poor shanty towns, mostly in shacks made of cartons, with no schools and living in abject poverty.

With the opening of special schools, thanks to a Trust that has been set up for that purpose, these women now have a glimmer of hope. The school, which had been made of mud and wattle originally, has been updated and is now a modern one, accommodating 450 female students. Some have even been sent to Sweden to study, thanks to the Rahat Islamic Charitable Trust.

Modern education and vocational know-how are the only means for saving the Muslim community in Mumbai city and others from poverty and backwardness, and this institution for its part is financing the education of 400 poor families. Now some of the females in the community are going for higher degrees in such subjects as engineering and others.

The Trust is mainly concerned with the provision of scholarships to the poor segment of society, and in this connection has also sponsored not less than 350 children, most of them orphans, and the main emphasis is on girls and their education.

Source: International Islamic News Agency (www.http://www.islamicnews.org/english/index.html)

Islamic leader to be honored for community betterment


SACRAMENTO - Local Islamic leader Metwalli Amer will be among 11 citizens statewide to be recognized by New California Media at a Sept. 24 awards luncheon in Fresno.
The awards recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the betterment of their communities, said Catherine Black, communications director of the media group.


Amer emigrated to Sacramento from Egypt in 1969. He is a professor emeritus at California State University, Sacramento, president of the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic organizations, and served as Interfaith Service Bureau president. He is a frequent public speaker on Islam and Muslim American issues.

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Muslim Businesswoman wins Norway prize


OSLO (Reuters) - A leading Muslim Uighur political activist, jailed by China, on Thursday won a Norwegian human rights award whose winners have sometimes gone on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Norway's Rafto Foundation said it was giving its annual award to 58-year-old businesswoman Rebiya Kadeer and jailed since 2000 in a case criticised by the United States and others.

It urged her unconditional release and said the prize was a "strong appeal to the Chinese government to respect and protect the civil, economic and cultural rights of the Uighurs as well as other minorities in China".

Many of the Turkic-speaking Uighurs, who make up a majority of Xinjiang's 19 million people, favour greater autonomy for the northwestern region.

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Muslims Take Part in Ecumenical Remembrance of 9/11



Besides the call to prayer, the Adhan, a Dua was shared. A projection of Sufi traditions (always in love with the divine) and a couple of songs by Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens) by colorfully dressed children from the local SALAM school succeeded in touching many hearts. The follow-up performance of the Ensemble Katan from the Congregation B’nai Israel was also a fine segment.

The speech by Jeff Von Kaenel who spearheaded this event was inspirational. Jeff shared the vision and the background work that led to this evening and thanked a number of people for their help. He described the effort as a “big tent where everyone is welcome.” He also shared the work that the group has been involved in, to assist the local Habitat for Humanity (who were the recipients of funds that were raised here). A moving video of the work the Habitat does was also shared with us.

Reverend Faith Whitmore who followed Von Kaenel had the opportunity to share the life work of the man being honored with the “Builder of Unity Award” this year. Recipient of this award Elder Richard Montgomery of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints deserves our congratulations along with our thanks for his many years of promoting faith harmony and cooperation in the Sacramento region. In his acceptance speech the basic idea that “attitude makes the difference,” was right on the mark.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

First UK Islamic bank opens doors


The UK's first Islamic law compliant stand-alone High Street bank opened in London on Wednesday.

The Islamic Bank of Britain's first branch is on Edgware Road, conveniently located for London's Arab community.

The venture was given the go-ahead by City regulator the Financial Services Authority in August.

The bank will be run according to Islamic law, or Sharia, which forbids interest payments and stipulates that charges should be agreed in advance.

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Jews and Muslims bond in France


Representatives of French Muslim and Jewish organisations have held landmark talks on the difficulties faced by both communities in France.
Fouad Alaoui, of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France, said he was concerned about racism and Islamophobia and condemned anti-Semitism in France.

Speaking for Jewish groups, Bernard Kanovitch described the meeting as a very significant event.

It was the first official meeting of its kind.

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Russian Muslims Rally Against Terror


By Damir Ahmad, IOL Correspondent

MOSCOW, September 8 (IslamOnline.net) – Up to 40,000 Russian Muslims took part Tuesday, September 7, in a nationwide rally in protest at the hostage-taking school tragedy in the southern city of Beslan that claimed the lives of hundreds of people, mostly children.

In Moscow, the anguished protesters stood still for a moment of silence on the Red Square in memory of the victims of Beslan and the two Russian airliners that crashed south of Moscow on August 25, killing 90 people aboard.


The Council of Muftis has already condemned the tragedy as “a terrorist act that Islam totally refuses and forbids”.

The religious council for North Caucasian Muslims said the hostage taking is “a heinous terrorist crime” that inflicted pain and suffering on families of the hostages.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Muslim scholar barred from US preaches tolerance


Tariq Ramadan - a Swiss-born intellectual, imam, and activist - is one of Europe's most prominent Muslim reformers. Time magazine named him one of the 100 innovators of the 21st century. The University of Notre Dame has invited him to teach Islamic philosophy and ethics at its Kroc Institute for Peace Studies.
But just days before classes began, the US government revoked his visa on the basis of national security, without explanation. The scholar and his family were stranded as his furniture headed to Indiana. Many American scholars were stunned and have decried the government's action as an interference in academic freedom.


Ramadan has been accused by some of saying one thing to Westerners and another thing to Muslims, yet he seems to have no difficulty in this book and elsewhere rejecting extremism. This reviewer heard him speak at a national gathering of American Muslims in 2002. "We feel vulnerable and defensive, but this is not a time to justify ourselves," he said. "We have to be self-critical ... To kill innocent people anywhere is not Islam and must be condemned. We must speak out when radical groups use jihad wrongly, and when there is wrong in so-called Islamic countries."

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Believers build up understanding with walls of art


Believers build up understanding with walls of art: Muslim and Jewish families gather at Beaverton's Bilal Mosque for mural-making, storytelling and more

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
BEAVERTON -- What would it look like if Muslims and Jews were always friends? Children of both faiths at a gathering Sunday could visualize it more clearly than most.

For 8-year-old Fariha Rahman, it looked like two farmers giving each other gifts of wheat. For 9-year-old Ethan Hunter-Bernstein, it was two red-crayoned people saying, "I'm sorry" and "Thank you," and smiling.

About 30 children ages 7 to 13 used watercolors, crayons and colored pens to draw hearts, walls falling down, rainbows and other images of hope and harmony at Beaverton's Bilal Mosque.

The mural-making event was arranged by the Muslim-Jewish Planning Group, which includes members from the mosque, the South Metro Jewish Congregation in West Linn and Congregation Shir Tikvah of Portland.

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