Articles of Interest, June 28, 2007

Here’s some “neat” stuff I have been looking at and reading today, thought I would share. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • “It’s a sad day for America,” says Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y
  • Backers were “trying to work a compromise to pass something,” says opponent
  • Bush says “Congress must prove … it can come together on hard issues”
  • Bill was centerpiece of Bush’s 2nd term; aimed at legalizing 12 million
  • Opponents effectively killed President Bush’s long-fought and emotion-laden Senate immigration bill Thursday when members voted against advancing the controversial legislation.The tally was 46 to 53, 14 votes shy of the 60 needed to end debate.
  • Divided court rejects school diversity plans
  • Story Highlights

    • Court tosses out public school choice plans that consider race
    • The 5-4 ruling rejected programs in Louisville, Kentucky, and Seattle, Washington
    • Chief Justice John Roberts wrote opinion for conservative majority
    • A bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday issued what is likely to be a landmark opinion — ruling that race cannot be a factor in the assignment of children to public schools.
  • Mind Building – A neglected dimension of Islam
  • Article Excerpt

    • Mind-building must be developed in parallel with other important aspects of Islamic character-building
  • Blanket Female Circumcision Ban in Egypt
  • Article Excerpt

    • The Egyptiangovernment outlawed on Thursday, June 28, all female circumcision, a few days after the widely-spread practice of removing the clitoris claimed the life of a 12-year-old girl.”Female circumcision is banned by law and by all medical regulations,” the Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali said in a statement cited by Reuters.

      He asserted that “every doctor and member of the medical profession, in public or private establishments, is banned from performing the procedure.”

      Outlawing the practice entirely, the authorities closed a 10-year legal loophole allowing girls to undergo the procedure “in situations of illness” should doctors so advise.

      Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), often referred to as female circumcision, has been banned in Egypt since 1996, although it remains widespread.

  • President Bush Rededicates Islamic Center of Washington
  • Excerpt

    • The US president has said he will send an envoy to the largest grouping of Islamic nations and called on Muslims to speak out against “extremists” he says are Islam’s “true enemy”.George Bush said appointing an envoy would demonstrate to Muslim communities “our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship”.
    • Fact Sheet: Strengthening Our Friendship with the Muslim Community Worldwide

    What Price are Muslims willing to pay to sell out Islam?

    I was inspired to write on this topic after reading a dear brothers site Umarlee and a post he had entitled “The Price of Admission”, there he was commenting on the Muslim Chaplain for the US Marines Imam SaifulIslam. Islam, as my readers should know is the Chaplain and “face” for Muslims in the Marine Corps or so says BBC anyway. I obviously gave my opinions about him and shared my experiences about this particular Chaplain, so I care not revisit those emotions again. However, brother Umarlee caught my attention as he broke down his observations of the Chaplain based off of his own words and experiences. The one thing that stood out was this idea and/or concept of is Imam Saiful a sell-out? The latter being my words based on my “ghetto” ๐Ÿ™‚ vernacular I suppose, but the question is a very good one indeed. I don’t want to give away too much of the blog post, because I want you to visit the brothers blog and this post in particular for yourself. Either way it really got me thinking, not so much about SaifulIslam, because I don’t care to decipher his niyyah (intention) I will leave that to God Alone, but I pondered just how much are we Muslims willing to pay to sell out Islam?

    A sell-out according to the dictionary is a “corrupt contract that sacrifices public for private interest,” or “prostitute one’s ideals or talents”. What the brother highlighted in his article is that by Saifulislam’s own admission it “appears” that his two homes in Virginia, compensate him well enough and makes him privileged enough, so he doesn’t necessarily have to speak out against things like Gitmo, for example. Like I said whether this is true or not, remains to be seen.

    What I want to illustrate is how are we as Muslims being corrupt by sacrificing the public interest (Muslim Ummah) for our private interest? How are we prostituting our ideals (which is supposed to be Islam) for some other ideal? I believe we do this in a myriad of ways. I believe we “Western” and especially American Muslims do this often in our debates about Islam, especially with non-Muslims. I often hear brothers and sisters especially during interfaith, soften Islam so much that it becomes so watered down that it doesn’t even resemble Islam anymore (I have been accused of that before). It seems that we want to allow others to put us in boxes to make themselves feel comfortable and our price is a nice home, recognition, or a seat at the table. Without going into great detail about these examples let me add this caution to my dear brothers and sisters, who like myself are striving hard in the way to clear Islam of falsehoods, bring peace through dialogue, and share in interfaith talks: We have to remember that first and foremost, we are Muslims. Engaging doesn’t mean we have to lower our standard. For instance, we should never allow others to define us. We are not “moderates”, “radicals”, “extremists”, “fundamentalists”, or any other name. We are Muslims plain and simple. Either we be in Allah (swt) and follow the Prophet (saw), or we do not. Or temperament, political stance/leaning, or actions from time to time should be a way to label us. Our criterion is the Quran plain and simple. We have to make this clear. On the issue of violence in the Quran, we have to stop being so weak and timid about this as well, yes there is violence in the Quran, however, so is there in the Tanakh as well as the New Testament. What I’m getting at is the truth stands on it’s own and we have to say it no matter what, no matter who listens, who does not, and no matter how they feel. When we do otherwise, we sell ourselves and our souls out because we have denied Islam for some menial penance. Our reward is with Allah (swt) not with a nice house in the Virginia suburbs, George Bush, or any other created person, place, or thing.

    It just seems to me, that many of us are loosing our backbones here in America and the West, what are we afraid of? Either God is who He say He is or He is not and this is all is for naught anyway, but if God be God, the one who has the power to bring death and bring life, who has the power to create and destroy, then we should stand up and one Ummah especially in these times and speak truth to power. How many of us are willing to give up our jobs, homes, and way of life here in America? Especially for the cause of Islam? If your not, truth be told your deen is lacking. There may come a time when we have to, especially if the satanic forces of the so-called Muslims and so-called Mujahadeen attack this country again. What will you do if some mall is blown up and Muslims are blamed? What will you do if a Mosque is blown up on Jummah and Christians are blamed? These are real scenario’s that the enemies of Islam, who by the way oft claim to be Muslims themselves, desire for us. If we don’t let people know where we stand whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim, we sell ourselves not only short, but deny ourselves the blessings of Allah (swt).

    And speaking of the so-called Muslims…..Their actions alone prove they are sell-outs to Islam. Think about this? How can you purposefully kill fellow Muslim men, women, and children and yet call yourself a Muslim? How can you wage war in your own backyard and destroy your own countries and still say you do it in the name of Islam? How can these “people” even say they are the best for mankind, when their actions are like those of the wild beasts of the field? They would rather die, kill, and be killed than practice Islam. They would rather care more about their tribe, nationality, ethnicity, or group then Islam. How can this be brothers and sisters? Why are we willing to sell ourselves out? Whether it’s in seemingly “harmless” ways like watering down Islam so others may accept it or you, or in violent, deadly, ways to make a political statement, or retaliate against the boogey man (US and Israel), both are menial prices to pay and accept, when compared to the overwhelming benefits and joy one can receive by practicing Islam as Allah (swt) commands us.

    We are to be the best of mankind, that means we are to exhibit those attributes that are superior to all others, and which attributes could be better than those of Allah (swt)? Which names could be better than the names of Allah (swt)? Nothing in this creation can ever touch the Splendor of the Creator and there is no greater title one should seek other than Muslim.

    22:78 And strive hard in Godโ€™s cause with all the striving that is due to Him: it is He who has elected you [to carry His message], and has laid no hardship on you in [anything that pertains to religion, [and made you follow] the creed of your forefather Abraham. It is He who has named you in bygone times as well as in this [divine writ] โ€“ โ€œthose who have surrendered themselves to Godโ€, so that the Apostle might bear witness to the truth before you, and that you might bear witness to it before all mankind. Thus, be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and hold fast unto God. He is your Lord Supreme: and how excellent is this Lord Supreme, and how excellent this Giver of Succour!

    ูˆูŽุฌูŽุงู‡ูุฏููˆุง ูููŠ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุญูŽู‚ู‘ูŽ ุฌูู‡ูŽุงุฏูู‡ู ู‡ููˆูŽ ุงุฌู’ุชูŽุจูŽุงูƒูู…ู’ ูˆูŽู…ูŽุง ุฌูŽุนูŽู„ูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ูƒูู…ู’ ูููŠ ุงู„ุฏู‘ููŠู†ู ู…ูู†ู’ ุญูŽุฑูŽุฌู ู…ู‘ูู„ู‘ูŽุฉูŽ ุฃูŽุจููŠูƒูู…ู’ ุฅูุจู’ุฑูŽุงู‡ููŠู…ูŽ ู‡ููˆูŽ ุณูŽู…ู‘ูŽุงูƒูู…ู ุงู„ู’ู…ูุณู’ู„ูู…ูŠู†ูŽ ู…ูู† ู‚ูŽุจู’ู„ู ูˆูŽูููŠ ู‡ูŽุฐูŽุง ู„ููŠูŽูƒููˆู†ูŽ ุงู„ุฑู‘ูŽุณููˆู„ู ุดูŽู‡ููŠุฏู‹ุง ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ูƒูู…ู’ ูˆูŽุชูŽูƒููˆู†ููˆุง ุดูู‡ูŽุฏูŽุงุก ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู†ู‘ูŽุงุณู ููŽุฃูŽู‚ููŠู…ููˆุง ุงู„ุตู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงุฉูŽ ูˆูŽุขุชููˆุง ุงู„ุฒู‘ูŽูƒูŽุงุฉูŽ ูˆูŽุงุนู’ุชูŽุตูู…ููˆุง ุจูุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ู‡ููˆูŽ ู…ูŽูˆู’ู„ูŽุงูƒูู…ู’ ููŽู†ูุนู’ู…ูŽ ุงู„ู’ู…ูŽูˆู’ู„ูŽู‰ ูˆูŽู†ูุนู’ู…ูŽ ุงู„ู†ู‘ูŽุตููŠุฑู (22:78)

    Articles of the day for June 27, 2007

    These are some interesting articles I came across today. As in the post yesterday, I have decided to just add links to them all for informative purposes. I always talk about this or that on the radio show, but forget to share my sources. Well in the absence of my normal blogging, I decided to pass this information in the interim. Hope you “enjoy”.

    A picture to share ๐Ÿ™‚

    IDIOT!!!

    They weren’t lying when they said “a picture is worth a thousand words…”

    Had to add these videos, this brother has some great things to share about Islam in it’s purity.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

    Articles of the day for June 26, 2007

    Muslims in the US Marine Corps

    Yes, that’s me……………

    Anyway, I feel like I was forced into blogging about this, but the BBC produced an article yesterday entitled “Muslim face of the US Marines” with which I am intimately familiar with…

    The article was emailed to me by a dear and wonderful sister whom I know (who btw, may end up being my co-host soon…..I know I can’t help it!), however, what she didn’t know at the time was how red (if I could) I turned once I read the article. In her defense, she knew that not only was I a Marine, but I was also a Muslim in the Marine Corps for half of my career in the Corps working for a very prestigious unit in the Marine Corps…well sometimes images speak louder than words:

    Anyway, enough about me….about this article and my “intimate” relationship with it….

    Well, it just so happens I was present when the pictures were taken for that article. In late April I decided to visit the Islamic Center on Marine Corps Base Quantico, yes you read that right, for Jummah . Now it wasn’t a planned visit, but that particular day I had to go to base medical and while I was there I wanted to take the family to my old unit and the National Marine Corps Museum. So while I was on the base, since it was getting close to Jummah, I decided it would be a blast if I went to the Islamic Center on the base since, there was none when I was active duty. To my surprise and I believe I blogged about this before, there were many Muslim Marines there of every rank, color, and sex. There were also what appeared to be civilians, but who knows, they could have been off duty Marines, either way, I also noticed a BBC reporter at the front of the room taking pictures and recording the “short” service. However, with a baby in my lap and three older boys, I had little time to pay that attention.

    Now for why I got red in the face! After the Kutbah (sermon) and prayers, I decided to approach the Imam (Lt. Saifulislam) and “reintroduce” myself. Previously, when I was in the Marine Corps about 4 years ago I met with him when he was stationed at Norfolk Naval Base. I was sent to meet with him so that he could “certify” me as an Islamic Lay Leader for our base and region, since there were none at the time. Long story short, it didn’t work out, primarily because we got into a “heated” debate/discussion concerning Islam and immediately we went from “brothers” to Lt. and Sgt, meaning I had to call him sir, since he was an officer. I came back to Quantico hurt I must admit, because I was rather new to Islam at the time and expected more, but shrugged it off over the years.ย  That experience for the most part, left me with a poor opinion of the Imam.

    Now on this particular day, I wanted to speak to him and remind him who I was and actually apologize and let him know what has happened since we last met, congratulate him, and of course plug The American Muslim, ๐Ÿ™‚

    However, that didn’t quite work out, because he was being very inattentive I felt to our conversation to the point where I felt like I was being ignored.ย  It appeared his attention was more geared toward the BBC reporter then me or other Muslims waiting to address him.

    I must admit I was a “little” upset even to this day, because I felt that he was negating his responsibility in the role of the Imam.ย  In my opinion, an Imam is more than a prayer leader, but also a spiritual leader and his primary responsibility is to the Muslims in his congregation. I could have been having all sorts of issues that an Imam should address or even the other brothers and sisters, but instead it appeared that at that particular time he was more concerned with the reporter.ย  To me, this reflects poorly on him as the Imam.ย  I’m probably being a little extreme in my assessment and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and that’s why I approached him in the first place, but I guess after several years the only thing that has changed about him, from my vantage point, is his status.ย  I could be just a coincidence that I just have happened to have two poor experiences with him.

    While, I’m truly proud of the Corps which I love, efforts to facilitate the needs of it’s Muslim Marines and the Navy for even having Islamic Chaplains in the first place, Iย  must admit that I’m truly concerned about Imam Saifulislam.ย ย  To put it bluntly, if he’sย  the “face of Marine Corps Muslims” then in my humble opinion, I pray that this face is not what I experienced but more of a misunderstanding.ย  Sometimes I feel I should go back into the Military just to be certified as a Muslim Chaplain, to change things, because of my beliefs about this particular Chaplain.ย  I pray that this is just my experience and he’s really a different person or he was just having a bad day then and in our first meeting.ย  My experience with the Imam was not good, but it could always just be me.

    Overall, I’m proud the Marine Corps is setting the standard on this front just as we do on all other fronts (Hoorah) and I’m happy that we have an Islamic Center and an Imam with the experience of Imam Saifulislam.ย  While I may not personally agree with his personality, the best thing for me to do as a Muslim is to pray for him, the Corps, and of course the Ummah!

    ***On a side note, those of you who have read this earlier will notice that I change some commentary in this post and this is an edit.ย  I want to thank my dear brother and sister, they know who they are, for reminding me of my faith and love for Islam.ย  In my original draft, I was very angry and mean spirited defaming the Imam in various un-Islamic ways.ย  I allowed the Shaitan into my words and for this I want to apologize to my readers and praise Allah (swt) for allowing two strong mirrors in my life!ย  As Muslims we are supposed to set the example and rise above back-biting and defamation and I had to be reminded of that.ย  It’s one thing to disagree with another believer, it’s another to defame them.ย  I don’t want to be like the other riff raff out there who spews nothing but negativity toward others, just because we don’t like them.ย  I ask that you all make dua for me to help me in this journey and effort.***

    On a final note:

    There is nothing wrong with expressing one’s disagreement with another openly or criticizing organizations, articles, etc.ย  However, we (I included) must learn to be able to express those disagreements in a way that is peaceful, reasoned, and of course Islamic.

    As Salaam Alaikum,

    RS

    This Week on "The American Muslim" June 19 and 21…

    This week I plan to tackle issues of great concern to me like who represents Islam in reality versus perception and why as well as interfaith dialogue and the possibility of peace between religions, especially Christianity and Islam.

    On Tuesday nights show I plan to discuss Islam and who represents it, I plan to attack the accusations about what “true Islam” is and who is displaying such in this day and age.ย  Of course, I’m going to cover the media perpetuation of stereotypes and their roles, as well as share some “interesting” statistics that many of you may not know…

    On Thursday’s show, I have a special treat for my “fans” and those who have been following me and want to know just a little more about me and whether or not my stories about my background are in fact true.ย  My special guest will be my Grandfather a Christian Pastor of about 50 years, who will be on to discuss issues of race, religion, and politics, and probably air my dirty laundry.ย  Good thing it’s radio, that way I don’t have to worry about embarrassing baby photos.ย  I’m certain my Grandmother might chime in too, but I’m nervous about that.

    Finally, I locked in a time and will forever be on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 10 pm ET.ย  I will take your questions and comments as always as I am always interested in hearing your ideas and suggestions.

    Right now, I’m still considering the co-host spot and all I have are a devoted Atheist and a great Muslimah I know who can’t make up her mind….yet…:)

    To listen to the show live or the archives go to my main page “www.theamericanmuslim.net” there you can reach the show page as well as contact me and join the message board.

    Salaam,

    RS

    This Week on “The American Muslim” June 19 and 21…

    This week I plan to tackle issues of great concern to me like who represents Islam in reality versus perception and why as well as interfaith dialogue and the possibility of peace between religions, especially Christianity and Islam.

    On Tuesday nights show I plan to discuss Islam and who represents it, I plan to attack the accusations about what “true Islam” is and who is displaying such in this day and age.ย  Of course, I’m going to cover the media perpetuation of stereotypes and their roles, as well as share some “interesting” statistics that many of you may not know…

    On Thursday’s show, I have a special treat for my “fans” and those who have been following me and want to know just a little more about me and whether or not my stories about my background are in fact true.ย  My special guest will be my Grandfather a Christian Pastor of about 50 years, who will be on to discuss issues of race, religion, and politics, and probably air my dirty laundry.ย  Good thing it’s radio, that way I don’t have to worry about embarrassing baby photos.ย  I’m certain my Grandmother might chime in too, but I’m nervous about that.

    Finally, I locked in a time and will forever be on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 10 pm ET.ย  I will take your questions and comments as always as I am always interested in hearing your ideas and suggestions.

    Right now, I’m still considering the co-host spot and all I have are a devoted Atheist and a great Muslimah I know who can’t make up her mind….yet…:)

    To listen to the show live or the archives go to my main page “www.theamericanmuslim.net” there you can reach the show page as well as contact me and join the message board.

    Salaam,

    RS