Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thoughts on the approach of Ramadan, Tishrei and the Feast Day of Francis of Assisi

Dear Friends, As Salaam Alaikum (Peace be upon you)

As we approach the month of Ramadan, Tishrei and the Feast Day of Francis of Assisi, I encourage Muslims, Jews and Christians to reach out to each other during this period of the year.

As some in the Muslim community have already observed, it is imperative that these three communities begin to create bonds of genuine relationships. The religious traditions of these 3 communities allow for such a possibility and the history of interaction between these 3 communities provides a precedence for movement in such a direction.

I have participated in the 'Tent of Abraham' meetings initiated by the Shalom Center and Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Phyllis Berman. Jews, Christians, Muslims and members of several other faith traditions have participated and bonded with each other through this series of annual meetings over the last 4 years. Through an annual retreat, we have learned to understand each others traditions, hopes and fears. This process has created the possibility to talk of ways to value and honor each other rooted in our own religious source texts and traditions.

I ask you, my friends, to begin to explore your own ways of connecting with your neighbors and friends and honoring them during this period. If you would like to learn of the success of the approach adopted by the Tent of Abraham, please write to me at or write to Rabbi Arthur Waskow at

More details about the Tent of Abraham can be found at

Thank you and Salaam
Iftekhar Hussain

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

War Deadenders Take Hope: The Surge May Not Be Working, But a US-Allawi Coup May Be On Its Way by Arianna Huffington

Published on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 by Huffington Post
War Deadenders Take Hope: The Surge May Not Be Working, But a US-Allawi Coup May Be On Its Way
by Arianna Huffington
As we all await the Petraeus Report on the state of the surge, we may also need to be anticipating the Allawi Coup.

I’m talking, of course about Ayad Allawi, longtime C.I.A. asset and former interim prime minister of Iraq. He’s making quite the PR push to get his old job back, penning an op-ed for the Washington Post, hooking up with Wolf Blitzer on Late Edition on Sunday, and even putting the high-powered GOP lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers on a $300,000 retainer....

read more below

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pitching the Imperial Republic by Juan Cole

Published on Thursday, August 23, 2007 by
Pitching the Imperial Republic
Bonaparte and Bush on Deck

by Juan Cole

French Egypt and American Iraq can be considered bookends on the history of modern imperialism in the Middle East. The Bush administration’s already failed version of the conquest of Iraq is, of course, on everyone’s mind; while the French conquest of Egypt, now more than two centuries past, is all too little remembered, despite having been led by Napoleon Bonaparte, whose career has otherwise hardly languished in obscurity. There are many eerily familiar resonances between the two misadventures, not least among them that both began with supreme arrogance and ended as fiascoes. Above all, the leaders of both occupations employed the same basic political vocabulary and rhetorical flimflammery, invoking the spirit of liberty, security, and democracy while largely ignoring the substance of these concepts...

read more below

Islam Today: The Need to Explore Its Complexities

Islam Today: The Need to Explore Its Complexities
Wednesday 22 August 2007, by Tariq Ramadan

Never before have Islam and the Muslims been held up to such relentless scrutiny. Never before have journalists devoted so many articles, interviews and analyses to the "Muslim world" or to "Muslims in the West." And yet never has knowledge of Islam, of Muslims, and of their geographical, political and geostrategic circumstances been so superficial, partial and frequently confused—not only among the general public, but also among journalists and even in academic circles...

read more below

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Muslim Scholars Speak Out

Saturday 28 July 2007, by Tariq Ramadan


The concept of “jihad” has different meanings and a scholar such as Jalal ad-Dîn as-Suyutî (15th century), while studying its scope, highlighted 80 different dimensions, uses and objectives related to its place in Islamic teachings. Its root “ja-ha-da” means “making an effort”, “exerting oneself” in order to promote good or to resist wrongdoing, evil or oppression. Every individual trying to resist her/his own negative temptations is engaged in “jihad” and the first time the word is used in the Qur’an (25:52), it refers to an intellectual and spiritual resistance by the means of the Qur’an itself.

read more below

Monday, August 13, 2007

China's Threat to the Dollar is Real

August 9, 2007

One Big Reason Markets are Plunging
China's Threat to the Dollar is Real

Twenty-four hours after I reported China’s announcement that China, not the Federal Reserve, controls US interest rates by its decision to purchase, hold, or dump US Treasury bonds, the news of the announcement appeared in sanitized and unthreatening form in a few US news sources.

read more below

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

UMM 11th Annual Banquet

Chairman's Message
Dear Friends, As Salaam Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

I am writing to you to invite you to join United Muslim Masjid at its 11th Annual Awards Banquet and Fundraiser at the historic Holiday Inn, 4th and Arch St., Philadelphia on Saturday August 25 2007 at 6:00 PM

United Muslim Movement, Inc (UMM) opened its first mosque on October 11, 1994 at 810 South 15th street in Philadelphia. The mosque was developed after a group of individuals approached Kenny Gamble aka Luqman Abdul-Haqq of Philadelphia International Records recording fame about using a building in which to establish prayer. The mosque was filled to capacity at the first Friday prayer service. In 1995, the mosque was expanded into 808 South 15th street. Although the capacity was doubled to hold about 350 people, the Masjid was filled to capacity at the first Friday prayer service after the expansion.

UMM is comprised of excellent people who have created a wonderful Muslim community in the heart of South Philly.

Please join CAIR-PA Board members in supporting this outstanding Muslim community.

Iftekhar Hussain
Chairperson, CAIR-PA Philadelphia Chapter

Counter and Discourage Islamophobic Behavior

August 8, 2007
Chairman's Message
Counter and Discourage Islamophobic Behavior

Dear Friends, As Salaam Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

I am writing to you to ask your support in discouraging and changing Islamophobic behavior. Islamophobia is a growing cancer in our nation today where people target Islam and Muslims.

The Runnymede Trust has identified eight components that define Islamophobia. This definition, from the 1997 document 'Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All' is widely accepted, including by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.

The eight components are:

1) Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.

2) Islam is seen as separate and 'other'. It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.

3) Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.

4) Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a 'clash of civilizations'.

5) Islam is seen as a political ideology and is used for political or military advantage.

6) Criticisms made of the West by Islam and Muslims are rejected out of hand.

7) Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.

8) Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.

The following 10 ideas may help to discourage Islamophobia and encourage its removal from the public sphere:

1. Don't make assumptions about Muslims.

Stereotypes hurt everyone. Examine what your prejudices are and make adjustments to view people based on facts not assumptions.

2. Make an effort to get to know Muslims.

Look for things in common with Muslims and celebrate the differences. We can learn from and appreciate something about everyone.

3. Learn about Islam.

Learn about Islam, even if you’re not interested in exploring alternative religious ideas. This will give you a chance to reflect on your own beliefs and values. It will also empower you to discourage Islamophobia.

4. Learn how to recognize anti-Muslim bias.

Do you view Muslim culture as a distinct, fixed entity with separate values? If your answer is yes, you may be harboring cultural racism. All cultures are diverse and dynamic. By sensitizing yourself to this fact, you empower yourself to treat every person as an individual and thereby contribute to the promotion of a vibrant, inclusive civil society.

5. Explore the unfamiliar.

Attend an organization meeting or an event at the nearest religious center of a different faith community. This first-hand experience can be enlightening and give you perspective.

6. If you witness a hate crime, report it.

If you observe someone’s property or person being attacked, call the police and let the victim know that you are a witness. This is one of the best ways to combat the violent expressions of hate. It is also a civic duty.

7. Don't remain silent when you encounter anti-Muslim prejudice.

Silence may be mistaken for tolerance by others. Don't let your silence speak for you. Simply say, "I don't find that interesting," or "I don't appreciate remarks like that." If the incident of bias involved a mistreatment of a Muslim, do what you can to help resolve the problem.

8. Be a proactive parent.

Expose your children to religious diversity at a young age. Encourage them to get acquainted with their Muslim classmates. Studies show that knowing a Muslim is correlated with a more tolerant attitude.

9. Support anti-prejudice organizations.

By volunteering, donating or being an advocate, working with other groups toward the same goal can be beneficial to you and the community. By getting involved, your voice can contribute to the promotion of tolerance and understanding.

10. Be a role model.

Practice the values of toleration and good citizenship with everyone in your life. Such behavior has a greater impact on combating prejudice than any words.

Please join CAIR-PA Board members in helping people change Islamophobic behaviors.

Iftekhar Hussain
Chairperson, CAIR-PA Philadelphia Chapter

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Letter to Your Beautiful Heart: Muslims are Your Family, Too, America

A Letter to Your Beautiful Heart: Muslims are Your Family, Too, America

Mohja Kahf

A certain Middle Eastern religion is much maligned in this country. Full of veils and mystery, it is seen by many as sexist. Often violent, sometimes manipulated by demagogues, it yet has sweetness at the core, and many people are turning to it in their search for meaning.

I’m talking about Christianity.

This Muslim squirms when secular friends, tolerant toward believers in Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Native spirituality, dismiss Christians with snorts of contempt. “It’s because the Christian right wants to take over this country,” they protest.

read more below