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National News
A First: Calling the Athaan In All 50 States PDF Print E-mail
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National News - National News
Written by Hena Zuberi, Muslim Link Staff Reporter   
Friday, 27 March 2015 21:48

On April 3, 2015, one American Muslim will attempt to become the first  person to call the athan in all fifty states.

Called “Project Muaddhin” is the history making journey by Jameel Syed from Michigan. He intends to share the beauty of Islam, stopping to collect stories in each state, making the Adhan and delivering the Last Sermon of the Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam at each stop.

"I made my intention to become the first Muaddhin (Caller of the Adhan) in history to make the Adhan in all fifty states across America. It’ll be a journey that gives the international Muslim community the opportunity to dictate the terms of their own narrative across the world. Instead of reacting to headlines, they’ll be creating their own by building a positive story around the community,” said Syed.

Starting from Farmington Hills, MI, Syed will stop and the ADAMS Center in Sterling, VA and Islamic Community Center of Laurel in Maryland on Friday, April 10, 2015. The Grand Canyon and Harry Potter World are also on the schedule.

This very American tradition of driving across the United States will be a world record, but for Syed it is also a spiritual journey to gain the pleasure of Allah.

"Through travel we get to know God better, it’s that simple. I have had some of my most spiritual moments staring out across a mountain range, a desert, lake, or even just humanity going about its daily existence,” says Syed. “Travel makes the familiar unfamiliar to us and in doing so we come to better appreciate God’s creation. Throughout the Qur’an verses ask man to reflect on what has been created on earth and in the heavens – what better way to do that than through travel?"

“I want to be a part of the legacy,” he said on his choice of reading the universal Farewell Sermon, which he says is the antidote to the many ills of society. It is a simple solution to a complex problem, said Syed. Project Muaddhin will also collect adhans of different muaddhins from each state and compile the journey into a documentary.

It’s a matter of telling our own stories, said Dr Malik Bella, Director of Islamic Studies at Oakland University, while endorsing Project Muaddhin. “The adhan- this message of Islam is for all people.”

 

jameel-sayeed-at-isnaEvery home should have a designated muaddhin, recommends Syed, who wants to give this position the honor that it deserves. Many muaddins are the unsung heroes of their communities.

 

 

 


Jameel Syed, right, visits ISNA in Indiana as part of his Muaddhin tour around the

US. Photo courtesy of Jameel Syed.


 

A father and committed husband, he will leave his family behind to travel the country telling the stories of American Muslims.  Syed is a marketing professional, a youth leader, and was the official muaddhin for the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 2014. He credits his Islamic schoolteacher at the Michigan Islamic School, Isa Abdul Baseer, for taking him as a personal mission and taming his youthful hyperactivity. Baseer, who is active in the jamaat at-tabligh movement, taught him the benefits of calling people to worship.


His father, the late Dr Salam Abdus Syed who passed away in 2004, also inspires Syed.


The project is looking for 35 families to sponsor each day of their historic journey. For $500, families can choose a cause of their choice to be highlighted during the trip and on social media. For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and to follow the journey, go to Facebook.com/muaddhin or on Twitter/Instagram: @themuaddhin .

 
The Aafia Siddiqui I Saw PDF Print E-mail
National News - National News
Written by Dr. Tarek Mehanna   
Friday, 27 March 2015 15:32

Recently, the entire world has been speaking about one such person – a short, thin college student, wife, and mother of three small children. Her name is Aafia Siddiqui.

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Iraqi Refugee Gunned Down In Texas In Front of His Home PDF Print E-mail
National News - National News
Written by Muslim Link Staff   
Friday, 20 March 2015 18:49

On the evening of Thursday, March 5, 2015, an Iraqi refugee, Ahmed Al-Jumaili, 36, was murdered in Dallas

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New York City Public Schools to Have Muslim Holidays Off PDF Print E-mail
National News - National News
Written by Greg Botelho, CNN, March 4, 2015   
Thursday, 19 March 2015 20:50

New York City public schools will now observe two Muslim holidays, officials announced Wednesday, making the district -- the nation's biggest -- one of the few to put Islamic holy days on its calendar.

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Imam of Torched Houston Masjid Meets Islamophobia with Love PDF Print E-mail
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National News - National News
Written by Ehab Zahriyeh, Al-Jazeera, February 20, 2015   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 20:41

The Quba Islamic Institute is turning ‘something negative into a positive’ after receiving Islamophobic messages

Islamophobic messages directed toward the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston tarnished the overwhelming support and solidarity the mosque received after an arson attack on Feb. 12.

But instead of shying away from the social media comments, or responding with more hate, Ahsan Zahid, the assistant imam of Quba, decided to “turn around something negative into a positive.”

Zahid told Al Jazeera that before the arson at the two-year old mosque, Quba had received only one hateful comment, which came recently as anti-Muslim sentiments across the U.S. have been rising.

A study published last week by Lifeway Research found that only 43 percent of Americans believe Islam can create a peaceful society.

Fears in the Muslim community became a horrifying reality on Feb. 10 when three students — Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha and his sister Razan Abu-Salha— were shot dead in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Since that shooting, numerous Islamophobic acts have been reported throughout the country, and many count the Quba fire among them.

But Darryl Ferguson, the homeless man who was charged on Feb. 16 for setting the mosque ablaze, said "it was an accident."

In a video post published on Wednesday, Zahid said Quba accepts Ferguson's statement and had "hoped from the beginning that it was not a hate crime."

“We feel that this world has enough hate, and we have to have love and harmony and solidarity,” Zahid said.

And with that attitude, he responded to Islamophobia on social media.

After the Houston fire, Joshua Gray, a truck driver from Catersville, Georgia, took to Facebook and accused Muslims in the United States of not taking a stand against Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

He called Muslims "scum," in one comment, and in another post he wrote that he hoped a mosque "burns for every American killed by these terrorists."

Zahid responded to Gray by inviting him to Quba. Gray, already driving through Houston area, accepted. Then he spent five hours at the mosque speaking with its members and seeing them in prayer.

"It just changed my opinion on a lot of the things I’ve seen and heard by just going in and actually talking to him face to face," Gray, who said he never met Muslims prior to visiting Quba, told Al Jazeera.

He added that Zahid and other members of the mosque treated him with "friendliness" and were "welcoming" and "well mannered."

"Everything that a lot of us are told as Christians, they do as far as treating everybody the same. Even after my comments that I made, they still treated me good," Gray said. "It’s just not what I was expecting."

Gray later issued a public apology on Quba’s Facebook page, and added: “Anger gets the better of us sometimes by things happening around the world, and in our own country, so we tend to lash out the only way we are able, which are the ones like you, who dont like it anymore than we do. Thanks for inviting me.”

Gray said he hopes to visit Quba again to continue the conversation if he returns to Houston.

Zahid blamed news organizations for pressuring the entire Muslim community to be held accountable for any crime committed by a single Muslim.

"In the media, whenever a Muslim in the community commits a crime, it is burdened upon the entire ummah, the entire community, to condemn that person," Zahid said, adding that this pressure is not applied to other races or religions after an event like a mass shooting.

Zahid partly blames the anti-Muslim climate for the number of people misinformed about Islam. "We have the power to educate ourselves. ... I do blame them on not trying to take the initiative to getting to know people that they so easily hate."

Nonetheless, Zahid kept reaching out.

When Facebook user Barour Bob Hammer said, “I don't know why, but I suddenly feel like throwing severed pig-heads at every Muslim on my path," Zahid replied: “We are sorry you feel that way. Perhaps we can one day settle our differences and move forward towards a more perfect Union and World. Thank you, sir.”

Oso Osorio, another Facebook user, also focused on the Muslim prohibition on eating pork, writing, “I can donate some bacon sandwiches and a bible if you all want!”

Zahid accepted the offer: “We would gladly take you donation. Knowledge is something we can never have enough of. And we may feed the homeless in our area with the sandwiches. You are such a thoughtful human being!”

Merri Burnthorn, who supports the Facebook pages of American Sniper, National Rifle Association and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, read, “About time the tables are turned! don't feel bad for you one bit! Where were you on 9/11?”

Zahid responded: “You don't have to feel bad. You have that right for sure.”

Quba's approach has so far worked at changing the heart of at least one person. Gray said that now, if he hears an Islamophobic remark, "I would definitely say, 'No, that’s not right. That’s not how the majority of Muslims are.'"

 
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