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Archive for August, 2006

08 27 06

Northeast Young Muslims Sister's Camp Uncovers Hidden Pearls


58 young Muslim women from around the tri-state area went on a journey in the woods this past weekend at Camp Bernie in Port Murray, NJ. There were two large cabin homes, two thought-provoking speakers, and a whole lot of sisterhood. The camp officially kicked off with an icebreaker, which was explained to some of the girls as an introduction session to get to know one another- because some were mistakenly under the impression that there was actual frozen ice that needed chopping! The introductory activity was followed by dinner and salatul Maghrib (prayer after sunset) outside on the grass. Here, the only sound that could be heard was the recitation of Qur'an and the chirping of crickets as a peaceful calm fell over the night. This peaceful atmosphere remained for the duration of the weekend.



Following salah (prayer) was a riveting talk with Sr. Afshan Khawaja which she directly related to this year's theme, "The Muslimah's Necklace: Pearls of Her Character Unstrung," She emphasized the need for every girl at camp to build strong character by picking up one good trait at a time; she warned us not to allow ourselves to go home empty handed with nothing but pictures of good times and memories of hiking and canoeing. Rather, we were told to "collect some pearls for our character and to create a necklace." With this thought in mind the girls headed over to the campfire site for some traditional camping rituals which included Islamic songs and the making of halal smores.



The campfire


The Campfire

Saturday and Sunday were jam packed with activities. The girls were able to canoe, swim, practice archery, create their own candles, complete an obstacle course using only ropes connected to trees, plan and act in their own skits, and follow the female camp guides on a hike into the forest at night. The Saturday night hike was a huge hit amongst camp participants as it was pitch black and no flashlights were allowed- needless to say high-pitched screams could be heard all around. Dispersed between the activities were more talks with Sr. Afshan and Sr. Sumera Khan, that revolved around the characteristics of a Mumin (true believer)  as emphasized in the Quran as well as lessons learned from great Muslim women of the past.




Low ropes Obstacle Course

With the will of Allah and the hard work of YM members around the tri-state area the weekend was a great success. The camp provided for young girls to forge their Muslim identities while in a natural and peaceful environment, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. They engaged in talks and discussions which were healthy for the minds and hearts; and participated in activities, which were healthy for their bodies. And lastly, the late night pranks, after Fajr (prayer which begins from dawn)  reflections, and hours of a game called Mafia will always be remembered as a means of creating bonds of sisterhood. We thank Allah for this opportunity and hope to see the same participants and more at the next Young Muslims sisters  Retreat.

Article contributed by Sister Fatima Mian, Young Muslims, Teaneck NJ

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08 22 06

Islam 101 Panel Discussion: Building Bridges in a Global Village

wi-west-wa2WhyIslam West, Olympia Chapter helped organize an event with Amnesty International (Olympia Chapter) and the OPME- Olympians for Peace in the Middle East in Downtown Olympia. The event had good publicity through an article in the Olympian newspaper by Ms. Venice Buhain as well as fliers to various churches and synagogues.
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08 16 06

NY Times: Memorizing the Way to Heaven, Verse by Verse

nyt_logoThe carpeted room is full of children in skullcaps crouched on prayer mats, reciting verses from a holy text. Some mumble the words under their breath; others sing them out. They rock back and forth as they chant, their disparate voices blending into an ethereal melody.

The children, ages 7 to 14, are full-time students, in class 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, even in the summer. But they are not studying math, science or English. Instead, they are memorizing all 6,200 verses in the Koran, a task that usually takes two to three years.

It would hardly be an unusual scene in Pakistan, Afghanistan or elsewhere in the Muslim world, where religious schools devoted to memorization of the Koran and Islamic studies are common. But this class meets in the prayer room of a small mosque in Flushing, Queens, that caters mostly to South Asian immigrants and their children.

Read the entire article:

Related Content:
Young Queens Muslims commit Quran to memory

08 8 06

Harvard Pluralism Project Publishes Research Report on ICNA-MAS Convention

"On Independence Day weekend, the Connecticut Convention Center was
crowded with thousands of American Muslims. The annual ICNA-MAS
Convention, one of the largest Muslim events in America, is organized
by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American
Society (MAS)."

"Those who attended the convention came from across the country to learn
more about Islam from scholars and activists, to improve themselves as
individuals, and to make new friends and meet old ones. Nasim, a mother
of two with a Pakistani background, also emphasized that she wanted to
attend the convention with her two sons so that they “know we are
Muslims.” Asiyah, a woman coming from a small city in Connecticut
with an Egyptian background, similarly stated that one of the major
appeals for her was the “renewal of identity” that she experiences when
she is surrounded by other Muslims."

Continue Reading here.

08 2 06

American Muslims Urge Un To Enforce Mideast Cease-Fire

Muslim nations urged to end diplomatic relations with Israel

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/2/06) – The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a national coalition of  major American-Muslim organizations, today urged the United Nation to fulfill its legal and moral responsibility by implementing an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon and Gaza.

The coalition also urged Muslim nations to immediately end all diplomatic ties with Israel until a peaceful and permanent resolution to the present conflict is achieved. 

In its statement, the coalition said:

"As American Muslim leaders, we often serve as a bridge between the
United States and the Islamic world. We have spoken out in favor of political moderation and against religious extremism. We gladly accept this role.

"To be effective as bridge-builders between the West and the Muslim world, we have a duty to challenge polices that harm our nation and its international relations.

"It is extremely difficult to help improve America's image in the Muslim world as U.S.-supplied weapons are killing civilians and our elected officials refuse all calls for a cease-fire. It is hard to appeal for moderation among Muslims when international bodies like the United Nations remain silent spectators as Israel carries out its war of aggression and state terrorism against Lebanon and Gaza.

"The American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) calls on the United Nations to fulfill its legal responsibility to stop Israeli war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza by using the Security Council to order an immediate cease-fire by all parties.

"We call on all Muslim countries to immediately suspend diplomatic ties with Israel. We also call on other countries currently contemplating such ties to discontinue all diplomatic contacts.

"We urge the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the Arab League (AL) to declare Israel a terrorist state and to support the Lebanese government's legitimate demand for compensation from Israel for its war crimes.

"Finally, we urge all people of conscience to seek divestment from any corporate entity that benefits the Israeli war economy.

– END –

AMT members and affiliates endorsing this statement include: American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Student Association-National (MSA-N), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), Project Islamic Hope (PIH), and United Muslims of America (UMA) 



Dr. Agha Saeed, Tel 510-299-9313, E-Mail:


08 2 06

Humanitarian Crisis in Lebanon

Recent fighting in Lebanon resulted in hundreds of deaths, thousands injured, and more than one million displaced. Immediate emergency relief is needed to help the injured and displaced people. Children, women and elderly are most vulnerable and need urgent relief supplies including food, medicine, and shelter. Help us to help the Needy. Helping Hand will be implementing its relief programs in Lebanon through Life, Doctors Without Borders and Red Cross/Red Crescent.
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