Front Page News

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By Ayesha K. Mustafaa
CHICAGO, Ill. – The Holy Qur’an often reminds us that perhaps we put up resistance to the very thing that will be to our greatest benefit, that which fuels a leap forward, a “propelsion.”
To first garner the energy and second to harness it, so that it gives the boost or lift may cause some discomfort, some uneasiness, as “expansion of the breast” represents a stretch beyond the resting level.
Yet, we stretch and expand and after completing one task hurriedly enter into the next…. Such is the way the Qur’an says is designed for us by our Lord, the Creator Who creates and then nourishes His creation unto its maturity or completion. (A commentary on Qur’an by Imam W. Deen Mohammed)
Praises are due to Allah, as He has brought us through difficulty in order to experience the ease and He gives us help!
Muslim Journal Director of Marketing and Special Events, D. Shahid Abdul-Karim, not only gives a new face to Muslim Journal but also has expanded his own image with the blessing of his new wife, Sis. In’Naam. The couple got married at Muslim Journal’s 7th Annual Awards Dinner in December 2011 while in Louisville, Kentucky.
As they expanded their lives to encompass their teenage children (2 for In’Naam and 1 for D. Shahid), now the couple Abdul-Karim prepare to be that propel sion, that expansion that will help Muslim Journal launch out into new spaces and among new markets.
Abdul-Shahid is lending his expertise and time to bring to you the finest Muslim Journal Annual Awards Dinner for the 8th year, this December in Washington, D.C.; see page 28 advertisement. By his side as a huge support is his wife, Sis. In’Naam Batiste Abdul-Karim.
Sis. In’Naam certainly brings her own energy into the equation and we look forward to her youthful, refreshing input into the planning and implementation of the approaching weekend in the D.C. area; see page 28 for the details of the weekend.
Muslim Journal thanks Imam Talib Shareef for being so welcoming for Muslim Journal’s holding the 8th Annual “A Time To Be Grateful” Awards Dinner and using Masjid Muhammad as the focal meeting point.
We thank Allah for the energy of Bro. Abdullah Rasheed, who is Muslim Journal’s webmaster. Bro. Abdullah is dedicated, committed, sacrificing, charitable.
At last but not least, we continue to thank Allah for a dedicated Muslim Journal staff of sacrificing individuals, who work diligently to maintain the Muslim Journal for the future generations of Muslim youth to come in and on whatever level they are on when attracted to Al-Islam.
Muslim Journal is indeed on the Move! We have moved back into the Hood, bringing “Neighbor Back in the HOOD!” Muslim Journal’s move information is now posted on page 3 of this issue with more and more details to come.
Thank you for your continuous support. REMEMBER: Purchase 1 more Muslim Journal a week and you will have propelled, advanced, motivated, launched the Muslim Journal into a new and ever more progressive orbit. “Our success is, indeed, your success.
Thank you. As Salaam Alaikum.

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By Atiba Madyun
WASHINGTON, D.C. – “My G-d and your G-d are the same G-d.” If that is the case, then why would men hijack three planes, feeling their cause was great enough, to kill on 9/11 more than 3,000 men, women and children? That day, our Nation was attacked and so was our humanity.
Sixty years before, our Nation faced a similar attack, when on Dec. 7, 1941, unaware, Pearl Harbor was attacked. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the Nation beginning his speech with the famous words, “a date that will live in infamy.”
Now, 9/11 and Dec. 7 live together “in infamy.”
When speaking of 9/11, conversations often begin, “Where were you when you heard the news?” The media reminds us each year by replaying images of that day (over and over). In them, we see the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City collapsing, a plane crashing into the second tower, smoke billowing from the charred ruins of the Pentagon, and wreckage in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Yet, out of the twisted metal of the Twin Towers, the wreckage in Pennsylvania, and the billowing smoke of the Pentagon, Americans came together. The men and women who died on that Tuesday are our heroes to be remembered each year and are casualties of a war we did know we were fighting.
Ten years later, those of faith come closer together. Those claiming different faiths, men and women of faith, have chosen – as South Africa’s Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool said at a 9/11 Forum at the Nation’s mosque, Masjid Muhammad in Washington, D.C.: “They have chosen compatible religion over competitive religion.”
On Sept. 10, 2011, commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, an esteemed and distinguished panel convened for an open dialogue, titled “Democracy In A Time of Crisis.”
On the panel were a former Civil Rights Freedom Rider, Pastor Emeritus Reginald Green of Memorial Baptist Church; Chairman of the Board for the Washington Post Donald Graham; Maryland District Court Judge Hassan El-Amin; Director of Marketing and Communication at the American Red Cross Cheryl Kravitz; and South African Ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool.
Retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant and Masjid Muhammad’s Resident Imam Talib Shareef opened the program with the phrase, “My G-d and your G-d are the same G-d.” He spoke of living overseas in an Arab nation. And that Allah is written in both the Qur’an and the Bible, because Christians and Muslims who speak Arabic refer to G-d as Allah.
“That which unites us is greater than that which divides us,” continued Imam Shareef.” The men who killed three thousand people on 9/11 and any who follow their suit should be called criminals…. Would Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) kill innocent women, men and children? No!
“Therefore, the criminals/terrorists cannot be considered followers of Muhammed (PBUH), Muslim or following the Islamic faith. Those who died are unwillingly martyrs whose deaths are not in vain,” added Imam Shareef.
Pastor Reginald Green drew from his experience as a 1961 Freedom Rider 50 years ago to speak about America’s situation today. “Today, 50 years after the Freedom Rides, we are still struggling as a Nation, as a people with various spokes, like those on a wheel, to get to the center, which is G-d.
“How we get there defines who we are as human beings. G-d has made each of us differently with our own DNA, with a responsibility of being harmonious with one another.”
Mr. Donald Graham grew up in the Nation’s Capital. During his comments, he spoke of an “epidemic of certainty.” He explained that “people no longer check facts and assume they are right in their causes, because of what they hear.”
His reference can be examined when looking at a minister in the South burning a Qur’an and elected officials speaking irrationally against Islam. Graham finished his remarks by saying, “Every religion over the centuries has failed, because others have used religion as a means for slaughtering others.”
South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool told the audience about the khutbah he gave in South Africa, the week of 9/11. His comments brought a sincere global element to the occasion. He said to applause, “It is time that we move from competitive religion to compatible religion.”

Ms. Cheryl Kravitz, a former Executive Director of the National Conference (formerly The National Conference for Christians and Jews), spoke of her history with the Civil Rights Movement. She explained the need for tolerance and how intolerance exists. Ms. Kravitz pulled from her own experience of raising a child with a learning disability.
Bro. Ibrahim Mu’min, who moderated and developed the 9/11 program, explained that the reason for the program was to “tell our story.” Humanity’s story is an ancient one, and we have yet to see our brightest days, because they are in front of us.
“In days like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes in Haiti and Asia, our humanity shines brightest,” said Bro. Mu’min.
Imam Shareef also said in his opening comments, “Allah is creating a more compassionate, considerate being. Hence mankind is the creation of a kinder human being. One who is more kind: Man-Kind.
“Look at the life that was here before you. Look at your teeth, your fingernails. Look at the fossils, the big domineering creatures that used to exist. Look at how they used to exist and no longer exist. Allah doesn’t want there to be a domineering creature.
“Life is evolving and creating a more compassionate, peaceful being. And nature is on the side of the peacemaker,” said Imam Shareef.
Often we see the best examples of our humanity, after catastrophic events. Days and months later, it is unfortunate, that we revert to our divisions and differences. As Ambassador Rasool said, we need to move past “competitive religion to compatible religion.” \
We have to move past competitive bias on all levels toward compatible human interests. This is how we will have the greatest democracy, even in a time of crisis.

4 col. CAPTION:

(L – R) Ibrahim Mu’min, Donald Graham, Imam Talib Shareef, Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, Cheryl Kravitz, Pastor Emeritus Reginald Green, Cheryl Hawkins and Judge Hassan El-Amin. (Photo by Jim Wells)

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troy davis execution

By M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister, Witness for Justice

JACKSON, Ga. – Troy Anthony Davis was put to death by lethal injection at 11:08 p.m., on Wed., Sept. 21, 2011, in Jackson, Georgia.  At the moment of his death, he appealed to supporters to continue to work to find the person who really murdered Mark MacPhail in 1989.

Troy maintained his innocence throughout his 22-year fight for justice while sitting on death row.  Messages on his behalf came from leaders and organizations everywhere, including former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, Amnesty International, Rainbow PUSH with Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and the NAACP.

Thousands joining in prayer vigils all over the world sent pleas for a reconsideration of his case.  Just reconsider it.

There are many, many reasons to oppose the death penalty.  One is the potential for human error.  None of us is perfect.  We make mistakes, more often than we’d like to admit.  We are convinced about something at one moment, only to realize later that we may have been wrong.

It takes a courageous person to confess publicly that he or she made a mistake.  That is precisely what happened in the Troy Anthony Davis case.  Seven of the nine persons who claimed to have been eye witnesses to the murder of Mark MacPhail signed legal affidavits saying they were wrong.

That leaves two people and one of them has confessed to friends that he is the person who really killed MacPhail.

There was no physical evidence presented in Davis’ trial.  A murder weapon was never found.  Three jurors have now said that they were not convinced of Davis’ guilt.

Even the judge and prosecutor in his murder trial have acknowledged that they had their own doubts about his guilt.  There was serious reasonable doubt that Davis was guilty of this crime, and he was executed anyway.

The exposure of all the flaws in his case raises many questions.  How was he convicted, beyond a reasonable doubt, with no physical evidence?  Why was he sentenced to death?  Why was he never given the opportunity to prove his innocence after the witnesses started coming forward?

Up to the moment of his death, he addressed the MacPhail family once again proclaiming his innocence.

Beyond a reasonable doubt is the requirement for sentencing someone to death.  In the case of Troy Anthony Davis, there was simply too much doubt.  Brian Kammer, one of Davis' attorneys, said the state may have executed an innocent man.

“I think Georgia has shamed itself in a very profound way by failing to err on the side of life, when there is meaningful, significant doubt.”

We cannot forget Troy Anthony Davis.  We must continue to search for the real killer in this case, not only to clear the name of Troy Davis, but for the sake of Officer MacPhail’s family, who deserve to know the truth.

We also must be willing to admit that there was too much doubt, because there are many others waiting on death row facing similar circumstances.  Troy Davis is symbolic of how justice does NOT work for all people in our current system.

Remember Paul’s letter in Romans 12:19 (The Message): “Don't insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do.”

“I’ll do the judging,” says G-d.

Killing someone to avenge a killing is not ours to do.  G-d knows, we make mistakes.

(The United Church of Christ has more than 5,277 churches throughout the United States.  Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation.  UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.)

(Editorial Note: While Al-Islam does have a penalty of death for some crimes, Al-Islam also advocates err on the side of Justice and Mercy.)

 

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By Bassam Helwani

For many years, some Muslims took our place in American society for granted.  We went to work, raised our kids, and for the most part kept quietly to ourselves.  Then 9-11 happened. Since we had been so quiet and unobtrusive, we had to spend a lot of time trying to convince people who we weren’t.  

We weren’t radicals.

We weren’t violent.

We weren’t members of sleeper cells.

Now, a decade after the tragic events of that autumn morning, many forward-thinking Muslim Americans have dedicated themselves to showing people who we really are.

Through community involvement and the talents of Muslim musicians, writers, artists and filmmakers, more and more we are telling our own story.

During the week leading into the 911 10-year commemorations, AMC Theater released in select cities the documentary, “Fordson: Fast, Faith and Football.”

Fordson follows high school football players as they strive – physically and spiritually – through the rigors of preparing for their season while fasting.  The struggles and triumphs of their Dearborn, Michigan, community reflect those of many Muslim Americans who strive to hold onto their faith, their heritage and their American birthright.

Uncompromisingly Muslim and unquestionably American, the young people of Fordson High School show the world that Muslims are a vibrant, down-to-earth part of the American mosaic.

Many communities will have a chance to be part of sharing this side of our Muslim American story with the community-at-large.

Please contribute to its success by spreading the word throughout our community and by going and watching the movie. It is being held over in many locations by popular demand; visit the movie website: www.fordsonthemovie.com

And visit its Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=144269335640688

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Vol. 36, No. 52, September 23, 2011

 

By Amatullah Sharif

 

“Whoever works any act of Righteousness and has Faith, his endeavor will not be rejected. We shall record it in his favor.”  Qur’an, Surah Al Anbiya 21:94

TINLEY PARK, Ill. – Just coming in from the very successful 2011 Ramadan Session in Newark, New Jersey, and back to Tinley Park, home of the Tinley Park Convention Center and the frequently used venue for events sponsored by The Mosque Cares, preservation of the excellent leadership and legacy established by our late and esteemed leader, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, was still in play.

At this 2011 Muslim Convention, there was something for everyone. The New Africa Marketplace and Exhibit Hall was set up on Thurs.,  Sept. 1, and a press conference was held at noon on Fri., Sept. 2, with news outlets the Daily Southtown, CBS-TV and Fox News-TV  in attendance.

Friday had early workshops and seminars for the attendees, leading into the well attended Jumuah with Imam Faheem Shuaibe of Oakland, Calif., as the khatib.

The Convention weekend lineup was well thought out and gave exposure to some new concepts and many from the legacy of the community led by Imam W. Deen Mohammed.  There was the program to honor Muslim American Pioneers, the New Africa Business Expo, the Forum of National Organizations and Institutions, and the American Coalition for Good Government’s Town Hall Meeting.

The Friday evening Cultural Night featuring world renowned pianist and vocalist Ghalib Ghallab was further enhanced with the introduction of the New Cultural Artists Society.  This new Society has very lofty ideals and will present more on its development in the near future.

Saturday morning opened with the dual Mother/Daughter and Father/Son Breakfasts with respective speakers Sis. Latifah F. Wangara of Chicago, Ill., and Imam Earl El-Amin of Baltimore, Md. 

There were fitness and exercise programs, and a little dancing, where many participated to continue or get the feel to get in shape. The Learn and Play Session for the children excited the little minds and made for them a memorable weekend among Muslims from all across the U.S.A.

There were programs on education, finance and model community building, with a seminar by the New Medina, Mississippi, Community, which was very enlightening – sharing their collective knowledge and continued progress. 

The highly spirited Family Fashion Show hosted by Sis. Amira D. Wazeer of Atlanta, Ga., was a “show stopper” with the finest clothing and models. This year, Anju unveiled her new “Hajj” fashions made of light cotton and humble styles.

There were the Sis. Clara Muhammad School Reunion, the Hajj Reunion, the Imams Meeting and Fundamentals of Community Life. The weekend lineup served to blend in and accentuate this year’s theme, “Al Islam Obligates Us to Build Model Communities.”

There was the Saturday Night Awards Banquet with the annual awards to the Muslim Man and Muslim Woman, Muslim Male Youth and Muslim Female Youth – of the year. Dawah Awards went to those who give the most support to the weekend turnout.

Special guests featured were Mr. Paul Monteiro of the White House of Public Engagement, who spoke during the Awards Banquet and the Sunday Public Address.  Mayor Vivian Covington from University Park, Ill., and Mayor Dr. Robert Donaldson of Hazel Crest, Ill., came to greet the Believers with Proclamations. 

Sis. Joan McGuire of the Catholic Archdiocese, Mr. Marco De Salvo and members of the Focolare Movement were in attendance on Sunday and gave remarks. 

Mayor Covington greeted the attendees, saying, “I am very honored to be here to participate in the celebration of your 2011 Annual Muslim Convention.  It is important during these troubled times that people of good will remember that we are all one family.  What helps me, helps you; what hurts me, hurts you. We must all come together; we must all work together to “Build Model Communities,” the theme of today’s program.”

Mr. Marco De Salvo of the Focolare said, “Imam Mohammed and Chiara were about building models communities where G-d is at the center. During this Convention, I’m sure you have deepen the insights, the teaching and the legacy of Imam Mohammed. 

“I’ve been very privileged to get to know him, and to witness his love for G-d and his desire to build communities,” said DeSalvo.

A huge highlight of the program was the midday Sunday presentation by the Muslims in Uniform with retired veteran Imam Talib Shareef and Sgt. Major Muhammad hosting the program.  Retired veterans husband and wife, Bro. Ossie and Noor-din Muhammad, were awardees and greeted by Mr. Monteiro who gave them and others a welcome to the White House on behalf of President Barack Obama.

 

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Two Imams, Two Masajid Embrace Muslims at Fort Jackson

Vol. 36, No. 52, September 23, 2011

 

COLUMBIA, S.C. – On Tuesday morning, Aug. 30, history was made in the Muslim community in Columbia. The coordinated efforts of Imams Omar Shaheed, of Masjid As-Salaam, located at 5119 Monticello Rd., and Imam Louay Khatib, the Imam at Islamic Academy of Columbia, located at 2304 Kneece Rd., in Columbia, met for the first time for the Eid prayers and festivities in a single location.

Imam Khatib led the prayers and gave a very spirited Eid Khutbah on the importance of Tauheed in Islam and of unity amongst Muslims.

It was a gathering of over 500 Muslims at the Islamic Academy. The spirit of unity, brotherhood and joy that was manifested amongst the believers after the prayers was truly one that brought about great hope for even greater cooperation for future social and community activities. 

This milestone was merely a reflection of the continued efforts of Imam Shaheed, who is also a contract Imam on Fort Jackson, and Chaplain (MAJ) Abdullah Hulwe, Muslim chaplain currently assigned to Fort Jackson.

These two Muslim leaders have worked closely together this past year, ensuring the religious needs of the Muslim population on Fort Jackson were met. Imam Shaheed, a student and follower of the late Imam W. Deen Mohammed, has worked continuously in the Muslim community in the greater Columbia area for well over the past 30 years.

He has claimed many times in the past, "it is long past due that we Muslims here in Columbia need to work harder to be more in unison with one another. And the celebration of Eid is as good a start as any." 

One of Chaplain Hulwe’s primary responsibilities as a Muslim Chaplain is to secure the religious accommodations and special needs of the Muslim Soldiers and Family members. During the month of Fasting, the needs of Muslim Soldiers become more pronounced than during any other time of the year.

Chaplain Hulwe was instrumental in coordinating with the Soldiers chain of command to ensure their presence during this year's Eid prayers and festivities.

This effort also enabled the Soldier's Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) leadership, the opportunity to witness for the first time an Islamic worship service. There were three NCO’s in attendance during the service.

I, Chaplain (LTC) Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, was blessed to be in attendance with family who currently reside in Columbia.  Chaplain Muhammad’s family attend Jumu’ah prayers intermittedly at both the Islamic Academy and Masjid As-Salaam.

(Chaplain Muhammad is currently assigned to Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Aberdeen, Md.)

 

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Vol. 36, No. 51, September 16, 2011

 WASHINGTON, D.C. –       This Ramadan of 2011, America’s Islamic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center hosted a record four Iftars, the meal that breaks the fast of the day.

The Ambassador of the Embassy of Qatar sponsored the first Iftar, with their special representative Mr. Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, the Economic and Political Counselor for the Embassy of Qatar.

Other special guests included Farah Pandith, the special Representative to the Muslim Communities for the United States Department of State. Dr. Sulayman Nyang, Professor of African Studies at Howard University, was the guest speaker.

Ms. Pandith expressed her joy and pleasure of being in the Museum and learning so much about the rich history of Muslims in America. She spoke about the importance of Muslims being involved with community engagement.

Dr. Nyang gave an enthusiastic speech and insights into the History of Muslims in America. The Museum was full to capacity, with people in five of the six rooms. The Iftar meal was fantastic and enjoyed by everyone.

Sharing history and breaking bread together was the perfect culmination of a day’s fast in the month of 17 hour days of sunlight.

The second Iftar was a presentation about the Purification of the Soul (Origins and Benefits) by the Nuqta Group and Bro. Salahuddin Tauhidi. The third Iftar was a community engagement Iftar that was sponsored by Imam Talib Shareef of Masjid Muhammad and Blueboy Printing.

Some of our special guests were Brenda Richardson from the City Council Member’s office of the former Mayor Marion Barry, as well as Dianne Dale, author of the book, “The Village That Shaped Us.” She gave a presentation about her book, which covers the history of the Anacostia community where the Muslim Museum is located. A book signing followed the presentation.

The DC Historic Preservation Office also welcomed the Museum into the Ward 8 area of Washington, D.C. Ms. Patsy Fletcher from the DC Historic Preservation gave a presentation about the history of the former Clara Muhammad School (CMS) building, which now houses America’s Islamic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center.

She pointed out that records reveal the CMS building was built in 1924 as a carriage and paint shop and was owned by James Beall, who was a descendant of the Beall family. The Bealls once owned and freed the enslaved Muslim , Yarrow Marmood, back in the late 1700s.

Ms. Fletcher also pointed out that back in the early 1900s, Fredrick Douglas Jr. had lived in the same 2300 block as the Museum is housed today. Imam Talib shared with the guests our common concerns and interests as human beings to serve humanity and humanity as being from one soul.

Special guest Paul Monterio is the religious liaison Associate Director for the White House Office of Public Engagement. Mr. Monterio shared President Obama’s greeting of Ramadan Mubarak to the community and expressed the President’s vision of Faith-based community engagement.

The Zakat Foundation of America sponsored the fourth Iftar with many members of the Turkish community attending the Museum.

Zakat Foundation of America provides services, such as Food Aid Programs to at-Risk Communities in Chicago, and Sadaqa Jariyah, Emergency Relief in various countries like Japan, Ethiopia, Haiti, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and many others, as well as Healthcare services.

The great blessing was that the Museum fed some of the public from the neighborhood during its third and fourth Iftars.  The museum was full with so much warmth and community spirit. Everyone looks forward to many more Iftars and community engagement events.

America’s Islamic Heritage Museum is located at 2315 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E., in Washington, D.C .20020. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10-5 p.m., Sunday 11-5 p.m.; closed Mondays. Please visit their web page at www.muslimsinamerica.org, Face book @:America’s Islamic Heritage Museum and our YouTube videos @ America’s Islamic Heritage Museum.

For group rate tours, call 202-841-9386. You can also donate Sadaqa Jariyah to help in this noble effort with Pay-pal online @ www.muslimsinamerica.org or mail your donation to CSAM, 2315 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20020. 

 

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Ramadan Session Tradition

By Anika A. Sabree

ELIZABETH, N.J. – On Sept 11, 2008, as I left the Janazah prayer for my beloved Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, my heart was heavy, not just because of his passing but also because I was so looking forward to seeing and hearing him at the Ramadan Session scheduled for the next week.

I had missed him at the Convention and couldn’t believe that it ended up being his last address. Convention is, well, Convention…, but the Ramadan Sessions were something different. It was a chance to sit at the foot of the Master teacher just soaking up the knowledge he gave. No intermediaries, no body else “breaking down” his words.

So many times, it literally felt like it just the two of us, even though it was a room full of other people. As we talked in the car, we wondered whether the Ramadan Session would continue? Who would speak? How would it be done? As we talked about it, my brother-in-law said something: This is a tradition that the Imam gave to us that is in the pattern of Muhammed the Prophet, and we should not let it go.

I thought about it and I was awed by the significance of what the Imam left us. No other indigenous community that I know of does this like he did with us. He established a tradition of concentrated study during the month of Ramadan. How beautiful!

So this year, as it neared time for the Ramadan Session, I wondered would I go. Like I said before, our Ramadan Sessions were a special thing, so I first had to wrap my mind around the fact that it wouldn’t be the Imam speaking, and I have to admit that I wasn’t thrilled about it.

I am going to be very honest here (but those of my community will understand what I mean). I didn’t want to sit and hear people pushing their own agendas under the guise of being a “student of the Imam” or those who now feel its “their turn” to be the boss.

I wasn’t about to be trapped listening to an incoherent talk of superficial references to the Imam that all begin with “Imam Mohammed said” with no understanding behind it. But I remembered what my brother-in-law said. This is our tradition and we shouldn’t let it go.

My husband and I said we would support and went. That being said…, I believe our teacher is proud! I didn’t get to every Session, but what I was able to attend was excellent and thought provoking. My husband went to most of the Sessions and his feedback equaled mine.

The overall theme of the 2011 Ramadan Session was “Al Islam is Freedom, Justice and Equality, As Found in the Qur’an and is the Solution for All Humanity.” The speakers’ topics were engaging, and I liked that they came from Qur’anic concepts, using definitions and explanations from the language and logic of our teacher to build on their points, making connections with Scripture, science, culture and other areas to achieve practical conclusions.

Some of the Sessions that stood out to me were:

“Economic Development – Social Peace and Prosperity, Learning, Labor, Livelihood and Life” given by Imam W. Deen Shareef of Irvington, N.J. He began with the first words of revelation imparted to Muhammed the Prophet and its significance for the life of the human being.

He explored the terms “Iqraa” and “Alaq” using Imam Mohammed’s deeper explanations of these words, to show how they are signs for establishing bonds and relationships that are key to “transforming our souls and society.”

“Until Religion is Free for Allah, Al-Islam is Complete Freedom for Humanity” was done by Imam Omar Hameed of Newark, N.J. Imam Hameed explained that we must fight so that religion cannot be used by the oppressor as a tool to deceive people.

Shaytan uses our environments and changes the conditions to oppress. He pointed out that we live in a time where people are changing religion to suit their lifestyles, when it should be the other way around. To fight this, we must construct our lives on Al Islam.

As students of Imam Mohammed, we have been taught that Al Islam is “Deenul Fitrah.” His study of the concept of the Fitrah concluded that it is the original nature that existed before we even existed. So our lives should be in accordance with Universal Law.

Religion is supposed to be a universal principle for all people. This is true freedom.

“New Africa, the African American expression of Medina Munarawah” was done by Imam Ahmed Sabree of Harlem, N.Y. His talk was a reminder that we have a job to do, to establish New Africa as Muhammed the Prophet gave us in the example of Medina.

This establishment of New Africa, however, is dependent on us taking care of ourselves as a people. He pointed out that too many of us try to use Al Islam to separate ourselves from our people and our collective struggle, instead of using it as the solution for all of our salvation.

He warned that we must stop promoting Imam Mohammed as just a “Muslim” leader and not an African American one, separating him from his people, which is something he never did himself.

We must study our history and study ourselves to see how much behavior is conscious and subconscious. When we heal who we are as a people, the light of New Africa will parallel Medina Munarawah.

“Al-Islam: Sacred Nature, Sacred Life and Sacred Destiny” was presented by Imam Faheem Shuaibe of  Oakland, Calif. He asked the question: What is the relationship between “Al Akhir” and “Ad Dunya?” Exploring this relationship and the concepts in these terms reminded us that we should reject the idea that leads us to be so consumed with what is far that we forget and neglect what is near.

He acknowledged that especially us as a people have been conditioned with this thinking. We focus so much on a heaven in the future, we don’t realize that heaven starts here. He quoted Imam Mohammed’s statement, saying, “This world’s life is the quest of Adam to return to the Garden; this is The Destiny.”

As students of Imam Mohammed, this language of us as Adam is familiar. We should conclude that to gain the excellence of this life and the destiny, it starts with the cultivation of excellence in ourselves.

I left with my heart full and my soul satisfied, not only from the information but the spirit of the believers who attended. My community, we MUST keep this tradition alive! Imam Mohammed called us a new people with a new mind.

We must stay as close to the language body of our Imam as possible, to keep this new mind in tact. We must see our Ramadan Session as an institution for our future development as a community. Let us support the efforts of The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed) in doing so. And, next year, maybe some of the sisters will represent!

The Mosque Cares Ramadan Session 2011, themed “Al-Islam Is Freedom, Justice and Equality, As Found In the Qur’an and Is the Solution for All Humanity,” was held at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel in Elizabeth on Aug. 18 - 21.

Congratulations to the Planning Team:

  • The Mosque Cares (WDM Ministry), W. Deen Mohammed II, President;
  • Ramadan Session 2011 Chairperson: Imam Yusuf Ramadan;
  • Co-Chair Persons: Imam A. Kareem Muhammad, Imam Khalid S. Lateef, Sutanah Whitfield and Imam Mustafa Rushdan;
  • Planning Committee Members: Imam Elam Muhammad, Imam Nafis Muhammad, Sis. Robin Mohammed and Dr. Lynne Muhammad.

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Masjid Warithuddeen Mohammed in Houston hosts  1st Annual Kamp Khalil Winter Session

HOUSTON, Texas – As the temperature around the country is slowly beginning to cool down and we all head into the winter months, Houston and Kamp Khalil are getting heated up about our partnership and the opportunity it will provide to our Muslim American community.

The youth within the Southwest region will get an opportunity to experience Kamp Khalil and find out what all the talk is about. “Kamp Khalil has been a wonderful blessing to me, my family, and our community,” says Della Abdullah.

“It has not only served as a beacon for others to aspire to in serving our youth and community, but it inspires me personally to continue to seek to serve Allah (SWT). Thank you,” Della continued. Della Abdullah is a founding board member, volunteer, and parent of six participants.

Whether a participant, parent, corporate partner, volunteer or sponsor, all of these individuals have experienced first hand what Kamp Khalil is all about: Islamic education, leadership development, life skills, team work, and community responsibility.

What began in a small two-bedroom apartment in the Fall of 2003 has steadily grown into an institution. This winter, we will meet another one of our short term goals by expanding our services to Houston.

Over the last few months, Kamp Khalil has quickly gained momentum with several interviews during the young adult hour of American Muslim 360 blog talk radio program with Luqman and Muslimah Seraaj and its work with the Community Life Forward Conference held in Atlanta, Ga., this past July 4th weekend.

The exposure has been incredibly humbling, and we are strategically preparing ourselves for continued growth and expansion. Each year presents new challenges, new opportunities, and greater success. This year was no different.

The 8th Annual Kamp Khalil summer session flowed like a well-oiled machine from Opening to Closing Ceremonies. The participants arrived with looks of anticipation on their eager faces. They slowly entered the main hall, parents within arms reach, scanning the room for a hint of what we had in store.

Some cheerfully ran to embrace familiar faces, while others apprehensively stared at the “temporary” strangers, who would soon become their teammates. New team leaders and volunteers canvassed the campgrounds, familiarizing themselves with landmarks while returning volunteers identified site upgrades since last summer.

The theme this summer was “Our Character Defines Our Legacy.” The idea that who we are now determines how we will be remembered was a constant thread running throughout the sessions and activities.

Once the tables and chairs were assembled, the program commenced with dinner.

Over the next four days, participants and volunteers analyzed the film Moozlum, written and directed by Qasim Bashir; bided their time playing board games until a storm passed and the water and power were restored; actively participated in morning sessions; flexed their muscles in a six-team canoe race; gave 100 percent in a friendly game of basketball; expressed their Islamic excellence during the talent show, and burned calories with Mubarakah Ibrahim’s 30-minute fat burn for busy women workout video followed by a cool down session of yoga.

The schedule was filled from Fajr to Isha prayer, and the rest that evaded us for four days would have to be made up upon our return home.

Imam Wazir Ali has served as our Imam since 2008. His knowledge of the Deen coupled with his own experiences growing up Muslim in America allow him to successfully connect with a new generation of young Muslims and makes him an invaluable asset to Kamp Khalil and the community.

His sessions are tailored to address our annual theme and are relevant to the current condition of our youth. Role play, call and response, and networking are just some of the strategies that Imam Wazir utilizes to engage and inspire our youth to think and improve their lives.

Because Imam Wazir believes in the vision and mission of Kamp Khalil, he has invited us to Houston, to expand our services to more youth in a different region. Insha’Allah, we will host our first annual winter session, Dec. 16 - 19, 2011, at a retreat center outside of Houston.

Although our program will retain some of the traditional events, such as Khalil Khaos and our Talent Showcase, we will incorporate new activities that will be unique to our winter session, such as a low ropes challenge course and star gazing.

Through partnerships with organizations with similar goals and by building natural relationships with people, we have successfully evolved over the last eight years. We have several short and long term goals designed to reach a broader audience and contribute to the American social fabric.

Without the strong, consistent and sincere financial support of individuals, business owners, as well as our corporate sponsors, Al-Hajj, Inc., Seraaj Family Homes Inc., and Islamic Relief USA, we could not do this work. “Our success is your success.”

In 2009, we launched our 5K Kampaig; the Kamp Khalil Kamsa Kapital Kampaign (5K) is a unique opportunity for individuals and businesses that believe in Kamp Khalil to have an overwhelming impact by contributing in a small yet consistent way.

By subscribing online at our website to our 5K Kampaign, individuals make a financial commitment with donations as little as $5 per month to assist us in reaching our organizational goals. We know that in today’s economy, giving large sums of money can be difficult, even if it is a cause or organization that you love and support.

That is why we are making it as easy as possible to share in our vision. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a movie ticket, it is easier than ever to contribute to our growth and development.

Visit us today at WWW.KAMPKHALIL.COM. Experience has reaffirmed for us the Truth in Allah’s Word, “Man plans and Allah too plans, and Allah is the Best of Planners.” We pray that Allah continues to plan for us and increases us without measure. Ameen.

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