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IIC Praises Humanitarian Efforts By Celebrities

The Islamic Information Center would like to acknowledge actors Brad Pritt and Angelina Jolie for their generous donation to help children affected by the war in Iraq.

According to the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which Jolie co-chairs, the hollywood couple is distributing a total of $1 million through the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.

This incredible gesture of charity is deeply appreciated by the Islamic community, and we would like to congratulate Jolie and Pitt for such a munificent act.

The money Jolie and Pitt donated will be sent to four different organizations that aid children who have lost homes, school, or even parents.

The money Jolie and Pitt donated will be sent to four different organizations that aid children who have lost homes, school, or even paretnts—including both kids in Iraq and the U.S. These organizations include Women for Women International, which gives school materials and essential needs to women and children; the International Rescue Committee, which restores schools; NineMillion.org, which provides books and uniforms to 2,000 children; and the Armed Services YMCA Operation Hero Program, which provides military families with counseling and a way to improve their education.

This is not the first time that the couple have donated a large sum of money towards a great cause. Last year the two hollywood stars gave $300,000 to aid Darfur refugees. The Islamic Information Center is thankful for the big hearts of these two celebrites, and hope to see others follow their lead.

The Islamic Information Center, under the guidance of Imam Syed Naqvi, works to bring understanding among people of all faiths and background in an attempt to build bridges for the future to prevent hate crimes through education and tolerance. IIC also works to correct any misinformation about matters relating to the Holy Religion of Islam.

Obama’s Breakthrough

What appeared unthinkable yesterday looks realisable today. Obama could become the 44th President of the United States.

44 years ago, before the advent of the Civil Rights Act in America, there was still legal separation between blacks and whites, including, but not limited to, the use of separate bathrooms, drinking from different water fountains, and sitting separately in buses. During the time of President Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1945), lynchings of blacks could occur (and did occur) in the American South, without legal repercussions. There were significant roadblocks which prevented blacks from exercising their right to vote.

To see then Obama emerge as the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party is a momentous event and an historic breakthrough. It overcame a dark legacy of slavery, civil war, segregation, and racial polarisation. The crowning moment will come during the Democratic National Convention set for late August at Denver, Colorado.
Unhappy over Iraq, a faltering economy, and on the overall direction of the US, millions of Americans have shifted to Obama to express their aspirations for change and hopes for a better future. And, by doing so, they delivered an unexpectedly crushing blow to the Clinton Machine, which had a stranglehold on the Democratic Party for nearly two decades, and whose dynastic resumption of the US Presidency seemed inevitable. For this, American democracy owes a debt of gratitude to Obama.

With an African father and with Muslim kin, both in Kenya and in Indonesia, and with a non-Anglo Saxon sounding name, Obama had to – and has to – fight and transcend both racism and Islamophobia. For a virtual unknown to become a dragon-slayer in US politics is quite a feat.

A key question is how will Obama fare? Compared to whom? It is unfair to compare Obama to America’s best President, Abraham Lincoln, who led the federal forces in the American Civil War, saved the Union, and got assassinated in the process. But it is certainly fair to compare Obama to the current occupant of the White House.
The legacy of Bush has been one of waging illegal wars, of flouting the US constitution and the Geneva Conventions, of roiling relations in the Muslim world, of mismanaging the US economy, of accelerating the spread of violent zealotry, and of making Americans feel unsafe as never before, whether at home or abroad. NBC’s Baghdad bureau chief, Richard Engel, in his new book, War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq, writes: “The problem was that the US invaded the wrong country, not responsible for 9/11…I don’t know how you recover from invading the wrong country.”

Based on the foregoing, Obama cannot do worse, even with respect to US-Pakistan relations.

And then, there is the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain. McCain certainly has admirable attributes. Coming from a family of naval admirals, McCain suffered torment during his time as a captured POW during the Vietnam conflict. But he hasn’t offered any new prescriptions to differentiate himself and his platform from the failed policies of his Republican predecessor, George Bush. McCain’s philosophy – as incited by his closest adviser, Islam-bashing Senator Joseph Lieberman – puts him in the path of continuing the blindly one-sided bellicose stance in the broader Muslim world.

While the American people yearn for change, in McCain they may get more of the same, when the Senator from Arizona is officially nominated during the Republican National Convention at St Paul, Minnesota, at the beginning of September.

In the degrading tradition of US Presidential candidates, both McCain and Obama have made the customary salutations to the pro-Israeli Lobby.

Whether Obama wins the White House or not, come Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, the incontestable fact is that what has been achieved this far is by itself a milestone. Race concerns remain a potent factor. For example, 20 percent of white Democrats in the states of Kentucky and West Virginia have openly acknowledged that race is a factor in their voting choice. This election will test the mettle and maturity of the American voter.

Obama faces formidable obstacles, including an attack campaign of vicious rumours on the Internet, which his staff is already preparing to counter. However, Obama’s Achilles’ heel could be his wife Michelle, who can on occasion convey gloom and grievance, in striking contrast to her husband’s optimism.

America has its share of socio-political weaknesses. Yet, embedded in its midst are some strengths which give space to those bereft of means and genes to flourish. Attached with it is the inherent dynamism which gives it the capacity to self-correct.

This capacity will face its toughest challenge with respect to re-aligning America’s disastrous posture in the Muslim world. It is a task of state-craft which cannot be bypassed by whoever becomes the temporary inhabitant of the White House. It requires fresh energy, new ideas, and the momentum driven by the thirst for change. It is a challenge that Obama cannot avoid

IIC Praises the Remarks of Buddhist Dalai Lama

The Islamic Information Center would like praise Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, for his words regarding Islam and peace on July 13, 2008. The Tibetan leader gave a speech entitled “Generating a Good Heart”. He centered his lecture on three key words, “listen, learn, love.” The Dalai Lama wished to express his belief that problems in today’s world should be solved with a calm mind and compassion.

“I think many problems we are facing are not due to lack of knowledge, (not) lack of experience, but to lack of good-heartedness,” he said.

When asked about the rise in violent religious fundamentalism the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate communicated his opinion on the accusations made against the religion of Islam. He stated that “it’s totally wrong, unfair” to call Islam a violent religion. In addition the Dalai Lama emphasized the fact that he has made an effort to reach out to Muslims since the attacks of September 11.
The Islamic Information Center, under the guidance of Imam Syed Naqvi, works to bring understanding among people of all faiths and background in an attempt to build bridges for the future to prevent hate crimes through education and tolerance. IIC also works to correct any misinformation about matters relating to the Holy Religion of Islam.

IIC Responds to President Obama’s Remarks in Cairo

The entire globe is anxiously awaiting the Muslim world’s reaction to President Obama’s recent speech in Cairo, Egypt. The Islamic Information Center commends President Obama for taking the initiative to address the Muslim world in a productive manner.  News reports have examined whether Muslims will accept his words and thus accept the new political philosophy espoused by the Obama administration. The truth is, however, that by and large each Muslim will likely have two simple reactions to the President’s speech: the first of which is that the President has made some truly wonderful remarks, and within his speech has demonstrated his respect for the Muslim people and the Islamic faith.  He made references to the Holy Book of Islam, the Qur’an, he honored the rights of Muslims in America and around the world, and he vowed to move forward with mutual respect. The second likely reaction from Muslims will be based in pragmatism. The Muslim world is very familiar with the concept of verbal gestures of friendship, but as the President recognized, “no single speech” can change the world situation.  Accordingly, while Muslims will react positively to the speech, eyes around the world will be watching for a change in policy.

A change in policy regarding Arab monarchies and dictatorships is something Muslims will watch closely.  It is a sad reality that there are a great many Arab governments that regularly oppress their native Muslim populations, especially along sectarian lines, in addition to other minority non-Muslim groups.  Countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen actively persecute large segments of their populations, most often the sizeable Shia communities, as well as other Christian and Jewish minorities, in the name of fabricated sectarian ideologies, (that are not based in Islam).  Despite this, the United States remains a proud friend of the Saudi Royal Family, has signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement with Bahrain, and has made Yemen an ally in the Bush administration’s “War on Terror”.  Obviously, these ties were developed well before President Obama came into office, but it is time to deal with the present and prepare for the future.

While Muslims welcome President Obama’s gestures of friendship and mutual respect, platonic relationships with oppressive governments will only exacerbate the current situation. What most Muslims realize – and unfortunately Western analysts sometimes gloss over – is that it is primarily the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen that are the sources of extremism, inter-sectarian tensions, and hostility towards the United States.  What Muslims want from the White House is an end to support for governments that harm their own populations, whether they are Muslim or not, and whether it is militarily expedient or not.  It should also be noted that Osama Bin Laden was born and raised in Saudi Arabia’s capitol city of Riyadh, maintained bases and training centers in Yemen, and used the Bahrain International Bank to allocate funding for terrorist purposes.  The Muslim world knows that bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban are engaging in a war of cowardice and desperation, that these governments contribute to this problem, and that leadership on this issue from President Obama would go a long way in gaining widespread support amongst the Muslim victims of terrorism around the world.

Muslims will respond well to the President’s extensive knowledge of Islam and the history behind various conflicts.  President Obama’s speech notably included mention of the need for ensuring that Muslims in America have the ability to fulfill their religious duties, such as the Islamic concept of zakaat, or charity, and the verses he selected from the Holy Qur’an show a genuine interest in dialogue, neither of which will go unnoticed by the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims. Yet as much as Muslims will appreciate his words, and raise their hopes for a brighter future, they will accordingly expect new policies to reflect the President’s words.

Policy Positions

Ashura is the annual commemoration of the heroic struggle of Imam Husain, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. Imam Husain gave his life to oppose a ruthless ruler who tried to change Islam from a religion of moderation to one of extremism. In giving his life, Husain stands as a source of inspiration to hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide, exemplifying the ideals of justice and good will. Notable civil rights leaders around the world, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohatma Gandhi, used Imam Husain as a source of inspiration in their struggles for equal rights and human values. IIC believes Congress should pass a resolution honoring Ashura as a time of remembrance.

 

Save the Shias – Issue 6

As part of the new IIC, and its dedication to providing high content, quality news – IIC brings you the newsletter of the human rights organization “Save the Shias”. A new organization, the group puts together an unbiased, informative, and thought provoking piece of news literature.

Highlights of this issue:

· Taliban Threaten to Attack MQM

· Silence of Ayatullahs, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon on Pakistan Shia Genocide…. Why?

· Imran Khan Detained upon Entering United States

IIC Celebrates 10th Anniversary With New Direction

The Islamic Information Center, after a hiatus, has returned in a new format and with a more focused mission in order to best service the needs of the American Muslim community. IIC returns on its 10th Anniversary with a brand new webpage, a new dedication to community activism, and with a fresh stance. [FA_Lite id=”35″]

IIC has gone through many changes since its founding in 2002, and in its newest format, will primarily serve as a news organization – dedicated to unbiased, topical, and accurate reporting of stories that are of critical importance to Muslims around the world

Individuals interested in obtaining round the clock information, and the latest updated stories on Islamic issues, can go to the IIC webpage 24 hours a day, and constantly receive the latest updated news. IIC’s new webpage has a modified version of “Islam in 60 Seconds” available throughout the day, with fresh new stories throughout the day – every day. Want to see it?

 

Islam in 60 Seconds November 8 2012

Begun in 2006, Islam in 60 Seconds has been an important news source for Muslims in 30 countries, including the United States, Canada, England, France, and Pakistan. The New IIC returns with Volume VI of Islam in 60 Seconds. Each story is an abbreviated summary of the news, allowing readers to quickly digest a large amount of information relating to Muslims around the world.

Americas and Europe

Anti-Islam film protest outside Google’s London HQ
BBC
Protest groups say more action is planned outside Google headquarters worldwide. Buckingham Palace Road in Victoria was closed for three hours by the demonstration. The protesters called for the trailer for the US-made film, Innocence of Muslims, to be removed from YouTube, which is owned by Google. Google has said the video is “clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube”. The trailer for the film has provoked anger for its portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
After Vatican screening of ‘Muslim Scare’ video, a call for dialogue
Washington Post
When he presented an amateur and xenophobic film about the threat of “rising Muslim demographics” a few weeks ago at the Vatican’s Synod to a group of more than 200 prominent bishops, Cardinal Peter Turkson sent an implicit message: religious pluralism and dialogue with Muslims pose an inherent danger to the Vatican’s New Evangelization, a papal call for the renewed sharing of the Gospel message throughout the world. The video — which has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube — intends to incite fear among Christians by pointing to untrue statistics about Muslim population growth. Insisting that Europe and North America will eventually become “Islamic states,” the film calls on “believers” to “wake up” and “share the Gospel message with the world.

Middle East

Radical Saudis fund $100m Kabul mosque
GulfNews
Members of the radical “Salafi” Sect of Saudi Arabia are funding a $100m (Dh367,300 million) alleged mosque and Islamic education centre in Kabul that will teach thousands of students a year and help bolster Saudi influence in Afghanistan as the west withdraws. Work on the sprawling 30-hectare hilltop complex is due to be completed by early 2016. “This … centre has several aims, one is to ensure good relations between Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia,” said the acting Saudi minister of Haj and Islamic affairs, Dr Dayi Al Haq Abed.
Salafist Muslims Demand Sharia Law in Egypt’s New Constitution
Turkish Weekly
Several hundred Salafist Muslims have demonstrated in the Egyptian capital Cairo with demands for Islamic law or sharia in Egypt’s new constitution. The number of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square was small because the main Salafist groups decided to postpone their demonstration on the issue to a later date, according to international media correspondents. Egypt’s new constitution is set to replace the 1971 charter suspended by the military which took power when long-time President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011.

Great Asia

In Corner of Myanmar, Muslims Seek Relief
Wall Street Journal
A Muslim enclave in this scrappy port town on the Bay of Bengal is quickly turning into a prison-like ghetto, highlighting the risk that Myanmar’s dramatic democratic revival could unleash centuries-old ethnic hatreds that had partly been held in check by nearly 50 years of military rule. Sittwe, a town of around 250,000 people, is supposed to be one of Myanmar’s new boomtowns. The main drag is dotted with brand-new banks and India is funding a $214 million new port to open up a route up the Kaladan River to its eastern border, with an eye to turning this strip of Myanmar’s coastline into an international trading hub. But a couple of hundred meters back from where the river empties into the ocean, 7,000 Muslim Rohingyas are crammed into a steadily shrinking neighborhood called Aung Min Glar.
Malala Yousafzai and the Media Frenzy- Exploring Selective Muslim Coverage
Muslim Matters
In recent days, the incident of Malala Yousafzai shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls has flowed across all media outlets.  It was the story of a young girl who bravely campaigned for female education under the rule of the Taliban. Charging her for “promoting secularism” the Taliban ordered a gunman to shoot her in the head on the 9th of October, 2012. Now, Malala has been flown to the UK for treatment. Former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has launched a UN petition in her name using the slogan, “I am Malala” demanding that all children worldwide be in school by 2015.

Africa

Ethiopia Muslims rally on Fridays as tension rises
SacBee
As midday prayers came to an end at the Grand Anwar mosque in Ethiopia’s capital, worshippers continued on to what has become a regular second act on Fridays – shouting anti-government slogans.The demonstrations this Friday did not turn violent. But tensions are rising between the government in this mostly Christian country and Muslim worshippers. On Monday, federal prosecutors charged a group of 29 Muslims with terrorism and working to establish an Islamic republic.
Ripping Off the Faithful – the Hajj and Umrah Tour Scam
All Africa
Going on hajj at least once in the lifetime of a Muslim who could afford it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. However, fraudsters masquerading as travel agents are on the prowl defrauding intending pilgrims in the guise of facilitating the pilgrimage. MAIRO MUHAMMAD MUDI, Abuja and MIDAT JOSEPH, Kaduna beam the klieg light on this multi-million naira scam. The Maharam fiasco has been the major talking point of this year’s hajj operations in the country. However, as the pilgrims are airlifted back to the country after hajj, LEADERSHIP Weekend can authoritatively reveal that thousands of would-be pilgrims failed to make this year’s hajj because they were swindled by fraudulent travel agents. According to an Abuja-based victims who pleaded anonymity, “the agents charged N300,000 for the Saudi visa and N320,000 for the flight tickets. The intending pilgrim could pay more if she also wants the agents to make accommodation arrangements for her in Saudi.” The scam is nationwide and victims cut across all strata of society. Sheik Muhammadu Fadlu, is the Chief Imam of Suleja Main Mosque and one of the intending pilgrims defrauded by the travel agents.

Info Alert: IIC Condemns Attacks on US Embassies Abroad

The Islamic Information Center, joining a statement from UMAA and the Idara e Jaferia, strongly condemns the attacks on the United States Embassies in Cairo, Eypt, Benghazi, Libya, and Sanaa, Yemen. Further, we condemn the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and that of his staff members. No legitimate goal can ever be accomplished by harming innocent people, and no such behavior can ever be tolerated by the Holy Religion of Islam. We call upon the people of Egypt, Libya, and Yemen to take proactive measures to prevent violence and ensure that such actions can never happen again.
These riots are believed to be the result of an anti-Islam video created in the United States, which while derogatory and insulting, do not justify the harming of innocents. In the Holy Quran, God says that evil must be met with good deeds:

“The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity will become as though he was a near friend.” (Chapter 41, Verse 34).

The Islamic Information Center condemns all acts of terrorism as deplorable crimes against humanity, as they are completely reprehensible, and there is no legitimate reason for them to occur. Islam is a religion that advocates peace and tranquility amongst all peoples, and for any innocent individual to be harmed, is completely against the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

Islam, as taught by the Holy Prophet and his family, strongly advocates peaceful dialogue and discussion and rejects wanton violence against innocents. Further, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May God Bless Him) condemned all forms of terrorism against all people. The individuals who perpetrated this attack blatantly acted against the teachings of Islam and humanity.