Show Mercy to the Dead

Say: ‘Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible and He will inform you about what you used to do.’ Al-Jumu’a 62/8.

The article He Shows Mercy to the Dead in the LA Times struck a chord with me. One evening, I received a call from a sister I did not know. This sister had been called by a funeral home that had received a Muslim woman. The woman’s family wanted their grandmother (the deceased) whom they said had been very religious to have the ritual washing due to every Muslim upon death.

The woman was to be buried the next day so the family wanted someone to wash and wrap the body early the next morning. The sister that had been called by the funeral home began to make urgent phone calls to other sisters in the community who might be available around 8am the next day which happened to fall on a weekday. She called a mutual friend of ours to ask her to help but she couldn’t because she had to work. So, she gave her my number. Continue reading


“It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.”

- Steve Biko murdered while in police custody after his detention under the “Terrorism Act” in apartheid South Africa in 1977.

American Schools Compete for Saudi Students

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and President Bush have an agreement to massively increase the number of Saudi students studying in American colleges and universities. The Saudi government is offering full tuition scholarships to 15,000 of its citizens to study abroad in the U.S

The American schools are happy with the cash and the increased diversity on their campuses. Officials from Kansas State University lobbied the Saudis and will receive about 150 students each paying the full $31,000 tuition. The school intends to help its influx of Muslim students celebrate Ramadan by ordering halal food for them. MashaAllah. Now, it would be really remarkable if 15,000 American students were allowed to study abroad in Saudi.

“Sometimes people ask me if I ride a camel to campus. They don’t even realize how many cities we have in Saudi Arabia..” – Marwan al-Kadi student

U.S. schools compete for Saudi students.
Kingdom gives scholarships to thousands for new exchange program
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:45 a.m. ET Sept 9, 2006

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Thousands of students from Saudi Arabia are enrolling on college campuses across the United States this semester under a new educational exchange program brokered by President Bush and Saudi King Abdullah.

The program will quintuple the number of Saudi students and scholars here by the academic year’s end. And big, public universities from Florida to the Kansas plains are in a fierce competition for their tuition dollars. Continue reading

Terrorism? Nonsense

Good news out of Michigan that a judge has thrown out the supposed “terrorism case” of three Muslim businessmen.

The men aroused suspicion by purchasing a large amount of cell phones and by taking photos of the picturesque Mackinac Bridge.

The message from small-time wannabe hero terrorism plot uncoverer law enforcement types is that Muslims and those who “look Muslim” should avoid certain forms of entrepreneurship and taking photos while sightseeing or risk being terrorized by local police departments and prosecutors.

Five years on from 9/11, do you feel safer?

Report Suspicious Behavior: 1-800-492-TIPS (digital sign on highway in Maryland). I wonder if I can report on law enforcement officials acting suspiciously irrational.

Dar us Salaam Salafi? – The Goal is not Isolation

The second in a series of articles by the Washington Post on Muslims in America five years after 9/11.

The title of the article “For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge” is misleading. The Dar us Salaam community in College Park, Maryland is highlighted as a salafi community and “one of the most conservative in the Washington area”.

I have been involved with the Dar us Salaam community for around three years. I attend many religious and social functions in the community. Since community leaders declined to speak to reporters from the Washington Post, I feel a need to correct some of the errors and misperceptions published in the article.

Number 1: The goal of Dar us Salaam is to build a strong Muslim community based on the tenets of the Quran and Sunnah where Muslims can find the support and services they need to live, maintain, and nurture their Islamic faith to the fullest extent in a nonMuslim society. Continue reading

No Apologies for Terror

Austrolabe has an interesting post on the repeated demand that Muslims denounce terrorism and the contradiction which results from these sort of demands.

The repeated calls for Muslims to condemn terrorism is at best, ignorance and at worst, disingenuous malice.

I do not apologize for acts committed by others because I did not participate in those acts. The fact that we may share a faith, race, gender, or citizenship does not make me more culpable than others.

Young U.S. Muslims Strive for Harmony

A look at some local DC area Muslims grappling with faith, identity, and American culture. This is the start of a series of articles by the Washington Post this week. One point mentioned in the article that I have also noticed is that children of immigrants born in the UK, identify more with their parents’ home countries than with Britain.

My nonMuslim cousins born and raised in Britain, do not see themselves as British either. They would call themselves Nigerian because the racial and class-consciousness permeating British society have perpetuated the idea that it is a “white man’s society” and those who do not fit into that category i.e. the children of nonwhite immigrants are not able to see themselves or their reality reflected in that model.

Whereas, at least in my experience, children of immigrants here in the U.S. can more easily feel “American” despite the racism they experience because this country has a strong history of immigration. Which is one reason I find the debate on immigration in this country full of inconsistencies but I’ll save that topic for another post in sha Allah.

Source: Washington Post

By Tara Bahrampour
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 4, 2006; A01

Standing in the small, fluorescent-lighted room that served as George Washington University’s Muslim prayer area, Amin Al-Sarraf pointed to the six-foot-high plastic partition dividing the space.

It had been a point of contention at the university’s Muslim Students’ Association. Some members thought the partition, common in mosques to separate men and women when they pray, was a necessary part of their religion; others disagreed, saying women had trouble hearing the imam.

“Some see it like the Great Wall of China in the middle of the room,” Al-Sarraf explained, adding that there was a fear “freshmen will get a bad taste in their mouth — like this is how the MSA’s going to be.” Continue reading

Snakes on a Plane, Muslims off the Plane

An article by Naeem Mohaiemen on alt.muslim is to thank for the title of this post.I have not seen the movie (an amusing audio review of the movie from NPR, warning: deleted expletives and music outro) but I have been keeping tabs on the latest incidents of flying while Muslim and paranoia from around the world.I am not a terroist

I’m sure many people have had experiences or have heard from others about the completely un-random “random screenings” that far too many have had to endure while not actually becoming any safer to the threats posed by people intent on using explosives to bring down airliners.

I used to work for the Transportation Security Administration and have some tips for airport travelers and Muslim fliers in particular.

1. Travel as light as possible. Pack neatly and use a lot of clear plastic containers or bags within your carry-on luggage. Continue reading