MINNEAPOLIS -- Abia Ali is known in her neighborhood, at work and in the local Somali community as a woman of kindness. At the Abu Bakr as Siddique mosque in South Minneapolis, the youngsters call her "Mama."
On a recent day during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Ali, a community activist who volunteers in her neighborhood and at the mosque, sat down on a folding chair in the community room. This was one of the last nights of Ramadan, and Muslims here would pray together until dawn.
Little girls ran through the community center and teenagers sat cross-legged and gossiped or did their homework.
Ali set out a donation box — as she did every night of Ramadan, a time of charity — to sponsor sick children from Somalia who live in poverty in the midst of violence and need medical help.
"I put it under my name and I send it," she said. "If I'm going to be punished for helping my needy people let it be."
Other people are too afraid to contribute, concerned that even innocent gestures will be flagged.
TWEETING DURING CHURCH SERVICES GETS BLESSING OF PASTORS - TOP By PURVA PATEL, Houston Chronicle, 10/10/09
At mosques, the sermon and devotional prayer are usually considered one, so tweeting would be seen as detracting from the act of worship, said Kaleem Siddiqui, a spokesman for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (More)
CAIR-OK ANSWERS PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CALL TO COMMUNITY SERVICE - TOP
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) recently joined with the NAACP, the Latino Community Development Agency and the Red Cross to mark National Service Week with Disaster Relief Response Training.
The training was a project of President Barack Obama's United We Serve campaign (www.serve.gov), CAIR's Muslim Care initiative and Muslim Americans Answer the Call (www.muslimserve.gov).
(COLUMBUS 10/10/09) - On October 6, the president of Somalia honored CAIR-Ohio’s Columbus office with a Presidential Award in gratitude for CAIR-Ohio’s work helping the local Somali community.
President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed spoke to about 1,000 people in Columbus at the “Engaging the Somali Diaspora” event. He encouraged the mostly Somali crowd to help Somalia and work for peace. The award he gave after his speech expressed gratitude to CAIR-Columbus for being a friend to this community.
Columbus is home to the second-largest community of Somalis in the United States, many of whom have fled the civil war in Somalia that began in 1991. CAIR-Ohio’s legal department has worked on many cases on behalf of the local Somali community, many of them dealing with religious discrimination and ethnic intimidation.
“We are honored that the President of Somalia has recognized the work we have done for the local Somali community,” said CAIR-Ohio Staff Attorney Romin Iqbal.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
A crime often mentioned in whispers in the Muslim community is about to be addressed publicly at the Grand Mosque. Two Muslim women's groups are joining with the Council on American Islamic Relations to offer help to victims of domestic violence.
Community advocates and domestic-violence experts will offer guidance to victims and their families at a program that runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Islamic Center of Cleveland, 6055 West 130th St., Parma.
CATHOLIC OFFICIALS CLARIFY RITUALS DURING FLU SEASON - TOP Jeff Diamant, The Star-Ledger, 10/10/09
They rank among the best-recognized practices at Catholic Mass: sipping wine from a chalice, shaking hands while exchanging the "sign of peace," and, in many parishes, holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
But these meaningful rituals also present opportunities to spread germs, and in a season of rising concern over swine flu, they will be observed by fewer Catholics this fall…
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, in April, published an alert asking imams to offer common flu prevention tips as hand-washing and using a tissue for sneezes and coughs.
It also said officials at Islamic schools should consider canceling classes if a student has a suspected case, and that imams should cancel mosque gatherings including Friday prayers if a health risk exists.