What Merits the Value of an Opinion?

By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota

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Philosophy began as an opinion. In a free society, we are taught that our ideas matter. A person is given every reason to have an opinion without actually understanding what it means to have one. History is taken from the irony of the human experience. We constantly find ourselves at a crossroads. What can bring good brings bad. It is in our nature to justify our shortcomings through pitfalls of circumstance. A question of intentionality prosecutes the reason for action. As humans, it is in our nature to pursue avenues of recognition. A life deprived of meaning is an alibi to depression.

Wherever we look, there is information. It is not possible to avoid it anymore. For that reason, ignorance is increasingly becoming a matter of choice. Time again, we choose ignorance over intelligence without asking ourselves why. A margin of human error implies that perfection is illusory. We foolishly look for philosophies of perfection. The slightest form of error is enough to destroy hope in a better tomorrow. It can therefore be argued that ideas are as fragile as they are frugal. We sparingly attribute faith to an idea in anticipation of inevitable disappointment. That is indicative of man’s selfish inner narrative.

Read more »

Expressing our gratitude to the elderly

By Memoona Ghani, Engage Minnesota

MemonaJune 18th, 2016, Saturday was the Global Impact Day initiated by AlMaghrib Institute. Last year, in 2015, Global Impact Day provided an opportunity to Muslim volunteers to pay attention to the homeless fellows in the community, and that lead many volunteers doing projects for homeless on a regular basis. This year, 2016, Global Impact day (GID) was somewhat triggered by stories similar to these.

Bob was sitting by the window in his room, looking outside without any expression on his face. The window had a view of the street, and one could see people walking, running, cars going by, that roller skating and skateboarding kids and then the gardening experts tending to their plants and flowers. He would often go into this state where he would usually sit quietly and think about the past. Upon asking what he was thinking about, he didn’t answer at first but then started speaking in short sentences with pauses while still looking outside He said:

“Once I used to run.”

“In the morning and evening.”

“My wife would do gardening.”

“We would go for vacation to places.”

“Hiking for hours and hours.”

“I would drive to my friends.”

“I had a very nice car. I bought it after many years of working at my job.”

“I loved my work. I was very smart. People would ask my advice.”

“I used to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. I was good at building houses. People would love it.”

“Now I can’t make anyone happy.”

“When I stand, my feet feel like as if the flesh inside my feet is being ripped or some bone in my foot is stabbing the flesh in the foot.”

“My knees feel like as if trying to carry the whole body. My knees get heavy when I stand.”

“I had surgery for both eyes. Why can’t I see clearly?”

“Nobody needs my advice. They think I don’t know anything.”

Read more »

Race relations and protest: Do something of impact with your white privilege

By Omar Alansari-KregerStar Tribune

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In this day and age, the idea of white privilege is many things. As far as Blacks Lives Matter is concerned, if you are white, you are guilty. Make no mistake about it: The U.S. is a nation of deep contradictions. We have a hard time wrestling with the legacy of the past. Despite the deinstitutionalization of state-sponsored racism, people of color — African-Americans in particular — remain marginalized. Needless to say, the people of white privilege have not been silent about this sordid state of affairs. It seems that some of the most vocal supporters of Black Lives Matter are whites burdened with white privilege.

Something needs to be done about this sorry state of reality. However, the problem begins with the same group of whites that proclaim to care so much about black lives. It is all too ironic. The people of white privilege arrive to protest in areas that are far removed from the places where the actual hardships are. There is nothing more hypocritical than white people emerging from newly gentrified areas by way of the car culture. How is that not associable as a double whammy of white privilege rolled into one hypocritical thing? What does the average person of white privilege have in common with African-Americans, in addition to all other people of color?

Continue reading at Star Tribune.

Omar Alansari-Kreger, of Minneapolis, is a Muslim-American, a writer and a social activist.

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A specially designed Eid (blessed holiday)

By Nemeh Sarraj, Engage Minnesota

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On Wednesday, June 29th Disability Awareness Project held it’s first ever fun day event for Muslim kids with disabilities and the Muslim community with a Minion theme.

The event went really well Alhamdullilah (Thanks to God). We expected only three kids to come up as Muslim families who have a loved one with a disability generally don’t like going out to events due to stigma reasons.

We had five kids with disabilities show up and fifteen “typical” kids. It was a blast.

Per parents request, some children were not included in the photo.

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One mom who has two kids with autism stated that this was her kids Eid outing because it’s almost impossible for her kids to do anything on Eid because either there’s too many people or because other families “forget” to ask her to come. The organization has received requests to do more events and activities.

Nemeh Al-Sarraj is a graduate of Metropolitan State University. She completed an undergraduate degree in Bachelors of Human Services in Disability Studies. As someone who has lived with many different disabilities throughout her life, Nemeh has both academic and personal knowledge and understanding of what it means to have a disability and has spent the past nine years raising awareness about different disabilities like autism, throughout the community.  A strong champion of rights for Muslims with disabilities, her goals include educating the community about different disability topics and issues and helping Muslims with disabilities in the community feel welcomed and included.  In 2014, The Arc Greater Twin Cities has honored Nemeh Sarraj of Spring Lake Park with its “Changing Attitudes” Changemaker Award.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

In the footsteps of Muhammad Ali

By Amaiya Zafar, Engage Minnesota

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Hey! My name is Amaiya Zafar, I am 16 years old, and I am an amateur boxer. I have been training for over two years, and I have a love for boxing that overpowers any hardships that come with the various sport.  My hero is Muhammad Ali and I hope to follow in his footsteps.

There is a rule for amateur boxers that states we must wear the boxing trunks/jersey uniform and nothing more; as a Muslimah, I cover my body to show self-respect and my faith in God. So this, and the fact that there are few girls my age and weight for me to fight is the main reasons I have yet to compete.

In the 2+ years, I’ve pursued boxing; I have faced a lot of adversity. While most support me on this journey, some have opinions that they are eager to share, telling me I should take up baking or sewing rather than taking on a “men’s sport.” Even after being told that I will not be allowed to compete in my Capsters sports hijab and under armor underneath my uniform, I have kept up my training. I train as if I have a fight every day. I work to keep myself at my very best and to keep God first. When the time comes, I will be ready to fight my hardest! I have the support from my coaches, teammates, and my family to keep me going.

Read more »

Support a platform for Minnesotan Muslims

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“When we view ourselves as the protagonist of a story in which we are always right, we collect grievances about other people by noticing everything we do and noting the ‘injustices’ that are done to us.  All of this builds resentment within us and instigates conflict.”  –Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah 

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A Somali MPR reporter is stopped at the courthouse where he’s been going every day.

A 6th grade Muslim schoolgirl in New York is called “ISIS,” put in headlock, and punched as middle-school boys tried to pull off her headscarf.

A fourteen-year-old boy who wants to show his clock to a teacher is treated as a terrorist.

My daughter is called a “terrorist” in school.

These are not isolated incidents, but part of an increasingly powerful narrative about Muslims. I get up early to read the news. When I do, I find Muslims all over the world, mainly in a negative light, often framed as a stereotype of violence and hatred.

In the last year, the voices of ISIS and their supporters have been saturating the internet—both because of their shocking acts and because of how well they fit with stereotypes of the “eternally violent” Muslim. One would think they are the majority of Muslims rather than a fringe minority.

All around the world, Muslims are working as journalists, attending school, inventing things—but extremists get the coverage and the mic. The picture is overwhelmed by them, and they seem like the majority.

Read more »

Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan)

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

 

“O who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves.”

“The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.” (Quran: Chapter 2, 183)

The fourth pillar of Islam is Sawm or Fasting in the month of Ramadan. Fasting is also practiced in many other religions and is mentioned in the Torah and Bible as well as in Hindu scriptures. Observant Christians fast during Lent by giving up a particular food. Hindus fast on certain days of the week or on holidays, and for Jews, the most important day of fasting is on Yom Kippur, which lasts a little over a day.

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic Calendar. Because Ramadan follows the lunar calendar, it rotates through the seasons, moving back around eleven days each year. Last year, Ramadan started on June 18th and this year, the Islamic Society of North America, declared Ramadan to begin on June 6th, 2016.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and drink during this time. The aim of the fast is to weaken the physical desire or self and allow for the purification of the soul. It’s a process of spiritual purification and strengthening of willpower to carry us through the year. Muslims break their fast with dates and water followed by the evening prayer and dinner.

It is customary for families to attend the local mosque after breaking fast for special nightly prayers called taraweeh. The entire Qur’an, 114 chapters or 6,000 verses are recited by the end of Ramadan in a melodious recitation, called tajweed.

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Doctrine of Discovery: Understanding Native Historic Trauma

By Kim Olstad, Engage Minnesota

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In collaboration with 38 plus 2 Productions and the Saint Paul Interfaith Network, Church of the Epiphany hosted a showing of the documentary, “Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code” on Sunday, April 24 from 5:00-7:30pm. A discussion with director and co-producer Sheldon Wolfchild of the Lower Sioux Indian Community followed.

View Sheldon Wolfchild in a previous event on this topic

At the community-wide event, 78 participants heard from Wolfchild, viewed the film and also had the opportunity to engage in dialogue about what they encountered in the documentary.

Because the film recounts difficult historical facts about the devastating effect caused by religious influences, the conversation was particularly important.  Said Kim Olstad, Epiphany member and SPIN program coordinator, “While it is important to learn about events that are often not mentioned in our history classes, it is also vital that we understand that the ramifications of these events still affect us all today.”

Also available for viewing was SPIN’s Traveling Art Exhibit that includes the controversial images of current art in the Minnesota State Capitol and samples of K-12 student artwork offering an alternative vision.

For more information about how your faith community can host this film or Exhibit/display, visit St. Paul Interfaith Network’s site:

Learn more at Public Art Project.pdf, or see our blog on Capitol Art. Read our Petition seeking changes to art at the Capitol, and sign the online petition.

SPIN’s site or their monthly e-newsletter are the best way to stay informed about future events.

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It’s time to call out modern political parties for what they are

By Hani Hamdan, Engage Minnesota

hanihamdanAlthough it does not happen frequently, the internet is rife with stories of people switching from one religion to another or to a different sect within a religion. I’m sure most people know at least one person who’s done so. But how many of us personally know people on the political left switching to the right or right to left? Read more »

Inflict the legal punishments on the poor and forgive the rich?

By Fedwa WazwazEngage Minnesota

The camel sees all of the other camel’s humps but never his own.
–Bedouin Proverb

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Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings, taught Muslims that a society should not “inflict the legal punishments on the poor and forgive the rich.” This is not just an Islamic teaching–it has also been a teaching of those noble Americans who have nurtured our country to a higher understanding of human dignity and value.

Yet, with ISIS, we seem again to be forgiving the rich and focusing the brunt of our punishments on the poor.

In a newly aired PBS “Frontline” documentary, titled “The Secret History of ISIS,” produced by Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser, and Jim Gilmore examines how ISIS or Daesh came to be.  The documentary discusses how the US contributed to the rise of ISIS through many mistakes, as well as lies, told to create a link between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein so that we could make a case for Iraq.

Experts, including CIA officials, discussed how mistakes, lies and exaggerations were told along the path to a U.S. war on Iraq, which in turn gave rise to ISIS, also known as ISIL or Daesh.

Read more »

Reflections on Healing

By Fedwa WazwazEngage Minnesota

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
–Carl Jung.

 

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There are health nuts and healing nuts.  I guess you could say I am a healing nut as I was addicted to programs, workshops, courses, and books that have to do with healing and reconciliation.

Tuesday, May 17th, there is an event titled, Acknowledging our Brokenness – Reflections on the Impact of Trauma from the Individual to the Community.

The event will be held at the
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

451 Lexington Pkwy N,
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104

7 PM to 8:45 PM

The event is free and open to the public.

Being that this is mental health month, I would like to encourage people to attend the event.  When we do an activity in a group or support it as a community, it makes it easier for people afraid to seek help to reach finally out and ask for help.

The suffering that is a result of trauma – if not addressed can spill over and affect family members as well as the community and society as a whole.

While I advocate for people to seek programs that help them deal with past trauma, I want to emphasize at times we face a major dead end in the process.  I learned over the years an essential wisdom behind an Islamic phrase, which I used to recite without reflection.  It is an Arabic phrase, so be forewarned, and do not fear.

lahawla

Reading it from right to left, it is pronounced like this:

lā hawla wa lā quwwata illā bi Allāh.

It is often translated as there is no power or strength except through Allāh.

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A personal story of surviving war in Somalia

By Saciido Shaie, Engage Minnesota

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As a young girl full of hope, I lost that hope the day I left my country of birth, Somalia. I want to share how I came to the US and left Somalia without my choice.

I remember leaving my home not looking back, not knowing what was going on. The only thing I knew was that something awful was happening and that people were dying, yet I didn’t know why. I was very scared, confused and did not know what to do.

As my family and I left with my aunt’s car, my eyes were glued to the window.  I watched the people on the street.  I saw injured people crying for help on the sidewalk, yet no one was helping, everyone was running. But one thing that I can’t ever forget was, as I was watching people on the sidewalk, running, carrying backpacks, and carrying their babies on their back, walking without shoes, there was a child maybe one-year-old sucking his dead mother’s breast. This made me cry for many days. I remember looking at the baby, and telling my mother to stop the car so that I can help the baby. I remember how devastated and shocked I felt. I still remember the red shirt he was wearing.

You see, it is not easy to forget such incident, how can I when I still see the sand and the dust all over his little face and the tears and the horror on his face. How can I forget the cry and the scene as if I am rewinding an old horror movie? But make no mistake, as it was, and still is a reality of my past that hunts me down up until now. I wish someone heard me when I called my mother asking her to stop the car and didn’t.

“Mom, please stop the car,” I keep repeating the same cry, and I thought maybe my mother didn’t hear me at all. Then again, I said, “mom, the baby, please let’s help him.”

Read more »

Countering Islamophobia

By Karen Schraufnagel, Engage Minnesota

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On Tuesday, May 3rd activists from across the Twin Cities will gather at Cedar Commons to figure out how to work together to challenge Islamophobia – irrational fear and hatred of Muslims – and programs that are institutionalizing Islamophobia in our community. East African immigrants, mainly young Somalis, are being targeted and labeled “terrorists” for demonstrating any sort of connection to their religion, concern for fellow Muslims, or interest in US policies towards the region of the world their families come from. This is unacceptable!

Minnesotans Against Islamophobia formed several months ago in response to a national call to challenge the violent rhetoric spewing from political candidates during this election cycle and the broader threat beneath the surface of this rhetoric. We have held a very successful protest and a few town hall meetings. This is a good start! But the time is now to broaden the movement, so we are calling together representatives of religious, social justice and social service organizations (as well as unaffiliated committed individuals) to create a strategy for responding to these ongoing threats over the long haul.

To find more details, and RSVP (required!), please check out the Facebook event page.

An injury to one is an injury to all! Stop Islamophobia! Defend the Muslim Community!
Karen Schraufnagel is a local activist for social, environmental and economic justice, who helped to create Minnesotans Against Islamophobia in January (2016). Karen is a Jewish, anti-Zionist who has been active in Palestine solidarity work for more than a decade. She is the organizer for the Twin Cities branch of Socialist Action and a part-time Pilates trainer. Karen lives in Minneapolis with her husband, dog, and cat.

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Syria: We Stand By You

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

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There are crimes against humanity taking place in Syria. Some blame the Syrian regime. Others blame the “anti-Assad propaganda.”

The conversation begins: who started it or who’s the lesser evil and in the chaos of blame and destruction, many innocents are killed, many drowned fleeing for refuge and many have become refugees.  Others are trapped in Syria watching like spectators the country fall apart.

What is our role in this bloodbath and what can we do to end the war?

As a Muslim, we begin resolving every matter with prayers of repentance and seeking guidance and help from God.

Please take the following with a grain of salt, definitely not a scholarly or political expert analysis.

  1. Given the length of the war and the human cost – I appeal for us to call for a Hudna or cessation of violence.
  2. Bring awareness to the situation.
  3. Elect a leader for the rebellion that represents the people of Syria.  Not a charismatic figure, but someone with wisdom and understanding, who is interested in the people of Syria, than in bringing Assad down.
  4. Submit a request for the Syrian opposition to join the International Criminal Court.  Violations and crimes against humanity need to be called out on all sides.
  5. End the mocking, ridicule and anything that adds fuel to the fire. As much as you can – do your part to promote calm to assist the refugees and those impacted by war.  In listening to lessons from the Qur’an by Imam Al Sharaawy – he explained that cursing an evil person only empowers him to do more evil.  Is this what we want?  Remember the man who killed 99 people and how the intelligent scholar helped him end his killing spree.
  6. We need to come up with a face-saving solution for Assad and his regime to step down.  If you send a message of no hope to Assad, he will have every reason to fight to the very end.

May Day Parade:

Join the SYRIA PEACE, JUSTICE, AND REFUGEE WELCOMING CONTINGENT at the Minneapolis May Day Parade

Please come to an event for Syrians to express solidarity.

When:  Sunday, May 1, at 11:30 AM.
Location: Cedar Field, 25th Street East and 18th Avenue South (Get a map.)

50,000 people along the parade route will see your signs!

Our themes: “SOLIDARITY WITH SYRIA”, “STOP ASSAD’S WAR ON THE SYRIAN PEOPLE”, and “WELCOME SYRIAN REFUGEES”.

More on the event at the following sites:

FaceBook Event
CISPOS: Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria
MayDay Parade

Send a message of solidarity to the people of Syria – a message that we are with you. We can hold a worldwide global prayer movement. Another way – that is gaining steam is by changing your profile picture to red as a symbol of solidarity, outrage, and shame.

#‎AleppoIsBurning‬‪#‎SaveSyria‬

“Try not to cry little one. You’re not alone. I’ll stand by you.”


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For years, a state program has successfully helped employers upgrade worker skills. Could it do more to help minority businesses?

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

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In March, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded more than $2.8 million in grants to fund projects aimed at retaining and upgrading the skills of thousands of private companies’ employees across the state.

The project is part of the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP), a decades-old program administered by DEED that provides Minnesota-based businesses and partnering educational institutions year-round grants three to four times a year.

In the most recent round, the program gave money to more than a dozen projects that will provide professional development to nearly 3,000 employees, including Wilson Tool International and Anoka-Ramsey College; Kraus-Anderson Construction and Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Imagine! Print Solutions and Hennepin Technical College; and Ebenezer Management Services and Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical.

“The goal is that the business has a trained workforce … as their technology develops or as they bring new workers into their workplace,” explained DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben, who left the agency last week and was replaced by Shawntera Hardy.

And yet, though the program has awarded tens of millions in grants over the last 33 years, some business leaders of color say the state’s efforts around MJSP are also typical when it comes to the state’s efforts — or lack thereof — when it comes to making sure eligible minority-owned businesses are taking advantage of such opportunities.

“It’s a great program,” said Ravi Norman, CEO of the Minneapolis-based Thor Construction, one of the largest African American-owned businesses in the nation, but “I think there needs to be probably some enhanced intentionality on the marketing.” 

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Ibrahim Hirsi can be reached at ihirsi@minnpost.com.  Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

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Photo exhibit sheds light on cultural clashes between immigrant parents and their American children

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

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The teenage experience can be an emotional roller coaster for many young people navigating through complex life choices as they transition to adulthood and establish an identity.

But for many American-born teens with immigrant parents, the challenges are even more pronounced in their day-to-day experiences, as their parents tend to reinforce lifestyle and religious practices that are foreign to their children.

That pressure often invites a cultural clash between parents and their teens — many of them feeling torn between two very different worlds: a conservative Muslim community and a secular American society.

For years, emerging Somali-American visual storytellers Muna Malik and Khadija Charif have been taking notes on how their friends have dealt with identity issues and the struggle of living at home in one culture, while attending school in a completely different culture.

The pair eventually turned their notes into two photography projects exploring one story: the experience of Minnesota teenagers and their struggle to balance different cultures. The joint exhibition will open Wednesday afternoon at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Malik, born in Yemen and raised in Minneapolis, created “Behind Both Fences,” a project featuring four Somali-American and Sudanese teens who came of age in the Twin Cities.

Charif’s “Jaded Youth” exhibit features four local Somali-American and Ethiopian college students to shed light — as Charif noted — on “the beauty of what it means to be an immigrant, although it’s jaded and it’s hard trying to balance both our cultural life with our life here.”

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Ibrahim Hirsi can be reached at ihirsi@minnpost.com.  Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

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Conversation with Actor Barkhad Abdirahman

By Ahmed TharwatBelAhdan

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Writer/director Musa Syeed’s film takes place in Minneapolis, which hosts a sizable Somalian immigrant community. The story, regarding a down-on-his-luck Somalian refugee named Adan (Barkhad Abdirahman), doesn’t shy away from showing the specific cultural conflicts a Muslim Somalian immigrant may face in the U.S., but the general issues depicted could easily apply to someone from any culture or country. Just like many people who leave their lives behind in order to start from scratch in the U.S., Adan tries to integrate into society while working to make a life for himself, all the while struggling to keep in touch with his culture and religion.

For example, hiding a dog in a Muslim house is like hiding ET.

Listen to Interview of Barkhad Abdirahman

Ahmed Tharwat is host of the Arab-American TV show “Belahdan,” which airs Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Twin Cities Public Television. He blogs at Notes From America, on http://www.ahmediatv.com. Follow him on Twitter @AhmediaTV.

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Rejuvenated by An Interfaith Experience

By Memoona Ghani, Engage Minnesota

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I was part of a building bridges event where Muslim and Christian fellow citizens came together to meet and learn from each other. It was a time well spent where people found the similarities and agreed that differences make the world even more beautiful. Our differences are not a justification for us to hate, humiliate or bully each other. The differences in race, skin color, culture, religion and opinion are reasons human beings are intelligent. Sitting on a table with Christian friends who listened to me and concurred with me on certain points and at the same time they shared their ideas for which I thought to myself “Oh man! I totally agree with what is being said”. I felt the experience was humbling; hence, I said: “It is just so amazing that we are sitting here and accepting and acknowledging each other regardless of our religion and faith.” I listened to a profound statement by a Christian friend at the table who said: “I think it is because of our faith and belief that we understand each another.”

Numerous times it is the religion and faith in God that brings people together. And the fact that most of us think and feel this way is quite a relief and knowing that mindset exists also helps people meet each other with positive intent.

Read more »

Community Leaders to Address Rising Islamophobia in Minnesota

By CAIR-MN
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(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 4/4/16) – On Tuesday, April 5, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) will join interfaith, social justice and community organizations and leaders at a news conference in St. Paul., Minn., to address the challenges facing Minnesota Muslims because of the rise of Islamophobia in that state and nationwide.
WHAT: Community Leaders Press Conference to address Islamophobia in Minnesota.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 5, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
WHERE: MN Senate Office Building, Room 181, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN, 55155-1232
CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-406-0070, E-mail: jhussein@cair.com
CAIR-Minnesota is a chapter of 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.
– END –
CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-406-0070jhussein@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726ihooper@cair.com

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A Humanitarian Event For Syria

By Amber Michel, Engage Minnesota

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So often we feel powerless to address the immense suffering of our fellow human beings. Those feelings

of helplessness have become especially oppressive as we see hundreds of thousands of our Syrian sisters and brothers struggling, fleeing, starving, and dying.

My name is Amber and I am an organizer with CISPOS (Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria).

When I talk about Syria, one of the comments I hear most often is, “I don’t even understand what’s happening over there. It’s just so complicated.” People frequently follow that up with, “It’s so sad but what can we really do?” It is tempting to simply leave it at that, change the television channel, go back to homework, and busy ourselves in the activities of daily life.

Instead, I encourage us to give serious consideration to those two sentiments.

1. It’s just so complicated.
2. What can we really do?

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