A time to celebrate diversity

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Our differences can bring us together to know one another.”

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I was very honored to receive an email inviting me to the University of Minnesota’s tenth annual Equity and Diversity Breakfast which will be held on Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:45-9:45 AM, at the McNamara Alumni Center. The Breakfast will bring together the University community and external stakeholders—alumni, donors, community organizations, and corporate entities—to recognize the students, faculty, and staff doing the work, and to reaffirm the University’s commitment to equity and diversity.

Awards will be given to outstanding students and to an outstanding unit promoting equity and diversity.

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Become CPR Certified

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

When my daughter and her classmates became my instructors, I learned how to do CPR and received free lessons in humility.

Monday, November 6th, 2017, I received a text message from my daughter reminding me of the CPR training today at her high school.  She is part of a program for First Responders which trains students in Opportunities in Emergency Care.

While I agreed to become CPR certified, she along with her classmates were getting their certification for becoming CPR instructors.

I actually forgot about the training but was glad I had no other plans to cancel.  The training was very informative.

We learned how to do chest compressions on an adult, child, and infant in case of a cardiac arrest.  We got to practice a few times, including how to use an AED, a medical device used to deliver shocks between cycles of chest compressions.  It was an informative and busy night.

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Allahu Akbar: We Love Life

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Genuine faith sleeps under all that rubble. It helps us to focus and recognize that God is greater than what we see and hear and understand.

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Before anything else, I want to condemn the tragic loss of life in Manhattan. To the victims’ families, I would add:

It is with great sorrow and sympathy that we send our condolences to the families and loved ones connected to the tragic event in Manhattan. The shock of unexpected violence and death can bring about bewilderment and trauma, and it is difficult to make sense of let alone bear. We pray that God comforts their souls in this difficult time.

I also want to take time to discuss the phrase Allahu Akbar, which has been misused by those plotting murder, but also used by billions of Muslims throughout their daily lives. We begin each prayer with the phrase “Allahu Akbar.” But what does it mean, and how do we interpret these words in our lives?

I shared something about the phrase “Allahu Akbar” earlier this year. In light of recent events, I would like to share an updated version along with a video. You can see, in the video, the happiness that comes with the nonstop usage of “Allahu Akbar” at the discovery of a child found alive after a building collapse.

That’s because, Allahu Akbar, or “God is greater,” shows a great love of life.

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Sexual harassment – #CanYouHearEachOtherNow?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

In the ladder of prejudice, we know things begin with talk that objectifies and dehumanizes the other.

fedwa wazwaz
During the Presidential election, there has been a lot of talk about the tape in which US presidential candidate Donald Trump discussed grabbing women and violating their bodies. The views I share here, about sexual violence and harassment, are strictly mine. They are not a scholarly
or legal analysis in the light of Islam, but instead my personal reflections about what a story of Prophet Joseph, peace upon him, can tell us about life today.

The public dialogue about sexual violence against women seems to hit flash points of rage. We go for a while, quietly simmering, largely ignoring the topic. Then something happens, and we dump all the anger and angst out of our systems. While this may be cathartic, it’s not necessarily helpful. Instead, things stay much as they were until another flashpoint.

What these flashpoints lack is the nurturing or transformation that can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves or others. Each time, there’s a fire, an exchange of insults, and a declared winner.  Then we await the next crisis without fundamentally changing.

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In the footsteps of Al-Husayn

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn”
–Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings.

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A bomb went off in the capital of Somalia killing over 276 people and injuring 300.

People are understandably in total shock and grief as the tragedy is described as the worst massacre in the past 27 years.

The country was in a civil war since 1991.  No group has taken responsibility, but the government blames Al Shabab.

This tragedy touched us right here in Minnesota, as some Somali-Minnesotans were killed in the blast.  Locally, families are grieving the loss of Minnesotans.  One such person is Ahmed AbdiKarin Eyow, a Somali-Minnesotan who died in the recent blast in Somalia on Saturday, October 14, 2017, a few hours after he arrived at his hotel.

He died planning a better life for his family and motherland, but God had another plan. May God accept him as a martyr or witness in this holy month of Muharram.

The local Muslim community is raising funds for his family and funeral expenses.  If you would like to contribute, click here.

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