All Posts by gmsalaam

The Hajj 2018- Sun.August 19th/Dhul Hijjah 9,1439

The Hajj ( Arabic: حَجّ‎‎ Ḥaǧǧpilgrimage“) is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the most holy city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm. The Hajj is the largest annual gathering of people in the world. The state of being physically and financially capable of performing the Hajj is called istita’ah, and a Muslim who fulfills this condition is called a mustati. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah). The word Hajj means “to intend a journey”, which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions.

The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th (or in some cases 13th) of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. This year the Hajj is being
observed on Sunday, August 19th, (Dhul Hijjah 9, 1439) with the Eid ul Adha, The Day of Sacrifice being celebrated on Tuesday, August 21nd (Dhul Hijjah 11, 1439).

To began making preparations to perform the Hajj in the future, go to

MAKEHAJJ

Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which pilgrims wear two white sheets of seamless cloth and abstain from certain actions.

(exerpt from WikIpedia-Hajj)

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HAJJ DOCUMENTARY

Immigration Separation Policy Traumatizes Children

Reposted from QUARTZ

Department of Homeland Separation

Science shows just how traumatizing
it is
to separate kids from parents
at the US-Mexico border

This spring, the White House implemented a new “zero-tolerance policy” intended to crack down undocumented immigrants attempting to enter the US along the country’s southwest border. Among the central targets of this policy are the children of immigrants, some as young as 18 months old.

US attorney general Jeff Sessions announced on May 7 that the Department of Homeland Security would be referring 100% of immigrants illegally crossing the border for criminal prosecution in federal court—and that any minors traveling with them would be taken into government custody. In a speech explaining the new guidelines, Sessions said, “If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law.”

This is a major shift in policy, as immigrants previously charged with illegal entry—a misdemeanor on the first offense—had been allowed to stay in family shelters with their kids while awaiting asylum cases or deportation proceedings. Now, migrants attempting to enter the US illegally are being jailed and separated from their children.

It’s clear the separations are already having a devastating effect. One Houston Chronicle story tells the story of a man who was deported—alone—after attempting to cross the border, while his 18-month-old was placed in a federal shelter. Government agents couldn’t tell him where his child was. A story in the Arizona Daily Star reports on a Guatemalan woman begging the judge who sentenced her to serve time for illegal entry to tell her when she would be able to see her 8-year-old and 11-year-old sons again—and getting no clear response.

Heartbreaking as these stories are, the long-term consequences of the separation may be even worse. A strong body of science proves that separating children from their parents causes enduring harm to children’s emotional and mental health, and to the relationship between the child and their parent.

In US history there has been a precedence for this cruel and unwarranted Immigration policy.
JUST THINK ABOUT IT….
.I’m sure you’ll see the parallel.
The United Nations has recently condemned the United States for this criminal practice.

Attachment theory and parent-child separation

Attachment theory, developed in 1958 by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, explains that young children’s sense of security is rooted in their relationships with caregivers, which in turn shapes children’s social, cognitive, and emotional regulation skills. That means separating a child from the caregiver puts the child’s long-term development at risk.

One 2011 study, published in the journal Attachment and Human Development, examined the effects of mother-child separation upon children under two years of age who had been apart from their mothers for a week or more. Most of the children came from low-income families. The researchers found that children who had been separated from their mothers at a young age showed more aggression and negativity at ages three and five, noting that involuntary separations were much more likely to have a negative effect. Meanwhile, a 2009 study of Chinese children who had been separated from their parents found that children whose parents had migrated in search of employment opportunities early in life were at greater risk of anxiety and depression later on.

Because the separations at the US-Mexico border are both forced and unexpected, they’re likely to be particularly damaging for kids. “The physical separation between a parent and child, particularly when unexpected as in the case of deportation, disrupts this essential secure base, risking internalizing symptoms (depression, anxiety), externalizing behaviors (withdrawal, aggression), and social and cognitive difficulties,” as one 2014 study (pdf) of detention and deportation of US migrants, published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, explains.

The effects of being separated from a parent can be difficult even when children are well cared for—say, staying with a grandparent or another trusted relative. But under the new US policy, parents are prosecuted and their kids are taken into government custody. Children are treated much better than their parentsthey have to be transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within 72 hours of being taken into custody by Homeland Security, given access to free legal services, held in a safe, sanitary, and “least-restrictive” possible environment, and given time to play outside. But the number of minors entering the US illegally is set to soon outpace the space available for them. So the Trump administration is reportedly considering holding undocumented immigrant children in military facilities.

And there’s reason to believe that the US government isn’t a trustworthy custodian. In 2018, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which handles the placement of undocumented immigrant children into shelters or with sponsors, reported that it could not “determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475” unaccompanied children who had previously been resettled with sponsors. And a 2016 report found that the Department of Health and Human Services unwittingly released a dozen minors into the custody of human traffickers.

In an April 26, 2018 oversight hearing, senator Rob Portman, the Republican junior senator for Ohio, gave an overview of the systemic ways in which US immigration officials are failing to enact basic protections to the children of undocumented immigrants. “We need to do better,” Portman said. In the weeks since, it seems, the US has been doing worse.

This reporting is part of a series supported by a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The author’s views are not necessarily those of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

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Gaza: Nakba day protests as Palestinians bury those killed

Even though Palestine is not an official state, the U.S. and Palestine have a long history of rocky diplomatic relations. With Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas set to appeal for the creation of a Palestinian state at the United Nations on September 19, 2011—and the U.S. set to veto the measure—that foreign policy history is again in the spotlight.

The story of U.S.-Palestinian relations is lengthy, and it obviously includes much of the history of Israel.

This is the first of several articles on the U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli relationship.

From THE GUARDIAN
Summary

Demonstrations at the border between Gaza and Israel were calmer on Tuesday, following a day of violence on Monday which saw at least 60 people killed.

We’re going to close down the live blog for now, so here’s a look at what happened today:

History

Palestine is an Islamic region, or perhaps several regions, in and around the Jewish-state of Israel in the Middle East. Its four million people live largely in the West Bank along the Jordan River, and in the Gaza Strip near Israel’s border with Egypt.

Israel occupies both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It created Jewish settlements in each place, and has waged several small wars for control of those areas.

The United States has traditionally backed Israel and its right to exist as a recognized state. At the same time, the U.S. has sought cooperation from Arab nations in the Middle East, both to achieve its energy needs and to secure a safe environment for Israel. Those dual American goals have put Palestinians in the midst of a diplomatic tug-of-war for nearly 65 years.

Zionism

Jewish and Palestinian conflict began at the turn of the 20th Century as many Jews worldwide began the “Zionist” movement.

Because of discrimination in the Ukraine and other parts of Europe, they sought territory of their own around the Biblical holy lands of the Levant between the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. They also wanted that territory to include Jerusalem. Palestinians also consider Jerusalem a holy center.

Only after Nazis staged mass executions of Jews during the Holocaust of World War II did the international community begin backing the Jewish quest for a recognized state in the Middle East.

Partitioning and Diaspora

The United Nations authored a plan to partition the region into Jewish and Palestinian areas, with the intention that each become states. In 1947 Palestinians and Arabs from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria began hostilities against Jews.

That same year saw the beginning of a Palestinian diaspora. Some 700,000 Palestinians were displaced as Israeli boundaries became clear.

On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. The United States and most members of the United Nations recognized the new Jewish state. Palestinians call the date “al-Naqba,” or the catastrophe.

Full-blown war erupted. Israel beat the coalition of Palestinians and Arabs, taking territory that the United Nations had designated for Palestine.

Israel, however, was always felt insecure as it did not occupy the West Bank, the Golan Heights, or the Gaza Strip. Those territories would serve as buffers against Jordan, Syria, and Egypt respectively. It fought—and won—wars in 1967 and 1973 to occupy those territories. In 1967 it also occupied the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. Many Palestinians who had fled in the diaspora, or their descendants, found themselves again living under Israeli control. Although considered illegal under international law, Israel has also built Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank.

U.S. Backing

The United States backed Israel throughout those wars. The U.S. has also continuously sent military equipment and foreign aid to Israel.

American support of Israel, however, has made its relations with neighboring Arab countries and Palestinians problematic.

Palestinian displacement and the lack of an official Palestinian state became a central tenet of much anti-American Islamic and Arabic sentiment.

The United States has had to craft foreign policy that both helps keep Israel secure and allows American access to Arab oil and shipping ports.

 

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Imam W.Deen Mohammed Ramadan Session Archives

 

 

“The Month of Ramadhan is that in which the Qur’an
was revealed, a guidance to men
and clear proofs of the guidance…”

Surah 2:185

Conveners of Imams
Associated with The Community of Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Statement on the Start of Ramadan 2018

As-Salaamu-Alaikum! As you may be aware, the hilal (new crescent moon) beginning the month of Sha’ban was sighted throughout the world and in North America on the night of April 16, 2018. Current astronomical projections indicate the month of Sha’ban is expected to run the full thirty days (through the day of May 16th). In addition, the hilal of the month of Ramadan is also projected for the evening of May 16th.  As a result, the beginning night of the month of Ramadan is projected for Wednesday, May 16, 2018, with Thursday, May 17th as the first day of fasting.

MUSLIM AMERICAN COMMUNITY RVA AT MASJID BILAL
will began the fast of Ramadan on Thurs May 17th
with Taraweeh Prayers held nightly following Ishaa starting Wed May 16th.
Iftars will be hosted at Masjid Bilal Saturday evenings 8pm
Join us each morning to STUDY AL-ISLAM via Conference Call
Call 712-770-4160  Access Code 684012#
https://www.facebook.com/studyalislam

By tradition, however, Muslims around the world will be searching for the hilal th starting Tuesday evening, May 15th.  In the continental USA, members of the Community of Imam W. Deen Mohammed will be out searching shortly after sunset on Tuesday evening. If the moon is sighted with the naked eye, please contact your local Imam who should then notify their Section Convener with the details of the sighting. We will announce sightings on our website: www.iwdmcommunity.com. While it is unlikely, if a credible eye sighting (including picture, location, and person) occurs on Tuesday night (May 15th) within the continental USA, the first day of fasting will start on May 16th.

The Section Conveners of Imams associated with the Community of Imam W. Deen Mohammed adhere to the general principle of local sighting (within the continental USA) with the naked eye. We also use Allah’s gift of science to help pinpoint when and where naked eye sightings are most probable to occur.

Wherever Muslims are in the world, we pray that you have a blessed and beneficial Ramadan as a result of your intentions, fasting, prayers, Qur’anic reading, charity, discipline, and your gathering with other believers!

Ramadan Mubarak!

Parkland High School students have the courage and will to reform gun laws

By Marc Morial /The Carolina Peacemeaker
March 2, 2018

This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged. And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?

– President Barack Obama, prayer vigil for victims of the Newtown , Ct. shooting, 2012.

Nearly 20 years ago, in the wake of what was then the worst school mass shooting, I led a bipartisan group of mayors urging Congress to pass major gun reform legislation.
The Gun Violence Task Force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, of which I was president, called for reforms including raising the minimum age for purchasing and possessing a handgun from 18 to 21, requiring background checks at gun shows and limiting gun purchases to one a month per individual.

As horrified as we were then, just after the Columbine shooting in 1999, we could not have imagined the next 19 years would bring not reforms, but even more lenient gun laws; another 200-plus school shootings, and more than 122 students, teachers and coaches slain.

The Everytown for Gun Safety coalition, to which National Urban League belongs, has tallied the number of school shootings so far in 2018 at 17. The number is disputed by those who believe accidental gunfire should not be counted, but what a tragic statistic over which to haggle.

Mass shootings garner headlines but gun violence kills an average of 96 Americans every single day. We need reform at every level. The National Urban League supports:

  • a criminal background check for every gun sale. States that require background checks for all handgun sales see about half the rate of firearm deaths among domestic violence victims, law enforcement in the line of duty and suicides, and about half as much gun trafficking in cities.
  • renewal of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly known as the assault weapons ban. The AR-15 rifle, used in many of the deadliest recent mass shootings, uses 30-round magazines, allowing a shooter to fire about a hundred rounds per minute.

  • keeping guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers. Half the women killed with guns in the U.S. are murdered by their partners – about 50 women every month. More than half of mass shootings involved the killing of a partner or relative.
  • education, technology and laws that keep guns out of the hands of children. American children are 16 times more likely to die via gunshot than in other developed countries, usually as a result of playing with a gun in their own homes.
  • a strong federal trafficking law to crack down on illegal gun trafficking networks. Ninety percent of the guns found at crime scenes in New York City were originally bought out of state and brought to the city illegally. The current law that prohibits “selling guns without a federal license,” carries the same punishment as trafficking chicken or livestock.

For those of us who’ve long been engaged in the fight to reform our nation’s gun laws, the movement that has arisen in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting has brought both inspiration and hope. Nothing stands in the way of common sense reform but our own lack of courage and political will. The teenagers of Parkland have both.


Marc Morial is the president and CEO of the National Urban League. Visit the organization’s Web site: http://nul.iamempowered.com.

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‘People Who Are Different Are Not the Problem in America’

By James Lankford & Tim Scott/Politics-THE ATLANTIC
JAN 12, 2018

Two members of the U.S. Senate urge Americans to honor the legacy
of the Martin Luther King Jr. by engaging with others of different backgrounds.
This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day carries additional significance, as it marks the 50th anniversary of his tragic death. In April of 1968, King was killed in Memphis, Tennessee, at the hands of a ruthless murderer who was filled with hate and racism.One of the reasons we, as Americans and citizens around the world, remember King’s legacy is his call to freedom and racial unity through love and engagement for all people—a message he still shares with the world a half-century later. Love is the consistent theme throughout many of his writings and remarks: “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend,” or “I have decided to stick with love … Hate is too great a burden to bear,” or “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.

Perhaps the words King wrote to fellow ministers while he was in the Birmingham Jail in 1963 are the most impactful: “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

King’s words still ring, but his work is not complete. Americans have come a long way since the 1960s, but the dream is not yet fully realized.After the 2016 police shootings in Dallas, Minnesota, and Louisiana, we challenged our constituents and people everywhere we went with a simple question, “Have you or your family ever invited a person or a family of another race to your home for dinner?”  We called it “Solution Sundays.”Sunday is a slower, yet significant day, for most Americans. So, we challenged each family to give one Sunday lunch or dinner for building relationships across race and ethnicity, to literally be part of the solution in America. Any other day of the week would work as well; the goal is for people to engage on a personal level in their own homes, to break down walls, to listen, and to build trust across communities. It is harder to stereotype people that you know.

When is the last time you or your family had dinner in your home with a person or family of another race?

We are convinced that we will never get all the issues about race on the table, until we get our feet under the same table and talk like friends. At its core, racial divisions are a heart issue, not a skin-color issue. Our children need to see their parents developing friendships around the dinner table with people who look different, so that the next generation can be different.

The same goes for civil discourse in America. The love and respect that King spoke about do not require absolute uniformity or watered-down viewpoints. They require respect for cultures and views that are different, and an understanding that people who are different are not the problem in America; they are our brothers and sisters in humanity.

Sadly, our cultural discourse often looks like hate trying to drive out hate, rather than allowing light and love to drive out hate.

Our national leaders should model this truth rather than just reflect the culture. Just take a glance at social media and cable news, and you’ll see disrespectful shouting and shaming that descends on our country and our children like a cold rain. In fact, you can test that theory by posting this op-ed to your social media account, and you will probably see what we’re talking about within minutes. This sort of rhetoric threatens our ability to weave together multiple communities together to form a single nation; it loses sight of the fact that all people are made in the image of God and have worth and human dignity.

After two centuries, we are making progress on race, but we seem to be rapidly losing our “melting pot” of ideas, respect, and acceptance. A trend has emerged that encourages people to listen only to people who are the same or share their values, philosophy, and ideas, then dismiss or belittle anyone who is different or disagrees, even if they only disagree on a few issues. A good burn is the new goal, rather than a good word. We still need the reminder that “love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Let this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day be a time where we, as Americans, honor his memory and legacy by engaging neighbors who are different. If the national pendulum is ever going to swing, it will require role models in every community who don’t just call out for respectful engagement, but live it.

Worried about Russian Collusion? Gerrymandering & Voter Suppression are worst threats

From Electoralgeographies.web

 Gerrymandering / Congressional Redistricting

Manipulating congressional districts through gerrymandering  has become a pervasive problem in the United States since its utilization by Elbridge Gerry in 1812. The point of gerrymandering is to cram “all of [your opponents’] supporters into a small number of districts. This method allows the legislature to spread its own supporters over a larger number of districts” (Ingraham, 2014b).

The graph above shows data on 8 states’ gerrymander index scores. It is clear that these data, in general, indicate that states are becoming more gerrymandered over time.

North Carolina and Maryland are regarded as the most gerrymandered states in the United States.  North Carolina’s 12th district is one of the worst in the nation, stretching over 77 miles from Winston-Salem to Charlotte in a snake-like pattern. (below)

NorthCarolinas12thcongressionaldistrict

There are certainly regional and demographic factors at play in the more recent gerrymandering efforts, such as those that we saw in 2010. Republicans gained a majority of House seats and state legislatures that year, and as a result were in charge of districting after the 2010 census. Redistricting’s original intent (after the census every 10 years) was to provide fair representation for people in different states as their populations increased or decreased, but it has largely become a political tool dominated by  whomever controls the state’s legislature.

From the graph below, you can see that the South, and the East Coast in general, is becoming more gerrymandered than the rest of the United States. The darker reds represent states that are more gerrymandered on the index score, and the lighter colored states represent those that are less gerrymandered.Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 7.51.11 PM

Gerrymandering the Electoral College?

Republican victories and the subsequent Congressional districts established by Republicans in 2010  gave the party momentum to propose legislation regarding alterations to the electoral college. Their goal is to set up a congressional district system in their respective states, which would ultimately determine the outcome of the Presidential election through dividing electors amongst state districts.

over-timegerrymander

Nebraska and Maine already have a congressional district system in place, and Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia are all considering legislation (Henderson & Haines, 2013). Systems such as this in Ohio and Virginia, key swing states during the 2012 Presidential election, would have indicated a victory for Mitt Romney (Berman, 2012). But such law, if implemented, would also change presidential campaign strategies, and would generate and eliminate different battle-grounds.

Voter Suppression Laws 2014

Similar to gerrymandering, voter suppression laws are a way for political parties to gain an advantage through manipulation.  The 2014 midterms witnessed minority populations in the South, and other parts of the country being targeted by such legislation. A major issue at hand were voter ID laws. Many states introduced newly established ones this cycle. 11 states had new voter ID laws, which excludes states where these laws will be implemented in future elections-such as NC.imrsimrs

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 1.17.56 PM

21 states featured new voting laws more generally which included elimination of same day registration, elimination of out-of-precinct voting, limitation of early voting days, and longer wait times for criminals to regain their voting rights.

Research indicates that affected states “tend to have large black and Hispanic voter populations” (The Economist 2014). As an example, 1/3 of North Carolina’s African American voters utilized same day registration in 2012, a privilege which was eliminated in the state this cycle.  The portion of the Voting Rights Act which was struck down by the Supreme Court in a 2013 decision may be to blame for some of the problems in the South. Southern states are largely dominated by Republicans, and are no longer required to receive federal approval before changing legislation.

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Muslims Feeding RVA’s Needy For 2 Decades Needs Your Help

The Masjid Bilal Food Bank has operated for more than 20 years under the direction of Dr. James H. Rasheed . Residents from all over the Richmond Churchill community receive grocery items including produce, meats, baked goods and canned goods. Feeding more than 1000 people monthly, the program has been the recipient of numerous community awards. The Masjid Bilal Food Bank, one of the principal ministries of the Muslim American Community RVA , works in collaboration with the Central Virginia Foodbank.

Future plans include merging this project into a Job Readiness, Financial/Computer Literacy Initiative, Restoration of Voter Rights and Integrated Family Visitation Services.

This initiative has relied upon the volunteer efforts of many Churchill residents working side by side with members of the muslim community. The program receives no grants and relies solely upon individual contributions.

This program which is vital to so many families is in jeopardy of closure due rising cost and a reduction in contributions. We need your help!

Become a sustaining supporter of this community program. Please give a generous tax-deductible one time or monthly contribution.

It’s Easy! Just click on the Link below.

http://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=tmcF2vYJqbyldMCyM4wB_OESXHsxUGL4Q8uK2ntO2cYSQWCS6ijTat_Nx6itmpbLWZz9W0&country.x=US&locale.x=US

We invite you to come by and see your dollars in action! The food bank operates the fourth weekend of each month, Fridays 2pm-4pm and Saturdays 9am –12 noon. To find out more about this initiative, contact James Rasheed at jhrasheed@aol.com.

Because of your donation, your elderly neighbors and children won’t have to go to bed hungry again.

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