The Wikipedia entry of Menlo Park, California literally begins with the words “Menlo Park is an affluent suburb”. Apparently 21% of Menlo Park residents work at Facebook. In any case, it’s still in many ways a typical nice and quiet suburb of America. I know this because I’ve been there. I went there to visit my friend Scott.
Scott grew up in Menlo Park and he and I currently study at an Islamic liberal arts college in Berkeley, California called Zaytuna College. In this episode we get to hear about his life, his existential struggles, and the journey which eventually led him to Islam and now to Zaytuna College.
By: Hamza Yusuf
Given the choice, I would rather read a book than listen to a lecture. Books are wonderful companions: they offer their opinions, and if you disagree, they don’t seem to mind. I can reread when I find difficulty with what is written, and the book doesn’t think I’m stupid or get annoyed that I’m asking it to repeat itself, sometimes again and again. From a great author, I can acquire in a few hours what took him or her a lifetime of reflection and insight to realize. Despite that, on occasion, I have heard lectures that have moved me deeply. Recently, someone sent me a lecture insisting that I watch it. It was by an American convert to Islam (I don’t like the word “revert,” as we don’t revert to Islam; we convert – unless one was a Muslim, left it, and then returned), Dr. Jeffrey Lang, about the purpose of life. I found this lecture to be the most powerful I have ever heard from an American Muslim.
By: Valerie Wright
I could say that my journey to Islam began before I was even aware of it.
I was born with a progressive hearing loss.
My mother did not realize that I had difficulties hearing until I was 4 years old.
Once it was discovered, I received my first hearing aids, and began attending a school where hearing and deaf children were integrated.
At first I was placed in classes that contained only deaf children. Then I began to attend some classes with hearing children, and I had a teacher come to help me learn how to integrate. I felt at home there. I did not realize that I was being prepared to leave the school and go to a mainstream public school.
American Sniper, the Oscar-nominated film about the life of the deadliest American sniper ever, has set a new box office record for the opening of a film in January. But the film is receiving criticism for being a one-sided and inaccurate portrayal of the war in Iraq that dehumanizes Iraqis and incites hatred.
By: Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad
In Aug 2011, Associated Press journalists Chris Hawley, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Matt Apuzzo began publishing a series of detailed reports exposing a decades long secret surveillance program. This program was engineered by the NYPD (with assistance from the CIA) to gather intelligence on entire Muslim communities. Operating under the auspices of the “Demographic Unit”, law enforcement spied on American Muslim citizens all along the Northeastern seaboard— from New Haven, CT to Philadelphia, PA. The extent and reach of this suspicion-less spying extended far beyond the boundaries of New York City; with local officials and police departments seemingly unaware that the NYPD was conducting such far-reaching clandestine activity outside of its jurisdiction.
This series of Associated Reports revealed the surreal and sordid details of a program that read more like a Hollywood Spy/Crime drama- filled with informants, undercover police officers (“rakers and mosque crawlers”), monitoring of masjids, bookstores, homes, cafés, halal meat markets, and other businesses. Muslim Students’ Associationswere also targeted for surveillance –including Yale MSA, City College of New York, Rutgers New Brunswick and UPenn MSA. NYPD informants infiltrated MSA student meetings, chat rooms, online forums and group outings. Based on information obtained by the Associated Press “Student groups were of particular interest to the NYPD because they attract young Muslim men, a demographic that terrorist groups frequently draw from. Police worried about which Muslim scholars were influencing these students and feared that extracurricular activities such as paintball outings could be used as terrorist training.”
By: James A. Lucas
After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by an accelerated “war on terrorism.”
But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable.
By: Ali Abunimah
An organization sponsoring a controversial visit to Israel by a number of American Muslim “leaders” is funded by one of a handful of major financiers of extreme Islamophobic groups in the United States.
Internal Revenue Service filings show that the Jerusalem-based Shalom Hartman Institute has received generous funding from the Russell Berrie Foundation in recent years.
This foundation was named in the 2011 Center for American Progress report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” as one of the top seven donors to anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States.
By: Jumana Al Tamimi
Though Jennifer Grout, the 23-year-old American singer, doesn’t speak a word of Arabic, she has a rare talent: singing Arabic songs, including Arabic traditional ones, so fluently, so softly and so beautifully.
When Grout participated in Arabs Got Talent last year, she was among the top three finalists, with thousands viewing her spine-tingling performances of songs by Umm Kulthoum on YouTube. More recently, a video of a different kind has been drawing attention to Grout — one showing her announcing her conversion to Islam, which was posted online last month.
While she has actually converted to Islam, though “unofficially”, Grout told tabloid!the posted video is not real.
“Actually the video that everyone has seen is part of a Moroccan film I made before my performance aired on Arabs Got Talent.”
“And I originally was upset, and mostly scared, that it ended up on the internet, because I hadn’t even gotten the chance to tell my family and closest friends about Islam before there were headlines everywhere saying I’d converted. However, now that it’s out there, maybe it’s a positive thing — I am not ashamed of what I believe in,” she added in an email interview.
The posted video shows her declaring, in the presence of two men, the shahada, the declaration of faith that is one of the five pillars of Islam. In the shahada, the person states that “there is no God but Allah and Mohammad [PBUH] is His prophet”.
Grout, who lives in Morocco, explained that she has not gone to the mosque to “confirm her conversion with an Imam or get it on paper”.
“But I say the shahada from my heart. I have recently started to perform the [five] daily prayers.”
“BBC World News! I took my city with me! My response to the riots!” – Basheer Jones