Thursday, 19 February 2015

Tthe Muslim Free Hospital in Burma

The Huffington Post recently (13th February 2015) carried a story about the Muslim Free Hospital established in Burma:

"In 1937 the Muslim Free Hospital was established in Rangon, Burma. It was created by a group of Muslim leaders to care for the poor of Rangoon that had no other access to medical care. The initial investment came entirely from Muslims. The Muslim Free Hospital still exists and is still funded by the donations of Muslims of Myanmar.

From to the beginning the hospital did not discriminate on the basis of religion, ethnic group, or income. The Muslims of Myanmar have been and still are paying for the medical care of poor Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, or member of any religion.

It is particularly remarkable that this is occurring in Myanmar. Muslims are a minority in Myanmar, about 4% of the population. Many Muslims in Myanmar live in fear. Violence against peaceful Muslims is on the increase. Militant Buddhist monks openly incite violence against Muslims. In parts of Myanmar businesses and homes are burned. Muslims are killed. Buddhist monks openly ask all Muslims to leave their country and call them animals.

The outpatient clinics care for 450 outpatients a day. The hospital has 160 beds. In the year 2000, a year for which there are statistics, there were approximately 6000 cared for as inpatients. The hospital has medical, surgical, maternity, and a special unit for eye patients. Currently an average of 220 deliveries occur a month. The hospital has x-ray facilities, pharmacy, ultrasound unit, and operating rooms."

You can read the full story here.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Open Letter to Bill Maher in Time Magazine

Rabia Chaudrey has written an open letter to Bill Mayer in Time Magazine (12th May 2014) questioning his dislike of Islam:

"You noted that women are treated at best like second-class citizens, but most often like property in Islam. The first Muslim woman,Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, a successful businesswoman, boss-lady and wife to the Prophet Muhammad, and the other Muslim women of his time would have snickered at you. Women of the region were chattel before Islam, treated and traded as such, until the Quran freed them through revelations such as “O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will.”

"I could tell you that Islam was the first system to establish women’s property rights, inheritance rights, the right to education, to marry and divorce of their free will, to be religious scholars, business owners, soldiers. I could tell you that while Christianity was debating the status of women’s souls and declaring them a source of sin, Islam had already established authoritatively the spiritual equality of men and women and absolved Eve, and womankind at large, of sin. I could tell you that the world and history is full of highly educated,successful Muslim women who are empowered by their faith, not debilitated by it. I could tell you terrorism is categorically forbidden in Islam, and that between 1970 and 2012, 97.5% of terror attacks in the U.S. were carried out by non-Muslims. I could tell you that female genital mutilation is never mentioned in the Quran; the only reference to it is found in a weak narration, and scholars find it objectionable to the point of being classified as impermissible."

"Nothing I tell you would matter, though. The facts are irrelevant. That’s how bigotry operates. It’s both telling and troubling that you referred to these issues as “the Muslim question.” The reference didn’t escape me and it’s hard to believe it was anything but deliberate. Think for a second about what was unleashed by the “Jewish question” in Europe. Bigotry sometimes does that, too."

You can read the full article here.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Thomas Jefferson and Islam?

The Bradenton Herald (19 January 2014) carries an interesting opinion piece on the views on Islam of the American founding father, President and author of the Declaration of Independence:

"In 1776, Jefferson inscribed these pivotal words among his private notes: "(N)either Pagan nor Mahometan (Muslim) nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of his religion." They were written a few months after he composed the Declaration of Independence, when he returned to Virginia to draft new laws for his state.

Jefferson borrowed the precedent of "civil rights" for Muslims from the English philosopher John Locke's 1689 tract, "A Letter Concerning Toleration." Locke's ideas about the toleration of Muslims and Jews provoked attacks: One critic condemned him for having "the faith of a Turk." His enemies also charged, rightly, that he owned a copy of the Quran, which they termed "the Mahometan bible."

You can read the full article here.

Read more here:

Friday, 19 July 2013

SOAS Students Break Fast with Homeless

The Huffington Post (15 July 2013) reports on the effort of students from the School of Oriental and African Studies to share their iftar meal (to break their fast) with members of the community by setting up a "Ramadan Tent":

"Students from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) are welcoming the public to their "Ramadan Tent" during Islam's holy month. The university, in Bloomsbury, is being used as the site where iftar, the sunset meal which breaks the fast, will be served.

Omar Salha, an SOAS alumnus, says he came up with the idea because he wanted to connect with communities.
"We want this Ramadan campaign to challenge some of the misconceptions people have about Islam. But it's also about connecting with all communities on a more humanistic level. It's only right that as Muslims and Londoners we serve the wider London community in the spirit of Ramadan.
"Some residents from St Mungo's saw our advert in their residence and came," he continued, saying he was particularly keen to reach out to those ostracised by society. "They were reluctant to say who they were at the beginning, but later said they were happy that there are still people reaching out to them."
 "The purpose of Ramadan Tent is to understand and appreciate the importance of charity and remembering those less fortunate than us; to join in the practise of sharing and caring and charitable duties towards our family, our local community and our nation.
"To invite the homeless and the poor and not turn them away, even if all we can give is half a date; to say a good word, to smile, to safeguard our environment and pick up rubbish and above all else to keep peace and good relations between people."

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Boston Globe Annual Photography Feature

For the last few years the Boston Globe has published a great feature on Ramadan on its The Big Picture.  You can see the pictures for 2011 here, 2012 here and 2013 below and here.

source for all images here

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Masjid Umar Helping Out in the Snow

The Leicester Mercury (22nd January 2013) received a letter recently from a member of the public:
"(An open letter to the community of the Masjid Umar mosque in Evington Road, Leicester).

I want to thank your community for the most amazing selfless act that happened on Friday night – it has truly moved me and has changed my attitude and I am feeling very humble today. Let me explain why.

Along with most of Leicester, I was crawling home at a snail's pace and was facing the long hill of Evington Road. What I saw in front of me was truly wonderful.

There were many Muslim men, wrapped up and facing icy winds and freezing temperatures, stopping the traffic to guide cars out of side roads, to make sure the traffic flowed and pushing the more modern computerised cars up the hill.

They were putting themselves in front of heavy vehicles that could have slid and crushed them – still they carried on.

I knew my old car would make it – no computer to tell it not to.

I chugged up the hill, but also saw your men pushing the less able and the whole event really opened both my eyes and my heart.

It didn't matter who was in these cars – black, white, any creed and any colour, all were assisted, without any prejudice.

At 52, I have grown up with prejudice in my heart.

My cousin was blown up in a market in Afghanistan, serving his Queen and country, so my prejudice was strengthened even further.

A bit of snow and community spirit has changed my outlook on many things. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Annie Ward-Pearson, Leicester".

You can read the original letter here (half way down the page)

Muslim Snow Patrol in Newcastle

The recent snowy weather in the UK caused disruption throughout the country.  Sky News (23rd January 2013) reports on members of the Islamic Diversity in Newcastle who have been clearing residential roads and drives in Newcastle's West End.


The Sky news website reports:

"IDC director Abu Tayeb said: “[Residents] have been really appreciative of the work that we’re doing.

“They’ve been a bit surprised at why loads of bearded men have come and tried to help them clear their drives.

“As Muslims we believe that it is our Islamic duty to look after our neighbours, especially in these very difficult conditions.

“We’re trying to remove some of those preconceptions people have about Islam and Muslims by showing that Muslims actually do good things and are trying to help our neighbours.”

You can see the full report here.