Tuesday 29 December 2009

Combating Negative Thinking

The excellent Productive Muslim.com site has an article on combating negative thinking with a Islamic slant:

"To be a productive, dynamic muslim,it is extremely important that we inculcate a mindset of positivity. A mindset of positivity leads to proactivity and eventually leads to creating a productive life. If the mindset of positivity is missing, and we are negative and self loathing, and have no hope, do you ever think we would have the enthusiasm to do things and be productive?

One of the greatest secrets to being a productive person is letting go your negative self-talk and switching to positivity. Behind that door of negativity, there is a brighter, happier, productive life waiting for you."

You can read the full post here.

Saturday 19 December 2009

Where is the Moderate Coverage?"

Lena Hassan writing for the Londron Free Press asks "Where is the moderate coverage?":

"There's the persistent and popular debate on the hijab and Muslim women in general. There are wars waged or threatened in Muslim countries such as Iraq and Iran and, most importantly, there are stories reporting atrocities committed by nominal Muslims.

When this last happens, Muslims, like everyone else, cry for the victims, feel anger toward the ones who committed the act and pray for justice to be served.

The voice of opposition to extremism is a roar within the Muslim community yet it's oddly translated to a whisper by the media.

We don't follow a religion that says it's OK to kill or commit suicide. We don't follow a religion that tells us to hate Christians and Jews. We don't follow a religion that is evil. We are not evil and should not be told to apologize for something we didn't do.

If you're not reading the Taipei Times regularly you may have missed an article reporting on imams denouncing bombing attacks.

If you're not watching New York's 24-hour newscast, you may not know that a coalition of more than 200 imams has formed to confront the dangers of extremism

You can read the full article here.

Active Muslimah’s: Faila Pasic-Bisic

I came across two posts written about sister Faila Pasic-Bisic at the Bosnian Hijab blog (here and here) where she is described as:

"Muslim care worker, daughter of Bosnian parents...born in Slovenia. For the last ten years, she has been travelling around the world, promoting tolerance and compassion, protection of the environment, coexistence of all religions, nations cultures and social others. She is also initiator of numerouos humanitarian aid projects, as well as activities promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding. She is also doing voluntary service in Bosnian, Kosovan, African, palestinian refugee camps. She has earned recognition from various social, healthcare, political personages. She has been awarded the best Volonteer 2006, Humanist of the year 2007, Face of the European year of equal opportunities for all 2007, and nominated for Slovenian women of the year 2008 and Young European 2008."

I thought this young woman was a wonderful role-model for young (and older) sisters to learn from and be indpired by.

image source

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Open Society Institute Report on Muslims in Europe

The Times (13 December 2009) carries an article highlighting the findings of a new report, carried out by the Open Society Institute, that finds that Muslim's in Britain are the most patriotic in Europe:

"The report, funded by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, found that on average 78% of Muslims identified themselves as British, although this dropped by six points in east London.

This compares with 49% of Muslims who consider themselves French and just 23% who feel German.

France prides itself on its secular notion of citizenship and has banned Muslim pupils from wearing the hijab, or headscarf, in classrooms. Yet the study, by the Open Society Institute, found only 41% of Muslims in Paris see themselves as French.

The survey found that levels of patriotism are much higher among second-generation Muslims. In Leicester, 72% of Muslims born abroad said they felt British; this figure jumped to 94% among UK-born Muslims.

Experts believe that Muslims in Germany may feel less patriotic because they have only been allowed citizenship since the 1990s. France’s divisive history with its colonies, such as Algeria, could explain its lower levels of patriotism.

The report also discovered that 55% of Muslims across the EU believe that religious and racial discrimination have risen in the past five years"

Read the full article here and the original report entitled "Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities" here.

Masjid Near Ground Zero

The New York Times reports on the efforts of a group of Muslims in New York to buy the Burlington Coat Factory which was damaged by wreckage from the World Trade Centreon 9/11. The building is close to the ground zero site and this seesm to have encouraged the group to consider it as a site for their masjid:

"The location was precisely a key selling point for the group of Muslims who bought the building in July. A presence so close to the World Trade Center, “where a piece of the wreckage fell,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project, “sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.”

“We want to push back against the extremists,” added Imam Feisal, 61

But though the imam is adamant about what his intentions for the site are, there is anxiety among those involved or familiar with the project that it could very well become a target for anti-Muslim attacks.

Joan Brown Campbell, director of the department of religion at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York and former general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ U.S.A., who is a supporter of Imam Feisal, acknowledged the possibility of a backlash from those opposed to a Muslim presence at ground zero.

But, she added: “Building so close is owning the tragedy. It’s a way of saying: ‘This is something done by people who call themselves Muslims. We want to be here to repair the breach, as the Bible says.’ ”

With 50,000 square feet of air rights, Imam Feisal said, the location, with enough financing, could support an ambitious project of $150 million, akin to the Chautauqua Institution, the 92 Street Y or the Jewish Community Center.

Joy Levitt, executive director of the Jewish Community Center, said the group would be proud to be a model for Imam Feisal at ground zero. “For the J.C.C. to have partners in the Muslim community that share our vision of pluralism and tolerance would be great,” she said."

You can read the full article and view a slide show here.

Thursday 10 December 2009

CLG Reports: Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities

Communities and Local Government have issued a series of reports on British Muslims as part of the Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities research project. Communities and Local Government commissioned the Change Institute in 2008 to carry out the research which was done through collation of data from the 2001 Census, surveys, and through a number of focus groups and interviews with community members.

The research provides an insight into thirteen of the most significant Muslim ethnic diaspora communities in England with seperate reports on Somali, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Algerian, Moroccan, Afghan, Nigerian, Indian, Saudi Arabian, Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot, Egyptian, Irani and Iraqi communities in Britain. The reports include information on the context for migration, what is known about demographics, the socio economic status of communities, ethnic and religious identities, young people and intergenerational issues, nature and type of civil society development.

You can access the full list of reports here.

Praise for the Islamic Bank of Britain

Yahoo Money carries an interesting article by By John Fitzsimons which argued that shariah-compliant savings accounts such as those offered by the Islamic Bank of Britain are amongst the best deals around:

"While there are a stack of two-year bonds paying 4.25% AER, from providers as diverse as SAGA, the Post Office and the AA, you simply will not be able to get the same rate as that on offer from the Islamic Bank of Britain.

However, there is one crucial difference with the Islamic Bank of Britain's Fixed Term Deposit Account. The bank monitors how your funds are doing compared to the target profit rate on a daily basis to keep abreast of how likely they are to hit the required rate.

And if at any time they believe that market volatility is likely to hit your return, they will inform you immediately. You then have the choice to close the account, or accept a lower rate of profit. All of the profit achieved up to this point by your funds is protected by the bank, as is the initial sum you deposit."

You can read the full article here

Abaya Experiences

AltMuslimah carries an article by Sister Mariam Khan about why she wears an abaya:

"The decision to wear an abaya has, however, set off different alarms. It has actually been somewhat of a wake-up call. It's the realization that a woman can look simple yet elegant at the same time, discreet yet beautiful. Most importantly though, it's knowing that the choice to wear an abaya is solely to gain the pleasure of Allah, and that is what makes wearing it an act of worship. Hence, the abaya is a form of submission, not to our husbands nor to our parents, but to Allah alone.

After researching the issue and reflecting upon the evidences behind it, I learned the abaya is a source of freedom, rather than oppression. Freedom from having to keep up with annual trends and fashions. Freedom from the "shop-aholic" syndrome many women claim to suffer from. Freedom from standing in front of a closet filled with clothes, yet clueless as to what to wear. On the contrary, I experienced freedom of movement with the abaya. The freedom to walk about freely without attracting negative attention from men. The freedom of being a mere object of man’s desires."

You can read the full article here.

Hijab-Wearing Basketball Star

The AlArabiya news channel's website carries an article about Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a student at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Masachusettes who has has ben making waves on the basketball court:

"For Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who is on her way to becoming the first player in Massachusetts state history--male or female--to score 3,000 points, wearing the hijab was not an option but she was determined not to let it be an obstacle either.

Bilqis said it was not easy and she frequently turned heads as people taunted her about the "tablecloth" on her head or for being a "terrorist."

"Sometimes they yell out, 'Terrorist!'" one of Bilqis' teammates told the Boston Globe. "She gets mad, but she doesn't lash out. I don't know how she handles it. She just takes it."

Things changed for the honor student when she stunned critics and proved to be an exceptional player with her major skills on the court. Bilqis is now expected to become the first Muslim player in NCAA Division I history."

You can read the full article here.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

1000 Good Deeds

1000 Good Deeds is the website of the 1000 Good Deeds campaign which describes it's purpose as being to implement 1000 good deeds and assist others in doing the same by -

  • introducing good deeds during the working week,
  • highlight their benefits and
  • outline action plans on how to perform the good deed.

The site aims to be interactive and encourages people to get involved by sharing experiences and ideas and practising the good deed of the day.

You can go here to get involved.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Positive Muslimah: Zohra Sarwari

I came across Sister Zohra Sarwari's website via Muslimness and was impressed by the way she makes Islam and Allah (SWT) central to her coaching work.

Her site describes her as an established author, coach, entrepreneur and international speaker.

You can find her video's on her Youtube page here including this one:

You can also find some of her article here.