Magazine article Islamic Horizons

Community Matters

Magazine article Islamic Horizons

Community Matters

Article excerpt

Muslim Army Chaplain Moves Forward

THIS SUMMER, LT. COL. KHALLID SHABAZZ, 48, was inducted as the U.S.'s first Muslim division-level chaplain. His congregation comprises more than 14,000 mostly Christian soldiers of the Army's 7th Infantry Division at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash, reported Hannah Allam of McClatchy DC News on Feb. 27.

Born Michael Barnes into alarge Lutheran family in Alexandria, La., Shabazz is one of military's 10 Muslim chaplains. Only five of the Army's 1,400 or so chaplains are Muslim.

While stationed in Baumholder, Germany, Barnes decided "to cut down to size" a boasting Muslim soldier in a public debate on the merits of their respective religions. About 30 soldiers attended the "showdown." He was ready to pounce, but the Muslim "kind of blindsided me with some facts" that put Islam in a whole new light. After two years, Barnes converted and took the name Khailid Shabazz.

The Department of Defense counts more than 6,000 self-identified Muslims currently serving, out of a total of 1.3 million activeduty and more than 800,000 guard and reserve members.

Virginia Upholds the First Amendment

DELEGATE DAVE A. LAROCK's (r) PROposed Virginia General Assembly House Bill 2261, "Virginia Human Rights Act; unlawful discriminatory practice; anti-Semitism," which equated criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism, died in committee. It would have placed severe restrictions on Virginians' free speech by making advocating for Palestinian rights nearly impossible.

This was the result of a large coalition of solidarity organizations went to the state capital to inform the state legislators considering the measure how it violated the First Amendment.

Coalition members included American Muslims for Palestine, the ACLU, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East-Northern Virginia Chapter, Jewish Voice for Peace, New Dominion PAC, the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, Richmonders for Peace in Israel and Palestine, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, United Methodists for Kairos Response, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Virginia Defender and Northern Virginians for Peace 8c Justice.

INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL POLICY AND Understanding co-founder Iltefat Hamzavi, who served 15 years as board chair, announced on Feb. 6 that Saima Siddiqui, a board member since 2008, will replace him because "it's time for new voices to take the lead." Pledging to remain actively engaged as a board member, advocate and champion, he stated his pride of having "seen ISPU grow from a $40,000 a year group to a $1.6 million per year organization."

Most recently, Siddiqui led career services at National University of Singapore Business School. Prior to that, she served as vice president at Mom Corps, an innovative placement firm that works with companies to develop flexible staffing models.

ISPU also announced its new board: M. Gasby Brown, CEO of Bridge Philanthropic Consulting and faculty member of The Fund Raising School at Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Ahmad Nassar, president, NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing business of the NFL Players Association, Kashif Poshni, oral surgeon and educator in Maxillofacial trauma at Washington Hospital Center, Shariq Siddiqui, executive director, Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action and Marwa J. Zohdy, vice president, Global Consulting Services for Joint Commission International.

Facing from Racism within the Muslim Community

THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF GREATER HOUSTON'S SISTERS COMMITTEE HOSTED A COMMUNIty-wide introspective program, American Muslim Race Relations, during Black History Month at Houston's Masjid As Salaam. More than 250 people gathered to talk about the widespread, but largely unaddressed, reality of intra-Muslim racism. …

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