Community News (V9-I32)

Danville Muslims fight drugs and violence

DANVILLE, VA–Muslims in Danville have embarked on an ambitious project to rid one of the toughest areas in the city of drugs and violence. Towards this end they organized a program to distribute free fried fish dinner in the North Main Street neghborhood.

Led by the Danville Masjid Islamic Center in cooperation with the Bennett Memorial Church, the Muslims are hopeful that they will clean up the area.

Both organizations are urging residents to speak to police with their questions, complaints and concerns, and to work with the center to find a way to reduce the violence.

Islamic Center members have been going door-to-door for months, speaking to residents and handing out flyers and pamphlets explaining the Islamic faith and urging neighborhood residents to visit the center to learn how to help clean up the neighborhood, the Danville Register reported.

“We came to wake the community up,” said one organizer Alfona Muzzammill said.

Organizers said they had a better turnout than was expected, and said the community seems to be receptive to what they’re trying to do.

“We came to get everyone out and let everyone speak,” Muzzammill said. “We have called for a city-wide prayer from all churches and religions and asked the city to pray about the crime in our city. It has to stop.”

Muslims help build a house

BALTIMORE, MD–Volunteers from the Muslim Community Cultural Center in West Baltimore were among others who picked up the hammer to build two homes as part of the Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity, the Baltimore Sun reported.

“In this time, it’s difficult for people of different faiths to understand each other,” said Jayna Powell, who directs the Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity’s interfaith project, dubbed “Peace by Piece.” “This is about more than building a home. It’s about finding what’s common about us, our common call, and then to learn enough about each other to end this ignorance.”

Lifelong Muslim and Baltimore resident Frank Shaheed, 35, said the project appealed to him as a way to find common ground with other faiths.

“This situation brings out the best in everyone,” he said, noting that an important component of Islam is being “neighborly” and helping others. “The end result is something good: We build a house for a family, and we come together to make a better society. You get to learn something and you have to be personable, you can’t hide behind your religious identity.”

Prayer at lunch allowed at San Diego school

SAN DIEGO, CA–A San Diego school that drew international attention for setting aside time for Muslim students to pray in the classroom will no longer do so.

Instead, Carver Elementary’s schedule will be reconfigured so students can say their required midday prayers during lunch. Courts have long upheld students’ rights to pray on their own during lunch or recess.

Another controversial element of Carver’s educational program geared toward Muslim students – single-gender classes – will be eliminated.

Superintendent Carl Cohn stressed in a July 18 memo that single-gender education is legal under federal law, but at Carver it “has become a serious distraction from learning rather than a vehicle to promote learning.”

Carver added the single-gender classes and a daily 15-minute, in-class break for voluntary prayers last September after it absorbed a failed Arabic language charter school that served primarily Somali Muslims.

Immigrants rush to beat fee increase

DENVER, CO–The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Department is increasing fees for all its application processes. The fees for citizenship process will increase from $400 to $675 from July 30th. In order to help applicants beat the deadline by having them get their paperwork postmarked before July 30, a citizenship drive was arranged by the Colorado Muslim Society last week.

“I’ve seen Muslims, I’ve seen the Spanish, the Hispanic community. I’ve seen many foreigners,” said Mike Czenfonis, organizer with the Colorado Muslim Society. “I’ve been very impressed that everyone had gotten together and organized this very well.”

CAIR-DFW seeking interns to monitor media coverage

CAIR-Dallas Fort Worth is looking for interested candidates as interns and volunteers to work in and out of the CAIR office monitoring local media for positive or negative pieces on Islam or the Muslim community. Volunteers are needed to read local papers such as the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram and city newspapers, watch local newscasts, or listen to locally produced radio shows on a daily basis to instruct the CAIR office when they do positive or negative articles on Muslims or Islam.

Interns will be expected to support the office needs and assist with upcoming event logistics sponsored by CAIR DFW. CAIR hopes interested people will come and support their local office today!

For more information or to volunteer, call or email the CAIR-DFW office at 972-241-7233,

Istanbul Center serves Atlanta Turks

ATLANTA, GA–The Istanbul Center in Norcross offers a variety of services to greater Atlanta’s more than 5,000 Turkish expatriates. meeting place and classroom — and even grocery store — for English and non-English speaking residents alike, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s here where you’ll find cooking classes for Turkish desserts like sesame seed rings and creamy pudding with cookies for those who want to expand their international culinary horizons. It’s also here where business and English courses are held for Turkish residents anxious to learn the ways of their new home in the U.S. And it’s a place for intercultural dialogue, said Mesut Erdogan, director of the Istanbul Center’s dialogue center.

“They come from all across the metro Atlanta area, from Norcross to Marietta and Alpharetta, and they are studying for their masters or PhDs or they want to start a small business,” Erdogan said. Classes are held Monday through Friday.

Children of Turkish descent come on weekends to learn English — and Turkish, for those born in the United States.

Members volunteer regularly at nursing homes and speak at interfaith gatherings and at churches to talk about their community, and their Muslim faith, Erdogan said.


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