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Community News (V10-I14)

New York jail reaches agreement on Halal meals

NEW YORK, NY–A county jail has agreed to provide Muslim inmates with meats prepared according to Islamic law, ending a three-year-long legal fight.

Under a settlement approved by a federal judge in Manhattan on March 12, the Westchester County jail is serving four halal meat dishes a week for Muslim inmates who request them, the Journal News reported. “Halal” is an Arabic word that means lawful or permitted.

The change will cost the county about 15 cents per serving, said Richard Cohen, a lawyer representing nine Muslim inmates. Their lawsuit, which dates to 2005, claimed religious bias.

The inmates noted that the jail offered kosher meats for observant Jews, but generally only vegetarian meals for devout Muslims. Halal meat was served twice a year on religious occasions.

The jail’s imam, John Nashid, called the discrepancy “a discriminatory practice against the Muslim inmate population.”

County spokeswoman Victoria Hochman said the jail started offering halal meats in September. Like kosher meats, the halal dishes are served four times a week.

“We’re happy to have reached a settlement on this issue,” she said.

Nashville center helps Shelbyville Somalians

NASHVILLE, TN–The Somali Community Center in Nashville is providing much needed social services and advocacy to the small but growing community of Somali-Americans in the region, the Shelbyville Times reported.

Salaad Nur, outreach coordinator, said there are an estimated 500 refugees or more living in Shelbyville at this time and that the center tries to provide services “the best we can.”

Our greatest effort in Shelbyville is to try to organize the community, because it’s not going to be feasible to do everything for them (from Nashville),” Nur said.

He said the best option is to try to organize so the refugees could have a structure to try to work with Bedford County government to improve their relationship with the larger community.

“We can also see what kind of services they need, then try to advocate for that … that is really where the effort is,” Nur explained. Although many come to the center from Shelbyville, the center is unable to provide the same level of services as it does to refugees living in Nashville, because the Shelbyville Somalis only can come a couple of times per month.

“That has been a limitation, but we try to serve them as much as we can.”

The only Somali organization currently in Bedford County is the Islamic mosque, and the center is looking at providing English classes at that location, depending on the resources they can obtain, Nur said.

“There are members of the mainstream community that are able to bring us these resources to the (Somali) community there.”

Nur said instead of the center in Nashville providing a branch office in Shelbyville for the refugees, they wish for the Somali community here to take the lead.

“We don’t want all the decisions coming from Nashville, and be imposed on them. If they are able to organize themselves and give them all the opportunities that we can give them, partner with them and … guide them.”

Pakistani-American shares thoughts with Obama

Pakistani-American entrepreneur Dr. Raza Bokhari met U.S. presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama in Bucks County, Pa., earlier this month

During the meeting, Bokhari presented Obama with a self-authored white paper containing suggestions on ways to reduce anti-American sentiments in Pakistan. Bokhari serves on the Board of Directors of Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC), Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C), World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and is chairman and CEO of Parkway Clinical Laboratories (PCL), an emerging national full-service diagnostic laboratory based in Bensalem, Pa.

Raza Bokhari is the immediate past president of the Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC). A physician turned entrepreneur who successfully aggregates and accelerates healthcare services companies across the United States, Bokhari also serves on the board of directors of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, the Pakistan Human Development Fund, Pakistani American Leadership Center, Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, and The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia

Dr. Sajid A. Khan joins Slocum-Dickson Medical Group

NEW HARTFORD — Dr. Sajid A. Khan recently joined Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in the specialty of interventional pain management.

He treats a variety of medical conditions, including low back pain, neck pain, chronic arm or neck pain, thoracic pain, cervicogenic headache, cancer pain, shingles pain, pelvic and chronic hip pain.

He also performs specialized procedures such as spinal cord stimulators and radiofrequency neurolytic techniques.

He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He completed his physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at Boston University Medical Center.

Khan completed an internship in general surgery at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City and a research fellowship at Arnold Pain Management Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School in Boston.

He received a medical degree from Nishtar Medical College in Pakistan and is a member of the American Academy of Pain Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Ismael Ahmed, Russell Ebeid & John Dingell to be honored by ACCESS

DEARBORN – On May 10, a diverse group of leaders, dignitaries, and community members will gather to celebrate the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) 37th Anniversary to celebrate 37 years of service to the community and honor this year’s award recipients.

Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services and former ACCESS Executive Director, Ismael Ahmed, will receive the prestigious Arab American of the Year Award.

This award is presented annually to individuals or organizations for their commitment and contribution to the development of their community on a local and national level.

Ahmed will be recognized for his lifelong contributions to the economic, social and cultural health of the Arab American community.

The unique role Ahmed has played in enabling the long-term sustainability of not only ACCESS, but Arab American and community organizations throughout the country, is unparalleled, said a spokesperson for ACCESS.

Russell Ebeid, director of Guardian Industries Corp., will receive ACCESS’ very first “Making an Impact” award, established to recognize individuals who have made a positive impact by raising awareness of issues affecting their community.

Ebeid will be honored for his philanthropic contributions that serve as an example and role model for Arab Americans everywhere.

Ebied’s efforts are motivated by two passions: a desire to make a difference in educational opportunities for underserved youth, mostly from immigrant families, and a desire to stay close to his Lebanese heritage. His hope is to inspire other Arab Americans to stand up, be proud of their identity and give generously where they can, the ACCESS spokesperson said.

Congressman John D. Dingell will be honored with a special tribute recognizing and highlighting his commitment and contributions to the development of the Arab American community and the community at-large.

Dingell has shown national leadership, representing and supporting issues that are deeply important to Arab Americans throughout the country and in particular, the Michigan community.

As the longest ever “dean” of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dingell’s immense courage and integrity have shown through his years of service, the spokesperson said.

This year’s dinner will take place at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the program beginning at 6 p.m. Sponsored by Ford Motor Co. and Comerica, the dinner is the second-largest dinner in Michigan and the largest Arab-American event in the country, with more than 2,500 people in attendance.

$2 Million Lawsuit by Driver’s Widow

The Pakistani widow and family of Toronto taxi driver Tahir Khan have launched a $2 million lawsuit against the two young men who killed him while speeding up Mount Pleasant Rd. in their parents’ cars.

The lawsuit, filed in Ontario Superior Court, claims “extreme grief” and also says that Alexander Ryazanov and Wang-Piao Dumani Ross were racing two years ago when they killed the 46-year-old Pakistani immigrant, something their lawyers have denied.

“It’s a modern-day Greek tragedy,” said Shahzad Siddiqui. He and Russ Howe are legal counsel for the family. “They killed this taxi driver days away from his citizenship ceremony and it’s left his wife and his impoverished family.”


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