Community News (V10-I38)

Proposal to build Halal slaughterhouse rejected

GOFFSTOWN, NEW HAMPSHIRE, Sep. 09,2008 (News Agencies)-American Muslims can now expect to face possible opposition  to plans to build Halal slaughterhouse similar to the one they face when building mosques. While in the latter parking and traffic problems are cited, water quality, odor and sanitation problems are cited in the former. The latest in a growing trend towards rejection of halal slaughters has come from the small state of New Hampshire.
Last week, a zoning board in Goffstown rejected an application from resident Negash Abdelkader for a special exception to put a slaughterhouse on his property. The application was rejected because of regulations prohibiting multiple use. In this case, it was residency and animal slaughter in an agricultural zone.

More than 250 area residents had also signed a petition opposing the slaughter. The residents were concerned about groundwater contamination and foul odors emanating from the slaughterhouse.

Mr. Abdelkader is not giving up though and has vowed to submit an application for a variance instead.

New Hampshire has a tiny Muslim population of  a few thousand and they often have to travel to other states to obtain halal meat.

Halal food bank in Phoenix

PHOENIX, AZ–Sep.09, 2008 (News Agencies)-Ten years on, a Halal food bank in Phoenix, Arizona continues to help Muslims as well as other needy people. This year the Cultural Cup Food Bank participated in Islamic Relief Foundation’s Day of Dignity to give Muslims an opportunity to fulfill their Ramadan obligation to help the needy.

The Phoenix area is host to a large number of Somali and other Muslim immigrants who need help. When they approached other food banks and asked for halal food some were told, “Beggars can’t be choosers,” says Zarinah Awad, director of the Cultural Cup Food Bank.

“People should not have to go through this just because you need help,” Awad said in an interview to East Valley Tribune.

The food bank now helps 300 families a week. More info on the Cultural Cup Food Bank can be obtained from 602-266-8370, or <> .

Permission to build mosque sought in Kingston

KINGSTON, NY–The Muslim Association of Ulster County is seeking the Kingston city Planning Board’s permission to build a mosque at the site of a former funeral home.

The association currently operates at another location but leaders say that it doesn’t look like a house of worship. The mosque gets about fifty worshippers on Fridays and their numbers are not expected to increase anytime soon.

The new mosque comprising of 3900 square foot of constructed area will be topped by a copper dome. Sayed Khalid Khan, the imam of the mosque, said that the new look would make it more comfortable for worshippers.

The area of the proposed mosque is designated for commercial use and a zoning variance needs to be issued before construction begins.

Condoleezza Rice hosts iftar for Muslim diplomats

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hosted an Iftar party in the honour of diplomats, writers and artists from Muslim countries  on Monday night. Members of the diplomatic community, journalists, members of the US Congress, representatives of American civil society, religious and academic communities attended the reception at the State Department.

“These Iftaar celebrations over the past several years have given me an opportunity to speak with my many Muslim men and women friends and colleagues, and to gain a deeper understanding of this holy month. More than one billion people find comfort and hope in Islam, and Ramadan inspires them to renew their faith through sacrifice and prayer, reflection and charity. People of all faiths can appreciate Ramadan’s spirit, one of love for family, devotion to community, and gratitude toward God,” Rice said in her speech.

“Across America, Muslim families are coming together each night of Ramadan to celebrate their devotion to Islam. The many faiths and traditions to which Americans belong enrich our nation and reflect what is best about America. To be American is to adopt our country’s creed that all men and women are created equal, that as equals we enjoy certain universal and inalienable rights, and that among these are the right to live without oppression, to worship without persecution, and to think and speak and assemble without retribution.

For hundreds of years, people of all faiths and people of no faith at all have come to the United States to live by these principles, and we have welcomed them. We welcome them still. Every individual who embraces the rights and responsibilities of citizenship makes America more American.

Our belief in the universal liberties of every human being is also what leads our country into the world, not to impose our will or our ways on others, certainly not because we believe ourselves to be perfect. We are anything but perfect. But those imperfections lead us to believe that in the pursuit of a more democratic future, we are doing the work that humanity deserves and desires.

Our celebration tonight honors artists whose lives and work teaches the value of liberty, the good that comes from individuals having the freedom to express the ideas and values and influences that matter the most. The poetry that is written, the music that is composed, the history that is unearthed, the buildings that are designed – all of this generously shares Islam with the American people. It reminds us of Islam’s culture and scientific contributions to our lives, and it challenges us both as individuals and society to be better, to be more humble and to be more charitable, to think less about ourselves and to think more about others. Your work helps us to show that freedom of expression unleashes the power of art and literature and scholarship at the same time that it holds leaders accountable and makes governments more responsive and ultimately makes lives better, she added.


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