Community News (V11-I10)

Rafay Khan Senior VP at Digitalglobe

DigitalGlobe, named Rafay Khan as senior vice president of international sales. Khan brings extensive sales and management experience in the location-based services sector to DigitalGlobe’s executive team. In his new role, Khan will be responsible for expanding DigitalGlobes international sales operations as the company seeks to capitalize on the growing worldwide demand for high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery.

Rafay Khan will play a key role in driving the next phase of DigitalGlobe’s international expansion, said DigitalGlobe president and CEO Jill Smith. His experience building and leading strategic alliances and partnerships in the location-based services, consumer electronics and GPS navigation industries will be a strategic asset for DigitalGlobe as we continue to move into key verticals and new geographies.

Most recently, Khan was the Asia Pacific vice president of business development and sales for NAVTEQ. During his seven-year tenure, he drove NAVTEQ’s expansion in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Russia.

New Muslim chaplain, Mount Holyoke

Tahera Ahmed has been appointed as the new chaplain at Mount Holyoke College. Ahmad grew up in Chicago and  attended the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin, Illinois, a residential institute with separate boys’ and girls’ campuses. She then received her graduate certificate in Arabic from Al-Diwan Institute in Cairo, Egypt. She is currently pursuing graduate studies in Islamic Chaplaincy/Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut.

While this is her first missionary job, Ahmad has worked at other colleges in Chicago and has spoken at numerous events. Having come from a family of a various professions, ranging from beat-boxers to doctors, her career in the field of ministry was an interesting addition. The decision led Ahmad to star in a video segment entitled, How To Stay True to Yourself, a McGraw-Hill video about diversity in America.

Ahmad was drawn to Mount Holyoke for its diversity and sense of community. “Some things that stuck out to me were the staff at the Eliot House, the diversity, and that it didn’t matter where I was coming from,” she said.

AMT-PAC endorses John Fritch

CHICAGO,IL–American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections-Political Action Committee (AMT-PAC) has endorsed State Representative Mr. John Fritchey for Illinois 5th Congressional District seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel.

John Fritchey earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1986 from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Northwestern University in 1989. Fritchey worked as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General from 1989-1991. John has fought for Government ethics legislation, consumer protection and education funding. In 2002, Fritchey helped pass the first significant campaign reform law in Illinois, outlawing the practice of campaign fundraising by state inspectors.

In 2003, his work with State Senator Barrack Obama resulted in the passage of the most comprehensive ethics bill ever passed in the state.

Acoording to a press release from AMT, “John supports revisiting Patriot Act, he opposes secret evidence and Post ex-facto laws and supports individual freedom and civil rights. He supports building relations with nations and not dictatorial regimes. John Fritchey is pro labor, immigration friendly. He is for strong defense but opposes the laws that threaten the civil liberties and individual freedoms. He considers himself a friend of Israel and also supports Independent Free Palestine. He opposes both individual and state sponsored violence. On recent conflict and violence in Gaza, he supports independent (such as UN) inquiry to find the truth about which side violated what.  John has visited several mosques, and has been very much forthcoming to the Muslim Community.”

Book Contends Arab Stereotypes Must Go

Culturally Speaking: Promoting Cross-Cultural Awareness in a Post-9/11 World, written by Mary Coons, was recently named as a finalist in the 2008 Best Books Awards, sponsored by USA Book News, in the non-fiction, multi-culture category.

Cultural stereotypes and ignorance – not geographical distances – separate countries in this post-9/11 world, believes Coons. The average American is unfamiliar with how the Arab Muslim culture is integrated within its religion; thus, many Americans believe that the Islamic world is America’s enemy!

But the Islamic world is not America’s enemy. Ignorance is the enemy. And that ignorance spread like wildfire across the Internet running up to the election of Barack Obama.

According to the book, the average Arab Muslim mistakenly assumes American views are controlled by special interest groups opposed to Islam. In short, there is profound ignorance on both sides between what people know to be true and what these individuals choose to believe.

Through a conversational tone with American Christians and Bahraini Arab Muslims, overcoming ignorance is ‘Culturally Speaking’s’  main message. Readers will gain crucial insight into 11 specifically-identified generalizations each group had of the other, which are discussed in detail, along with religious views and cultural practices of this Arab Muslim country that has been home to the U.S. Navy Command’s Fifth Fleet for more than 50 years.

“Admitting our ignorance, recognizing and dispelling gross generalizations and, finally, beginning to influence and inspire changed attitudes toward cross-cultural differences among family, friends, and coworkers are the main message points of this book,” states Coons. “This does not mean we must always agree with one another’s perspective. But we do have a responsibility to respect one another’s opinions as part of healthy, intellectual stimulation.”

Coons, a professional writer, is owner and president of Pen & Ink Communications, a Minneapolis-based small business specializing in writing family stories/life histories, and business and travel writing. She is the past international editor of the Bahrain Traveler, the official tourism magazine of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
She began visiting Bahrain in December 2005, and was immediately in awe of the Arab culture and people. As a writer, it was natural that she would seek out individuals to understand who they are and how they think. Culturally Speaking is the result of her drive to learn.


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