Community News (V12-I24)

Muslims group to buy convent in Midland Beach

STATEN ISLAND,NY–The Muslim American Society is planning to buy a former convent in Midland Beach. The group has launched an effort to assuage any fears that the community may have about them. On tuesday, group members met with the leaders of the Midland Beach Civic Association and reporters and editors of the Advance newspaper.

“The main issue is the issue of the fear,” conceded MAS board member and South Beach resident Ayman Hammous, a married father of five and a physical therapist who works with disabled Staten Island children. He and three fellow MAS members said the organization denounces every aspect of terrorism, and Hammous decried allegations that have appeared on blogs and Web sites characterizing the group as a terror front, saying such stereotyping is the work of “Islamophobes.”

The nonprofit MAS is set to purchase and renovate the former St. Margaret Mary R.C. Church convent on Greeley Avenue, and convert it to a mosque and community center offering after-school programs for children such as tutoring, computer labs, and Boy and Girl Scout troops.

Hammous and three other board members said they were surprised at the intense community opposition, and emphasized the good-neighbor connections that MAS enjoys in the metropolitan area, where it operates a community center and mosque in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and Astoria, Queens; a mosque in Morris Park in the Bronx, and an elementary school in Yonkers.

Newark hold first interfaith week

NEWARK,NJ–Mayor Cory A. Booker, the Newark Municipal Council, and the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace announced that the City of Newark’s first-ever Interfaith Worship Weekend held last week with a service at the Masjid Waarith ud Deen, located at 62-70 Howard Street, in Irvington.

Our City’s first-ever Interfaith Week is unifying residents of all faiths and backgrounds.  I urge our residents to attend the services that will continue through this weekend, and reach out to their brothers and sisters of different faiths,” Mayor Booker said. “Together as a community that is strong in all of its faiths, we will achieve our destiny and Newark, New Jersey, will become the new ark of God’s Covenant.”

More than 100 attendees heard an address by Imam W. Deen Shareef, who is also Senior Adviser to Mayor Booker, on personal responsibility and uniting with other faiths on projects to benefit the common good.

“Imam Shareef delivered a lecture on ‘Our Community Responsibility,’ and talked about people must be responsible to our Creator, then to our family, and then to our neighbors, and our block, and community. Responsibility starts from the inside and goes out,” said Chris Beljour, the Coalition Program Director, who attended the service.

Deen Shareef also noted that the Masjid’s members are working with Jews and Christians on the Abraham House project which is a program to build housing for economically disadvantaged people in Essex County. He urged members to become involved in similar joint community projects with other faiths in the Newark area.

St. Cloud pastor’s hateful vision rejected

ST. CLOUD, MN–A St. Cloud pastor has upset  local Muslims and fellow Christians with a paid newspaper ad that questions whether Islam is a threat to America.

The Rev. Dennis Campbell of Granite City Baptist Church tells Minnesota Public Radio he’s not racist and that his ad was misjudged. His ad says Muslims “seek to influence a nation by immigration, reproduction, education, the government, illegal drugs and by supporting the gay agenda.”

A Somali imam in St. Cloud calls the ad shocking and untrue. A local Methodist minister says he’s worried that some who read the ad will think it represents the view of all Christians.

Rumaana Khan wins  journalism contest

SAN FRANCISCO,CA–Rumaana Khan, a photographer with The Panther, Eastside Prep’s student newspaper, won first place in the sports photo category at a contest held by the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club. She also won a second place in the news photo category.


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