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Community News (V12-I31)

NYPD: more patrols during Ramadan

NEW YORK,NY–The New York City Police Department has announced that it will increase foot patrols at mosques during Ramadan. This comes in the light of hate crimes having increased from last year.

Speaking at the department’s annual pre-Ramadan conference NYPD Commisioner Raymond Kelly made the announcement.

“I know this is the most sacred time of the year for the Muslim faith,” Kelly said at the conference, which was attended by about 400 people including Muslim community leaders. “Our goal at the department is that you are able to experience it in safety and in peace.”

New York City has more than 100 mosques, compared with 10 in 1970, and more than 800,000 of its 8.21 million residents are Muslims, said Philip Banks III, chief of the department’s Community Affairs Bureau.

Civil rights groups condemn UCI ban on Muslim union

IRVINE,CA–A coalition of civil rights groups and professional bar associations have condemned UCI’s recent decision to ban the Muslim Student Union after students disrupted an Israeli ambassador’s speech on campus earlier this year.

Fifteen groups throughout the country – including the Asian Law Caucus, Afghan-American Bar Association, Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, South Asian Bar Association – Northern California and National Lawyers Guild – are urging UCI officials to abandon all efforts to suspend the Muslim student organization.

“Taking the unprecedented step to ban this group will memorialize UCI as a campus that violates its students’ constitutional rights, and will have negative repercussions that will reverberate around the country,” according to a letter signed by the groups and sent to the chancellor’s office late last week.

“Such a decision would amount to selective punishment of a group whose ideas are disfavored by the U.C. administration, and sets an extremely dangerous precedent that threatens all Americans who exercise their Constitutional rights to freedom of expression and association.”

Portland mosque gets approval

PORTLAND, OR–The Portland Planning Board on Tuesday night granted the Portland Masjid and Islamic Center, 978 Washington Ave., approval for a conditional use permit to use the former television repair shop as their place of worship.

The mosque was forced to close last year for about five months because the lot, which is undersized, was not large enough to satisfy city zoning requirements.
Zachary Heiden, an attorney with the Maine Civil Liberties Union, subsequently filed a lawsuit in federal court.

A consent agreement allowed the mosque’s members to resume worship while the city revised its zoning regulations.

Under the agreement, the mosque, whose members are mostly Afghan refugees, did have to pay for the removal of a parking lot that had been illegally paved.

City zoning now allows places of assembly in the Residential-5 zone, but it also requires a conditional use permit.

“This may be a rather routine act for you,” Heiden told Planning Board members. “But for this community tonight is a very significant, momentous occasion. Portland by its actions here tonight has a chance to do what it does best to set an example for the state and for the rest of the country.”

Calif. Tea Party to Use Dogs to Harass Muslims

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA)  denounced a planned anti-mosque protest by California Tea Party supporters who are being told to bring dogs to harass Muslim worshippers Jummah prayers.

CAIR-LA called on local officials and interfaith leaders to show support for the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, the target of the July 30 protest by the Southwest Riverside County (SWRC) Tea Party group. The protest is in opposition to a proposal for a new mosque in the area.

An e-mail alert announcing the anti-mosque protest sent to area newspapers by “a leader of a conservative coalition that has been active with Republican and Tea Party functions” stated: “An Islamic Mosque is planned to be built in Temecula. Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant [sic] on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law. . .Islam permits lying!. . .The Islam’s [sic] treat women as second class people and they also hate dogs. Women are forbidden to sing and dogs are killed. We will not be submissive to Sharia Law. Tennessee was able to stop the Mosque so bring your Bibles, flags, signs, dogs and singing voice on Friday.”

In response to the planned protest, the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley released a statement that read in part: “It has come to our attention that a group of people seek to disrupt our prayer session on Friday, July 30th. We are disheartened and saddened that a group of our neighbors seeks to disrespect and make our community feel unwelcome.”

Healthful Tips for Celebrating Ramadan from Loyola University

(Guidance below is designed by Loyola University, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the TMO staff)

Newswise — Ramadan is a time for people of the Muslim faith to reflect, refocus and retrain themselves in an effort to draw nearer to God. It is a month of self-training, self-discipline and self-control. It’s a time to develop personal character by making a conscious effort to control emotions. >From dawn ‘til dusk Muslims are to abstain from sexual intercourse, eating and drinking, which includes taking anything orally including water and medications. To ensure one is able to fully engage in these religious activities it is important to prepare and consider your health so you can optimize the benefits of the month.

“Fasting is a form of worship required to be performed by all healthy Muslims beyond the age of puberty,” said Ramzan Shahid, MD, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “It is meant to purify the body and the soul.”

According to Shahid fasting during Ramadan can be done safely and can even benefit one’s health, but it begins with preparation. With Ramadan taking place in mid-August it is imperative to prepare for the month. Here are a few tips to help prepare for Ramadan and ensure fasting is done in a medically safe and healthy way.

1. Meet with your doctors to make sure it is medically safe for you to fast. If you are taking medications in any form (oral, injection, eye drop, etc) see if it is possible to take it during non-fasting hours.

For example, if you take a medication three times a day is it possible to take it only in the morning and at night?

2. A few weeks before Ramadan begins make sure you are eating a healthy and well-balanced diet so you have a good reserve during the month of fasting.

3. You can gain stamina and help condition your body for the extra nightly prayers and other activities by increasing your activity level a few weeks before Ramadan.

4. Start eating smaller portions and don’t overeat in anticipation for the upcoming fast.

5. Do not fast the two weeks before Ramadan as you will need to conserve energy and nutrients.

6. Wean yourself off caffeine, tobacco and other stimulants that may lead to symptoms of withdrawal if not consumed on a regular basis.

7. Time management is key. If possible, adjust your work or school schedule to allow fasting between sunrise and sunset and nightly prayers. Getting enough sleep and time management will help you stay healthy while fasting.

“It’s important to understand that fasting in Ramadan is different from total fasting or starvation diets, which can be unhealthy and lead to electrolyte imbalances,” said Shahid. “Only with a prolonged fast does the body turn to protein for energy by breaking down muscle. This does not happen during Ramadan since people still eat two meals a day. A Ramadan fast can be beneficial to the body allowing a person to lose weight, lower blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol all while maintaining muscle mass.”

To gain these benefits it is essential to eat a well-balanced diet during Ramadan and to get plenty of rest.

“The deciding factor on whether a person stays healthy during Ramadan is not the fast itself, but what he or she eats during the non-fasting hours,” said Shahid.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while fasting.

1. Follow the medical advice of your doctor regarding the safety of fasting if you are on medication.

2. Do not overeat during non-fasting hours. The sudden rise and drop in blood sugar following a large meal can make you fatigued and unable to perform nightly prayers.

3. No matter how tired you are do not skip Sahoor, the morning meal. This meal is vital. It will help you get through the day including preventing hunger-related symptoms such as headache, fatigue and restlessness.

4. In the morning eat filling foods that you digest slowly. These include foods that have complex carbohydrates and are rich in fiber such as grains, lentils, potatoes with the skin, green beans and fruits.

5. When breaking a fast, eat fast-digesting foods that will rapidly restore glucose levels. Dates and bananas are excellent choices for Iftar, the evening meal.

6. Throughout Ramadan avoid foods that are heavily processed, fried, spicy or fatty.

7. Drink lots of water and fruit juices after Iftar to avoid dehydration, especially since Ramadan is during the summer.

8. Minimize your caffeine consumption. Caffeine can act as a diuretic and cause an increased chance of dehydration.

9. Balance your daily schedule to allow time for an early Sahoor, late Iftar, nightly prayers and adequate sleep.

“Ramadan is about learning self-discipline, willpower and patience. If people do not take care of themselves and adequately prepare for Ramadan they may feel fatigued, hungry and irritable. This is a difficult combination when in training to control your emotions and body. If a people don’t keep their health in mind they won’t be able to get the full benefits of the month,” said Shahid.


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