Community News (V12-I36)

K. Alec Mahmood appointed CFO of HealthMarkets, Inc.

HealthMarkets Inc., a provider of insurance for the self employed, has appointed K. Alec Mahmood as the company’s senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer.

Mahmood joined HealthMarkets, Inc. as Senior Vice President of Budget, Planning and Analysis in June 2007. Before the appointed  he served as a Director and Senior Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis of The MEGA Life and Health Insurance Company, Mid-West National Life Insurance Company of Tennessee (based in Texas) and The Chesapeake Life Insurance Company.

Prior to joining HealthMarkets, Mr. Mahmood served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Medicaid Division (Healthcare USA) and General Manager, Medicare Special Needs Plans Division for Coventry Health Care, Inc. Mr. Mahmood served as Vice President of Financial Operations of Ardent Health Services, from 2003 to 2005. Prior to Ardent, Mr. Mahmood was at Health Net Inc. from 1999 – 2003 and served as Chief Financial Officer of Health Net’s Arizona Division and of its behavioral health subsidiary, MHN.

Mr. Mahmood earned his Master’s of Health Administration from the University of Southern California, and earned a B.A. in History from Creighton University.

Illinois state police sued over Muslim chaplain controversy

CHICAGO,IL–The Council on American Islamic Relations on Monday filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Illinois State Police for revoking a Muslim Imam’s chaplaincy.

Filing on behalf of the Imam Kifah Mustapha the lawsuit accused the  police of “relying upon false allegations and unfounded suspicions of illegal activity” and “tarnishing the plaintiff’s professional reputation.”

“Constitutionally a person can only be held responsible for their own activities, their own conduct. And if Imam Kifah has never committed a crime, then what is he being denied for? I think that’s an answer we never received from Illinois State Police,” said Christina Abraham, CAIR, civil rights director.

Tennessee Muslims get support in wake of arson

NASHVILLE, TN–The Muslim community in Tennessee is getting wide support after arson hit the construction site for a new mosque in Murfreesboro.

Leading the call for tolerance was state Governor Phil Bredesen who urged urged politicians in both parties not to use the ongoing mosque controversy for partisan gain.

According to authorities, a fire broke out early Saturday morning at the planned Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. It destroyed a heavy hauler, according to Eric Kehn, spokesman for the Nashville office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Three other pieces of equipment were damaged.

“The investigation continues into a suspected arson fire,” Kehn said, adding the investigation is being handled by the BATFE as well as the FBI and Rutherford County, and authorities are also looking into whether the incident may be a hate crime.

The incident comes amid a heated debate in Murfreesboro over the planned mosque as well as the national controversy over plans by a Muslim group to build a community center near the World Trade Center site in New York City.

Meat packer sued over discrimination against Muslim workers

GREELEY, CO–The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit Monday against JBS USA, alleging the meatpacker created a hostile work environment for Somali and Muslim workers due to their race, national origin and religion.

Two lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, both stemming from complaints about worker mistreatment during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in September 2008. While those complaints involved scores of workers’ Ramadan experience at JBS’ Greeley and Grand Island, Neb., facilities, the suits claim that the pattern of discrimination and mistreatment has continued in the plants.

The EEOC reported last September that its investigation into the two facilities found evidence of harassment, retaliation and discrimination against the Muslim workers. The government agency and JBS USA then began a several-month period of conciliation talks.

“That was not successful, and as soon as that failed we looked at the case and decided whether to file suit,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC. “It’s not just what happened in 2008. It’s our allegation in our complaint that this behavior has continued. We think they’ve continued to engage in harassment based on race, religion and national origin. We think the violation of the law has continued.”

Permit sought while mosque is being constructed

PITTSBURGH, PA–Muslims in Marshall Township are planning to get a temporary permit to pray at a site where a mosque is being constructed. The construction is proceeding at a slow pace and therefore they have asked the township to allow them to use a nearby house for prayers temporarily.

Township manager Neil McFadden told the Post-Gazette on  Monday night that council approved site and building plans for a mosque in 2007, but a group called the Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh, members of the Islamic Center of North Pittsburgh, will need a zoning variance to use the house adjacent to the property in the meantime, because the house is built in an area zoned for residential use only. The Islamic Center of North Pittsburgh is developing the land and building the mosque.


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