HUDSON,NY–When Mohammed Ariful Ghani arrived in this town four years ago from Bangladesh, he couldnâ€™t speak only rudimentary English. By sheer determination and dedication he has now overcome all hurdles to attain the status of valedictorian. He is ranked first among 120 graduating seniors and is the recipient of several academic honors and scholarships.
Mohammed is a member of the National Honor Society and Varsity soccer team. He has been selected as a Hudson Rotary Student of the Month and received the Multicultural High School Achievers Award from the University of Albany. Mohammed currently volunteers at Columbia Memorial Hospital and plans to attend Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute to study Civil Engineering in the fall.
He received a $15,000 math scholarship and substantial financial aid, leaving him to take out $10,000 in loans for the schoolâ€™s $54,000 bill for tuition, room and board.
â€œI want to go back to my country one day to build a better infrastructure. Bangladesh is very poor, and they can definitely use the skills of a civil engineer,â€ he told the Times-Union.
His valedictorian speech will try to summarize a remarkable immigrantâ€™s story. â€œI wrote about why I came here and how difficult it was in the beginning,â€ he said. â€œWith the help of so many wonderful teachers, I overcame all those difficulties. My message is, â€˜Never give up on your dreams.â€™ â€œ
Ali Mahboub wins Roane State Presidentâ€™s Award
KNOXVILLE, TN–Ali Mahboub has been declared as one of the co-winners of Roane State Community Collegeâ€™s highest student honor, the 2010 Presidentâ€™s Award. Mahboub is from Alexandria, Egypt. He came to Roane State two years ago through the collegeâ€™s partnership with Community Colleges for International Development. Mahboub served as a tutor and volunteered for many community service projects. A deanâ€™s list student, Mahboub graduated with an associate of applied science degree in business management technology and a certificate in computer science. He recently returned to Egypt. His parents are Taha Mahboub and Nadia Kamal.
Mahboub also won awards for Excellence in Web Design and Excellence in Programming.
TN mosque expansion proposal sparks Islamophobia
MURFREESBORO, TN–The proposal for a new Islamic center near Murfreesboro has sparked a new wave of Islamophobia with some residents attacking the Islamic faith while others called the dispute one of ugliest displays of religious intolerance, the Tennesean reported.
Although no one defended the mosque at last weekâ€™s meeting, many were offended by what they heard, Commissioner Anthony Johnson said during a Saturday interview.
People who spoke at the meeting were emotional and afraid, he said.
â€œMy faith is different than theirs, but that is their faith,â€ said Johnson, who attends Pentecostals of Smyrna church.
â€œWe as a county commission by law canâ€™t pass a law to dictate what they teach in their churches. I wouldnâ€™t want government coming in and telling us what we could preach or what our doctrine must be
Illinois Imamâ€™s police chaplaincy rescinded
CHICAGO,IL–The Illinois State Police have rescinded its offer to a Chicago area Imam who was to be the the departmentâ€™s first ever Muslim chaplain, according to press reports.
In statement, the state police officials say the appointment of Sheikh Kifah Mustapha as a volunteer chaplain is â€œbeing deniedâ€ following a background investigation.
Last year the Illinois State Police made history by naming him the departmentâ€™s first and only Muslim chaplain. He was one of seven religious ministers who went through chaplain orientation training in Springfield.
At the end of the training that Mustapha paid for himself, he and the other ministers all received their Illinois State Police ID cards, and bulletproof vests they are required to wear on ride-along and at crime scenes where they tend to victims and police needs.
The decision is reportedly sparked by an article by a self-styled national security expert who criticized Mustafaâ€™s appointment by linking him with extremism. At press time the Council on American Islamic Relations was planning to hold a news conference calling it shameful that the state police revoked Mustaphaâ€™s chaplaincy.
Muslims provide food for the needy
DETROIT–Islamic Relief USA (IR USA), a US-based non-profit relief and development organization, in coordination with Neighborly Needs, Inc., and Kids Against Hunger packaged thousands of meals for metro-Detroit families in need on Saturday, June 19th.
The meal packages, formulated by food scientists at Kids Against Hunger, provide a rich source of easily digestible protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins needed by a malnourished childâ€™s body and mind.
IR USA and Neighborly Needs will packed 1,667 nutritional packets which when prepared — by adding water — produces 10,000 meals. Two thirds of the meals will be distributed to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southwestern Michigan, Muslim Center soup kitchen and Muslim Family Services food pantry. The remaining one third will be returned to Kids Against Hunger for its worldwide outreach.
â€œOur faith teaches us that with every hardship, there comes ease,â€ said Saleem Khalid, IR USAâ€™s domestic programs manager and a native of Michigan. â€œWith the recession causing such widespread hardship, there is ample of opportunity for us to act on our faith, serve our community and help bring relief. With Michigan being hit the hardest, it only makes sense to focus our efforts here.â€