TORONTO, July 10, 2010–Salma Ataullahjan, a businesswoman and community activist, was appointed to the Canadian senate on Friday. She fills a single vacancy in the province of Ontario. In a statement issued to the press Prime Minister Stephen Harper highlighted her diverse accomplishments.
â€œA professional, artist, parent and strong activist for the South Asian community in the Greater Toronto Area, Ms. Ataullahjan brings a remarkable dedication and energy to her new role as a Senator for the Province of Ontario,â€ he said.
Ms. Ataullahjan who immigrated to Canada from Pakistan 31 years ago comes from a family of social and political activists. She is the great grand daughter of â€˜Frontier Gandhiâ€™ Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan–a prominent personality of Indian independence struggle.
Ms. Ataullahjan is a successful real estate agent having worked in the profession for the last 21 years. Ms. Ataullahjan has served many organizations including: on the executive of the Pakistani Canadian Professionals and Academics; as Founder and Chairperson of the Parent Council of David Lewis Public School; as a member of the South Asian Regional Council; as a former President and current Vice-President of the Canadian Pashtun Cultural Association; and on the executive of the Toronto chapter of the Citizens Foundation, a charity organization that builds not-for-profit schools in the poorest districts of Pakistan.
A long time Conservative Party member Ms. Ataullahjan unsuccessfully ran in the 2008 federal election from the Ontario riding of Mississauga-Brampton. She had lost the seat to the Liberal Navdeep Bains.
Ms. Ataullahjan is an accomplished artist and paints watercolours in her spare time. She and her husband Saleem have been married for 31 years and have two daughters, Anushka and Shaanzeh.
Ms. Ataullahjanâ€™s appointment has strengthened the Conservative Partyâ€™s weight in the Senate where it now has the same number of voting members as Liberals and independents combined.
Political observers say that her appointment is another indication of the Conservativeâ€™s attempts to woo the growing South Asian and Muslim communities in the country.
Teen admits to vandalism at Cedar Rapids Islamic center
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA–Cedar Rapids Police have arrested a man for damaging windows and doors at an Islamic center. An estimated $3,000 in damages to the Islamic Center in Cedar Rapids was reported Tuesday.
19-year-old Eric Spencer of Swisher went to the police department and admitted he was responsible.
Police say it appears the case is a random act of criminal mischief rather than a hate crime. There have been six criminal mischief cases involving the Cedar Rapids Islamic Center since 1999. Hassan Igram, chairman of the board of directors for the center, doesnâ€™t believe anyone has a grudge against the local Muslim community.
Mosque proposal opposed in Tennessee
NASHVILLE, TN–Opposition is gathering in Antioch, Tennessee, to plans of the Islamic Center of Tennessee to acquire an old center and convert it into a mosque. Opponents have organized a petition drive to oppose the move.
But leaders in the Islamic community said the opposition is more than about who would make a better tenant in Antioch.
â€œIt shouldnâ€™t be an issue over growing. (Whatever the concerns are), letâ€™s bring it up, and we will discuss it with an open heart,â€ said Imam Mohamed Ahmed of the Islamic Center of Nashville.
Ahmed said he knows there are concerns about Islam, but he said his center is about loving neighbors.
The Islamic Center of Tennessee paid $1.55 million for the Antioch property.
Appreciation Scholarship for Nuhayl Alruwaili
NASHVILLE, TN–Four Putnam County students were among those who were recently honored by Tennessee Tech Universityâ€™s College of Arts and Sciences.
Among the four is Nuhayl Alruwaili who received the Carol Viera Appreciation Scholarship. She is the wife of Faisal Alkhaldi and the mother of three sons, Yousef, Hussain and Mohammed. A sophomore majoring in social work, she has served as social officer in TTUâ€™s Saudi Club. She attends TTU on full scholarship of the King Abdullah Program.
Mohammed Hossain gets Youth Commission Award
LINDEN, NJ–The Mayorâ€™s Youth Commission of Linden recently the awarded scholarships to four graduating seniors.Mohammed Hossain took home the Bryan Wall Memorial Scholarship, worth $250.