Dukeâ€™s Muslim chaplain to give opening prayers at US house
DURHAM â€“- Duke Universityâ€™s Muslim chaplain, Abdullah T. Antepli, will deliver the opening prayer for the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m. March 3.
Antepli is serving as guest chaplain at the invitation of U.S. Rep. David Price.
â€œI am deeply humbled and honored to be asked to give this opening prayer. It is a great honor for me and for Duke University,â€ Antepli said in a news release. â€œItâ€™s wonderful that Congress, through their invitation, is acknowledging Dukeâ€™s commitment to diversity and a pluralistic society.â€
Antepli, who joined Duke in July 2008, is one of only a handful of full-time Muslim chaplains at U.S. colleges and universities. He is the founder and executive board member of the Muslim Chaplains Association and a member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Duke Divinity School and Duke Islamic Studies Center, where he teaches courses on Islam.
The guest chaplain program is sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain of the House of Representatives. Guest chaplains must be recommended by current members of Congress, and each member is allowed to recommend only one religious leader per session. Opening the House of Representatives in prayer is a tradition that began in 1789 with the first Continental Congress.
Columbia MSA discusses Sunni-Shia unity
NEW YORK, NY–The Muslim Student Association of Columbia University held a lecture by Imam Ammar Nakshawani on the importance of uniting Sunni and Shia Muslims.
â€œThere needs to be dialogue in order to bridge the gap,â€ Nakshawani said in his lecture on Thursday. The word â€œdialogue,â€ he added, stems from the Greek word â€œdia,â€ which means â€œto see through the lens of another person.â€ â€œFor so many years, when Shiites and Sunnis tried to bridge the gap, the Shiite would look through his lens. The Sunni would look through his.â€
In his address, Nakshawani asked the audience to put aside political and theological differences between Sunnis and Shiites and focus on the groupâ€™s shared fundamental beliefs, such as the oneness of Allah, Muhammadâ€™s (s) role as the prophet of Allah, and the five pillars of Islam.
â€œTake off your lenses and see through the eyes of someone else,â€ Nakshawani said.
He criticized he speeches of Sunni and Shiite clerics who use negative phrases, such as â€œatheist sinnersâ€ and â€œinfidels,â€ to incite hatred of the other sects.
Muslim cemetery proposed in Connecticut
CANTERBURY,CT–The Connecticut Council of Masajid is planning to establish a Muslim cemetery in Canterbury. They have identified a 11 acre site which was recently toured by the area residents and the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission.
Abdul Hamid, president of Council of Masajid, has been in Connecticut since 1966 and lives in Hampton. He said he has always found a friendly mix of people in the state.
â€œThis is an opportunity to get to know people,â€™â€™ he said of the walk through the woods.
The group has an option to purchase the Canterbury property for $300,000 from Daniel M. Cymkow. According to the wetlands application, a 12- to 15-foot wide driveway would wind through the land. The first and second phases of the cemetery would be four acres each, and the third phase would be 17 acres. The land would not be clear cut, Hamid said.
If a wetlands permit is approved, the group would still need a special exception permit from the Planning & Zoning Commission.
First Halal Meals on Wheels Program Introduced in US
DETROIT, MI–The Arabic Community Center for Economic and Social Services has launched what is the first Halal Meals on Wheels program in the US. The program delivers hot Halal meals to seniors who require care and was launched last month in Dearborn.
Amne Darwish Talab of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services told the Detroit News that there has been a need for this type of service for a long time.
â€œThere are a lot of people who donâ€™t have the same living conditions as they did before this economic crisis,â€ said Talab, ACCESSâ€™s social services. â€œA lot of seniors have no family or no kids or their kids are in another state.â€
The program currently has about 20 recipients and is expected to grow.
Muslim students help the homeless in Orlando
ORLANDO, FL–The Muslim Student Association at the University of Central Florida has launched a program which not only provides food for the homeless but also gives then clean , new socks.
Project Downtown is a part of MSA National that was started by students in Miami who wanted to give the homeless more than food, the Central Florida Future reported.
The project is founded on the idea that people should not only give food but also whatever modest, unconditional gifts they can offer, according to Project Downtownâ€™s Web site.
Huma Khan, a mechanical engineering major and the Director of Project Downtown, Orlando, said that the sock donation was one way to give more to the community.
â€œItâ€™s just a random thing we picked out that homeless people do need,â€ she said. â€œSocks, underwear, stuff like that. Just little things that we look over that people in the streets actually do need and that they appreciate a lot more than we do.â€
Khan added that the members of Project Downtown, Orlando give the homeless someone to talk to.
â€œUs being here kind of just gives them something to look forward to,â€ she said. â€œI build relationships with people. I know who they are, I know them by faceâ€¦if you have a good conversation with someone one week, itâ€™ll kind of make your day a little bit better and youâ€™ll look forward to speaking to that person again.â€