Ramadan in Minnesota: You’re invited

Want to learn more about Ramadan and about Islam? A collaboration between Muslim and Christian communities is designed to help. The Minnesota Council of Churches and metro-area mosques have set up nine open houses to welcome non-Muslim residents for an introduction to Ramadan and an iftar, the traditional fast-breaking meal. This after-sunset meal may be at a family gathering or at a larger community gathering. Where to goInformation and registration materials can be found on the MCC websiteWednesday, July 25, 7:45 p.m.Masjid Al-Taqwa1949 University AveSt. Paul, MNFriday, July 27, 7:30 p.m.Northwest Islamic Community Center3300 Plymouth Blvd.,Plymouth, MN 55477Saturday, July 28, 7:30pmIslamic Center of Minnesota1401 Gardena Avenue Northeast  Fridley, MN 55432Saturday, July 28, 8:15 p.m.Ja’afari Islamic Center10301 Jefferson HighwayBrooklyn Park, MN 55455Monday, July 30, 7:30 p.m.Masjid Al-Iman1429 2nd St. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Fear of Muslims has gone over the top

In a recent Daily Planet story on American Muslims after 9/11, and an excellent editorial in the September 11 Star Tribune (“America paid too high a price for fear”), the writers touch on the important point that “political opportunists” have stoked unfounded fears about Islam; and fear mongering “has become  a staple of American political discourse”.  Indeed it has, and although I have written on this subject before, its resurgence at this time deserves renewed discussion and analysis.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. To start with, less than 1% of our nation’s population is Muslim, yet, we have created a startling xenophobia about the religion.  While our image of Muslims centers on bearded, turban-wearing, armed Middle Eastern zealots — most Muslims do not even live in the Middle East, and most have lives well outside this perceived image. In fact, around 62% of the world’s Muslims live in Asia, with over 683 million adherents in such countries as Indonesia(the largest Muslim country by population, home to 12.9% of the world’s Muslims). Continue Reading

Public against one

Many people call Great Britain home, many people from different backgrounds, and ethnicities all have different stories to tell. Stories that should be bright, knowledgeable, and memorable; However for Muslim people these days their stories contain events of how they dodge beer bottles, snowballs, and other objects. Everyday life has come to everyday fear, where the police do not bother helping individuals with their complaint let alone try to follow up on their issue.Mohamed Ali was walking home one night from the university he attends when a car with many passengers decided to throw several beer bottles towards his direction with the intent of hurting him. Ali managed to get away by escaping into an off license convenient store. The owners shared with him that they themselves have to keep a samurai knife just to protect themselves. Continue Reading

“Galab wanagsan”

April 16 was “open mosque” night at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center at 504 Cedar Ave., the former home of Bedlam Theatre in the building that houses, at the other end, Palmer’s Bar.At around 5:30 p.m., there was lots of activity around the center as both Somali Muslims and others from the neighborhood filed in for this, the second of two April open houses. The first order of business: remove your shoes and put them on a large rack inside the entrance. To the right of the entryway was a tiled ablution room, an area for ritual foot washing used by those who came for evening prayer. Men and women have separate first-floor prayers rooms. (Prayer, or salat, is one of the five pillars of Islam.) Most open-house visitors continued through the prayer room and up the staircase to the special events space on the second floor. The open houses held at Dar Al Hirjah were co-sponsored by the West Bank Community Coalition. Continue Reading

Speaker addresses misconceptions of Islamic women

At a time when the western world is curious about Muslim women in Islam, Imani Jaafar-Mohammed spoke Thursday to people at Coffman Union about the issue. This is a very important issue to bring to the table, Jaafer-Mohammed said. “There is a misconception about Muslim women,” she added. The speaker criticized some Westerners who charge all Muslims with the little information they have. “You cannot study a religion in a vacuum,” she said. Continue Reading

The Somali community and the Twin Cities mainstream media: Towards a more perfect union?

Frustrations and suggestions were exchanged at a panel discussion on the portrayal of the Somali community by the media. The accusations in the media that the Abubakar mosque was connected to the missing Somali men, seemed to be the cause of the community’s resentment towards and mistrust of the media. MinneAfrica is a blog partner of the TC Daily Planet. Nelima Kerré is a blogger on MinneAfrica, and also a freelance contributor to the TC Daily Planet. This article is republished from the MinneAfrica blog. Continue Reading

Somali, Muslim leaders denounce accusations against religious center

Leaders of the Somali and Muslim communities came out in a united front February 10 to address what they called “the inaccurate and unfair portrayal of our mosques and Imams.” Mid last year, about 20 Somali men were reported to have gone back home to fight a holy war. The Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center was rumored to be connected to their disappearance. “It is unfortunate that some individuals in the Somali community unfairly accused the Abubakar Center to have links to the disappearance of the Somali young men,” said Adbirashid Abdi, one the board of directors for the center. “We strongly deny these unsubstantiated allegations. Abubakar Center didn’t recruit, finance or otherwise facilitate in any way shape of form the travel of those youth.” Continue Reading

ACLU files suit against Muslim-affiliated school, state education department

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed suit Wednesday against Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy and the Minnesota Department of Education, alleging a violation of the separation between church and state. TIZA was the center of a media storm last year after the Star Tribune’s Katherine Kersten wrote an inflammatory commentary linking the school to Hamas and alleging religious instruction at the taxpayer-funded school. In a TC Daily Planet article published last year, a Muslim ex-marine described sending his daughter to TIZA after she encountered anti-Muslim prejudice in her St. Paul public school. ACLU-MN investigated the allegations and in court documents filed in U.S. District Court said the Muslim organizations from which TIZA is leasing its space are illegally benefiting from the leasing arrangement. Continue Reading