From World & Other

Activism: Call Your Senator Right Now. Urge Them To Pass The Dream Act

Note: This is a guest post by Ahlam Said

Dear Family and Friends

I can’t sleep.

In just a couple of hours, congress will make a choice that will affect the lives of 2.1 million young undocumented residents, who till this moment, are stifled by a broken immigration system. I pray that you will join me in challenging our leaders to live up to promise of this nation by calling the senators listed here and asking them to vote yes on the DREAM Act this morning. For those of you unfamiliar, the DREAM Act is a bipartisan proposal, which would create a pathway to citizenship for thousands of young students who were brought to the United States years ago as children.

I will spare you my tongue-tied explanation by introducing my hero: Alaa Mukahhal. I had the privilege of working alongside Alaa when she interned at IMAN’s communication department. Alaa has agreed to share her story [below] with the rest of the world. Her story teaches us many lessons, the most important being courage and justice. I pray that we can step up during these last critical hours, not only for Immigrant Rights, but HUMAN rights.

After you read her story, I hope you will join me by taking a few mins to call the senators listed here and urge them to pass the DREAM Act. PLEASE DO THIS FIRST THING IN THE MORNING:

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Sexual Harassment, Egypt, and the Hijab

Two Men Stand On A Bridge Over The Nile River, Cairo, 2006    (Photo: Javed Memon)

Note: This is a guest post by Dr. Susan Carland. She lectures in the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University in Australia. She is perhaps best known for her work on Salam Cafe. This was originally published at her blog @

This is a really interesting post for a number of reasons, by Jack Shenker in the Guardian:

Women in Egypt get hi-tech aid to beat sexual harassment

A hi-tech weapon has been unveiled in the battle against sexual harassment in Egypt, where almost half the female population face unwanted attention from men every day.

HarassMap, a private venture that is set to launch later this year, allows women to instantly report incidents of sexual harassment by sending a text message to a centralised computer. Victims will immediately receive a reply offering support and practical advice, and the reports will be used to build up a detailed and publicly available map of harassment hotspots.

The project utilises an open-source mapping technology more commonly associated with humanitarian relief operations, and the activists behind it hope to transform social attitudes to the harassment of women and shame authorities into taking greater action to combat the problem.

I think this initiative is awesome.
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ACTIVISM: Thank Those Who Stand Up Against Bigotry

Via American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC):

In light of the recent attacks on the Arab and Muslim American communities, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) urges you to call and thank those who have stood up for tolerance and understanding, and against bigotry. The below-listed individuals have recently stood for and reinforced American values by supporting the development of the Park51 Community Center in New York City.

Click here to see the original Action Alert along with links to the statements made by the individuals listed below.
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A Brief Meeting With Alfred Mikhail, Puppeteer

(Photo By Sherif Sonbol, From Al-Ahram Weekly, July 1998
An evening stroll weaving in and out of crazy Cairo traffic. That’s what I needed. The sweet smell of second-hand sheesha smoke and some daredevil car-weaving had turned into an almost nightly ritual for me back in those days. I wasn’t expecting a change, but that’s when it always happens right? I walked out of my 5th floor apartment into the eerie, not-so-well-lit hallway, the same hallway where Mina and Maryam’s parents had slaughtered a sheep on Eid-ul-Adha. Do you remember that day? I made them balloon animals while they took turns jumping over the pool of blood. That’s one day I’ll always remember, I had just come back from Eid prayer at Masjid Mustafa Mahmoud to find a sizable pool of sheep’s blood in front of my apartment door. Not wanting to track any inside the apartment, I jumped over the puddle. I left the door open though, not because I enjoyed the scent of sheep’s blood, but because I found it rather amusing that a vast amount of blood was in front of my doorway and slowly spreading to the rest of the hallway.

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National Organization Of (Some) Women Gets It Wrong, More On Muzzammil Hassan And Domestic Violence

photo courtesy of yasmine
Note:  This is a guest post by KufiGirl.

When HijabMan posted his entry on the murder of Aasiya Hassan yesterday, “On Giving Men a Free Pass,” I was thankful. It was, I thought, another sign that the Muslim community is taking the issue of domestic violence seriously. In some cases the talk is coming from corners where the discussion is long overdue – there’s no use pretending otherwise – but if there is any small good that can come out of this woman’s brutal murder I hope that it will be in the form of more attention to violence against women, and the need for Muslim leaders, in particular, to address it.

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What Is Wrong With My Ass: Stories From My Time In Syria

I spent about four months in Syria, living in a neighborhood called rukn al-din, in the northeast of Damascus.

While there, I lived in a house with several other Muslim men (and one Christian) from around the world. Eventually, everyone in the house except the Syrians and the German did not speak with me, refused to let me eat with them, and branded me a Sign of The Day Of Judgment. Suffice it to say, I make an impression wherever I go. More on that in a follow-up post, though.

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