Zulhijja 25, 1424/February 16, 2004 #22


Attempt to Vilify Prof Sami al-Arian and Imam Jamal

Chicago Tribune

REF: February 8 report titled "Hard-Liners Won Battle for Bridgeview Mosque" by Noreen Ahmed-Ullah, Kim Baker, Laurie Cohen, S. Franklin and Sam Roe.

Dear Editor:

Ms. Noreen's report tries to associate an entire Islamic community with potential terrorism. She has done a hatchet job on a place of worship where people are going about their business living their lives as law abiding citizens of the United States. Just because they or their Imam sympathize with Palestinians does not turn them into extremists and militants.
I teach journalism and Ms. Noreen's piece would not merit more than an F owing to her violation of the norms of basic, good journalism. Here are the absurdities of the main points she makes:

Sheik Jamal (the Imam at the mosque) raised $50,000 for the defense of Prof. Sami Al-Arian. Why is Ms. Noreen so impressed by the dollar amount when her own article states that more than 2,000 people pray at the mosque and many of them are physicians and other professionals? Does she know that much bigger amounts are collected at synagogues and sent to Israel to fund the occupation of Palestinian lands? A good journalist would provide comparison so as not to be seen to be taking sides. She refers to Prof. Sami Al-Arian as someone accused of "aiding terrorists." Again, a journalist should remember that a person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. She conveniently forgot to mention that Prof. Al-Arian is:
1. A university professor in Florida.
2. a supporter of President Bush.
3. Was invited to the White House.
4. Supported the Muslim community's drive to vote for Bush.
5. Has never been convicted of a crime.
6. There is no evidence whatever that he has "aided terrorists."
7. As such, Prof. Arian is a political prisoner being held owing to the machinations of his Zionist enemies.
If the Bridgeview community wants to help Prof. Al-Arian with the steep attorney fees which a university professor cannot afford, why is that help resented by Ms. Noreen? Shouldnít she keep her hatred against Muslims out of a supposedly objective report? Ms. Noreen has dredged up the internal community conflicts at the mosque in a puerile attempt to paint the mosque in the colors of "extremism." Her "evidence" of this "extremism" is laughable to say the least. Let us look at Ms. Noreen's findings:
Ahmed Zaki Hammad "chastised women for smoking." How extreme can you get! Has Ms. Noreen been to any good church recently or her co-writer Ms. Cohen to any good synagogue? Are worshippers there encouraged to smoke? Ms. Noreen is worried that the good old days are gone when "women wore short sleeves and did not cover their hair" and "men ... ran liquor stores." I would urge Ms. Noreen to do some reading on basic religious values. Even in the U.S. there are not too many places of worship (let alone a mosque) which encourage women to wear short sleeves and uncover their hair and urge men to sell liquor. Imam Jamal "praised Saiyyed Qutb." That too is used by Ms. Noreen to fill out the picture of "potential" for terrorism. The last I checked, the U.S. government has not issued a list of censored authors. Qutb was a commentator on the Qur'an. He opposed the Egyptian dictatorship and paid with his life. What kind of twisted mind (full of hate for Islam) would consider "praise for Qutb" a sign of potential terrorism? Ms. Noreen says Shaikh Jamal called Israel "a foreign, malignant and strange element for the blessed land." Should a Palestinian be expected to say that Israel is an "indigenous, healthy and familiar" element in Palestine? Is there a list of politically correct descriptions of Israel which Ms. Noreen would like Muslim Imams to use?
Obviously, Ms. Noreen's report is dishonest and vicious. She comes across clearly as an Islam hater with a Muslim name. She uses the words "Muslim Brotherhood" as if it is a sinister organization linked to terrorism. The irrelevance of her report comes out when one realizes that the Muslim Brotherhood organization has NEVER WORKED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. Even in the conflict with the dictatorship in Egypt, the MB has chosen strictly to stay away from physical opposition to the brutal (U.S.-funded) regime in Cairo. Why is Ms. Noreen fighting Israel's war against the Palestinians? I am sure that the Tribune is not an appropriate forum for such incitement. Chicago will not gain anything from such muddled, hate-filled writing. Funnily enough, Muslim Imams have the right to stop short sleeves and smoking and to speak against Israel. And surely they have the right to defend Prof. Al-Arian.
Kaukab Siddique, Ph.D
Associate Professor of English

This is my response to women who want to be like "them" Western liberated women.

I can make this statement in all truth and not be ashamed or afraid. To all of my sisters in America who think they want to be like "her," the dancer, singer, sex trade worker, politician, socialite, NOW liberated woman please look at her real hard. She is liberated from respect. Most men hold her in contempt or totally disrespect her. She is a commodity and used and abused in her youth and discarded in old age.

When her firm body can no longer grace the covers of Playboy, Hustler or the new Auto ads, she is discarded. Thrown out like yesterdays trash. When she says no and means it, she is held in contempt and hated by her men, usually called a Lesbian (if she is or isn't). No one brothers to ascertain the truth or give her the benefit of the doubt. No one cares if her feelings are hurt or not.

She often is unmarried, widowed and left alone. Her children despise her because she sold her relationship with them in turn for a relationship with a man. No matter if the man was good for the children or not. No matter if the man helped himself to her daughters and maybe her sons. "It's all about me," she says, as she flips her new overpriced hair-do and jewelry for all to see.

My sisters, don't envy her. If you only knew she really wishes she had the courage to be more like you. Yes, to be like you, a proud Muslim woman who is beautiful on the inside and outside but not a temptress or commodity for everyone to use. She wishes she was more like you, having men (even if they blunder sometimes) who try to protect her. She wishes she could be called a pearl by a man who will never see her knees or thighs. She wishes men would part on the street to let her by.

ma salaam
[Atlanta, Georgia]
[Article sent by Ms. Carolyn, our Christian friend in Florida.]

Cameron Kerry and his in-laws talk of the Democratic frontrunner
By Sharon Luckerman

DETROIT, Feb. 12 ≠ When Cameron Kerry fell in love with Kathy Weinman, he chose to convert to Judaism from Catholicism.

Little did Kerry know that he already had a strong Jewish connection. His fatherís parents were Jewish ≠a fact uncovered last year when the Boston Globe hired a genealogist to check into the family roots of Kerryís more famous brother, John Kerry, the Democratic presidential frontrunner.

The Kerry family, thought by many to be of Irish background, was traced back to a small town in the Austrian empire, now part of the Czech Republic. There, the paper discovered that before immigrating to America, the Kerrys changed their name from Kohn and converted to Catholicism from Judaism.

"It was mind-blowing," says Cam Kerry about first learning of his grandparentsí true history from the newspaper story. Also surprising to him was the number of Jews in his synagogue who came up to him with similar stories. "Itís an American story," he says.

It also could be a powerful Jewish story if John Kerry wins the White House. He would be the first president of the United States with Jewish roots.

"If my zayda could see this election," says Anne Weinman, Camís mother-in-law, who originally emigrated from Eastern Europe along with her husband, Joe.

"Joe, and I are first-generation Americans and it was inconceivable back then that we could be connected to the president of the United States."

Camís wife, Kathy Weinman, says, "We have to pinch ourselves once in a while. Itís amazing to have a ringside seat to history in the making."

She and their two daughters, ages 13 and 17, also have participated in this history. They were in New Hampshire during the primary. Her daughters campaigned for their uncle, knocking on doors, making calls and holding up signs. Their elder daughter worked in Iowa and volunteered for the Kerry campaign last summer.

Cam, 53, has taken time off from his law firm, Mintz Levin in Boston, and from his position as an adjunct telecommunications law professor at Suffolk Law School there, to work on his brotherís presidential campaign. Last week, prior to the Michigan Democratic caucuses on Feb. 7, he was in Detroit stumping for his brother. He stayed with his in-laws in Farmington Hills, where, Anne says, she keeps a kosher kitchen, and Cam, who is knowledgeable of Jewish dietary laws, is one of the few people she trusts in it.

Camís wife, Kathy, 49, attended public high school and went to Hebrew school in Southfield, Mich. Her mother is a former English teacher and her father was part owner of a company called Murray Lighting, in Detroit. The Weinmans now belong to Congregation Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield, Mich.

After graduating from the University of Michigan law school in 1979 magna cum laude≠ Kathy got her first job at a law firm in Washington There she met Cam, a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College Law School. The two were married in 1983. Though brought up Catholic, Cam decided to convert to Judaism before the marriage.

"I was influenced by Kathy," Cam says. "Judaism is deeply held and meaningful to her. Early on, we established we would raise any children we had as Jewish. So it flowed from that. To be a full participant in their religious education, I would convert."

Cam says what appealed to him about Judaism was the role of study in the religion, that it valued learning and intellectual pursuits, which were comfortable and a part of his upbringing.

He adds that standing on the bimah, or synagogue podium, for each of his daughtersí Bat Mitzvahs as a full participant made his religious commitments well worth it.

"Judaism is central to us," says Kathy, who is active in her suburban Boston synagogue, Brooklineís Temple Israel. "Judaism is a core of my life and important to our family."

When asked how the Catholic and Jewish sides of the family relate, Kathy says, "Itís a terrific relationship."

She says that candidate Kerry was supportive when his brother converted to Judaism. He and his family have attended both niecesí baby namings and Bat Mitzvahs. Kathy says she is very close to John Kerryís two daughters.

And the Weinman and Kerry families have become mishpachah ≠family ≠says Anne Weinman. Camís late "blue-blood" mother, Rosemary, whose heritage goes back to colonial times with family names like Winthrop and Forbes, and his late father, Richard, were wonderful people proud of all four of their children: Peggy, John, Diana and Cam. She says the Kerry family including Camís parents and John ≠ were present when Cam and Kathyís daughters were named at the temple.

"Religion has never been an issue between Cam and his family," Kathy says. "Johnís always loved participating in our happy occasions. Heís always been there and part of our family."

The Weinmans say they are very active in the Kerry campaign. They support the candidate because of his stand on the environment and education, Anne says.

"I have a greater appreciation for the early caucus and primaries and the role they play," Kathy says. "Our country is so big and itís impossible for everyone to know the candidates. But the Iowans and the people of New Hampshire get that opportunity. We saw them get to know my brother-in-law and his opponents. They made their judgment from the place of knowledge and understanding."

Of course, when asking Cam or the Weinmans why people should vote for Kerry, one doesnít get a strengths-and-weaknesses kind of answer. However, the warmth and intimacy of the reply gives another insight into this political family of diverse backgrounds.

"Thereís nobody else I want by my side in a tough situation than my brother," says the easygoing Cam, who has been at his brotherís side for all of Johnís campaigns for office.

"In times of war and great economic challenge, heís the kind of leader we need."

2004-03-06 Sat 12:28ct