How NASA Is Helping Save The Lives Of Children In Syria

Muslim Matters - 21 October, 2016 - 05:32

Without dedicating a single person to the role, NASA is contributing to saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in the worst hit areas of Syria.

But NASA is an independent agency of the executive branch of the U.S. Government. It has no involvement in the events in Syria or in humanitarian relief work there. How can it possibly be helping all these children?

Ladies and Gentlemen – meet Charity Week.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) once said, “Knowledge is the lost property of the believer.”

Far too often, we repeat this hadith but do not act on it.

At Charity Week, we live by these words. Like most traditional Islamic projects, our inspiration lies in our faith, the words of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)  and our glorious predecessors.

But unlike most – we actively seek to learn from the best of those who are currently excelling in this world. Whether it is iconic companies like Apple in computing, Pixar in animation or Tesla in car manufacturing, at Charity Week we want to take the best of what the best have to offer.

This year the theme for Charity Week was space and, naturally, we decided to study NASA.

CWUK2016 Poster

We started off the year designing our training based on lessons that we learnt from NASA, including how they approached team work and problem solving.

flight manual

We studied the moon landings and what drove astronauts like Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan. We gave talks such as “What if NASA did Charity Week?”

CW assemble talks

We researched archives and read books like the excellent “An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth” by Chris Hadfield.


We got so into space and NASA that we even baked little baby astronaut cakes.

cake astro

Each time we related what we learnt back to our own Islamic values, teachings and history. We were amazed by how many similarities there were between the drive, passion and integrity of our golden age with that of these modern explorers and scientists.

armstrong quote

hassan al basri quote

The blessings of implementing this hadith of the Prophet (SAW) has meant that Charity Week has been able to grow and work better than ever before. More than 200 institutions across 6 countries on 4 continents alhumdulillah. This #CW2016, we are reaching for the stars and #GoingFurtherTogether – to unite our divided people and to help orphans and needy children across the world.

Just one of the projects that Charity Week will be funding this year (insha'Allah) is to provide FREE healthcare for more than 130,000 Syrian children trapped in Aleppo, Hama and Idlib. Learning from NASA helped us do it.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was right. He always is. We MUST acquire beneficial knowledge wherever we find it as this is our lost property, this is our lost legacy and – if we unite together – we will stop it from becoming our lost future.

Authors note: If you want to get involved, help choose where the money goes or simply want to be inspired –

Channel 4 presenter says hijab ruling means it's 'open season' on Muslims

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 October, 2016 - 14:59

Newsreader Fatima Manji condemns decision by press regulator Ipso as ‘fundamentally flawed’ in appeal

The presenter Fatima Manji has questioned whether the press regulator will ever prohibit hate speech on the grounds of religion after it cleared the Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie over his criticism of the Channel 4 News for letting her report on the Nice terror attacks in a hijab.

In an unsuccessful appeal against the ruling of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), she said its decision was “fundamentally flawed” and legitimised discrimination.

Related: Why Ipso was correct: freedom of expression means the freedom to offend

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Prevent is failing. Any effective strategy must include Muslim communities | Miqdaad Versi

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 October, 2016 - 14:48

Treating all Muslims with suspicion has made Prevent a toxic brand. A grassroots-led programme would be more effective at countering terrorism

There is no doubt that the threat from international terrorism is real and that it requires proportionate and evidence-based strategies to confront it. Muslims in particular are affected twice over: not only as victims of the international attacks, but also by the anxiety that families may be torn apart as a minority fall prey to the lure of terrorist propaganda. But, as the Muslim Council of Britain has said today, the potency of that propaganda must be challenged by affirming that the best way to tackle violent extremists is to demonstrate that British Muslims are part and parcel of British life.

Related: Instead of fighting terror, Prevent is creating a climate of fear | Amrit Singh

Related: Treating Muslim children as terror suspects does not make Britain safer | Homa Khaleeli

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'Talaq' and the battle to ban the three words that grant India's Muslim men instant divorce

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 October, 2016 - 05:36

India’s supreme court may declare unconstitutional a practice that allows men to end marriages with the triple utterance of the word talaq

Talaq, talaq, talaq: for more than a decade Arshiya feared the words like some dark incantation.

When she caught her husband talking online to other women, he would snarl at her: “If you interfere too much in my life, I’ll give you talaq.”

Related: Blue-eyed tea-seller becomes social media sensation in India and Pakistan

Related: India's comic-book superheroine trains her powers on acid attacks

The Qur’an nowhere has any mention of triple talaq.

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Trump P***Y Tee: Six American Muslim Women Respond

altmuslim - 19 October, 2016 - 22:13
By Layla Abdullah-Poulos The 2016 election season has been fraught with disturbing comments from and revelations about the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates – Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump. These revelations subsequently produce a laundry list of excuses for whichever candidate is currently in the media hot spot as well as attempts to deflect [Read More...]

Muslim Council of Britain to set up alternative counter-terror scheme

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 October, 2016 - 22:07

Mosque-centred strategy to start next year in challenge to Home Office’s unpopular Prevent programme

British Muslims are planning to set up their own programme to stop people becoming terrorists in a direct challenge to the government’s controversial Prevent scheme, the Guardian has learned.

The plans are being masterminded by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), representing 500 charities, schools and mosques, which plans to start the Muslim-run counter-radicalisation scheme next year.

Related: Human rights group condemns Prevent anti-radicalisation strategy

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Muslim women's group inundated with hate mail after endorsing Hillary Clinton

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 October, 2016 - 17:32
  • Drudge Report link titled ‘Hijab for Hillary’ inspires threatening bigots
  • American Muslim Women Pac was founded after recent party conventions

A post on the aggregator site Drudge Report sparked a cascade of hate mail and phone calls to the American Muslim Women political action committee (Pac) on Tuesday.

Mirriam Seddiq, a criminal defense attorney and the founder of the group, woke up to an email with a link to a site that sold ammunition covered in pork.

Yesterday we got hoaxed, so let's return to the basics: Unhinged Islamophobia.

Related: What's it like being a Muslim during the US presidential elections?

There are only 10 of these shirts available so get them while they last.

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Why Ipso was correct: freedom of expression means the freedom to offend

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 October, 2016 - 17:08

Kelvin MacKenzie’s column about Fatima Manji wearing a hijab was hateful, but Channel 4 News should not have complained to the press regulator

When the row blew up over Kelvin MacKenzie’s column in the Sun about Fatima Manji wearing a hijab while presenting Channel 4 News, I said he was wrong.

Wrong because his criticism was hateful and offensive and vulgar. But that’s the price we must pay for freedom of expression (a point made endlessly in the aftermath of the massacre of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists).

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Kelvin MacKenzie ‘entitled’ to attack Channel 4 News over hijab, says watchdog

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 October, 2016 - 14:03

Ipso rejects complaint that the Sun columnist was guilty of discrimination by attacking Channel 4 over presenter’s attire when reporting Nice attack

Kelvin MacKenzie has been cleared by the press regulator over his attack on Fatima Manji, the Channel 4 News presenter, for wearing a hijab while reporting on the Nice terror attacks.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) has rejected a complaint against the Sun columnist, and former editor, that he was guilty of discrimination and harassment.

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Outrage over actor Rahama Sadau's hug highlights Nigeria's divisions

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 October, 2016 - 06:00

An actor’s brief embrace in a rap video has caused outrage in the country’s Muslim north. Meanwhile in the Christian south, films show middle-aged women chasing affairs and students seducing teachers

She is a hugely popular actor. He is a hugely popular rapper. But when Rahama Sadau and ClassiQ briefly touched in a music video released this month in northern Nigeria, their fleeting embrace set off a storm of controversy that has revealed the deep divides in the country.

Sadau, 22, found herself lambasted by conservative commentators and banned from working in the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria.

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Four Ways to Help a Muslim Victim of Domestic Abuse

Muslim Matters - 19 October, 2016 - 04:12

By Janet Kozak

Data gathered by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) shows that one in three women and one in four men will be victims of domestic abuse at some point during their lifetimes. For those that survive, these experiences can be horrifically shattering. However, the hurt can be made easier by the kindness of strangers, support of friends, and love of family.

The Qur'an notes that the oppressed call out to Allah for help and assistance from those around them. They ask Him to raise form around them one who can assist and one who can help.

Allah says, “And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?” [Qur'an, 4:75]

If you learn of a victim struggling, and if you are placed in their path, you need to understand that Allah is testing you and putting you with them in order to help. Not only is the responsibility a test of your empathy and willingness to go the distance for that victim, but it's dare-say an obligation if you want to meet the demanding test that Allah has placed before you. Changing your perspective about your supporting role can make all the difference in how you approach it.

Doing the good opportunities to help others that Allah has placed in front of us is also acknowledged by other Prophets. In Surah Al-Qasas (The Stories), Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, after watering the flocks of the women at the well of Madyan, went back the shade of the tree and supplicated to Allah, “[…] 'My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You would send down to me, in need.' ” [Qur'an 28:24]

Pulling others to greatness

For those of us who may not be tested with the challenge of an abusive marriage or relationship, it can be hard to understand what an abused victim is going through. However, if we fully appreciate the blessings of the love, peace, and tranquility we have in our own healthy marriages, we should understandably want those same experiences for our brothers and sisters in Islam.

Prophet Muhammadṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, urged us to wish others great blessings, and help them attain greatness as well. In one narration on the authority of Abu Hamzah Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

In this hadith we're told that none of us will attain the greatness of full belief until we want for others what we want for ourselves, giving of what we have also been given, even in times of hardship to break through the “difficult pass” [Qur'an, Sural Al-Balad, 90:1-20] and never letting our neighbors go to bed hungry while our own stomachs are full.

Those Muslims in abusive situations often look first to their closest friends and family members for help, and then to the greater Muslim community. If they find what they need within us, then we can fulfill our covenant with Allah and get closer to full belief.

domestic abuse

Supporting roles in abusive situations

While going through the thick of domestic abuse yourself is obviously life-altering, watching someone experiencing an abusive or violent relationship can also be very painful and upsetting. It's confusing when we don't understand why a victim stays in the relationship instead of getting out or getting help.

Many are thrust into the role of support person to a friend or family member in an abusive relationship. This may mean finding yourself in challenging situations, and experiencing mixed emotions about your role. Thankfully, there are ways to help a domestic violence victims survive and thrive from your position as support person – without losing your own sanity in the process.

Here are four ways to help a victim of domestic abuse while setting healthy boundaries as their support person.

Step 1 – Identify the abuse

The victim may be too close, and too emotionally invested in the relationship, to see what's really going on. A big part of helping victims involves both opening eyes to the abuse and showing alternatives.

Because of social constructs of what abuse looks like (thanks to movies and other media), many victims are simply unaware that what they're experiencing in their relationships is not healthy or loving. As a support person, it's important for you to help them recognize the abuse and violence for what it is.

There are many different ways that a person can abuse and oppress their victims, and not all of them leave visible bruises, marks, or scars. In order to help a victim, you'll need to fully understand all aspects of abuse so that you can help them see the larger picture of what they are experiencing.

There are various types of abuse in domestic situations that can include physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, digital abuse, and stalking. Learn as much as you can about all these types of abuse, and how to recognize them.

If you suspect a friend or family member is being abused you need to explain that you know and want to help. You can start these hard conversations by saying something direct like; “I'm worried about you because …” or “I'm concerned about your safety…”

Once the victim does open up about any of the abuse they're experiencing, tell them “I believe you” and mean it.

Step 2 – Make a safety plan

If you know, or suspect, that a victim is being abused, help them make a safety plan so they're prepared for emergencies and know what to do if the abuse gets worse.

A safety plan will entail making sure that the victim, and any children, know where to go and whom to call in an emergency. It will also ensure they have access to phones, packed bags, and important documents. You can download a blank safety plan from the National Center for Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCDSV).

Additionally, if the victim is uncertain just how dangerous his or her situation is, it's important to help them be honest with themselves about the threat. One great tool is the MOSAIC Method assessment. It's a test developed by Gavin de Becker, national expert on the prediction and management of violence, in the early 1980s. It's used by law enforcement, public figures, school administrators, and domestic violence victims, to determine the threat level of certain situations.

Help the victim complete the assessment, which takes about an hour, and print the results. These results can help shine light on the relationship, help secure restraining orders, and inform judges and other legal professionals as part of court proceedings.

Also note that if you're interested in building trust with the victim you should never report anything to the authorities without their consent. Abuse victims are used to being disrespected and violated so it is important for them to feel like they can trust you with their secrets and personal information.


Step 3 – Get educated

Read everything you can, attend volunteer trainings, join local and online support groups, and talk to other survivors of abuse.

Speaking with other survivors will help you put the situation you are helping with in perspective. Listening to other stories can help you better understand what the victim is going through.

If you volunteer at a local domestic abuse call center or shelter you may also receive comprehensive training and have opportunities to practice your new counseling skills with other victims. Being informed means victims will likely reach out to you because you understand and are supportive of their situations. When the time comes that your friend or family member is finally willing and able to ask for help, you'll be ready.

Once you understand their needs and are more knowledgeable, you'll be better able to offer help accessing the most pertinent local resources. Be sure to go with them to access resources, attend court hearings and appointments, and seek other help if needed.


Step 4 – Beat the burnout

Domestic abuse advocates, and even victims themselves, will tell you that it's extremely dangerous and hard to leave an abusive relationship. There are dozens of reasons for this that can include threats of violence, financial dependence, healthcare issues, nowhere to go, lack of support, cultural considerations, and a hold-out of hope for the relationship to get better, among other concerns.

It often takes victims as much as seven tries to leave an abusive partner. The most dangerous time for a victim is actually when they're in the process of leaving. If they try to leave, and end up badly abused or injured in the process, or back with their partner, they can feel embarrassed and fearful to try to leave again!

The timeline for abusive marriages and relationships can also linger into decades. It's important for support persons to understand this may be a long and ongoing battle. Support persons should offer as much as they can of themselves, while also being wary of burnout over time.

It's perfectly natural to get frustrated and fed up with your friend, family member, or loved one. It's also imperative to find healthy ways of dealing with that pent-up frustration and stress without acting out those feelings on the victim. Attacking a family member verbally or emotionally is not going to help them get free from their abuser. If anything, it will make them feel more isolated and alone and less likely to come to you, or anyone else, for help.

That being said, it's also perfectly acceptable to set healthy boundaries and be assertive in maintaining them. Even if you are on an emergency contact list, you can still determine how much of your time you're able dedicate to helping a victim. Perhaps you can set up a weekly check-in lunch date, or give them a call every Thursday night. Determine what works best for both of you and then stick to it.

If you need a break, say so and find ways to cope with the stress of the situation by venting to someone who does not know the victim. This may mean another friend, family member, or therapist. Practice the Ring Theory of Hard Times: “Comfort IN, Dump OUT.”

Taking care of yourself is as important as supporting a loved on through an abusive relationship. Practice self-care in addition to self-education, providing resources, and making time to listen to and support the victim in their struggles.

If you're in the position of support person to someone in an abusive relationship know the time commitment involved and be ready for things to get messy. It's not easy, but the rewards may be a stronger bond with your loved one, injuries averted, and a life saved.


Final Thoughts

The attitude of the chivalrous believer is that they never hesitate when presented with an opportunity to help others and relieve the oppressed or distressed.

Imam Nawawi, in his collection of 40 hadith, included that Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Judgment. Whosoever alleviates [the lot of] a needy person, Allah will alleviate [his lot] in this world and the next. Whosoever shields a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the next. Allah will aid a slave [of His] so long as the slave aids his brother […]”

If you, or someone you love, is experiencing domestic abuse, you can start by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the U.S. (1-800-799-7233), or 1-866-863-0511 in Canada for help and advice accessing local services, shelters, and other social programs.

If there is an emergency situation, please consult emergency services like 911, or go to your nearest emergency room.

UK's Prevent counter-radicalisation policy 'badly flawed'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 October, 2016 - 00:01

Justice Initiative report says viewing radical Islam as precursor to terrorism risks human rights and is counterproductive

The British government’s key counter-radicalisation policy is badly flawed, potentially counterproductive and risks trampling on the basic rights of young Muslims, a new study has concluded.

Following a nine-month examination of the programme known as Prevent, the Open Society Justice Initiative has recommended a major government rethink, particularly on its use in the education and health systems.

Related: Instead of fighting terror, Prevent is creating a climate of fear | Amrit Singh

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Quebec renews burqa ban debate in parliament

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 October, 2016 - 22:17

Bill aims to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests and would ban anyone wearing a face covering from receiving public services

A bitter debate over identity, religion and tolerance has resumed in the Canadian province of Quebec, as parliamentary hearings begin on proposed legislation that would ban anyone wearing a face covering from receiving public services in the province.

The bill, tabled by the provincial Liberals last year, aims to address the issue of state neutrality and provide a framework for religious accommodation requests.

Related: Justin Trudeau rules out burkini ban in Canada

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