Hurricane Irma: New Tampa mosque opens as shelter for first time

504372478_19960061_8colTAMPA — For now it’s their hurricane shelter, but Muslim rules about removing your shoes are still being observed at a makeshift shelter set up at the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay mosque.

More than 500 people are planning to hunker down at the makeshift shelter set up at the mosque’s multicultural center, which is now full. Most are Muslim, but the shelter was open to all people and is providing refuge for at least 50 non-Muslims, said Aida Mackic, a shelter organizer who is also the interfaith and youth program director with Council on American-Islamic Relations

Three large conference rooms are being used as the main sleeping quarters. One is for men, one for women, and there is a common area for families who want to remain together.

In each are dozens of cots, sun beds, quilts and other make-do beds.

“We’ve had to turn some people away,” said Mackic. “There was even one woman who turned up with a bird in a covered cage.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM TAMPABAY.COM

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At an Arkansas Mosque a Vandal Spreads Hate and Finds Mercy

Abraham Davis was sitting on a thin blue pad on the concrete floor of Cell 3 in a jail in western Arkansas when a guard came around with stamped envelopes and writing paper.

The first person he wrote to was his mother. Abraham, just shy of 21, had barely spoken to her since his arrest a few days before, and he had a lot to explain.

It all began on a night last October when he borrowed her white minivan and drove to the home of a friend. They’d gotten drunk on cheap whiskey. Kentucky Deluxe. Abraham agreed to drive his friend to a mosque in town. His friend drew swastikas and curses on the mosque’s windows and doors while Abraham stood watch in the driveway.

The next day, the vandalism was all over the news. Abraham watched the reports over and over on his phone, his stomach curdling with regret.

Even now, as he was facing up to six years in prison for the act, Abraham could not explain why he had done it.

He had grown up in Fort Smith, a city of tall oak trees and brick churches that has the look of a faded Polaroid. His father, charismatic but violent, died when Abraham was 5, leaving him with a feeling of powerlessness so intense that he has been trying to conquer it ever since. “Most of my life I’ve spent trying to train myself to become something that’s too strong to be broken through,” he said. Life has teed him up for a fight, and he walks tilted slightly forward, as if someone is pulling him with an invisible wire.

As a poor student in the high school on the wealthier side of town, Abraham often felt like an outsider. He walked, not drove, hung out on playgrounds, not in restaurants. He got into a lot of fights. He did poorly in school, but he doesn’t remember his teachers seeming surprised. Expectations were low, and he bent to fit them. He slept a lot in class. At 18, he dropped out.

Fort Smith has two country clubs, several golf courses, a Talbots and a symphony orchestra. But a proliferation of pawnshops and a circuit court crowded with indigent defendants are reminders of the grinding poverty all around, in the rural areas of western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

For years, those divisions had been etched into the city’s geography. Poorer families lived on the north side of town and wealthier families on the south. Race followed the same pattern, with the south predominantly white and much of the city’s black population in the north.

But time has scrambled those old lines. Latinos came here to work in the poultry industry. Pho shops dot the city’s main drag, property of Vietnamese who began arriving as refugees after the fall of Saigon. R & R’s Curry Express serves deliciously spicy North Indian food at a Finish Line gas station.

Abraham Davis drove his mother’s white minivan to the mosque last October.
Pho shops dot the city’s main drag, started by Vietnamese who began arriving as refugees after the fall of Saigon. Other nationalities also call Fort Smith home now.
The tombstone of Hud Davis, Abraham’s and Noah’s biological father, in Fort Smith. Noah often visits; Abraham does not.
Hisham Yasin in the office of his used-car business.

Muslims from different countries came, too — some to study, some to work in the city’s growing medical industry. Many had money. Hisham Yasin did not.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

‘There is too much anger out there.’ Bombing of a Minnesota mosque leaves Muslims concerned

la-1501976924-wer1upgbbr-snap-imageTerror tore through a suburban Minneapolis community on Saturday after the bombing of a mosque, amplifying growing concerns among some Muslims who have felt targeted nationwide in recent months.

Law enforcement officials said the explosion occurred around 5 a.m. at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. Fire and smoke engulfed much of the red-brick structure, but there were no injuries.

The FBI is leading the ongoing investigation, along with local law enforcement. Authorities say they believe an improvised explosive device — also known as an IED — was to blame for the blast at the mosque, which primarily serves the area’s large Somali community.

Mohamed Omar, who has been executive director of the mosque for two years, said Saturday that he was relieved no one was hurt.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES 

‘Advancement of Islamic Agenda For America’ Sign Posted Outside Michigan Mosque Is A Digital Fake

A sign reading “Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America” being posted outside a Michigan mosque is a digital fabrication. The photograph of a sign bearing an ominous threat from the group is a fake. There is no truth behind the image displaying a sign which bore a serious and ominous threat from the group “Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America.” Where did this originate?

Snopes reported that the photograph has been identified in social media postings as belonging to a mosque or some other Islam-associated administrative building in Michigan. The sign reads “Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America.”

The fake sign then advertises to viewers that organization’s ominous threat “AMERICA WE WILL KILL YOU ALL AND NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO STOP IT,” bracketed by invocations of the exaltation “ALLAH BE PRAISED.” However, the sign nor the organization is real.

FULL ARTICLE FROM BUSINESS 2 COMMUNITY

Murfreesboro (Tennessee) mosque vandalism: Residents rally around Muslim community

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Community members numbered in the hundreds to gather in support of their Muslim neighbors during a vigil the day after the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was vandalized.

Numerous members of the crowd held homemade signs with the slogan, “Love thy neighbor,” while other signs had messages such as “Everyone be cool to each other” and “I Stand with my Muslim neighbor.” One family handed out long-stem roses.

“It’s my duty, it’s our duty, to decry senseless acts like these. Silence is not an option,” Abbie Wolf, director of community relations for the Jewish Federation of Nashville, told the crowd. “There is no place for such despicable and repugnant behavior or beliefs in our community.”

Early Monday morning, ICM members discovered vandals had spray-painted profanity on the mosque and its outdoor basketball court, as well as draped its door handles with bacon. The abuse sent shock waves through Murfreesboro’s Muslim community.

FULL ARTICLE FROM DNJ DAILY NEWS 

Thousands turn out for Tri-Faith mosque open house

poster-f3054c23885b4c708e38632dc13ca3f9-1499616240Chatter of excited conversations filled the American Muslim Institute Sunday afternoon.
Almost 3,000 people toured Omaha’s new mosque and cultural center during an open house.

“To have this turn out is just amazing,” Hesham Basma said. He is on the board of the American Muslim Institute.

Organizers were expected about 800 people to visit during the two hour period. Three times as many came to say hello.

“I think Omaha is the perfect place for this wonderful curious community to hold those conversations,” Tracey Holdorson said.

Barefoot Christians and Jews spoke with the mosque’s Imam, a muslim leader in the prayer room.

“We wanted to take the opportunity to share our organization with the community at large. It’s important to tell our community what is here and what we have to offer,” Karim Khayati, Vice President of American Muslim Institute.

“This speaks to the quality of people we have in Nebraska and the Midwest,” Khayati said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM KETV (OMAHA, NEBRASKA)

Jews, Christians and Muslims make holy ground in America’s heartland

170616134549-03-tri-faith-initiative-exlarge-169Omaha, Nebraska (CNN) When most people think of Omaha, they imagine sizzling steaks, billionaire Warren Buffet or even former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning calling out before the snap. (Remember “Omaha-Omaha”?).

But if a group of clergymen have their way, Nebraska’s largest city will soon also be known as the home of interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding.

A rabbi, a reverend and an imam (no, it’s not a setup joke) are partners in a decadelong quest to bring together the three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — to share and worship on the same property.

It’s called Tri-Faith Initiative.

The $65 million project, launched in 2006 and funded through donations, may be the first time in US history that the three faiths intentionally build their houses of worship side by side.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CNN