Minnesota author, refugee, hopes to inspire kids

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Habso Mohamud was born in a refugee camp in Kenya.

While living in the camp, Mohamud traveled with her grandmother to traditional villages and places where nomads lived. Her grandmother wanted her and her siblings to see “the other side of the world.”

Because to Mohamud’s grandmother, they were lucky — they had shelter and knew where their next meal would come from.

“My grandmother would take us and show us you could have it worse. Be appreciative — at a very young age that’s what I learned,” Mohamud told the St. Cloud Times.

Mohamud lived in the refugee camp until she was 10. Now 24, Mohamud lives in St. Cloud. She attended St. Cloud schools and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at St. Cloud State University. She also works for the UNESCO Center of Peace and recently published a children’s book.

In her book, “It Only Takes One Yes,” Mohamud hopes to inspire children — especially young girls — to see themselves as being able to make a difference in the world.

“I want to make sure kids have a voice,” she said. “But I want to do it in my community because this community needs me.”

Despite working for the United Nations, Mohamud chooses to live in St. Cloud.

“I love it here. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I came back,” she said. “I want to give back. Without this country and without the opportunities that were presented to me, I wouldn’t be who I wanted to be.

“And this is the country where you can be anything you want to be in this world.”

Mohamud’s parents lived in Somalia before fleeing the country for Kenyan refugee camps during the civil war in Somalia. Her mother never finished high school but her father went to college and was a medic in the military.

Mohamud received an education in the camp but said it was very basic and without a set curriculum because the population changed so frequently.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SIOUX CITY JOURNAL 

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LOOKING WITHIN: WHAT’S BEHIND THAILAND’S BUDDHIST-MUSLIM DIVIDE?

dbf1a13c-32f6-11e8-9019-a420e6317de0_4000x1584_175635Before he was Phra Visuddho, he was Pisut Aungsupalee. In Thai “Pisut” means “purity”. When his master, Phra Upaseno ordained him as a monk, he took the Pali equivalent, “Visuddho”. Pali is the language of Buddhist texts.

Born in Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown district, Pisut – who is Chinese-Thai – grew up helping his parents run their fruit shop on weekends. “If I needed to open the shop, then I would wake up at six in the morning.”

The long hours tending his parents’ shop fed Pisut’s young mind. Observing people come and go, he wondered what made them smile or frown.

Red Shirts, Yellow Shirts: will there ever be united colours of Thailand?

“When I was nine I already thought about what it means to be happy. This is why I eventually wanted to become a monk, to understand happiness – not physical but eternal.”

At the age of twelve, he and his family moved to Nonthaburi Province in the countryside.

“Bangkok was dense and polluted, whereas Nonthaburi had forests. The air was fresh and it was not crowded.”

Even then, Pisut would drive back to Bangkok on weekends with his father to tend to the family business.

“I would wake up really early in the morning. This helped me prepare for life as a monk. As a monk I wake up before six for bintabaht.”

Monks usually start their day with bintabaht, the collection of food alms – Phra Visuddho doesn’t go a day without it. Photo: Hezril Azmin

Bintabaht is the collection of alms that make up a monk’s meal. “Before noon, I can eat. Afterwards, I can only drink water or juice.” Bintabaht isn’t a daily obligation for monks, but Phra Visuddho does not go a day without it.

In his last year of secondary school, Pisut made up his mind to study sociology.

“I wanted to study ourselves – as human beings – and about life.”

He ended up at Kasetsart University in Bangkok.

FULL ARTICLE FROM SCMP.COM

Why I’m a Muslim

MUSLIM BRITWhen Muslims make headlines, it’s invariably for the wrong reasons. The fuss over Boris Johnson’s burka joke is a case in point: he was making an argument in defence of Muslims, but was instead condemned for attacking us. Why the confusion? Because of how little our faith is understood.

Let’s start with the burka. Islam makes various demands of its followers, but — despite what you might think from the headlines — covering our faces isn’t one of them. Based on the media’s fascination with these strange and oppressive garments, you might wonder why any modern woman would ever choose Islam. So here’s my answer.

I’m a London-born doctor, raised in a Muslim family and now working in America. While Islam always played a role in my youth, it was never something which defined me: rather a list of ‘dos’, ‘don’ts’ and cultural traditions which governed various aspects of home life. It was during an assignment in Riyadh — where I was working as a doctor — that everything changed.

Of course when you’re living in Saudi Arabia, Islam is never far away — but at first its omnipresence only served to remind me of my failings as a Muslim. To the Saudis, I knew so little about my religion I was assumed to be a convert. Thanks to Saudi law (which mandates covering of the hair — something my parents never enforced), I might have looked more Muslim — but I certainly didn’t feel it. Take the Hajj, for example — the holy pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are expected to undertake once in their lifetime, if their health and their means allow. Although many of my colleagues had jumped at the opportunity to do it, it wasn’t something I had considered.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SPECTATOR (UK)

6 Post-Ramadan Lessons From A Pair Of Mediocre Muslims

Muslim Taking Iftar To Break Their FastI’m Sima, I’m 23 and I’m a pretty casual Shia Muslim. I was born in Toronto, have lived in various parts of Canada and come from an Iranian background. I did not fast this year but I’m wishing a Happy Eid Al-Fitr to all my fellow Muslims who did!

I’m Farah, I’m 35 and I’m a casual Sunni Muslim. I was born in Toronto, raised in Markham and come from an in Indian-Pakistani background. This year, for the first time in years, I challenged myself to keep almost every fast in Ramadan and succeeded! Please, come eat with me!

So, it’s done. Ramadan has come and gone, and gone with it are the early mornings of rising to eat before dawn, persistently empty stomachs and a solid case of daily “hanger” as you struggle to keep your fast throughout the Holy Month. It may not seem like we’ll miss very much, but as the long days passed, we two mediocre Muslims — that is, Muslims who consider ourselves fairly casual and relaxed in our practice — sat down to talk about what makes this month extraordinary — not just this year, but every year. The lessons we’ve learned have changed our views on food, religion and most importantly: life.

FULL ARTICLE FROM HUFFINGTON POST (CANADA)

UK: ‘Hello, I am Muslim’

International event aims to encourage mutual understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims.

muslimsAn international event aiming to break fears and prejudices against Muslims and promote empathy has been launched in King’s Cross station in central London, the capital of Britain.

The event this week will see young Muslims promoting mutual understanding in public places in various countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, France and Austria.

‘Hello, I am a Muslim’

The Islamic Community Milli Gorus (ICMG) group said in a statement on Thursday that thousands of young Muslims living in Europe, Australia and Canada will take to the streets to deliver “their ‘Hello, I am a Muslim’ message to introduce themselves”.

“Contacting people individually is the most natural and the best way of promoting understanding and empathy,” the ICMG said.

“We have prepared the ‘Hello, I am a Muslim’ events to encourage mutual communication and cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims,” said Kemal Ergun, the group’s president.

More than 500 mosques across Europe will also take part in the initiative, according to the ICMG statement.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA 

Marvel’s Muslim Teen Girl Superhero Challenges Stereotypes

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Alongside Spider-Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow and the other superheroes of the Marvel Universe is Ms. Marvel… a shape-shifting teen-aged crusader for today’s diverse American society.

She may be a newbie in the world of Marvel superheros, but since she burst onto the comic book scene in February of 2014, Ms. Marvel has become a cultural phenomenon. She’s also the first Muslim superhero to have her own dedicated series.

“I love this comic because it is diverse, and it shows a side of America that I think comics don’t always show,” said DeeDee, a Ms. Marvel fan we met at a Huntington, New York comic book shop.

“She’s not only dealing with school sides of things, like the culture clashes, her parents want her to be more traditional,” said Lois Alison Young, a school teacher who is also a Ms. Marvel fan. “I guess it’s a big cliché but she’s really struggling because she wants to maintain her Muslim identity.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM VOA 

Lost faith in humanity? These Christian, Jewish and Muslim volunteers will build it back up

INDY STAR

Christians, Muslims and Jews working and praying together to provide homes for two families — it almost seemed silly to write about people of different religions uniting for a common cause, as though it were something unusual.

After all, we often go to school and go to work with people of different beliefs, different cultures, different colors. We meet our neighbors and our friends across different walks of life.

And yet … the strife is often what people notice.

“I think that we are living through a time of profound uncertainty and disunity and polarity, so anything that helps us meet each other in a respectful and civil way is just critical,” said Rabbi Brett Krichiver of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. “Especially around those things that we believe in so passionately and that very often divide us.”

So the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity‘s annual interfaith build this fall seemed commonplace, and yet remarkable.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INDY STAR