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Sat12202014

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Hoodies, Hijabs, and Condemning Oppression

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The recent killing of Shaima alAwadi in California has united organizations across many different demographics to condemn the brutal killing of a mother of five in what authorities believe was a hate crime. It truly makes a great statement when non-Muslim organizations condemn the killing of a Muslim woman and call for her killer to be brought to justice, while our own community organizations and laymen focus only on cases with Muslims. The voices of Shaima alAwadi and others like her are voices lost in the media circus surrounding race, religion, and stereotypes. Imagine just how many other individuals and communities have had to suffer from discrimination and oppression, and the world was never made aware? If we wish for others to become aware of our cases and suffering, we must make a substantial effort – as individuals, groups, and organizations – to support the oppressed no matter where or who they may be.

Iraq: the End of a War, and the Reaffirmation of US Exceptionalism

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Ceremony held to mark the final departure of US troops from IraqSince 2001, with the ascension and acceptance of the concept of a US "homeland", the United States now shares the ideological space of dictatorships. The government's nurturing and selling of that idea was a deft psychological maneuver. Despite being the world's sole superpower, the United States, with colonial and immigrant roots, could not previously lay claim to a "homeland".

All-American Muslim: An Outrageous but Sad Reality

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Reason for outrage or introspection?Perhaps it would be against our interest to realize that many Muslims fall short of the great status God has given us as followers of Islam. The worst part of it all? TLC didn't make anyone act in a way that was untrue to them. The families shown on All-American Muslim are part of our community too, and they are far from the only ones who may disregard Islamic laws. Of course, not all the characters on the show behave in this way. But at the end of the day, TLC has its own agenda to promote. Watering down Islam and making it kosher serves the interest of many parties and powers. However, our interest doesn't lie in fighting a reality show, but rather, making sure that our daughters embrace dignity over the disgrace of immodesty, and making sure our community seeks to reach a more profound level in our understanding and practice of Islam.

Lack of Good Samaritans Caught on Tape

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This horrendous event forces us to open our eyes to the reality staring us in the face regarding our world today. It forces us to reflect upon such incidents and question why it happened, and what should've been done to avoid such a situation. Why didn't any of the pedestrians who passed by the injured girl pause to help her, call for help, or pull her out of the road? To what degree of moral decay has society reached that 18 by-passers ignored the tragic situation they witnessed as if nothing happened? Where is the moral duty of a community member or a neighbor, let alone a human being? It is as if they just passed by a dead cat on the road – yet even then, in that situation, there are those who would take the time to remove the animal's body from the place of traffic.

Libya and Iraq: Mirror Images in the Grip of Big Oil

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Iraq all over?After nine years of US occupation, Iraq's economy remains in shambles amid rampant official corruption, with every sign of greater instability when the last of the US troops are gone. Libya will likely remain a near-failed state for the foreseeable future as competing political and tribal forces fight for ascendancy.

The 2010 Census: Race and Ethnicity

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At the turn of the 20th century, many "white" European immigrants were not considered white – such as the Italian or Jewish immigrants. Today, younger generations are increasingly identifying themselves as multiple-race, but will still pick a "color" of black or white when forced. Mixed-race marriages in the United States are growing drastically, and in general, people increasingly desire to acknowledge the more complex natures of their heritages. Many whites, while often unknowingly enjoying the status and privilege of light skin that still insidiously permeates American culture, have the desire to identify on some level with their Native American (or other race) great-grandfathers. Similarly, many young people today are rejecting the historical "one drop" idea of what it means to be African American. A vocal movement of young Americans notably came at odds with the identification of President Barack Obama as the first black President of the United States, citing his white mother and grandparents who raised him.

From Tahrir to Wall Street

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The 99 percentPart of the success of the Arab Spring was the lack of central leadership that governments could crack down upon, as well as its mass appeal especially among the youth. Similarly, the American protesters have so far lacked a central leadership that can be manipulated or coerced, but in fact the protests have grown and spread through the use of social media, especially among the young people.

Knowledge of the Soul

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Can brain function explain away spirituality?

Critical thinking and reasoning are essential tools of sense-making that advance society. The scientific process develops our understanding and level of functioning in this existence. However, not all types of questions can satisfactorily be answered through this method, even though many wish it were so. Everything we think we "know" is really a decision to adopt a certain construct or belief.

US Embargo of Cuba, Half a Century Later

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What purpose does the Cuban embargo serve?As a foreign policy instrument, the embargo has also failed. It has not done anything to make the Cuban people more free, and it has denied Americans of the right to travel freely as they see best. For American business interests, billions of dollars have been lost to exporters – from farmers in the Midwest to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

Why an International Day of Al-Quds?

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The struggle continues...For those of us who are hesitant to participate in Al-Quds rallies or have any affiliation with organizations that stand up for this cause, it is a good time to reassess our faith as the holy month of Ramadan culminates. Surely it is contradicting to claim that we are preparing ourselves for the return of our Imam when we are struggling within ourselves to protest against one of the most obvious cases of oppression in our present time.

The Politics of the Muslim Conscience

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Are they less worthy of our attention?Why does our community vehemently push for certain countries and nationalities to gain freedom and have human rights while neglecting our duty towards those suffering in Africa? The politics of awareness and picking our causes is colored by race and class bias. Famine in Africa has never been a particularly popular topics in our mosques, centers, or rallies. Naturally, there are those among the Muslim world that will fight fiercely to maintain the current status quo towards human rights and political causes Muslims should uptake. How is it the same individuals rally us to their cause by quoting the Prophet's famous tradition, "Who does not concern himself with the affairs of the Muslims is not a Muslim" are nowhere to be found when it's time to discuss the man-made tragedy in Somalia and Ethiopia?