Saturday, August 30, 2008

Muhammad Ali to attend services for the late Jabir Herbert Muhammad


(CHICAGO, IL, 8/29/08) The family of Jabir Herbert Muhammad- long-time business and personal manager of the Champ, Muhammad Ali and son of Nation of Islam leader the Honorable Elijah Muhammad- will host a memorial service in honor of the memory and accomplishments of Mr. Muhammad tomorrow in Chicago. The memorial service is set for 11 a.m. tomorrow at Salaam Restaurant, 700 W. 79th St.

Confirmed guests include three-time heavy weight Champ- Muhammad Ali and a range of dignitaries, friends and community leaders.

Mr. Muhammad, 79, passed away on Monday, Aug. 25, after heart surgery at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago. He was a key advisor to his father, famed leader of the Nation of Islam from 1934 until 1975. Mr. Muhammad was the organization’s chief business manager, establishing and managing a successful bakery, restaurant, dry cleaners, among other enterprises. In addition, he established and oversaw operations of the Nation of Islam’s newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, at the peak of its influence, dispatching correspondents to Africa, Europe, and other points overseas, and building the weekly circulation to nearly one million copies.

Mr. Muhammad became Ali's business manager in 1966, a couple of years after the boxer formally converted to Islam. He negotiated fights for Ali and coordinated his role as a fundraiser and public face for the Nation of Islam. Mr. Muhammad was secured multimillion-dollar purses for Ali as he fought and won three heavyweight titles and became the most-recognized athlete of his generation.

Mr. Muhammad was a world traveler and philanthropist. He donated the land for, and built, the first freestanding Muslim mosque in Chicago, Masjid al-Faatir (the Mosque of the Originator), which stands on 47th Street at Woodlawn Avenue. Mr. Muhammad built treasured friendships, which transcended lines of race, religion and nationality.

WHAT: Memorial Service for Jabir Herbert Muhammad

WHEN: Tomorrow, Saturday August 29th beginning at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Salaam Restaurant, 700 W. 79th St.

TO RSVP CONTACT: Sultan Muhammad, (773) 540-6001

- END -

Navy Seals Fitness Challenge Sat Sept. 6 -- has Arab American component

Reminder – Tuesday, Sept 3 Media Day - Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge and Saturday, Sept 6 Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge UIC Chicago
Alissar Langworthy – Diversity Advisor
Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge

You and your colleagues are invited to Media Day, held 72 hours before the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge (Sat., Sept. 6 at UIC.) Media Day is any time between 6am and 2pm on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at University of Illinois Chicago at (or outside of) the Physical Education Building, 839 W. Roosevelt, Chicago. This is chance for you and your newsroom friends to get in there and try elite SEAL events such as push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a 500 yd. swim, or a 1.5 mile run. Great photo fodder….

About 30 elite Navy SEALS will be running the show, and they will be available for interviews.

All of Mayor Daley’s health agencies are solidly behind the fitness challenge…the executive director of the Mayor’s Fitness Council - Colleen Lammel-Harmon – can do 6 pull-ups. (Females have a very hard time with pull ups.) This firecracker of a woman is available for interviews as are the other VIPs from the Chicago Dept. of Health, Chicago Parks and Recreation, Chicago office of the United States Dept. of Health and Human Services, etc.

Media Day is all yours, but I have to know if you’re coming….RSVP to Ginny Richardson at 630-789-8555, Ext 10 or Thanks for your consideration of both Media Day and the release below.

P.S. Electronic Press Kit with photos:
For Immediate Release
Press contact: Ginny Richardson, GR-PR
630-789-8555, Ext. 10 or
electronic press kit:

Navy SEALs promote fitness in order to halt obesity

[CHICAGO, IL – Aug. 26, 2008] The Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge takes place Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008, at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Physical Education Building, 839 W. Roosevelt, Chicago. The Challenge is free and open to anyone age 13 or older, city or suburb, male or female. It consists of five fitness events: a 500-yard swim, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and a 1.5 mile run.

Taking place to promote fitness and to heighten awareness of the epidemic of obesity, the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compare personal fitness levels with those of the elite Navy SEALs.

“The Navy SEALs are highly respected and admired for their vital role in national defense,” said Dr. Terry Mason, commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health. “That they would choose Chicago for this initiative speaks well of our City. It gives us an opportunity to showcase the many talented and fit individuals who live in our great City, and it challenges the rest of us to step it up a notch.”

“This Challenge is a means to encourage citizens of Chicago and its suburbs to improve fitness and to utilize our SEAL standard as a way to measure their own level of fitness,” said Duncan Smith, Captain, Navy SEAL.

The events:

500 yd. swim – Standard: 12 ½ minutes. Competitive: 10 minutes
Push-ups – Standard: 42 in two minutes. Competitive: 80 in two minutes
Sit-ups - Standard: 50 in two minutes. Competitive: 80 in two minutes
Pull-ups – Standard: 6. Competitive: 11 (no time limits)
1.5 mile run – Standard: 11 minutes. Competitive: 10 minutes

Chicago is the fifth stop of the national tour of The Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge. The inaugural challenge kicked off more than a year ago in Boston. Since then, the challenge has taken place in San Antonio, Los Angeles and Dearborn.

“Let’s show ‘em what Chicago is made of,” said Corey Garner, director of the Chicago Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge. “We’re hoping for an unprecedented number of competitors - of all fitness levels – to rise to the challenge.”

Individuals are welcome as are groups such as family members, neighbors, running clubs, classmates, members of a football team, fitness clubs or someone looking for inspiration to begin a program of better physical fitness. Anyone who participates is welcome to invite an unlimited number of cheering spectators. Encouragement is very helpful to each participant. In addition to watching the exciting events, spectators will have the extraordinary opportunity to meet and talk with the elite Navy SEALS.

Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge competitors will be scored and ranked against each other, with all participants receiving a dog tag and a complimentary commemorative white T-shirt with the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge logo. Earning a tan T-shirt means the competitor met SEAL standards, and a blue T-shirt means the participant has met Navy SEAL competitive standards which indicates a superb athlete.

All participants should pre-register by going to and choose a time slot in which to compete. Teams may register for the same time slot, however there will be no exceptions made to accommodate an entire team, once a time slot is full. All participants under the age of 18 are required to provide parental or guardian consent.

Early registration is suggested.

Be Fit – Be There!

Ginny Richardson, President
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
15 Salt Creek Lane, Suite 317
Hinsdale, IL 60521
630-789-8555, Ext. 10

Friday, August 29, 2008

President Bush offers Ramadan Greetings to Muslims

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
August 29, 2008

Ramadan 2008

I send greetings to Muslims observing Ramadan in America and around the globe.

The holy month of Ramadan is a special time of prayer, fasting, and service. For Muslims, these days commemorate the revelation of God's word to the prophet Muhammad in the form of the Qur'an.

I thank the men and women of the Muslim community for their contributions to America. Your love of family, and gratitude to God have strengthened the moral fabric of our country. Our Nation is stronger and more hopeful because of the generosity, talents, and compassion of our Muslim citizens.

Laura and I send our best wishes. Ramadan Mubarak.



Monday, August 25, 2008

New Home built for Palestinian victimized by Israeli military aggression

A New Home Built By Holy Land Trust

Holy Land Trust’s Home Rebuilding Camp has been hard at work rebuilding the home of Walid Ahour, which was destroyed by the Israeli military in 2005. About fifteen international volunteers from Europe and the US are working side by side with Palestinian builders to build a new house in just two weeks. After three days of building, all four walls were already set up. On the fourth day, huge cement trucks made their way to the tiny village to pour concrete for the roof. We had a special lunch of sheep meat to celebrate this milestone—finally Walid’s family will have their own roof over their heads!

The family keeps the volunteers well-fed with delicious homemade lunches, fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden, and endless supplies of coffee and tea. The volunteers have enjoyed practicing their Arabic with the many children, cousins, and friends who come to watch the building. The atmosphere at the site is more like a party than a construction site—the female volunteers were even invited into the house for a spontaneous dance party with some women from the village.

Today the house is finished thanks for all the volunteers who joined us hand in hand to build the house , thanks for everyone who gave his time , his support to this just cause , thanks for the villagers that worked with us , and thanks for all the donations from different parts of the world. Right now Holy Land Trust is getting prepared for the next year’s summer camp , so hopefully soon we will have information about the 2009 Summer Camp and we are all getting very excited to handle the key of another house to a new family.

End of Palestine Summer Encounter 2008

On August 15th the last twenty seven participants representing 10 countries joined us in Osh Gurab park (Dismantled Military Camp ) for the farewell party, to say good bye for people they have spent time with for the past months, Holy Land Trust presented by Sami Awad and the Travel and Encounter department presented by Elias Ghareeb, presented a Palestinian Scarf (koffiye) as a thank you gift for the participants for their contribution and support to the Palestinian community.

As PSE participants, they had the opportunity to become a part of the local culture and community through home stays, assist in community development through volunteer work, practicing their Arabic skills, studying the conflict. and learning Palestinian dance (dabkeh) and how to cook Palestinian food, at the end of the Farwell party the participants performed the dabkeh that they have been learning for the past weeks it was an amazing end, an amazing way say goodbye to their host families and their volunteer organizations.

For those who are interested in taking part of this incredible experience, don’t miss the 2009 Palestine Summer Encounter program ! You can find out more information once they are available on

& Lots More Upcoming Events

Olive Harvest Ends of October – Midst of November

Join us to harvest olives with local families in their olive groves. Many of these olive groves have been confiscated by Israeli authorities, especially for the building of the wall separating Palestine from Israel. Your presence with the farmers helps to protect them from Israeli settlers and soldiers who in the past have used violent means to deter farmers from harvesting their yield. You will play a role in maintaining this centuries-old practice through the tumult of the current political situation.

Other than helping in this vital role, you will have ample opportunity to explore the region, experience Palestinian culture, and learn about the current political situation.

Newspapers, Magazines, Radio Stations, and TV Networks, All Journalists

In creating a venue to empower the people of Palestine in general, and the people of Bethlehem in particular and have their voices heard, the first community television and radio stations in Palestine known as “Al-Kul” which means, ‘Everyone’ was established in 2007. The purpose: to be a media outlet of the people and for the people.

The television and radio stations aim to strengthen the community and create a venue where its concerns, fears, dreams, and aspirations are heard and addressed. These stations serve as a platform for all to share no matter what their age, religion, economic, or social standing may be.
Al-Kul broadcasts unique and high quality television and radio programs, programs that address the real issues facing the community today while at the same time allowing for an opportunity to have the community express its joys and talents.

Holy Land Trust, in cooperation with Al-Kul, extends our warm invitation for journalists around the world to connect with us as a base for journalistic and documentary work in the Middle East. Whether you are covering important religious events, such as Christmas and Easter celebrations, or covering the conflict in the region, Bethlehem is a perfect location with a rich history and proximity to many important events. At Al Kul we can provide you with a studio, other equipment, networking opportunities with other journalists, and connections to people from every sector of Palestinian society and Israel .

We have experience in assisting film-makers seeking to present Palestine and the Holy Land from a unique and constructive perspective. If journalism or film is your area of expertise, we can assist you in organizing your project by helping you to successfully navigate any logistical or administrative concerns, researching topics related to your production and organizing the details of your trip.

For Further information please do not hesitate to contact us

If you Want Peace , You Never Build Walls But Bridges .

Rafat Shomali
Travel & Encounter
Operations Manager &
Spanish Language Liaison
Holy Land Trust
Bethlehem - Palestine
Cell: + 972 (0) 599 255 569
For Latest news in Palestine visit

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Freedom Boats reach Gaza despite Israeli blockade

Boats reach Gaza despite blockade

Two vessels spent 30-hours journeying to the Gaza Strip from Cyprus [AFP]

Two vessels carrying 46 international human rights activists have reached the Gaza Strip, despite Israel's strict 14-month siege of the Palestinian territory.

The end of the mission to symbolically break the siege came after Israel backed down from an earlier warning to the 'Free Gaza' protest group not to breach the blockade.

Al Jazeera's Ashraf Amritti in Gaza said: "The arrival of these two boats is a very symbolic gesture for the Palestinian cause, to end the siege, end the occupation.

In fact, those phrases are written across the peace boats which carry flags from more than 70 nationalities."

The boats set sail on Friday on a 370km voyage from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus carrying activists from 17 countries, including Israel, with the aim of drawing attention to Israel's blockade of Gaza and its affect on the people there.

The boats sailed through choppy waters into Gaza City's main port on Saturday, where they were greeted by thousands of people waving Palestinian flags, many of them sailing around the harbour in boats.

Unity call

Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader and dismissed Palestinian prime minster, called on the world to follow the example of the international activists movement and "break the siege on Gaza".
"We deeply appreciate and salute the activists on the two boats", Haniya told Al Jazeera in a phone interview.

Haniya said that it was time for Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing and end the siege once and for all.

Egypt reopened the crossing last January after Palestinians blew up part of the border barrier, allowing thousands to stock up on supplies from border towns.

Cairo sealed the crossing three days later under pressure from both the United States and the Israeli government, to "protect its own sovereignty."

Jibril al-Rjoub, a senior Fatah leader, also welcomed the "breach of the embargo", describing the international activists as "humanists".

"The two boats defiance the of the Israeli blockade is a glimmer of hope that could be an opening of an end of the siege", the former Palestinian security chief told Al Jazeera in an interview from the West Bank of Ramallah.

Rjoub called for both an immediate reconcilation between Fatah and Hamas to unite the efforts to restore national unity, and to forge ahead with efforts to alleviate Palestinian suffering.


Local activists and charity workers had feared Israel's military would step in to prevent the activists from reaching their destination.

Andrew Mumcie, one of the activists on board one of the boats, told Al Jazeera he was "overjoyed" by their success in reaching Gaza's shore.

"Now we will go back to Cyprus and organise another trip," Mumcie said, adding the group would continue its activities until Israel's siege of Gaza was lifted.

Israel's foreign ministry said it had been closely monitoring the 21-metre-long "Free Gaza" and 18-metre-long "Liberty" boats after they left the Cypriot port of Larnaca.

Aviv Sharon, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, earlier said: "They want provocation at sea, but they won't get it.

"We know who the passengers are and what they are bringing with them, and so we have no problem letting them through."

'Death threats'

Sharon had said earlier in the day that "all options" were being considered to prevent the ships from entering embargoed waters.

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, a Jerusalem-based spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement which organised the event, said the boats' communications systems had been attacked by "electronic piracy" earlier in the day.

The activists' group was comprised of people between 22 and 81, included students, lawyers, doctors, journalists and an online poker player, organisers said.

Mostly American and British, they included Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who is now a Middle East envoy.

Many of the activists said they had received death threats before they set sail, leading some to drop out.

Israel has tightened its blockade of Gaza since Hamas seized power in June 2007.

Awad Hamdan
American Muslims for Palestine
National Office Manager
6424M W Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634
Office 888.404.4 AMP
Mobile 773-366-1232
Fax 214.279.2914

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ramadan Revival planned in Des Plaines Illinois

MASYouthChicago Presents…

RamadanRevival! with Imam Suhaib Webb

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Prepare your soul for Ramadan! Attend a revival lecture by the phenomenal (mashAllah)Imam Suhaib Webb and get a head start on your spiritual cleansing. Worry not; there will beenlightening entertainment as well, featuring spoken word artists, beat-boxing, and much more..Friday Sermon (Khutba)

Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines480 Potter Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016
~RamadanRevival and EntertainmentUniversity of Illinois at Chicago Behavioral Sciences Building Room 1451007 West Harrison Street

6:00-9:30 PM
~Saturday Morning Intensive Course

University of Illinois at Chicago Behavioral Sciences Building Room 1401007 West Harrison Street

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Lamya Arman
MAS Youth Chicago

Friday, August 15, 2008

Video in defense of Baha'i minority rights

Safeguard The Innocent: Video in Defense of the Baha'i Minority

"I will not stand by while my neighbors are denied basic human rights just because they are Baha'is"'s Censeo Productions and announce the release of their new video defending the rights of the Baha'i minority.

How many times have you heard people ask, where are the Muslim voices against discrimination and oppression? Here is your chance to write about a group of Middle Eastern youth who have come together in defense of minorities within their communities and to practice dialogue with one another. Their most recent effort is the creation of a video to bring attention to the rights of the Baha'is: a religious minority that has often found itself persecuted in predominantly Muslim countries.

Nowhere is the persecution worse than in Iran and Egypt where they have been denied basic rights and seen their sacred places destroyed and vandalized. In Iran, where the Baha'i Faith first emerged, Baha'i schools are shut down, leaders of the faith are arrested, executed, or harassed, and Baha'is are denied the right to higher education. In Egypt, Baha'is are not given identity papers, thus preventing them from attaining the basic rights of citizenship.

A group of predominantly Muslim youth have banded together to speak out against the discrimination. They formed a website,, which catalogues abuses against Baha'is and have now released a video which uses images from the film Persepolis to make a powerful statement against the persecution of the Baha'is. Their first video, called "Egyptian Tourism Ad," which edited a popular TV advertisement into an awareness campaign for the condition of Baha'is in Egypt, has been written about in a prominent Egyptian paper, Al Masry Al Yowm.

"When minorities are not given their rights, how can we ever expect to exercise our own?" says Kawthar Muhaib, a member of the Muslim Network for Baha'i Rights.

Watch the video here:English: more information contact:

Esra'a Al Shafei, Director,, director@mideastyouth.comKawthar Muhaib, Project Coordinator,,

More about our efforts to defend the rights of the Baha'i minority:

BBC Persian: Arab Youth Defend Baha'i
Rights: in the


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


A new book predicts the end of the Mubarak and the coming political earthquake

Aladdin Elaasar

For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL - Award winning journalist, Aladdin Elaasar has just released his latest book: THE LAST PHARAOH: MUBARAK AND THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE OF EGYPT IN THE VOLATILE MID EAST, predicting the downfall of President Mubarak of Egypt and the aftermath of the collapse of his regime .
Packed with facts and telling the story of both modern and Ancient Egypt, how the modern Arab and Islamic Worlds evolved, and interviewing and quoting experts, politicians, journalists and Western diplomats, Elaasar tells a compelling story that needs to be read by every one. Combining an uncanny sense of clarity and understatement, Aladdin Elaasar weaves E gypt’s historical grandeur with an unnerving cascade of political intrigue that reveal a side of Mubarak the world cannot long ignore. In one fell swoop, my admiration for Egypt is both strengthened, and the source of my20unease revealed, as the author sheds light on the darkness of Egyptian politics that could one day turn catastrophic. With so much at stake, the west is slowly coming to grips with a new reality; a reality which no single book or author could possibly address. The Last Pharaoh should be indispensable to anyone hoping to understand Egypt’s role, not only the Middle East, but the potential for Mubarak’s Egypt to impact the destiny of global events.
"Peeling back layer after complex layer of Egyptian intrigue, culture and politics, Aladdin de-mystifies Egypt without tarnishing her almost mystical status as the pinnacle of Arabian culture, and the bedrock of human civilization. The book is stunning in its revelations of Mubarak’s stranglehold on every aspect of life in this glorious, long suffering nation. Connecting one mysterious dot to the next, Aladdin teases the reader from chapter to chapter as he lucidly explains the details of Egypt’s worst kept secrets of all…the ‘secret’ of Mubarak’s power and how he plans to rule from his own royal crypt, " says Professor Tate Miller, expert on International Negotiations; Conflict Management; Government Relations and Diplomac y; Cross-cultural Communication, and Senior Lecturer at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
“Egypt is the next domino to fall and, as they say, so goes Egypt so goes the Middle East...explaining why a pillar of American dominance in that part of the world is about to crumble.” Says Robert Baer, former Middle East-based CIA operative and author of See No Evil, and Sleeping with the Devil.
The 83 years old President Mubarak of Egypt has been in power since 1981 and was elected for six more years in 2005. Concerns about Mubarak’s health draw much greater attention to the question of who will next rule the nation of Egypt? Succession plan for Mubarak’s son Gamal is already in place.
Haunted by the memories of the overnight fall of the Shah of Iran to the Ayatollahs, U.S. policymakers fear a similar event in Egypt. Once thought to be a strong U.S. ally, the Shah, lost his grip over power to the zealous clergy sabotaging every effort for peace and stability in the region. Marcos and Suharto, two old dictators considered strong U.S. allies, as well, fell to the angry mobs in the Philippines and Indonesia. Bush's successor is likely to=2 0find himself (or herself) facing an unbelievably bad choice in the largest Arab country. Would America intervene militarily to preserve Gamal’s faltering rule? Is Africa where Al-Qaeda hides its money, guns, recruits, training camps—and its future? Africa would be the last gr eat stand in this Long War, where all those impossibly straight borders will inevitably be made squiggly again by globalization's cultural reformatting process. Now this fight heads south...and yes, the Long War could be even uglier there.
About the Author
Born, raised and educated in Egypt, lecturer and writer Aladdin Elaasar is one of the foremost authorities on Egypt and the Arab World. Some of his writings are: “Iraq, the State & Terrorism”; where he predicted the downfall of former Dictator Saddam Hussein. Elaasar also wrote “Silent Victims: the Plight of Arab & Muslim Americans in Post 9/11 America”, 2004. He has been a frequent commentator on Middle Eastern affairs on several local American TV and Radio networks since 1992.

For a free preview please click here:

New Book "Prophets and Princes" by Mark Weston released


Prophets and Princes – Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present By Mark Weston
Presents a new, post – 9/11 history of Saudi Arabia

New York, NY – Saudi Arabia is easy to criticize. It is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. Saudi women are not permitted to drive, work with men, or travel without a man’s permission. Prior to 9/11, the Saudis sent millions of dollars abroad to schools that taught Muslim extremism and to charities that turned out to be fronts for al-Qaeda. Yet the country is the economic and spiritual center of the Middle East, the source of one fourth of the world’s oil, and the cradle of Islam.

In PROPHETS AND PRINCES (Wiley, August 2008, $35.00), Mark Weston, a scholar who has lived in Saudi Arabia, writes that despite its serious shortcomings, the Saudi kingdom is still America’s most important ally in the Middle East. The country is a voice for moderation toward Israel and on the price of oil, and it is starting to make the economic and cultural changes necessary to adjust to modern realities.

Most books on Saudi Arabia focus on current events and give short shrift to the long history that is the key to understanding the Saudis. PROPHETS AND PRINCES begins with the birth of Muhammad in 570, but almost half of the book is a revealing portrait of Saudi Arabia today. Drawing on interviews with many Saudi men and women, Weston portrays a complex society in which sixty percent of Saudi Arabia’s university students are women, and citizens who seek a constitutional monarchy can petition the king without fear of reprisal.

PROPHETS AND PRINCES is loaded with new information about Saudi Arabia, painting a more complete picture of the country than other recent books on the topic do. For example:

· The Saudi government has stopped charities from doing any work abroad since 9/11, fired 1300 radical clerics and forbidden them to preach, and is completing the process of replacing over a million textbooks that had hostile references to Christians and Jews.

· The terror-filled spring of 2004, when Westerners were getting killed every few days, came to an abrupt end in June of that year when the Saudi police raided several terrorist hideouts after receiving tips from “disgusted neighbors.”

· 22 members of the bin Laden family were able to leave the U.S. in the days after 9/11 because the FBI had already thoroughly investigated the entire family, with their full cooperation, after the 1998 African embassy bombings.

· The outrage following the tragic girls’ school fire in Mecca in 2002, when fifteen girls were trampled to death as religious policemen prevented fire fighters from entering the school because the girls were not wearing the full veil, has led to a freer press and the transfer of the administration of the nation’s girls’ schools from religious authorities to the Ministry of Education.

Weston also brings to life the story of Muhammad, his successors, and origin of the Sunni-Shi’ite split in the 7th century; ibn Abdul Wahhab and the rise of Wahhabism in the 18th century; the discovery of oil in the kingdom in the 1930s, and the influence of the Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb on al-Qaeda in 20th and 21st centuries.

Mark Weston, a former Visiting Scholar at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, has been a lawyer for ABC Television and a journalist for ABC News. His articles have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. He is the author of Giants of Japan, The Lives of Japan’s Greatest Men and Women and The Land and People of Pakistan.

Filled with new and underreported information about life in Saudi Arabia, PROPHETS AND PRINCES is a must-read for anyone interested in the Middle East, oil, Islam, or terrorism.

PLO offers condolences for death of Mahmoud Darwish

August 13, 2008
Subject: Condolences for Mahmoud DarwishFrom: The PLO Mission-Washington, DC

Dr. Nabil Abuznaid, Charge' d'Affaires of the PLO Mission and staff, extend their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the late Mr. Mahmoud Darwish and to the Palestinian people for the loss of a respected poet and author. Mr. Darwish was one of the greatest contemporary Arab Poets, a literary figure who enlightened the entire world with his work. His poetry and prose created a Palestinian national identity that no other poet could achieve. Mahmoud Darwish gave a voice to the Palestinians through his writings and was able to define a country's collective spirit through his work. The Palestinians and the entire world revered Mr. Darwish as a literary icon, and as an artist whose voice will be forever missed.
The PLO Mission will open a book of condolences to be signed beginning Monday August 18th thru Friday August 22nd from 12:30 - 4:00 pm. PLO Mission1320 18th Street, NWSuite 200Washington, DC 20036202-974-6360 PLO Mission Staff Washington DC

IQRA honors three Muslim leaders October 19

Media contact: Jameel A. Syed
Cell: 248.635.9275

Securing Our Future: The Need for Effective Islamic Education
Chicago (Aug. 13, 2008) – Twenty-five years have passed since concerned educators established a non-profit organization whose name literally means to "read." This fact not only reflects the first word revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), but exhibits this organization’s goal to facilitate access to Islamic literature and education for everyone.

IQRA’ International Educational Foundation invites you to celebrate its Silver Jubilee anniversary on Sunday, October 19th, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. at Monty’s Elegant Banquets in Bensenville, Illinois. Tickets are priced at $100 per person and $50 for students. The event will include a dinner with entertainment and will provide an opportunity for all involved to converse and network with leading civic and educational activists in the country. One of America’s most valued Islamic scholars, Imam Zaid Shakir, will present the keynote address focusing on the challenges facing Islamic education in pluralistic societies.

IQRA’ will also honor three American Muslim scholars - Shaykh Abdullah Idris Ali, Dr. Ahmad Sakr and Dr. Seema Imam - with lifetime achievement awards.

These past seven months, IQRA’ has been celebrating its Silver Jubilee with a series of programs that include teachers training workshops, storytelling for children, special educational forums, visits to Islamic centers and community organizations and Khutbahs to Masajids
IQRA’ International Educational Foundation was established in 1983 by concerned Muslim educators who saw a need to provide quality Islamic education for Muslim children living in North America and in other pluralistic societies. IQRA’ has since developed a comprehensive, integrated and systematic system of Islamic studies, publishing over 150 textbooks, workbooks, teacher’s guides, curriculum guides and other educational materials. IQRA’s program is extremely popular in Islamic full-time and weekend schools and is being used in many countries around the world.

This year IQRA’ International Educational Foundation plans to establish a program of online distance learning state of the art distribution facilities for Islamic publications and an updated marketing system.

Of course, all of this work takes money. "Our future depends on achieving financial independence and operational efficiency, given that we are accountable to the community from whom we aim to secure at least one million dollars," said Dr. Abidullah Ghazi, IQRA’s executive director. "With community support we plan to establish an endowment fund that would provide for the continuation of our efforts well into the future. It is also critically important that we prepare IQRA’s succession by bringing in young professionals."

We at IQRA’ International Educational Foundation invite you to celebrate our achievements on IQRA’s Silver Jubilee celebration night on October 19th, 2008. You can purchase tickets in person at IQRA’ Book Center, IQRA’ Head Office, or online at
Jubilee Venue Address: Monty’s Elegant Banquets
703 South York Road
Bensenville, IL. 60106
(630) 595-1780
IQRA’ Head Office: 7450 Skokie Blvd.
Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 673-4072

IQRA’ Book Center: 2749-51 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 274-2665

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge Sept. 6 UIC Chicago

Greetings Chicago Arab-Americans,

I am writing you on behalf of the U.S. Navy in the interest of promoting the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge, which will take place in Chicago (University of Illinois-Chicago) on September 6th. Below is a link to the electronic press kit provided by our media public relations firm. In the interest of diversification and cultural awareness, as well as the main message of this event - raising awareness in fitness and battling obesity - the Navy is reaching out to communities of all cultural backgrounds.
Please take a few moments to view the information link, and if you have any questions, please feel free to call me or email me.

Thank you for your time.

Best Regards,

Alissar Langworthy
Diversity Advisor - Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge

Hope you’ll let your readers know about The Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge taking place Sept. 6 at UIC. The SEALs motivation is to bring awaren ess to the epidemic of obesity. The challenge is totally free and open to anyone – city or suburb – male or female - age 13 and up. This event has taken place in Boston, LA, San Antonio and Detroit. Let’s show ‘em what Chicagoland can do!!!!!

Lots of great photos and endorsements from all sorts of VIPs in Chicago are part of the EPK.

Electronic Press Kit:
In fact, one of the endorsers is the executive director of the Mayor’s Fitness Council - Colleen Lammel-Harmon, RD, LDN. At the news conference about the challenge, she did 6 pull-ups. Females have a very hard time with pull ups! This firecracker of a woman is available for interviews as are the others.

Also in the EPK is a tab about Media Day which will be held 72 hours before the actual event, on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at (or outside of) the Physical Education Building at UIC, 839 W. Roosevelt, Chicago. The SEALs will accommodate your schedule anytime between 6 a.m. and noon. And if those hours don’t work, please call to arrange another time. You and your colleagues (bring the entire newsroom!) are invited to experience the challenge for yourselves. If you’re not too keen about tackling the pull-up bar yourself, bring someone from the office who’s willing, and do a story, take a photo or get some footage of them. The SEALs will be available for interviews.

Media Day is all yours. Please RSVP to Ginny Richardson at 630-789-8555, Ext 10 or Thanks for your consideration of bot h Media Day and the release below.
Ginny Richardson
For Immediate Release
Press contact: Ginny Richardson, GR-PR
630-789-8555, Ext. 10 or
electronic press kit:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Arab Christian comedians organize fundraiser for Arab Christian member of the Israeli Knesset Oct 8 Oak Park, Illinois

The only Chicago area performance of the INFIDELS OF COMEDY Arab Christian Comedy Tour in Oak Park at the Arts Center on Wednesday October 8, 2008 at 6 :30 PM, a fundraiser for Nadia Hilou an Arab Christian member of the Israeli Knesset.

Attached is the press release, but it might be the only time you'll see Christian Arab comedians coming together to help a Christian Palestinian woman who is running for re-election in the Israeli Knesset with the Labor Party. This event will also help support Mar Elias Campus which is a branch of the University of Indianapolis in Ibillin in the Galilee. You can get information and tickets online at

Please pass it along if you can and I hope you come out to see my comedy and the comedy of two other Christian Arab comedians Nasry Malak and Maria Shehata.

Ray hanania
======= ===========


Ray Hanania
August 3, 2008

Christian Arab Comedians highlight fundraiser for Nadia Hilou Christian Arab member of Israel’s Knesset October 8

Chicago – A unique troupe of Christian Arab standup comedians will be the featured entertainment at a fundraiser to be held for the Honorable Nadia Hilou, a Christian Palestinian Arab member of the Israeli Knesset with the Labor Party on Wednesday October 8, 2008 at the historic Oak Park Arts Center.

The evening will feature an overview of the challenges facing Christian Arabs in the Middle East, support of the peace process and the upcoming elections in Israel this Fall.

The comedy group, called the Infidels of Comedy, was formed by Christian Arab comedians Nasry Malak, Maria Shehata and Ray Hanania. Malak, from New York, and Shehata, originally from Ohio, are Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians. Hanania is Antiochian Orthodox Christian raised Lutheran and from Chicago.

The fundraiser will also support the Mar Elias Branch Campus in Ibillin, Galilee in the Holy Land, a branch campus of the University of Indianapolis, Indiana which offers a Christian Arab Education.

“The peace process for me is also very important,” Hilou said, former head of Social Workers for Peace and Justice in Israel.

“We have very good relations with the Palestinians and we work closely with them on joint projects. We cannot close our eyes to the difficulties but we have no other solution. In the end, there must be two states for two people siude by side in peace.”

Hilou was first elected to the Knesset in 2006. She is one of only 17 women in the Knesset, and one of only two Christian members of the Knesset. Hilou is a social worker by profession focused on the development of children, challenges facing women and the protection of the family.

The event will be held on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at the Arts Center in Oak Park, Illinois, 200 N. Oak Park Ave., (708-366-3981) with doors opening at 6:30 PM. Tickets for the fundraiser, which includes a presentation by Knesset Member Hilou and the Infidels of Comedy American premiere performance, are $40 per person. They can be purchased online at the comedy web site or through the organizers listed below.

“The Schools are revolutionary, the faculty and student body is Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. It is a place where all religions meet and interact on equal footing, where the value of each human being comes before their form of religion,” said Susan Drinan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mar Elias Campus.

“The students learn, play and work together, they learn respect and tolerance instead of hate. The school represents ideas and interests for a better future for all faiths, and offers a chance for Christians to remain in the Holy Land. The Mar Elias Schools are the model, the best example for how lasting peace can be achieved.”

Tickets are $40 each.

For More Information, contact:

Ray Hanania, 312-933-9855 cell, 708-403-1203 home Susan Drinan, 630-653-8309 Order tickets online at


Wednesday Oct. 8, 2008, 6:30 PM – 10 PM

Benefits: Fundraiser for the Honorable Nadia Hilou, member of the Israeli Knesset, Labor Party. Social worker and advocate for peace.

Also, support Mar Elias Branch Campus of the University of Indianapolis, Indiana located in Ibillin in the Galilee in the Holy Land.

Location: Arts Center of Oak Park, 200 N. Oak Park Ave, 708-366-3981

The Arts Center is a magnificent neoclassical building, an architectural gem, inside and out. Large lobby reception area, 700 seat auditorium with spacious dressing rooms and the Ernest Hemingway Museum.

Entertainment: the Christian Arab Comedy Troupe “The Infidels of Comedy” featuring Nasry Malak, Maria Sehata and Ray Hanania.

Tickets are $40 each.
# # #

Friday, August 01, 2008

Iraqi Jazz Concert in Chicago August 7

The full series press release is attached for your reference. You can hear some music samples here:


Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers Large Ensemble
Thursday, August 7, 6:30 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
Free admission

Chicago-born, Iraqi-American trumpeter and vocalist Amir ElSaffar (pictured) fuses traditional Iraqi Maqam music with modern jazz in a new work written for a 15-piece ensemble of Arabic and Western instrumentation. In this concert, ElSaffar contrasts the Iraqi modalities with the heavy grooves and free textures of jazz, while still maintaining the feeling of the blues. The ensemble includes Amir ElSaffar (trumpet, santoor, vocal); Jeff Parker (guitar); Rudresh Mahanthappa (alto saxophone); Zafer Tawil (‘ud, violin, percussion); Tareq Abboushi (buzuq); Jason Adacewicz (vibes); Jeb Bishop (trombone); Geof Bradfield (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet); Carlo DeRosa (bass); Dena ElSaffar (violin, viola, jowza); Naeif Rafah (nay); Nasheet Waits (drums); Wanees Zarour (buzuq, violin, riqq) and Mohammed Saleh.

(Other than Nasheet, Carlo, Tareq and Zafer, all of the musicians are either from, have lived in, or currently live in Chicago.) Full series press release attached for your reference.