Saud Anwar, Connecticut’s First Muslim Mayor

November 22, 2013

 

South Windsor physician Saud Anwar is the state’s first Muslim mayor. He sat down with Where We Live to talk about his faith, his vision for the town, and how he plans to juggle his busy schedule. Anwar is a native of Pakistan, who came to Connecticut via Illinois to study medicine at Yale.

On being the first Muslim mayor in the state:
Anwar says that although his faith is important because it shapes his values, he is focused on his new responsibilities. “The fact that I am a mayor who is of Muslim faith helps the children who are in our communities in Connecticut or beyond who at times feel they are bullied or disenfranchised…when they are hearing on radio or television about their faith,” he said. “This would hopefully allow them to recognize that the people who are trying to paint them with a broad brush do not necessarily represent true America.”

On what he’ll tackle first as mayor of South Windsor:
Saud Anwar said his first step will be to unify the town. The town is divided, he said, not only across political boundaries, but across ethnic and demographic boundaries as well. “One of the main issues that we need to recognize [is] that we are all in it together,” he said. “This is our home. This is our community. We are going to do whatever it takes to stay together, and only together we’ll be able to address all the issues that we have to.” Anwar said that his job as a physician has taught him to be organized and to work with a team, all of which he plans to use in his new position.

 

Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/american-muslim-news/12268-saud-anwar-connecticut-first-muslim-mayor.html

NY Times Book Review: The Messenger and the Message

‘The First Muslim,’ by Lesley Hazleton

 

FirstMuslim-CoverIn today’s febrile cultural and religious climate, what project could be more fraught than writing a biography of Muhammad? The worldwide protests at “The Innocence of Muslims,” 14 minutes of trashy provocation posted on YouTube, are a terrible reminder to the would-be biographer that the life story of the prophet of Islam is not material about which one is free to have a “take.” Lesley Hazleton’s “First Muslim” is a book written by a white woman of dual American and British citizenship, published in America more than a decade after the 9/11 attacks. For many believers it is already — even before it is read, if it is read at all — an object of suspicion, something to be defended against, in case it should turn out to be yet another insult, another cruel parody of a story such an author has no business telling.

 

“The First Muslim” tells this story with a sort of jaunty immediacy. Bardic competitions are “the sixth-century equivalent of poetry slams.” The section of the Koran known as the Sura of the Morning has “an almost environmentalist approach to the natural world.” Theological ideas and literary tropes are “memes” that can go “viral.” Readers irritated by such straining for a contemporary tone will find it offset by much useful and fascinating context on everything from the economics of the Meccan caravan trade to the pre-Islamic lineage of prophets called hanifs, who promoted monotheism and rejected idolatry.

 

In the terms it sets itself, “The First Muslim” succeeds. It makes its subject vivid and immediate. It deserves to find readers. However, its terms are those of the popular biography, and this creates a tension the book never quite resolves. Though based on scholarship, it is not a scholarly work. Factual material from eighth- and ninth-century histories is freely mixed with speculation about Muhammad’s motives and emotions intended to allow the reader, in the quasi-therapeutic vocabulary that is the default register of so much mainstream contemporary writing, to “empathize” or better still, “identify with” him.

First Muslim anti-same-sex marriage group founded

Lyon Capitale

13.03.2013

For the first time in France a group of 20 Muslims men and women came together to found a collective against the proposed same-sex legislation. The group named ‘Les musulmans pour l’enfance’ (Muslim for childhood) aims to “sensitivise French citizens of Muslim faith of the consequences of the law”.

The group remains unaffiliated with larger French religious authority and puts emphasis on being a citizen initiative. Members criticise that the proposed law on same-sex marriage didn’t take children into account, whose opinion remain outside of the debate. Les musulmans pour l’enfance claims to protect the traditional institution of marriage and has already called for rallies in Paris and other French cities. According to them, French Muslims who oppose same sex marriage do so in line with convictions and not as a move against the French government or its President.

Brown Appoints California’s First Muslim Superior Court Judge

Halim Dhanidina, who spent 14 years as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, was appointed to a California Superior Court judgeship May 18 by Governor Jerry Brown.

Dhanidina, a founding member of the Association of South Asian Prosecutors, will be the first Muslim American on a California bench, said Brown, announcing the appointments of 17 judges. Dhanidina will take up his new role June 20, although he has not yet been assigned to a court.

“I hope that my appointment serves as an example to others in the Muslim American community, particularly the youth, that our faith and identity need not be an obstacle to our full participation in California’s civic institutions,” Dhanidina told India-West. “Similarly, I hope to perform my new responsibilities in a way that demonstrates to society at large that Muslim Americans can serve the community in the pursuit of justice with dignity and honor,” he said.

The Chicago-born, Evanston, Ill.,-raised Dhanidina, whose Gujarati parents Lutaf and Mali emigrated from Tanzania to the U.S., in 1960, said that his 14 years as a deputy district attorney and being in court nearly every day have made him intimately familiar with how a courtroom works, including the rules that govern a trial.

The Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council said it had advocated for Dhanidina’s appointment for more than a year. “Dhanidina’s appointment is an important step in ensuring that California’s leaders accurately reflect the communities present in our great state,” said Aziza Hasan, MPAC’s Southern California Government Relations director, in a press statement.

Dhanidina earned his law degree at UCLA, where he served as the co-chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Pomona College, where he founded the first Muslim Students’ Association, and currently sits on the Board of Governors of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Los Angeles.

First Muslim cemetery opens in Strasbourg, France

News Agencies – January 5, 2012

The first Muslim cemetery will be inaugurated in Strasbourg on February 6, 2012. The cemetery will have place for 1000 graves. It is the first to be established by a French municipality, and was made possible by the special local laws of the region, which do not recognize separation of Church and State. Elsewhere in the country, there are Muslim plots in other cemeteries.

Anne-Pernelle Richardot, deputy mayor of Strasbourg, says that Islam is not a recognized religion, but that they try to bring it up to the same level as the recognized religions, using the local laws. The municipality invested 800,000 Euros in the cemetery. There are eight Muslim plots elsewhere in Strasbourg cemeteries, but they’ve gotten to full capacity in recent years.

Saïd Alla, president of the Grand Mosque of Strasbourg, says that the Muslim community had settled permanently in France and want to bury their relatives at home, not a thousand kilometers away. “It’s the ultimate gesture of good integration, it shows that you belong to the country in which you live.”

First Muslim Woman Lord Mayor in Bradford

24.05.2011

Bradford has appointed the UK’s first Muslim woman to hold a Lord Mayor title. Coun Naveeda Ikram, of Pakistani origin and born in the UK, had been a Labour councillor on the Bradford Council since 2004. In addition to being the UK’s first female Muslim Lord Mayor, she was also the first woman of Pakistani origin to become councillor in Bradford.

 

First Muslim Model to Represent Britain at Miss Universe Beauty Contest

10 March 2011

Model and English graduate Shanna Bukhari from Rochdale wants to become the first Muslim to represent Britain at the Miss Universe contest in Brazil. Along with 60 other women, she is hoping to come first in the British final fighting. Bukhari also hopes to be a role model for Muslim girls, who do not dare entering contests for fear that it is not permitted by Islam. She has also had to face harsh criticism from radicals: three men advised her to “rot in hell” because her actions were sinful, but thanks to the support from her family and friends, Bukhari does not abstain from participating in the contest.

Islamic Scholars Plan for America’s First Muslim College

Sheik Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir share a vision for the next step in the evolution of Islam in America: creating the country’s first four-year, accredited Muslim college.

The two men, American scholars of Islam and leaders in the Muslim community, are criss-crossing the country building support for an institution they call Zaytuna College, which they plan to open next fall. The college will serve the nation’s growing Muslim population, blending traditional Islam and American culture and establishing a permanent place for the religion in American society.

Before any of that can happen, Zaytuna’s founders face steep challenges. They must hire a staff, establish a curriculum, develop admissions policies, and raise at least $5-million just to open their doors, all during a particularly trying time for college fund raising. At the same time, government scrutiny has put a chill on Muslim philanthropy.

Sheik Hamza Yusuf (left) and Imam Zaid Shakir, the Muslim scholars who are creating Zaytuna U., are often called upon to speak on behalf of mainstream Islam in the United States. Kathryn Masterson reports.

Obituary: Larry Shaben, Canada’s First Muslim Cabinet Minister

Larry Shaben, 73, was Canada’s first Muslim cabinet minister. The son of Lebanese immigrants, Shaben was born in Hanna, Alberta and eventually settled in the north of Alberta represented Lesser Slave Lake. This article in The Globe and Mail chronicles how Shaben spent much of his youth at Canada’s first mosque, Al Rashid in Edmonton. Shaben became involved in politics early in his life in High Prairie, and retired in 1989 and returned to Edmonton to focus his energies on ecumenical groups like the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities, the Islamic Academy of Edmonton and the endowed chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta. The cabinet minister is also known for miraculously surviving a deadly twin-engine plane crash in 1984.

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First Muslim police association created in Scotland

Strathclyde Police welcomed the creation of Scotland’s first Muslim Police Association, which is aimed to tackle the rise of Islamophobia. “The formation of the Muslim Police Association is a positive step,” said the chief constable of Scotland’s biggest police force, Steve House. “These are officers who are positive about seeing the police force as a career and want to use their association to reach out to Muslims,” House said. The formation follows the creation of a Muslim Police Association in England, which has been reported to quite successful, not only within the Muslim community, but also with tackling institutional Islamophobia within their own police forces. The formation of the association in Scotland comes despite their only being around 31 Muslim officers in Strathclyde’s 7,000 strong force, which is based around Glasgow, and some 30,000 Muslims living in the region that make up a mere 1.5 percent of the population. Police constable Amar Shakoor, Scotland’s first Muslim officer, said there had been recent negativity directed towards the Muslim community, which is being treated with suspicion and increased scrutiny.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=2F52BF64F163423321C27327&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News