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

New Report – Understanding Trends in North American Muslim Divorce and Marriage

This report by Julie Macfarlane (University of Windsor) for the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding addresses the shortcomings of Muslim communities when dealing with divorce, and what support and services counselors and community leaders can provide in times of marital crisis. The report has important conclusions and recommendations that can be a resource and discussion guide for couples, community leaders, and the public. The goal of the four year empirical study was to explore what North American Muslims understand as their Islamic obligations in marriage, the challenges they face in their married lives, and under what circumstances they might consider divorce – including their decision-making process, where they turn for help, and what rituals of closure and divorce outcomes are important to them.

Family fulfills dream of Pakistani victim of 9/11 revenge killing by becoming US citizens

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. — Anum Hasan has seen many conflicting visions of America: the hope of a better life that brought her family from Pakistan, the hate-filled act that ended her father’s life in the name of American vengeance; and an outpouring of compassion that her family has come to feel is the true face of the country they now call home.

Hasan’s father, Waqar Hasan, was shot to death four days after Sept. 11, 2001, in Texas, targeted by a white supremacist looking for revenge against Middle Eastern men for the terror attack. The family had every reason to want to leave, but on Friday, Hasan’s widow and three of her four daughters were sworn in as U.S. citizens.

It was what happened in the aftermath of Hasan’s killing that reinforced the family’s decision to remain in the U.S.

Huron University College Appoints Chair in Islamic Studies

Oct. 14, 2011

 

Huron University College in London, Ontario has appointed Dr. Ingrid Mattson as the inaugural London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at its Faculty of Theology. Dr. Mattson will begin her appointment on July 1, 2012.

Dr. Mattson was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo and earned her PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago. She is the first convert to Islam and the first woman to lead the Islamic Society of North America. Before accepting the Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College, Dr. Mattson was Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford Connecticut. She has also been an Advisor to both the Bush and Obama Administrations.

Muslim woman: Roller rink didn’t allow head scarf

VERNON, Conn. — A Muslim woman in Connecticut says a roller rink’s request that she either remove or cover her head scarf was discriminatory.

Marisol Rodriguez-Colon of Windsor tells WTIC-TV that she and her sister-in-law went to the Ron-A-Roll indoor rink in Vernon on Sunday for her niece’s birthday party. She says inside, a woman who identified herself as a manager told them they would have to either remove their hijabs or wear helmets. She was told the rink has a policy prohibiting headwear.

Rink management issued a statement reiterating the no headwear policy and saying helmets are offered for safety purposes.

Son of suspected extremist expelled from Canada

Police in Windsor, Ontario have apprehended the son of a suspected Muslim extremist killed this week in Detroit by U.S. agents, and within hours Canadian border agents expelled him from the country.

“We have him now,” FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold said. Mujahid Carswell, also known as Mujahid Abdullah, 30, had been living openly in Windsor for months and moving routinely back and forth between Windsor and Detroit.

Canadian border agents declined to say why Carswell had been expelled or whether he was entitled to any hearing. The section of the FBI complaint involving Carswell says he was involved in teaching martial arts to young children in mosques on both sides of the river separating Detroit and Windsor and that he sometimes beat them. Windsor police spokesperson Sergeant Brett Corey said there were no charges outstanding against Carswell and he was turned over to Canadian border agents.

Union dissatisfied with police apology to Canadian Muslim community

The chief of police in Windsor, Ontario issued an apology to his city’s Muslim community, saying his officers may have offended the religious customs of the families of two men arrested on FBI warrants two weeks ago.

Chief Gary Smith told a news conference that the force will review its policies, including the use of more female officers, after the arrest of Mohammad Al-Sahli, 33, and Yassir Ali Khan, 30, on Halloween.

During the arrest, it was alleged that a male officer inappropriately patted down a female relative of the men. Lhe lawyer for the two men later alleged that the police acted excessively in drawing weapons and frightening women and children at the home. Chief Smith said the Windsor Islamic Association will offer new training to officers.

Windsor police chief apologizes to Muslim woman

Windsor’s police chief has made a public apology to the local Muslim community for the “embarrassment” caused by his tactical officers when they conducted an arrest operation. The head of the city’s police union is unrepentant.

“In my belief, this isn’t a cultural issue,” said Constable Ed Parent, president of the Windsor Police Association. “These officers had a warrant to arrest someone. They went in, and they arrested this person.”

The controversy stems from arrests made by the Windsor police tactical team last month. On Oct. 31, the team acted on a request by the RCMP and FBI to arrest Windsor residents Mohammad Al-Sahli, 33, and Yassir Ali Khan, 30, in connection with a radical Islamic group based in Detroit.

According to Patrick Ducharme, the lawyer for the two accused, the officers “patted down” a Muslim woman –Mr. Khan’s wife — who was not a part of the arrest warrant. “It was never the intention for Windsor police officers to offend or embarrass the families of our Islamic community,” wrote Police Chief Gary Smith yesterday. “The actions taken did cause embarrassment and did offend their religious beliefs. I sincerely apologize to the families and the Islamic community.”

A review of the incident highlighted the need for additional “cultural sensitivity training,” a news release said.

Two Canadians arrested tied to controversial U.S. mosque

Two Canadian men wanted by the FBI in connection to a radical mosque in Detroit were arrested by authorities. Yassir Ali Khan, 30, and Mohammad Philistine, 33 – also known as Mohammad Al-Sahli and Mohammad Palestine were wanted following the death of the leader of a fundamentalist Islamic group, who was killed in a shootout with FBI agents after a raid on a warehouse in Dearborn, Mich. The pair were picked up without incident by Windsor police and RCMP’s Immigration Task Force. The Windsor police tactical squad surrounded a house in the southern Ontario city earlier this week to arrest 30-year-old Mujahid Carswell, also known as Mujahid Abdullah, a third man wanted in connection to Detroit mosque. It was Carswell’s father, Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was killed in the shootout with FBI agents.

U.S. authorities allege Abdullah and his followers were part of a Sunni Muslim group with the mission of establishing a separate Islamic nation within the United States.

Mosque to be Built on Dairy Site

Plans to build a mosque on the site of a Windsor dairy will go forward after the Borough of Windsor decided not to appeal the ruling of the government planning inspector in favor of the Islamic center. Local councillors were disappointed at the advice to not challenge the appeal, but they are now working with planning officers to regulate usage of the building, including a ban on weddings, celebrations, and extended hours of operation. Despite the racially motivated violence that took place at the site in October, councillors said that good community relations could be maintained if Medina Dairy respected that the property was in a long-standing residential area.