Filed under: December Volume 1 - 2008, International, travel, World | Tags: IQOU, Pakistan Consulate, Racial Profiling
By Muhammad Ahmad
Islamic Post Staff Writer
In the third week of November, staff and students of the International Quranic Open University (IQOU) received “unjust treatment” at the hands of the Pakistani Consulate General’s office in New York City.
Upon application, Islamic Post Senior Reporter, Khadijah Smith, Nuriyah Nisaa Brooks, staff writer and teacher; along with her assistant, Saminah Abdul Jalil, were denied visas of more than 30 days for their assignments.
On Monday, November 17, IQOU staff members experienced a “tremendous amount of difficulty” upon their visit to the Pakistani consulate where the correspondents were denied the 3 month visas. In what seemed a display of showmanship, the staff were then told to return the following day, with promises of a 45 day visa, which the consulate said would be issued “at the very least.” However, upon returning on Tuesday, only 30 day visas were issued.
IQOU staff and students remain awestruck at the way the diplomatic representatives of Pakistan rendered their thanks to the University. After having fostered decades of understanding and common ground between the United States and Pakistan, IQOU received shortened lengths of stay; whereas –according to the Pakistan Interior Division website– American correspondents normally receive the three month time period that had been requested by the IQOU division, the Islamic Post. On the other hand, tourists are allowed stays up to six months.
The deputy director insists that this is not the first incident in which IQOU staff and students were ill-treated at the consulate for no apparent reason. “This is ingratitude, the same ingratitude with which the University was treated in 2005 when we came to the consulate, supplies in hand, to help victims after the first earthquake,” IQOU Deputy Director, Khalifa Muhammad Hussain Abu Bakr told the Islamic Post. “What does it say about the diplomatic efforts of those on the receiving end to behave in this manner? It is unbecoming,” The American Muslim Medical Relief Team, which operates under the auspices of IQOU, sent doctors and nurses who left their families in 2005 to assist victims in Pakistan. The team rendered medical treatment, free of charge, to innumerable earthquake victims at the Ayub Medical Hospital Complex in Abbottabad. Working tirelessly, and without salary, team members became heroes of the day in Pakistan, and back home as well. The three men and five women dispatched to Abbottabad brought with them much needed medical supplies, food, army-type canvas tents, woolen blankets, sweaters, and other warm clothing for the thousands of men, women, and children who were left without homes, shelter, or a means to keep warm as cold temperatures swept the mountainous regions, which had been hardest hit. The supplies were distributed in Azad Kashmir and the Mansehra area. IQOU saved lives in areas from which other, perhaps more well-known, workers pulled out in despair regarding the devastating medical crisis and constant subsequent deaths. The American Muslims, clearly visible and in uniform, won over the hearts of patients and set an example for the local staff. Eid found them distributing sweets and juices to the patients.
For their part, IQOU staff and students, in the USA, launched diligent telethon fund-raisers in the United States and Canada; most even went door to door soliciting donations. Given the manner in which Pakistan is represented in the media, this was no easy task; yet, American and Canadian non-Muslims and Muslims gave generously, their hearts having been struck by the overwhelming human catastrophe which, as the weeks ensued, was becoming a humanitarian failure.
Staff members repeatedly asserted that the New York consulate should be able to differentiate between friend and foe, and insist they “would be in Balochistan right now helping the people,” but insufficient support is being lent by the consulate.
Clothing and other non-perishables were to be delivered by journalists of the Open University for the 20,000 displaced victims of October’s Balochistan earthquake. The Pakistani Embassy issued a general request for aid for Balochistan in the beginning of November; it is inconceivable that the consulate in New York, while subordinate to the embassy, would not be of the utmost assistance to the University staff in their quest to aid the people of Pakistan,
IQOU is already taking further steps to address the matter. The Honourable Saqib Rauf, Vice Consul General, is currently being contacted directly with the grievances of the University; if necessary the University intends to contact the Embassy directly to rectify the matter. -Aisha Abdallah contributed to this report.
Filed under: August Volume 1 - 2008, Education, International, Religion, travel, World | Tags: IQOU
By Abu Rashid Qadri, Islamic Post Staff Writer
The International Quranic Open University (IQOU) takes great pleasure in announcing that three of its most advanced students will travel to Egypt, in late September, with the intent of entering the most renowned Islamic University in the world, Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.
Muhammad Mahmud AbdusSabur, Durdana Amatullah Shakir, and Safiah A. Salaam will study Tafsir of Holy Qur’an, AHadith, Fiqah, and Language at the highly acclaimed institute of learning. Their academic pursuits abroad are scheduled to begin with their entrance into the university in October of 2008 for the fall semester.
For over two and a half decades, the Vice Chancellor of the International Quranic Open University, His Eminence, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, has worked unceasingly to raise the standards of both Islamic and secular education for Muslims here in America. The very first courses and programs initiated concentrated on the very basic rudiments of learning. Today, through the efforts of this very special pioneer, American Muslims, in particular, have sought and earned certificates, diplomas, and various degrees in a vast variety of subjects, while studying both in the United States, and abroad.
The achievements of these gifted students, and the International Quranic Open University, will serve as a stepping stone to greater academic accomplishments, and Insha’Allah, will result in contributions of greater significance to the global society, for generations to come.
Filed under: August Volume 1 - 2008, Front Page News, Interfaith, Magazine/ Culture, National | Tags: Gilani, IQOU, Islamberg
Correction: Please note, the awards for the 9/11 relief work and other relief work of the Muslim Scouts of America were sent by El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani for the commencement, and handed out by the New York State Police officers in attendance at the event, in honor of the Scouts’ good work.*
Muslim Scouts of America Commencement and Awards
By Abu Rashid Qadri, Islamic Post Staff Writer
The sporadic rain showers and the threatening clouds did not dampen the spirits of hundreds of guests that gathered on the grassy meadow in the Village of Holy Islamberg in Hancock, New York on Sunday, the 3rd of August to mark the Commencement Ceremony for the 2008 Muslim Scouts of America’s Summer Program. The intensive, broad-based program centered on Islamic Studies; but also included such diversified topics as English Literature and a lecture series on “Muslim/Christian Unity” and “Civic Responsibility.”
For close to two decades his Eminence, Imam El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, who is the Vice Chancellor of the sponsoring organization, the International Quranic Open University, has worked tirelessly to make this program a success. That Sunday, the “fruits of his labor” were given very special recognition. The Guests of Honor, Lt. James Land and Det. Mike Franz of the New York State Police and Special Agent Eric Boyce of the Federal Bureau of Investigation were pleased to present special awards to those scouts which had been sent by El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani. The Scouts who received these awards (correction) exemplified all that the scouting program is about when they sacrificed their monies and time and in some cases their employment to assist in the rescue and relief efforts at Ground Zero following 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the quake that devastated Pakistan and the floods in the Southern Tier of New York State.
The ceremony began with recitation from the Holy Quran, a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and an opening address by the Master of Ceremony, Khalifa Khalid Ihsan Abdullah Qadri. Some 150 scouts received certificates for completing the demanding 30 day course of study. The ceremony continued with Khalifa Khalid Qadri presenting special awards to the three top finishers in the Qiraat, Naat, Speech and Poetry competitions that were held amongst the scouts. Awards were also given for excellence in sporting competitions which included softball, cross country obstacle course and the ancient wrestling sport of Kabbadi.
One could hear a pin drop when the Program Coordinator, Khalifa Hussein Abu Bakr Qadri, stepped to the podium to present the most prestigious awards. Sha’ban Ahmed, of the Village of Holy Islamville in York, S.C. received the distinguished, ”Best All Around Award” and Shafi Kaba of the Village of Holy Islamberg in Hancock, New York received the esteemed, “Best Scout Award.”
Following the closing address dinner was served but festivities did not end there. The main road in Holy Islamberg was lined with vendors exhibiting their wares, food, clothing and crafts. Two families celebrated the birth of newborns and both held an Aqeeqa and served barbequed and roast lamb and side dishes to all that could navigate the village road to their home. All activities contributed to a worthwhile experience.
Pdf of camp and commencement highlights can be viewed here.
*The awards were not presented on behalf of the New York State police department as previously stated.