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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Today marks the observance of the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 

Mawlid (Arabic: مَولِد النَّبِي‎‎ mawlidu n-nabiyyi, "Birth of the Prophet", sometimes simply called in colloquial Arabic مولد mawlid, mevlid, mevlit, mulud among other vernacular pronunciations; sometimes ميلاد mīlād) is the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which is celebrated often on the 12th day of Rabi' al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. The 12th Day of Rabi' al-awwall is the most popular date from a list of many dates that are reported as the birth date.
The origin of Mawlid observance reportedly dates back to the period of the early four Rashidun Caliphs of Islam. The Ottomans declared it an official holiday in 1588. The term Mawlid is also used in some parts of the world, such as Egypt, as a generic term for the birthday celebrations of other historical religious figures such as Sufi saints.
Most denominations of Islam approve of the commemoration of Muhammad's birthday; however, some denominations including Wahhabism/Salafism, Deobandism and the Ahmadiyya disapprove its commemoration, considering it an unnecessary religious innovation (bid'ah or bidat). Mawlid is recognized as a national holiday in most of the Muslim-majority countries of the world except Saudi Arabia and Qatar which are officially Wahhabi/Salafi.
The date of Muhammad's birth is a matter of contention since the exact date is unknown and is not definitively recorded in the Islamic traditions. The issue of the correct date of the Mawlid is recorded by Ibn Khallikan as constituting the first proven disagreement concerning the celebration. Among the most recognisable dates, Sunni Muslims believe the date to have been on the twelfth of Rabi' al-awwal, whereas Shi'a Muslims believe the date to have been on the seventeenth.
Mawlid is celebrated in almost all Islamic countries, and in other countries that have a significant Muslim population, such as India, the United Kingdom, Nepal, Sri Lanka, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Canada. The only exceptions are Qatar and Saudi Arabia where it is not an official public holiday and is forbidden. However, as a result of Wahhabi and other strict traditionalist Muslim influence, since the last decades of the late 20th century there has been a trend to "forbid or discredit" Mawlid (along with similar festivals) in the Sunni Muslim world.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Muslim MTA Worker Called 'Terrorist,' Pushed Down Stairs at Grand Central Terminal: Officials

The attack comes amid a 35 percent spike in hate crimes year over year in the city

A Muslim MTA worker was called a terrorist and pushed down the stairs at Grand Central Terminal on Monday, the latest in a string of alleged bias attacks sweeping the region, authorities said. 
The woman, wearing her New York City transit uniform, was on her way to work and had just gotten off the 7 train when the suspect shoved her, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.
She hurt her ankle and knee in the fall and was taken to NYU Langone Hospital for treatment.
The attack comes amid a spate of apparent instances of bias crime and hateful language throughout the region following the presidential election.
Swastikas were painted inside a 1 train on Saturday, and KKK recruitment materials were distributed in two Long Island Railroad stations. 
In New York City, hate crime has spiked 115 percent since Election Day, with 43 cases reported compared with 20 cases in the same period in 2015, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. Bias against Muslims has doubled, with four cases reported since Election Day compared with two reported in the same time period last year.
Overall, hate crimes are up 35 percent year over year, with a 45 percent uptick in arrests, Boyce said. 
Discrimination has also been reported in schools. Suffolk County officials sent a letter to each of its school districts in recent weeks offering to help deal with race-based bullying, and in at least one instance students chanted "build a wall" in the hallways.
There have been similar reports of bias across the U.S. in the wake of the presidential election. Most of the cases appear to involve graffiti or violence directed at racial or ethnic minorities and in some reports the perpetrators indicated support for President-elect Donald Trump.
Most recently, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was harassed in the 23rd Street subway station by three men who allegedly called her a terrorist, chanted "Donald Trump" to her and told her to get out of the country, officials said.
And in the Mineola village of Long Island, police were investigating after someone spray-painted a red swastika along with the words "Make America White Again" on a Washington Avenue home last Wednesday, along with racist remarks against African American and Middle Eastern people. Similar words were spray painted on a sidewalk on Elm Place. 
During a "60 Minutes" interview in November, Trump looked at the camera and said that any supporters of his who are harassing people or destroying property should "stop it."
Shortly after the election, Cuomo announced a hotline for New Yorkers to report instances of discrimination.
Anyone who wants to report an instance of bias or discrimination can call 888-392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. New Yorkers who want to report a crime or fear their safety should still call 911.



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Halimo Hassen ’17 Named a Schwarzman Scholar

The sociology major will study for a year at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Halimo Hassen
Halimo Hassen ’17 plans to complete a master’s degree in international affairs, concentrating on public policy. “I’m hoping the scholarship will serve as an experience that will allow me to continue to give back throughout my life,” she says. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Halimo Hassen ’17, a sociology major from Atlanta, Ga., has been named a Schwarzman Scholar—one of 129 top students from around the world who next year will participate in a one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Hassen will be Dartmouth’s third representative to the Schwarzman program, following in the footsteps of Jordyn Turner ’16 and Jacob Gaba ’16, who are members of the program’s inaugural class this year.

“It’s a testament to Dartmouth’s global reach that our students have been represented in the Schwarzman’s first two classes,” says Provost Carolyn Dever. “Halimo is a remarkable student with a passion for public service. That she has been recognized on this international stage should make the entire Dartmouth community proud.”

Founded by Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of the global investment firm Blackstone, the Schwarzman Scholars program seeks prepare a new generation of international leaders “to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century,” according to the program’s website.

“I was exploring graduate fellowships and the Schwarzman scholarship seemed new, innovative, and placed an emphasis on leadership,” says Hassen. “It’s an opportunity to study in a different country for a year, learn about China as a major world power, and learn a new language in a completely different environment in the process.”

Through the program, Hassen plans to complete a master’s degree in international affairs, concentrating on public policy. “I’m hoping the scholarship will serve as an experience that will allow me to continue to give back throughout my life,” she says.

She was also drawn to the opportunity to shape a new program. “The first few cohorts will define the future of the scholarship, and I wanted to be a part of that,” she says.

At Dartmouth, Hassen—the daughter of Somali and Ethiopian refugees and a first-generation college student—has mentored fellow students through the First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP).

FYSEP director Jay Davis ’90 says, “From the moment I first met Halimo during FYSEP’s pre-orientation program, it was clear that she brings passion, commitment, and compassion to all that she does,” he says. “I have known few students who can match her dedication to making others’ lives better.”

Through her major, she has conducted research on the impact of globalization on Somalia after that country’s civil war and has studied how increasing diversity in work teams can improve business outcomes.

“In the classroom, I appreciated Halimo’s ability to ask pressing and difficult questions while at the same time being lighthearted and genuine with her peers,” says Janice McCabe, an associate professor of sociology, with whom Hassen took two courses, “Sociology of Gender” and “Education and Inequality.” “It was clear that she was interested in exploring inequality from a sociological lens and that she was committed to social justice on campus and globally.”

Hassen has worked as a student manager at the Collis Student Center, and served as secretary and co-director of CoFIRED, the Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality, and DREAMers—a group that received a Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award in 2014 during her tenure. 

She completed the Harvard Summer Ventures in Management program and participated in the Jumpstart Advisory Group, a program that helps women and members of minority groups build business leadership skills.

She has received scholarships from the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, the GE Reagan Foundation, Coca-Cola, the Horatio Alger Association, and the Ron Brown CAPtain program, and received a Capital One Case Competition prize.

Hassen’s siblings Hassan Hassen ’18 and Ridwan Hassen ’15 have also studied at Dartmouth; Ridwan was named a Rhodes Scholar in 2015. “I am very thankful to my family and my close friends,” Halimo Hassen says. “They have been a tremendous support system and have challenged me to excel in every possible way.”

“Throughout my time in college, I’ve started initiatives that have assisted low-income, high-achieving high school students in the college admissions process,” she says. “In the future, I hope to expand these initiatives to a broader scale and help to work towards ameliorating educational disparities.”

Of those younger students, Hassen says, “I hope to inspire them to dream big and do more.”

About Schwarzman Scholars:

Founded in 2015, Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China.

For information about applying for Schwarzman Scholarships and other programs, and to see a list of past recipients, visit Dartmouth’s National Scholarships/Fellowships website.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Center for Constitutional Rights Says President Lacks Authority to Detain Prisoner

November 30, 2016, Washington – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit challenging the ongoing detention of Guantánamo prisoner Guled Hassan Duran, a 43-year old Somali citizen. Duran was captured in Djibouti and rendered to the CIA in March 2004, according to the declassified executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. He was transferred to Guantánamo in September 2006, where he has since been held without charge. The lawsuit challenges the legality of his continuing indefinite detention.
“In the 12 years that Mr. Duran has been held in U.S. custody, neither President Bush nor Obama was willing to charge him with a crime, and yet the government claims the authority to continue imprisoning Mr. Duran indefinitely – perhaps for the rest of his life,” said CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy. “That is an absurd distortion of the constitution and the laws of war. The government will now – finally - have to explain how and why Mr. Duran ended up at Guantánamo, and why he remains there over a decade later.”
Attorneys argue that, whatever the government’s initial justification for detaining Mr. Duran in 2006, that justification has since unraveled. Among other reasons, attorneys point to Mr. Duran’s capture far from the Afghan theater of war in Djibouti, the declared end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan, and the reality that any conflict that may persist with the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or successor franchise groups bears no resemblance to the conflict in which the government claims Mr. Duran was captured in 2004. While they do not concede that his detention was ever lawful, attorneys argue that, now, surely, any legitimate reason to detain Mr. Duran has expired under the laws of war.
In January 2010, President Obama’s Guantánamo Task Force designated Mr. Duran for continuing indefinite detention. In August 2016, Mr. Duran appeared before the Periodic Review Board (PRB), which ultimately declined to approve him for release from Guantánamo. The Center for Constitutional Rights criticized the process, noting that he appeared before the PRB without counsel and that the board routinely relies on evidence obtained through torture in making its determination.
For more information and to read today’s filing, visit CCR’s case page.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for nearly 15 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.