Muslim High School Creates Girls-Only Prom for Students

It’s a rite of passage for most American teens: going to the high school prom. However, for 65 percent of the students at Hamtramck High, prom is not an option due to their religious beliefs. You see, the majority of students at Hamtramck High are Muslim and follow the religion’s rules that forbids dating, dancing with members of the opposite gender, and appearing without a head scarf in public. So, it seemed that for these young women, the dream of having a prom was out of the question.

Or at least that’s how it was in the past. This year, a group of young ladies decided to take matters into their own hands and organized an all-girls prom, complete with juice-filled plastic flutes, homemade Greek columns, and a light-up fountain that was filled with pink water. And of course, there was “music all night, except during dinner and five minutes for prayer.”

Tharima Ahmed is one of the main organizers of the event. With only $2,500 and seven-months of planning, Ahmed and her friends put together a night that for those who attended will never forget. At first, there were many people who said the plan to have a prom without boys wouldn’t work. However, after Ahmed and her friends surveyed the students at their school and found that many did, in fact, want a prom without boys, the school’s faculty supported their students. Read the rest of this entry »

Disruptive Protests Have No Long-Term Effects on UC Irvine Campus

University of California Irvine SealEarly last year, 11 Muslim students at the University of California, Irvine, interrupted a speech that was being given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. The students started yelling at Oren during his speech, calling him a “mass murderer” and a “war criminal.” Last week, 10 of these students were brought before an Orange County jury, facing misdemeanor charges. They were found to be guilty for conspiring to disrupt a meeting and disrupting the speech, and were sentenced to community service and probation. Although it is sad that these students are now labeled as criminals, the worst part is that freedom of speech is now being called into question on college campuses across the country.

“When you talk to students across college campuses, now they are pondering what is legal and what is not (concerning public speech),” said Kifah Shah, a spokeswoman for Stand with the Eleven, a group that supports the guilty students.”This has a chilling effect.”

However, the prosecutor, Dan Wagner, feels that these students were not merely exercising their freedom of speech. instead, they were acting as “censors” who used the “heckler’s veto” to keep the Israeli Ambassador from delivering his speech.

Evidently, these types of protests are becoming more common as pro-Palestinian activists try to disrupt Israeli speakers. In 2009, people at the University of Chicago interrupted a speech that the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was giving. It happened again in November 2010 when activists shouted and raised banners during a speech that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu game in New Orleans. On September 1, 2011, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was interrupted during their performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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The First Muslim College Opens in the U.S.

zaytuna collegeThe first four-year Muslim college in the United States will open its doors for its first semester this year.

Zaytuna College is located in Berkeley, California, near the University of California – Berkeley, and will only offer two degree programs this year: Islamic Law and Theology, and Arabic. These degree programs were developed with an ideology of teaching students about Islam, while staying within a Western history and culture context. Another goal of the founders of Zaytuna is to promote a level of understanding between the Western and Islamic worlds.

“We feel the college is very important in that it provides a grounding for the community in its own tradition—not in a sense to create a difference with the larger society, but to actually normalize its presence within the larger society, that there is no contradiction between being an American and being Muslim,” said Hatem Bazian, a co-founder of Zaytuna College. Read the rest of this entry »


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