Imam Khalid Latif: Executive Director and Chaplain at the Islamic Center of NYU

Meet Khalid Latif:

Khalid is a guiding light in the NY muslim community. In 2005 he was appointed as NYU’s first Muslim Chaplain. He has an ability to identify cultural and religious boundaries and provide suitable advice towards narrowing the gap. This has helped a wide range of muslims, from young and old, to understand how Islam and western culture can coexist. When he was 24, he became the youngest chaplain ever hired by the NYPD. He is a highly sought after speaker and has even provided his services to the U.S. State department. He is a contributor to the Huffington Post and was featured in various media outlets including Time Magazine, BBC, NPR, CNN, The New York Times, BET, and GEO TV.

In 2010, he was named one of the 500 most influential muslims by Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.

Not only is he all that and a bag of chips, but he is also an awesome person to hang out with. I have met Khalid a few times and everytime was a pleasant experience.

This dude is clearly cool.

Khalid provides the muslim community and non-muslim community with a good example of how to balance religion with western culture. Khalid, you are the man!

Want to be a guest author? Send us your submissions!

We are always looking for inspiring content to add to the blog.  If you would like to contribute, please send us an article you wrote.  After receiving your submission, we will review your article.  If your article is accepted, we will post it here on MeccaStars!

Please send any submissions to faiz@meccastars.com

Thank You!

– Faiz

 

The First Muslim Woman In Space: Anousheh Ansari

Anousheh Ansari is breaking stereotypes  from 27,000 miles above earth.  She became the first Muslim Woman in space in 2006.

Anousheh was born on September 12, 1966 in Masshad, Iran.  She moved to the United States from Iran in 1984.  She received her electrical engineering Bachelors degree from George Mason University and her masters from George Washington University.  

In 2006, she began her training as a backup to Daisuke Enomoto for a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station.   Daisuke was medically disqualified from participating and the next day Anousheh was promoted to the primary crew.

She has received multiple awards and honors including the George Mason University Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, the George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southwest Region, and the Horatio Alger Award.

Anousheh is clearly a remarkable role model for many and her accomplishments are inspirational.  I believe Muslims should be at the forefront of progress in this world and Anousheh is paving the way for many others.

USA’s First Female Muslim Fencer: Ibtihaj Muhammad

I was on Facebook  and I noticed a name that sounded awfully familiar commenting after me on a friend’s post.  My mind started to search through it’s memory bank and it recalled my days of fencing classes at NJIT.   I remembered reading about a remarkable Muslim fencing talent named Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Ibtihaj is the first female Muslim Fencer to have competed for the U.S.A. internationally.  She is a two time U.S. National champion and a Gold Medalist in the 2011 XVI Pan American Games.

Winning!

She is a New Jersey native and received an academic scholarship to Duke University.  She graduated in 2007 with a double major and was a 3 Time All-American.

She seems to be a bright, athletic, muslim sister.   Oh and fellas,  she can probably whoop you with a sword.  Now that’s cool!

Her sword of preference is the sabre.

Ibtihaj is truly an inspiration for many people around the world.  She is in London this weekend for the Women’s British Sabre World Cup.  We wish you the best of luck!

FIFA Endorses Proposal Lifting Controversial Ban on Hijab

FIFA has proposed lifting a controversial ban on the Iranian national soccer team from competing in the 2012 Olympics.  FIFA had previously declared the banning was due to the hijab (headscarf) worn by the team’s players.  “Hijab” the refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general.  See more on hijab here.  During its December 16-17 Executive meeting in Tokyo, FIFA decided to lift a controversial ban on hijab worn by soccer players exercising their choice to wear a headdress according to their interpretation of their faith.

The Iranian Womens' Soccer Team, wearing hijab.

The ban was contested by the Iranian football federation chief Ali Kafashian and new FIFA vice president, Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan, who asserted that

 “There is nothing religiously symbolic about covering your head.”

Prince Ali was answering criticism by three French womens’ rights organizations that wrote a letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter stating “To accept a special dress code for women athletes not only introduces discrimination among athletes but is contrary to the rules governing sport movement, setting a same dress code for all athletes without regard to origin or belief.”

Prince Ali pointed out that: “You have players with face masks like [Chelsea goalkeeper] Petr Cech (pictured), you have players who wear headbands.”

Petr Cech of Chelsea dons a black face mask.

Said Ali: “There is nothing religiously symbolic about covering your head.”

FIFA has stated it will put forward the proposal to the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which governs association rules of soccer, at its next meeting on March 3rd, 2012.  The secretive IFAB consists of England alongside FIFA, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The proposal calls for the sanctioning of a safe, velcro-opening headscarf for players and officials.

Essentially, one of the criticisms of Iran is that they impose the hijab restriction upon its players.  Iranian players are not the only ones negatively affected by a ban on hijab, however.  There are at least three players in Jordan that want to wear hijab but currently cannot due to the restrictive rules against women’s clothing.

Prince Ali stated that the right of visiting teams to Muslim countries not to don the hijab should be respected.  “If a team goes to a country where players do cover the heads, that host country has to respect  the right of the visitors not to,” he said. [L]et there be mutual respect.”

The protests against hijab are coming from a country, France, that is known for its fierce secularism.  France bans the burqa, and has arrested women for wearing what Middle Eastern historian Christina Michelmore deems  a rejection of Western values.   Michelmore stated:

“They see it as part of their identity, as separate from this globalized McDonald’s world.”

Burqa-bans are counter-productive and harmful, according to Judith Sunderland, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch: “[Burka bans] violate the rights of those who choose to wear the veil and do nothing to help those who are compelled to do so.”

We hope that FIFA and IFAB uphold the right to play organized soccer for everyone, in accordance with their motto: “For the Good of the Game.”

Hijab wearing players just want a level playing ground.