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USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal Speaks at ILC-NY 30th Anniversary Banquet

The US Council of Muslim Organizations is a member organization of Majlis Ash-Shura, the Islamic Leadership Council of New York. ILC-NY’s 30th Anniversary Banquet brought together organizations and individuals that serve the Muslim community, for a night of reflection and fundraising.450 guest attendees were present at the Grand Prospect Hall in celebration of the work and legacy of Muslims in New York. Attendees included community leaders, partners and allies, mosques, elected officials, activists, and students.
One of the many distinguished speakers at this event was USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal. He extended his deep “congratulations for 30 years of service, unity, commitment, and dedication to the Muslim community” to ILC-NY. He said, “bringing people together isn’t an easy job, but it’s a must…Our strength, survival, aspiration will come through our unity and working together.”

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Palestinian Activist Taher Herzallah on Solidarity with Black Americans

The Middle East Eye recently featured a number of Arab Americans who have taken to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd. According to the New York Times, at the peak of the protests on June 6, half a million people came out in nearly 500 places across the United States on that single day. The protests brought people together in the call for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Briana Taylor – all unarmed Black people killed at the hands of police – and an end to police brutality and systemic racism.

In addition to speaking outward, many communities including the Arab and Muslim community have reflected and led initiatives to eradicate racism within their own communities. Palestinian Taher Herzallah was featured in this article and spoke on solidarity with the Black community from his perspective as an advocate for Palestine. Taher has written for Al-Jazeera, spoken for AMP, has been featured in The Electronic Intifada, and has written a manual for activists on university campuses called “Everybody Freeze!

He said, “I feel that as a Muslim American, and as a Palestinian American, I needed to show up where it was needed most, instead of spending time on Facebook, putting [up] a black Facebook profile picture. I wanted to actually be on the ground, putting myself between Black bodies and police, making sure that we were making the best use of our youth and our health to help our brothers and sisters in this moment.”

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He goes on to speak on the historic connection between Black and Palestinian movements, saying “The Black Panther Party and Malcolm X were meeting with Palestinian leaders and travelling to the region to engage in these discussions. And I think historically speaking this is a beautiful part of that. We have a history. I’m not doing anything new by participating in these protests, per se. I’m actually just continuing that tradition of solidarity between our two communities and our two struggles.”

Taher has also written and spoken at length on meaningful alliances for the greater, universal cause of justice.

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Mohamad Habehh and Other Faith Leaders: United for Mental Health

Cynthia Chazen of the Stigma Free Zone News of New Jersey reported on a recent initiative that brought together leaders from a variety of communities to discuss mental health. An event named “Interfaith Roundtable on Mental Health Awareness” was sponsored by the Pastoral Care Team, Central Unitarian Church in Paramus. Exhibitors discussed a range of topics, including similar patterns among different communities and resources that are accessible within the state of New Jersey.

Mohamad Habehh represented and provided insight on the Muslim community in New Jersey, speaking on the struggle for many youth. Bergen County’s Maureen Kerne, Director of Region V Council for Special Education, said, “The mental health of kids is presenting now as the greatest concern for New Jersey educators.” Educator Mohamad Habehh, with the other panelists, agreed that there was a rise in mental illness among youth.

Mohamad Habehh is currently the National Development Coordinator with American Muslims for Palestine, and has been featured extensively for his insight on advocacy, campaigning, community building, and solidarity movements. He spoke on the condition in the Passaic County Muslim community, describing the efforts as “knee-deep in efforts to better understand mental illness and educate.”

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“Before You Tie the Knot” by Mohamed Magid and Salma Abugideiri: A Muslim Couple Staple

For Muslim individuals in the United States, marriage is one of the most popular and discussed topics in mainstream circles. It is an important milestone in many people’s lives, and beyond that, it’s a unique experience that must be well prepared for – just as one would prepare for anything else. Salma Abugideiri and Imam Mohamed Magid co-authored a book titled “Before you Tie the Knot”, to help Muslim couples prepare for the process of getting married and achieving a successful, long-lasting marriage. The  authors present a unique approach, and combined have 40 years of experience counseling couples. Even more, it provides an Islamic framework to the marriage process and envisioning the dynamic as a healthy partnership. Mohamed Magid is the Executive Imam of All Dules Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center and the Chairman of International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC), as well as the former President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He is renowned in the Muslim community for his sermons.

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