April – June 2010

April - June 2010, Poems

El Amigo Amoroso

Por Daniel Montenegro

Noches se pasan en total soledad
Quizá con la luna como único testigo
A la más cercana unión entre él y su pareja.
El amado aparece y el corazón responde,
Ha sido muy larga la separación, demasiada la espera,
Sin embargo, vino y me cuidó.
Intoxicado, la flama del amor consumió mi alma
y le hizo pensar, “la espera ha sido larga, ha valido la espera.”
Despues le dí un vistazo al mundo y con dolor me percaté
Solo una noche de encontrarme con mi amado, pense
que debería abrumarle las catastrofes que el hombre ha causado.
Pero el hombre con su arrogancia no tiene teimpo de conocerlo,
Está demasiado confundido y borracho de fantasías del mundo,
En el momento en el que la realidad le llega, la ignora,
Y se aleja, se aleja rumbo a la orilla de la ignorancia y la ilusión…
Solo ven y sumergete en el océano de la salvación, se una gota en el océano
O quizás se un océano en una gota…solo ven amigo mio, únete.

The Loving Friend

By Daniel Montenegro

Nights are spent on total solitude,
perhaps the moon is the only witness
to a most loving reunion between Him and
His lover.
The Beloved shows up and the heart responds.
It has been too long of a separation, too long of a wait.
Nonetheless, He came and watched over my heart.
Intoxicated I became, the flame of love consumed my soul
and gave up such a thought: “The wait has been long,
nay, in due time its all worthed for.”
Then I took a glance at the world and sorrow I saw.
Just one night of meeting with the Beloved, I thought should
overwhelm the catastrophies man has caused.
But man in its arrogance has no time to meet Him.
He is too confused and drunk in the fantasies of the world.
As soon as the cup of reality is served to him he ignores it
and walks away. Just walks away out towards the shores
of ignorance and illusion….Just come and dive into the sea
of salvation. Just come and dive in, be a drop in the ocean,
or perhaps be an ocean within a drop…Just come my friend, just come.

© 2002

April - June 2010, Quotes of the Month

Quotes of the Month

“When My servants ask thee (O Muhammad) concerning Me, tell them I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls on Me. Therefore, they should respond to Me and put their trust in Me, so that they may be rightly guided.” – Quran 2:186.

“Say: ‘O My servants who have transgressed against your own souls, do not despair of God’s mercy, for God forgives all sins. It is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.'” – Quran 39:53.

The Prophet said, “Riches does not mean, having a great amount of property, but riches is self-contentment.” Sahih Bukhari 8/76/453. Narrated Abu Huraira.

My mother came to me, hoping (for my favor) during the lifetime of the Prophet asked the Prophet, “May I treat her kindly?” He replied, “Yes.” Ibn ‘Uyaina said, “Then Allah revealed: ‘Allah forbids you not with regards to those who fought not against you because of religion, and drove you not out from your homes, that you should show them kindness and deal justly with them.’…….(60.8). – Sahih Bukhari 8/73/9. Narrated Asma’ bint Abu Bakr.

“It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.” -Moliere.

April - June 2010, Latino Muslims

Recent Latino Muslim Happenings

“The Great 10th Annual Sisterhood Event”
MAS & Latino Muslims of Chicago

Islam is More Than a Religion

Saturday, May 1st, 2010
3 PM to 7 PM
9210 S. Oketo Ave
Bridgeview, IL 60455

This is a women only event.
Program will be in Spanish, dinner will be served

Limited babysitting by RSVP only.

Please contact: Rebecca, Diana, or Alma


The Latino Muslims of Chicago also attended a banquet hosted by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (the Council). ciogc.org.

“Latino Muslim Program in Spanish”
2010 ICNA-MAS Convention 2010

Session 1: Saturday, May 29th, 6:00-8:00pm
* “Salvando la Familia se Salva la Sociedad”
Speaker: Br. Mujahid Fletcher
* “Los Diferentes Papeles de la Mujer en el Islam”
Speaker: Sr. Nylka Vargas

Session 2: Sunday, May 30th, 9:30pm-11:30pm
* “La Integracion del Latino Musulman en Comunidad”
Speakers: Br. Abdullah Danny Hernandez & Mujahid Fletcher
* “Mas Sobre la Mujer Musulmana”
Speaker: Sr. Nahela Alexandra Morales

Website: icnaconvention.org

“Muslim Latino Halaka With Amana”

Asalaam Alaikum Wa Rhamatullah Wa Barakatu! I am writing to you today to inform all of you that we had our first Latino Muslim Halaka this past Monday at the offices of AMANA in North Miami hosted by Br. Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout (Amana Director), Br. Amr Rivera (Amana Director of the Puerto Rico Office), Yusuf Ibn Malik, and myself Yusuf Ibn Al-Maarij.

Alhamdulillah, it went very well! I hope that Inshallah you will all be able to make it to next Monday’s Halaka at 6PM sharp and every Monday thereafter Insha Allah! This will be an opportunity to build in brotherhood. This will be the platform from where we will be able to help other Latinos and Muslims in general in our community for the sake of ALLAH Subhanna Wata Ala. Inshallah! I hope to see you all there and if you have any questions, please let me know.

The Halaka will be held at:
183 NE 166 Street
North Miami Beach, FL 33162 USA
Direct: 305-898-9314, Fax. 305-647-6470

Website: al-amana.net

“Islamic Studies in Spanish for Sisters”

Asalaamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh!

Es un gran placer anunciar el principio de las clases “Amando Nuestra Religión” para las hermanas musulmanas, cada jueves desde 6:30p-7:30p en la mesquita Omar ibn Al-Khataab.

La dirección es:
Omar ibn Mezquita Al–Khatab
501 Getty Avenue, Paterson NJ 07503

We’re pleased to announce the start of “Amando Nuestra Religion/ Islamic Studies” for sisters only, Thursdays 6:30p-7:30p.

Gracias. Jazaakum Allahu Khairun. Hermana Nylka Vargas.

Website: piedadonline.com/services.aspx

“Islam in Latin America”
Presented by Latin Muslim Association /
Columbia Dawah Project

Date: Thursday, 15th April 2010
Time: 4.30 pm – 7.00 pm
Venue: London Metropolitan University, City Campus, Room CM2-18

Did you know that there is a growing community of Muslims in Latin
America? Are you aware that Muslims were in the region long before
Columbus? Did you know that at least one person accepts Islam every
day in Latin America? Come and find out how millions of people are turning
from Salsa to Jalsa, and helping to spread the Deen of Allah that
little bit further.

Websites: www.colombiandawah.com / www.salsa2jalsa.com

April - June 2010, Spain

The IslamInSpanish Newsletter

First Quarter 2010! – IslamInSpanish.org

June 16, 2010

Alhamdulilah, 2010 has become an exciting year with many new developments for IIS. By ALLAH’s Blessings thousands of people were educated on the truth about Islam by way of audiovisual means worldwide. We have heard and witnessed hundreds coming into the fold of Islam just through our efforts of sharing this information.

Orange County Workshop
January 15-17

IslamInSpanish kicked off 2010 with a workshop in Orange County, CA. The three day event started with a khutba by Isa Parada at the Islamic Center Orange County and Mujahid Fletcher at the Islamic Center of Viejo. Br. Isa and Br. Mujahid then shared their personal stories of how they embraced Islam Friday night.

“Journey to Islam: Latino Muslims Share Their Story”
By Br. Mujahid Fletcher & Br. Isa Parada

Saturday afternoon there was a 4 hour course on the non-Muslim perceptions of Islam and how to invite others to the deen. Sunday was host to tan afternoon event explaining the basics of Islam and the many aspects of Latino culture that go hand and hand with Islam. The event capped off with a sister accepting Islam

Br. Asif Balouch Interns at IslamInSpanish
January 19

As part of IslamInSpanish’ s initiative to mentor the youth and give direction to tomorrow’s leaders, Br. Asif Balouch was brought on board to IIS as our very first intern. A senior at the University of St. Thomas in Downtown Houston, Br. Asif is a Communication Major and a Creative Writing minor. Asif hopes to not only gain skills and experience needed to thrive in the workforce but also to contribute to a greater cause of spreading Islam to the worldwide Latino community. We are happy to have him.

Muhammadi Masjid-Started 2nd Islamic University
February 7th

Arabic language course focused on building a strong religious base for future teachers of the community through learning the classical Arabic from the Quran and Sunnah

“Reality from a Different Perspective”
Islamic Center of Clear Lake – February 26

Coordinated a youth event with NEYA. Over 80 youth came to the event to express their thoughts on different issues going on in their daily lives. They had an opportunity to meet Muslims (Born and Convert) that have 360 degree changes in their lives, from ex-drug addicts, drug dealers, ex-convicts and ex-gang members.

2 young Latino men accept Islam
Masjid Hamza – March 19th

By Allah’s permission, 2 young latino men (Rigo and Danny) accept Islam after meeting with the IIS team after Jumuah prayer. Both brothers are doing great alhamdulilah!

99 Names of Allah In Spanish
Masjid Muhammadi – March 28th

For the first time in the Spanish language, all of Allah’s names were taught for over 1 year by Br. Abdurahman Vega. Also for the first time, the Meccan period was covered in the Spanish language (in Houston) by Br. Isa Parada.

“Reality from a Different Perspective”
Masjid Maryam – April 2nd

The same issues from the Clear Lake discussion circle were discussed around a bonfire at Masjid Maryam along with a BBQ

“Potluck” Sugarland Park- April 4th
Pot luck for Hispanic Muslims. Br.Abdullah Hernandez (Alazhar student) was introduced to the community in Houston and insha Allah he will be joining the IIS team this summer.

“Latinos Journey to Islam”
University of Texas San Antonio/ Harvard University – April 7th

Isa Parada went to the University of Texas-San Antonio and Mujahid Fletcher spoke at Harvard University to discuss their experiences before Islam and how Islam has changed them for the better.

New Spanish Lecture Series
Muhammadi Masjid – April 11th

Br. Abdurahman Vega began his new lecture series in the Spanish Language called “Principles of Prayer” which teaches the new Muslim the basic information on how to perform prayer correctly. At the same time, Br. Isa Parada began the second part of the Seerah which is the Prophet’s life in Medina. This part of the series will focus on how we as Muslims living in America can benefit from the Communal life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions (May Allah be pleased with all of the them).

IIS speak at Catholic Church
St. Cyril Catholic Church – April 14th

Isa Parada and Mujahid Fletcher were invited to speak at their old Church, both speakers covered the basic principles of Islam and also answered the audiences questions for 2 hours in spanish!

Open Discussion
North Zone Dar Ul Arqam School – April 15th

Br. Isa Parada held an open discussion with middle and High school students on the dangers of going to extremes in using Facebook andtxt messaging.

Islamic Awareness Week
University of Houston (MSA)-April 19th

Br. Isa Parada assisted the MSA with their dawah table on their first day of Islamic awareness week at the U of H. He observed the students on their manners in giving dawah and gave them critique at the same time. He also interacted with the non muslims who had questions about Islam.

“A Latino’s Story from Inner City Gang to Islam”
University of Houston-April 20th

Br. Mujahid Fletcher gave an frank talk about his time as a gang leader to him accepting Islam.

Hifz Program
Hamza Masjid – May 6th

Br. Isa Parada had an open discussion with the students of Masjid Hamza’s hifdh program of the blessings of memorizing the Quran and the dangers of sins.

History of Drugs
Clear Lake Islamic Center-May 15th

Isa Parada and Br. Mujahid were part of a panel of speakers that discussed the History of Drugs,Trafficking and Gangs in America for their Drug awareness program. Isa and Mujahid highlighted the reality of drugs being a lingering presence in the life of a Muslim youth in America.

Q&A Session
Muhammadhi Masjid- May 16th

Br.Isa Parada held a Q&A with Muslim and Non-Muslim women in the Spanish language.

IslamInSpanish TV Contract Renewed
Houston Media Source- May 22nd

IslamInSpanish has been picked up for another 6 months for our Spanish TV show.

Blessings of Islam
Masjid Hamza- May 23rd

Br. Isa Parada has been invited by the organizers of Masjid Hamza Sunday School to speak to the children of the blessings of accepting Islam and being a proud Muslim

“Who Am I?”
Masjid Al-Ahad- May 23rd

Br.Isa Parada was invited to speak about the challenges of keeping our Muslim Identity in America. The lecture is called “Who Am I?”

“Salvar La Familia Latina, Salvar Nuestra Sociedad”
ICNA Convention-May 29th-May 31st

Br. Mujahid took part in the annual ICNA Convention in Hartford, CT as a speaked on behalf of the Spanish programs held at the convention covering various topics dealing with Latino Muslims

MSA High School Banquet
June 3rd

Br. Mujahid has been invited to speak at the MSA banquet for High school students

1st Level Course Completed
June 6th /June 13th

The Islamic University of Medina Arabic level 1 course will be completed in its entirety for the first time in Houston. Insha Allah this group will move on to the 2nd level of the 4 level course.

Andalucia Social & Educational Media Center
Opening this Summer InshAllah!

Asalamu Alaikum,

IslamInSpanish Team

May ALLAH Bless you all and please make dua for ALLAH’s Guidance and acceptance for this project and that it serves for the good of all humanity worldwide.

Help Refer to others worldwide: www.IslamInSpanish.org

300+ Audios
150+ Videos
The 1st Online Spanish Radio Station Worldwide
educating Latinos about Islam 24hr./7days a week
Online assistance in: Spanish / English
Toll Free assistance in Spanish/English:
1-888-9-IN-SPANISH (1-888-946-7726)

Please donate generously!

1123 Witte Rd
Houston, TX 77055

April - June 2010, Dawah

Internet Serves Da`wah in Brazil

By Hany Salah

May. 27, 2009

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C& cid=1242759218762&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

CAIRO In a vast country like Brazil, the internet is emerging as the most effective tool to spread the message of Islam, says a leading Muslim scholar in the South American nation.

“The internet is one of the most successful contemporary da`wah tools,” Al-Sadiq Al-Othmani, head of the Islamic Affairs Department at the Center of Islamic Da`wah in Latin America, told IslamOnline.net over the phone.

“That’s why I encourage scholars to spread the word to broader masses through the web, especially in such a vast country.”

Othmani, a Moroccan who has lived in Brazil for the past seven years, believes the internet can be particularly helpful for Muslim preachers in Brazil.

“Muslim preachers, many of them volunteers, usually take two to three hours to reach a mosque within their own city to deliver a sermon.

“If the mosque is in a different city, they may take up to 12 hours just to reach the place,” he explained.

Othmani, a renowned imam in Sao Paulo, cites his own personal experience.

“In 2007, I delivered a sermon themed “ËœIslam and slaves freeing’ in a Sao Paulo mosque, and it was appealing to the few attending worshippers,” he recalled.

“After I finished, some of the attendants asked me to translate the sermon and post it on the internet, and I did.”

The sermon was posted on the website of a young Muslim who established a website to introduce Islam to Brazilians.

“To our surprise, the sermon got 800,000 hit in just one week,” said Othmani.

“We also received a flood of letters and e-mail from many people asking for more information about Islam, and many of them later converted to Islam.”

Othmani later embraced the idea of online da`wah and established an online magazine that introduces Islam to Latin Americans.

“So far the magazine gets some 5,000 visitors a week.”

Tolerant Brazil

Othmani believes that spreading the message of Islam in a country as tolerant as Brazil can be very effective.

“Brazil is the land of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity,” he maintains.

“The atmosphere of religious tolerance has even helped that diversity to thrive.”

The Muslim scholar notes that Muslims are enjoying an atmosphere of tolerance in Brazil.

“They have all the freedom to pray and to build mosques,” he asserted.

“There are nearly 120 mosques across Brazil, in addition to Islamic centers, charities and organizations.”

There are ten mosques in the city of Sao Paulo, including the first mosque built in Latin America whose construction began in 1929.

There are mosques in all the capitals of the major states and some cities in the interior.

According to the 2001 census, there are 27,239 Muslims in Brazil.

However, the Islamic Brazilian Federation puts the number at around one and a half million.

The majority of Muslims are descendants of Syrian, Palestinians and Lebanese immigrants who settled in Brazil in the nineteenth century during the World War I and in the 1970s.

Many Iraqis have arrived in the country after the 2003 US-led invasion.

Most Muslims live in the states of Parana, Goias, Riod de Janiero and Sao Paulo, but there are also significant communities in Mato Grosso do Sul and Rio Grande do Sul.

April - June 2010, Islam, Latin America

FIU Hosts Conference on Islam in Latin America


March 17, 2010

Florida International University (FIU)

The Middle East Studies Program in FIU’s School of International and Public Affairs is organizing a one day conference on Islam in Latin America. The event will take place on Friday, March 26, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. in the MARC International Pavilion on FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

Leading scholars from Latin America will join FIU scholars to discuss the presence of Islam and Muslims in Latin America, their impact on and integration into Latin American societies, and their historical and contemporary ties to the Middle East and the larger Muslim world.

This group includes Dr. Camila Pastor from the Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE) in Mexico; Dr. Paulo Hilu Pinto from Universidade Federal Fluminese in Brazil; Dr. Luis Mesa del Monte from El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City; and Dr. Jonathan Friedlander from UCLA. In addition, this respected group will be joined by FIU scholars whose research focuses on Islam and its historical and contemporary impact on global society. This group will include Dr. Mohiaddin Mesbahi, Director of the Middle East Studies Program and associate professor in FIU’s Department of Politics and International Relations; Dr. Maria Mar Logrono, assistant professor in FIU’s Department of History; and others from the Departments of Religious Studies and Politics and International Relations.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Francesco Ortoleva at 305-348-1792.

Co-sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Center.

Related links:

Islam in Latin America, FIU Research Project

Latin American and Caribbean Center, FIU

Middle East Studies Program, FIU

April - June 2010, Islam

Cómo Orientalista: Telemundo’s El Clon, Part I and II

Cómo Orientalista: Telemundo’s El Clon, Part I

By Sister Diana

Muslimah Media Watch

April 21st, 2010


Spanish soap operas (telenovelas) are just like any other serial dramas, with all the conventional characteristics: star -crossed lovers, dramatic music, a flair for the outrageous and a seemingly never-ending plot.

This is exactly what can be expected from Telemundo’s telenovela, El Clon (The Clone). A remake of a Brazilian soap opera that aired in 2001 and 2002 titled O Clone, this Spanish-language telenovela is targeted at the U.S.’s Spanish speaking market. However, what is unexpected is the drama’s lengthy commentary on Islam (although, this seems to be a common theme in soap operas these days).

Not withholding any stereotypes, El Clon lays it on thick with the usual suspects: the controlling, abusive Muslim man (albeit without the turban and dark, hairy features); the helpless Muslim girl longing to escape oppression; the love interest, who is gasp not Muslim; men smoking shisha in tents while being entertained by belly dancers; and, of course, the hyper-sexualization of the Muslim woman.

Although El Clon has many characters with different stories, the main story of interest is that of protagonist Jade, who is played by Spanish actress Sandra Echeverria. Here is a brief summary of events so far: Jade, an Arab Muslim woman living in Miami, Florida, moves to Morocco to live with her Uncle Ali after the sudden death of her mother. Abhorred by his niece’s western ways, Ali compels Jade to read Qur’an and get married as soon as possible to Said, a man she does not know. Jade, however, is in love with a young man, named Lucas, who came to visit her Uncle’s house and who saw her, mistakenly, while exploring Ali’s home. Jade tries numerous times to escape with Lucas, but she is eventually forced to marry Said and accept her destiny.

The opening credits of the show establish a theme. Jade and other women are seen belly dancing in a harem-like setting, then all of a sudden the costumes and scene change and they are dancing with men in a crowded Miami club. The music continues as she moves between these two worlds, creating a contrast between “East” and “West,” Islam and the “Modern World.”

The characters’ speech and actions reinforce this perceived dichotomy. In a conversation between Lucas and his godfather, his godfather says, “For us love is very natural, but for Muslims it is not. Here the women are not in love, they are in the house.” They even show that two men, one from America and one from Morocco, differ in their views regarding respecting women. For example, at one point Lucas says to Ali, “You are able to take four wives at a time. Where is the respect in that?” Ali replies, “Yes, we are allowed to take four wives, but only if you are able to maintain all of them and if you know your wives and if all four have the same rights. You guys only recognize one legitimate wife, but you have as many (women) as you want in secret and you say that you respect women more than us.”

This conflict between Islamic values and the “Western world” continues throughout the show as covered Muslim women are juxtaposed against scantily clad American women. Even though Jade is an American Muslim woman, the show depicts her as an “other” in American society. She is therefore categorized simply as a Muslim woman, allowing her character to be placed in the middle of this conflict. In one scene, Jade is sitting at a bus stop wearing a loose hijab and the image directly behind her is an advertisement featuring a woman in lingerie. Almost every American woman pictured on the show has an exaggerated air of sexual liberation, assumingly to show American women in sharp contrast to Muslim women.

This is not to say that the Muslim women on the show are always covered up and devoid of sexuality. On the contrary! It seems like owning a belly dancing costume and knowing how to belly dance are criteria for Muslim women. The show portrays Muslim women as only able to act freely within woman-only spaces or when doing so in service to men their husbands or otherwise.

In the show, belly dancers come to dance at Ali’s home for Ali, Said, and Said’s uncle. The constant depiction of Jade and Latiffa (Jade’s cousin) as overtly sexual in private while maintaining a public image that is void of any sexuality lends itself to the never-ending mantra of the “exotic” and “sensual” Muslim woman and the fantasies of what’s “under the veil.”

Jade and Latiffa are the typical victim prototypes: forced into marriage, spoken for by men, and most often secluded or limited to women-only spaces, such as the home. Jade, in contrast to Latiffa, struggles to accept the rules forced upon her, and embodies the perceived struggles between what are depicted as “Islamic values” (read: cultural stereotypes) and American values. She even seeks the help of Christina, Lucas’ Western friend, who tells Jade that if Lucas makes her happy then she should leave her family for him and forget her religion and principles. The scene is overwhelmingly reminiscent of the rhetoric of American women “saving” Muslim women from oppression, with the American woman pictured as having sexual agency and autonomy.

On the other hand, Latiffa has already accepted things as they are and seems to accept them as part of her destiny at times, she even expresses happiness with her situation. She does everything to make her husband happy and does it with a smile. Even her husband’s jealousy and his sister’s rude manners do not deter her from being the quintessential demure woman. If she speaks out of turn or with too much emotion, she quickly apologizes.

Tomorrow, we’ll finish looking at El Clon’s female characters and examine how the issues regarding women and Islam are treated in the series. Stay tuned!

Cómo Orientalista: Telemundo’s El Clon, Part II

By Diana

Muslimah Media Watch

April 22st, 2010


Yesterday, we introduced you to Telemundo’s El Clon, its premise, and two of its prominent female characters. Today, we’ll look at two more female characters, some of their male counterparts, and examine how the telenovela uses the Qur’an.

Zoraida is the maid in Uncle Ali’s house. She is responsible for protecting Latiffa and Jade, and in doing so she is consequently assigned the task of guarding Uncle Ali’s honor. When Jade is suspected of losing her virginity, Ali severely reprimands Zoraida, saying that she is responsible for knowing what goes on in the house and for being his “ears and eyes.” She sympathizes with Jade’s situation at times, but as Ali’s right-hand woman she constantly warns Jade that she must accept “what Allah has written” for her and that going against her Uncle is a “great sin.”

Zoraida is only empowered in the sense that she is given authority over the other women in the house. In the clip above, we see Ali berating her for not “controlling” Jade.

Zoradia’s empowerment is analogous to the way Muslim women were sometimes empowered within colonized societies: when the honor of the men or of the society is threatened (usually by the “West”), women are mobilized as cultural signifiers. Women are compelled to be reminder of what is halal (permissible) and what is haram (forbidden), and to preserve or safeguard cultural values.

However, they are not empowered outside of this role and the ability to utilize this power is regulated by the man. We are reminded of this every time Zoraida is reprimanded for not being able to control Latiffa and Jade. Ali accepts Zoraida’s authority when protecting the family honor, but she is easily put back in her place with a warning that it is ultimately Ali who “allows” her to exercise authority over the women.

Nazira, the sister of Said and Mohamed (Latiffa’s husband), is perhaps the only Muslim woman on the show who negotiates with men. She is sent to negotiate the terms of her brothers’ marriages to Jade and Latiffa. She is responsible for examining their naked bodies before allowing them to marry her brothers (to see if they are “good” enough), receiving medical statements that indicate that the women are virgins, making sure that the marriages have been consummated by examining the evidence of a blood stained sheet and making sure they fulfill their household duties. She even tells her brother Mohamed that he is the one “who disciplines in the house” and pressures her bothers constantly, against the wishes of their wives, to take more than one wife. Her character is aggressive, assertive, irrational and loud suggesting, that for a Muslim woman to be heard she must be cheeky.

In the show, the men often reference the Qur’an when deciding on how to punish the women. In one such instance, Jade sneaks out of the house to meet Lucas, causing her fidelity to be called into question. As Ali, Said, and Said’s uncle decide how to go about punishing her, Ali tells Said’s uncle that, “She committed a sin and she will receive her punishment”Âbut in the Holy Book it says before you can say someone is guilty you have to have four witnesses who were present when the sin took place.” The four men whom they consulted did not see anything, so Jade was spared.

However, another punishment was ordered as a consequence of her sneaking out. Said’s uncle says, “You should correct your woman with a blow. The book [Qur’an] permits that, in these cases within marriage, you hit the woman. It is not encouraged to do it out of emotion, but for correction. This is written in the book.”

Then Ali replies, “But this is an interpretation that is very strict and retracts from the writing. Prophet Muhammad said don’t hit a woman and he never did and he was wed to six women.” Then he goes on to say, “He (the Prophet) always said that whoever hits a woman is of bad faith. Did he say this or did he not?” However, Ali’s character was already seen slapping Jade earlier in the series. Maybe it is okay for a father figure to hit a woman, but not her husband?

The writers seem to have done their research in these instances and instead of targeting Islam as the reason for the sometimes-ill treatment of women, they attribute these injustices to the failure of men to accurately interpret the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet.

Despite the way the women are actually treated or depicted on the show, there is mention of some kind of concept of gender equality promoted in Islam. Ali explains that the marriage contract acts as means to protect the rights of the woman. When speaking to Latiffa just before her wedding night Uncle Ali tells her, “the Qur’an says that sex is a pleasure for the man and the woman and everything is permitted.” At the same time Mohamed’s uncle tells him, “The man should not leave the marriage bed till the woman is pleased.”

During Said’s wedding, an imam comes to talk to him about marriage. He tells Said that a good wife is one who, “listens to you when you talk” and “when you look at her you are happy” and “when you are down she looks after you.” The show also demonstrates that a woman must give verbal consent to the marriage at the time that the marriage contract is signed.

I guess it would be ludicrous to expect a soap opera not play off exaggerated stereotypes. After all, their aim is to fill homes with starry-eyed viewers who are willing to ride the twists and turns that make these dramas drag on tirelessly.

Still, I’d hope that in trying to capture an audience one would not have to go so far as to catalogue an entire group of women. El Clon reaffirms almost every stereotype regarding Muslim women, using different characters to show the spectrum of possibilities: the victim in need of saving, the hyper- sexualized, the oppressed, the rebellious, and the one about whom they say “no wonder they make their women cover up.” Yup, Muslim women are pre-packaged for your viewing pleasure and then placed side-by-side with the sexually liberated, educated, autonomous “Western” woman, reminding you that the two are always exclusive, and that there cannot be a truly American Muslim woman.

Ironically the writers seem to have done their homework when it comes to citing the Qur’an and explaining religious doctrine as it pertains to women. Perhaps they are trying show that the flaws do not exist in the religion itself, but in cultural practices and in man’s interpretation of religious texts. Nevertheless, the show blurs the lines between cultural practices, stereotypes, and Islam so much that it makes it hard to imagine that they had any clear intention but to make their audience sit for hours on end waiting to see what happens next.

April - June 2010, Islam

The Spanish Nasheed Project

By Khaleel Ahmad Gramajo

Before I begin let me greet you with peace and blessings from our Creator, the ONE and only ONE without comparison.

Asalam Alaykum wa rahma tullahi wa barakatu!

I was born in Guatemala. I have resided in California for almost 25 years. I have been singing since an early young age. I used to perform as Christian singer almost every week but I stopped singing after I embraced Islam in 1995. Later in 2003 as a Muslim I started to listen to some Anasheed (plural for Nasheed). This inspiration brought me back to singing, and I started putting some words in Spanish to the Anasheed that I liked. So far, I have done about 20 Anasheed with music based on already existing Anasheed. All my lyrics are in Spanish.

My intention is to spread the word of Islam through song. Most lyrics talk about the beauty of Islam, introduce others to the Prophet Muhammad (saw), and invite others to follow the path of Islam. I hope insha’Allah that this humble work will be used as a tool in the Spanish language to spread Islam to the Latino community.

This project is intended mostly for non-Muslim Latinos. The CD I am working on will give them an opportunity to listen to the message of Islam with a rhythm. I have noticed that when we give non-Muslim books they just put them aside. Nor are non-Muslims always open for a chat to learn about Islam. However, non-Muslims can listen to a CD at any time while driving; and maybe this way will reach them insha’Allah. If one person embraces Islam after listening, we can say that the message within these Spanish Anasheed have served their purpose.

Because I am not a musician, I can only add Spanish lyrics to the Anasheed that are already in existence. I have asked the help of several Muslim musicians but none have given me the help that I am seeking. Alhamdulila! Raihan, a Malaysian Nasheed group, has provided me with four of their tracks to perform. You can find one of these tracks in the YouTube video named “La Solucion” or “Cing Ai Cing Ai” as originally recorded by Raihan in Malay.

La Solucion (Cing Ai Cing Ai) – By Khaleel Ahmad Gramajo

How can you help me? There is a musician that does arrangements for well-known singers and his fees are usually around $2,500.00 per song. When I spoke with him about helping me with this project, he was very hesitant because he is not a Muslim. After telling him that the money for the project would be raised from the Muslim community and the purpose of the project, he lowered his fees to $500 per song including studio-recording time. So far, I have completed two songs and still have at least four more songs to go.

There are several ways were you can help with the Spanish Nasheed Project.

1. The first one is by giving a donation at: http://nasheeds.viviti.com/donations-and-contributions
2. The second is by asking other people to make a donation to this project or collect donations and forward them to website address just mentioned. You can also contact me through my MySpace page: myspace.com/mrkhaleel
3. The third is by talking to Muslim musicians that you know and referring them to visit my MySpace page. If you are a musician or if you know a musician that has his/her own music, you can help by allowing me to make a version of your Anasheed in Spanish.
4. The fourth is by telling others about the need for this project and have them spread the information to others as well. It is important that others know about my project. Please post your comments about “La Solucion” on my MySpace profile. I’m on Facebook, too. If any of you can please add me up in your top friends so others can find my page easier or email it or even post bulletins to help me promote this Nasheed.

Everyone who wishes to help please do so. So far, I have everything ready but no funds. Your help is needed to make sure this project takes place insha’Allah. All donations will go towards this project. And, you can expect insha’Allah the reward that will come as others begin to understand and approach our Deen. And, if you email me your contact information, I can send you a few copies after the project is finished to share with your non-Muslim friends or for your own pleasure insha’Allah.

One of the most touching lyrics is “Oh Profeta” (English for “Oh Prophet”) or “Tuhanku” as originally recorded by Raihan. As you can read the following lyrics, you will come to understand that all of my lyrics are done for dawah use. It goes as follows:

Oh Profeta!
Que duro es imaginar (how hard it is to imagine)
Lo que sufrió el Profeta (what the Prophet suffered)
Al pregonar lo que Allah (when he started to preach what Allah)
A el le habia revelado (to him had revelead)
Pero Dios tenía un propósito (God had a purpose for him)
Todo estaba preparado para el (everthing was set for him)
La Misericordia de Allah (the mercy of Allah)
Del Qureish siempre lo protegió. (protected him from the Qureish)

Ya Mustafa Profeta de Allah (Ya Mustafa Prophet of Allah)
La paz de Dios sea con el (Salallahu alayhi wa salam)
Ya Mustafa RasulAllah
Salallahu alayhi wa salam
Un dia perseguido por enemigos (one day while persecuted by his enemies)
En una cueva el se refugió (he took refuge in a cave)
Y Dios en la entrada una araña mandó (and God sent an spider to the entrance)
Y así del profeta su vida salvo. (saving the life of the Prophet)

Dios reveló todo el Corán (God revealed the whole Qur’an)
Al profeta por unos 23 años (to the Prophet during 23 years)
Y completo la religion (and this way he completed the religion)
Que hoy conocemos como Islam. (that we know today as Islam)

Todos aquellos que no conocen (to those who do not know)
Quien fue el profeta Muhammad (who Prophet Muhammad was)
Quisiera decirles que fué un hombre (I want to tell them that he was just a man)
Que un dia Dios escogiera ente todos (that one day chose among all men)
Ejemplo para la humanidad (as a model to humanity)
Sobre todo en la honestidad (especially in honesty)
Buen hombre, buen padre (good man, good father)
Y esposo tambien digno en todo (and good husband too, he was an example in everything)
El profeta de Allah. (the Prophet of Allah)

Dios escogió a un gran ser (God prepared a great being)
De su creación como guia de los hombres (from his creation as guidance to human kind)
Muy a pesar que ese ser (even tho this being )
No sabia leer ni escribir. (did not know how to read or write)

Dios reveló todo el Corán (God revealed the whole Qur’an)
Al profeta por unos 23 años (to the Prophet during 23 years)
Y completo la religion (and this way he completed the religion)
Que hoy conocemos como Islam. (that we know today as Islam)

Ya Mustafá profeta de Allah
La paz de Dios sea con el
Ya Mustafá RasulAllah
Salallahu Alayhi wa salaam
Salallahu Alayhi wa salaam
Salallahu Alayhi wa salaam
Salallahu Alayhi wa salaam

This Nasheed once recorded is intended to be spread among the Latino community. And, I expect it insha’Allah to serve as a cornerstone to the well being of all Latinos who come across it. Indeed, may they learn to find their way to Islam through this humble song. Ameen.

Thank you for every effort that you take to help and support this project. And, may our Creator bless you for whatever you can give and for your intention to help. Ameen.

April - June 2010, Islam

Among the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World

Among the Muslims listed in the book “The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” were Muslims from the following countries: El Salvador, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Spain, and Portugal.


Qattan, Dr Ahmad
Qattan is a Muslim convert from Palestinian origins. He is the co-founder of the Arab Islamic Center in Salvador. Qattan has been an educator and da’wa activist for the past 17 years, and has published more than 100,000 copies of a book introducing Islam, which has been read by an estimated 250,000 people.

Al Salvadori, Mustafa
Mustafa Al Salvadori is the president of the Shi”Ëœa community in El Salvador. His work, besides that with his own community, has tended to involve education about Islam to the mainly Catholic population of El Salvador who have become fearful of Islam over the past decade.

Rojas, Isa
Rojas is a da’wa activist and author of numerous articles about Islam in Spanish and French. He is also a student of religion at Al Madina University, Saudi Arabia. Around 4 million people or more have read his articles and translations that are published on various Islamic websites. He is one of the writers and editors at Islamweb.net.

Weston, Omar
Weston is a British convert and the head of the Islamic Mexican Cultural Center. He is a founding member of Organizacion Islamica Para America Latina y el Caribe, the Caribbean Muslim Forum, and Campañia Libertad Religiosa y Derechos de Expression, an active group that focuses on religious tolerance and freedom of religious practices. Weston is the director of: Dar as Salam Centre Mexico, Centro Cultural Islamico de Mexico, Viva Halal which assesses and certifies Mexican companies.


Garcia, Prof. Muhammad Isa
Garcia was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied Arabic language and Islamic studies and theology at Umm Al Qura University in Mecca. He is a specialist in the origins of prophetic traditions. Garcia has translated numerous books, with many only available to a Spanish-speaking readership in his translation. He is also the author of a series named “ËœKnow Islam.’

Hallar, Muhammad Yusuf
Hallar is an active figure in Argentina involved in community development for Latino Muslims. He has conducted comprehensive research on the Muslims in Latin America and holds a number of positions including secretary general of the Islamic Organization of Latin America and also director of the Office of Islamic Culture and a member of the Expert Committee on Minority Rights for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Othman, Abdul-Baqi Sayed
Othman is the director of the Charitable Society of Muslims (Sociedad de Beneficiente Muçulmana) of Rio de Janeiro. He has represented Brazilian Muslims in many international conferences. He is also a da’wa activist, and runs the IQRA publishing center in Brazil where he helps publish translations of various Islamic books.

Saifi, Ahmed
Saifi is a very active da’wa activist in Brazil. He is considered a distinguished member of Al Ikhwan Al Muslimeen. He has been sent to several conferences as the representative of the Brazilian Muslim community.

Torres, Sheikh Ismail
Ismail Torres is a distinguished sheikh and da’wa activist in Chile. The Muslim community in Chile remains a small but growing pocket in South America, with communities particularly in Santiago, Temuco and Iquique.

Al Colombi, Dawood Abdl Ghafur
Al Colombi is one of the most well respected Muslim scholars in Colombia. He is the most active and influential da’wa activist in Colombia, being present at the conversions of over 1000 people. He is the founder of a mosque in the city of Pereira and of the Centro Cultural Islamico Colombian’s da’wa project. He hosts conferences and awareness lectures for Muslims and non-Muslims, and he is acknowledged for his talent for conveying the principles of Islam to non-Muslims. He is also the author of several articles in Spanish and has created the only library of Islamic books in Colombia.

Dassum, Dr Layla
Dassum is the vice president and co-founder of the Islamic Centre of Ecuador and the director of the Muslim Ladies Committee. A well-known da’wa activist in Ecuador, Dassum hosts conferences and awareness lectures locally and internationally and teaches women about Islam and the Qur’an. Dassum has also represented her country in many conferences in the Islamic world.

Suquillo, Juan
Suquillo is an imam and the director and co-founder of the Islamic Centre of Ecuador. He has been awarded for his services to the nation, and has translated many books into Spanish. These have become very popular since the 9/11 attacks when non-Muslims became interested in learning about Islam. His books have become bestsellers since then. He is very well respected by South American Muslim scholars.

Khan, Faizul
Faizul Khan has been credited with founding an Islamic school in Guyana at the age of 17 and has played a strategic role in developing Muslim institutions both locally and abroad particularly in the US, where he is chapter member of the Islamic Society of North America.


Muhammad, Mustafa
Muhammad has been the president of the Islamic Council of Jamaica for the past 14 years. His work involves education and halal certification. He oversees the eleven mosques in Jamaica. An estimated 5,000 Muslims regularly attend mosques in Jamaica.

Tijani, Marufat
Tijani is the principal of the Islamiyah Basic School with the Islamic Council of Jamaica. Although it is a one-room school, its role as the only basic school for Muslim-specific education dedicated to teaching Arabic and other basic skills is important.

Ali, Imam Yacoob
Ali is the president of the largest and most influential Muslim organization in Trinidad and Tobago, the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA) which was founded in 1936. The Muslim community in Trinidad and Tobago is largely comprised of people of Indian descent. His organization runs numerous schools and focuses on the importance of education for Muslim youth.

Escudero, Dr Mansur A
Escudero is secretary general of the Islamic Commission of Spain, which is outspoken against terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam, and is a founding member of multiple Islamic institutions in Spain. He gained international attention when he lobbied for permission for Muslims to pray at the former Great Mosque at Cordoba in 2007.

Munir, David
David Munir has been the imam of the Central Mosque of Lisbon since the age of 23. A key representative of the Muslim community in Lisbon, Munir is involved in interfaith dialogue with members of other Abrahamic faiths present there.


Esposito, John, and Ibrahim Kalin. “The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World.” 1st ed. The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2009. Print/Web. <http://www.rissc.jo/muslim500v-1L.pdf>.

April - June 2010, Islam

Shaikh Yahia Suquillo: An Exemplar of Islamic Leadership

By Juan Galvan

My definition of leadership is someone who has the ability through ceaseless commitment to inspire others to be their best. Although the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the greatest leader of all time, I want to share with you the life of a lesser-known hero. Shaikh Yahia Suquillo has truly been an inspiration for many Latino Muslims including myself. Above all else, it has been the life of the Prophet Muhammad that has been his source of inspiration. Like all great Muslim leaders, he is a great leader for his ability to follow the lead of the Prophet Muhammad.

Although he never sought leadership, leadership came upon Sh. Yahia Suquillo by the needs of a community seeking his extraordinary qualities and attributes. Above all else, his knowledge and contributions have thrust leadership upon him. I first heard him speak at the 2001 ISNA Convention. He brought several Spanish brochures about Islam with him. At the time, I didn’t know that I would have the pleasure to personally work with him.

The amazing life of Shaikh Yahia Suquillo has truly been an inspiration to me. Sh. Yahia Suquillo was raised in the capital city of Ecuador, Quito. He got in contact with Islam for the first time at the University of Michigan through a classmate. He has a master’s degree in Islamic Sciences from the University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia. He has been an imam for many years now. He was the first student from Ecuador to have graduated from an Islamic university. He also helped found the first recognized Islamic center in Ecuador. He and his family were the first Ecuadorian family that ever made Hajj in Ecuadorian history.

Shaikh Yahia Suquillo sees himself as a servant of his followers, but he sees himself primarily as a servant of Allah (SWT). I never cease to be amazed by his courage, humbleness, generosity, and gratefulness. As a humble servant, he consults with others on various matters. While reading his article entitled “Islam in Ecuador,” I was impressed by his ability to analyze and provide solutions to the current problems facing Islam and Muslims within his own country. He is eloquent in speech and decisive in action.

He has provided a vision and pushed forward a mission through his writings and speeches. He has continuously demonstrated his personal conviction to that vision. Consequently, his inspired followers have complete trust in his abilities, and satisfaction in his leadership breeds more commitment from his followers. He understands the great responsibility towards his followers as he tries his best to guide them. He has tried his best to treat his followers fairly, respectfully, and with justice. He is kind and forgiving.

When Shaikh Yahia Suquillo first began his dawah efforts, little literature was available in the Spanish language. He understands that dawah in the Spanish language means potentially reaching one-fifth of the global population. Today, Islamic literature in Spanish can be found much more easily. Much of this accomplishment has been a direct result of his efforts. Sh. Yahia Suquillo’s own efforts have resulted in a translation of over forty pieces of Islamic literature into Spanish including books, pamphlets, and audio.

Among the books that he’s translated include “Understanding Islam and Muslims”, “Muhammad in the Bible”, “Muslim Christian Dialogue”, “The Miracles of Qur’an”, and “Human Rights in Islam.” His Spanish, audio CD about the life of the Prophet (PBUH) has brought many Latinos to Islam, and he has more audio projects in the works. Through his hard work, I have learned that obstacles should not prevent Muslims from performing the work that needs to be accomplished. His guiding force has always been the love of Islam.

Though his tireless effort, Shaikh Yahia Suquillo has appealed to people from various backgrounds. His fluency in various languages has been a tremendous asset for everyone involved in Latino dawah. His ability to speak in English, Spanish, and Arabic allows him to be a bridge of communication between Muslims living in Latin America and the United States as well as with the Muslims living in the Muslim world. He calls for greater understanding among Muslims and warns against the dangers of nationalism.

Through his humbleness, I’ve learned that accomplishments by any Muslim are a success for all Muslims, because we Muslims are one community. The Muslim community has been truly blessed to have Sh. Yahia Suquillo as a brother. I am not quite sure how he finds the time and resources to maintain his high level of quantity and quality. Nevertheless, I know that he will continue as he has always with wisdom, optimism, patience, and a smile. He has taught me that we all have to work hard for a prominent future. I have learned much from my friend. He is a man of amazing qualities, and I’ve mentioned only a few of those that I wish to acquire.