Archive for Solidarity

American Team Wears Hijab to Support Captain

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on April 24, 2012 by loonwatch

Irum Khan

Irum Khan

American Team Wears Hijab to Support Captain

HOLLYWOOD – Cheering up their Muslim teammate, a Floridian high school football team decided to don hijab before their season finale game to show solidarity with their Muslim captain who has been taunted repeatedly over her religious outfit.“Everybody looked at us weird,” West Broward senior Marilyn Solorzano told Sun Sentinel website on Friday, April 20.“I understand now everything she went through and how hard it must have been.“We just wore it for one day, and we noticed the difference. It was hard to keep on. It kept falling and our heads got really hot. You have to give her [credit] for wearing it every day.”

Donning hijab in middle school, Irum Khan, 17-year-old captain of West Broward High flag football team, endured far more than the usual pre-teenage taunting.

Early during her first years of high school, some classmates called her a terrorist and cursed at her.

She had rocks thrown at her and was physically attacked more than once.

“I got a lot of weird looks when I started wearing the hijab,” said Khan, who first donned the modest clothing in fifth grade and wears long sleeves and tights under her uniform.

“Kids at that age don’t know a lot about it. I went through half the year in sixth grade and then I took it off.

“I couldn’t take the name-calling, the strange looks, the racial slurs. It was too much.”

Though she hid the abuse from her family and school officials, she finally spoke up as her parents encouraged her to talk with school administrators and things got better.

Though none of Khan’s team has ever faced this bullying, they decided to take a stand and get a small taste of how difficult life can sometimes be for one of their own.

The idea of wearing hijab was first mentioned by Khan when she jokingly said it would be interesting for the whole team to wear the traditional Muslim dress during a game.

Instead of laughing, Solorzano, a fellow captain, seized on the opportunity.

“Everyone thought it was a really cool idea to support her and her religion,” she said.

“It’s really important to us because Irum is the only one here that’s covered head to toe. We thought it’d be something nice.”

Solidarity

The idea to wear hijab by the whole team was praised by the team coach as showing solidarity that unites the players.

“We’ve been trying to stress that the team comes first. The team always comes first,” Matt Garris, the West Broward coach, told xx

“When they came to me, it made me feel good to see them taking the initiative there. They showed team unity.

“Here they were, displaying something we were trying to get to them. You don’t always see that,” he added.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Committing to her Islamic outfit and favorite sport, Khan will be enrolling at FIU next fall, with plans of attending medical school and studying sports medicine.

“I had to show my family that I could balance work, school, sports, family time and my religion,” she said.

“It took a year to prove myself, but they support me all the way. They’ve let me pursue it and I love them for that.”

Feeling grateful to her teammates, Khan found the strength to continue being true to herself, her sport and her faith.

“There’s always light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

“You can’t give up.”

Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields”

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2011 by loonwatch

Don’t expect to see this news on Spencer’s blog.

Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields”

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.

From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.

The attack has rocked a nation that is no stranger to acts of terror, against all of Muslims, Jews and Copts. In January of last year, on the eve of Coptic Christmas, a drive-by shooting in the southern town of Nag Hammadi killed eight Copts as they were leaving Church following mass. In 2004 and 2005, bombings in the Red Sea resorts of Taba and Sharm El-Sheikh claimed over 100 lives, and in the late 90’s, Islamic militants executed a series of bombings and massacres that left dozens dead.

This attack though comes after a series of more recent incidents that have left Egyptians feeling left out in the cold by a government meant to protect them.

Last summer, 28-year-old businessman Khaled Said was beaten to death by police, also in Alexandria, causing a local and international uproar. Around his death, there have been numerous other reports of police brutality, random arrests and torture.

Last year was also witness to a brutal parliamentary election process in which the government’s security apparatus and thugs seemed to spiral out of control. The result, aside from injuries and deaths, was a sweeping win by the ruling party thanks to its own carefully-orchestrated campaign that included vote-rigging, corruption and rife brutality. The opposition was essentially annihilated. And just days before the elections, Copts – who make up 10 percent of the population – were once again the subject of persecution, when a government moratorium on construction of a Christian community centre resulted in clashes between police and protestors. Two people were left dead and over 100 were detained, facing sentences of up to life in jail.

The economic woes of a country that favours the rich have only exacerbated the frustration of a population of 80 million whose majority struggle each day to survive. Accounts of thefts, drugs, and violence have surged in recent years, and the chorus of voices of discontent has continued to grow.

The terror attack that struck the country on New Year’s eve is in many ways a final straw – a breaking point, not just for the Coptic community, but for Muslims as well, who too feel marginalized, persecuted, and overlooked, by a government that fails to address their needs. On this Coptic Christmas eve, the solidarity was not just one of religion, but of a desperate and collective plea for a better life and a government with accountability.