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Washington D.C., Nov. 9 - The Islamic Bulletin is proud to announce that the United States Postal Service unveiled the 2001 Eid stamp on Monday, November 13th, 2000.
This achievement marks the end of a successful campaign by American Muslim Council to encourage the issuance of a Ramadan stamp. AMC also played a role in the issuance of the Malcolm X stamp in 1999.We are also grateful to our readers who participated in this effort by flooding the Post Office with expressions of support.
Tom Davis (R-VA) and Dana Rorhrabacher (R-CA) introduced and passed legislation in 1999 expressing that Congress supports a postage stamp to be issued recognizing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Tom Davis was honored for his efforts in this legislation with an award at AMC's National Convention this past June. The resolution (Res. 220) stated that Jewish and Christian holidays have been recognized on US postage stamps, but no Muslim observance is similarly commemorated. The stamp commemorating Eid Al Fitr will be available in October 2001 just before the start of the month of Ramadan, 1422 Hijri.
We encourage the community to contact the U.S. Postal Service in Washington and thank them for making a statement of recognition of the American Muslim community by issuing the Eid stamp.
Mr. William J. Henderson
Postmaster General/CEO USPS
475 L'Enfant Plaza
Washington, DC 20260
It began as an audacious vision by a handful of idealistic Muslim medical students: move Islam out of the insular immigrant communities and take the religion's charitable ideals into the streets. Four years and 14,000 patients later, the UMMA clinic on Florence Avenue has drawn widespread attention as the only free medical clinic in South-Central Los Angeles and the nation's first major Muslim foray into health care for the poor. In this spotless clinic festooned with Koranic sayings and children's colorings of Winnie the Pooh, toddlers such as 3-year-old Anthony Jones sit happily through exams because of what his mother calls the staff's welcoming nature. Vandals and gang members have shown respect by leaving the building largely untouched.
But now the clinic is threatened with closure as its federal and city funds, provided in the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, run out this year. To fill the gap, clinic founders are appealing to Muslims in a major fund-raiser aimed at raising the $240,000 needed to keep the doors open another year.
Clinic director Yasser Aman, 25, and clinic co-founder Mansur Khan, 32, a doctor of internal medicine, represent a new breed of younger Muslims who are diverging from their parents' more insular form to take Islamic social activism to the broader community. The Muslims met at UCLAs Muslim Student Assn. where it had started programs to tutor youths at juvenile detention camps and inner-city schools. To Aman and Khan, social activism is not an option but an obligation under Islam. Citing the Prophet Muhammad's counsel to fix whatever you see wrong.
The UMMA clinic is a case in point. As much of South Los Angeles lay in disarray after the 1992 riots, Khan and a group of about six Muslim students felt moved to reach out. They initially envisioned sponsoring a medical trailer to drive through the city offering blood pressure exams and other services. The students unabashedly made cold calls to dozens of medical supply companies and, in a year's time, collected $150,000 worth of donate equipment and supplies: state-of-the-art microscopes, computers, exam tables and EKG machines. As the students searched for a trailer parking site, however Los Angeles City Councilwoman Rita Walters encouraged them to consider a standing clinic instead. Walters helped the group obtain a $700,000 grant from federal housing authorities, which it used to renovate an abandoned auto repair shop. Then occupied by homeless people and drug addicts, the slate-gray office now boasts a lab, a cheerful lobby and six examination rooms.
The city kicked in a two-year operating grant of $680,000, which the bare-bones staff has managed to stretch out over four years. UCLA agreed to make the clinic an official teaching site and now sends dozens of medical students to volunteer as part of their training. A pool of 20 physicians - both Muslim and non-Muslim - regularly volunteer, treating ailments that are key problems in the surrounding community hypertension, diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases. The clinic serves an annual patient load of 5,000. "We wanted to show people that Muslims care about the rest of the community at large," Khan said. He added that the venture appears to be inspiring Muslims nationwide. Not only, have donations come in from across the country, but Muslims elsewhere have started three other free medical clinics and have called with questions on how to start homeless shelters and other projects.
For the mostly non-Muslim patients, the UMMA clinic appears to be living up to its name. Although the acronym stands for University Muslim Medical Assn., the Arabic word ummah means community. Tasha Jones, a 27-year-old food-service worker who wears an "I love Jesus" key chain around her neck, says the clinic indeed bridges religious and racial divides. She could take her three children elsewhere, under their government health coverage, but chooses to go to the UMMA clinic because of the time and care the staff gives. "It don't matter if they're Muslim or Christian," Jones said. "They're good people."
(Washington D.C. Nov. 28) - The U.S. State Department has a new section in its website which focusing on Islam. The new site provides information about the vitality and diversity of the Muslim experience in the United States. American Muslim contributions to every aspect of American life are outlined in addition to sections describing how American Muslims live, work and worship in our country.
The website, entitled, "Islam in the United States," features a fact sheet of facts and figures on the American Muslim population, official speeches from U.S. President Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, as well as other government officials. Ms. Albright introduces the website with a personal message.
The site also features articles of relevance to the American Muslim community as well as selected readings, academic programs, related sites and a gallery of pictures of American Mosques.
Visit the website at http://www.america.gov.
The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186
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