Copyright © 2003-2011, Aishah Schwartz. Permission granted to circulate among private individuals, groups, or in not-for-profit publications in full text and subject title. All other rights reserved.

February 28, 2006

Egypt and India Race to Control Bird Flu Outbreaks

UPDATE: Cat in Germany Has Bird Flu AP - 2 hours, 48 minutes ago BERLIN - The deadly strain of bird flu was confirmed Tuesday in a cat in northern Germany, the first time the virus has been identified in a mammal in the 25 nations of the European Union. Egypt and India Race to Control Bird Flu Outbreaks Wagdy Sawahel and T. V. Padma 20 February 2006 Source: SciDev.Net Egypt and India are the latest developing nations to detect outbreaks of the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has killed 92 people since 2003. Egypt has declared a state of emergency, having detected outbreaks in eight provinces, including the capital Cairo, since Friday (17 February). About half of Egypt's 78 million citizens live in the affected provinces. Meanwhile, India confirmed on Saturday that H5N1 was present in eight of 12 samples it tested from Nandurbar in the western state of Maharashtra, where 50,000 chickens died in the past fortnight. All poultry within three kilometres of the outbreak — half a million birds — are being culled. As an extra precaution, the agriculture ministry's department of animal husbandry is coordinating another cull in the neighbouring Surat district of Gujarat state. Neither country has detected human cases, but India has quarantined farm workers who were in contact with infected birds and is testing 95 samples for H5N1 infection. Indian health officials are conducting door-to-door surveys in the area and are taking blood samples from anyone who has flu symptoms or has been in contact with infected poultry. Egypt has banned the transport of all live birds, feathers and poultry waste between any of its 27 provinces, and has set up a press centre to raise public awareness about the risk of disease. "It is the time for Egyptians to stop raising poultry for household consumption on their rooftops or in their homes," says Magdah Rakha, head of preventive affairs at Egypt's health ministry. Rakha believes migratory birds are the most likely source of the outbreaks and that Egypt expects to detect more in the coming weeks, as more birds pass through the country. Migratory birds are also thought to have brought H5N1 to India, which banned poultry imports in February 2004 in response to outbreaks in South-East Asia. The High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal, which detected H5N1 in samples from Nandurbar, told SciDev.Net however, that it has not received any dead migratory birds from the area for testing. Source Link: Read more about bird flu in SciDev.Net's news focus, Bird Flu: The Facts Related SciDev.Net articles: Bird flu update: 20 February 2006 Iran announces first bird flu outbreak Nigeria reports Africa's first H5N1 bird flu outbreak Single vaccine 'not enough' to control bird flu Cambodia and Laos step up bird flu surveillance Bird flu: a wake-up call to the African media Related links: World Health Organisation - regional Office for Eastern Mediterranean Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population OIE Updates Bird Flu, The Hunt & Peck for Answers Bird Flu Spreads, Thousands Tested in India India to Conduct Inquiry Over Bird Flu Delays Bird Flu Spreads in Egypt, Hitting Poultry Trade FACTBOX: Bird Flu Threatens to Become Global Pandemic Photo Credit: (AFP/ISD/File) COPYRIGHT: Occasionally copyrighted material may be used which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, religious issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. For additional information visit:

February 23, 2006

WRITING CONTEST: Support Prophet Muhammad

Assalamu Alaikum! Insha'Allah this message finds you in the best of health and imaan. Amin. This one landed right in my lap, so to speak...hahaha...on my laptop! It came with a link and I went to here is my report! Before I forget! The scroll bar to the contest's website is on the LEFT! *smile* This contest is organized to show and rally support for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) against the vicious campaign of defamation waged by some newspapers. It started with a Danish paper publishing offensive caricatures insulting the Prophet (pbuh), hence all Muslims. The caricatures are meant to distort the Prophet's noble character and Message. In response to the vicious campaign of distortion, the Al-Aluka Website has decided to organize this contest as a contribution to the efforts being made towards defeating the aggression against the Prophet's character on the one hand, and towards showing all the world his genuine and noble character on the other. Al-Aluka hereby invites those interested in taking part in this contest to: (1) write a research paper, (2) a short story, (3) an article, or, (4) an essay on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The invitation is extended to a wide age range of participants, from 12-year-olds to academic researchers. The winners will be financially rewarded, and the winning material will be published so that decent people allover the world can see for themselves the nobility of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). For details and conditions, please read Contest Requirements. May Allah, the Almighty, bless our humble endeavor to show and rally support for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)and his noble Message against the vile and evil campaign of defamation. May Allah purify our intentions and attune our hearts to what pleases Him, which is for the good of all beings. May His peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his kin and his Companions. Contest Information in English: Contest Information in Arabic: Contest Requirements (by category): Contest Rules: Contest Prizes: (Universal Currency Converter: Submit entries via online form: (NOTE: There is a drop-down menu for selecting your country, however, the list is not in alphabetical order so scroll carefully, insha'Allah) Submit entry via email: DEADLINE: MARCH 29, 2006 May Allah subhahanu wa ta'ala facilitate your energies, inspiration and writing with ease. Amin. I cannot imagine a single loser in this contest, as the effort will be recorded in your book of good deeds, Insha'Allah. Muslimah Writers Alliance urges you to support this project. Ma'Salaama, Aishah Schwartz Founder & Director Muslimah Writers Alliance On the web:

February 19, 2006

Announcing the Muslimah Writers Alliance First Annual People's Choice Poetry Competition and Blog!

The Muslimah Writers Alliance First Annual People's Choice Competition held in conjunction with National Poetry Month, April 1-30, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, is a free-style category contest open to anyone age 12 and up. This event is designed to support creativity and fun with writing in honor of National Poetry Month! Yes, it's a little early to start thinking about April, but not too early to start thinking about writing that poem! If you would like to enter your poem in MWA's First Annual People's Choice Poetry Competition, please be sure to include contact information when emailing your entries to: Limit: 3 entries per person. There is no fee for entering this competition. DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: APRIL 21, 2006. Contest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be announced and winning entries posted May 1, 2006, Insha'Allah. (Prizes to be announced, subscribe to contest blog for updates.) Copyright remains exclusive to you, the author and will be indicated at the bottom of each entry. VOTING: Each entry will be voted on by YOU the reader! The MWA contest blog has been set up to receive comments (votes), however, only registered users will be able to vote via the blog in order to deflect duplicate votes from being made. If you do not wish to vote as a registered user, you may cast your vote via email. A comment (vote) link is shown under each entry posted on the contest blog. When commenting (voting) on entries, please leave your Poem Rating. Each poem is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. Any comment/vote that does not specifically include a rating will not be counted as a vote. Submit your entry today and don't forget to share the blog link ( with your friends, insha'Allah! To learn more about Muslimah Writers Alliance visit: To Join Muslimah Writers Alliance visit: Visit The Academy of American Poets at Copyright © Muslimah Writers Alliance 2006. All Rights Reserved.

February 17, 2006

Minnie's Mission in Life...How Can You Help?

By Aishah Schwartz February 17, 2006 (Alexandria, Egypt) - Meet "Minnie" a Capuchin monkey with a very important mission in life. Minnie is a part of a program I learned about in a TV news broadcast this morning that just made me say, "subhan'Allah...subhan'Allah" over and over again, so I just had to share what I learned with you. There is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that trains Capuchin monkeys as helpers for the disabled, providing an invaluable service to quadriplegics and other people with severe spinal cord injuries or mobility-impairments. "Helping Hands", based in Boston, Massachusetts, provides highly trained monkeys to assist with daily activities, and to act as live-in companions to the disabled; a service that lasts the lifetime of a Capuchin monkey, which can be anywhere from 20-30 years of service (talk about the gift that keeps on giving!), bringing the gifts of independence, companionship, dignity and hope to the people they serve. Please take the time to learn more about the Helping Hands project in this January 17, 2006 Special Report by Scott Wahle of CBS4 Boston - Monkey Helpers For The Disabled. No fee is charged to the recipients of these wonderfully trained monkeys. All costs are underwritten by donations from individuals, foundation grants, and corporate partnerships. Helping Hands offers a variety of different ways you can support this important initiative. Please visit the Helping Hands website for additional information. Be sure to also click on the "Programs" link to learn more about how you can help by support Helping Hands through programs designed to educate the community. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "One who helps a fellow Muslim in removing his (or her) difficulty in this world, Allah will remove the former's distress on the Day of Judgment. He who helps to remove the hardship of another, will have his difficulties removed by Allah in this world and in the Hereafter. One who covers the shortcomings of another Muslim, will have his faults covered up in this world and the next by Allah. Allah continues to help a servant so long as he goes on helping his own brother (or sister)." (Muslim) Contact Anne Stein in the Helping Hands Public Affairs Office at (617) 787-4410 Ext. 105 or by email to let her know about a Muslim brother or sister who could benefit from Helping Hands services, or to let her know about how you or your organization would be willing to help, insha'Allah. Copyright © 2006 Aishah Schwartz, Founder and Director, Muslimah Writers Alliance Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on Internet sites and to publish in full text and subject title in not-for-profit publications. Contact author for all other rights, which are reserved. Image Melanie Stetson Freeman On the web: Service monkeys: Bill would give disabled a hand (Atlanta, GA) January 21, 2006 Learning to lend a hand (Andover, MA) January 13, 2005 Monkeys lend a 'Helping Hand' (La Habra, CA) September 1, 2005 No monkey business (UAE) September 25, 2005 Monkey helpers get first 'college' (Boston) June 16, 2004 Monkeys Assist Disabled (Boston) June 17, 2004 Support Legislation in Georgia: House Bill 695, the Disabled Assistants Act [Doug Holt (R-Social Circle) (Bio)] Text of Bill.

February 12, 2006

Website(s) of the Month!

Assalamu Alaikum! Insha'Allah this message finds you in the best of health and imaan. Amin. It's been a little while since I ran across a website to promote (then again, I've been a little busy, too) *wink*, but I came across a site this morning that I just had to share with you, especially for those of us with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and home-schooling moms (you get the message!). So with no further it is:

And, well...there is another site worth visiting just for us Muslimah's...hey...we gotta take care of ourselves too, right! *wink* (And don't you forget it!) *smile* Check it out:

The Canadian Muslim (

Well...and since three is a nice "odd" number, and we know odd numbers are from the sunnah *wink*...let me just share one more site with you that I'm sure you'll enjoy browsing (and maybe shopping) through. I met the owner of this venture at Conneticuit convention this past summer. I was so amazed by the beauty of the artwork I found in Br. Rasim's products that I was unable to forget them! It will be difficult to resist making a purchase here, so if you can't do it today, bookmark the site and save it for a rainy day!

Shop Turkey (

Up-Close Images of Shop Turkey Art

Image 2 ( Image 1 ( Image 3 ( Image 4 ( Image 5 ( Image 6 (

(Images © Aishah Schwartz)

Happy shopping!!! Ma'Salaama. On the web: NEW! NEW! NEW!

February 06, 2006

Responding to Current Events...A Khutbah by Luqman Ali

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful While many Muslims once again fall into the reactionary trap set for them and confirm the thesis of the offending cartoons by exploding in rage and violence, we would do well to reflect upon the Prophet's supplication in Taif. This is the dua he recited with shoes full of blood, wounds all over his body and after having been insulted, ridiculed and abused by the people of Taif to whom he had taken recourse seeking a place of refuge. Moreover, this occurs after three years of suffering a boycott at the hands of the Quraysh as a result of which Muslims were reduced to eating grass and leaves off of trees. The Prophet (s) as he walks out of Taif: "O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and the humiliation I have been subjected to by the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favour is of a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descend upon me. I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You." If those who claim to love the Prophet(s) so much that they are willing to infringe upon prophetic conduct with their blind rage and fury would reflect upon this prayer, it would be a guiding light for them and a clear instruction as to how a Muslim should respond to our current situation. It is also the only salve by which troubled hearts and souls will find peace. It will not be found on pickets and demonstrations - not that these should not be useful in making clear our reverence for the sacred and the divine and our indignation at the injustice and double standards of the European press. In my jum'ah khutbah today, I spoke on this prayer and while there were some whose hearts and eyes were cooled by it, it was obvious to me that there were many who were so caught up in anger that they could not hear. For whom does the Prophet's saying: 'Islam is good character' mean anything anymore? Are we to revert to pre-Islamic tribal norms of vengeance and retribution rather than see this as an opportunity to turn hearts by sharing the example of our beloved Prophet's centredness and compassion in the face of hate and enmity with those whose hearts are open? Are we to fall into the major sin of despair-fuelled violence rather than maintain hope as the Prophet (s) did when the angel of the mountains met him outside Ta'if following his supplication and offered to cause the mountains surrounding Taif to crumble over the town and obliterate it to which the Prophet (s) replied: 'No, I hope that these people will one day come to worship only Allah and Him alone'? Unless we have the centredness and the Allah-consciousness of the Prophet (s) by which every event whether favourable or unfavourable (in material terms) offers us the opportunity of strengthening our relationship with Allah, we will continue to be the victim of every ruse and ploy. Rather than reacting with violence and rage we should intensify our work to share the beautiful and merciful message of the Deen especially now that the Prophet (s) is headline news. Let the Prophet's prayer of Taif be printed in European newspapers as the example of his supreme magnanimity and patience. Violence, death threats and fury only betray a lack of trust in the power and light of the sacred which is illustrated in the Prophet's experience in the garden outside Taif when persons who overheard his prayer were moved by it to come to Islam. Moreover, on the way back to Mecca after this experience, many jinn who happened to hear the Prophet's recitation of the Qur'an in his night prayer also came to Islam. And not long thereafter the Prophet (s) was conveyed on his night journey and ascent to heaven. Verily with difficulty comes ease. Yet with the announcement by 'eminent' Muslim scholars of a 'Day of Outrage', I fear we have become nothing but saboteurs. Why not a Day of Remembrance of the Prophet, Why not a Day of Tremendous Prophetic Character? Why not a Day of the Prayer of Taif? I recommend that we circulate the Prayer of Taif at this time as an antidote to all of the madness and poison of rage, violence and emotional maelstroms. May Allah guide us to that which is right and grant us the tremendous fortune of seeing our enemies as our close friends (see Qur’an 41:34-36) to whom we have the duty of conveying the reverence and love of Allah and his Prophet(s). Ameen. Allah knows best. Luqman Ali 03 February 2005 Copyright © 2006 Luqman Ali Used with permission. Image: Prophet's (pbuh) Masjid in Madinah

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February 02, 2006

The February 3 Virus...Please Read!

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful Assalamu Alaikum, This is a very important and serious PSA with regard to a virus that has been reported in the news as set to exploit computer systems on February 3, 2006. Please heed and share the information below, Insha'Allah, and protect your computer systems. If you do not have virus protection on your computer you can get a free scan from Windows Live Safety Center: Ma'Salaama. ------------- Scan your system for Kama Sutra worm In The PC Doctor » Get The Best... If you’ve not done so already then it’s time to scan your system for the Kama Sutra worm (also called Nyxem.e, MyWife.d, Grew.a, and Blackmal.e) because it has another nasty side-effect. I’ve already mentioned the fact that set to overwrite files with the extensions .doc, .xls, .mdb, .mde, .ppt, .pps, .zip, .rar, .pdf, .psd, and .dmp on the 3rd of Feb but that’s not all - it adds 18 entries to the Windows registry to fool Windows into accepting as valid a malicious ActiveX control which is used by the worm to automatically run its code each time the PC is turned on and Windows boots. Blackworm CM 24. File deletion has begun acco... Nyxem Virus To Delete Files on Feb. 3 Nyxem/BlackWorm and the Internet Search Results for "February 3 Virus"

February 01, 2006

Passing: Coretta Scott King

CORETTA SCOTT KING PASSES AWAY, MAS FREEDOM EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES TO FAMILY "If you want to treat our friend Coretta like a role model; then model her behavior." Former President Bill Clinton (WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jan. 31) - Coretta Scott King, civil rights leader, mother, and wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., passed away in Atlanta, Georgia, today. Mrs. King was 78 years old. Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation Executive Director Mahdi Bray, called the King family today to express his condolences on behalf of the Muslim American Society. "My grandparents were local organizers for Dr. King in Virginia," stated Bray. "I remember my grandmother commenting often on the strength and courage of Mrs. King. Her commitment to non-violence, peace and justice was exceeded only by her commitment to her family." "She quietly, without fan-fare, insured that young black activists got an opportunity to learn how to organize and be leaders," said Bray. "I too, am a product of that mentorship, and thank the Almighty for all of her contributions. "She will be missed and is greatly loved by countless numbers of her 'Children of the Movement', who are spread throughout the world," he added. MAS Freedom is forwarding a private letter of condolences to the King family. If you would like to also send a letter of condolences, please send it to: The King Family c/o The King Center 449 Auburn Avenue
Atlanta GA, 30312
RELATED: Coretta Scott King Passes Away March National Women's History Month Copyright © 2006 MAS Freedom Foundation