something good I read

UN Declaration of Human Rights
As we approach the sixtieth anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, issued in December 1948, in the aftermath of a devastating world war, it is fitting to recall some of its essential promises to humanity. Its preamble recognized the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world. It was an utter repudiation of the tremendous abuse and cruelty to which oppressed people throughout the world were subjected.


Dr Omeish and Governor’s Kaine commission

The controversy that erupted around my appointment by Gov. Tim Kaine to the Virginia Commission on Immigration highlights the very issues we need to address in America. I still believe that I am highly qualified to serve on the commission. I am an immigrant, as well as an accomplished surgeon, a community leader, a person of faith, a passionate activist and a good representative of America’s growing community of Muslims. I am disappointed that I was unable to defeat propaganda and partisan politics.Partisanship has already paralyzed Congress and failed to allow the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill last year. In Virginia, the Republicans of the General Assembly had been looking for an opportunity to undermine the work of the governor on this important 20-member panel. (The group is examining the issue of illegal immigration and its effect on the commonwealth.)
From its very first session, Democrats and Republicans had widely divergent views as to whom to elect chairman. It was a right-wing Republican who sent a letter to the governor demanding my resignation and using allegations to undermine my aptitude to serve on the commission. I agreed to resign swiftly so as to not allow partisan politics and a drummed-up controversy to derail the commission or to undermine the good work of the governor to bring some sanity to a General Assembly bent on creating a police state in Virginia for immigrants.
Politics aside, another important issue arose during this controversy. I was attacked for comments I made regarding Israeli military force against Palestinian civilians in Lebanon and the occupied territories and the Lebanon war, a conflict that has been condemned worldwide. Yet we still fail in America, the land of the First Amendment and the melting pot of plurality, to accept differing political views. And we are still willing to stifle dissent while we claim that we want to achieve tolerance and inclusion. Our inability to appreciate the inherent goodness of people and the very powerful tool of dialogue and exchange of ideas will limit our capacity to achieve unity. We should be embracing differences. After all, this rich diversity is the framework of our Constitution.
America remains a celebration of the greatest experiment of mankind and humanity, a nation founded by immigrants, attracting the brightest and hardest-working from all over the world. Celebrating their differences and diversity in a way that does not undo their humanity will keep this country as great as ever. As for me, I will continue to embody what is great about America: an immigrant who is striving to attain the American dream while rising above the challenges of integration and intolerance. Because, after all, that is what keeps me and millions of immigrants going: our belief and trust in the inherent goodness of America and its citizens.
Dr. Esam Omeish

The Tragic events at Mumbai, India

The recent horrific events in Mumbai, India remind us once again of the ugly hideous face of terrorism. Extremism and violence under the guise of religion are the worst manifestations of this evil. Our hearts and most heart-felt condolences go to the people of Mumbai and the affected families all over the world. Our unequivocal condemnation of this terror and our extreme revulsion of acting in the name of religion are most obvious. Linking this horrific event to Islam and Muslims has been another painful aspect of this tragedy. Muslims all over the world and adherents of the great faith of Islam are all steadfast and unequivocal in separating this crime from the tenets and traditions of their faith.  The linkage of this crime to a terrorist group from Pakistan bent on violent confrontation with Indian forces in Kashmir and indiscriminately targeting innocent  civilians makes this a crime of unfathomable proportions, but it should not be linked to Islamic teachings as a pretext to why it was committed. It was simply a repulsive crime committed by violent terrorists. The linkage to any religion brings no further degree of severity to it. The attack on the Jewish place of worship is particularly tragic and goes against every thread of Islamic teaching of revering and respecting people of other faiths and traditions. People who committed this terror represent nothing related to the religion of Islam and their actions in no capacity can be linked to the world of Islam and Muslims.

Memorial Day

Memorial day is a day where all of us as Americans remember those who have sacrificed their lives while in military service for our country. We come to remember those who have paid with the ultimate price, so that all of us living can enjoy the freedom, liberty and prosperity of America. We should all pay our respect to our lost ones and remember them and their families in our prayers and thoughts. As Muslim Americans, we know that there are many Muslim Americans who proudly are remembered as part of this solemn day of remembrance. As we cherish their memories, we are committed and resolved to continue to exert our utmost to contribute to the well being and prosperity of our country.

Fighting Extremism At Home

An interesting article at AltMuslim on efforts to curb extremism in the UK.

Safety Tips

The DC Police Department sent out the following safety tips that I wanted to share with everyone

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Fastest Food Cost Rise in 17 Years

The worldwide economy is getting increasingly worse and the poor are being hit the hardest

Steve Tarpin can bake a graham cracker crust in his sleep, but explaining why the price for his Key lime pies went from $20 to $25 required mastering a thornier topic: global economics.

He recently wrote a letter to his customers and posted it near the cash register listing the factors — dairy prices driven higher by conglomerates buying up milk supplies, heat waves in Europe and California, demand from emerging markets and the weak dollar.

The owner of Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies in Brooklyn said he didn’t want customers thinking he was “jacking up prices because I have a unique product.”

“I have to justify it,” he said.

The U.S. is wrestling with the worst food inflation in 17 years, and analysts expect new data due on Wednesday to show it’s getting worse. That’s putting the squeeze on poor families and forcing bakeries, bagel shops and delis to explain price increases to their customers.

U.S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007, compared with an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the last 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the agency says 2008 could be worse, with a rise of as much as 4.5 percent.

Higher prices for food and energy are again expected to play a leading role in pushing the government’s consumer price index higher for March.

Analysts are forecasting that Wednesday’s Department of Labor report will show the Consumer Price Index rose at a 4 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, up from last year’s overall rise of 2.8 percent.

For the U.S. poor, any increase in food costs sets up an either-or equation: Give something up to pay for food.

“I was talking to people who make $9 an hour, talking about how they might save $5 a week,” said Kathleen DiChiara, president and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “They really felt they couldn’t. That was before. Now, they have to.”

For some, that means adding an extra cup of water to their soup, watering down their milk, or giving their children soda because it’s cheaper than milk, DiChiara said. Read the rest of this entry »