In order to fight misconceptions about the Muslim faith and educate people about specific aspects of Islam, the Notre Dame Muslim Students Association (MSA-ND) is hosting its first Islam Awareness Week from Tuesday to Friday of this week.S.M. Moududul Islam, MSA-ND secretary, said the organization began planning the week last semester, using other universities’ Islam Awareness Weeks as models.He said the goal of the week, which is funded by a Graduate Student Life grant, Campus Ministry, the Islamic Society of Michiana South Bend Mosque, the Center for Social Concerns and the Kroc Institute for International Studies, is to provide a series of unified events that allow the Notre Dame community to ask detailed questions about the Muslim faith.“The idea of Islam Awareness Week is to have multiple events within a week so that we can draw the attention of the people here on campus and let them know about Islam, and also to let the people ask questions,” Islam said. “We are having different talks and different … events at which there can be close interaction between the audience and the speaker. It is good to have that forum where you can ask questions.”MSA-ND vice president Md. Itrat Bin Shams said the week would also be an opportunity to learn about certain facets of Islam, such as the pilgrimage to Mecca and the concept of the hijab, in more detail.“[The goal is] to let people know about specific aspects of Islam, some things that are maybe known to us but not to people who believe in other faiths,” Shams said.The week will begin with two events focused on Hajj, the fifth Pillar of Islam, in which Muslims make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. On Tuesday, there will be a screening of the documentary, “Seven Wonders of the Muslim World,” which features seven mosques in the Islamic world and tells the story of seven pilgrims’ journey to Mecca.On Wednesday, during Campus Ministry’s regular “Prayer from Around the World,” Dr. A. Rashied Omar, a research scholar of Islamic Studies and peace building at the Kroc Institute, will give a talk on Hajj.“We always see the image of the Kaaba in Mecca on TV, but we don’t exactly know any people who are non-Muslim who know what is going on there,” Islam said.“So the idea is to have a lecture, and in addition to the lecture we are having a video demonstration on the pilgrimage to Mecca … [Dr. A. Rashied Omar] will be discussing the spiritual aspect as well as the rituals.”Directly following Omar’s lecture will be a dinner titled “I Believe In . . .” which will consist of small-group discussions of each participant’s faith.On Friday, MSA-ND will provide transportation for 12 students to the mosque at the Islamic Society of Michiana for a prayer service.“Some students from Notre Dame can come with us to see how we perform our prayer and also, there’s a speech just before the prayer by the imam, the leader in the mosque,” Shams said. “They can see the whole picture. The mosque, for us, for Muslims, is not only the place for the prayer, [but] it is [also] a community center, so they can see how these things connect with each other.”The week will culminate with a lecture by Hisham Mahmoud, an instructor of Arabic at Harvard University and prominent scholar of Islam on Friday evening. Mahmoud will discuss the importance of Jesus and Mary in the Islamic tradition.Tags: dr. a. rashied omar, hisham mahmoud, Islam, islam awareness week, islamic society of michiana, kroc institute for international studies, mosque, MSA-ND, muslim faith, muslim students association, notre dame muslim students association, SM Moududal Islam
By Lorena Baires/Diálogo January 02, 2019 The Northern Triangle countries deployed Operation Regional Shield III (Operación Escudo Regional) to further weaken the complex networks of Mara Salvatrucha (also known as MS-13) and Barrio 18, devoted to contract killing, extortion, and narcotrafficking. The Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran state prosecutors and police led the raids, seizures, and captures of both gangs’ leaders on November 6, 2018. “We achieved a high level of coordination among the three countries to operate against gangs and provide solutions to the people who expect justice,” said Álvaro Rodríguez, national anti-extortion coordinator for the Salvadoran Office of the Attorney General. “We know that the decisions spokespeople of transnational gangs send come from gang leaders who operate from prisons and from the streets.” The operation was carried out in seven of El Salvador’s 14 departments: San Salvador, La Libertad, and Santa Ana in the west, and Usulután, San Miguel, La Unión, and Morazán in the east. The operation affected 18 structures of both gangs, and authorities arrested 501 leaders who ordered murder and extortion and facilitated narcotrafficking. “With this operation, the authorities were able to solve 62 homicides, 25 kidnappings in which victims haven’t been found, and 62 cases of extortion, among other crimes,” Rodríguez told Diálogo. “We disrupted several terrorist structures in seven out of 14 departments in the country, after arrest warrants were issued.” In San Salvador, the Salvadoran capital, the efforts focused on dismantling a structure of Barrio 18 devoted to extorting shopkeepers of a well-known fruit and vegetable wholesale market. The group was made up of 50 people who collected more than $50,000 monthly. Group leader Marlon Salvador, alias el Saico, was the owner of several stores in the market, which were used as fronts to launder extortion earnings. It’s estimated that his personal income was about $16,000 per month. Guatemalan authorities conducted 88 raids in 11 departments of the country to strike several structures of Barrio 18 and Los Imitadores, another criminal gang. Criminals pretended to be gang members to extort businesspeople operating city buses, taxis, and motorcycle taxis. “Both groups are responsible for collecting money illegally since last year . They operated through phone calls or messages where they threatened their victims,” Emma Flores, extortion prosecutor at the Guatemalan Office of the Attorney General, told Diálogo. “The victims paid with bank deposits or cash payments to avoid being killed.” According to investigations, the two groups obtained at least $48,000 from hundreds of victims in the Guatemalan departments of Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Escuintla, Huehuetenango, San Marcos, Suchitepéquez, Izabal, and Sacatepéquez. In Honduras, the Special Prosecutor for Offences Against Life struck several rings of Barrio 18, which were involved in 14 violent murders against minors and women in the capital. Subgroups are also connected to aggravated theft, vehicle theft, purchase of stolen vehicles, illegal use and trade of weapons, and criminal association. “We realized that by just capturing and sending them to prison, the problem is not solved. We need to deprive them of all illicit resources, so they don’t have any operational or financial capability to operate outside the law from correctional centers,” José María Salgado, head of prosecutors in Honduras, told Diálogo. Regional instrument The same morning the operations took place, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran prosecutors signed a memorandum of understanding to promote strategic criminal pursuit in the region and the coordination of combined operations to counter transnational organized crime. They agreed to create a transnational task force to strengthen combined work and the timely exchange of information to pursue criminals in the Northern Triangle of Central America. “Unifying our efforts will allow for a direct and efficient fight against transnational crime structures, so as to dismantle them and bring their members to justice,” María Consuelo Porras, Guatemalan Attorney General, told the press. “Sharing information and good practices will be crucial, since our geographical position is strategic to stop these criminal gangs.” With the agreement signed, attorney generals must define the mechanisms to exchange information in a prompt, safe way, according to the laws of every state. The main crimes to be pursued are drug activity, human trafficking, corruption, vehicle theft, money laundering, and gangs and maras, among others. “We experience complicated situations with regard to the facets of crime. This agreement will allow us to unify our efforts to counter transnational structures,” Douglas Meléndez, Salvadoran Attorney General, told the press. “We understand that we cannot fight them on our own, because they are borderless. That’s why we must work together. We will shut off all their advantages, so they cannot turn our territories into their safe havens,” Salgado said.
9-11 Collins Street, AitkenvaleIF you ever needed proof not to judge a property by its exterior, here it is.The ’80s facade of this home hides a massive billiard room to rival any gentlemen’s club, a superb covered pool, a wonderful workshop or third garage for special projects, as well as a generous living room for more formal gatherings. 9-11 Collins Street, AitkenvaleNotable features of the home also include the master bedroom which overlooks the pool and entertaining area and comes with a massive dressing room and ensuite with spa bath.A large galley kitchen adjoins a magnificent and spacious living area with raked timber ceilings and plenty of storage space, along with dual sky lights and tall glass windows.The left wing of the home also includes a massive, modern rumpus/billiard room which allows access to a workshop. More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 20209-11 Collins Street, AitkenvaleThis Aitkenvale home at 9-11 Collins Street, truly has the wow factor and, best of all, is located only minutes from Stockland, the CBD, schools and so much more. With the former owner a master cabinet-maker, the home features numerous touches of distinction, says listing agent Michele Hyde.“From the magnificent high timber ceilings in the living room to stone and timber inlay in the tiled entry foyer and superb timber cabinetry throughout, the secluded feel of the home is unexpected in such a central location,” she said. “Enclosed gardens surround the home, with wide verandas, adding cool airflow.”