Saturday, June 27, 2009

Documentary: "New Muslim Cool"

A documentary called, "New Muslim Cool" is airing on PBS and is the story of Hamza Perez, a Puerto Rican who gave up his life as a drug dealer after embracing Islam. Hamza dedicates himself to rehabilitating drug dealers and also is a hip hop artist. A nice review of the documentary was posted by Ginia Bellafante on the New York Times website. An excerpt:
Shot primarily in grim quarters of Pittsburgh, it chronicles the life of a young religious convert to quietly explore the porousness of cultural identity and the immense challenges presented to a man dramatically trying to reinvent himself in the face, essentially, of sanctioned prejudices.

ACLU condemns U.S. crackdown on Muslim charities

An article in the Los Angeles Times by Duke Helfand discusses the difficulties Muslim Americans face in charitable giving by highlighting a recent report from the ACLU. An excerpt:
The federal government's crackdown on suspected terrorism financing since the Sept. 11 attacks has violated the rights of American Muslim charities and deterred Muslims from charitable giving, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report Tuesday.

An expansion of laws and policies since 2001 has given the U.S. Treasury Department in particular virtually unchecked authority to designate charities as terrorist organizations and freeze assets without adequate safeguards to protect against mistakes or abuse, the study concluded.