Sunday, October 14, 2007

Nobel Prize Update: Well Played, Adil Bhai!

The news going around in Pakistani circles is the fact that one of our own is the one of the Convening Lead Authors in the team that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. [And of course, the team is chaired by another South Asian; Rajendra Pachauri.]
Pakistani scientist in Nobel team -DAWN - National; October 14, 2007
WASHINGTON, Oct 13: Pakistani professor Adil Najam, now teaching at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, US, is amongst the team of scientists and experts in the Intergovernmental ...
Over the years, I have come to know Dr. Najam rather well, and have learned from and been inspired by him:

In the idiom of South Asian sport, Well Played, Adil Bhai; Bahoth Aala, Adil Bhai!

PS: From a comment Dr. Najam posted on

Thank you to all for their kind wishes and congrats. I should add, however, that the Nobel was awarded to the work of the IPCC (a panel of eminent global climate change experts), so I am just one of the many experts on that Panel. I have served on the IPCC for some 8 years, the last many as a Convening Lead Author. So, yes, it does feel terrific to have one’s work and research celebrated by the Nobel Committee, but it really is an honor shared by many (including by Dr. Tariq Banuri who played a leading role in the IPCC’s evolution in the past).
Some links: Dawn, Boston Globe, The Fletcher School.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Call to Compassion, Patience and Peace between Muslims in this Season

Personally, as I was saying on my Facebook status, my family and I are not in a very festive mood on this festival. But our prayers are for everyone to receive all the blessings of Eid.

One very important note that I have been working on, on behalf of the MPV, is the following. Please do ponder it and sign the pledge if you see fit:

(Click on the graphic to download Eid Song)

In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Mabrook! Eid Mubarak. Have a Blessed Eid.

Ramadan Kareem! The Noble Month of Ramadan is coming to and end and the blessed festival of Eid-ul-Fitr is upon us. It is a time when Muslims the world over focus on spirituality, compassion, patience, peace and the joys of having completed a month of fasting for the pleasure of God. Two months and ten days from now, we will all celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, the time of the year when we focus on sacrifice, humility, dedication to our faith, and the blessings of the pilgrimage for our community. ‘Tis the season, as the saying goes, to renew our deen, our faith in Islam, a religion that derives its very name from the same root as a word for peace.

Over the years, three or four clear positions have evolved within the global Muslim community and particularly in North America with regards the method of determining the dates of these holy days and month, with some advocating for local moonsightings, others preferring to follow Saudi Arabia, yet others relying upon astronomical calculations, and so on. Each group holds its position in all sincerity and with great passion; each group has faith, tradition, and logic to back up its position. Unfortunately, the differences in approach, and the strength with which each position is held, often lead to disrespectful exchanges within the community, and even to lasting grudges and ill will between neighbors, friends, and members of local congregations.

This year, and in future years, we at the Muslims for Progressive Values would like to invite everyone who identifies themselves with the community of Muslims, or who participates in the cultural life of the Muslim community, to make a commitment to engage with people who hold different positions on the matter of dates and calendars (or any other issue) with respect, good will, and compassion. If we can pass this test of fraternity within the community, if we can treat other Muslims with respect whether we agree or disagree, and do so without losing sight of what holds us together and makes us brothers and sisters in our faith and our humanity; if we can do that, then we can try to begin fulfilling our role as the upholders of peace and justice and truly be the best of communities.

The month of Ramadan, the Hajj season, and the days of the Eids are some of the most blessed moments of our calendar, let us try to fill them with peace, compassion, and good will towards all humanity; and let us start within our community.

Have a blessed Eid, and please sign this pledge:

We pledge to engage with respect and good will towards those who hold views different from ours on the calendar of our festivals. Wa Allahu Aalam, only the Almighty has perfect knowledge.


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thank You for your Thoughts, Prayers, and Wishes

On behalf of the extended Ashraf family, from Northern California to North Carolina, to India and Pakistan we'd like to thank everybody for the outpouring of thoughts, wishes and prayers that we have received since September 19th, when we lost one of our patriarchs. From Australia to Norway and from Kazakhstan to Lesotho, it is at a time like this that one realizes, as one family friend put it, how many lives one person can touch and how wide one's support structures are; how many people one can reach out and touch if one cares to.

It's been a very intense few weeks, and we have not been able to reply to many missed calls, emails, and other contacts. We will try to do that as we move forward. Please continue to remember us in your prayers and send good thoughts and wishes our way.

Thank you.

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