Thursday, November 18, 2010

Four in 10 say marriage is becoming obsolete

I am not suprised by the direction that marriage is taking in our country. There is no incentive for marriage. There was a time when one can look forward to "enjoying" his/her partner after he/she had gotten married. That is not the case anymore. Nowadays, all the acts of marriage are taking place before marriage. Marriage nowadays is not viewed in spiritual terms but in legal terms.

Once marriage simply become a legal matter, one looks at the issue of divorce and gay marriages are important issues. There is the fear of all the expenses to get divorced. This is also coppled with the great taboo of getting divorced in the West that was originally prompted by the Catholic Church. Nowadays, this taboo continues and divorced is seen as a greater concern to some than committing fornication. In our times fornication and chastity are becoming a foreign word to many in society. Committing fornication is no longer consider at sin. It may be, at best, considering something that may be frowned upon for those under 18. That is at best it may be viewed in such terms. Islam never banned divorced, and yet many Americans deem Islam as a backward religion The drive away from religion also fuels the way that marriaged is perceived in society.  ~Khalil Alpuertorikani

Four in 10 say marriage is becoming obsolete

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Hope Yen, Associated Press – Thu Nov 18, 6:20 am ET

WASHINGTON – Is marriage becoming obsolete?

As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married. More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren't needed to have a family.

A study by the Pew Research Center, in association with Time magazine, highlights rapidly changing notions of the American family. And the Census Bureau, too, is planning to incorporate broader definitions of family when measuring poverty, a shift caused partly by recent jumps in unmarried couples living together.

About 29 percent of children under 18 now live with a parent or parents who are unwed or no longer married, a fivefold increase from 1960, according to the Pew report being released Thursday. Broken down further, about 15 percent have parents who are divorced or separated and 14 percent who were never married. Within those two groups, a sizable chunk — 6 percent — have parents who are live-in couples who opted to raise kids together without getting married.

Indeed, about 39 percent of Americans said marriage was becoming obsolete. And that sentiment follows U.S. census data released in September that showed marriages hit an all-time low of 52 percent for adults 18 and over.

In 1978, just 28 percent believed marriage was becoming obsolete.

When asked what constitutes a family, the vast majority of Americans agree that a married couple, with or without children, fits that description. But four of five surveyed pointed also to an unmarried, opposite-sex couple with children or a single parent. Three of 5 people said a same-sex couple with children was a family.

"Marriage is still very important in this country, but it doesn't dominate family life like it used to," said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University. "Now there are several ways to have a successful family life, and more people accept them."

The broadening views of family are expected to have an impact at Thanksgiving. About nine in 10 Americans say they will share a Thanksgiving meal next week with family, sitting at a table with 12 people on average. About one-fourth of respondents said there will be 20 or more family members.

"More Americans are living in these new families, so it seems safe to assume that there will be more of them around the Thanksgiving dinner table," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center.

The changing views of family are being driven largely by young adults 18-29, who are more likely than older generations to have an unmarried or divorced parent or have friends who do. Young adults also tend to have more liberal attitudes when it comes to spousal roles and living together before marriage, the survey found.

But economic factors, too, are playing a role. The Census Bureau recently reported that opposite-sex unmarried couples living together jumped 13 percent this year to 7.5 million. It was a sharp one-year increase that analysts largely attributed to people unwilling to make long-term marriage commitments in the face of persistent unemployment.

Beginning next year, the Census Bureau will publish new, supplemental poverty figures that move away from the traditional concept of family as a husband and wife with two children. It will broaden the definition to include unmarried couples, such as same-sex partners, as well as foster children who are not related by blood or adoption.

Officials say such a move will reduce the number of families and children who are considered poor based on the new supplemental measure, which will be used as a guide for federal and state agencies to set anti-poverty policies. That's because two unmarried partners who live together with children and work are currently not counted by census as a single "family" with higher pooled incomes, but are officially defined as two separate units — one being a single parent and child, the other a single person — who aren't sharing household resources.

"People are rethinking what family means," Cherlin said. "Given the growth, I think we need to accept cohabitation relationships as a basis for some of the fringe benefits offered to families, such as health insurance."

Still, the study indicates that marriage isn't going to disappear anytime soon. Despite a growing view that marriage may not be necessary, 67 percent of Americans were upbeat about the future of marriage and family. That's higher than their optimism for the nation's educational system (50 percent), economy (46 percent) or its morals and ethics (41 percent).

And about half of all currently unmarried adults, 46 percent, say they want to get married. Among those unmarried who are living with a partner, the share rises to 64 percent.

Other findings:

_About 34 percent of Americans called the growing variety of family living arrangements good for society, while 32 percent said it didn't make a difference and 29 percent said it was troubling.

_About 44 percent of people say they have lived with a partner without being married; for 30-to-49-year-olds, that share rose to 57 percent. In most cases, those couples said they considered cohabitation as a step toward marriage.

_About 62 percent say that the best marriage is one where the husband and wife both work and both take care of the household and children. That's up from 48 percent who held that view in 1977.

The Pew study was based on interviews with 2,691 adults by cell phone or landline from Oct. 1-21. The survey has a total margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, larger for subgroups. Pew also analyzed 2008 census data, and used surveys conducted by Time magazine to identify trends from earlier decades.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Historical trip to Puerto Rico unites islanders to the mainland

Originally Posted at:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Historical trip to Puerto Rico unites islanders to the mainland.

For Imam Yusef making history seems to follow him everywhere. Although he converted to al Islam at the tender age of 16 he has constantly been among the movers and shakers of Dawah to Latinos.

Historical trip to Puerto Rico unites islanders to the mainland.

By Imam Yusef Maisonet and Sr Khadijah Rivera

A man may plan but ALLAH is still the best of planners. Everything comes at the time that it was meant to be. For over 25 years I had dreamed of returning to Puerto Rico. But my work as a Merchant seaman took me to ports in Central and South America with work turned into Dawah . All that time Puerto Rico was in the back of my mind.

Last year I prepared to take that ground breaking trip to Puerto Rico which was brought about by a New York Puerto Rican who felt that there was a lacking on the island of dawah among her people and a lack of Islamic education to the native Latino Muslims of the island. Although, I yearned to feel the rich Boriquen soil beneath my feett we felt some slight hostility there and some obstacles here on the Mainland. It was as if the native Puerto Ricans and the immigrant Muslims on the island could not figure me out. They thought I was out for some selfish reason. Little did they know this old man who had no illustrious reasoning behind going to Puerto Rico except to understand why the spread of Islam was not flourishing considering the rate of reverts here in the USA. But in December of “08 , a trip came about to accompany some Latina Sisters to the UAE for American Leadership Program.. And there under the Abu Dhabi dessert and under impossible odds three Latinos discussed our dreams for Puerto Rico. Face to face with Sr Shinoa who had written the initial letter and Sr Khadijah who had broadcast it nationally. We discussed the need and how we could make this trip benefit ALL Latinos.

On the 20th of March my dreams came to a reality as I took off to what we call the Island of Enchantment ( Isla Del Encanto) Puerto Rico. Did you know that there are more Puerto Ricans living outside Puerto Rico than there are on the Island? For starters , it was a well thought of and considered trip that I discussed and planned with the Latino Muslim Community of the mainland. We agreed that it was time for a Representative of the Latino Community to go on a fact finding Mission and see how we could bridge the gap between Puerto Rico and the Muslims in the U.S.A. The trip was planned with input from PIEDAD of Florida/Metro NJ , ALMA from Atlanta , LALMA from Los Angeles , the Latino Muslim Community of Chicago and Mobile, AL they fundraised to make this historical trip a reality.

I flew out off Mobile, AL and was later met by a dear friend: Diaab Ali from Shorter, AL who found out about my trip on a visit to Mobile and wanted to share this experience with me. We were met by brother Yasser Reyes and Hajji Wilfredo Amr Ruiz a Lawyer and a Chaplain in the Prison system in Puerto Rico , we had made Hajj together in 2007 but we never saw each other until that day in Puerto Rico. Subhannallah what a plan!
After our salat together we made proceeded to meet with the Muslim youth and the Muslims I had been talking electronically via phone and mail with, to address their concerns .

Palestinian refugees resettled in Puerto Rico and raised families. As their families grew they built Masjids and opened weekend schools for their children. Khutbahs are in Arabic but with little or no translation. Thus leaving an entire Muslim population in the dark in their own land.

Almost immediately we had our first meeting was with the youth in San Juan at the Islamic Center of Puerto Rico. They received me with warm and open arms they described their concerns which were

1. Khutbas in Arabic only- The Latino Muslims would attend Khutbahs they could not decipher. With so many beautiful masjids throughout the island there were a seeming emptiness that accompanied them. Attending Salatul Jumaah without translation when it is a known fact that the khutbah must be in the language of the people. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States although most Boricuas as they are called speak English . Few speak Arabic.
2. No Puerto Rican imam is available on the entire island.
3. Urgent need for Islamic Literature mostly Qur'ans and Prayer Books.
4. Daiis and Daiyettes-Need for brothers and sisters willing to give Dawah in Puerto Rico , and wanting to have some kind of bridge between , the Indigenous Puerto Rican Muslims and Latinos in mainland USA..

Diaab Ali and myself we were invited to eat some of those delicious dishes that the island is so famous for. Salat followed and our next appointment for a Masjid in Vega Alta . Here a Palestinian , Imam Zaid offered Khutbahs in Arabic and Spanish and had just begun classes for the youth on Sundays.

After getting much needed rest that evening , we started our day with Fajr in Hatillo and we went to a Puerto Rican Restaurant , Later we went to the next town which is called Camuy to visit my friend Yasser Reyes and Wife Fatima who dared to cook an island delicacy of Fish soup followed by Halal Chicken with Spanish rice(Sabroso). As a Self proclaimed connaiseur of fine Latin dishes it was hard for me to keep all those dishes out of print to make room for our Islamic purpose.
Accompanied by Hajji Wilfredo Amr Ruiz and Siste Migdalia Rivera of Ponce,( Puerto Rico) we headed towards Vega Alta to Masjid Al Faruq to meet with the Imam Zaid. All of us were pleasantly surprised by his dedication and spirituality. While there we met with the sisters and the youth during some classes that were at the mosque and since our visit they have started Arabic classes for the Latinos on Sundays. He is a dedicated Imam and a beautiful human being, may Allah give him Jannah for all of his work. While in Puerto Rico I established him to be the only Imam that I found whole heartedly caring for the Latino Muslims.

After Camuy we headed for Mayaguez to visit some inmates that br. Wilfredo and br. Yasser had made arrangements for me to visit while I was in Puerto Rico. We went to the youth section first and we were able to give Da’wah to 6 inmates. We also noticed that the both the male and female guards were just as interested to learn about Islam. They treated us with the utmost respect and led us to the bigger population of awaiting inmates. These men were so happy to have a Muslim visitor from the states and gave us their full attention for over an hour for a taleem in Spanish. With Allah’s plan , three wonderful brothers took Shahadah , we gave them El Sagrado Coran (Quran) , prayer books and lots of other Islamic literature. I later visited several of the 12 mosques located throughout the island and found some to be abandoned. This wrenched my heart to see the possibilities vs realities of the fall of the empire so to speak.

After a fruitful day we went to another town called Hormiguero to visit my brother and sister from my father’s side and my brother had called Hajji Wilfredo to find out what to cook and what not to cook for the Muslims. My brother Miguel and my sister Edna just couldn't contain themselves, so while they cooked (Arroz con gandules with bisteak encebollado)rice with ganduls and steak with a lot of onions, brother Yasser and myself were able to make salat in total peace with plenty of love for Islam, after that my dear freind Yasser broke out with a little Dawah . It was received with warmth and believe me they loved it, the people in Puerto Rico are just waiting for someone to step forward to bring them some truth.
After spending a day like this is Puerto Rico my Brother and Sister just weren't ready to let me go so I had to drive brother Yasser back to Camuy , so that night we drank Puerto Rican coffee which I know to be the best coffee in the world and we exchanged stories about our father . That night I rested peacefully under the palm trees and moonlight of the Caribbean wonderful as it was Mobile, Al is my home.

As I woke and made my Fajr and remembered that I make a commitment to an incarcerated brother back in the states in Jessup, Ga that i would visit his mother who lives in Carolina, Puerto Rico. I started to get dress again, by this time my sister in law was making that Puerto Rican coffee and I just had to drink two cups and tell my brother the news that I was not going to be able to spend the day with him Alhamduillah that he understood and I was able to get on my way to Carolina which is next to San Juan it took me 2 hours driving to get to San Juan to my Hotel to change clothes and also to phone Ms Norma Rivera to let her know that I would visit her about 2 o'clock , it took me longer than I thought to get to her house but i finally found the house and was able to give her a hug and a big kiss from her son whom she had not seen in 18 years! I told her that her son found Islam while incarcerated and had acquired a PhD while in prison and would inshallah regain his freedom by the end of the Year . With this I could finally say” Mission accomplished “ on my trip to Puerto Rico.
At the airport I was shopping for some souvenirs, a young lady working there mistook me for a singer and was asking about my names origin , I took this as an opportunity for da’wah. She said she had always desired a Qur'an in Spanish. She also stated that she had never quite accepted the trinity and had secretly always believed in one G-d. It just so happened I had a Spanish / Arabic Qur'an in my briefcase and that was my final good deed in Puerto Rico.

Revisiting my homeland fortified my beliefs that Islam could change the face of our people. It could end racism, gangs and poverty. It could bring about positive changes in our attitude and way of conduct as a people. I love a little pic I found of this sister holding up some plaques and how Islam alters your personality in a positive way.

In order for Islam to flourish in Puerto Rico they need Spanish Language Islamic Literature on all levels . A library in Vega Alta would be a good start. Puerto Ricans need scholars to visit and teach Quran, Fiqh, Seerah, Aqeedah and Hadiths etc. They need the most sincere and bright minds to further their studies overseas and to prepare them to run the masjids and integrate the Muslims with the community at large. Whether we are speaking of interfaith work alongside Christians on service programs or Intrafaith among immigrants and natives. There is a lot of work to be done and it is ONLY the beginning. I would like to see the sisters participate and develop more Islamic weekend schools and possibly a Madrassa. To do this we need dedication and pure intentions to serve and seek ONLY the pleasure of ALLAH swt.

We need a united front with the Latino organizations in the mainland. I am speaking of the ones run by Latinos themselves. We need a concerted effort to make this happen now and by the end of the year to see definitive results. Anyone who wants to contribute books for the library or sponsor a scholar should contact me until we can get a working organization to bridge island to mainland Latinos.

On July 10-11, 2009 The international Museum of Islamic Culture in Jackson, Mississippi will be hosting a national conference workshop entitled “Latino Renaissance” . Join me and other Latinos who are reviving and working on the framework of this Renaissance. Be part of the journey!

Start a Library to benefit the Latinos on the island. Send your New or gently used Islamic literature, prayer rugs and videos .
For more information or to contact me at:

Latino Islam
Imam Yusef Maisonet
1319 Bay ave
Mobile, Al 36605

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Miss Sexy in a Hijab

Posted: March 11, 2010 by Ruwayda Mustafah at  Quantcast

The way we dress, conduct ourselves and express ourselves tend to convey pieces of our character. The image we create through the way we dress, talk and even walk manifest our attitude and character. Let’s examine, perhaps subjectively so the justification or the reasoning behind make-up with a Hijab which creates what I call “Miss sexy in a Hijab”.

Truthfully and bluntly speaking being sexy, looking sexy and desired is something all women care about and admire. This can be derived in the Halal way – yes! We don’t talk about looking sexy, and not just that but also feeling sexy because of a culture of silence that has a draconian effect on society. Hijab is modesty, a bit of make up adds sassiness and off course looking sexy makes one look fashionable – but let’s call it ‘presentable’ since this is a word used loosely among many and even preferred.

Looking sexy, to whom?
You can be as sassy, sexy and flirtatious to your lawful partner as you want. This is desirable and recommended in Islam because it’s a good thing that will keep your marriage spicy and exciting so don’t loose grips of it – take pride in yourself, your looks, charm and beauty. However, inviting the attention of men to yourself by wearing excessive make-up and skimpy clothing is not permissible (in accordance to Islam) and many Muslim women from the east to the west struggle with this. Take this as a stern warning, from the beloved and merciful Mohammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎)
There are two types of people who will enter the Hell-fire, whom I have not (as yet) seen: People having whips similar to ox-tails with which they will beat people, and (secondly) women who will be dressed yet appear to be naked. They will seduce men and be inclined towards them. Their heads will be like the swaying humps of bacterial camels. They will neither enter paradise, nor smell its fragrance, even though its fragrance can be smelt from such and such distance.” (Narrated by Abu Hurairah, Recorded in Sahih Muslim, no. 2128)

Clearly one could say but I don’t wear Make-up to seduce strange men, I could not careless about them but I wear it for myself because it makes me feel better, more confident and comfortable in my own body. You might not be wearing Make-up to seduce strange men, but you are in effect doing so. A mother may be trying to secure a good career for her son but in effect she might be making him miserable because he doesn’t want to become a pharmaceutical student. Sometimes we might be unaware of the effect of our actions regardless of our intentions – clearly actions are by intentions but the intention must be consistent with the action but perhaps, and I hope this is not the case that you don’t really care – So what if I dress seductively, I enjoy it, what’s your problem? Clearly I’m not bothering you nor impinging upon your private life, so mind your own business and stop being so judgemental. In this case you dress to please strange men, but I doubt any decent woman would say such a thing.

University changes people for the better and worse, and I hope in my case it’s for the better. Every morning, rushing to get into the lecture theatre on time, finding a place to park your car, or patiently waiting for the bus to go just a tad bit faster is a tedious experience for many, but regardless of all this you will find among women on Campus the finest make-up put on with much effort and precision. It’s surprising that if you see a woman without make-up she won’t even look at you in the eye, as if a part of her is missing or that she is no longer worthy to be looked at. Beauty is admirable and not everyone has the best of features but the most beautiful woman if accompanied by a rigid, selfish and arrogant personality will soon cease to be beautiful. Confidence is not derived from looks, this is an illusion because true confidence is derived from knowledge, certainty and conviction. Building your confidence through bettering your self-image the right way and not artificially by applying excessive make-up is long lasting and achievable because confidence is not a powder you put on your face, it’s a mentality which comes from experience.

Insecure women always try to find ways to make themselves feel more secure about how they look, act and behave. The Muslim woman is just as cautious as any other woman when it comes to her looks, how she smells, and whether she looks ‘normal’. The question I’ve wondered about, are women really sexy with Hijab and excessive Make-up? Personally, the answer is a obvious no-no sweetie. The eye-shadow, Mac Kohl and blusher, lip gloss, mascara and whatever else that is on makes most women look rather ugly and unnatural but, this is secondary to the point I’m trying to make.

Please don’t understand what I’m trying to say as a form of justification to belittle, humiliate, mock or make any derogatory comments about women who wear Hijab – and I understand each person has different views and beliefs on matters as such.