Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2017 Children's Books Of Note

Every year major publishers, publication reviews and even some of the larger libraries give out honors and awards to books that came out in the previous year. Most are mainstream, non-ethnic, non-religious, non-minority, non-... us. This year, I am proud to announce that two of the children's books in our collection made it into some major publications' "Best of 2017" lists.

Without any more fanfare, they are:

The World is Not a Rectangle
by Jeanette Winter
The Washington Post Best Children's Books 2017
New York Public Library 2017 Best Books for Kids
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017
Parents' Choice recommended
Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing her own cities. After studying architecture in London, she opened her own studio and started designing buildings. But as a Muslim woman, Hadid faced many obstacles. Determined to succeed, she worked hard for many years, and achieved her goals—and now you can see the buildings Hadid has designed all over the world.
By celebrated children's book author and illustrator, Jeanette Winter, writer of The Librarian of Basra and many others.
Amina's Voice
Hena Khan
The Washington Post Best Children's Books 2017
NPR Best Books of 2017
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
From the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Try a Taste of Beirut

For those of you foodies out there, you are in for a special treat. One of our new cookbooks, Taste of Beirut by Joumana Accad, besides being filled with gorgeous photographs, has some spectacular recipes as well. Here is one to get you in the mood:

Spinach Turnovers
(Fatayer Bel-Sabanegh)

Yield: 35 small turnovers

     Dough - 
         1/2 cup warm water (or more as needed)
         3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
         1 tsp salt
         2 tbs oil
     Filling - 
         2 lbs fresh spinach, washed
         4 large onions, finely chopped
         1/4 cup ground sumac
         1 tbs salt plus more as needed
         1 tsp black (or white) pepper
         1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to brush on turnovers
         1/4 cup lemon juice
         1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)

  • Washed spinach must be sprinkled with salt (not taken out of the 1tbs salt mentioned above) and 1/2 of the sumac prior to recipe.
  • Pine nuts should be soaked in a bowl of water for one hour prior to use in recipe.
Directions for dough:
  1. Combine flour and salt in a stand mixer on low speed. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the oil. Then add the water.
  2. Keep kneading at medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is smooth, shiny, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too dry, ad a bit more water; if too moist, add in more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. The amount of water and flour you use depends on the day you are making it. Eventually the dough will take on the right texture -- smooth, firm and supple.
Directions for the turnovers:
  1. Cut the dough into 6 small balls. Sprinkle flour on a large tray and set each ball of dough on the floured tray, dousing it lightly with flour. Cover with a cloth and turn your attention to the stuffing.
  2. Chop the spinach coarsely with the stems. Place the spinach and onions in a large colander and sprinkle with the remaining sumac, salt and pepper. Set over the sink and squeeze the moisture from the mix. Transfer the mix to a large bowl.
  3. Mix the oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the spinach mix until it is moistened but no more than that. If the mix is too wet, it causes the turnovers to open up.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F. Roll out the dough on a floured counter, one ball at a time, as thin as possible. Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass). Place 1 tablespoon of stuffing on each turnover. Lift the turnover on two sides and pinch them first to enclose the circle. Lift the remaining side and pinch to seal to the other two sides to form a pyramid. Place the pyramids on greased cookie sheets. Brush the tops with olive oil. Bake 15 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are golden. Serve at room temperature.

This book and many others are available for checkout and purchase at the Islamic Resource Center. Remember, Ramadan is just around the corner. These books can be a great time saver in the preparation of your evening meals. To further show you the wonders of these books, I will include one recipe every week during the month of Ramadan, so stay tuned to this blog and get your book today!

Memorial Day Closings

In honor of Memorial Day, the Islamic Resource Center and Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition will be closing its doors next week: Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Getting Ready for Ramadan 2017

Ramadan is right around the corner. We understand all that has to go into getting you and your family ready for this joyful month and are here to help. As just a token of our support, we would like to share some of the wonderful books that can help to get you into the mood.

Image result for eid and ramadan songs williamsEid and Ramadan Songs
by Fawzia Gilani Williams
A book of lyrics of Eid songs that teach about Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and Ramadan. These songs and poems are easy to learn and fun to sing. Perfect to get your children into the Ramadan spirit.

An Encouraging Word: A Ramadan Inspired Collection of Essays
by Abu Jamiylah Abdul-Malik
This collection of essays, written during the month of Ramadan, reflecting on the many favors of Allah is sure to put you in a reflective mood as well.

Image result for etiquette with the quranEtiquette with the Quran
by Nawawi
This enduring classic on the etiquette a Muslim must or should have toward the handling and reciting of the Qur'an explores such topics as ritual cleanliness, opportune times for recitation, student-teacher etiquette, and a variety of other issues and topics that not only should every Muslim know and talk about but also are designed to bring you closer to the word of God at such an important spiritual time.

Image result for fasting and dates zuckerFasting and Dates: a Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr Story
by Jonny Zucker
This book is part of a series that explores different cultures and their major holidays in a way that all children can understand. The colorful illustrations are enticing to young children while providing necessary information and the back of the book provides a two-page spread of information for adults including methods of conveying the importance and meaning of the holidays to the children in a meaningful and enjoyable way.

Image result for fasting from alif to yaaFasting From Alif to Yaa: a Day By Day Guide To Making the Most of Ramadhaan
by Umm Mujaahid Khadijah Bint Lacina al-Amreekeeyyah as-Salafiyyah
This guide contains additional daily points of benefit to help readers make the most of the Ramadan season. Containing stories of the Prophets and Messengers including activities for the whole family to enjoy and benefit from for each day of Ramadan, global Muslim recipes and additional support, this is a go-to book for getting the most out of Ramadan this year.

Image result for mecca the blessed medina the radiantMecca the Blessed, Medina the Radiant: the Holiest Cities of Islam
written by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, photographed by Ali Kazuyoshi Nomachi
Mecca and Medina are by far the two holiest cities in the Islamic world. This book, photographed by the distinguished Japanese photographer Ali Kazuyoshi Namachi, a convert to the Muslim faith who was given unprecedented access to both cities, including Medina's Mosque of the Prophet and Mecca's sacred center, the Ka'bah, is sure to inspire. Accompanying the photographs and numerous archival illustrations, Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr's text forms a valuable guide to the spiritual and historical foundations of the Muslim faith.

Image result for lailah's lunchboxLailah's Lunchbox: a Ramadan Story
by Reem Faruqi
Now that she is ten, Lailah is delighted that she can fast during the month of Ramadan like her family and friends in Abu Dhabi, but finding a way to explain to her teacher and classmates in Atlanta is a challenge until she gets some good advice from the librarian, Mrs. Scrabble. Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a wonderful way to bring both Muslim children and their non-Muslim friends together. Read it for classroom story time or as an evening treat. It is sure to open up the season of Ramadan for everyone.

Welcome Ramadan!
by Lila Assiff-Tarabain
"The Spirit of fasting in Ramadan builds human character by encouraging the person to do good and refrain from doing anything that would harm others. The fasting person learns patience, perseverance, self-discipline, sacrifice, and compassion and sympathy for those that are less fortunate." This book helps teach young children the importance of fasting in Ramadan with brilliant illustrations and wonderful wording. Brought to you by the good people of Goodword Kids.

Image result for it's ramadan curious georgeIt's Ramadan, Curious George
written by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mary O'Keefe Young
One of the breakout hits of last year, It's Ramadan, Curious George is sure to please. George is so excited. He is going to celebrate Ramadan with his friend Kareem! Together they sample special treats, make baskets to donate to the needy, and look for the crescent moon. The man in the yellow hat even gets in on the fun with a yellow fez! Come along to celebrate this special time of year with everyone's favorite monkey in the playful book of rhymes.

Image result for the ramadan of shaikh al-hadith muhammad zakariyyaThe Ramadan of Shaikh al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya
by Mohammed Ismail Memon Madani, a.k.a. Ismail Memon
The blessed month of Ramadan is a special gift from Allah. It is an opportunity for any Muslim who makes the most of their time in this blessed month to become a beloved close servant of Allah. Join Shaikh al-Hadith Zakariyya for a wonderful Ramadan journey.

Who Hid the Eid Lamb = Man khaba kharuf al-id
by Taghrid Arif Najjar
Grandmother Fatoum tells her grandchildren how as a child she got attached to the Eid lamb. The story is retold in flashback and set in a Palestinian village. This is a wonderful look at Muslim holiday traditions told through the eyes of a family.

Image result for in the shade of the quranIn the Shade of the Qur'an 
written by Sayyid Qutb, translated and edited by Adil Salahi

This eighteen volume series is considered one of the most preeminent Qur'anic commentaries of the 20th century. It is an earnest and sincere look at man's contemporary achievements and difficulties in the light of the message of the Qur'an. This commentary spans the entirety of the text of the Qur'an. This work has been universally recognized as an outstanding contribution to Islamic thought and scholarship. As a part of your pre-Ramadan study, you can't go much better than this text taking you to the heart of the Qur'an.

Image result for the islamic year gailaniThe Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations
written by Noorah Al-Gailani and Chris Smith, illustrated by Helen Williams
Filled with illustrations, calendars, maps, pictures from the Muslim world, the Names of God and information on Islamic holidays, festivals and celebrations throughout the year, this book will feed your need for knowledge of the important events in the Muslim year.

Now that you have the opportunity to find some stellar and outstanding resources to get you in the Ramadan and Eid spirit, it is time to visit our center and check out (or purchase) some books and movies.

Get ready!
                 Get set!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Politics over Tea

With all of the politics being lobbed around these days, the topic has become quite the hot button subject. What better way to indulge in such a topic than with an intelligent discussion over a hot pot of tea debating the intricacies of a modern Middle Eastern agenda? Here are a few of the books we have on politics at the IRC:

Image result for the arab spring hamid dabashiThe Arab Spring by Hamid Dabashi

This pioneering explanation of the Arab Spring will define a new era of thinking about the Middle East.

In this landmark book, Hamid Dabashi argues that the revolutionary uprisings that have engulfed multiple countries and political climes from Morocco to Iran and from Syria to Yemen, were driven by a 'Delayed Defiance' - a point of rebellion against domestic tyranny and globalized disempowerment alike - that signifies no less than the end of Postcolonialism. Sketching a new geography of liberation, Dabashi shows how the Arab Spring has altered the geopolitics of the region so radically that we must begin re-imagining the 'the Middle East'.

Ultimately, the 'permanent revolutionary mood' Dabashi brilliantly explains has the potential to liberate not only those societies already ignited, but many others through a universal geopolitics of hope.

Image result for arab youth khalafArab Youth: Social Mobilization in Times of Risk by Samir Khalaf and Roseanne Saad Khalaf
In 2011 thousands of Arab youth took to the streets revealing the genesis of a new generation sparked by the desire for civil liberties and participatory democracy.

Arab Youth explores the antecedents of the upheavals and anticipates alternative venues of resistance that marginalized youth—from Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine to Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran—can mobilize to realize their emancipatory expectations.

Image result for aftermath rosenAftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World by Nir Rosen
Nir Rosen’s Aftermath, an extraordinary feat of reporting, follows the contagious spread of radicalism and sectarian violence that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ensuing civil war have unleashed in the Muslim world.

Aftermath is both a unique personal history and an unsparing account of what America has wrought in Iraq and the region. The result is a hair- raising, 360-degree view of the modern battlefield its consequent humanitarian catastrophe, and the reality of counterinsurgency.

Image result for beyond jihad
Beyond Jihad: The Pacifist Tradition in West African Islam by Lamin O Sanneh

Over the course of the last 1400 years, Islam has grown from a small band of followers on the Arabian peninsula into a global religion of over a billion believers. How did this happen?

The usual answer is that Islam spread by the sword--that believers waged jihad against rival tribes and kingdoms and forced them to convert. Lamin Sanneh argues that this is far from the case.Beyond Jihad examines the origin and evolution of the Muslim African pacifist tradition, beginning with an inquiry into Islam's beginnings and expansion in North Africa and its transmission across trans-Saharan trade routes to West Africa.

The book focuses on the ways in which, without jihad, the religion spread and took hold, and what that assimilation process means for understanding the nature of religious and social change.At the heart of this process were clerics who used educational, religious, and legal scholarship to promote Islam. Once this clerical class emerged it offered continuity and stability in the midst of political changes and cultural shifts; it helped inhibit the spread of radicalism, and otherwise challenged it in specific jihad outbreaks.

With its roots in the Mali Empire and its policy of religious and inter-ethnic accommodation, and going beyond routes and kingdoms, pacifist teaching tracked a cumulative pathway for Islam in remote districts of the Mali Empire by instilling a patient, Sufi-inspired, and jihad-negating impulse into religious life and practice. Islam was successful in Africa, the book argues, not because of military might but because it was made African by Africans who adapted it to a variety of contexts.

Image result for muslim girl al-khatahtbehMuslim Girl: A Coming of Age by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh
This is the extraordinary account of Amani’s journey through adolescence as a Muslim girl, from the Islamophobia she’s faced on a daily basis, to the website she launched that became a cultural phenomenon, to the nation’s political climate in the 2016 election cycle with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee. While dispelling the myth that a headscarf makes you a walking target for terrorism, she shares both her own personal accounts and anecdotes from the “sisterhood” of writers that serve as her editorial team at MuslimGirl. Amani’s honest, urgent message is fresh, timely, and a deeply necessary counterpoint to the current rhetoric about the Middle East.

Image result for iraqigirl bookIraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq by IraqiGirl
I feel that I have been sleeping all my life and I have woken up and opened my eyes to the world. A beautiful world! But impossible to live in.

These are the words of fifteen-year-old Hadiya, blogging from the city of Mosul, Iraq, to let the world know what life is really like as the military occupation of her country unfolds. In many ways, her life is familiar. She worries about exams and enjoys watching Friends during the rare hours that the electricity in her neighborhood is running.

But the horrors of war surround her everywhere—weeklong curfews, relatives killed, and  friends whose families are forced to flee their homes. With black humor and unflinching honesty, Hadiya shares the painful stories of lives changed forever. “Let’s go back,” she writes, “to my un-normal life.”

With her intimate reflections on family, friendship, and community, IraqiGirl also allows us to witness the determination of one girl not only to survive, but to create, amidst the  devastation of war, a future worth living for.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Islamic Resource Center and Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition At Large

Since the election and subsequent inauguration, we have been inundated with requests for speaking engagements, public events/appearances, public educational seminars and interfaith outreach services like never before. Our organization has been to more speaking engagements, had more official interviews, and held more educational seminars than ever in my recollection. So much for January and February being our slow months. But we are happy to be able to reach out to so many of you and increase cultural and religious tolerance with so many events within the community. And the outpouring of support the community has provided to our center is heart-warming to say the least. We all wish to thank each and every one of you for your warm wishes and support and hope to remain a part of this wonderful community for many years to come.

As always, we are regularly adding books and media items to our growing collection to better serve you and the community, if perhaps at a slightly slower rate due to the influx of traffic. There just doesn't seem to be enough of us to go around. We will be continuing to host Arabic classes and networking brunches, sponsor film festivals, promote interfaith development and otherwise be a supporting force in our community. All of our programming will continue and we hope we will continue to grow the library into the collection we all know it can be.

Thank you for your support and God bless.


Your friendly, neighborhood IRC librarian,