Friday, December 18, 2015

IRC Holiday Closings

In observance of the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the IRC will be closed Thursday through Sunday both weeks. We thank you for your understanding and welcome you during our open hours.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fundraising Dinner Preparations

It is hard to believe that the annual Fundraising Dinner is a month away. We here at the Islamic Resource Center are furiously working to get all of the details in place to give you a spectacular evening replete with sumptuous food and amazing entertainment.

Last year we gave you Native Deen. Their Islam inspired R&B hip hop music lifted hearts and minds. This year we will be presenting Sanabel Al Quds dance troupe. Their dabke dances, popular folk dances in Palestine and the Levant region of the Middle East, are sure to inspire.

You will be getting your tickets shortly and please respond early before tickets sell out. Once that deadline is past, we can't guarantee to get you in. The deadline for ticket sales is November 24th. We hope to see you there.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The IRC to be closed for Eid Al-Adha

In observance of Eid Al-Adha, the Muslim holiday following the Hajj pilgrimage, the Islamic Resource Center will be closed Thursday, September 24th through Saturday, the 26th. We will return to regular operating hours Sunday, September 27th. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fall Arabic Program

Sign up now for the Fall Arabic classes! This summer we started our first regular Arabic classes for middle and high school students. Now we are expanding them. In addition to middle and high school students, we will also be having classes for adults. These are thirteen-week sessions held every Sunday here, at the Islamic Resource Center.

Middle and high school students are still required to have some Arabic background prior to the class and have taken the summer course offered here or take a special weekend review seminar September 12-13th. For those middle and high schoolers new to the program, a special survey must be completed regarding their experience with Arabic prior to acceptance.

The Adult Arabic Class is a thirteen week class open to anyone interested in the Arabic language. This is a great opportunity for those interested in learning, whether or not you have experience. In fact, no experience is necessary. Sign up now because space is limited and we won't be having another beginners' Arabic class for probably another year.

Classes stress modern spoken and written Arabic rather than Qur'anic Arabic. Tuition for the adult session is $160. Middle and high school tuition is $220. The textbook is not included in price of tuition. Successful completion of the course will result in a certificate of achievement.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summer Reading Coming to a Close

With school just around the corner, the Summer Reading Program is in its final stretch. All book logs must be in by August 31st. Winners will be announced on the second Friday in September. Remember, only log sheets turned in by August 31st will be considered. Good luck!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Your Donations Hard at Work

Meet the newest members of the Islamic Resource Center. Whether you are two or one hundred and two, we have some wonderful new books for you to discover. These fantastic books wouldn't be possible without the generous financial contributions from patrons like you:

In the Shade of the Qur'an (18 vol.)
by Sayyid Qutb

"In the Shade of the Qur'an has been universally recognised as an outstanding contribution to Islamic thought and scholarship, to which students and scholars, as well as contemporary Islamic revivalist movements all over the world, owe a great deal. Now that it is available in English, it will continue to enlighten and inspire millions more. It will take its rightful place as an indispensable work of reference for a proper understanding of contemporary Islamic
                                                                                    thinking." -- Back cover.

Stories from the Sahaba (5 vol.)
by Noura Durkee
"IQRA's series, Stories of the Sahaba, is a unique set of books adapted by Noura Durkee. This series presents the lives of the Sahaba, or the companions of the Prophet Mohammad (s), for younger generations of Muslims through rich and engaging stories." -- Noorart website.

Ilyas and Duck and the Fantastic Festival of Eid-al-Fitr
by Omar S Khawaja, illustrated by Leo Antolini
"Eid-al-Fitr is here. Ilyas & Duck are ready to enjoy the day but Duck is confused about how Eid is celebrated. Duck's confusion turns to curiosity and culminates with a fantastic discovery about this exciting festival of breaking the fast.
Join Ilyas & Duck in this action packed story as they explore the fun and excitement of Eid and learn about the charitable nature of it all." -- Inside cover.

Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
by Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Lea Lyon
     "Lailah is growing up, and this Ramadan will be the first one when she will fast. But Lailah's family moved from Abu Dhabi to America last year, and things are different now. Her mother gives her a note for her teacher, explaining why Lailah is not bringing her lunch. But reading the note fills Lailah with worry. Will her teacher understand? Will her classmates?
     At lunchtime, her concerns drive her to the library, where she finds a way to overcome her fears and explain the meaning of Ramadan to her new school
family." -- Back cover.

Come in to the Islamic Resource Center today for these and many others.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer Reading at the IRC

     Summer has officially reached the IRC and we have been hard at work on summer programming for you. I'm proud to say our Summer Reading Program has had a strong start as has the Summer Story Time.

Summer Reading Participants Reading for Fun
    The IRC's Summer Reading Program has managed to reach over 40 kids this year so far! For such a small, but growing organization, that is a lot of kids. And these children aren't just plentiful, they are exuberant and enthusiastic. They don't even wait to go home to read, but make their own space of our facility and read stacks of books while their parents do their own library visit. I think this year might just be the most successful year yet and it isn't even halfway over.

Summer Storytime Participants Getting to Know Each Other
     The Summer Story Time program has been equally successful so far. In this last session, we had over 60 people show up for the event. It has been so successful in fact that we are planning to make this a year-round program. This wouldn't be possible without the support of our community and the help of volunteers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Arabic Program 2015

The Islamic Resource Center has been hard at work putting together new programming for you this summer and is therefore proud to announce Summer Arabic classes for your middle school and high school students. Recent high school grads, college students, and adults are also welcome in the high school class. Individuals interested should fill out a language background survey to determine their eligibility and drop it off at the Islamic Resource Center as soon as possible. Program tuition is $195 and is required to hold your place.
Space is limited and classes start June 15th.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kamani Thobes for Ramadan

The Islamic Resource Center's Gift Shop now carries clothing. We have had hijabs and kufis for a while, but are now proud to bring you Kamani thobes just in time for Ramadan. Want to look your best? Have someone special who has just been aching to own one of Kamani's designs? Now is your opportunity. As your exclusive retailer of these handsome thobes in the Milwaukee/Chicago area, we would like to invite you to come on in and check out our selection of thobes today!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Summer Reading Program is Back!

With school either just ended or almost there, it is time for the Summer Reading Program again. Bring your children into the center to sign up. Participants will be competing in three age groups with the winners eligible to receive a grand prize. Children interested in joining the Summer Reading Program need an IRC library card to participate. Stay tuned for further updates!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Holiday Hours for May-July 2015

In observance of Memorial Day, we will be closed this Sunday and Monday. The Sunday morning class on Muhammad (pbuh) will not be meeting this weekend. We hope your weekend is sunny and warm and we look forward to seeing you throughout the rest of the week.

In other news, Ramadan is fast approaching and with it our holiday hours. While we encourage you to visit, during the month of Ramadan our hours will be Sundays from 10AM through 3PM and Monday through Friday from 10AM through 6PM. We will also be closed July 17th in observance of Eid.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May Women's Networking Brunch - Spiritual Motherhood!

May is the month to celebrate the amazing women that brought us into this world and with that in mind, the MMWC will be hosting a very special networking brunch in honor of Mothers everywhere. Please join us to celebrate motherhood in all its shapes and colors.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

New Children's World Language Books

Interested in improving your Arabic? Have a child learning Arabic? Interested in reading an Arabic interpretation of some classic English children's books? Are you actually a native Arabic speaker longing for the lyrical letters of your native land? Look no further.

Okay, enough with the purple-prose advertising. I really am excited to announce that in our constant quest to improve and expand our collection into new areas we are now adding a Children's Arabic/World Languages section. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we recently acquired a couple collections of Arabic children's books. We are also in the process of attaining popular award-winning Children's picture books in Arabic, Arabic poetry books, traditional Arabic nursery rhymes, and other Arabic materials to better flesh-out this budding collection. Filled with world folk tales, children's stories, vocabulary builders and bilingual story books (so far), this section will be filled with materials to help Arabic language learners practice reading this beautiful language and returning enthusiasts dust off their latent abilities and read some amazing new books.

We are starting with some basics, stories that English speakers will recognize to help bolster understanding of the Arabic language. The idea is that if you understand the basics of what is happening within the stories, even if you don't understand all of the words, you can figure out what they mean by the context of story.

Obviously, this comes from the perspective of the English native learning Arabic. However, eventually this collection should and will become more than just an Arabic learning collection. For those of you looking to start learning the Arabic language, our regular adult collection does contain language learning programs and additional learning materials to better round out your experience. As for those of you already familiar with the Arabic script and language but perhaps may be a little rusty, both our Children's Language section and Adult Language section have materials that should help you along the way. Once more firmly established, the Children's Arabic/World Languages section, as its Adult counterpart has already begun, will also include materials on Islam in both Arabic and other languages to provide a more robust collection for all.

I hope to see you soon.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Great Ramadan Gifts for the Entire Community

It's May and that means Ramadan is almost here. Time to get your loved ones gifts to share on Eid and what better way to do that then to come over to the Islamic Resource Center? You can pick out an enlightening book, entertaining Islamic game or enchanting hijab.

Not seeing the right book or other giftable item for the special people in your lives? Let us know and maybe we can special order the item you are looking for. And now, with our newly extended hours, you can stop by at your convenience.
If you are looking for a worthy cause for donation, all donations given to the IRC are waqf. They help to stock the library shelves with new materials, maintain current materials, and keep our programs running. Without your support, we wouldn't be able to serve you.

That certainly sounds like one-stop shopping for the whole community.

Islamic Princess Books

Between the new Cinderella movie, Frozen Fever, and the media obsession with Kate Middleton's wardrobe (and whether or not she wore the same outfit twice -- GASP!), it seems the western world has gone a little Princess crazy. We at the Islamic Resource Center can relate. But who needs Disney Princesses and English nobility when we have our own?
Introducing the Princess Series from Ali Gator. These princess books teach the beautiful meaning of the 99 names of Allah. From Princess Karima the Generous and Princess Latifa the Subtle to Princess Rasheeda the Guide and Princess Aziza the Mighty, these princess books teach children the virtues and values of the Isalmic faith in beautifully illustrated books perfect for the little princesses in your lives.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jannah Jewels Have Come to the IRC

"An Ancient Map. A Golden Clock. Restoring Peace on Earth."

Four modern girls explore famous times and locations around the world in an effort to retrieve artifacts, outsmart an evil mastermind and restore peace to the world.

Meet the girls of Jannah Jewels:

Hidayah is an excelent archer with intense sight and spiritual insight. Leader of the Jannah Jewels, Hidayah caries the Ancient compass and map to guide them along their journey.

Iman, a lover of knowledge and avid horseback rider with the ability to communicate with animals, carries the Book of Knowledge. She loves animals and is always looking to learn something new.

Sara is the environmentalist. At home in the water, Sara has the ability to breath under water for long periods. Sara loves the earth and wants to "keep it healthy and green."

Jaide is a speedster at heart. The artist of the group and keeper of the Time Travel Watch, Jaide is never without her sketchpad, skateboard or a healthy snack.

The Jannah Jewels series is sure to find its way into your hearts as the girls travel the world, from Timbuktu to Ancient China, Baghdad, and Spain, learn about important events in Islamic history, work together to solve problems and discover they are stronger than they think. Come in to the Islamic Resource Center and borrow or buy your copy today.

Friday, April 24, 2015

IRC To Expand Hours This May

It is amazing how many changes we have been undergoing lately. Between adding new sections, creating new programs and hosting our first-ever film festival, it seems like there is always something going on. Well, now we are changing again to give you more.

Earlier this year we gave you Sunday mornings due to popular demand. Now we are going to expand our regular hours for you even further. Get ready to have your socks knocked off because we are going to be open Monday through Friday from 10AM through 7:30PM! That's 9, count them NINE extra hours we are available to serve you every week!

These extra hours start May 4th. Come in and visit us. Check out a book, buy a Ramadan gift or just say hello. We are waiting for you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Final 2015 Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival Event Thursday

Yes, the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival 2015 #FilmFest #MMFilmFest is finally coming to a close this Thursday. The final showing of the final film, "The Wanted 18," airs at 7 PM at the UWM Union Theatre. As usual, UWM students get in for free. For everyone else, tickets are $6 at the door. This is a fun film and I'm so excited we were able to air it. I know I'll be there and I hope to see many of your smiling faces as well. Let's give this festival the send-off it so richly deserves.

I can't wait to see you there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Wanted 18 Opens Tomorrow

Tomorrow marks the first showing of "The Wanted 18." Tickets are $6 at the door and screening starts at 7pm at the Oriental Theatre. This final film in our festival series #MMFilmFest is so new that trailers were officially released only one month before the festival began!
Told through claymation, "The Wanted 18" tells the story of a group of "pacifist intellectuals and professionals" from the Palestinian West Bank that wanted local alternatives to Israeli goods, purchased 18 cows and transported them to the West Bank, and through trial and error create a dairy co-op. This act of defiance doesn't go unnoticed. After raiding the dairy, Israeli officials photograph the cattle and declare the cattle "a threat to the State of Israel."
If you can't make it to tomorrow, have no fear. The film will be showing again 7PM Thursday, April 23 at the UWM Union Theatre. UWM students receive free entrance to the Union Theatre.

Again, this is the final film in our film series. Let's make this showing the best one yet!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nasreddin Hodja books for all ages

Every religion and culture has its own folk heroes and fools. For much of the Islamic world, Nasreddin Hodja is that character. He was a wise man from Anatolia whose jokes make you "think, laugh, and learn" (Demir Cengiz).


I'm Not Sleepy Yet
Written by Demir Cengiz
     Nasreddin Hodja visited a family in a village. There he performed the night prayer. After chatting for a while, the house owner wanted to remind him it was bedtime.
     "Nasreddin Hodja, why does a person yawn?"
     Hodja, who was rather hungry, responded "Because of either hunger or sleeplessness."
     After forcing himself to yawn, he added: "But I'm not sleepy yet."


Here at the Islamic Resource Center, we aren't tired either. Our quest to satisfy your hunger for books knows no bounds. We have an excellent collection of Nasreddin Hodja books for all ages. They all have that characteristic humor we've come to know and love from all his stories. Borrow one from our library to read today or buy one as a gift. They'll keep you chuckling over his antics even after you've closed the book.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

"The Wanted 18" Opens April 15

The final film in our first annual film festival #MMFilmFest , "The Wanted 18," is set to air April 15th at the Oriental Theatre and April 23rd at the UWM Union Theatre. "The Wanted 18" is a claymation account of a Palestinian co-op and the eighteen cattle they purchase that are then classified as enemies of the State by the Israeli government. For more information, visit the festival website at
Come see this adorable, thought-provoking film as we wrap up our first city-wide film festival. As usual, tickets are $6 at the door and UWM students get in free to the Union Theatre. We hope to see you all there!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Behind the Scenes at the IRC

We have all been working really hard to bring you some amazing programming. With the film festival well underway #MMFilmFest , we have had little time to really sit back and let our collection speak for itself. It is therefore with great pleasure that I write the following update:

This January we were blessed with a donation of 63 excellent hardcover books from the International Islamic Publishing House (IIPH) all of whom are now fully cataloged and in our collection. These are excellent books covering a wide variety of topics and from many points of view.

And with their inclusion, we are within sight of our next major collection milestone. We are within sight of our 2000th item!

To get us there, we are adding three series of children's Arabic books from Ladybird / Lebanon Library Publishing, which will put us over the top. These books are well known children's stories and fables from around the world written in simple to read Arabic. Perfect for those just learning Arabic, these stories are high-quality hardcover books with excellent illustrations and clear script. The few I have seen so far look amazing. I can't wait to get the rest out!

"The Three Billy Goats," "Samer and the Giant," and "The Silly Biscuit"

With these lovely additions to our collection rounding out the first 2000 items, we figured we should celebrate. This May we will host an open house for anyone interested in coming. We haven't set a date yet, but as soon as we do we'll let you know. Stay tuned for more updates.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Giraffada" Opens Tomorrow

The fourth movie in the Festival lineup #MMFilmFest is "Giraffada," about one veterinarian's search for a replacement giraffe for the only remaining zoo on the Palestinian West Bank and the bond between boy and giraffe. For more information on the film, see the festival's website at
"Giraffada" is the only non-documentary in the series. It is set to air Thursday, April 2 at 7PM at the UWM Union Theatre and Wednesday, April 8 at the Oriental Theatre. As with previous films in the series, there will be a post-screening talkback session after each airing. Tickets are $6 at the door. UWM students get in free to the Union Theatre.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New IRC Website

It has been a while in the works, but we are finally up and running with our new website. Thanks to all of the hard work of our new webmaster, our beautiful new site is now looking amazing and working better than ever.

Friday, March 20, 2015

IRC Book Club's Newest Book Now Available for Purchase

The IRC Book Club takes a chapter a month and April starts a new book. They meet the second Monday of each month at 7PM. The IRC Book Club will be starting a new book this month.

Their next book, "Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence," by Karen Armstrong, explores whether or not religion is indeed inherently violent. In an age in which “[i]n the West, the idea that religion is inherently violent is now taken for granted and seems self-evident,” Armstrong's book is a refreshingly level look at the role religion has played and continues to play in the world in regards to war and violence.

For a more in-depth review, please see the New York Times book review by James Fallows.

Come join in the discussion as we explore "Fields of Blood"'s first chapter April 13th at the Islamic Resource Center. Or, if you would rather, simply purchase the book through our bookstore and read it for yourself.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Abd El Kader" to Air Thursday March 26th

For those of you waiting on the next film in the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival #MMFilmFest , the next in the lineup is "Abd el Kader. It is set to air Thursday, March 26th at the Oriental Theatre. This will be the only showing of the film so be there or be square.

A reminder: Tickets are $6 each and first-come-first-served. There will be a post-film talk-back, so bring your questions and comments.

"Abd El Kader" is an animated documentary on the life of Emir Abd el Kader, an Algerian Islamic scholar and Sufi who found himself unexpectedly a military leader leading the struggle against the French colonial invasion in the mid-19th century.

For more information, please visit the film festival's site,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival Continues On Toward Success.

From what I have heard, both showings of "Yemeniettes" by the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival #MMFilmFest were a roaring success. I went to the Wednesday showing and was suitably impressed by both documentary and director. Some of my favorite parts of the film were all of the excellent one-liners the mother of one of the girls would give throughout the film. For those of you that couldn't make it, Wednesday's showing was followed by a talk-back session with the Director/Executive Producer, Leon Shahabian. It was a true treat.

Leon Shahabian proved himself to be a well-spoken, well-informed individual and very approachable. At one point, he even tried to cut the listing of his impressive credits short to get to the questions. During the talk-back, we learned fascinating facts about the area, his filming interests, how they discovered and decided to film the girls, post-filming updates on the families, behind-the-scenes details (including how the girls got their funding) and all sorts of information we wouldn't have otherwise.

The girls were, surprisingly enough, all from upper middle class families with fathers in prestigious governmental positions. I say surprising because of two things. First of all, the area in which they lived appeared, perhaps because of my decidedly American viewpoint, a less than expected level of development. They went to public school, and seemed very much on level with most of the other individuals seen in the documentary. Secondly, he had made sure they were in their everyday clothing to better connect with and inspire fellow Yemeni for, as Leon Shahabian stated during the talk-back, "this film was for them" (the Yemeni people).

We also got a chance to speak with a Yemeni during the talk-back, as a member of the audience was discovered to be an exchange student from the region. Hamza seemed an intelligent, driven individual with a desire to go on to college and make something of himself. He was able to answer questions about various cultural aspects and some insight into his perspective on the situation and his plans for the future. It was a nice parallel with the film that couldn't have gone much better if we had tried.

Here's an update on the "Yemeniettes" girls since the film debuted:

Last Mr. Shahabian heard as of 2012, the girls were still running their company, Creative Generation, with half working the company and the other half away at college to get their degrees and planning on returning to continue their work there and hopeful to expand, both to other countries and into other solar products.

With all of the unrest in Yemen, it is unfortunate to say, not much is known of the girls' current goings on. They are just some of the many people stuck between the Houthis, ISIS and other warring factions in the conflict in their country. It is unfortunate, but war is and has never been "surgical," and forced regime changes rarely clean. However, people remain hopeful. Perhaps one day everything will clear up and the girls can really make a difference. They already have proven an inspiration.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Yemeniettes" Opening

Tonight is the opening night of "Yemeniettes" followed by director led discussion. I will be there along with my other IRC coworkers. We are excited about the director commentary. It should be a fun experience, one that I hope a lot of you are going to join me for. Just a reminder, "Yemeniettes" is a documentary about three young girls from Yemen that enter an entrepreneurial contest with energy saving products, leading the way for future Yemenis to create a brighter future. Join me tonight 7PM at the Oriental Theater. Tickets cost $6. Can't wait to see you there!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Come see "Yemeniettes" at the Oriental Theatre and UWM Union Theatre

The Islamic Resource Center is proud to be working with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, UWM, and the Muslim Society of America to bring you the first annual Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival #MMFilmFest.

Our next film in the festival series is Yemeniettes. It will be showing 7PM Wednesday, March 11th, at the Oriental Theatre and 7PM Thursday, March 12th, at the UWM Union Theatre. Both screenings include post-screening talk-backs with Wednesday's showing including discussion with the director. Tickets cost $6 both nights and UWM students get in free to the Union Theatre. IRC staff will be on site to help and answer any questions you might have.

Yemeniettes follows three Yemeni girls as they compete in an entrepreneurship competition. Their innovation and confidence impress the judges as they showcase a series of products designed to address the energy shortage and limited access to electricity across Yemen. Against all odds, the girls advance and secure their place at the pan-Arab championships where, if they win, they will receive funding to turn their dream into a reality and provide hope to a new generation of Yemeni youth.

We hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Please join us for our annual International Women's Day at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, March 8th, from 1:30-5PM. The event is free and open to the public. Entertainment includes dance and music from around the world, guest speakers, and of course, refreshments. Come and celebrate the women in your life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Welcome to the Islamic Resource Center

Welcome to the Islamic Resource Center's new blog!

For those of you new to our organization, the Islamic Resource Center, opened in 2010, is the first Islamic library in the state of Wisconsin. Its parent organization, the Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition, has been working with the Greater Milwaukee Area for over 20 years to promote an accurate understanding of the Islamic faith in our society and interfaith dialog between principle members of our ever-growing community.

The Islamic Resource Center (IRC) has been hard at work adding new materials and collections, better organizing existing collections, and finding and creating new and better programming to meet your needs. We have been fortunate enough this past year to add Young Adult, Children's Media and World Languages collections, are hard at work providing you with programs such as Poetry Slam Nights, Author Talks, Book Club, and monthly Networking Brunches, and working with our community to bring you International Women's Day, the Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival and interfaith events for all ages.

I am your librarian here at the IRC. I will serve as your guide, giving you a backstage pass to the workings of the Center. We are thrilled here for all of the changes that have gone into what we hope will be an even better place to find updates on events and Center activities, new books and other exciting opportunities.

Stay tuned for news and updates as we continue to expand our horizons.