Friday, February 26, 2016

Mohammed Assaf

Weekly Report 3
Sunday, Feb 28, 2016
Mohammed Assaf
As I was researching for the most famous Arab Musicians, I came across a very intelligent young Arab singer. This young man had done and continues doing so many incredible things to help young people. He used the power of his music and voice to change the world. And in fact, I was inspired by him and what he does.
Mohammed Assaf, a Palestinian pop singer was born on September 1, 1989 in Misrata, Libya to Palestinian parents.   He lived there until he was 4 years old, when his parents moved back to Gaza, he grew up in Khan Younis refugee camp to a middle class couple where he attended UNRWA elementary school. His parents had to leave their homeland due war between Israel Palestine.  Assaf math’s teacher started getting him involved in singing when he was only five years old and had an excellent voice. Before he was on TV, he attended Gaza City's Palestine University majoring in media and Public relations.  He started his singing career at weddings and other private events. He broke out to public view in 2000 during a popular local television program where he called in and sung a nationalist song to the host's praise. He traveled from Gaza Strip to Egypt to audition for Arab Idol  and inspired other young Arab around the global. In 2012, Assaf won MTV Europe Music Award as Best Middle East Act. He also won MTV Europe Music Award for Best Worldwide Act.  
Mohammed Assaf is not only a great singer, but also an individual who is making positive changes in other’s people lives around the world. As a refugee from Gaza Strip, he knew what exactly he had to do to help others.  As a child the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Mohammed Assaf is the ideal individual to be the first goodwill ambassador in the more than six decades of the UN history. He was appointed by Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, as the Agency's Regional Youth Ambassador for Palestine Refugees in June 2013. Since his appointment, he has used his voice and his talent to help UNRWA give other young people the same support it gave him. With the universal language of his music, he carries the message of UNRWA and young Palestine refugees to new audiences, including in the region to Dubai and Kuwait, and others. In November 2013, he took that message to the United States, bringing the voice of Palestine refugee youth to the United Nations in New York City.  
On April 8, 2015, Mohammed Assaf, UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador for Palestine Refugees was the special guest and gave a performance at an event in Gaza organized by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to celebrate the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. He also gave a performance at an UNRWA fundraising reception hosted by Madam Sawsan Asfari in London.  Assaf continues to use his music as the voice of people today.   

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dr. Deveny's lecture

Thursday, Feb 18, 2015
Dr. Deveny's lecture

I learned a lot today from Dr. Deveny. I was glad he was able to come to our class today and teah us about the long Islamic legacy in Spain. Dr. Deveny started his lecture with the history of Spain before Muslims and Christians. He started from the time when King Fernando and Queen Isabel were the rulers of Spanish territory. As he went on with his lecture, I was able to learn about one of the most important and powerful cities in Spain in 1000 which was Cordoba.

I thought it was interesting when he said “Spain is part of Africa.” I don’t think most people have thought about it this way before.The Muslims armies so successful in conquering Spain because they were willing to fight and were not afraid to die. They were used to fighting battles in desert and traveling a long way from home.       

The Visigoths ruled Spain before the Spaniards and had power over much of the land from the fifth century until the year 720 when battles went on and Christians were able to take over Spain.  

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Weekly Report 2, Malala

Weekly Report 2
Sunday, Feb 14, 2016
Malala’s Impact on World Civilization
Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997 in Mingora, Pakistan. At very young age, Malala began blogging for the BBC about living under the Taliban’s threats to deny her education. For this reason, she had to hide her identity and used the name Gul Makali. However, she was revealed to be the BBC blogger in December of 2009. She continued to speak out about her right, and the right of all women to education. Malala and her family learned about the Taliban’s issue with her when she was fourteen years old. On October 9, 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. She survived and has continued speaking on the importance of education. Her activism resulted in a nomination of the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. That same year, she was awarded Pakistan National Youth Peace Prize. 

On October 10, 2013, she was nominated again as the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thoughts in acknowledgement of her work in the European Parliament.  That same year, she was nominated for Novel Prize. Malala gave a powerful speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, in 2013. She has also written an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, which was released in October 2013. In 2014, she was nominated again and won, becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She continued to take actions on the world education by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. Its expenses covered by the Malala Fund, the school was designed to admit nearly 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18. Today young girls are getting the education they deserve because Malala was able to stood up for the right of women to education. She made and continuing making impacts on young women’s lives around the global. She inspired a lot of young women to stand up for what they believe in. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016


 Sunday, Feb 9, 2016
Weekly Report 1


Syria is facing a civil war where its citizens are seeking peaceful places to live.  Most of Syrian refugees are currently in some of the European countries. Latest news reported that a few Western countries are involved in Syrian civil war. Russia  and the United States are playing significant roles in Syrian war.  Reporter, Donnell stated that Russian president has called for a broad international coalition to fight Islamic State, including the participation of the United States and other Western countries already carry out airstrikes against the militants.  Russian warplanes launched their first airstrikes Wednesday, September 30th against opposition targets in Syria, signaling a new uncertain turn in the long conflict there. A U.S. defense official said, a three-star Russian general arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to advise officials that Russian warplanes would begin launching attacks in Syria one hour before the strikes began Wednesday, September 30th, 2015. According to the Syrian observatory for Human Rights, the Wednesday attacks killed at least twenty-seven people, including five women and six children, airstrikes in the opposition-hold towns of Rastan and Talbised, as well as in the village of Zafaraaneh, all north of Homes. The airstrikes came two days after Putin and President Obama met in New York about coordinating military efforts against Islamic State. Officials at the Pentagon view Russia's decision to carry out the strikes as a rebuke to those talks. Russia moved warplanes, helicopters, tanks and naval forces to western Syria last year in a move that Western leaders feared might signal the Kremlin’s intent to set up forces to protect Assad's government from terrorists. 
             Russian officials said the attacks in support of President Bashar Assad’s government target position of Islamic State, the Al Qaeda breakaway faction that has seized control of vast areas of Syria and neighboring Iraq.  Nonetheless, “Syrian opposition activists said the areas hit were in the hands of other rebel factions, including some fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, a loose grouping that has received aid from Washington and its allies in the Persian Gulf and Turkey.” (McDonnell, 2015). North parts of the city of Homs struck by the Russian warplanes are also reportedly strongholds for a number of hard-line Islamist militias, which include Al Nusra, the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and Ahrar Al Sham, which also has Al Qaeda connections. “The Kremlin leader has insisted, however, that Assad be involved in the anti-terrorism campaign and that any foreign interventions be subject to the approval of the Syrian leader, whom he has described as a bulwark against terrorism.” Western countries are involved in Syrian war because Syrian leader asked for their help.Syrian leader fears losing his country to Islamic State, which explains why he invited Western countries in their war. 
 Syrian state media reported that Russian military planes, operating in cooperation with the Syrian air force, attacked seven areas housing Islamic State “dens” north of Homs, “achieving direct hits and inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorist organization.” (McDonnell, 2015).As a result of Russian president calling for a broad international coalition,  the U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq for more than a year, but its effort has not coordinated with the forces of Assad., said Donnell. Due to Russian attacks against Islam states in Syria, U.S. counter-terrorism officials are concerned that Russia’s airstrikes in Syria will unify militant groups there as well as energize Islamic State’s recruitment in the Caucasus, North Africa and the Middle East, causing militants to temporarily set aside their differences to fight together against the Assad government and its Russian backer. This means that Russian involvement in Syrian war created fear for Russia government because other Islamic countries, such as  North Africa and Middle East might come together to fight Assad and Russia's government.