Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A00109 - Abbas Attar, Iranian Photographer Who Documented the Impact of Extremism

Abbas Attar
Abbas Attar (Persian: عباس‎; full name: عباس عطار ʿAbbās ʿAṭṭār; b. March 29,1944, Khash, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran – d. April 25, 2018, Paris, France), better known by his mononym Abbas, was an Iranian photographer known for his photojournalism in Biafra, Vietnam and South Africa in the 1970s, and for his extensive essays on religions in later years. He was a member of Sipa Press from 1971 to 1973, a member of Gamma from 1974 to 1980, and joined Magnum Photos in 1981.
Attar, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, dedicated his photographic work to the political and social coverage of the developing southern nations. Beginning around 1970, his major works were published in world magazines and included wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa with an essay on apartheid.
From 1978 to 1980, Abbas photographed the revolution in Iran, and returned in 1997 after a 17 year voluntary exile. His book iranDiary 1971-2002 (2002) is a critical interpretation of its history, photographed and written as a personal diary.
From 1983 to 1986, Abbas travelled throughout Mexico, photographing the country as if he were writing a novel. An exhibition and a book, Return to Mexico, journeys beyond the mask (1992), which includes his travel diaries, helped him define his aesthetics in photography.
From 1987 to 1994, Abbas photographed the resurgence of Islam from Xinjiang to Morocco. His book and exhibition Allah O Akbar, a journey through militant Islam (1994) exposes the internal tensions within Muslim societies, torn between a mythical past and a desire for modernization and democracy. The book drew additional attention after the September 11 attacks in 2001.
When the year 2000 became a landmark in the universal calendar, Christianity was the symbol of the strength of Western civilization. Faces of Christianity, a photographic journey (2000) and a touring exhibit, explored this religion as a political, a ritual and a spiritual phenomenon.
From 2000 to 2002 Abbas worked on Animism. In our world defined by science and technology, the work looked at why irrational rituals make a strong come-back. He abandoned this project on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Abbas' book, In Whose Name? The Islamic World after 9/11 (2009), is a seven year quest within 16 countries.  As set forth in this book, opposed by governments who hunt them mercilessly, the jihadists lose many battles, but they may be winning the war to control the mind of the people, with the "creeping islamisation" of all Muslim societies.
From 2008 to 2010 Abbas travelled the world of Buddhism, photographing with the same sceptical eye for his book Les Enfants du lotus, voyage chez les bouddhistes(2011). In 2011, he began a similar long-term project on Hinduism which he concluded in 2013.
Before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world.
He died in Paris on April 25, 2018.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A00108 - Asma Jahangir, Pakistani Human Rights Lawyer and Social Activist

Jahangir, Asma
Asma Jilani Jahangir (Urdu: عاصمہ جہانگیر‎, transliteration 'Asimah Jahangir,  January 27, 1952 – February 11, 2018) was a Pakistani human rights lawyer and social activist who co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.  She was widely known for playing a prominent role in the Lawyers' Movement and served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur  on Freedom or Belief and as a trustee at the International Crisis Group.
Born and raised in Lahore, Jahangir studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary before receiving her B.A. from Kinnaird and LLB from the Punjab University in 1978. In 1980, she was called to the Lahore High Court, and to the Supreme Court in 1982. In the 1980s, Jahangir became a democracy activist and was imprisoned in 1983 for participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy against the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq. In 1986, she moved to Geneva, and became the vice-chair of the Defence for Children International and remained until 1988 when she moved back to Pakistan.
In 1987, Jahangir co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and became its Secretary General until 1993 when she was elevated as the commission's chairperson. She was again put under house arrest in November 2007 after the imposition of emergency. After serving as one of the leaders of the Lawyers' Movement, she became Pakistan's first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association. She co-chaired South Asia Forum for Human Rights and was the vice president of International Federation for Human Rights. Jahangir served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion from August 2004 to July 2010, including serving on the United Nations panel for inquiry into Sri Lankan human rights violations and on a fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements.  In 2016, she was named as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, remaining until her death in February 2018.
Jahangir's prominent writings include The Hudood Ordinance: A Divine Sanction? and Children of a Lesser God.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A00107 - Shadia, Egyptian Actress and Singer

Shadia
Fatma Ahmed Kamal Shaker (Arabic: فاطمة أحمد كمال‎), better known by her stage name Shadia (b. February 8, 1931, Sharqia Governorate, Egypt – d. November 28, 2017, Cairo, Egypt), was an Egyptian actress and singer. She was famous for her roles in light comedies and drama in the 1950s and 1960s. Her first appearance was in the film el-Aql Fi Agaza (The Mind on Vacation), and she retired after her last film La Tas'alni Man Ana (Don't Ask Me Who I Am).

Born Fatma Ahmed Kamal Shaker in 1931, in the Sharqia Governorate, in Egypt. Her father, Ahmed Kamak Shaker, was an Upper Egyptian man whose family moved to El Sharqia and her mother was from a family of both Egyptian and Turk origin. She began acting at the age of thirteen.
Shaker was given the stage name "Shadia" by the film director Helmy Rafla. In her heyday during the 1950s and 1960s, Shadia acted in numerous melodramas, romance, and comedy films. However, it was her musical talent as a singer that established Shadia as one of the most important Egyptian cinema stars of her era.
Overall, as "Shadia", she performed in more than 100 films. She starred in more than 30 films with the actor Kamal el-Shennawi, and sang opposite Farid al-Atrash and Abdel Halim Hafez,  such as in "The People's Idol" (1967). She also appeared with Faten Hamama in "An Appointment with Life" (1954), and in "The Unknown Woman" (1959) she played the role of Fatma in a heavy melodrama. Other notable films she starred in include "The Thief and the Dogs" (1962) and in her comedy roles in films "Wife Number 13" (1962) and "My Wife the General Manager" (1966). Indeed, Shadia was often cast in cunning and cheeky roles, however, she also played serious roles, such as in "The Road" (1964), and in the stage version of "Raya and Sakina", which was based on the true story of two Alexandrian serial killers and directed by Hussein Kama (1953).
After retiring from acting, Shadia joined a number of Egyptian actresses who took on the veil (hijab) in an act of Islamic resistance and salvation.
Shadia is considered one of the most popular and most talented singers and actresses in the Arabic movie and entertainment industry. Her songs and movies are still sought after, and her songs are popular among all generations.
Shadia was hospitalized on November 4, 2017 after suffering a massive stroke in Cairo. 
On November 28, 2017, Shadia died from respiratory failure caused by the pneumonia.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A00106 - Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Kurd Who Served as President of Iraq




Talabani, Jalal 
Jalal Talabani (b. November 12, 1933, Kelkan, Iraq — d. October 3, 2017, Berlin, Germany) was an Iraqi Kurdish politician who served as President of Iraq from 2005 to 2014. 

Talabani’s involvement in politics began at an early age. He joined the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) at age 14 and was elected to the KDP’s central committee at age 18. In 1956, he founded the Kurdistan Student Union, later becoming its secretary-general. After receiving a law degree from Baghdad University in 1959, Talabani served as the commander of a tank unit in the Iraqi army.

When the Kurds revolted against the government of 'Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1961, Talabani joined the resistance, leading a successful campaign to force the Iraqi army out of the district of Sharbazher. He subsequently undertook several diplomatic missions in Europe and the Middle East on behalf of the Kurdish leadership.

In 1975, Talabani and a group of Kurdish activists and intellectuals broke with the KDP and founded a new political party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. During the late 1970s and early ’80s, Talabani helped to organize Kurdish resistance to the Ba'thist regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.  Saddam’s successful military campaign against the Kurds (1987–88) forced Talabani to flee Iraq. Following the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Talabani returned to Iraq to help lead a Kurdish uprising against Saddam, which failed after United States led forces refused to intervene to support the rebels. Talabani subsequently worked with the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and France to establish a “safe haven” for Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan in the far north and northeast of the country.

After the overthrow of Saddam in the 2003 Iraq War, Talabani became a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, which developed Iraq’s interim constitution. In 2005, Talabani was elected interim president of Iraq by the National Assembly, and he was re-elected to a four-year term in 2006 and again in 2010. As president, Talabani worked to reduce sectarian violence and corruption within Iraq and to improve relations with Turkey, which had accused Iraq of allowing Kurdish rebels within Turkey to operate from bases in Iraqi Kurdistan. Talabani, suffering from poor health following a stroke in 2012, spent much of the last two years of his presidency receiving medical treatment in Germany. He was succeeded as president by another Kurdish politician, Fuad Masum.

A00105 - Mohammed Akef, Muslim Brotherhood Leader

Akef, Mohammed
Mohammed Mahdi Akef (Arabic: محمد مهدى عاكف) (b. July 12, 1928, Kafr Awad Al Seneita, Dakahliya Province, Egypt – d. September 22, 2017, Cairo, Egypt) was the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egypt-based Islamic political movement, from 2004 until 2010. He assumed the post, that of "general guide" (Arabic: المرشد العام - frequently translated as "chairman") upon the death of his predecessor, Ma'mun al-Hudaybi. Akef was arrested on July 4, 2013. On July 14, 2013 Egypt's new prosecutor general Hisham Barakat ordered his assets to be frozen.
Akef was born in 1928 in Kafr Awad Al Seneita in Dakahliya Province, in the north of Egypt. The year of his birth was the year the Muslim Brotherhood Movement was founded.
Akef obtained his Primary Certificate of Education at Al Mansoura Primary School, and obtained his Secondary Certificate of Education at Cairo- Fuad 1st Secondary School. He then joined the Higher Institute of Physical Education and graduated in May 1950, after which he worked as a teacher at Fuad 1st Secondary School.
Akef first became involved with the Muslim Brotherhood in 1940, which was then led by Hassan al Banna.
Akef joined the Faculty of Law and assumed responsibility for the Brotherhood's training camps at Ibrahim University (present-day Ain Shams University).  This was during the struggle against the British occupation in the Canal preceding the 1952 Revolution, after which he left responsibility to Kamaleddin Hussein, then National Guard Chief.
The last Sections Akef headed in the Muslim Brotherhood before 1954 were the Students Section and the PE Section at the Groups Headquarters.
Akef was arrested on August 1, 1954 and stood trial on charges including smuggling Major General Abdul Munem Abderraoof (one of the Army chiefs who spearheaded the ouster and expulsion of King Farouq), and was sentenced to death in absentia before the ruling was commuted to life imprisonment.
Akef was released in 1974 and was reappointed General Manager of Youth – a department affiliated to the Ministry of Reconstruction.
Akef then moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to work as an advisor for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth and was in charge of its camps and conferences. He took part in organizing the biggest camps for the Muslim youth on the world arena; in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Australia, Mali, Kenya, Cyprus, Germany, Britain and America.
Beginning in 1987, Akef was a member of the Steering Bureau (Guidance Bureau) of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Akef was elected Member of Parliament in 1987 for the East Cairo electoral constituency.
In 1996, Akef was court-martialed, charged with being head of the Muslim Brotherhood International Organization, and was sentenced to three years. He was released in 1999.
In 2005, he denounced what he called "the myth of the Holocaust" in defending Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust, and accused the United States of attacking anyone who raised questions about the Holocaust. 
On October 19, 2009, Egyptian newspapers reported that Akef had resigned as the general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood after a dispute among various leaders in the group. However the following day reports on the Muslim Brotherhood website stated that Akef had not resigned and would continue to serve as the group's general guide until elections in January 2010.
Akef's health deteriorated while he was imprisoned by the Egyptian authorities after the 2013 Egyptian coup d'etat, his daughter affirmed that he was isolated in the prison hospital and was only allowed a visit once a week, despite his old age and poor health.
He died on September 22, 2017 at the age of 89.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A00104 - Mahershala Ali, First Muslim to Win an Academy Award for Acting


Ali, Mahershala
Mahershalalhashbaz "Mahershala" Ali Gilmore (b. February 16, 1974, Oakland, California), an American actor and rapper, began his career as a regular on series such as Crossing Jordan and Threat Matrix before his breakthrough role as Richard Tyler in the science-fiction series The 4400. His first major film release was in the 2008 David Fincher-directed romantic fantasy drama film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and his other notable films include Predators, The Place Beyond the PinesFree State of JonesHidden Figures, and as Boggs in The Hunger Games series. Ali is also known for his roles in the Netflix series House of Cards as Remy Danton and as Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes in Luke Cage. 
For his performance as mentor Juan in the drama film Moonlight (2016), Ali received universal acclaim from critics and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the SAG Award and the Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor, and received a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award nomination.  his win at the 89th Academy Awards made him the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar. 
Ali was born in 1974, in Oakland, California, the son of Willicia and Phillip Gilmore. He was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and returned to Oakland when he was fourteen. He is named after Maher-shalal-hash-baz, a biblical prophetic-name child. Raised Christian by his mother, an ordained minister, he later converted to Islam, changing his surname from Gilmore to Ali, and joining the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His father appeared on Broadway.  He attended St. Mary's College of California (SMC) in Moraga, where he graduated in 1996 with a degree in mass communication.
Though Ali entered SMC with a basketball scholarship, he became disenchanted with the idea of a sports career because of the treatment given to the team's athletes. Ali developed an interest in acting, particularly after taking part in a staging of Spunk that later landed him an apprenticeship at the California Shakespeare Theater following graduation. Following a sabbatical year where Ali worked for Gavin Report, he enrolled in New York University's graduate acting program, earning his master's degree in 2000.
Ali was known professionally as Mahershalalhashbaz Ali until 2010. He is known for his portrayal of Remy Danton in the Netflix series House of Cards, Cornell Stokes in Luke Cage, Colonel Boggs in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, and Tizzy in the 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. 
His first major film release was in the 2008 David Fincher-directed romantic fantasy drama film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and his other notable films include Predatorsthe Place Beyond the PinesFree State of JonesHidden Figures, and as Boggs in The Hunger Games series.  
For his performance as mentor and drug dealer Juan in the drama film Moonlight (2016), Ali received universal acclaim from critics and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Screen Actors' Guild (SAG) Award and Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor, and received a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award nomination. His win at the 89th Academy Awards made him the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.
Ali married Amatus-Sami Karim in 2013.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A00103 - Hadje Halime, the Mother of the Chadian Revolution

Halime, Hadje
Hadje Halime (b. 1930, Salamat, Chad - d. January 7, 2001) was a Chadian activist, educator, and politician called the "mother of the revolution".  Hadjé Halimé Oumar was born in the town of Salamat in 1930 to a mother from Salamat and a father from Abeche. She became involved with the Parti Progressiste Tchadien (PPT) in 1950 while working as a Quranic instructor. She was able to bring in more women who did not know French due to her knowledge of Chadian Arabic. At the time she had only a limited grasp of French. She was particularly close to Gabriel Lisette, the founder of the party, and his wife, Lisette Yéyon. She became responsible for recruiting Northern women following the General Meeting of April 2, 1950.  Halimé harshly criticized the colonial administration's poll tax, and declared that if the PPT secured a victory, the poll tax would be abolished for all despite the platform calling for ending the tax only on women. She declared that Lisette was the undisputed leader of the party, despite the rise of Southern Chadian politician Francois Tombalbaye, and traveled to France on Lisette's urging to meet with the French politician Rene Coty. 


However, in 1959 and 1960, Tombalbaye gained power and Lisette was removed from power.  Halimé became the target of repression soon after independence, unlike her PPT female colleague Kaltouma Nguembang.  As part of a purge of those near to Lisette, Halimé's only son was murdered, and she was arrested in September 1963. At first, she was taken to Massenya in Chari-Baguirmi Region, then to a central prison in Chad's capital of N'Djamena, and finally to a dreaded prison at Kela. At the Kela prison, she was regularly tortured by guards through electrocution while French and Israeli army officers supervised. Her torture resulted in her losing all her fingernails and hair. Despite Tombalbaye wanting Halimé to be killed, a French officer spared her life. In an interview, she stated that only her faith was able to keep her going through the difficult circumstances of torture. She was finally released on April 28, 1975, days after the overthrow of Tombalbaye and his regime. Out of 600 people who were imprisoned during this purge, she was one of only 45 who lived.


Lisette, who had been exiled in France, helped bring her to Paris to receive medical treatment. Halimé spent time in a hospital in Cote d'Ivoire, where the president Felix Houphouet-Boigny mandated that her medical care be free. She later joined the National Liberation Front of Chad or FROLINAT, which was based in Libya. In 1978, she moved to Tripoli and returned to politics. FROLINAT members dubbed her "the mother of the revolution", and the party seized power in 1979. She also began educating girls in Libya and founded an Islamic school, the Rising New Generation, where she taught religion, home economics, and child care. She taught over 3600 girls at the school during her years there.
Halime returned to N'Djamena in 1980 with the Popular Armed Forces (FAP) leader Goukouni Oueddei. She was then the president of the women's faction of FROLINAT. After the election of Hissene Habre in 1982, she left with forces loyal to Oueddeï in Libya. While in Libya, Halimé taught military skills to exiled Chadian women. She returned to Chad in 1991, a year after the overthrow of Habré by Idriss Deby.  Many people told Deby they would support him only if he received the backing of Halimé, which she eventually gave. Shortly after her return, she won a seat in Chad's parliament and served there until 1996.
In 1993, Halime participated in the National Sovereign Conference (CNS), and was one of the most fervent defenders of the Arabic language. In 1994, she created an association called Women Az-Zara. On behalf of the association, she was voted among ten women candidates to be a member of the Higher Council of Transition, staying four years. In June 1996, she ran for parliament as a member of the opposition National Front of Chad party, as it was impossible to run as an independent. She was defeated but maintained the election was rigged. Halimé afterwards cared for orphans whose parents were killed during the Habré regime. She also opened an Arabic school in N'Djamena.
Halime went on six pilgrimages to Mecca in her life, including one last trip in 2000. She died on January 7, 2001.