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.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A00102 - Shirin Ebadi, First Muslim Woman (Iranian) Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Shirin Ebadi(b. June 21, 1947, Hamadan, Iran), Iranian lawyer, writer, and teacher, who received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2003 for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights, especially those of women and children in Iran. She was the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to receive the award.
Ebadi was born into an educated Iranian family; her father was an author and a lecturer in commercial law. When she was an infant, her family moved to Tehran.  Ebadi attended Anoshiravn Dadgar and Reza Shah Kabir schools before earning a law degree, in only three and a half years, from the University of Tehrān (1969). That same year she took an apprenticeship at the Department of Justice and became one of the first women judges in Iran. While serving as a judge, she also earned a doctorate in private law from the University of Tehrān (1971). From 1975 to 1979 she was head of the city court of Tehrān.
After the 1979 revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, women were deemed unsuitable to serve as judges because the new leaders believed that Islam forbids it. Ebadi was subsequently forced to become a clerk of the court. After she and other female judges protested this action, they were given higher roles within the Department of Justice but were still not allowed to serve as judges. Ebadi resigned in protest. She then chose to practice law but was initially denied a lawyer’s license. In 1992, after years of struggle, she finally obtained a license to practice law and began to do so. She also taught at the University of Tehrān and became an advocate for civil rights. In court, Ebadi defended women and dissidents and represented many people who, like her, had run afoul of the Iranian government. She also distributed evidence implicating government officials in the 1999 murders of students at the University of Tehrān, for which she was jailed for three weeks in 2000. Found guilty of “disturbing public opinion,” she was given a prison term, barred from practicing law for five years, and fined, although her sentence was later suspended.
Ebadi wrote a number of books on the subject of human rights. These include The Rights of the Child: A Study of Legal Aspects of Children’s Rights in Iran (1994), History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran (2000), and The Rights of Women (2002). She also was founder and head of the Association for Support of Children’s Rights in Iran. In addition to writing books on human rights, Ebadi reflected on her own experiences in Iran Awakening: From Prison to Peace Prize, One Woman’s Struggle at the Crossroads (2006; with Azadeh Moaveni; also published as Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A00101 - Al-Dimashqi, Medieval Arab Geographer

Dimashqi 

Shams al-Din al-Ansari al-Dimashqi or simply al-Dimashqi (Arabic: شمس الدين الأنصاري الدمشقي‎) (1256–1327) was a medieval Arab geographer, completing his main work in 1300. Born in Damascus — as his name "Dimashqi" implies—he mostly wrote of his native land, the Greater Syria (Bilad ash-Sham), upon the complete withdrawal of the Crusaders. He became a contemporary of the Mamluk sultan Baibars, the general who led the Muslims in war against the Crusaders. His work is of value in connection with the Crusader Chronicles. He died while in Safad, in 1327.

Al-Dimashqi (1325) gives very detailed accounts of each island in the Malay archipelago, its population, flora, fauna and customs. He mentions "the country of Champa ... is inhabited by Muslims and idolaters. The Islam came there during the time of Caliph Uthman ... and Ali, many Muslims who were expelled by the Umayyads and by Al-Hajjaj, fled there, and since then a majority of the Cham have embraced Islam."

Of their rivals the Khmer, Al-Dimashqi (1325) mentions they inhabit the island of Komor (Khmer), also called Malay Island, a land of many towns and cities, rich-dense forests with huge, tall trees, and white elephants; they supplemented their income from the trade routes not only by exporting ivory and aloe, but also by engaging in piracy and raiding on Muslim and Chinese shipping.

A00100 - Ibrahim Yazdi, Khomeini Advisor

Yazdi, Ibrahim
Ibrahim Yazdi, or Ebrahim Yazdi,  (Persian: ابراهیم یزدی‎‎; b. September 26, 1931, Qazvin, Iran – d. August 27, 2017, Izmir, Turkey) was an Iranian politician and diplomat who served as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in the interim government of Mehdi Bazargan,  until his resignation in November 1979, in protest at the Iran hostage crisis. From 1995 until 2017, he headed the Freedom Movement of Iran.
Yazdi studied pharmacology at the University of Tehran. Then he received a master's degree in philosophy again from the University of Tehran.
After the military coup of 1953, which deposed the government of Mohammad Mossadegh, Yazdi joined the underground National Resistance Movement of Iran, and was active in this organization from 1953 to 1960. This organization opposed to the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Yazdi traveled to the United States in 1961 to continue his education and in the United States, continued his involvement in political activities against the Shah.
Yazdi was co-founder of the Freedom Movement of Iran, Abroad, along with Mostafa Chamran, Ali Shariati, and Sadegh Qotbzadeh in 1961. They were all part of the radical external wing of the group. In 1963, Yazdi, Chamran and Ghotbzadeh went to Egypt and met the authorities to establish an anti-Shah organization in the country, which was later called SAMA, special organization for unity and action. Chamran was chosen as its military head before returning to the United States.  In 1966, Yazdi moved the headquarters of SAMA to Beirut.  In 1967, he enrolled at Baylor University and received a Ph.D. in biochemistry.  Yazdi became a naturalized United States citizen in Houston in 1971. 
Yazdi worked as a research assistant of pathology and research instructor of pharmacology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston until 1977. He also worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Houston.
In 1975, Yazdi was tried in absentia in an Iranian military court and condemned to ten years imprisonment, with orders issued for his arrest upon return to Iran. Because of his activities, he was unable to return to Iran and remained in the United States until July 1977. When Ayatollah Khomeini moved to Neauphle-le-Chateau, a Parisian suburb from Iraq in 1978, Yazdi also went to Neauphle-le-Château and began to serve as an advisor to the Ayatollah. He was also his spokesperson in Paris.
In 1978, he joined Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris where the latter had been in exile and became one of his advisors. He translated the reports of Khomeini into English in a press conference on February 3, 1979 in Tehran.  He was the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in the interim government of Mehdi Barargan,  until November 6, 1979. Yazdi proposed to celebrate 'Jerusalem Day' and his suggestion was endorsed by Khomeini in August 1979. In May 1980, he was appointed by Khomeini as head of the Kayhan newspaper.
On November 4, 1979, the United States embassy was taken over for a second time, this time by a group calling itself "Students Following the Line of the Imam (i.e. Ayatollah Khomeini)” and led by Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha, who had closer ties to certain revolutionary leaders.
As before, Yazdi was asked to go to the embassy and resolve the crisis. He asked and received permission of Khomeini to expel the occupiers, but shortly thereafter found out Khomeini had changed his mind and appeared on state television openly endorsing the takeover of the embassy. The entire cabinet of the interim government, including Yazdi and Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, resigned in protest the next day. They stated that they opposed the embassy takeover as “contrary to the national interest of Iran”.
The embassy takeover is considered to have been motivated in part by an internal struggle between various factions within the revolutionary leadership, with Yazdi and Bazargan on one side, and more radical clergy on the other. The embassy attackers, in subsequent statements indicated that one of their primary objectives in the takeover of the United States embassy in November 1979 was to force the resignation of Yazdi, Bazargan, and the entire cabinet.
Among the areas of conflict between the two factions was the behavior of the Revolutionary Courts and the Revolutionary Committees. Yazdi and Bazargan supported a general amnesty for all members of the Shah’s regime, provided that they cease to act against the revolution. They publicly opposed the secret trials and the summary executions carried out by the Revolutionary Courts, led by Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhaali.  Bazargan and other members of the interim government called for fair and open trials for those accused of crimes committed under the Shah’s regime. The radical clerics, on the other hand, stated that the rapid trials and executions were essential to protect the revolution.
After resignation from office, Yazdi and other members of the Freedom Movement of Iran ran in elections for the first post-revolutionary Islamic Consultative Assembly or parliament. Yazdi, Bazargan, and four other members of the Freedom Movement, namely Mostafa Chamran, Ahmad Sadr, Hashem Sabbaghian, and Yadollah Sahabi, were elected. They served in the parliament from 1980 to 1984.
After the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980, Yazdi fully supported the Iranian war effort against the invasion, but opposed the continuation of the war after the Iranian victory in Khorramshahr in 1982. The war continued for an additional six years. During these six years, Yazdi and others in the Freedom Movement issued several open letters to Ayatollah Khomeini opposing the continuation of the war. These letters and other public statements resulted in the firebombing of Yazdi’s residence in Tehran in 1985, and the arrest and imprisonment of several members of the Freedom Movement.
In subsequent elections in Iran for president, parliament, and city councils, Yazdi and other members of the Freedom Movement filed for candidacy but were barred from running by the Guardian Council, because of their opposition to policies and actions of the government.
After the death of Bazargan in January 1995, Yazdi was elected as leader of Freedom Movement of Iran. Under pressure from the revolutionary court prosecutor, Yazdi offered his resignation as FMI Leader on March 20,  2011 to the leadership council of the FMI. By the time of Yazdi's death the leadership council had yet to accept his resignation and Yazdi continued to function as the leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran.
Yazdi was arrested in December 1997 for "desecrating religious sanctities" and was freed on December 26 on bail.  Even after his release, he was barred from leaving the country for many years, and was summoned on a regular basis to answer questions before the revolutionary council, with his lawyer, Nobel Prize–winning Shirin Ebadi. 
On June 17, 2009, during the 2009 Iranian election protests, it was reported that Yazdi was arrested while undergoing tests at the Tehran hospital according to the Freedom Movement of Iran website. On June 22, Yazdi was released back to the hospital for a medical procedure. On December 28, 2009, Yazdi was arrested again in the wake of renewed protests, according to the Jaras reformist website.
Yazdi and several others were arrested on October 1, 2010 in Isfahan for participating in an "illegal Friday prayer." All others were freed within days. Ibrahim Yazdi remained in "temporary custody" — first in Evin prison and then in a "secure" facility under the control of Iran's security forces until March 2011. He was released in April 2011.
On August 27, 2017, Yazdi died of pancreatic cancer in Izmir, Turkey, where he was under treatment.  His body transferred to Iran and was buried in Behesht-e Zahra.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A00099 - Fadwa Suleiman, Syrian Actress and Activist

Suleiman, Fadwa
Fadwa Suleiman or Fadwa Soliman (b. May 17, 1970, Aleppo, Syria – d. August 17, 2017, Paris, France) was a Syrian actress of an Alawite descent who led a Sunni-majority protest against Bashar al-Assad's government in Homs.  She became one of the most recognized faces of the Syrian Civil War.
Born in Aleppo, Suleiman moved to the capital Damascus to pursue an acting career where she performed in numerous plays, Maria's Voice and Media, and in at least a dozen TV shows, including in The Diary of Abou Antar and Little Ladies.  She also played an art teacher at an orphanage in Small Hearts, a television series that helped raise awareness about human organ trafficking and was broadcast by several Arab channels. She also acted in an Arabic adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Qabbani theater in Damascus.
At the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011, Suleiman was one of the few outspoken actresses against Assad's government. Knowing her fate would be death or prison, Suleiman wanted to participate in the demonstration to dispel what she said was public perception that all in the Alawite community, which comprised around 10 per cent of the Syrian population, supported Assad's government. She also wanted to dismiss the government's narrative that those who participate in protests were either Islamists or armed terrorists. She appeared at rallies demanding Assad's removal, sharing the podium with soccer star Abdelbasset Sarout, one of a number of Syrian celebrities who backed the revolt.
Suleiman also delivered impassioned monologues to the camera, calling for peaceful protests to continue across the country until Assad was overthrown.  In one video message in 2011, Suleiman said security forces were searching Homs neighborhoods for her, and beating people to force them to reveal her hiding place. She cut her hair short like a boy, and moved from house to house to evade capture. In 2012, she fled with her husband via Lebanon and moved to France, where they resided in Paris. 
On August 17, 2017, Suleiman died of cancer while in exile in Paris, aged 47.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A00098 - Jack Shaheen, Christian Arab Who Resisted Stereotyping of Arabs



Shaheen, Jack
Jack George Shaheen Jr. (b. September 21, 1935, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – July 9, 2017, Charleston, South Carolina) was a writer and lecturer specializing in addressing racial and ethnic stereotypes. He is the author of Reel Bad Arabs (adapted to a 2006 documentary), The TV Arab (1984) and Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture (1997).  Shaheen was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Christian Arab immigrants from Lebanon, and grew up in Clairton, Pennsylvania.  Shaheen graduated from Clairton High School in 1953. In 1957, he graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 1964, he received a master's degree from Pennsylvania State University.  In 1969, Shaheen received a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Shaheen's work focused on racism and orientalism, particularly in popular culture such as Hollywood films.  He delivered over 1,000 lectures on the issue across the United States and on three continents.  Shaheen was also a former CBS News consultant on Middle East affairs, and professor emeritus of Mass Communications at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.  Shaheen received two Fulbright teaching awards. He was also the Distinguished Visiting Scholar at New York University's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies.  Shaheen died on July 9, 2017 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A00097 - Rula Quawas, Champion of Feminism in Jordan

*Rula Quawas, a prominent academic and champion of women’s advancement in Jordan who was removed as dean of the University of Jordan over a video project in which her female students exposed the sexual harassment they endured on campus, was born in Amman, Jordan (February 25). 

Rula Butros Quawas (b. February 25, 1960, Amman, Jordan - d. July 25, 2017, Amman, Jordan) was born in Amman, into a patriarchal society — women were not given the right to vote until 1974 — that as an adult she would refuse to accept.

Born and raised in Jordan, Rula Quawas graduated with a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of North Texas. At the University of Jordan, Professor Quawas began teaching a wide array of undergraduate and graduate courses pertaining to American Literature, one of which was a groundbreaking course on feminism, focusing on American feminism and its complexities. In addition, she has taught on Arab feminism and contemporary Arab women writers in translation for CIEE (Council on International Education Exchange). As founder of the Women's Studies Center at her university, she was the director for two years -- from 2006- 2008. In addition, she was the founder of Knowledge Production Unit at the Jordanian National Commission for Women in February of 2009. She also serves on many editorial boards such as the Journal of Women’s Entrepreneurship and EducationStudies in Literature in English, and the International Journal of Arabic-English Studies.

In the fall of 2012, Professor Quawas was removed from her position as Dean of Dean of the faculty of Foreign Languages at University of Jordan after a class project created by her students was uploaded to youtube. The video project entitled displayed women students holding signs that depicted insults and verbal harrassment that men have said to them in public.

In 2013, she was named a Fulbright scholar in residence at Champlain College in Vermont. In Jordan, Princess Basma Bint Talal presented her in 2009 with a Meritorious Honor Award for Leadership and Dedication for her efforts to empower women. And she was a finalist for the State Department’s International Women of Courage Award in 2013.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A00096 - Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman to Win the Fields Medal

Mirzakhani, Maryam
Maryam Mirzakhani (Persian: مریم میرزاخانی‎; b. May 3, 1977, Tehran, Iran - d. July 14, 2017, Palo Alto, California) was an Iranian mathematician, and a full professor of mathematics (beginning on September 1, 2008) at Stanford University. 
Her research interests included Teichmuller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.   In 2014, Mirzakhani became the first woman, as well as the first Iranian and the second person from the Middle East (after Elon Lindenstrauss), to be awarded the Fields Medal. 


Maryam Mirzakhani was born in 1977 in Tehran, Iran. She went to high school in the city at the Farzanegan School, a school for gifted girls that is administered by the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (NODET). Mirzakhani competed and was recognized internationally for her math skills, receiving gold medals at both the 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong) and the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad (Toronto), where she was the first Iranian student to finish with a perfect score.

Mirzakhani obtained her BSc in mathematics (1999) from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. She went to the United States for graduate work, earning a PhD from Harvard University (2004), where she worked under the supervision of the Fields Medalist Curtis McMullen. She was also a 2004 research fellow of the Clay Mathematics Institute and a professor at Princeton University. 

Mirzakhani made several contributions to the theory of moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces.  In her early work, Maryam Mirzakhani discovered a formula expressing the volume of a moduli space with a given genus as a polynomial in the number of boundary components. This led her to obtain a new proof for the formula discovered by Edward Witten and Maxim Kontsevich on the intersection numbers of tautology classes on moduli space, as well as an asymptotic formula for the growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on a compact hyperbolic surface. Her subsequent work has focused on Teichmüller dynamics of moduli space. In particular, she was able to prove the long-standing conjecture that William Thurston's earthquake flow onTeichmuller space is ergodic.

Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal in 2014 for "her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces". She was congratulated for her win by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

She married Jan Vondrak, a theoretical computer scientist.  They had a daughter named Anahita.

Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. After four years, it spread to her bone marrow. Mirzakhani died from breast cancer on July 14, 2017 at the age of 40.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A00095 - Amina Cachalia, South African Anti-Apartheid Activist and Friend of Mandela

*Amina Cachalia, a South African anti-Apartheid activist, women's rights activist, and politician was born in Vereeniging, South Africa.  In 1995, while President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela proposed to Cachalia. 

Amina Cachalia(b. Amina Asvat; June 28, 1930 Vereeniging, South Africa – d. January 31, 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa) was a longtime friend and ally of Nelson Mandela. Her late husband was political activist Yusuf Cachalia.

Cachalia was born Amina Asvat, the ninth of eleven children in Vereeniging, South Africa, on June 28, 1930. Her parents were political activists Ebrahim and Fatima Asvat. She began campaigning against Apartheid and racial discrimination as a teenager. She became a women's rights activist, often focusing on economic issues, such as financial independence for women.

Amina and Yusuf Cachalia were friends of Nelson Mandela before his imprisonment at Robben Island in 1962. She became a staunch anti-apartheid activist. She spent fifteen years under house arrest throughout the 1960s and 1970s. She was the treasurer of the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw), a leading supporter of the Federation of Transvaal Women, and a member of both the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress and Transvaal Indian Congress during the Apartheid era.

In 1995, Mandela asked Cachalia to marry him. At the time, he had been separated from his wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Cachalia turned down Mandela's proposal because she said that "I'm my own person and that I had just recently lost my husband whom I had enormous regard for". Mandela divorced Madikizela-Mandela a year later and married Graca Machel in 1998.

Cachalia was elected to the National Assembly of South Africa in the 1994 South African general election, the country's first with universal adult suffrage. In 2004, she was awarded the Order of Luthuli in Bronze for her contributions to gender and racial equality and democracy.
After her death, in March 2013, her autobiography When Hope and History Rhyme was published.
Cachalia died at Milpark Hospital in Parktown West, Johannesburg, January 31, 2013, aged 82. The cause of death was complications following an emergency operation due to a perforated ulcer.
Her funeral was held in her home in Parkview, Johannesburg, according to traditional Muslim customs. It was attended by South African President Jacob Zuma, former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, ANC Deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, former First Lady Graca Machel, former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and fellow activisti Ahmed Kathrada, among others.

Friday, June 9, 2017

A00094 - Adnan Khashoggi, Saudi Arms Dealer

Adnan Khashoggi (Arabic: عدنان خاشقجي‎‎, Turkish: Adnan Kaşıkçı; b. July 25, 1935, Mecca, Saudi Arabia – d. June 6, 2017,  London, England) was a Saudi Arabian billionaire international businessman, best known for his involvement in arms dealing.  He is estimated to have had a peak net worth of around US$4 billion in the early 1980s.
Khashoggi was born in  Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the son of Muhammad Khashoggi,  who was King Abdul Aziz Al Saud's personal doctor. His family is of Turkish origin. Adnan Khashoggi's sister was author Samira Khashoggi Fayed who married businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed and was the mother of Dodi Fayed. Another sister, Soheir Khashoggi,  is a well-known Arab writer (MirageNadia's SongMosaic).
Khashoggi was educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt, and the American university, California State University, Chico; Ohio State University; and Stanford University. Barely a year after arriving at Chico State, at 21, he brokered his first major deal, the sale of $3 million worth of trucks to Egypt. His commission was $150,000. He never returned for his college degree. 
Khashoggi headed a company called Triad Holding Company, which among other things built the Triad Center in Salt Lake City, which later went bankrupt. He was famed as an arms dealer, brokering deals between United States firms and the Saudi government,  most actively in the 1960s and 1970s. One of Adnan's first weapons deals was providing David Stirling with weapons for a covert mission in Yemen during the Aden Emergency in 1963. Among his overseas clients were defense contractors Lockheed Corporation (now Lockheed Martin Corporation), Raytheon, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and Northrop Corporation (which have now merged into Northrop Grumman). 
Between 1970 and 1975, Lockheed paid Khashoggi $106 million in commissions. His commissions started at 2.5% and eventually rose to as much as 15%. Khashoggi became for all practical purposes a marketing arm of Lockheed. 
A shrewd businessman, Khashoggi established companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to handle his commissions as well as developing contacts with notables such as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers James H. Critchfield and Kim Roosevelt and United States businessman Bebe Rebozo, a close associate of United States President Richard Nixon.  His yacht, the Nabila (named after his daughter)was the largest in the world at the time and was used in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again.  After Khashoggi ran into financial problems he sold the yacht to the Sultan of Brunei, who in turn sold it to Donald Trump for $29 million, who later sold it for $20 million to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal as part of a deal to keep his Taj Mahal  casino out of bankruptcy.
Khashoggi was implicated in the Iran-Contra affair as a key middleman in the arms-for-hostages exchange along with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and, in a complex series of events, was found to have borrowed money for these arms purchases from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) with Saudi and United States backing. His role in the affair created a related controversy when Khashoggi donated millions to American University in Washington, D. C. to build a sports arena which would bear his name. Khashoggi was a member of the university's board of trustees from 1983 until his indictment on fraud and other charges in May, 1989.
In 1988, Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland, accused of concealing funds, and held for three months. Khashoggi stopped fighting extradition when the United States prosecutors reduced the charges to obstruction of justice and mail fraud and dropped the more serious charges of racketeering and conspiracy. In 1990, a United States federal jury in Manhattan acquitted Khashoggi and Imelda Marcos, widow of the exiled Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, of racketeering and fraud.
Khashoggi, along with Ramy El-Batrawi, was the principal financier behind Genesis Intermedia, Inc., a publicly traded Internet company based in the United States. In 2006, El-Batrawi and Kashoggi were sued by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for securities fraud.  The case was settled in 2008; both men did not admit or deny the allegations.
In the 1960s, Khashoggi married 20-year-old Englishwoman Sandra Daly (Sandra Patricia Jarvis-Daly) who converted to Islam and took the name Soraya  Khashoggi. They raised one daughter (Nabila, who attended Millfield School in England and whose son is the pianist and composer Thorvald Spartan von Daggenhurst)  and four sons together (Mohammed, Khalid, Hussein, and Omar).  Soraya and Khashoggi divorced in 1974.  Five years later, a judge ordered Khashoggi to pay Soraya $875 million, the largest-ever divorce settlement at the time. 
Khashoggi's second wife, the Italian Laura Biancolini, also converted to Islam and changed her name to Lamia Khashoggi. She was seventeen when she met Adnan and gave him another son, Ali, in 1980.
In the 1980s, the Khashoggi family occupied one of the largest villa estates in Marbella, Spain, called Baraka, hosting lavish parties usually arranged by Robert Young, a local club owner. Guests at these parties included film stars, pop celebrities and politicians including Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1985, celebrity reporter Robin Leach reported Khashoggi threw a five-day birthday party in Vienna for his eldest son, and in his heyday, Khashoggi spent $250,000 a day to maintain his lifestyle.
Khashoggi also owned Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya. His house has since been converted into a hotel which is run by Serena Hotels. 
Khashoggi died peacefully on June 6, 2017 while being treated for Parkinson's disease at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, England.  He was 81 years old.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A00093 - Ado Bayero, Emir of Kano

*Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano from 1963 to 2014, was born in Kano, Northern Nigeria (July 25).

Ado Abdullahi Bayero (b. July 25, 1930, Kano, Northern Nigeria – d. June 6, 2014, Kano, Nigeria) was seen as one of Nigeria's most prominent and revered Muslim leaders.  He was the son of Abdullahi Bayero son of Muhammad Abbas. Ado Bayero was the 13th Fulani emir since the Fulani War of Usman dan Fodio, when the Fulani took over the Hausa city-states. He was one of the strongest and most powerful emirs in the history of the Hausa land. He was renowned for his abundant wealth, maintained by means of stock market investments and large-scale agricultural entrepreneurship both at home and abroad.
Ado Bayero was the son of Abdullahi Bayero, a former emir, who reigned for 27 years. 
Bayero was born to the family of Hajiya Hasiya and Abdullahi Bayero and into the Fulani Sullubawa clan that has presided over the emirate of Kano since 1819. He was the eleventh child of his father and the second of his mother. At the age of seven, he was sent to live with Maikano Zagi.
Bayero started his education in Kano studying Islam, after which he attended Kano Middle School. He graduated from the School of Arabic Studies in 1947. He then worked as a bank clerk for the Bank of British West Africa until 1949, when he joined the Kano Native Authority. He attended Zaria Clerical College in 1952. In 1954, he won a seat to the Northern regional House of Assembly.
He was head of the Kano Native Authority police division from 1957 until 1962, during which he tried to minimize the practice of briefly detaining individuals and political opponents on the orders of powerful individuals in Kano. He then became the Nigerian ambassador to Senegal. During this time he enrolled in a French language class. In 1963, he succeeded Muhammadu Inuwa as Emir of Kano.
Muhammadu Sanusi who was Ado Bayero's half brother ruled after their father from 1953 to 1963. Following his dethronement in 1963, Muhammadu Inuwa ruled only for three months. After Muhammadu's death, Ado Bayero ascended the throne in October 1963. Bayero was the longest-serving emir in Kano's history. Bayero's Palace played host to official visits by many government officials and foreigners.  
Bayero became emir during the first republic, at a time when Nigeria was going through rapid social and political changes and regional, sub-regional and ethnic discord was increasing. In his first few years, two pro-Kano political movements gained support among some Kano elites. The Kano People's Party emerged during the reign of Muhammadu Inuwa  and supported the deposed Emir Sanusi, but it soon evaporated. The Kano State Movement emerged towards the end of 1965 and favored more economic autonomy for the province.
The death in 1966 of many political agitators from northern Nigeria, and the subsequent establishment of a unitary state, consolidated a united front in the northern region but also resulted in a spate of violence there, including in Kano. Bayero's admirers credit him with bringing calm and stability during this and later crises in Kano.
As emir, Bayero became a patron of Islamic scholarship and embraced Western education as a means to succeed in a modern Nigeria. The constitutional powers of the emir were whittled down by the military regimes between 1966 and 1979. The Native Authority Police and Prisons Department was abolished, the emir's judicial council was supplanted by another body, and local government reforms in 1968, 1972, and 1976 reduced the powers of the emir. During the second republic, he witnessed hostilities from the People's Redemption Party led government of Abubakar Rimi.
In 1981, Governor Abubakar Rimi restricted traditional homage paid by village heads to Ado Bayero and excised some domains from his emirate. In 1984, a travel ban was placed on the emir and his friend Okunade Sijuwade.
In 2002, Bayero led a Kano elders forum in opposing the onshore and offshore abrogation bill.
Ado Bayero was seen as a vocal critic of the Islamist group Boko Haram who strongly opposed their campaign against western education.

On January 19, 2013, Bayero survived an assassination attempt blamed on the Islamist group which left two of his sons injured and his driver and bodyguard dead, among others. 


Ado Bayero died on June 6, 2014. He was succeeded by his brother's grandson Muhammadu Sanusi II. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A00092 - Joe Tex, Soul Singer

Tex, Joe
Joe Tex (b. Joseph Arrington, Jr., August 8, 1933, Rogers, Texas – d. August 13, 1982, Navasota, Texas) was a musician who gained success in the 1960s and 1970s with his brand of Southern soul, which mixed the styles of country, gospel and rhythm and blues.
The career of Joe Tex started after he was signed to King Records in 1955 following four wins at the Apollo Theater. Between 1955 and 1964, he struggled to find hits and by the time he finally recorded his first hit, "Hold On To What You've Got", in 1964, he had recorded thirty prior singles that were deemed failures on the charts. He went on to have four million-selling hits, "Hold What You've Got" (1965), "Skinny Legs and All" (1967), "I Gotcha" (1972), and "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)" (1977). 


Joe Tex was born Joseph Arrington Jr. in Rogers, Texas to Joseph Arrington and Cherie Sue (Jackson) Arrington.  He and his sister Mary Sue were initially raised by their grandmother, Mary Richardson. After their parents divorced, Cheri Arrington moved to Baytown, Texas.  Tex played baritone saxophone in the high school band and sang in a local Pentecostal church choir. He entered several talent shows, and after an important win in Houston, he won $300 and a trip to New York City.  Joe Tex took part in the amateur portion of the Apollo Theater, winning first place four times, which led to his discovery by Henry Glover, who offered him a contract with King Records.  However, his mother's wish was that he graduate from high school first, so Glover agreed to wait a year before signing him at age 19.
Tex recorded for King Records between 1955 and 1957 with little success.  In 1958, he signed with Ace and continued to have relative failures, but he was starting to build a unique stage reputation, opening up for artists like Jackie Wilson, James Brown, and Little Richard.  He perfected the microphone tricks and dance moves that would define the rest of his career. 
In 1960, Tex left Ace and briefly recorded for Detroit's Anna Records label, where he scored a Bubbling Under Billboard hit with his cover version of Etta James' "All I Could Do Was Cry". By then, Tex's use of rapping over his music was starting to become commonplace.
In 1961, he recorded his composition "Baby You're Right" for Anna. Later that year, James Brown recorded a cover version, though with different lyrics and a different musical composition, gaining songwriting credit, making it a hit in 1962, and reaching No. 2 on the R&B chart. It was during this time that Tex first began working with Buddy Killen, who formed the Dial Records label behind Tex. After a number of songs failed to chart, Killen decided to have Atlantic Records distribute his recordings with Dial in 1964. By the time he signed with Atlantic, Tex had recorded 30 songs, all of which had failed to make an impact on the charts.
Tex recorded his first hit, "Hold On To What You've Got", in November 1964 at FAME Studios in Muscel Shoals, Alabama. He was unconvinced the song would be a hit and advised Killen not to release it.  However, Killen felt otherwise and released the song in early 1965. By the time Tex got wind of its release, the song had already sold 200,000 copies. The song eventually peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Tex's first No. 1 hit on the R&B charts, staying on the charts for 11 weeks and selling more than a million copies by 1966.
Tex would place six top 40 charted singles on the R&B charts in 1965 alone, including two more No. 1 hits "I Want To (Do Everything For You)" and "A Sweet Woman Like You".  He followed that with two successive albums, Hold On To What You've Got and The New Boss. He placed more R&B hits than any artist, including his rival James Brown. In 1966, five more singles entered the top 40 on the R&B charts, including "The Love You Save" and "S.Y.S.L.J.F.M." or "The Letter Song", which was an answer song to Wilson Pickett's "634-5789".
His 1967 hits included "Show Me", which became an often-covered tune for British rock artists and later some country and pop artists, and his second million-selling hit, "Skinny Legs and All". The latter song, released off Tex's pseudo-live album, Live and Lively, stayed on the charts for 15 weeks and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in January 1968.  After leaving Atlantic for Mercury, Tex had several more R&B hits including "Buying a Book" in 1970 and "Give the Baby Anything the Baby Wants" in 1971.
Tex recorded his next big hit, "I Gotcha", in December 1971. The song was released in January 1972 and stayed on the charts for 20 weeks, staying at No. 2 on the Hot 100 for two weeks and sold more than 2 million copies, becoming his biggest-selling hit.  Tex was earned a gold disc of the song on March 22, 1972. The parent album reached No. 17 on the pop albums chart. Following this and another album, Tex announced his retirement from show business in September 1972 to pursue life as a minister for Islam. Tex returned to his music career following the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975, releasing the top 40 R&B hit, "Under Your Powerful Love". His last hit, "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)", was released in 1977 and peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 in the United Kingdom.
His last public appearances were as part of a revised 1980s version of the Soul Clan in 1981. After that, Tex withdrew from public life, settling at his ranch in Navasota, Texas.
A convert to Islam in 1966, Tex changed his name to Yusuf Hazziez, and toured as a spiritual lecturer. He had a daughter, Eartha Doucet, and four sons, Joseph Arrington III, Ramadan Hazziez, Jwaade Hazziez and Joseph Hazziez.
On August 13, 1982, Joe Tex died at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack, five days after his 49th birthday.