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The Syrian Lebanese star ( May 1, 2004 )

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Material Information

Title:
The Syrian Lebanese star
Alternate title:
Syrian-Lebanese star
Alternate Title:
Star
Physical Description:
v. : ill. ;
Language:
English
Publisher:
A.M. Coplan
Place of Publication:
Jacksonville Fla
Creation Date:
May 1, 2004
Frequency:
monthly
regular

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Syrians -- Newspapers -- United States   ( lcsh )
Lebanese -- Newspapers -- United States   ( lcsh )
Newspapers -- Jacksonville (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Newspapers -- Duval County (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre:
newspaper   ( marcgt )
newspaper   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Duval -- Jacksonville
Coordinates:
30.31944 x -81.66 ( Place of Publication )

Notes

Additional Physical Form:
Also available on microfilm from the University of Florida.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
Began in 1963.
General Note:
Description based on: Vol. 16, no. 9 (Sept. 1978).
Funding:
Funded in part by the University of Florida, the Library Services and Technology Assistance granting program of Florida, the State Library and Archives of Florida, and other institutions and individuals.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 000579625
oclc - 05165391
notis - ADA7472
lccn - sn 79007351
issn - 0193-2578
System ID:
UF00028363:00027

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
The Syrian Lebanese star
Alternate title:
Syrian-Lebanese star
Alternate Title:
Star
Physical Description:
v. : ill. ;
Language:
English
Publisher:
A.M. Coplan
Place of Publication:
Jacksonville Fla
Creation Date:
May 1, 2004
Frequency:
monthly
regular

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Syrians -- Newspapers -- United States   ( lcsh )
Lebanese -- Newspapers -- United States   ( lcsh )
Newspapers -- Jacksonville (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Newspapers -- Duval County (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre:
newspaper   ( marcgt )
newspaper   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Duval -- Jacksonville
Coordinates:
30.31944 x -81.66 ( Place of Publication )

Notes

Additional Physical Form:
Also available on microfilm from the University of Florida.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
Began in 1963.
General Note:
Description based on: Vol. 16, no. 9 (Sept. 1978).
Funding:
Funded in part by the University of Florida, the Library Services and Technology Assistance granting program of Florida, the State Library and Archives of Florida, and other institutions and individuals.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 000579625
oclc - 05165391
notis - ADA7472
lccn - sn 79007351
issn - 0193-2578
System ID:
UF00028363:00027

Table of Contents
    Main
        page 1
        page 2
        page 3
    Florida
        page 4
        page 5
    Georgia
        page 6
    North Carolina/South Carolina
        page 7
    Virginia/Maryland
        page 8
    Maryland/Virginia/Washington D.C.
        page 9
    Alabama/Tennessee
        page 10
    Louisiana/Texas
        page 11
    Dallas, Texas
        page 12
    Texas
        page 13
    Texas/New Mexico
        page 14
    Michigan
        page 15
    Arizona/Nevada
        page 16
    Southern California
        page 17
    California
        page 18
        page 19
    Recommended Businesses
        page 20
Full Text





THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR
AN INDEPENDENT MONTHLY
SERVING AMERICANS OF ARABIC HERITAGE


Celebrating 41 Years of Service
MEMBER ARAB-AMERICAN PRESS GUILD
MEMBER AMERICAN LEBANESE CONGRESS
ESTABLISHED IN 1963
www.syrianlebanesestar.com


XXXXII #5 MAY 2004


I I


Letter From Syria
In Maaloula, Experiencing The
Grammar of the Christ
MAALOULA- Fifteen
adult students bravely -
minded their alefs, betas,
and tetas and tried to get
the grammar right in a .
language dating from the
beginning of history.
They wondered how -
continued on page 6 -


Lebanon's Government
Agencies Sharpen Skills
U-


'-o -


BEIRUT, Lebanon to this improvement.
-Tax revenues in this The Agency has helped
capital city rising from Beirut and other Lebanese
the ashes of civil war have cities and towns reform
risen 50 percent since their government
2002. USAID contributed
continued on page-7

King Backs
Jordan Internet Centers


I Don't Mind
Threats


" ^ Dr: Rajaa Habib Khuzai


"I don't mind (threats)
because I did something
great for the women. I
received compliments
and praise from Iraqi
women and from
American women, and
for thatia am ery proud."
Dr. Rajaa Habib
Khuzai, Iraqi Governing
Council, Speaking- at
USAID headquarters
March 12th, 2004, about
her resolution restoring
women's rights.
Voices of the
Dead Echo
Across Algeria
SIDI MOUSSA,
Algeria Algeria is
mending from a decade-
long civil war, but its
ghosts of the dead, and
continued.on page 8

Saudi Arabia:

Clerics Pray
for Rain,


United Arab
Emirates:
Woman Tells

of Beating

DUBAI A popular
Saudi, television host
publicly showed her
bruised and bloodied face
and has shocked her
compatriots into openly

continued on page 6

Bush Rewards
Libya, Eases
Sanctions
President opens
door for American
businesses to
resume activities
in the North
African country.
WASHINGTON -
President Bush cleared
the way on Friday for
American companies to do
business in Libya, easing
Reagan-era economic
sanctions as a reward to
Moammar Gadhafi for

continued on page 8

New SAID
Director for
Middle


Blame Women Eastern Public


AMMAN, Jordan -
King Abdullah II us
working to transform
Jordan into a knowledge-
based" economy. He
started a program backed
by USAID that created 75


public "knowledge
stations." The stations
provide public walk-in
access to internet-linked
PCs. fax machines,
photocopiers, and other
continued on page 9


RIYADH Saudi
clerics led worshipers in
prayers for rain Thursday,
blaming a recent drought
on sinfulness, including
the women who unveil
themselves or mingle

continued on page 9


Diplomacy

WASHINGTON, DC -
The Administrator of the
U.S. Agency for
I nternat i o n al
Development (USAID),
continued on page 9


NEWBURY PARK,
Calif. Ferial Masry may
own the most unusual
biography of any
candidate seeking office
in California this year.
Born in Saudi Arabia,
Mrs. Masry is running for
a seat in the California
Assembly as a Democrat
in a heavily Republican
district after she qualified
for a spot on the
November ballot as a
write-in candidate.
She opposed the war in
Iraq in a district that
heavily favors it. Her son,
Omar, is an Army
sergeant serving in Iraq,


Muscat, Oman -
Slowly, haltingly,
political reform is
shouldering its way into
what once was the most
conservative and
autocratic part of the
Arab world.
While Iraq struggles
to rebuild and Saudi
Arabia shuns with
fundamentalist tumult,
most of the small, stable
oil sheikdoms of the

continued on page 10


and her husband is a Navy
engineer serving
stateside.
If elected, Mrs. Masry
would become the first
Saudi native to hold
elected office in the
United States, according
to the Arab American
Institute, a group that
promotes political
involvement by Arab-
Americans.
Voters in this suburban
Los Angeles district that
includes almost half the
population of Ventura
County are taking a
newfound interest in an
continued on page 7


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Saudi Woman Will Seek
California Assembly Seat
Unusual Candidate
in a Longshot Campaign


Democracy Rears
in the Persian Gulf


1-






SPage 2 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004 1


Jacksonville News ,
.... .: .. : ...... .- .."* :' .*


50th Anniversary

The Skaffs
Audrey W. and Joseph
D. Skaff celebrated their
50th wedding anniversary
with a family dinner.
They were married April
continued on page 10


Weddings

Bitar-Elias
Maysoon Elias,
Orange Park, and Simon
Bitar, Jacksonville, were
married at 4 p.m.
Saturday in St. George
continued on page 10


ESSA
Fred Alex Essa, 78,
went to his heavenly
home Tuesday, March 23,
2004. He was born in
Ramallah, Jordan on May
continued on page 10


SOUD
Funeral services to Mr.
Vincent Sound, Sr., age
87, will be held 2:00 PM
Tuesday from the South
Jacksonville Presbyterian

continued on page 17


Welcome Home!



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The Hope and the Promise
In the end, how should we judge success?


As a small child
growing up in rural West
Tennessee, I first learned
from my dad about plans
to build a hospital in
Memphis dedicated to
helping children with
catastrophic diseases.
This hospital would serve
children even if their
families did not have the
money to pay.
The plans and vision
for this hi=ospital were
those of Danny Thomas,
who like my family, was
of Lebanese descent. I
was proud to know that
people of my heritage
were giving back to the
country that had
welcomed us with open
arms. In 1962, this vision
of a hospital dedicated to
children became St. Jude
Children's Research
Hospital.
Years ago, there was
talk of the hospital being


moved to St. Louis. Early
one morning, I flew with
then-Gov. Lamar
Alexander, Lt. Governor
John Wilder and Speaker
of the House Ned
McWherter to a St. Jude
Board meeting in
Memphis. After that
meeting, the Board was
invited to be honored on
the floor of the House of
Representatives. Danny
Thomas and Ned
McWherter exchanged
expensive cigars (Danny's
cigar was obviously more
expensive than Ned's).
From there, the Board
went to a reception at the
governor's residence.
Thankfully the state's
cooperation was assured,
and St. Jude remained in
Memphis.
Since 1985 1 have had
the honor and privilege of
serving as a member of

continued on page 11


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a~~nah~M, RRnaR~






[ Page 3 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004


Future
Are Real



Are These Just
Coincidences in the Word
of God?
Our Lord Jesus said in
Matthew 25:6, "At the
midnight hour was a cry
made. Behold the
Bridegroom cometh. Go
ye out to meet Him."
1 In the llth book (1
King), Ilth chapter, lith
verse of the Bible, God
takes the Kingdom from
Solomon. Was it
coincidence that in the
11th hour of the 1 Ith day
of the llth month of 1918
the First World War
Armistice was signed and
Jerusalem was freed from
Turkish rule which had
lasted 66 years?
2 Is it a coincidence
that Jesus waited


Prayer


Events
and True



1)
,r^^asw ^


Welcome


The English word,
"Prayer," is applicable to
the Arabic word, "Dua,"
and the Arabic word,
"Salat." The use of the
English word, prayer,
then means either the
Arabic word Dua, Arabic
word Salat, individually
or collectively.
Dua is offered anytime,
at any place, by raising
hands about face and
supplication to Allah,
Almighty. It is prohibited


With the seventh-
century Muslim invasion,
some Christians
welcomed the Muslim
Arabs, because often the
Islamic protection was
better than that of
Constantinople or the
Persians. With this new
regime Christians were
given a special but
secondary status in
society (dhimmi) which
offered government
protection. But there was


is prayer


continued on page 11


to .Jackson~ille.


Home of"SuDer Bowll 2oor!"


Rev. Fred Massabni
according to Jewish
custom until He was 30
years of age to preach? If
you add 30 years to 1918,
the nation of Israel came
of age or was reborn in
1948.
3 Could it be a
coincidence that God
have man 70 years to
live? In Daniel 9:24 we
read, "Seventy years are
determined upon thy
people and upon the holy
continued on page 4


By Dr. Qazi Muhammad
Barkatullah
to look towards the sky or
Heaven while offering
Dua. (Bukhari.) Dua can
be said alone or with a


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Page 4 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

FLORIDA


Third Muslim Business
Torched in Texas
CAIR-San Antonio to hold 'community
solidarity' news conference


On Wednesday, April
7, the San Antonio, Texas,
office of the Council on
American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR-San
Antonio) will hold a
"community solidarity"
news conference in
reaction to an arson attack
on Monday on a local
Muslim business, the
third such incident in
three weeks. Participants
in the news conference
will include local elected
officials and
representatives from a
number of civil liberties
organizations, minority
groups and law
enforcement agencies.
WHEN: Wednesday,
April 7, 1:15 p.m.
WHERE: Esperana
Peace and Justice Center,
922 San Pedro, San
Antonio, Texas
CONTACT: CAIR-San
Antonio, Sarwat Husain,
2 1 0 3 7 8 9 5 2 8,
santonio@cair-net.org
"If bias is indeed the


motive for these attacks,
our community needs to
send a clear message to
the perpetrators that
bigotry and hatred will
not be tolerated," said
CAIR-San Antonio
Executive Director
Sarwat Husain.
The first fire was set at
Ziaa Abbasi's Texaco
station on March 24. The
'second was at Ameen
Jiveni's Kwik Pantry on
March 29. The latest fire
occurred at the, Muslim-
operated Commercial
Food Mart early Monday.
All fires were set using
gasoline at about 3 a.m.
Arson investigators say
they cannot label the fires
as hate crimes until they
arrest a suspect.
SEE: : "Third Muslim
Owned Convenience
Store Set On Fire" http:
//www.woai.com/news
ilocal/story.aspx?content)
id=6DE79D2E-EE7D-
4 FF 9-A 7 A 8
continued on page 12


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Future Events
(continued from page 3)
transgression, and to
make an end of sins, and
to make reconciliation for
iniquity, and to bring in
everlasting righteousness,
and to seal up the vision
and prophecy, and to
anoint the most Holy."'
God gave Israel 70
weeks.
Terah was 70 when he
begat Abraham. Israel
was destroyed in 70 AD.
Is it coincidence that 70
added to 1918 gives you
1988? You might ask,
Why 40 years? It was the
time of the generation
that could not see the
promised land. They
wandered 40 years in the
wilderness Our Lord
Jesus also said that the
generation to see the fig
tree bud and give forth
leaves knows that
summer is near. Israel is
now blooming. This
generation shall nor pass
until all these things be
done. In Mark 13:26-27
we read, "And then shall
they see the Son of Man
coming in the clouds with
great power and glory.


And then shall he send
his angels, and shall
gather together his elect
from the four winds, from
the uttermost part of the
earth to the uttermost part
of heaven."
Also, 40 in the Word of
God denotes a time or
times of testing, waiting,
and proving. For
example:
1 The 12 men who
checked our the Promised
Land took 40 days.
2 Jesus fasted and
prayed 40 days before
being tempted.
3 Moses was 40 days
getting the 10
commandments from
God.
4 It rained 40 days
and 40 nights a the flood.
5 Goliath's defiance
of God's army lasted 40
days.
6 Our Lord Jesus
spent 40 days after 'the.
resurrection, with His
disciples.
7 The generation of
people who were alive
with Jesus did not pass
away until the temple was
destroyed and the people
dispersed in AD 70, 40
continued on page 18


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Page 5 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

FLORIDA

B


The Star is published once per month by A.M. Coplan. The Star is an independent
monthly serving Americans of Syrian and Lebanese heritage for over 35 years.
MEMBER ARAB-AMERICAN PRESS GUILD
The Syrian-Lebanese Star
Publisher and Editor...A. M. Coplan
For Advertising Information Write P.O.Box 5545
Jacksonville, Florida 32247 Phone (904) 737-6996
Postmaster-send change of address to the above address
Please send your letters, news stories, pictures and club activities to
The Editor's Desk.
4251 University Blvd. S., Suite 201, Jacksonville, Florida 32216
Subscription Rate: $15.00 per year


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IFC Helps
Create Syria's
First Private
Bank on Over
40 Years

The International
Finance Corporation, the
private sector arm of the
World Bank Group, has
formalized a $3m equity
investment for a 10%
shareholding in the Bank
of Syria and Overseas
(BSO), helping to create
Syria's first private sector


continued on page 12


UUDai
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3bn Theme

Park
Dubai's MICE
(meetings, incentives,
conferences and
exhibitions) sector has
been given increased
prominence with the
opening of the Dubai
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hotels with extensive
meeting facilities and the
Dubai Department of
Tourism and Commerce
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increased marketing
activities.
Several public and
private sector
developments in the
forthcoming years will
continue to provide
delegates with a
combination of suitable


products.
The


recently


continued on page 13


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Page 6 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

GEORGIA


Maaloula
(continued from page 1)
Jesus would say it.
They were studying the
alphabet and structure of
Aramaic, a language
whose_ speakers once
spanned the Middle East.
It is, an obscure little
program in a tiny town in
Syria that has suddenly
become a topic of
excitement within the
stony confines of
Maaloula, 30 miles
northeast of Damascus.
The thrills are a result
of the hit movie "The
Passion of the Christ," in
which Aramaic is used as
dialogue, along with
Latin. Once the town,
with its shrine to an
ancient saint, was mainly
an out-of-the-way
destination for Christian
pilgrimage. Suddenly
tourists are trekking up a
winding mountain road to
hear the sounds of
Aramaic, at once.gutterat
and lilting. Residents
happily respond to
requests to recite poems
or sing songs.
"The movie has put us
on the map," said Ranjess
Shelbab, a pharmacist


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continued on page 14


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Page 7 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR.. May 2004

NORTH CAROLINA/SOUTH CAROLINA


Masry
(continued from page 1)
assembly seat whose
district lines favor
Republican candidates.
The race has also drawn
international attention.
"I'm the hottest .thing
in Saudi Arabia," Mrs.
Masry, 55, said in a recent
interview. "All the
newspapers have my
pictures."
One Saudi reporter,
Mrs. Masry said, called in
the middle of the night to
ask her definition of
democracy. (Her answer:
"Responsibility.") "They
were fascinated by how I
could run and how people
could accept me,"-- she
said.
Mrs. Masry left Saudi
Arabia at age 9 with two
siblings to attend
boarding school in Egypt.
Her parents wanted her to
be the first girl in the
family to get a formal
education. She received a
degree in journalism from
the University of, Cairo,
then lived in Britain and
Nigeria before moving to
the United States in 1979.
She now teaches history
and government at


Cleveland High School in
Los Angeles.
"Coming here, it was
like at last 1 can find my
freedom," she said. "I can
speak my mind."
She is not shy about
dong just that, even when
her views apparently
conflict with those of a
majority of the district's
voters. "The Middle East
doesn't need war," she
declared.
Mrs. Masry speaks
with pride of her son,
whose unit, the 425th
Civil Affairs Battalion, is
working to rebuild and
reopen institutions like
hospitals and schools. "I
want him to represent
what America is all
about," she said.
her son maintains a
Web site in Baghdad
(omarmasry.net/l .htm)
that includes a Web log
that provides a running
commentary on the war.
In an e-mail message,
Omar Masry described
how one Iraqi wanted his
mother to nmove back to
the Middle East and run
for office in Iraq.
As much as Mrs.
continued on page 13


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Lebanon financial procedures.
(continued from page 1) The program. also
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risen 50 percent since guide, which contains
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The Agency has As more people
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budget revenue and went from $48 in 2001 to
expenditures, and use $199,313 in 2003.
information technology. The $17 million
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opened citizen reception the Center for Legislative
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get answers to their University of New York
questions or register their (SUNY), is also helping
complaints. Other cities to reform and modernize
launched public websites. Lebanon's parliament and
The USAID program oversight agencies.
trained more than 1,550 The program provided
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use of the reengineered decrees, and government
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Page 8 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

VIRGINIA/MARYLAND


Algeria
(continued from page 1)
especially of the
missing, continue to haunt
the government and
military.
A military coup in
1992 prevented an
Islamist government from
taking power, but it
introduced years if terror.
More than 150,000 people
died, killed by both rebels
and government forces.
Many of the dead a
tenth have never been
found; their relatives, like
Alu Merabetm are still
trying to find the remains.
Thanks to an amnesty
four years ago, former
Islamist rebels have been
helping the search.


Libya
(continued from page 1)
giving up weapons of
mass destruction.
Libya's actions "have
made our country and the
world safer," the While
House said.
The easing of sanctions
imposed in 1986 and
those imposed under a
1996 Libya sanctions law
will allow a resumption of
oil imports from Libya


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Peering into a brick-
lined well in the orange
groves here, Merabet and
a former rebel, Hafid
Oumedi, stood discussing
whether the bones of
Merabet's brothers, Aziz
and Merzak, might lie at
the bottom.
There are four wells
within walking distance
ofthe spot where, Oumedi
says, he saw the two
young men led away nine
years go. He fears that
their throats were cut and
that any one of those
wells could be their grave.
That is how Algeria's
Islamiic fighters did things
back then; cutting throats
kept the killing quiet;
dumping bodies saved


and permit most
commercial activities,
financial transactions and
investments.
It also will permit
American oil companies
to resume commercial
activities in Libya.
Marathon, ConocoPhilips,
Amerjada Hess and
Occidental all have assets
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time.
"There was no smell
here," said a farm worker,
adding that a well a few
hundred feet to the north
smelled for months
around that time.
But such searches are
furtive affairs. Victims'
families say the
government forbids such
searches.
"They don't want to
open the graves because
they risk opening the
graves in which they have
buried bodies
themselves," Merabet
said.
The government only
recently conceded that
people were missing,
having argued for years


operating there since
1986.
Libyan assets held in
the United States or by
U.S. banks will remain
frozen.
Bush rolled back the
sanctions as a result of
Libya's decision late last
year to abandon weapons
of mass destruction.,
"Through its actions,
Libya has set a standard
that we hope other nations


that they had joined the
Islamists. The president,
Abdelaziz Bouteflika,
once berated a distraught
mother by saying he did
not have missing people
in his pocket.
It is not only the pain of"
loss that families deal
with. If they are unable to
confirm a death, it is hard
to collect pensions and
benefits. And under an
archaic law, children
cannot leave the country
and girls cannot marry
without the written
consent of their fathers,
and if the fathers are
missing, the children face
maddening bureaucratic
hurdles.


will emulate in rejecting
weapons of mass
destruction and in
working constructively
with international
organizations to halt the
proliferation of the
world's most dangerous
systems," White House
press secretary Scott
McClellan said. "Libyan
actions since Dec. 19 have
made our country and the
continued on page 14


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Page 9 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

MARYLAND/VIRGINIA/WASHINGTON D.C.


Jordan
(continued from page 1)
multimedia technology
services. Some are housed
in government offices,
others with NGOs.
The network of stations
is one of many programs
contributing to the
Jordanian government's
initiative, "Connecting
Jordanians." By 2006, a
broadband learning and
public access network
will link all schools,
colleges, universities, and
telecenters in the country.
The initiative, launched
in October 2000 with the
king's personal funds,


CLERICS
(continued from page 1)
women who unveil
themselves or mingle
with men..
Saudi Arabia
reported less than
normal rainfall over the
winter months.
Addressing hundreds
in Mecca, Grand
Mosque cleric Abdel
Rahman bin Abdel Aziz
al-Sudeis said Muslims
should purify their
hearts of "envy,


now involves USAID, a
host of other donor
agencies, and several
foundations. One is the
Case Foundation of Steve
Case, the cofounder of
America Online.
USAID and the Case
Foundation each
contributed $250,000 to
the knowledge station
program.
The program includes
training courses that cover
topics ranging from basic
computer literacy to
advanced technology
skills. More than 37,000
Jordanians have enrolled,
and more than 60 percent
of those receiving


jealousy,
breaking
(relations),
and enmity


hatred,
off
quarrels
for trivial


reasons," and ask for
God's forgiveness.
He singled out
women, saying their
sins included
bedeckingg, unveiling,
mingling (with men),
being indifferent with
hijab (the veil)."


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computer training are
women.
Staff and interns at the
knowledge stations teach
participants how to
develop an use
information and
communication
technology (ICT) skills to
improve their businesses,
tap into healthcare
information, participate in
e-government, and learn
about social issues.
In February 2004, 450
government employees
graduated from a training
program on how to
incorporate e-government
practices into their work.
The knowledge station


SAID
(continued from page 1)
Andrew S. Natsios has
appointed Walid Maalouf as
director of Public
Diplomacy for Middle
Eastern and Middle East
Partnership Initiative
(MEPI) Affairs within
USAID's Bureau of
Legislative and Public.
Affairs.
Mr. Maalouf served at
the United States Mission to
the United Nations (U.N.) in
New York since September


initiative is one of five
activities of USAID's
"Achieving Market-
Friendly Initiatives and
Results" (AMIR) project.
NetCorps Jordan, another
AMIR program, offers
technology and business
training to the interns who
assist clients in thd
knowledge stations.
AMIR, implemented in
partnership with Jordan's
private sector and
government, is now
devising ways to make the
internet stations
financially self-
sustaining.


2003 as the Alternate
Representative of the United
States to the U.N. 58th
General Assembly. He was
an integral member of the
Middle East team at the
Mission and the first U.S.
representative to deliver a
speech at the U.N. in Arabic.
Ambassadir John D.
Negroponte, the U.S.
Permanent Representative
to the U.N. said: "We
commend Mr. Maaloufs
energy, patience, and
continued on page 14


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Page 10 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

ALABAMA/TENNESSEE


Democracy
(continued from page I)
Persian Gulf have
expanded political and
economic rights for their
citizens.
In Oman three decades
ago, it was illegal to own
a radio. Last fall, this
country held its first
election open to all, for an
advisory body. In 2002,
Bahrain's voters elected a
parliament. Qataris last
year approved a new
constitution with free
speech guarantees.
Political change is also


under way in the gulf state
of Kuwait, while a new
wave of economic
development has
transformed parts of the
United Arab Emirates,
with only Saudi Arabia
still largely grasping on to
its status quo.
The steps have been
small by Western
standards, but impressive
for the Middle East, one
of the least democratic
regions of the world. They
have been fueled, in part;
by the growing affluence
- and gathering


restlessness of an
expanding middle class
that has access to the
world through travel, the
Internet, and satellite
television.
"When we see Tony
Blair grilled by
parliament live on TV, we
are affected, believe me,"
said Nasser Sh-
Almowaizri, a moderate
Islamist professor at
Kuwait University,
referring to the British
Prime Minister. "People
are ready for change."
How the gulf's


experiments play out
could be an indicator, as
much as what happens in
Iraq, of whether freedom
and 'democracy will
flower any time soon in
the- Arab world. That
matters to Americans,
because everyone from
leftist Arab intellectuals to
President Bush agree that
people who enjoy
political freedom in their
own countries are less
likely to engage in
terrorism abroad.

continued pn Page 19


Carpet


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Essa
(continued from page 2)
22, 1925. He was a
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Mr. Essa was preceded
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Maria and Alex Essa and
sister, Nijmeh Habeeb. He
is survived by his loving
wife Lelia; daughters,


The Bitars
(continued from page 2)
Antiochian Orthodox
Church.
The bride, daughter of
Lucy and George Elias,
Orange Park, graduated
'from the University of
North Florida and is
employed by Bank of
America. The
bridegroom, son of Badia
and Milad Bitar,
graduated from


Salwa Valles, Leila and
Aleta Essa; sons, Alex,
Daniel, Charles, Mike,
and Eddie Essa; sisters,
Nabiha Karoush and
Yasmin Zabak;
grandchildren, Ryan,
Michael, Anthony,
Matthew, Emily, Adam,
Elena, Elise, Melissa,
Jessica, Alexis, and Isaac.

Obituaries Continue on
Page 17


Jacksonville University
and is employed by Bank
of America.
Dianne Elias was the
maid of honor, and Steve
Bitar was the best man.
Following a trip to Tahiti.
and Bora Bora, the couple
will live in Jacksonville.


The Skaffs
(continued from page 2)
1.8, 1954, in Holy
Rosary Catholic
Church in
Jacksonville. She is
the former Ruth
Audrey Wilkerson.
Their sons are David
Joseph Skaff, Michael
Leon Skaff and Dennis-
Christopher Skaff, all
of Jacksonville.
The Skaffs have
seven grandchildren.


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St. Jude
(continued from page 2)
the ALSAC/St. Jude
Boards of Directors and
Governors. It has been
one of the most rewarding
and fulfilling experiences
any person could ask for.
As I said earlier, St.
Jude does not turn
children away because
their families cannot pay.
To do this requires a
tremendous focus on
fund-raising. Dick
Shadyac and the other
folks at ALSAC/St. Jude
who concentrate on fund-
raising do an outstanding
job. It is vitally important
to support the hospital. 1
try to do my part. One
example is though a golf
tournament.
In 1993 1 approached
the Rural West Tennessee
House Democratic
Caucus with the idea of
sponsoring an annual
fund-raiser for St. Jude.
Representative Randy
Rinks (D-Savannah) took
up the challenge and,
along with the rest of the
members of the caucus,
we began a golf
tournament at Pickwick


with proceeds dedicated
to St. Jude. We not only
raise $60,000 to $80,000
a year at that tournament,
but we also raise
awareness about the St.
Jude mission and the
tremendous scope of
children served.
There are patients from
all parts of the world
treated each year, and
since it was first
established, more than
20,000 children have
received services. But in
the end, I do not believe
that numbers alone are a
measure of our success.
In the end, how should
we judge success at St.
Jude?
Judge success not only
by the lives that are saved
and the children who are
served, but also by the
hope we radiate and the
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Prayer
(continued from page 3)
incumbent upon Muslim
male and female five
times a dat. Salat is
offered in prescribed
manner at prescribed
time. Salat is obligatory
prayer. It can be offered
alone or with a group at
home or at a place or
worship called "Masjid."
While private obligatory
Salat is permissible but
congregational Salat is
preferable. Holy Prophet
of Islam is reported to
have said that
congregational Salat-
Obligatory prayer has
twenty seven times more
reward than Salat offered
at home alone.
Dua or Salat-prayer is
not any sort of penalty for
the Muslims. It should be
offered with full
awareness, voluntarily,
cheerfully, earnestly, and
sincerely. A Muslim
should have faith that he
or she is under the


watchful eyes of the
Almighty Allah. And that
He has the power to
remove distresses and
make his or her life
harmonious and pleasant.
As a matter of fact, a-'
Believer must be in full
sense when saying prayer.
Actually; when a Muslim
is not in the state of
awareness, he or she is
prohibited to offer Salat
and so to speak Dua.
According to the Holy
Quran;
"0 Ye who believe!
Go not near prescribed
prayer Salat or so to say,
Dua, when you are not in
full sense, until you know
what you are saying, nor
when you are unclean,
except when you are
travelling along a way,
until you have bathed.
And if you are ill or
you are on a journey,
while unclean, or if one of
you comes from the privy
or you touched women,
continued on page 18


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Retrospect
(continued from page 3)
laws imposing constraints
on dress and manners, and
forbidding the riding of
animals. The -use of
religious symbols in
public was forbidden, and
there were prohibitions
against building or
repairing churches,
ringing bells, and the
public display of crosses.
Non-Muslims were not
allowed missionary
activity, and Mtslims
were forbidden to convert
to Christianity.
This two-tiered system
made the Christians
second-class citizens but
allowed them to live
peacefully side by side
with the Muslims and
others. But this millet
system reinforced the
divisions among churches
and splintered
Christianity: Some
Christians succumbed to
Islam rather than remain
in a subordinate social
standing. Yet Christianity
thrived in many places,
and Christians remained
the majority in that region
into the ninth century.
In these times Eastern


and Western Christianity
became increasingly
estranged religiously and
politically. Western
Christianity was more
strongly adversarial
toward Islam. This
resulted in the Crusades
of the eleventh -to
thirteenth centuries. The
Crusades began as a
desire to free the Holy
Land from the Muslims,
but ended with the sack of
Constantinople and the
Eastern churches.
Western Christianity
oppressed the Christian
East. Christian nations
oppressed the Muslims.
Because Islam did not
recognize the separation
of religion and
government, the Muslims
failed to see the difference
between local Christians
of the East and the hostile
Western Christian
governments that
mounted the Crusades..
Several Muslim
dynasties rules following
the Crusades. The last
was the Ottoman Empire,
which established its
capital in Constantinople
(Istanbul) in 1453. The
continued on page 17


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Texas
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IFC
(continued from page 4)
banl since nationalization
og the system in 1961.
IFC's equity stake in
BSO represents its. first
investment in a Syrian
financial intermediary
and underlines IFC's


growing pattern of anti-
Muslim incidents in our
society," said CAIR
Executive Director Nihad
Awad. Last month,
vandals wrote "sand
n*gets" and "America
rocks b*tch" on the
interior walls of the
Islamic Center of the
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continued on page 13


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IFC
(continued from page 12)
been available to local
private, retail and
corporate firms, enhance
competition in the
banking system by
creating a model of "best
practices" for current and
future commercial banks.

Dubai
(continued from page 5)
announced 3bn
Dubailand theme park,
will be one of the world's
largest investments in a
leisure complex covering
2bn sq feet with an
artificial rain forest and
indoor ski-slope, themed
venues, a shopping mall
and several five-star
hotels.

Masry
(continued from page 7)
Masry is a novelty in the
Persian Gulf, she is also
an exception in this
country.
"There has been
virtually no immigration
to speak of from Saudi
Arabia," said James


Zogby, president of the
Arab American Institute,
which plans to contribute
to Mrs. Masry's
campaign. Most of the
Saudis in the United
States live in Southern
California, Mr. Zobgy
said.
The roster of Arab-
Americans in politics
includes Ralph- Nader,
Energy Secretary Spencer
Abraham and
Representative Darrell
Issa, Republican of
California. Mrs. Masry is
a Muslim, which would
make her one of only a
handful of Muslim elected
officials nationwide.
Mrs. Masry became he
only Democrat in the race
after another candidate
became ill and dropped
out. She secured a rare
write-in victory, garnering
about 3,700 votes to
surpass the 1,200 needed
to make it on the general
election ballot. "It was a
miracle," Mrs. Masry.
said.
Mrs. Masry's longshot
campaign received some
help from Michael S.
Dukakis, who is in


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Southern California as a
visiting professor at the
University of California,
Los Angeles. Mr.
Dukakis, the 1988
Democratic candidate for
president, spoke on Mrs.
Masry's behalf at a fund-
raiser earlier this year at
which she raised $7,000.
She said she hoped to
raise $50,000 more in the
next several months.
She faces tough
opposition. During the
primary alone, Mrs.
Masry's opponent in the
37th Assembly District,
Audra Strickland, spent
about $550,000. Mrs.
Strickland is the wife of
the incumbent, Tony
Strickland, who cannot
seek re-election because
of term limits.
Allan Hoffenblum, a
republican strategist, said
the district was
considered to be a safe
Republican seat for the
forseeable future. "Dianne
Feinstein could run in this


district and it wouldn't
matter," Mr. Hoffenblum
said, referring to the
state's most popular
Democrat. "This is an
overwhelmingly
Republican district."
Re g i s t e re d
Republicans outnumber
Democrats by 46 percent
to. 34 percent in the
district, but two
Republican candidates for
governor, Arnold
Schwarzenegger and State
Senator Tom McClintock,
received a combined 77
percent of the vote in the
recall election last fall.
Mrs. Masry said Mr.
Schwarzenegger. had cut
too many social programs
and relied too heavily on
borrowing, to solve the
state's budget problems.
"He doesn't have
complete programs or
complete solutions," she
said.
Asked whether she
supported a constitutional
continued on page 15


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Page 14 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

TEXAS/NEW MEXICO


Maaloula
(continued from page 6)
Damascus, Arabic is a
must.
Largely because of
"The Passion's" Aramaic
dialogue, it's hard to find
someone in mountainside
Maaloula who has not
seen the Mel Gibson film.
Therese Chahine, who
keeps house at the St.
Tekla monastery, was
appreciative but quibbled
with the linguistics.
Except where Jesus is
speaking Aramaic
versions of familiar
scripture, she had a hard
time understanding the
dialogue. "I think they
were using a mixture.
Sometimes it seemed like
Hebrew, sometimes like
Arabic. It wasn't like we
speak," she said gently.
Although Aramaic is
spoken here, few
residents can read the 29-
letter alphabet. Its
grammar is improvised.
Elias Saliba, the parish


priest who began the
Aramaic study course
three years ago; said he
hopes the town can
benefit from the new
interest in Aramaic.
"The Passion"
prompted the Syrian
government to announce
funding for his courses,
but the money has yet to
appear. "It may take a
miracle," Saliba said. The
Greek Melkites owe
allegiance to the Roman
Catholic pope.
Beyond the devotion to
the language, "The
Passion" also plays into
traditions dealing with
Christian suffering in this
ancient hamlet. "It makes
us focus on the sacrifice
of Jesus. It distills it. I saw
it three times," Saliba
said.
Little :Maaloula,
population 5,000 and
folded into rocky
overhangs, is the site of
Saint Tekla's tomb.
Christians regard her as
continued on page 15


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Libya
(continued from page 8)
world safer."'
Gadhafi also has
garnered international
backing with his decision
to accept responsibility
for the 1988 Pan Am 103
bombing. Libya has
pledged $2.7 billion to
compensate families of
the airliner's 270 victims.
Libya still is on the
U.S. list of state sponsors
of terrorism. Nations on
the list are barred from
receiving arms-related
exports or sales of U.S.
origin or receiving U.S.
economic assistance. The
U.S. government also is
barred from supporting
loan requests from such
countries in international
lending institutions.
The While House said


SAID
(continued from page 9)
interest in advancing the*
President's agenda while
representing America to
delegates from other
countries with warmth and
grace."
Prior to these two
presidential appointments
Mr. Maalouf was an
experienced international
banker in the greater
Washington D.C. area for
fourteen years and was
active in the international
community. He is a Knight
of the Sovereign Military


Bush's action "does not
prejudge the removal of
Libya from the terrorism
list or detract from
Libya's obligation to
fulfill its continuing Pan
Am 103 commitments.
"The necessity of
ending any tie to terrorist
groups or activities will
continue to be a central
issue in relations with
Libya," the White House
said.
Citing Libya's new
stand, the White House
said that Gadhafi's
government "has taken
significant steps
eliminating weapons of
mass destruction
programs and longer-
range missiles, and has
reiterated its pledge to
halt all support for
terrorism.


Order of Malta and a
member of the Consular
Corps of Washington, D.C.,
the American Task Force for
Lebanon and the U.S. -
Bahraini Friendship Society.
He is also a member of the
Federal City Club and the
John Carroll Society.
USAID's Office of
Public Dipolmacy helps to
coordinate and infuse the

development and
humanitarian message of
USAID to the U.S.
government, the American
public, and the Arab world.


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Lebanon
(continued from page 7)
trained staff how to use it.
Now lawmakers can make
sure new laws are
consistent with existing
ones.
Budget systems that
improve oversight were
also introduced at all
finance-related agencies.
Legislators can review
how funds were spent and


Masry
(continued from page 13)
amendment that would
make it possible for
immigrants like her or
Mr. Schwarzenegger to
run for president, Mrs.
Masry sounded as if she
were teaching her high
school civics class.
"We should not touch
the Constitution," she
said. "It is only five pages
and 7,000 words. It's
beautiful as it is."

Maaloula
(continued from page 14)
the first woman martyr.
She met Saint Paul in
Antioch, was inspired,
gave up pantheistic
religions and began to
follow Christianity. Her
parents became outraged
and tattled to the Roman
governor. Her ordered her


make


comparisons


between proposed and
previous budgets.
A manual provided to
parliamentarians outlines
the internal structure and
history of the Lebanese
parliament as well as the
publications of the
parliamentary library.
The program also
introduced an electronic
system that displays
parliamentary votes on a


first dumped into a pit of
lions and then onto a
bonfire. The animals did
not cooperate and a
heavenly rainstorm
doused the flames. (Mel,
call your agent!)
She followed Paul,
who was on his way to
Damascus, but because
her parents sent assassins
to pursue her, she hid in
the rugged stonetopped
mountains here. Another
miracle ensued: The
mountains opened up to
ease her escape,
Maaloulans say. In
Aramaic, Maaloula means
entrance or gap. Tekia
lived in a cave watered by
a natural spring and died
in peace.
The 1,700-yea-old
Church of Sergius and
Bacchus is another
monument to martyrdom.
The saints were high-


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and the public.
The program also
helped reform three
oversight agencies. One is
the Court of Audit (COA),
which has administrative
and judicial control over
public expenditures. The
others are the Civil
Service Board (CSB) and
the Central Inspection
Board (CIB), which
maintain government


ranking Roman
comrades-in-arms who
refused the invitation of
invitation of the Emperor
Maximianus to perform
animal sacrifices to
Roman gods. Enrages, he
sent them off to a
province along the
Ephrates River, with
instructions that the
military commander there
get them to relent or kill
them.
Both soldiers refused.
Bacchus was beaten to
death but appeared in a
vision to Sergius and
urged him to stay the


personnel records and
respond to citizens'
complaints about civil
employees.
With USAID's help,
CIB created a website that
makes it easier for
citizens to file complaints,
and COA developed a
pre-auditing. system to
double-check proper
allocation of budget
funds.


course. The Roman
commander tried to
change his mind by
making him walk in boots
filled with nails that drove
into his feet. he torture
failed, so the commander
had Sergius beheaded.
The year was A.D. 297.
The stone church has
an alter in the style of
pagan platforms,
triangular with raised
edges, to contain the
blood, from the kind of
sacrifices Sergius and
Bacchus rejected.
continued in Page 716


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Page 16 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

ARIZONA/NEVADA


Maaloula
(continued from page 15)
Christian authorities later
forbade such alters. They
replaced them with the
flat platforms in use
today.
Father Toufic Eid,
superior at the convent,
recites .an Aramaic
versions of the Lord's
Prayer for tourists.
"Abuna ti bishmo," he
begins. "Our Father who
art in heaven."
Elsewhere in the
Middle East, language
seems to have little to do
with the buzz over "The
Passion." Rather, the
focus in some places has
been on cemtemporary
preoccupations with
political martyrdom. The
victims are the
Palestinians. Proprietors
of the Damnascus theater
first tried to advertise the
film as "the movie that
upset the Jews." The
government wouldn't
allow it. Damascus
theatre-goers frequently
relate "The Passion" to
the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. "It looks' like
what we see on TV.


Soldiers hitting civilians,"
said Mustaga Zeidani, a
notary public.
Reports from the West
Bank say that pirated
DVDs of "The Passion"
are circulating there and
that Arab-language
satellite television aired
shots of eager
Palestinians gathering
around screens to watch.
Nabil Abu R-deineh, a
spokesman for Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat,
commented, "The
Palestinians are- daily
exposed to the kind of.
pain Jesus was exposed to
during his Crucifixion." '
In Dubai, there was a
brief controversy over the,
showing because Islam
forbids portraits of holy
figures in the Scriptures.
A newspaper there
defended the showing on
the grounds of artistic
freedom.
There was one
conciliatory event in
Damascus related to the
film: It became a talking
point between Muslims
and Christians in Syria.
Although Muslims regard
continued in Page 17


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Page 17 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA


Obituaries
(continued from page 10)
HISHMEH
Julia Hismeh, 97,
passed on to her eternal
home on Monday, March
29, 2004. Mrs. Hismeh
had lived most of her life
in Jacksonville, was a
lifelong member of the
Ramallah American Club
and she owned her own
business for many years.
She was preceded in
death by her husband,
Thomas Saleh Hismeh,
Sr., her parents, Rizzallah
and Mary Charles; 2
sisters; Mary Charles and
Josephine Charles; and I
brother, Alfred Charles,
Sr. Survivors include her
daughter and her
husband, Elaine and Adil
Salem; her son and his
wife, Thomas Jr. and Vera
Hismeh; 2 sisters;

Maaloula
(continued from page 16)
Jesus as a prophet, they
reject the Crucifixion and
Resurrection stories. At
St. John of Damascus
Greek Catholic Church,
an imam spoke at a
seminar about the film


Jeanette Dudum and Jean
Charles; 3 brothers,
George, Leo and Joe
Charles; 6 grandchildren
and 10 great
grandchildren
The family will
receive friends at 6:00
p.m. and the Rosary will
be recited at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday,m March 31,
2004 at Prince of Peace
Catholic Church, 6320
Bennett Road. The Mass
was celebrated at Prince
of Peace Catholic
Church, with Msgr.
Mortimer Danaher
officiating. Internment
followed in St. Mary's
Catholic Ceremony. The
pallbearers were George
A. Bajalia, A. George
Bajalia II, Charles
Carroll, George Jaghab,
Lawrence Ossi and
Michael Ossi


and said, "Jesus .set an
example that on Earth
there is suffering but
reward in the afterlife."
The Aramaic class in
St. Tekla's is held three
times a week in a
basement. Teacher
continued in Page 18


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Soud
(continued from page 2)
Church, 2137 Hendricks
Avenue, with Dr. Vincent
Kolb officiating.
Internment following in
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Mr. Soud was a native
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Brothers and Sentinel
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Retrospect
(continued from page 12)
Ottomans reinforced the
subordinates status of
Christians and Jews
through the millet system.
The Ottoman caliph
considered "Armenian"
those Christians who
rejected the Council of
Chalcedon. This led to
frictions and internal
quarrels in the differing
millets. In the latter times
of the Ottoman Empire,
European nations opened
commercial contacts on
the Near East and Middle
East. The European
powers requested the
right, to protect their


was predeceased by his
former wife; Dorothy
Soud.
He is survived by his
wide, Mary Shad Soud.
One Daughter; Rhonda.
Myers (John). One
Brother, Judge A, C,
Soud, Jr. One Son; Victor
Soud, Jr. (Debbie). Two
grandsons, David and
Douglas. A faithful and
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and nephews.


trading clients, often
Christians. -Different
governments protected
different churches, and
this aligned Eastern
churches with European
political centers.
Gradually this disrupted
the millet system as
European governments
wanted equality of
citizenship for Eastern
Christians.
With Islam, religion
and government are
joined in the service of
God, and the same person
usually provides both
religious and civic
leadership. The Islamic
continued in Page 19


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Page 18 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

CALIFORNIA


Future Events
(continued from page 4)
years after Jesus began his
public ministry.
Daniel's vision of 70
weeks. is a total of 490
years and 70 years of
captivity total up to 560
years, In Matthew 1:17,
the Bible says there were
14 generations from the
carrying away into
Babylon unto Christ. 560


Prayer
(continued from page 11)
and you find no water
then betake yourselves to
pure dust and wipe
therwith your faces and
your hands. Surely, Allah
is the most Indulgent, the
most Forgiving."
(Holy Quran 4:44)
According to the Verse


Maaloula
(continued from page 17)
George Ruzkallah writes
the angular alphabet on a
white board and the
students try to bring it to
life. "I want to learn it
properly so I can be a
teacher of it," said
Michele Khoury, a farmer
who takes the class.


divided by 14 generations
equals 40 years. In the
beginning, I asked if these
were just coincidences.
No. 1 set no dates. Jesus
can come at any time.
These dates prove that the
Holy Bible is God's book
and the only God and the
only Bible. If you believe
from all your heart that
Jesus is the only Son of
God, that He came down


4:44, Prayer: Salat-
obligatory prater and so to
speak, Dua, cannot be
considered to have been
properly offered if the
supplicant simply utters
some words and repeats
Arabic words without
properly understanding
what he or she is saying.
That is the supplicant is


The language lessons
haven't captivated
everyone, however. The
town has lost some of its
population to Damascus;
there is little to keep the
young here.
"I don't have time for
Aramaic," said 14-year-
old Elian Shamesh. "I am
learning French."


from Heaven and paid for
all your sins to save you
from hell, you will be
saved. Jesus is God in the
flesh. Isaiah 48:12,
"Hearken unto me, O
Jacob and Israel, my
called; 1 am he; I am the
fist, I am also the last."
If you want to live
forever with Christ in
Heaven, pray this prater
from all your heart. Lord


not fully conscious and
aware of what he or she is
uttering.
It is also implicit in the
Verse that a Believer who
is non-Arab, besides
praying in the prescribed
Arabic words, should also
pray to Allah in his or her
own tongue. Because he
or she can express his or


Retrospect
(continued from page 12)
ideal is a worldwide
Muslim community
('ummah') in which
politics and religion are
one, and racial and ethnic
distinctions are not
important. The Qur'an and
other Islamic religious
books are the foundation
for the legal system, and


Jesus I believe that you
are the only Son of God
and paid for all my sins on
the cross. Forgive me. 1
am a sinner. Enter my
heart and fill me with the
Spirit of God. Save me
from hell, Thank you,
Lord Jesus, for saving my
soul.


her feelings and thoughts
comfortably in one's own
language.
The prohibition to offer
prayer applies to the state
or condition in which one
is not in full possession of
himself or herself either
through emotional stress,
anger, hunger, being
sleepy or drowsy.


there is no institution
parallel to the church.
Christian religious leaders
always had difficulty
convincing their Muslim
rulers of their civic
loyalty because they also
wanted to be in contact
with the foreign religious
hierarchy. The protection
continued in Page 19


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Page 19 THE SYRIAN-LEBANESE STAR May 2004

CALIFORNIA


Retrospect
(continued from page 18)
by European governments
increased. the doubts
about the civic loyalty of
Eastern Christians.
With the demise of the
Ottoman Empire after
World War 1, European
nations assumed


Democracy
(continued from page 10)
"More is going on in
the gulf in many ways
than in the other Arab
countries, which is ironic,
considering where they
were 30 years ago," said
Judith Kipper, the director
of the Middle East Forum
at the Council on Foreign
Relations in New York.
"Some of these rulers
seem to understand that
reform is essential."
Kipper said the gulfs
oil wealth, which in turn
has produced higher rates
of education and overall
human development,
probably explains why
these countries are edging
forward in the political
arena.
These are the stirring
of Middle Eastern
democracy, and they carry
the promise of greater
change to come," Bush
said in a well-received
speech last year in which
he called Arab democracy
a top U.S. priority.
The Bush
administration is spending
$130 million this year on
a program to promote


mandates in some parts of
the former empire to form
nation-states in which
citizenship would be
based on one's place or
residence or birth rather
than on religion, and in
which religious
organizations would be
free from government


change in the region, and
it is trying to craft a public.
diplomacy initiative to
reward countries that
move toward democracy.
Still, the road to full-
blown democracy is a
long one. THe elections in
the gulf countries have
been about autocrats
sharing a tiny slice of
power, with no talk of
replacing the ruling
families. There is neither
true freedom of speech
nor freedom of the press.
All the states host huge
populations of Asian
guest workers who do the
hardest work but are
excluded from politics.
Although women can
vote in Qatar and have
been elected to office in
Bahrain and Oman, they
generally -lack the same
rights as men in the gulf.
Kuwait, liberated by
U.S.-led troops in 1991, is
perhaps the starkest
example of how
democracy can lead in
unsettling directions. In
1999, the emir tried to
give women the vote, but
the elected National
Assembly the Arab


control. This was in
opposition to the ideal of
'ummah,' the united
community under a single
governance with
economic, social, and
legal practices based .on
religion.
Today these two
opposing views are still in


world's strongest
parliament blocked him,
and no progress has been
made since. Then, in last
year's national elections,
Islamic fundamentalists
trounced liberals.
Then there is United
Arab Emirates, the only
small gulf country that
has not held a vote. It has
focused on Singapore-
style economic freedom,
luring so many Western
companies and
beachgoers that Dubai has
become the Middle East's
trade, technology, and
tourism center. But it has
shown no inclination to
change its autocratic


contention, and vie for
acceptance. In the Middle
East we find as much
diversity among
governments concerning
church and state as in the
West. Eastern Christian
minorities still struggle
for equality of citizenship.


political system.
"There are
achievements in the gulf,
but they have to be taken
in context they are
moving at a glacial pace,"
said Les Cambell, senior
director of Middle East
programs at the National
Democratic Institute in
Washington.
Most experts agree that
the small gulf states, with
a total population of about
10 million, are an
important proving ground
because of their wealth
and education levels.
To be continued in
next issue


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