Nuns among 16 killed in Yemen as gunmen storm retirement home

Source: http://www.theguardian.com

Four gunmen entered home run by Mother Theresa charity claiming they wanted to visit their mothers – then they opened fire

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Gunmen in southern Yemen have stormed a retirement home run by a charity established by Mother Teresa, killing 16 people, including four Catholic nuns, according to officials and witnesses.

Four gunmen reportedly entered the the home housing about 80 elderly people in Aden on Friday, on the pretext that they wanted to visit their mothers at the facility.

The gunmen moved from room to room, handcuffing the victims before shooting them in the head. A nun who survived and was rescued by local residents said she hid inside a fridge in a storeroom after hearing a Yemeni guard shouting “run, run”.

Khaled Haidar said that he counted 16 bodies, including that of his brother, Radwan. All had been shot in the head and were handcuffed. He said one Yemeni cook and Yemeni guards were among those killed.

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News from Morocco: Hopscotch Urgently Seeks Muslim Families for Morocco Program

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Moroccan Orphans Without Hope Grow In Numbers By The Day: Muslim Families Desperately Needed!

May 27, 2015

Special correspondent Kira Kay reports as part of a partnership with the Bureau for International Reporting

Orphanages in Morocco face a unique challenge in trying to find permanent homes for children in their care. A recent law has made it nearly impossible for many would-be parents, especially under the Islamist government. 

Read more.

Hopscotch Adoptions, is honored to serve Morocco’s children and Muslim families, since 2010.  Hopscotch is dedicated to serving All children, All families and All Faiths. 

Eid Mubarak!

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In Hollywood, The Actor Who Gives The Call To Prayer

Worthy and Reposted from: by John Burnett / NPR on July 24, 2013

Listen here.


For the next year, NPR will take a musical journey across America, which is one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. We want to discover and celebrate the many ways in which people make spiritual music — individually and collectively, inside and outside houses of worship.

It is said, in Los Angeles, that Abdulwahab Benyoucef’s call to prayer is so lovely and so clarion that Muslims come to the mosque just to hear him. About three times a week, the Algerian actor — who has shortened his name to Ben Youcef — comes here in his traditional tunic to stand before the men kneeling toward Mecca. He closes his eyes, holds one hand over his ear, leans into a microphone and sings out the Arabic words in extended phrases.

"It’s a way to call people to come to worship God," Ben Youcef says. "That’s the purpose of the adhan [the Arabic name for call to prayer]. I bear witness that there’s no God except God. I bear witness that Muhammad is a messenger of God. Come to what’s good, come to prayer."

In his other life, the 34-year-old Ben Youcef is one of Hollywood’s A-list Muslim actors. Lately, because of his complexion, he’s been getting more and more generic ethnic roles. "Because in commercials," he says, "a lot of times I’m actually playing a Latin guy or an ethnically ambiguous guy."

Harmonizing Life

youcef_wide-895e0763a36dee79c8a06dfe4c336d6fc00b9599-s40 On television and in movies, he usually plays cocky, conflicted young Muslim men. And, since 9/11, his characters have often been predictable. In one scene on NBC’s Law & Order, his brown skin and Middle Eastern good looks get him arrested on a sidewalk in Los Angeles in connection with a bombing plot.

"I’m not a terrorist," he pleads.

The actor is asked how he harmonizes his life as a devout Muslim and a muezzin, a caller to prayer, with an actor who sometimes plays Islamic extremists.

"It’s not easy, I’m not going to lie to you," he says in an interview in a quiet conference room above the mosque. "The bottom line is my Muslim friends have no idea what it’s like to be an actor, and my actor friends have no idea what is it like to be a Muslim."

Ben Youcef says he has played terrorists, such as a Palestinian member of Black September in Steven Spielberg’s Munich. But he’s also turned down roles that he says demean his community. He says he keeps his life in balance by reciting calls to prayer at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City and other L.A.-area mosques, as he’s done since he was 8.

To Inspire And Awe

In Muslim countries, the call to prayer is broadcast throughout the city from the tops of minarets; in non-Muslim countries, as a courtesy to neighbors, it is chanted inside mosque walls.

The call to prayer is not music, per se. Music is not allowed in the mosque. But the five-times-daily prayer call can be musical. Ideally, a muezzin is sought out for a voice that inspires and awes — a voice like an instrument.

"When you hear a beautiful voice, it connects the soul to the divine in a way that words sometimes cannot do," says Jihad Turk, a friend of Ben Youcef’s and president of Bayan Claremont, an Islamic graduate school in Southern California.

Ben Youcef, with his Aladdin-like good looks and mellifluous voice, has the goal of becoming Hollywood’s most recognizable Arab actor — the next Omar Sharif — just so long, he says, as he can remain true to Islam.

"The Muslim community doesn’t have leading men or good guys," Youcef says. "As a kid, I used to watch Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Denzel Washington. None of those guys are Muslims."

As for the tensions between the world’s Mosaic religions, Ben Youcef has an allegory that he draws from his home turf.

"Think of Wilshire Boulevard as Christianity, Santa Monica Boulevard as Islam and Montana Boulevard as Judaism," Youcef says. "Take any of those boulevards and they lead to the ocean, which is God. We’re arguing over 15th Street, but all these roads lead to the Pacific."

Adoption News From Morocco

MORROCO: Congrats to our Hopscotch family on their Kefala late Friday afternoon!  He is such an adorable little one.  We are thrilled all three families currently in Morocco, are moving along and hope they will be home soon with their three new babies.

Have you considered adopting a child from Morocco?  There are so many boys, infant and older, that need forever families.  If you are practicing Islam and interested in building your family, contact us today.  If you are not currently a practicing Muslim, but are sincere in learning more about the faith and committing to Islam, we are also happy to share more about this wonderful program. Contact heather@hopscotchadoptions.org

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