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

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Grant Deadline for HelpUsAdopt

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GRANT DEADLINE: Becky Fawcett @helpusadopt.org is now accepting adoption grant applications for the FEBRUARY 2015 grant cycle. HelpUsAdopt.org supports ALL families including Muslim, Jewish, LGBT and single parent families.

Click for a FREE application. Please share– someone you know might need help with the cost of their adoption.

Moroccan Program for Healthy Children Under 3: Now Accepting New Applications!

239 WELCOMING NEW APPLICANTS OF MUSLIM FAITH

MARRIED COUPLES & SINGLE WOMEN

 

 

 

 

MALE CHILDREN UNDER 3 YEARS OF AGE URGENTLY NEED FAMILIES

IF YOU ARE A PRACTICING MUSLIM FAMILY OR SINGLE WOMAN, UNDER THE AGE OF 45 AND READY TO PROCEED WITH KEFALA OF A MALE CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF THREE, CONTACT HOPSCOTCH ADOPTIONS, INC. TODAY TO GET STARTED.

 

 

 

 

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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."

Orphans In Morocco, A Documentary

60a0802b2353101c6182ad601ff9464cOver the last few months a number of stories about the crisis in the orphanages in Morocco were published by international media. There were  also reports on a proclamation by the current Islamist government that seems set to hinder progress – the stopping of foreign adoptions, including Moroccans living abroad. But this is an issue that will not go away until concrete steps are taken to bring Morocco into the modern world where adoption is seen as an act of compassion, not a problem to be eradicated. Assisting this process are activists, some more enlightened politicians and hundreds of thousands of Moroccan women. And now a new film will add weight to the calls for change.

The documentary, BASTARDS, is about illegitimate children and the fathers who abandon them. By following single mothers fighting for justice, the documentary addresses big social issues through small human stories….heart-warming and heart-breaking stories captured in the raw, as Moroccan men and women clash about sex, children, marriage and money. It’s a surprising contemporary documentary that touches anyone who has loved or been betrayed. The filmmaker is Deborah Perkin

THE OUTCASTS

In the West, a documentary about single mothers, and children abandoned by their fathers is no big deal, but in Muslim countries, where unmarried sex is illegal, the stakes are incredibly high. This timely film captures stories from the cutting edge of Islam.

Illegitimate children in Morocco are outcasts, non people, bastards … but recent legal reforms give single mothers the right to register their children, either alone, or by persuading the father to recognise the child in court. Registration on the state birth register means access to education and health care, and a respectable position in society. BASTARDS follows single mothers battling for these rights for their children.

THE ACCESS

The radical Casablanca charity L’Association Solidarite Feminine opened its case files to us, and the Moroccan Ministry of Justice granted unprecedented access to film in the Agadir courts. The production team Deborah Perkin (former BBC Senior Producer) and Nora Fakim (former BBC Morocco Correspondent) lived in a Casablanca slum for two months to be amongst the single mothers they were filming. This is a rare glimpse into a hidden world.

In most Muslim countries a documentary like BASTARDS would be unthinkable….but thanks to brave campaigners and a socially tolerant king, Morocco has led the way in social and legal reforms that help single mothers and their illegitimate children to secure a future.

THE STORIES AND  CHARACTERS

Rabha El Haymar’s story is the spine of the film. She is a single mother and her daughter is illegitimate because under Morocco’s family law reforms, her traditional marriage as a child bride was not legal. She battles through the courts to legalise the marriage, to register her daughter and to force the father to accept his child. We witness extraordinary scenes.… the courtroom lies of her child’s father, verbal abuse from her child’s grandfather, Rabha’s confrontation with her mother asking why she married her off so young, and finally her triumph in the courts.

Along the way, we also meet larger-than-life Fatiha, tirelessly pressing the father of her child for maintenance, law student Naim, a young man who is distressed about growing up with the shame of illegitimacy, Saida who was rejected by her family and almost gave birth at a police station, and Kultum who is too young to be a mother following her rape, and is struggling with the responsibility.

L’Association Solidarite Feminine’s founder Aicha Chenna has given her working life to supporting single mothers to bring up their children with dignity. Her tireless campaigning has gradually changed social and legal attitudes. In BASTARDS we meet her and her equally feisty female colleagues, the social workers and lawyers who work on the frontline with single mothers.

THE ISSUES

Sex outside marriage may be illegal in Muslim countries but that doesn’t stop it happening. Inevitably, without sex education, or easy access to contraception or to legal abortion, unwanted illegitimate babies are born. With 6500 babies abandoned every year, Morocco faces a crisis, but instead of taking a punitive approach, it encourages single parents to be reconciled and their children to be legitimised. Radical reforms in 2004 to its family law code, the Moudawana, put Morocco at the forefront of developing human rights for single mothers and their illegitimate children. You can read an English translation of the Moudawana here.

WHY DID I MAKE THIS DOCUMENTARY?

Deborah Perkin explains:  I wouldn’t pretend that I predicted the Arab Spring, but in 2009 I did work out that Morocco was pushing ahead with democratic reforms and that something interesting was happening in Muslim North Africa. It all started with a holiday with my mum. We had a tour of Morocco and found that everywhere we went women wanted to talk to us, take photos with us, ask us what we thought of their country. This was a completely different experience from traveling in the other Muslim countries we had visited, where women were much less visible in the workforce and on the streets. And so began my passion for Morocco and its people, which led to me putting my all into making this documentary.

When I got home I searched the internet and discovered that Morocco had many women’s rights and human rights organizations. They had campaigned for legal reforms which eventually became law in 2004, amending the Family Code, the Moudawana. Child marriages were outlawed with the age of sexual consent for men and women set at 18, polygamy was virtually outlawed, and women’s child custody rights improved. Single mothers could register their children alone, choosing a father’s surname from a state list if the father refused to give the child his name – and once registered, children are entitled to education and healthcare.

I didn’t want to make an issue-based report on legal reform but a moving documentary showing personal stories of women using the new law. Eventually I found Aicha Chenna and L’Association Solidarite Feminine. She and her staff welcomed me in to their radical charity, set up in the face of death threats from conservative Islamists, but working all the time to reintegrate single mothers into society, and make sure their illegitimate children have the best possible start in life. Their work became my obsession. I had to make a documentary with them and the women they support.

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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