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ILIA National Write a Letter Competition (Extended to 1/31)

Green Sprouts

Ends Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 11:55 PM (EST)

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National Write a Letter

Communications is a key component of effective leadership. Islamic Leadership Institute of America is holding a national writing competition. The competition is to promote effective writing skills and abilities for youth and adults.

How does the competition work?  Two simple steps.

A. Write a letter to one of the following three addressees:
1. President Obama on increase in hijab airport issues
2. Judge Richard Berman on Aafia Siddiqui’s strip search
3. Congress or Senate elected official on Patriot Reform Act

B. Email a copy to ILIA
Top 10 letter authors receive a voucher for a free ILIA workshop in 2010 ($69 value)

Deadline: Jan 17th 2010, 11:55 pm EST

Issue Details:

Letters should convey your opinion on the topic being addressed.

1. President Obama on increase in hijab airport issues:

Increased profiling of sisters wearing hijab has been taking place since the recent incident on December 25th, 2009. As Nihad Awad mentions in a recent "Profiling sends the message to millions of Muslim travelers that it is their faith, not terrorism, that is the problem. This is precisely the talking point put forward by the religious extremists of Al-Qaeda who say the West is at war with Islam and all Muslims, and that everyone had better choose sides".

For more information about profiling Muslims refer to the following:

2. Judge Richard Berman on Aafia Siddiqui's Strip Search Issue

As described by Mauri’ Saalakhan Aafia Siddiqui is a " a 37 year old Pakistani national who did her graduate and post-graduate work in the United States, graduating from MIT and Brandeis University, where she received her PhD. Those who knew her in Boston (who this writer has spoken to) have had nothing but glowing things to say about her. Quiet, soft-spoken, focused; a devoted mother, excellent student, and committed muslimah who was known for her charitable work in the Boston community, is how she is invariably described".

Aaafia has been abducted  from a taxicab in Karachi Pakistan. No one would know of their whereabouts for the next five years. As time passed, however, and tales began to spread about a mysterious woman being held at Bagram (Afghanistan), identified only as Prisoner 650, pressure began to build toward indentifying who that mysterious woman was.

Today she sits behind bars on American soil awaiting trial. On December 21, Judge Richard Berman summoned Dr. Aafia Siddiqui into court and reversed his earlier decision that would have allowed Aafia to attend the trial via video conference to avoid routine strip and cavity searches.  Aafia’s family and supporters were not notified of the hearing, which was supposed to be an administrative hearing regarding trial procedure. The hearing was such a surprise that even Aafia’s legal counsel was unable to make it.

The judge decided that Aafia needs to come to court every day of the trial to affirm whether she wants to come to court or not. By doing so, Aafia will be required to undergo strip and cavity searches, which is the reason she wants to avoid court in the first place. Family and supporters are concerned about the emotional and psychological impact these continued strip and cavity searches are having on Aafia.

Please write to Judge Berman and ask him to help stop the unnecessary strip searches, cavity searches and other abusive treatment while Aafia is under his jurisdiction.

Hon. Judge Richard Berman
United States District Court
500 Pearl St.
New York, NY 10007

For reference information:

3. Congress or Senate Elected Officials on Patriot Act Reform
Three sections of the Patriot Act will sunset, or expire, at the end of the year, allowing an opportunity to revisit the law in its entirety. Hearings examining the Patriot Act were held in both the House and Senate.

ACLU Policy Counsel and former FBI agent Michael German stated, “Put very simply, under the Patriot Act the government now has the right to know what you’re doing, but you have no right to know what it’s doing.”

For more information on this issue you can check: (Type S 1686 into the search field and select “bill number.”)

You can watch the video of the Senate hearing here and the House hearing here, and read Michael German’s full written testimony here.


Entries will be by a panel of judges appointed by Islamic Leadership Institute of America. The panel will evaluate submissions on adherence to the topic; originality; and quality of writing, using the following criteria:
  • Content, structure and development
  • Mechanics and adherence to grammatical conventions
  • Intellectual engagement

Rubrics are available upon registration.


There are two levels for competing, please enter your age at registration time to be included into the relevant group.

Level Y: For ages (14-18)
Level A: For ages (18+)

Competition is open to all individuals regardless of educational background, race, religious beliefs. Competitors must be residing in the US.


All submissions should be in MS-Word 2000 format, or PDF, and should be sent to ""

About ILIA

The beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said in one hadith "All of you are shepherds, and each of you is responsible of his or her flock". The Islamic Leadership Institute of America is based on this advice of the Prophet. Our programs instill leadership skills and traits into the participants. 

For more information about the Islamic Leadership Institute of America email us at or visit the website at







Have questions about ILIA National Write a Letter Competition (Extended to 1/31)? Contact Green Sprouts

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Ends Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 11:55 PM (EST)

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