Posts Tagged ‘Sonia Ghattas-Soliman’

Muslims seek an area on campus for prayer

Mohammad Sabir Abbassi stands in front of a hallway of the tech-mall where Muslims have been asked not to pray for the sake of public safety

Mohammad Sabir Abbassi stands in front of a hallway of the tech-mall where Muslims have been asked not to pray for the sake of public safety. (Photo: Russ Lindquist)

By Russ Lindquist

GROSSMONT COLLEGE–Mohammad Sabir Abbassi, a Grossmont student aimed at a career in Public Health and Social Work, is advocating for his fellow Muslim students on campus to have a comfortable place to pray throughout the day.  Abbassi is petitioning with flyers, promoting the cause.

Previously, complaints had arisen about Muslims praying in the corridors of the tech-mall. To be clear, no one, including Abbassi, finds the complaints to be directed towards Muslims for their being Muslims but rather the issue was one of public safety: The area where they currently pray leads to an emergency fire exit, the blocking of which is considered a fire hazard, school officials who received the complaint told Abbassi.

Arabic Instructor Dr. Sonia Ghattas-Soliman suggested that Muslims consider finding many separate areas as options for their daily prayer.  Agustin Albarran, associate dean of Student Affairs, suggested that Muslims perhaps hold a fundraiser to build a (non-denominational, religiously open) peace garden for the Muslims to pray in.

Muslims pray five times a day; typically each prayer lasts from five to ten minutes.  Dyari Qadir said she feels it is unfair for Muslims to be prohibited from praying in that hallway.

Qadir,  a member of the Muslim Student Association at Grossmont, stated that if an emergency were to arise that she would stop praying and vacate the building.

In response to suggestions that Muslims simply pray outside, Abbassi stated that some Muslims report having been harassed when they prayed outdoors.  Specifically, Abbassi told of a time when a Muslim woman was praying and approached by a woman who presumably was not Muslim, and the non-Muslim woman reportedly insisted, “You cannot pray here.”

When told of this incident, Dean Albarran assured: “Students–Muslim and otherwise–can pray anywhere on the campus that they want,” as long as it does not directly and adversely affect the learning of other students.  Students who feel they are being treated unfairly–in religious matters or otherwise–may call Dean Albarran at Grossmont’s Office of Student Affairs at 619-644-7600, or email the Dean at


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Campus weighs meaning of Arab-world protests

By William Dudley

William Dudley

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — The ouster of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and other dramatic recent events in surrounding nations have raised much interest (and some worries) among Americans. Responding to such interest, the Grossmont Arabic Club sponsored “The Arab World Today,” a forum held on campus on March 7.

Grossmont College Arabic instructors gave presentations and took questions and answers from the audience of approximately 40 people. Many of the audience members were themselves part of Grossmont’s sizeable Arabic student community. Others, such as librarian Michelle Blackman, were there to sate their “insatiable curiosity” about what was happening.

Dr. Sonia Ghattas-Soliman (right) looks on as Zahara Samir translates signage from political protests in Morocco.

The instructors who participated in the forum all hailed from different countries. They included Dr. Sonia Ghattas-Soliman (Egypt), Jiryes Haddad (Jordan), Yousra Quideimat (Palestinian territories) and Zahara Samir (Morocco).

Ghattas-Soliman began the presentation by noting that when most outsiders think of the Middle East, the first thing that comes to mind is oil. However, she argued that strategic waterways, including the Suez Canal, are of equal strategic importance.

Zahara Samir followed with a brief presentation on Morocco, a country on the northwest coast of Africa. Since February 20 of this year, its cities have been the sites of political protest gatherings held every Sunday.  The Moroccan government said 37,000 people participated in the first protest – a gross underestimate, according to Samir.

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Campus reacts to Mubarak’s resignation in Egypt

By Russell Lindquist

Hosni Mubarak, former president of Egypt (Photo: Wikipedia)

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — The President of Egypt, Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak has stepped down, after nearly three decades of what plenty consider to have been a corrupt dictatorship.

According to Human Rights Watch, “today belongs to the people of Egypt as they celebrate a great triumph in their struggle for freedom, dignity and human rights against decades of repression and corruption.”

President Obama said the following: “The people of Egypt have spoken. Their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same…”

Here on campus, there are strong opinions as well.  “It is great for Egypt and the Middle East…Mubarak was a dictator…and after 30 years years he is leaving, because the Egyptians were brave enough to stand up,” said Sharifa Hagi, a Grossmont student of Yemeni descent who hopes that the events in Egypt will encourage change in other places, among which she named Yemen, Tunisia, Somalia and Sudan.

Egyptian-American Dr. Sonia Ghattas-Soliman, Grossmont instructor of Arabic, Arabic club advisor and Arabic, French and Italian Coordinator said the following:

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