Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Family, including Toledo brother, mourns shooting death of doctor in Egypt sit-in

An Egyptian doctor who was shot and killed by security forces while volunteering at a field hospital during the Aug. 14 massacre in Cairo was remembered as a quiet hero by friends and relatives, including a brother in Toledo.
Maged Ahmed Yousef, a cardiologist from Helwan, Egypt, was shot four times on Aug. 14 when Egyptian security forces raided a massive sit-in in Cairo.
Dr. Maged Ahmed Yousef, who was shot and killed while volunteering to help at an Egyptian protest, has a brother in Toledo.
Dr. Maged Ahmed Yousef, who was shot and killed while volunteering to help at an Egyptian protest, has a brother in Toledo.
Yousef, who would have turned 48 on Monday (Aug. 26), had volunteered at different field hospitals since the January 2011 revolution, according to his brother, Khaled Ahmed ElSayed, a cardiovascular first assistant from Toledo, Ohio.
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Local Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan

Toledo-area Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr with prayer service, family, friends, food and activities on Thursday (Aug. 8).
Muslims listen to a sermon by Imam Ahmed Abou Seif at an Eid al-Fitr celebration at Toledo's Sultan Club.
Muslims listen to a sermon by Imam Ahmed Abou Seif at an Eid al-Fitr celebration at Toledo’s Sultan Club.
About 550 Muslims gathered at Sultan Club to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, said Ahmed Hassabelnaby, Eid committee chair at the Toledo Muslim Community Center.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Violence Erupts Against Pro-Morsi Protest in Zagazig, Egypt

Violence Erupts Against Pro-Morsi Protest in Zagazig, Egypt

Protests in Zagazig, Egypt, on July 4, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Bassem Essam)
Protests in Zagazig, Egypt, on July 4, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Bassem Essam)
On Thursday, July 4, a protest in Zagazig, Egypt of thousands of supporters of ousted President Muhammad Morsi resulted in hundreds of injuries with many protestors fleeing from local attackers.
Most of those attacked and chased away were women and children.
Hanan Amin, chairwoman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in the Al Sharqia Governorate, said that 10,000 people, mostly women, were marching in Zagazig, Morsi’s hometown, when thugs suddenly appeared and began attacking them with sharp and heavy objects.
“We walked 12 kilometers and were surprised when thugs started to come towards us with swords, throwing rocks and glass bottles at us,” Amin said. As the protestors ran from the attackers, the police shot tear gas at the protestors.
“The police were closing in on us and throwing molotov cocktails,” Amin said. “We started to say the shahada [testimony of faith].”
140 people have been injured with two in critical condition, Amin reported. Many women were taken to and held at the police station without being charged, while others sought refuge in nearby mosques and apartment buildings.
Zagazig resident, Adel Zidan, 58, along with his family welcomed seven of the protestors into his apartment.
“People were just trying to escape from the violence,” Zidan said. “There are 60-70 people, mostly women, hiding downstairs in the apartment entrance and on the stairs, and we have seven of them staying in my apartment.”
“People are also trapped in the mosque next to our building,” he said. “It is not safe to go out now.”
Morsi was ousted from the presidency on July 3, by the military, after tens of millions of Egyptians began protesting around the country on June 30, calling for his removal. 
The Egyptian Army has shut down several Islamist run news channels. Several prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have also been arrested, though it is uncertain on what charges.
Independent writer and director Bassem Essam witnessed the Zagazig clashes, and took photos of the event. “Mostly women were protesting and it was very peaceful,” Essam said. “I saw no weapons with them.”
Essam said that some people claimed Morsi supporters were chanting aggressively and provoking passersby. “I am anti-Morsi, but pro-human,” he said “I don’t believe these claims because most of the protestors were women and children. I don’t think they meant any harm. What I think happened is when they got to the midtown area, they approached locations where less educated people and thugs were centered. Some people then started to throw rocks at the protestors,” Essam said. “They started running as a very large number of thugs headed towards them carrying swords and sticks. We helped the women, begging people to open their homes to help and hide them. Some were not able to help, unfortunately.”
Essam saw a group of attackers surround a bearded man, asking if he was part of the Muslim Brotherhood. “The man said he wasn’t a Brotherhood member but the thugs took him by force anyway. I couldn’t help him. I followed behind them and saw them take him to a nearby street and start beating him.”
The police were present but did not intervene.
Hoda ElSharkawi, from Massachusetts, was on a trip visiting relatives in Zagazig when she learned about the situation, calling it unfortunate.
“I was in a cab trying to go home when two ladies stormed into the taxi and said, “Go! Go! Go! They’re firing at us, the thugs are killing us. The ladies were very upset,” she said.
ElSharkawi is currently trapped at her relative’s home scared to leave because of gunshots outside the building.
“There’s a lot of anger from people who are not Muslim Brotherhood supporters. They see them [the protestors] gathering and their feeling is ‘we do not want to help you when you’re in trouble,’” she said.
“I don’t like Morsi. I was very much in favor of having him leave in a democratic way because I don’t like the army at all. I think Morsi’s ouster was a step back in democracy.”
“I saw things I didn’t want to see. I always wanted to believe that, no matter what, if people were being attacked Egyptians would come to their aid. It shook me to see what I did. It makes me feel there’s a lot of unfair and unjust people,” she said. “I don’t like the Muslim Brotherhood but I wouldn’t stand against their freedom of expression.”

* Aya Khalil is an Egyptian American freelance journalist and educator. She lives in South Carolina and has a Master’s in Education. She conducted original reporting for this piece. Follower her on Twitter @ayakhalil.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Workouts that work: Staying healthy and fit is important for mother and baby

Workouts that work: Staying healthy and fit is important for mother and baby

  • Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 11:27 a.m.
    UPDATED: Monday, October 1, 2012 11:28 a.m.
  • Text size: A A A
Photo by Shannon Brigham Jennifer Ayers-Millar, owner of Stroller Strides, works out with her son Keenan, 1, Alice Logvidice and her son Thomas, 14 months, and Melissa Dellett, and daughter Morgan, 2, in Mount Pleasant.
Being seven months pregnant hasn’t stopped Leigh Jourdain from doing Insanity workouts.

Eating during Pregnancy

Pregnant women should try their best to eat healthy, says James T. Martin, an obstetrician and gynocologyst at Trident Health.

“The types of food that mom eats not only benefits her by eating the right food, but helps the baby as well,” he says. “Low glycemic index food helps with the blood sugar and helps keep the baby’s sugar go up.”

He also says taking Omega-3 fatty acid is important to take for neurological development.

Jennifer Ayers-Millar, owner of Stroller Strides and a certified pre- and post-natal fitness instructor agrees. She teaches two fitness classes: Stroller Strides, a class for moms and their babies, and Fit4Baby, a prenatal class with active exercises.

“Eat healthy, green vegetables, proteins and good carbs,” she says.

She also says that the whole “eating for two” is not right and the mother should try not to gain too much weight.

She recommends pregnant women drink a lot of water before, during and after working out.

She also suggests eating protein before working out and of course continuing to take prenatal vitamins.
Doctors and experts highly recommend prenatal workouts which are beneficial for the mother and baby.
Jourdain, from James Island, does Insanity workouts at home three times a week, 30-40 minutes per day.
“I believe that it is very important that pregnant women should have an exercise regimen. Exercise aids in preventing excess water retention, excess weight, bloating, feeling lethargic and it also increases your energy levels,” she says. “Having energy is important, especially if you have other children to care for.”
Insanity is an intensive cardiovascular workout that involve lunges, push-ups, jumping squats and jumping jacks, she explains.
James T. Martin, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Trident Health says the healthier the pregnant mother is, the healthier the baby will be.
“Pregnancy is a big change in a woman’s body and she should always continue with fitness and good health,” he says. “The fitness keeps her body in shape and toned up and makes the delivery and labor process a lot easier. It helps her control her weight and helps keep the muscles and ligaments in shape.”
Jennifer Ayers-Millar, owner of Stroller Strides and a certified pre- and post-natal fitness instructor, says exercise will also make recovery time faster after birth. She teaches two fitness classes: Stroller Strides, a class for moms and their babies and Fit4Baby, a prenatal class with active exercises.
Women should continue their normal workout routines, with slight modifications throughout their pregnancy, Ayers-Millar says. The only exception would be for high risk pregnancies.
“Anyone should be able to continue to do whatever they continued to do before [they got pregnant],” she says. “Runners can continue to run.”
Martin says that expecting mothers should keep some points in mind while working out.
“You want to stay with low impact type exercises,” he says. “Pregnancy is not the time to see how high you can get your heart rate. You should not do long distance running.”
He says if the heart rate goes up too high, less blood flow will go to the baby.
He recommends light weights, walking, jogging, prenatal yoga, stationary cycling and the use of the elliptical machines.
Expectant mothers should not lay down on their backs and not do abdominal crunches during the second and third trimester.
Although some experts may recommend that pregnant women should not exercise too intensely, others think otherwise.
Ayers-Millar says that in the past, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines stated that pregnant women should not get their heart rates above 140.
“Now all of that is out the window. We recommend that clients work on a perceived rate exertion. The pregnant client can work at her comfortable level,” she says.
Ayers-Millar has three sons and said she continued to work out until the very end of her pregnancy and only did some minor modifications.
‘I did not change very much at all,” she says. “It’s whatever they feel comfortable doing.”
Start Slow
Women who did not work out before they got pregnant can start at a low level and increase their workout routine gradually, she says. She recommends pregnant women work out two to three days per week with 30-60 minutes each time.
Tricia Budde from Mount Pleasant, is pregnant with her fifth baby and did not work out during her other pregnancies.
“I was not a big fitness person before I got pregnant and not in my other pregnancies,” she says. She then found out about Stroller Strides and started taking the Fit4Baby classes.
“Doctors used to tell us to not get our heart rate too high,” Budde says. “But doctors now say you can do anything unless you are not hurting or laying flat on your back.”
Jourdain does not recommend Insanity workouts for pregnant women who didn’t do intense exercise routines before they became pregnant. Although this is her second pregnancy, she has always been fit and active.
“If you are a mom who desires to begin exercising during pregnancy, I think you should start slowly,” she says. “This may mean brisk walking for 30-40 minutes a day, three days a week; maybe even low impact aerobics or swimming.
Budde, who exercises twice a week, feels that working out while being pregnant is beneficial for her.
“I feel more energetic after I work out since pregnancy zaps all your energy away. I’ve had some back problems and after working out with her [Jennifer Ayers-Millar], I have been better.
When to start exercising after baby is born
As for losing baby weight, Jennifer Ayers-Millar says mothers can begin working out their abdominals 4 hours after giving birth. However, it is recommended to wait about six weeks postpartum to go back to moderate activity. She recommends starting out by taking walks with the newborn baby.
“For most people, the more they do, the better they feel. The more you do, the faster you recover,” she says. “Don’t sit and feel sorry for yourself. Do as much as you can and are able to.”
She finally recommends that pregnant women check with their doctors before starting a new exercise regimen.
Aya Khalil is a freelance journalist. She graduated from College of Charleston with a Master of Education with a focus in teaching English as a second language. She can be contacted at

Kid-friendly Fish Tanks: Setting up a home aquarium can be fun and educational

Kid-friendly Fish Tanks: Setting up a home aquarium can be fun and educational

  • Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 12:01 a.m.
  • Text size: A A A
This blue spotted jawfish is perfect for reef aquariums, where they dig a burrow to live.Buy this photo
Andrew Hayes of St. George loves the aquarium in his house filled with plecos, harlequins, clown loaches and more.
“I like my fish because they look cool. I feed them every day and make sure the lights are on, and I make sure everything is fine with my fish before I leave or go to bed,” the 6-year-old says.
Having an aquarium at home can be fun and educational for children, says Chris Deer, owner of Tideline Aquatics in Hanahan.
Children love having aquariums, especially when they can touch the fish, he says. While you can’t reach in and take a fish out to play with it or actually pet it like a dog, there are some types that you can touch, such as rays. Some fish also will touch your finger during feeding.
Families can build their own aquariums, but should consider several factors before starting.
“We ask families what kind of maintenance they’re willing to do and how much space they have and what their budget is,” he says.
The two main types of aquariums are freshwater and saltwater reef.
“Freshwater is very forgiving, and there are so many fish that come from diverse types of water that adapt to the water during changes,” he says.
Freshwater aquariums don’t require a lot of maintenance and are less expensive than saltwater reef.
Deer says aquariums need to be checked every day to make sure there are no problems with the fish.
“If a fish stops eating, there’s usually a problem,” he says.
He says it’s also important families test the water once a week and for the aquarium’s temperature to be 78 degrees for most species.
Some special animals to have in aquariums are shrimp, starfish, Oscar fish, puffer fish, blue tangs and clownfish, Deer says.
Charlotte Hayes says both of her sons enjoy their fish tanks.
Her oldest son, S.Q., 7, who has severe autism, enjoys aquariums just as much as his brother, Andrew. They have a freshwater tank and S.Q.’s favorite fish to watch is the red Marlboro discus.
“We have had a tank in our home for a few years, a 72-gallon bow front, and S.Q. still just sits and watches. It still calms him and the sound of the water is an added benefit for him. We have had to build a custom hood that can be locked to keep him from ‘helping’ the fish,” Hayes says.
Hayes’ family added an extra 20-gallon freshwater tank that looks like Bikini Bottom from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Andrew named his fish SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs and Spatula.
“He tries to train his fish, and they have school daily,” she says. “We are using the tank to teach responsibilities such as feeding and cleaning the tank. He turns the lights on and off daily. I think it’s better than a puppy because there are no puddles to clean, but responsibility is learned.”
Adam Kernen of Daniel Island has two daughters, Annika, 10, and Joelle, 7, who both enjoy the aquariums in their home. They have a 300-gallon saltwater reef that Kernen takes care of.
Annika has a 6-gallon freshwater tank in her room with guppies, tetras, a catfish and an algae eater.
“The guppies just had four babies, and one of the babies has survived and is growing. This was really big news in our house when she saw the babies,” Kernen says. “It also gave us a chance to research together how to care for the babies and what to expect.”
Joelle has a betta in its own container in her room, he says.
“The girls now care for their own tanks. Mostly this just means that they change part of the water every two to three days and they feed them appropriate amounts every day,” Kernen says. “This took a few reminders to get them started, but now it is a habit for them and rarely do I have to get involved.”
Casey Hullette, an active- duty senior airman in the Air Force has had an aquarium in his house for nine years. He’s from North Carolina and is stationed in Delaware but is trying to get to the Charleston Air Force Base.
Hullette’s 8-month-old son, Tripp, enjoys looking at their 50-gallon coral reef tank with a small foxface rabbitfish and a 14-gallon soft coral tank with two clownfish, a peppermint shrimp and a fire shrimp.
“I love having an aquarium in the home with my son because I personally think it has helped him with his motor skills and coordination,” Hullette says. “At 4 months old, he was moving his head and eyes, watching the fish swim, which in turn helped his neck muscles develop.”
Tripp loves the fish, his dad says.
“Usually after his dinnertime, before bath and bedtime, we will spend some time in the front room looking at the aquariums. He loves to stand on the side of the aquarium stand and watch the fish eat; sometimes we get lucky and the little guys come right up in front of him to eat.”
Aya Khalil is a freelance journalist. She’s a graduate of the College of Charleston with a Master of Education with a focus in teaching English as a second language. She can be contacted at