When people put their mind to it they can do anything. Anything! One of the great poets of the 20th century once said, ‘the hand of the believer is the hand of God, dominant, resourceful, full of light…..His heart is indifferent to the riches of the world.’ Where some people see barriers, others see challenges. When some stop, others excel, and so it is with Bilqis Abdul Qaadir, a senior high school student who has broken the record for the most points scored in a high school basketball career by either male or female for the state of Massachusetts. Coming from the home of Tarheel and Blue Devil basketball that’s no small feat in my opinion so Ms. Abdul Qaadir deserves major respect. However what she has done so well in, playing basketball, is overshadowed by the fact that she did it while being an observant Muslim adult woman, wearing the hijab and covering herself, albeit innovatively, according to her religious tradition. The young lady seems to have everything going for her, a loving family with both parents involved in her life and an eye towards life after collegiate basketball and she has managed that without any trace of bitterness or victimhood built up after years of Islamophobia in this country. My hats off to her and I wish her all the success in the world. She’s a role model, as a woman, a Muslim, a student athlete, and a member of this society we all can look up to.
The land of opportunity is better than what we’ve witnessed the last eight years of fear and warmongering and so it is, that ingenuity on the part of a citizen and the will on the part of a businessman combined to render a service to a community and do so successfully in a time of economic turmoil.
University Bank now has an entire subsidiary devoted to financial products that comply with Muslim religious law, or Shariah. It has done nearly $80 million in Islamically approvable “mortgage-alternative” financing for residential and commercial real estate in 15 states.
This past week, while the stock market plunged to its lowest point in a dozen years and close-to-home General Motors teetered near bankruptcy, University Bank recorded one of its best periods ever. It completed 11 home sales, more than twice the weekly average, to observant Muslim customers, and pushed four more closings into next week.
On more than one occasion I have chided Muslim customers who allowed themselves to be debased by a Charlotte, NC bank that really doesn’t want their business. No one should pay anyone else to take their money. So maybe those good citizens of Charlotte can go down to a bank who really wants their business and help make them even more profitable. There’s a lesson to learn from this: people working together can accomplish a lot more for all than one group that wants to humiliate another group because of some false sense of patriotism, citizenship or racial/ethnic arrogance.