Someone sent me a flyer from a masjid in Apex, North Carolina where the imam of that masjid addresses what should be the reaction of his group to the election of Donald Trump. Contrary to what the average American may think about the presence of Muslims in this country, this cleric’s advise is full of calls to American civics, service and faith in the American process as well as in their religion.
It’s been a long, hard campaign and election season. We’ve heard some incredibly divisive rhetoric, some of it aimed at us and some of it aimed at other minorities we call friends and allies. Many of you have come to me and expressed your fears and sadness over the outcome of the elction. Let me first say that as American Muslims, we should all respect the choice that has been made through our electoral process. We should also continue to have a high level of self-esteem as we have always been good and loyal citizens of this country, not only out of respect for the laws and regulations of this country but because doing so is part of our faith.
The more I grow in this faith the more love and respect I have for our great Prophet and Messenger (prayer and peace be upon him); the more thankful to God I am for making me one of his followers in this time; and the better I understand God’s words, which are full of wisdom and mercy. One of the verses of Quran that really inspires me is “Verily, you (the believers) have had in the Messenger of God a great example”. It’s he who taught us courage, patience and trust in God. It’s he who taught us to rely, in times of hardship and all times, only on God’ not anybody else. It’s he who taught us to be positive, no matter what the challenges are. He also taught us that after making plans and taking necessary steps to achieve a certain goal, the final decision is still His. It’s he who reported to us the verse of Quran in which Almighty God says “And perhaps you don’t appreciate something, while God would bring good through it”.
So I trust God. And I ask that you do too, my fellow Muslims. I know it is hard given the divisive rhetoric we’ve heard throughout the campaign process. But I ask you to walk with heads held high; we should not be pushed to hide our faith, our identity, nor our values. This is not what our great prophet taught us to do. Nor is it the principals that this Great Nation was founded on. Our prophet taught us to face all kinds of challenges with courage, wisdom, pride and patience. Gentleness is the path of our great prophet so let us NOT find our path to equality and justice by drinking from the cup of bitterness.
Instead, here’s what we must do; we need to be more active civically, we need to get involved with volunteer organizations, we need to get out and meet our neighbors. We need to get out of our “bubble” which finds us only socializing with those “like” us and show our neighbors and community who we are. If you don’t leave the “bubble”, you cannot be upset when people stereotype you or fear you. We need to be more active in the political process, meet our representatives and express our fears and challenges with them. We need to work in tandem with government and our communities to form alliances and create a better world for everyone.
And to President Elect Trump—We will give you a chance. Let not your Muslim citizens (nor any other minority) be your worst enemy. Your worst enemies should be ignorance, poverty, inequality, crime, racism, discrimination and hate.
Two thousand sixteen is not an end, but a beginning. Two thousand sixteen should be an opportunity to replace the fear, mistrust and suspicion that were infused in some American’s hears, with love, brotherhood and mercy. Just like our Prophet taught us to do. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Let’s get started- Imam Khalid Shaku
Don’t let it be said you don’t know what Muslims are doing in this country.
Those two words began the turmoil of American politics for the next 8 years and accelerated America’s descent into political chaos the likes of which the country hasn’t seen for over 100 years. Doomsayers have been signaling the end of the world since mankind has lived communally but Joe Wilson’s verbal ejaculation was unprecedented for American politics and is foreshadowing.
It was Barack Obama’s first State of of the Union address as President. He had barely taken the reins of political power; had not even put his imprimatur on the country’s direction yet South Carolina congressman Wilson felt the very presence of Obama warranted this indiscretion. At that point in his address Obama was talking about illegal immigration and whether they could qualify for health insurance legislation that he was trying to pass at that time.
“There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants,” Obama said. “This, too, is false — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”
As it turns out the President was right Obamacare does contain an explicit prohibition against providing federally-subsidized coverage to immigrants who cannot prove they are here legally but that’s not what really caused Joe Wilson’s ire. Rather it was the Southerner in Wilson that forced him to take America back to the advent of Radical Reconstruction when southern states, buckling under and humbled by their defeat at the hands of the Union felt it necessary to subdue their black citizens even though those very citizens were granted full citizenship, the right to vote and equal protection under the law.
These rights were codified in the 13th, 14th, 15th amendments and the civil rights act of 1866 which granted citizenship and the same rights enjoyed by white citizens to all male persons in the United States “without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude.” Even though African-Americans were free the reality is
“most Southern whites could not accept the idea of African Americans voting and holding office, or the egalitarian policies adopted by the new governments. Beginning in 1867, Southern(ers)….. launched a campaign of vilification against Reconstruction, employing lurid appeals to racial prejudice as well as more measured criticisms of Reconstruction policies.
and so the next 100 years proved to be the most tumultuous and politically oppressive for America’s black citizens as well as the most advantageous and rewarding for whites. You Lie has been on the lips of black Americans since that time. They say it in response to their misplaced reality, the freedom and equality they were promised but has yet to materialize; they say it silently to themselves whenever they hear a politician talk about his or her ideas for a post racial society; they say it whenever they hear the explanation for why an unarmed black man is shot by police. Mr. Wilson, on the other hand aimed it at what many saw as America finally fulfilling its promise, potential.
Obama brought out the ugly in America. The country built on the principles of a white gentry land owner class was not ready for him despite the fact that those outside that class were. America’s present day answer to the 21st century’s Reconstruction is Donal Trump. He’s been brewing on the American political landscape for some time with obvious and disastrous results and he’s been consistent in those outcomes. Let’s start with, albeit one of many, Trump’s race baiting adventures dating back to the brutal rape of a white jogger in Central Park in May 1989 which received widespread media attention. Trump took out a full-age ad in four New York City newspapers with the title “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY! BRING BACK THE POLICE!” He did not specifically reference the Central Park jogger attack in the ad, but its timing made the connection inescapable and everyone in NYC knew who he was referring too. New York was at a very racially charged time; crime was high and would go higher and the Central Park jogger case had all the ingredients of a white female allegedly attacked by a black marauding gang with others bursting the seams of their neighborhoods and only the police
to keep them back. It was easy for Donald Trump to appeal to that mob like mentality and he did it with aplomb in much the same way he’s doing today. If you’re wondering his timing couldn’t have been more off. The four teenagers he wanted to kill, execute were entirely and completely innocent of their crime and exonerated. The guilty party was found, confessed and languishes in jail but the mood was set and some could say the city with its draconian stop and frisk policing has set an ugly tone in law enforcement for this country.
There’s something about where the country is today that attracts his presence and made him the presidential candidate for the Republican party. He has been enabled in no small part by the media which has treated his candidacy with a legitimacy it does not deserve. Rather they continue to cover it because it is an extraordinary revenue source. CBS’ executive said just that, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS” the hidden meaning being the absence of Trump might not bode well for the bottom line. After all, the saying goes, controversy sells and what’s more important in a capitalist society than a profitable bottom line. But that means giving a microphone to Trump’s many lies…which don’t get called that all. In fact even when they are demonstrably proven as lies the media reports them in the process of a political speech and then somehow glosses over them as if he never said them.
Perhaps the most egregious regards Muslims….and two lies in particular stand out for people to stand and shout out You Lie. The first was his saying he saw on TV thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the attacks of 911. He saw that on television…..let that sink in for a minute. He saw that on a television channel that is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission over United States television channels. That means it exists in more than Donald Trump’s mind, world. There has to be a record such video was played over the air waves of this country. Right? Fact is there is no such video; it’s all imagined by Donald Trump
Farmer (John Farmer Jr., New Jersey state’s attorney general AND a registered Republican) told the New York Times that the New Jersey State Police received reports on the day of the attacks that “Muslims were dancing on the rooftops and in the streets of Jersey City and Paterson.” Those reports were investigated and found to be false, Farmer said. “We followed up on that report instantly because of its implications,” Farmer told the Times. “The word came back quickly from Jersey City, later from Paterson. False report. Never happened.”
Never happened! But because it has been put out on the public domain and NOT retracted by Trump 2016 has seen the largest number of acts of violence against Muslims since 911 and the year is not over yet. Lest you think such pronouncements are made in error…here’s the second part of the tandem Trump has aimed at Muslim Americans. This is what he has posted on his website today, September 20,2016
– DECEMBER 07, 2015 –
DONALD J. TRUMP STATEMENT ON PREVENTING MUSLIM IMMIGRATION
(New York, NY) December 7th, 2015, — Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.
Yet even as recently as 24 hours before this post was made Trump was on television saying in response to the question whether law enforcement or immigration officials should screen Muslims more than other groups
“I never said the term ‘Muslim. I’m saying we’re going to profile people that maybe look suspicious, I didn’t say [if] they were Muslims or not.”
There’s no disconnect between what Trump says and reality. Pathologically one can say there is something wrong with him but he’s managed to bring on board his campaign apparatus an entire group of people who are in the mold of presidential southern recontructionists….those people who misapplied, institutionalized the law to make segregation de facto despite the gains given by the 13th, 14, 15th amendments. It goes to show you that despite the legal advances codified by law there are still ways corruption can make gains losses and oppress large segments of the population. Donald Trump and his campaign is doing just that and he’s able to because no one is willing to stand up and make a simple two word declaration, You Lie!
Post racial America is NOT post racial. Racism is very much alive and well in America. In small rural North Carolina’s Camden County a public school teacher’s bucket list is to kill all black people. Math teacher Cynthia Ramsey works in a local high school and her remarks were directed towards students old enough to understand their implications.
It doesn’t end there…..Americans are xenophobic to the extent they can’t even tolerate hearing someone speaking a language other than English even though a person might not be talking to them. Back in the day of my youth, speaking another language other than your mother’s tongue meant you had a degree of education that set you apart. Indeed, learning a second language was a part of the public school education’s curriculum but no longer it seems. It probably didn’t help Asma Jama that much that she was a person of color who looked different….i.e. wore a head scarf and was clearly identifiable as a Muslim. America doesn’t like nor tolerate Muslims either and especially those who talk to one another in language the average American can’t understand. It could very well be they are planning some act of terrorism, perhaps?
Jodie Burchard-Risch, 43, and her husband had been sitting in the booth next to Jama, who was with her cousins and nieces. The couple became upset when they heard Jama and her family conversing in a foreign language, according to a criminal complaint.
Jama said the couple told them to “go home.” They said that “when you’re in America you should speak English.”
Jama, an ethnic Somali, came to Minnesota in 2000 from Kenya. She speaks three languages: English, Swahili and Somali.
“I’m home,” she told Burchard-Risch at the Applebee’s. “I can speak English, but we choose to speak whatever language we want.”
Authorities say that’s when Burchard-Risch hit Jama in the face with the glass mug.
….and in case you’re wondering if you click on the link detailing this story you can hear Jama speaking English in describing what happened to her better than 90% of Americans.
This story makes it as clear as can be what is the true nature of the so-called Islamic State. The clarity presented in the article shows that the Islamic State, ISIS, has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with the re-emergence of Ba’athist loyalists who are extremely upset with how they were ignored when it came to rebuilding Iraq after the US invasion in 2003. Perhaps the Ba’athists have every reason for their anger; their country was illegally invaded and occupied by the Bush Administration under false pretenses and essentially ruined. What is equally disturbing however is how those same people who had a reason for their righteous indignation turned around and used Islam in order to garner the support they needed to re-take Iraq because they realized it would offer them a broader appeal than their own outdated, irrelevant brand of Arab socialism that many other countries were rejecting. In doing so they also deployed some of the same barbarity under the ISIS banner, beheadings, executions, ethnic cleansing, that have nothing at all to do with Islam but considered by Ba’athists to be legitimate tools of oppression needed to promote social cohesion or silence. Don’t let spin fool you; an Islamic movement didn’t start an ISIS that incorporated former key figures of Saddam Hussein’s government rather it was the reverse. Ba’athists seething at being left out after Saddam’s ouster rounded up people they thought would give their movement religious credibility. “Even the appointment of (Abu Bakr) al Baghdadi to lead the Islamic State of Iraq in 2010 is reported by an ISIS defector to have been engineered by a former Baathist: Haji Bakr, an ex-colonel from the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard.” Notice the choice of words, “appointment” of the leader of the Islamic State….implying someone else gave him this position, power. One only need to look at those close to him. Two of Al-Baghdi’s deputies are former Ba’athists no doubt put in place by other Ba’athists to keep tight reins on ISIS. The WaPo article below gives further detail
When Abu Hamza, a former Syrian rebel, agreed to join the Islamic State, he did so assuming he would become a part of the group’s promised Islamist utopia, which has lured foreign jihadists from around the globe.
Instead, he found himself being supervised by an Iraqi emir and receiving orders from shadowy Iraqis who moved in and out of the battlefield in Syria. When Abu Hamza disagreed with fellow commanders at an Islamic State meeting last year, he said, he was placed under arrest on the orders of a masked Iraqi man who had sat silently through the proceedings, listening and taking notes.
Abu Hamza, who became the group’s ruler in a small community in Syria, never discovered the Iraqis’ real identities, which were cloaked by code names or simply not revealed.
All of the men, however, were former Iraqi officers who had served under Saddam Hussein, including the masked man, who had once worked for an Iraqi intelligence agency and now belonged to the Islamic State’s own shadowy security service, he said.
His account, and those of others who have lived with or fought against the Islamic State over the past two years, underscore the pervasive role played by members of Iraq’s former Baathist army in an organization more typically associated with flamboyant foreign jihadists and the gruesome videos in which they star.
Even with the influx of thousands of foreign fighters, almost all of the leaders of the Islamic State are former Iraqi officers, including the members of its shadowy military and security committees, and the majority of its emirs and princes, according to Iraqis, Syrians and analysts who study the group.
They have brought to the organization the military expertise and some of the agendas of the former Baathists, as well as the smuggling networks developed to avoid sanctions in the 1990s and which now facilitate the Islamic State’s illicit oil trading.
In Syria, local “emirs” are typically shadowed by a deputy who is Iraqi and makes the real decisions, said Abu Hamza, who fled to Turkey last summer after growing disillusioned with the group. He uses a pseudonym because he fears for his safety.
“All the decision makers are Iraqi, and most of them are former Iraqi officers. The Iraqi officers are in command, and they make the tactics and the battle plans,” he said. “But the Iraqis themselves don’t fight. They put the foreign fighters on the front lines.”
The public profile of the foreign jihadists frequently obscures the Islamic State’s roots in the bloody recent history of Iraq, its brutal excesses as much a symptom as a cause of the country’s woes.
The raw cruelty of Hussein’s Baathist regime, the disbandment of the Iraqi army after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the subsequent insurgency and the marginalization of Sunni Iraqis by the Shiite-dominated government all are intertwined with the Islamic State’s ascent, said Hassan Hassan, a Dubai-based analyst and co-author of the book “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.”
“A lot of people think of the Islamic State as a terrorist group, and it’s not useful,” Hassan said. “It is a terrorist group, but it is more than that. It is a homegrown Iraqi insurgency, and it is organic to Iraq.”
The de-Baathification law promulgated by L. Paul Bremer, Iraq’s American ruler in 2003, has long been identified as one of the contributors to the original insurgency. At a stroke, 400,000 members of the defeated Iraqi army were barred from government employment, denied pensions — and also allowed to keep their guns.
The U.S. military failed in the early years to recognize the role the disbanded Baathist officers would eventually come to play in the extremist group, eclipsing the foreign fighters whom American officials preferred to blame, said Col. Joel Rayburn, a senior fellow at the National Defense University who served as an adviser to top generals in Iraq and describes the links between Baathists and the Islamic State in his book, “Iraq After America.”
The U.S. military always knew that the former Baathist officers had joined other insurgent groups and were giving tactical support to the Al Qaeda in Iraq affiliate, the precursor to the Islamic State, he said. But American officials didn’t anticipate that they would become not only adjuncts to al-Qaeda, but core members of the jihadist group.
“We might have been able to come up with ways to head off the fusion, the completion of the Iraqization process,” he said. The former officers were probably not reconcilable, “but it was the labeling of them as irrelevant that was the mistake.”
Under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph, the former officers became more than relevant. They were instrumental in the group’s rebirth from the defeats inflicted on insurgents by the U.S. military, which is now back in Iraq bombing many of the same men it had already fought twice before.
At first glance, the secularist dogma of Hussein’s tyrannical Baath Party seems at odds with the Islamic State’s harsh interpretation of the Islamic laws it purports to uphold.
But the two creeds broadly overlap in several regards, especially their reliance on fear to secure the submission of the people under the group’s rule. Two decades ago, the elaborate and cruel forms of torture perpetrated by Hussein dominated the discourse about Iraq, much as the Islamic State’s harsh punishments do today.
Like the Islamic State, Hussein’s Baath Party also regarded itself as a transnational
movement, forming branches in countries across the Middle East and running training camps for foreign volunteers from across the Arab world.
By the time U.S. troops invaded in 2003, Hussein had begun to tilt toward a more religious approach to governance, making the transition from Baathist to Islamist ideology less improbable for some of the disenfranchised Iraqi officers, said Ahmed S. Hashim, a professor who is researching the ties at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
With the launch of the Iraqi dictator’s Faith Campaign in 1994, strict Islamic precepts were introduced. The words “God is Great” were inscribed on the Iraqi flag. Amputations were decreed for theft. Former Baathist officers recall friends who suddenly stopped drinking, started praying and embraced the deeply conservative form of Islam known as Salafism in the years preceding the U.S. invasion.
In the last two years of Hussein’s rule, a campaign of beheadings, mainly targeting women suspected of prostitution and carried out by his elite Fedayeen unit, killed more than 200 people, human rights groups reported at the time.
The brutality deployed by the Islamic State today recalls the bloodthirstiness of some of those Fedayeen, said Hassan. Promotional videos from the Hussein era include scenes resembling those broadcast today by the Islamic State, showing the Fedayeen training, marching in black masks, practicing the art of decapitation and in one instance eating a live dog.
Some of those Baathists became early recruits to the al-Qaeda affiliate established by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Palestinian Jordanian fighter who is regarded as the progenitor of the current Islamic State, said Hisham al Hashemi, an Iraqi analyst who advises the Iraqi government and has relatives who served in the Iraqi military under Hussein. Other Iraqis were radicalized at Camp Bucca, the American prison in southern Iraq where thousands of ordinary citizens were detained and intermingled with jihadists.
Zarqawi kept the former Baathists at a distance, because he distrusted their secular outlook, according to Hashim, the professor.
It was under the watch of the current Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, that the recruitment of former Baathist officers became a deliberate strategy, according to analysts and former officers.
Tasked with rebuilding the greatly weakened insurgent organization after 2010, Baghdadi embarked on an aggressive campaign to woo the former officers, drawing on the vast pool of men who had either remained unemployed or had joined other, less extremist insurgent groups.
Some of them had fought against al-Qaeda after changing sides and aligning with the American-backed Awakening movement during the surge of troops in 2007. When U.S. troops withdrew and the Iraqi government abandonedthe Awakening fighters, the Islamic State was the only surviving option for those who felt betrayed and wanted to change sides again, said Brian Fishman, who researched the group in Iraq for West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center and is now a fellow with the New America Foundation.
Baghdadi’s effort was further aided by a new round of de-Baathificationlaunched after U.S. troops left in 2011 by then Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who set about firing even those officers who had been rehabilitated by the U.S. military.
Among them was Brig. Gen. Hassan Dulaimi, a former intelligence officer in the old Iraqi army who was recruited back into service by U.S. troops in 2006, as a police commander in Ramadi, the capital of the long restive province of Anbar.
Within months of the American departure, he was dismissed, he said, losing his salary and his pension, along with 124 other officers who had served alongside the Americans.
“The crisis of ISIS didn’t happen by chance,” Dulaimi said in an interview in Baghdad, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “It was the result of an accumulation of problems created by the Americans and the [Iraqi] government.”
He cited the case of a close friend, a former intelligence officer in Baghdad who was fired in 2003 and struggled for many years to make a living. He now serves as the Islamic State’s wali, or leader, in the Anbar town of Hit, Dulaimi said.
“I last saw him in 2009. He complained that he was very poor. He is an old friend, so I gave him some money,” he recalled. “He was fixable. If someone had given him a job and a salary, he wouldn’t have joined the Islamic State.
“There are hundreds, thousands like him,” he added. “The people in charge of military operations in the Islamic State were the best officers in the former Iraqi army, and that is why the Islamic State beats us in intelligence and on the battlefield.”
The Islamic State’s seizure of territory was also smoothed by the Maliki government’s broader persecution of the Sunni minority, which intensified after U.S. troops withdrew and left many ordinary Sunnis willing to welcome the extremists as an alternative to the often brutal Iraqi security forces.
But it was the influx of Baathist officers into the ranks of the Islamic State itself that propelled its fresh military victories, said Hashem. By 2013, Baghdadi had surrounded himself with former officers, who oversaw the Islamic State’s expansion in Syria and drove the offensives in Iraq.
Some of Baghdadi’s closest aides, including Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, his deputy in Iraq, and Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, one of his top military commanders in Syria, both of them former Iraqi officers, have since reportedly been killed — though Dulaimi suspects that many feign their own deaths in order to evade detection, making its current leadership difficult to discern.
Any gaps however are filled by former officers, sustaining the Iraqi influence at the group’s core, even as its ranks are swelled by arriving foreigners, said Hassan.
Fearing infiltration and spies, the leadership insulates itself from the foreign fighters and the regular Syrian and Iraqi fighters through elaborate networks of intermediaries frequently drawn from the old Iraqi intelligence agencies, he said.
“They introduced the Baathist mind-set of secrecy as well as its skills,” he said.
The masked man who ordered the detention of Abu Hamza was one of a group of feared security officers who circulate within the Islamic State, monitoring its members for signs of dissent, the Syrian recalled.
“They are the eyes and ears of Daesh’s security, and they are very powerful,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
Abu Hamza was released from jail after agreeing to fall into line with the other commanders, he said. But the experience contributed to his disillusionment with the group.
The foreign fighters he served alongside were “good Muslims,” he said. But he is less sure about the Iraqi leaders.
“They pray and they fast and you can’t be an emir without praying, but inside I don’t think they believe it much,” he said. “The Baathists are using Daesh. They don’t care about Baathism or even Saddam.
“They just want power. They are used to being in power, and they want it back.”
Whether the former Baathists adhere to the Islamic State’s ideology is a matter of debate. Hashim suspects many of them do not.
“One could still argue that it’s a tactical alliance,” he said. “A lot of these Baathists are not interested in ISIS running Iraq. They want to run Iraq. A lot of them view the jihadists with this Leninist mind-set that they’re useful idiots who we can use to rise to power.”
Rayburn questions whether even some of the foreign volunteers realize the extent to which they are being drawn into Iraq’s morass. Some of the fiercest battles being waged today in Iraq are for control of communities and neighborhoods that have been hotly contested among Iraqis for years, before the extremists appeared.
“You have fighters coming from across the globe to fight these local political battles that the global jihad can’t possibly have a stake in.”
Former Baathist officers who served alongside some of those now fighting with the Islamic State believe it is the other way around. Rather than the Baathists using the jihadists to return to power, it is the jihadists who have exploited the desperation of the disbanded officers, according to a former general who commanded Iraqi troops during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he fears for his safety in Irbil, the capital of the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan, where he now resides.
The ex-Baathists could be lured away, if they were offered alternatives and hope for the future, he said.
“The Americans bear the biggest responsibility. When they dismantled the army what did they expect those men to do?” he asked. “They were out in the cold with nothing to do and there was only one way out for them to put food on the table.”
When U.S. officials demobilized the Baathist army, “they didn’t de-Baathify people’s minds, they just took away their jobs,” he said.
There are former Baathists with other insurgent groups who might be persuaded to switch sides, said Hassan, citing the example of the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order, usually referred to by its Arabic acronym JRTN. They welcomed the Islamic State during its sweep through northern Iraq last summer, but the groups have since fallen out.
But most of the Baathists who actually joined the Islamic State are now likely to have themselves become radicalized, either in prison or on the battlefield, he said.
“Even if you didn’t walk in with that vision you might walk out with it, after five years of hard fighting,” said Fishman, of the New America Foundation. “They have been through brutal things that are going to shape their vision in a really dramatic way.”
Far too many from the West who romanticize fighting and going to fight for a cause they consider noble in fact are only offering themselves up to satisfy centuries old rivalries between communities and more recent power struggles of a political party that refuses to go away and some might say necessary for the survival of the Iraqi nation. Syria is the birthplace of the ISIS movement….it is also the home of the Ba’athist president, Bashar al-Assad, an authoratarian secularist who no doubt finds more in common with the Ba’athist elements of ISIS than the religious side of this pseudo religious movement. More needs to be done to make it clear ISIS is no more Islamic than the Ba’ath socialist party.
On April 3, 2015, one American Muslim will attempt to become the first person to call the athan in all fifty states.
Called “Project Muaddhin” is the history making journey by Jameel Syed from Michigan. He intends to share the beauty of Islam, stopping to collect stories in each state, making the Adhan and delivering the Last Sermon of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam at each stop.
“I made my intention to become the first Muaddhin (Caller of the Adhan) in history to make the Adhan in all fifty states across America. It’ll be a journey that gives the international Muslim community the opportunity to dictate the terms of their own narrative across the world. Instead of reacting to headlines, they’ll be creating their own by building a positive story around the community,” said Syed.
Starting from Farmington Hills, MI, Syed will stop and the ADAMS Center in Sterling, VA and Islamic Community Center of Laurel in Maryland on Friday, April 10, 2015. The Grand Canyon and Harry Potter World are also on the schedule.
This very American tradition of driving across the United States will be a world record, but for Syed it is also a spiritual journey to gain the pleasure of Allah.
“Through travel we get to know God better, it’s that simple. I have had some of my most spiritual moments staring out across a mountain range, a desert, lake, or even just humanity going about its daily existence,” says Syed. “Travel makes the familiar unfamiliar to us and in doing so we come to better appreciate God’s creation. Throughout the Qur’an verses ask man to reflect on what has been created on earth and in the heavens – what better way to do that than through travel?”
“I want to be a part of the legacy,” he said on his choice of reading the universal Farewell Sermon, which he says is the antidote to the many ills of society. It is a simple solution to a complex problem, said Syed. Project Muaddhin will also collect adhans of different muaddhins from each state and compile the journey into a documentary.
It’s a matter of telling our own stories, said Dr Malik Bella, Director of Islamic Studies at Oakland University, while endorsing Project Muaddhin. “The adhan- this message of Islam is for all people.”
Every home should have a designated muaddhin, recommends Syed, who wants to give this position the honor that it deserves. Many muaddins are the unsung heroes of their communities.
A father and committed husband, he will leave his family behind to travel the country telling the stories of American Muslims. Syed is a marketing professional, a youth leader, and was the official muaddhin for the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 2014. He credits his Islamic schoolteacher at the Michigan Islamic School, Isa Abdul Baseer, for taking him as a personal mission and taming his youthful hyperactivity. Baseer, who is active in the jamaat at-tabligh movement, taught him the benefits of calling people to worship.
His father, the late Dr Salam Abdus Syed who passed away in 2004, also inspires Syed.
The project is looking for 35 families to sponsor each day of their historic journey. For $500, families can choose a cause of their choice to be highlighted during the trip and on social media. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org and to follow the journey, go to Facebook.com/muaddhin or on Twitter/Instagram: @themuaddhin .
I was born Lew Alcindor. Now I’m Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The transition from Lew to Kareem was not merely a change in celebrity brand name — like Sean Combs to Puff Daddy to Diddy to P. Diddy — but a transformation of heart, mind and soul. I used to be Lew Alcindor, the pale reflection of what white America expected of me. Now I’m Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the manifestation of my African history, culture and beliefs.
For most people, converting from one religion to another is a private matter requiring intense scrutiny of one’s conscience. But when you’re famous, it becomes a public spectacle for one and all to debate. And when you convert to an unfamiliar or unpopular religion, it invites criticism of one’s intelligence, patriotism and sanity. I should know. Even though I became a Muslim more than 40 years ago, I’m still defending that choice.
Unease with celebrity
I was introduced to Islam while I was a freshman at UCLA. Although I had already achieved a certain degree of national fame as a basketball player, I tried hard to keep my personal life private. Celebrity made me nervous and uncomfortable. I was still young, so I couldn’t really articulate why I felt so shy of the spotlight. Over the next few years, I started to understand it better.
Part of my restraint was the feeling that the person the public was celebrating wasn’t the real me. Not only did I have the usual teenage angst of becoming a man, but I was also playing for one of the best college basketball teams in the country and trying to maintain my studies. Add to that the weight of being black in America in 1966 and ’67, when James Meredith was ambushed while marching through Mississippi, the Black Panther Party was founded, Thurgood Marshall was appointed as the first African-American Supreme Court Justice and a race riot in Detroit left 43 dead, 1,189 injured and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed.
I came to realize that the Lew Alcindor everyone was cheering wasn’t really the person they imagined. They wanted me to be the clean-cut example of racial equality. The poster boy for how anybody from any background — regardless of race, religion or economic standing — could achieve the American dream. To them, I was the living proof that racism was a myth.
I knew better. Being 7-foot-2 and athletic got me there, not a level playing field of equal opportunity. But I was also fighting a strict upbringing of trying to please those in authority. My father was a cop with a set of rules, I attended a Catholic school with priests and nuns with more rules, and I played basketball for coaches who had even more rules. Rebellion was not an option.
Still, I was discontented. Growing up in the 1960s, I wasn’t exposed to many black role models. I admired Martin Luther King Jr. for his selfless courage and Shaft for kicking ass and getting the girl. Otherwise, the white public’s consensus seemed to be that blacks weren’t much good. They were either needy downtrodden folks who required white people’s help to get the rights they were due or radical troublemakers wanting to take away white homes and jobs and daughters. The “good ones” were happy entertainers, either in show business or sports, who were expected to show gratitude for their good fortune. I knew this reality was somehow wrong — that something had to change. I just didn’t know what it meant for me.
Much of my early awakening came from reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as a freshman. I was riveted by Malcolm’s story of how he came to realize that he was the victim of institutional racism that had imprisoned him long before he landed in an actual prison. That’s exactly how I felt: imprisoned by an image of who I was supposed to be. The first thing he did was push aside the Baptist religion that his parents had brought him up in and study Islam. To him, Christianity was a foundation of the white culture responsible for enslaving blacks and supporting the racism that permeated society. His family was attacked by the Christianity-spouting Ku Klux Klan, and his home was burned by the KKK splinter group the Black Legion.
Malcolm X’s transformation from petty criminal to political leader inspired me to look more closely at my upbringing and forced me to think more deeply about my identity. Islam helped him find his true self and gave him the strength not only to face hostility from both blacks and whites but also to fight for social justice. I began to study the Quran.
Conviction and defiance
This decision set me on an irreversible course to spiritual fulfillment. But it definitely wasn’t a smooth course. I made serious mistakes along the way. Then again, maybe the path isn’t supposed to be smooth; maybe it’s supposed to be filled with obstacles and detours and false discoveries in order to challenge and hone one’s beliefs. As Malcolm X said, “I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost.”
I paid the cost.
As I said earlier, I was brought up to respect rules — and especially those who enforced the rules, such as teachers, preachers and coaches. I’d always been an exceptional student, so when I wanted to know more about Islam, I found a teacher in Hammas
Abdul-Khaalis. During my years playing with the Milwaukee Bucks, Hammas’ version of Islam was a joyous revelation. Then in 1971, when I was 24, I converted to Islam and became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (meaning “the noble one, servant of the Almighty”).
The question I’m often asked is why I had to pick a religion so foreign to American culture and a name that was hard for people to pronounce. Some fans took it very personally, as if I had firebombed their church while tearing up an American flag. Actually, I was rejecting the religion that was foreign to my American culture and embracing one that was part of my black African heritage. (An estimated 15 to 30 percent of slaves brought from Africa were Muslims.) Fans thought I joined the Nation of Islam, an American Islamic movement founded in Detroit in 1930. Although I was greatly influenced by Malcolm X, a leader in the Nation of Islam, I chose not to join because I wanted to focus more on the spiritual rather than political aspects. Eventually, Malcolm rejected the group right before three of its members assassinated him.
My parents were not pleased by my conversion. Though they weren’t strict Catholics, they had raised me to believe in Christianity as the gospel. But the more I studied history, the more disillusioned I became with the role of Christianity in subjugating my people. I knew, of course, that the Second Vatican Council in 1965 declared slavery an “infamy” that dishonored God and was a poison to society. But for me, it was too little, too late. The failure of the church to use its might and influence to stop slavery and instead to justify it as somehow connected to original sin made me angry. Papal bulls (e.g., “Dum Diversas” and “Romanus Pontifex”) condoned enslaving native people and stealing their lands.
And while I realize that many Christians risked their lives and families to fight slavery and that it would not have been ended without them, I found it hard to align myself with the cultural institutions that had turned a blind eye to such outrageous behavior in direct violation of their most sacred beliefs.
The adoption of a new name was an extension of my rejection of all things in my life that related to the enslavement of my family and people. Alcindor was a French planter in the West Indies who owned my ancestors. My forebears were Yoruba people, from present day Nigeria. Keeping the name of my family’s slave master seemed somehow to dishonor them. His name felt like a branded scar of shame.
My devotion to Islam was absolute. I even agreed to marry a woman whom Hammas suggested for me, despite my strong feelings for another woman. Ever the team player, I did as “Coach” Hammas recommended. I also followed his advice not to invite my parents to the wedding — a mistake that took me more than a decade to rectify. Although I had my doubts about some of Hammas’ instruction, I rationalized them away because of the great spiritual fulfillment I was experiencing.
But my independent spirit finally emerged. Not content to receive all my religious knowledge from one man, I pursued my own studies. I soon found that I disagreed with some of Hammas’ teachings about the Quran, and we parted ways. In 1973, I traveled to Libya and Saudi Arabia to learn enough Arabic to study the Quran on my own. I emerged from this pilgrimage with my beliefs clarified and my faith renewed.
From that year to this, I have never wavered or regretted my decision to convert to Islam. When I look back, I wish I could have done it in a more private way, without all the publicity and fuss that followed. But at the time I was adding my voice to the civil rights movement by denouncing the legacy of slavery and the religious institutions that had supported it. That made it more political than I had intended and distracted from what was, for me, a much more personal journey.
Many people are born into their religion. For them it is mostly a matter of legacy and convenience. Their belief is based on faith, not just in the teachings of the religion but also in the acceptance of that religion from their family and culture. For the person who converts, it is a matter of fierce conviction and defiance. Our belief is based on a combination of faith and logic because we need a powerful reason to abandon the traditions of our families and community to embrace beliefs foreign to both. Conversion is a risky business because it can result in losing family, friends and community support.
Some fans still call me Lew, then seem annoyed when I ignore them. They don’t understand that their lack of respect for my spiritual choice is insulting. It’s as if they see me as a toy action figure, existing solely to decorate their world as they see fit, rather than as an individual with his own life.
Kermit the Frog famously complained, “It’s not easy being green.” Try being Muslim in America. According to a Pew Research Center poll on attitudes about major religious groups, the U.S. public has the least regard for Muslims — slightly less than it has for atheists — even though Islam is the third-largest faith in America. The acts of aggression, terrorism and inhumanity committed by those claiming to be Muslims have made the rest of the world afraid of us. Without really knowing the peaceful practices of most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, they see only the worst examples. Part of my conversion to Islam is accepting the responsibility to teach others about my religion, not to convert them but to co-exist with them through mutual respect, support and peace. One world does not have to mean one religion, just one belief in living in peace.
There is no greater an indication of how desperate American society has become than Rick Santorum who is being considered a serious presidential candidate. He has managed to escape the type of media scrutiny of his racist rants that is currently being heaped on Ron Paul and this observer wonders why. Perhaps it’s because his target, Muslims and Arabs, is the cause celebre of people who want to score points with Americans during an election year, whereas Paul’s newsletter attacks on African-Americans is viewed as far less acceptable. Max Blumenthal hashes it all out in this piece
For the past two weeks, the entire mainstream American media homed in on newsletters published by Republican Rep. Ron Paul, an anti-imperialist, conservative libertarian who finished third in last night’s Iowa caucuses. Mostly ghostwritten by libertarian activist Llewelyn “Lew” Rockwell and a committee of far-right cranks, the newsletters contained indisputably racist diatribes, including ominous warnings about the “coming race war.” At no point did Paul denounce the authors of the extreme manifestoes nor did he take responsibility for the content.
The disturbing content of Paul’s newsletters was a worthy campaign outrage, and one he should have been called to account for, but why did it gain mainstream traction when the reactionary views of the other candidates stayed under the radar? One reason is that Paul threatened the Republican establishment by attacking America’s neo-imperial foreign policy and demanding an end to the US-Israel special relationship.
Those who pushed the newsletters story the hardest were neoconservatives terrified by the prospect of Paul edging into the mainstream with his call for a total cut-off of US aid to Israel. In fact, the history of the newsletters was introduced to the American public back in early 2008 by Jamie Kirchick, a card-carrying neocon who has said that Muslims “act like savages” and once wrote that I possessed “a visceral hatred of my Jewish heritage.” Having declared former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as their favorite wooden marionette, the neocons had a clear ideological interest in resuscitating the newsletters story once Paul emerged this year as a presidential frontrunner.
Though Romney won Iowa, he succeeded by a mere 8 votes over former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. The mainstream press is now fixated on Santorum, praising him for his “authenticity” and predicting he will continue to win over “gritty Catholics,” as MSNBC host Chris Matthews said today. But now that Santorum is in the limelight, he is also going to be thoroughly vetted. So the question is whether the media will devote anywhere near the same level of attention it gave to Ron Paul’s newsletters as it will to Santorum’s record of hysterically Islamophobic statements and anti-Muslim activism. So far, I have seen nothing to suggest that it will.
In 2007, a few months after Santorum was ousted from the Senate in a landslide defeat, he accepted an invitation from right-wing provocateur David Horowitz to speak at “Islamo-Fascism Campus Awareness Week.” As I documented in my video report on Horowitz’s appearance at Columbia University that year, “Islamo-Fascism” week was a naked ploy to generate publicity for the frenetically self-promoting Horowitz while demonizing Muslim-Americans as a dangerous fifth column who required constant government monitoring and possibly worse. The event was so extreme that even Jewish groups like Hillel known for promoting Zionism on campus rejected it.
There is no video documentation or transcript of Santorum’s speech at Horowitz’s “Islamo-Fascism Awareness” event. However, I was able to find a transcript of a speech Santorum delivered at Horowitz’s invitation in March 2007. During his address, the ex-Senator declared the need to “define the enemy,” but he made little effort to distinguish between the general population of Muslims and violent Islamic extremists. If anything, he seemed to conflate the two.
Here are a few of the remarkable statements Santorum made at Horowitz’s event:
“What must we do to win? We must educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate.”
“Look at Europe. Europe is on the way to losing. The most popular male name in Belgium — Mohammad. It’s the fifth most popular name in France among boys. They are losing because they are not having children, they have no faith, they have nothing to counteract it. They are balkanizing Islam, but that’s exactly what they want. And they’re creating an opportunity for the creation of Eurabia, or Euristan in the future…Europe will not be in this battle with us. Because there will be no Europe left to fight.”
We should “talk about how Islam treats homosexuals. Talk about how they treat anybody who is found to be a homosexual, and the answer to that is, they kill them.”
“…the Shia brand of Islamist extremists [is] even more dangerous than the Sunni [version]. Why? Because the ultimate goal of the Shia brand of Islamic Islam is to bring back the Mahdi. And do you know when the Mahdi returns? At the Apocalypse at the end of the world. You see, they are not interested in conquering the world; they are interested in destroying the world.”
“The other thing we need to do is eradicate, and that’s the final thing. As I said, this is going to be a long war.”
The Islamophobic rant Santorum apparently delivered at an event organized by a known bigot was no less extreme than anything contained in Ron Paul’s newsletters. But don’t wait for the American mainstream press to discuss Santorum’s disturbing views on Muslims as anything other than proof of his “authenticity.”
This is the second part of the previous article that was on the use of the immigration courts to essentially re-try immigrants for a charge they might have been previously found innocent. For such victims of American “justice” the penalty is deportation, but what happens to Muslim American citizens? Take a look
“Malik,” an American citizen, engineer, and Houston area community leader dedicates his spare time as an organizer for a major political party and participates in roundtable discussions with senior U.S. government officials on outreach to Muslim Americans. During a return trip home from Canada, (he was) taken to a small, private room by an armed, federal border agent and repeatedly asked such questions as, “What is your religion?” and “What mosque do you attend?” as well as questions about the membership in (his) mosque. While (he was) answering question after question, (his) laptop and flash drives containing (his) tax returns and other personal information, (were) searched. Business cards with Muslim names (were) removed from sight and presumably copied.
“Munir,” a well-respected Arab-American community leader from the Detroit area driving home from Connecticut with his wife and two young daughters when he passed through Canada to re-enter the U.S. at the Port Huron land crossing 40 miles north of Detroit. He and his wife were forcefully dragged from and thrown against their car, handcuffed, and separated from each other and their children and detained for over four hours while being aggressively interrogated. They asked to call their lawyer, but the federal agent guarding them denied their request for counsel. Munir’s wife was separated from their daughters for nearly 40 minutes. Although they possessed no weapons, to their colleagues, agents described Munir as “armed and dangerous”.
Zakariya Reed, a Toledo, OH firefighter, Gulf War veteran and 20-year
veteran of the National Guard has endured extensive interrogations on over 10
occasions since 2006 after visiting family members in Ontario, Canada. CBP
agents at the Detroit Ambassador Bridge have searched him both physically
and electronically; asked questions about his political views, his financial
transactions, and his personal associations; and even challenged the basis for
his religious beliefs.
Fairuz Abdullah, a San Francisco Bay Area lawyer and civic leader was
interrogated by CBP agents upon arriving at Miami International Airport in
June 2007 after returning from vacation travel in Peru. Agents questioned Ms.
Abdullah, about her prior travels, the identities and locations of her family
members around the world, her marriage, her profession and educationalhistory. Agents at times challenged her responses and initially prevented her from re-entering the country. Federal agents denied her legal counsel, detained and moved her to immigration processing where she was aggressively approached repeatedly by federal agents, who not only addressed her in Spanish but continued to do so even after she had repeatedly identified
herself as a native English speaker.
Yasir Qadhi, a graduate student at Yale University, who has been consulted
by federal counterterrorism and State Department officials for his expertise on
extremist religious movements and ideology, has faced aggressive and
intrusive border scrutiny on several occasions since 2005 at Newark
International Airport, Houston Intercontinental Airport and the Niagara Falls
(NY) border crossing. He faces recurring questions from armed federal agents
about his religious beliefs. Agents have also copied data from his cell phone,
and interrogated him about his associates and acquaintances, the contents of
his lectures, and even the mosques in which he has prayed.
These are just some of the examples where Muslims had their right disregarded and trounced on by officials for no reason other than their religious identity. This type of racism is not uncommon in America; ours is a history replete with examples like this directed towards every group that has settled on the shores of this country. What’s sad is enlightenment, information, time and a knowledge of history have not prevented us from making the same mistakes today and that means organizations like Muslim Advocates are being formed to inform us of government’s delinquent behavior as well as help those who need help with keeping big government from its inherent brutality of individuals. As far as Muslims and Islam in the west are concerned it doesn’t take much to arouse the suspicions of a government in the throes of Islamophobia and treacherous congressmen and women. The latter group using the old misdirection play to keep people diligent about a non existing threat while stealing state secrets and government coffers blind.
Hussam Ayoush has compiled a pretty good list of those things Muslim should not do to avoid government scrutiny and even prosecution. Joining the NRA and hunting are some of those all American activities that are off limits to Muslims, unless they like living under a blaring spotlight that gets switched off when the same past times are indulged by those who get the likes of George Bush and Dick Cheney elected to office.
One thing I hope these trials and tribulations do for the Muslims in America and ostensibly all of North America is make them more aware, attune and commited to combating government oppression when government strikes the next group seen as easy pickings in the high stakes game of pitting one group against the next, keeping its citizens off balance and in fear and suspicion of their neighbors while continues its blitzkreig towards power and control. I hope Muslim Americans will come away with a greater appreciation of the struggles of their fellow Americans who preceded them and will be better in joining the fight.
America needs to get rid of the group of people least inclined towards peace and friendly relations with their neighbors. The FBI is being led by the nose by the likes of con artists like Craig Monteilh who has left such a trial of deceipt and lies he should be the one in prison, not Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, on the left. Craig is the guy the FBI placed their bets on to disrupt California masajid, or places of worship for Muslims, with his slow but steadily increasing incendiary terrorist rhetoric. Of course it was all a show to get people to sign on to the game so that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies could disrupt a so called terrorist cell brewing on the homeland. What the feds didn’t count on was that the masajid targetted by them would be so upset with Monteilh’s terrorist rhetoric they would actually turn him into the FBI instead of joining him. That didn’t go over to well so retribution was taken against the law abiding Muslim citizens for not going along with the program and poor Ahmadullah Sais Niazi was arrested and charged with a variety of “immigration charges” the likes of which are used whenever the government needs an arrest to justify the enormous amounts of money spent going nowhere; and nowhere is what they got with Monteilh, a con artist who has people, not just Muslims, writing about how bad a con artist and lover he really is. What’s troubling about this case is the people the FBI wanted to entrap were perfectly willing to work with law enforcement and provided the feds with a terrorist…..the feds’ own terrorist, but that simply wasn’t good enough and someone ELSE had to pay for Monteilh’s deception. Why the FBI didn’t do a better job of seeing what kind of history their informant had, who he had abused in the past that might blow this guy’s cover, (hell hath no fury like a woman scorned), and what a liability he could potentially be to their case, they could have saved themselves this set back with a group of citizens who wanted to do the right thing and in fact did. As a result of such a lousy informant, the Muslim community has decided for now to withdraw their offer to help the government and the FBI too has retreated from its community outreach. That is not good for either group, but there are some within government who are probably quite happy about that. Craig Monteilh no doubt is one of them.
Islam has always been in America; it’s almost as American as apple pie, just like its sister religions, Judaism and Christianity. However, with it has come the historical baggage of these three great monotheistic religions, each taking its turn on the sacrificial altar of distrust and dislike against the other two. Since Islam in America is a homegrown phenomenon, its adherents have had the luxury of defining themselves and what they think their mission is, yet that definition has sometimes been at odds with what other Muslims not native to America have had in mind, and the result is the two groups have butt heads a time or two. I ran across this letter that speaks to that confrontation and the resulting frustration that has arisen as a result. Hat tip to Muslim Matters!
So Very Tired
Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, and specifically you in North America who will understand this best.
I have a problem.
I know where I came from, I know who I am, and I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go.
But I am tired.
Tired of the Muslim Identity Crisis Conferences. Tired of Muslims in America conferences. You’re a human being that was created for the sole purpose of worshipping the One who created you. Get over it and move on.
Tired of confused pseudo-intellectuals who keep trying to legitimize their deepest, darkest insecurities under the cover of academic acceptance. Women can’t lead men in prayer, and homosexuality will never be acceptable.
Tired of the explicit condemnation of Muslim terrorists that comes without the explicit condemnation of all terrorism, particularly against Muslims. Can the Ummah of Muhammad please unite, the Ummah of the likes of Umar ibn al Khatab, Khalid ibn Waleed, Sad ibn abi Waqqas, and Hamza please find the necessary pieces of spine required to call George Bush et al what they are?
Speaking of which, I’m tired of the games Muslim politicians and political organizations play to put a position forward that deludes no one except yourselves for believing they’d believe you.
Tired of victim-culture fatwas that turn every situation into a necessity, and that coddles our ummah into weakness for the sake of ease and some overarching goal of dawah that never seems to be properly articulated in simple, coherent language.
Tired of Islamic teachers of any calibre who complain about the adab and khuluq of people and are badly in need of it themselves, in all forms of communication.
Tired of all the acronymed organizations and their leadership, and their inability to establish an agreed upon method for moonsighting. Really. All the opinions are correct, so please, just put them all in a hat, draw one out, and if you all unite on it, we’ll follow it. Even me. I promise.
Tired of the word Islamophobia. Who came up with this ridiculous word? Whoever it was, they need to be shot…with a super soaker. I want to curl myself up in the fetal position every time I hear that word.
Tired of you telling me we need fiqh of minorities, and that we should combine prayers in the work place. This isn’t Muslim Spain, we have rights that can be exercised – please stop cowering in the corner, or at least stop trying to get us to join you there.
Tired at your exasperation over Barack Obama not wanting to talk to you during the election. Who would want to talk to a pack of sniveling lackeys who have no respect for themselves and act as though they are embarassed at the religion they profess to follow?
And I’m tired of you acting like Obama’s theMahdi incarnate. We only rooted for him because we wanted to stick it to GWB, not because we like his politics of homosexuality, late term abortions, and worst of all, restarting the war in afghanistan.
I’m so, so very tired of it all. And if you looked at the list above, you may be tired of it as well. But you know what? I’m tired of you too.
Tired of you sitting behind your computer, writing in a style that makes you sound like ranting and raving lunatic.
Tired of you complaining about everything and doing absolutely nothing.
Tired of the online chickenhawk hate brigade who hates everything about America and happily pay their taxes after clicking “Submit” on their latest online rant against it.
Tired of people who call for Hijrah and never go, citing the reasons of the people who are against hijrah – “But dude, there are no ANSAR on the other end, otherwise, like, I’m sooo there!” It’s called planning, genius, see lessons of the Prophet’s (SAW) escape from Makkah for a primer on how to plan AHEAD.
Tired of your open hatred of all nonMuslims / kafirs in the name of al wala w’al bara. Yes, I said kafirs. Does that make you feel better? Then I’m also tired of your pettiness.
Tired of your delusions of mind and intention reading. Don’t you see the potential aqida problems here?
Tired of your PDF refutations. I have absolutely no idea who the author of the document is, or his credentials to say and interpret as he has. Please tell me what you understand, or don’t bother.
Tired of you taking every fiqh issue and making it an aqeedah issue such that if it’s not in accordance with what the scholar du jour spoonfed you yesterday, that person must most certainly either be off the manhaj, a sell-out, or both.
And I’m tired of you not knowing anything about the fundamentals of Islam, like, for example, the Seerah!
Tired, tired, tired.
Did you like the list above? Really? I’m tired of you too.
Tired of you expecting everyone to follow you blindly and stupidly.
Tired of you looking down your nose at people who are far more qualified to deal with logic, analogy, and argumentation and telling them, “But you don’t know Arabic.” Yeah, I don’t know latin either, but if I have a medical condition, my doctor will still explain it to me, and if he’s any good, he’ll tell me to get a second opinion if I have doubts.
Tired of your partisanship, and tired of you calling it a mercy. Really? Coulda fooled me. Visit my community on the first and last day of Ramadan, I’ll show you mercy.
Tired of you expecting me to disconnect my mind on fiqh, believe the most ridiculously esoteric ideas about God, and then strive for spiritual ecstacy. Are you kidding me?
But I’m not done yet, oh no – I’m tired of you too.
Tired of you prioritizing your career, your family, and all your weaknesses over the worship of Allah.
Tired of you complaining to scholars about what a victim you are.
Tired of you saying you need to live in a house. You liar. You can rent a house – you just don’t want to lose money. Admit it.
Tired of you looking for easy fatwas rather than picking yourselves up by the bootstraps and working at being a Muslim, and struggling with the challenges.
Tired of your back home mentality that keeps the child you think is fair from marrying an African American. The only thing black here is your heart.
Tired of you believing your donations entitle you to run the masjid.
Tired of the way you run the masjid. It stinks, figuratively and literally.
Tired of you complaining about the poor ethics of Muslim governments, while you have the same ethics, the only thing separating you and them is the scale of the violation.
Tired, tired, tired, so very tired.
The ironic thing of all this is that despite all that, I still love you for the sake of Allah. As I said to begin this letter, you are my dear brothers and sisters in Islam. I have my flaws, I have my weaknesses, and I am by no means perfect. At any point in my life, I could have fit into multiple categories in that complaint list.
But do you know why I’m tired? I’m tired because we have so many issues, and I feel obligated to do something about all of it. I want to fix it. I want to make it right. You probably do too.
In the end, we are here to worship Allah. I don’t know a lot, but I know that much. All I can do is ask Allah to guide us all to come together, to be the people whom He Loves, to be people whom He will be pleased with.
There is no Islamic terrorist threat from American Muslims. Inspite of every effort on the part of the American government to find one it simply doesn’t exist. Oh sure, there are the occasional kooks and weirdos that garner a lot of media attention but there is no concerted, organized effort on the part of Muslims living in America to subvert the way of life of America. In fact, Muslims generally have tried to incorporate themselves into the American way of life only to find their efforts maligned, misdirected and denied by the very people who claim to believe in the American system.
So along comes al-Qaida, that nefarious group of individuals in the ethernet, on the heels of the Obama victory to call him and those who support him out and what happens? Zawahiri gets the smack down from Muslims in America.
I am offended that this group consistently portrays Islam as a murderous and irrational religion practiced by racists and sexists. Just as I would not portray the Ku Klux Klan as “Christian” or Hitler as “Catholic”, I can’t call the streaming absurdities of these kinds of people – “Islam”! Racism and murder are not part of Islam – Al-Zawahiri’s comments were (as usual) racist and divisive.
I was also offended at the hijacking of Malcolm X’s legacy in which Mr. Al-Zawahiri implied that Malcolm would approve of their un-Islamic murderous methods. Malcolm X has said that he believed in the sanctity of life and the rule of law. The Al-Qaeda gang of lawless murderers is looking to cover their bloody tracks by dragging Brother Malcolm X into their dark and musty cave of division.
SO LET US MAKE IT CLEAR THAT AMERICA IS, AS THE AUTHOR AND RESEARCHER SYLVIANNE DIOUF POINTS OUT, THE ONLY WESTERN COUNTRY WITH AN INDIGENOUS MUSLIM POPULATION OF AFRICAN DESCENT. NO ONE AT HOME OR ABROAD SPEAKS FOR MUSLIM AFRICAN AMERICANS BUT THEIR OWN LEADERS.
FURTHER, OVERWHELMINGLY, AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSLIM LEADERS REJECT CALLS TO BOTH RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL EXTREMISM , PARTICULARLY WHEN SUCH CALLS ARE BASED UPON APPEALS TO EMOTION AND A PROJECTED INTERNATIONAL AGENDA DECLARED BY OTHERS, INSTEAD OF A DOMESTIC AGENDA DECLARED BY OURSELVES.
Miscellany101 to al-Qaida, it ain’t working with American Muslims so you’d better try another tactic! It’s clear Muslims in America have made their own path on the world’s stage, are able to think for themselves, set their priorities as citizens of America and won’t be led (misled) by people with agendas that are not in their interests as Muslim Americans. For all the commentators who use terms like Islamofascists, Islamoterrorists, etc, slinging such terms so glibly this message is directed towards you too!!!