The Importance of the American/Western Muslim voice

   

Who are these three people and why have I posted their pictures?

They are Imam Hamza Yusef founder of the Zaytuna Institute, Ingrid Mattson president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Imam Warith Deen Muhammad founder and leader of the largest African American Muslim Community the American Muslim Society/Mosque Cares.

I mentioned these three great scholars and leaders of Muslims because they represent to me just a small sample of what can be done, what is being done, and what needs to be done by each and every Muslim here in America, the “West”, and abroad in truth.

These three leaders all represent and or founded organizations that represent Islam from not only the American perspective, but from the perspective that illustrates what Islam truly is in the face of radicalism present in many non-western Muslim societies, as well as in the face of “western” media outlets that perpetuate the lie of radicalism and market it as the face of Islam, which it is not.

I was motivated to create the posting after having had a blessed event this past weekend at my home.  I invited several local Muslim families to my house for a potluck dinner and all but one Muslim I had never met in my life all were associates I had met on a msg board.  We sat, ate, and discussed Islam and what we as Muslims should be doing versus what we are doing.  Looking around the room we represented what the Muslim physical reality is.  Some of us were black Americans, some from Africa, some from Pakistan, Egypt, Britain, etc.  Some women wore hijab others did not, however, we were all Muslim and all dedicated to improving the lives of Muslims.

From this eventful night I realized and also discussed with my guests that it is incumbent on each and every Muslim especially those of us here in the US to show the world that my living room Saturday night was Islam.  The idea the people of varying backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicity’s, dress, etc. could come together in peace united under the same faith discussing the issues of peace not just in words, but also in actions.

We all left that night with a renewed commitment to be the voice of tolerance, moderation, and peace in an increasing atmosphere where much is needed and where the opposite is perpetuated often by others who also call themselves Muslim.

As Muslims we all have to be ambassadors of the faith, not because we want to convert others, but to defeat falsehood with truth.  We have to defeat the falsehood that all Muslim women are oppressed, that Muslims are violent and committed to killing non-Muslims, that Muslims are anti-America, anti-Christian, anti-“West”, etc.  This need is so dire in this day and age.

We need to recognize that while most of us don’t live in the East that the actions there do affect us both directly and indirectly.  We have to get to a point we not only protest against the Iraq war, but also protest against terrorism and the hijackers of Islam.  We have to be more vocal because our lives, those of our children, and families depend on it.  As I told the sisters in the room, the looks you get at the grocery store, mall, etc. because of your dress, the harassment, and even assaults as one sister told her horrible story, we are all partly responsible for.  No I’m not making an apology for other’s ignorance, however, what I’m saying is that our lack of action, voice, and ambassadorship only helps grow the ignorance that is used against us.  When we are silent, that means we are not educating.  When we are not educating falsehoods continue to grow and so does ignorance.  My point is, unless we take back the reins of the perceptions, stories, fables, etc. that are told about us, we are complicit in it’s effects.  Oftentimes, we are our own worse enemies.

We cannot allow others to place us into boxes.  We have the power and must create, shape, and determine what box if any, we will place ourselves.  We need the Islamic response.  Just like here in America, after the State of the Union the opposing party has their response and opinion on the issue presented, as Muslims we need to do the same thing.  Every time a Muslim who doesn’t represent us or Islam speaks we should follow with the Islamic response.  We need a Million Muslim March against radicalism, terrorism, and for truth.  We need more peace rallies.  We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

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Tonight on the American Muslim…4/17/2007 at 10pm ET

Tonight I have an interesting show.  I will be discussing Female Genital Mutilation and what the Muslim community should do about it, as well as expounding on my “Living Islam” thoughts and commentary, but the highlight of the show will be my special guest and beautiful wife who will be on to discuss health and nutrition.  She will cover health issues in America and with Muslims and she will give diet/nutrition advice and give tips to help Muslims prepare for Hajj.   My wife is a Yoga Instructor and have worked/studied in the Dietetics field for at least a decade.

As always I will be taking your calls….and don’t forget if you can’t listen live the show is forever archived at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theamericanMuslim

So after the smoke clears, we learn he was from South Korea…

Haiyan Cheng prays during a vigil, for the Virginia Tech shooting victims, at the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, April 16, 2007. Cheng was teaching in Norris Hall when the shooting occurred. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Jared Soares)

This is more of an update to my earlier post, but people full of fear and bigotry jumped the gun blaming Muslims yet again, because of course we all know the majority of school shootings of America are not caused by white disillusioned kids, who come from Christian homes, but I digress….

Just a little info about South Korea from the CIA World Factbook:   Korea, South Christian 26%, Buddhist 26%, Confucianist 1%, no affiliation 46%, other 1%

So for those who still want to hold on to the “Muslim” angle, end your foolishness and just admit, that your scared and instead of analyzing your own insecurities you would rather blame “them” people, because it’s always easier to have a scapegoat.

Police: Virginia Tech shooter an English major, 23

Va. Tech: Gunman student from S. Korea

Tragedy at Virginia Tech: And the Bigots find a way to blame Muslims….

As many of you know by now, there was a school shooting at Virginia Tech today killing over 30 students, and while the identity of the killer has not been released as of yet, there are rumors that the killer was Asian. Now when I hear the description Asian I think in terms of Oriental as in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. However, there are bigots out there that want to spread rumors that this may have something to do with Muslims, and even though the evidence suggests otherwise, that is not enough to stop them from spreading their completely flawed and foolish theories. Another blog has brilliantly covered another bloggers vain attempt at polluting the minds of their readers and has called this fellow blogger out. It is important that matters such as these are covered, because all it does is further the stereotype that “Muslims are out to get us”. It creates panic and fear in those already emerged in such, which creates potential volatile situations. Even people with agenda’s need to know when to shut their mouth, especially when dealing with issues as catastrophic as this. From the brilliant blog I’m referring to:

http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/

Unfortunately, the horrific shooting rampage at Virginia Tech (240 miles from D.C.), which is now being described as the deadliest in U.S. history may have a brown angle, if only because one dangerously-deluded idiot wants it to, to further her own agenda. The death toll is up to 32 33; at least 22 28 people are injured. Tipster Hema emailed us with the following link to a blog which didn’t waste any time before shamelessly blaming “Pakis” for the tragedy (I am quoting the entire thing so you don’t have to go to Debbie Schlussel’s site— she doesn’t deserve the traffic):

Who is the “Asian” Mass Murderer at Virginia Tech?

Here’s what we know about the murderer of at least 32 students and maimer of at least 28 more at Virginia Tech, today:

* The murderer has been identified by law enforcement and media reports as “a young Asian male.”

* The Virginia Tech campus has a very large Muslim community, many of which are from Pakistan (per terrorism investigator Bill Warner).

* Pakis are considered “Asian.”

* There were 2 attacks at least half a mile apart.

* There have been at least two bomb threats to this campus in the last two weeks.

How could there be only one shooter—who was able to go a half mile away to commit a second set of shootings? Were there two and was this a coordinated terrorist attack?

So who is the shooter? What is the shooter’s nationality? What is the shooter’s religion? Waiting to find out. And wondering why the police and media are referring to the shooter as “Asian” and not by specific nationality.

If I were Asian, I’d be legitimately upset with this broad generalization of the mass murderer’s identity.

Why am I speculating that the “Asian” gunman is a Pakistani Muslim? Because law enforcement and the media strangely won’t tell us more specifically who the gunman is. Why?

And the ass-covering finale:

Even if it does not turn out that the shooter is Muslim, this is a demonstration to Muslim jihadists all over that it is extremely easy to shoot and kill multiple American college students.

She posted that about three hours ago. So far, there is no sign of a retraction (I’m not holding my breath) nor is there any indication that she might be right. I pray no one decides to indulge their inner-vigilante after reading her hate-spew. Enough people have been hurt by this nightmare.

May the memory of those students whose lives were stolen be eternal. This is just heart-breaking. I’ll update this story as it develops…

UPDATE 1: Amardeep provides a link where an eye-witness IDs the suspect as “Asian”; the shooter may have been looking for his girlfriend.

UPDATE 2: CircusInJungle points us to Wiki, which first said the shooter was “James Jay Kim”. The article has been updated, no longer reflects that.

UPDATE 3: Campus police thought it was an “isolated incident”; the email warning they sent was probably too little, too late.

“You can second guess all day. We acted on the best information we had.”

At 9:29 a.m., the university sent an e-mail warning students that a gunman was on the loose and to stay indoors. At about that time, a shooter opened fire at the engineering school’s Norris Hall, killing 30 people. Several students leapt to safety from upper stories, and the gunman’s body was later found at the building, Flinchum said. [Bloomberg]

UPDATE 4: In a move which shocks absolutely no one, the recklessly racist blogger who inspired our post uses the latest information in this case (Chinese, not “Paki”) to rail against furriners coming to America for college (Thanks, Hema):

So, the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech massacre is a Chinese national here on a student visa. And today, this alien did “the job that Americans just won’t do.”

Remember that the next time you hear President Bush and Condi Clueless waxing lyrical about how we need more foreign students in America. We do not. Remember the Mana Saleh Almanajam and Shaker Mohsen Alsidran, two Saudi students in Tampa, last year, who hijacked a school bus full of kids while wearing trench coats in 90-plus degree weather?

…And remember: Just because this attacker was not Muslim, doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of potential and hopeful ones among the thousands Muslim nations are sending here to “study” under Saudi King Abdullah’s scholarships.[pure crap]

I mean, why should she apologize? Because she was wrong? Pah. This is a teaching opportunity, to remind us of how evil Muslims are.

Living Islam

ayat kursi

I was inspired to write about my thoughts on this subject after a wonderful article I read on Islamicity.com titled “Living Islam not just performing it”. The part that stood out the most to me was:

There is no better way for Muslims to promote the message of Islam than living Islam and not just performing it. Their neighbors will not know they are Muslim by the number of times they pray or fast but by their honesty, truthfulness, compassion, reliability, cleanliness, sense of justice and civic responsibility.”

For a long time I have held this belief that religion in general is best expressed not in following ritual, but in using one’s teachings to bring about a change not just in oneself but in others around them. This is nothing new to me as a Muslim as I have felt this way even as a Christian in my youth. I believe that if what one holds as truth is exactly that, I shouldn’t have to read about your beliefs necessarily because I would be witnessing them. Reading about one’s religion should ideally be as result of interest and wanting to know more about your religion. Every Muslim should be a walking manifestation of Islam. Or at least be striving to be that! 🙂 When non-Muslims see us, talk to us, or listen to us, the beautify of Islam should be so manifest, that one should what to know more about Islam. In truth, every Muslim is supposed to be an ambassador for Islam.

How do we accomplish this?

What I have found out is that people tend to truly believe that actions speak louder than words. It’s one thing to say Islam is a religion of peace, it’s an entirely different thing to live with others in peace whether non-Muslim or not. It’s one thing to say that Islam is the true religion, it’s an entirely different thing to prove it in your actions by showing how the truth of Islam has affected you in such a way that others want what you have.

The problem I see with a lot of Muslims is that we believe that Islam is about rituals, laws, and customs. We tend to care more about our ritual obligations, our dress (or lack thereof), or whether or not we say or use the correct Arabic terms and words from everything to sneezing to going to the toilet. We often forget about the philosophy and principles of Islam and instead opt to be cookie cutter Muslims emulating word for word, action for action, and even in our dress, what Muslims of yesteryear, centuries ago did, said, and dressed.

We forget that just because the Prophet (saw) brushed his teeth a certain way that we don’t have to exactly use a miswak to brush our teeth, the principle is: clean your teeth. Just because the Prophet (saw) rode a camel, we don’t have to ride a camel, the principle is: get a means of transportation. Obviously I could go on and on, but I’m certain many get the point.

How Muslims dress, look, eat, etc. has little to no bearing on whether or not Islam is truly in their hearts and actions. I have met and seen many a Muslim with a beard, hijab, etc. who speaks perfect Arabic, uses appropriate Arabic phrases, etc. but are unapproachable to both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, because their is no joy, love, etc. in their demeanor.

Non-Muslims and even Muslims can not ascertain one way or the other whether or not you made all your prayers, fasted, gave charity, or have gone to hajj just be looking at you (but they should). However, they will know whether or not you smiled when greeted, or whether you greeted them at all. They will know how many times you participated in community events, how many times you shook hands, how many kind words (or not) you have said, etc.

In my opinion, one firmly rooted in Islam and truly living Islam shows it no matter where they are and no matter who’s watching. Their worship is not just in the Masjid or on their prayer mats at home, but their worship is in how they treat others whether family, friends, fellow Muslims, or not. They recognize that they share this world with all humanity and as such has role to play in making society for the better no matter where they live. The true example of Islam is that of the perception of Muhammad (saw) which his name of course means worthy of praise. I use the term “perception” because everyone didn’t know him personally, but many came to know of him. Many didn’t know for sure what he held in his heart, but many know what his actions were. Many non-Muslims praised his kind and pious deeds, he was noted for his trustworthiness, honor, and patience. His was a name that reached further than his homeland.

For us to truly say we are living Islam, we must live a life that is worthy of praise. Not because we seek praises of men that is only a physical effect. The cause is our love of Allah (swt) and our Deen, Islam. Our love, should be manifest to all in our works, our works if truly grounded in that love, will be spoken of with praise. When that is done by the whole of the Ummah, then there would be no need for discourse on why Islam is not terrorism, barbarism, violent, backward, etc. because the world will know it.

Tonight on the American Muslim…4/10/2007

Tonight’s my first Tuesday show. So now I’m going to be running my mouth twice a week with appearances on other shows as well. That’s right, believe it or not, but some out there actually want to hear what I have to say. As always the show kicks off at 10pm ET and tonight I plan to talk about various things, my actual show notes that I wrote say that I’m supposed to stick to the script and the title tonight is:

Pelosi in Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Nappy Headed Ho’s…..I know…..

     
 

Was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s actions in Syria wrong, What is Iran up to…really?, Al-Sadr is at it again, and Nappy Headed Ho’s and the State of Race in America.

My actual show notes: Tonight is my first Tuesday show and there’s alot to talk about, what isn’t going on in the world? Pelosi is slammed for visiting Syria, some says she violates the Logan Act, Iran held then released 15 British troops, Al-Sadr back in the picture calling for an escalation in violence in Iraq, and Don Imus puts his foot in his mouth….again….As always taking your calls and leaving the door open for anything goes questions you have been dying to ask a Muslim.

This is what I put on the site, but those who know me know that I may stray off the topic…however, these are interesting times and situations, I doubt I will be able to think of other subjects when these are so good!

Any who, please listen and support your friendly neighborhood American Muslim 🙂

Don’t forget my show is located at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theamericanmuslim

10pm ET call in (646) 652-2599 or IM me at theamericanmuslim on Yahoo IM

Nappy Headed Ho's


I hate to say I told you so, but just a little over a month ago, I did a post about Mr. Don Imus the last time he put his foot in his mouth.  Then, the commentary was about Sen. Barack Obama, calling his name a “Jew hating name” among other things.  Well, it looks like Imus couldn’t help himself because on April 4th on his “Imus in the Morning” Show, he made more “colorful” comments, that this time, may be his last, though I doubt it… I know many of you have already heard about the comments he called the Rutgers women’s basketball team.  I don’t know for sure where the “nappy headed ho’s” comments came from in his mind, but I have my ideas.

Then, the usual players showed up, we know them as the Rev’s Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who are both calling for Imus’s firing.  Sharpton had Imus on his radio show today and of course Imus apologized, and Jackson is planning/planned protests outside of NBC.  Now for more details, there are a myriad of blogs and sites out there that will fill in the blanks.

What I want to talk about is the obvious foolishness that people (at least major media outlets) aren’t talking about.  Granted, this isn’t the first time Imus put his foot in his mouth about blacks and it probably won’t be his last.  We can do all the psycho analysis as to why Imus felt the way he did, whether or not it was a joke that went bad, etc. etc. etc.

But what I want to talk about is why is it that calling black women ho’s in general can even be considered a joke.  Unlike many blacks, I don’t fault Imus that much.  Yes, he was an idiot and possibly a bigot, who knows?  What’s making me sick to my stomach though, is the two Rev’s, whom I actually have a great deal of respect for.  True to form, they jumped on this Imus situation like white on rice, maybe it’s warranted, maybe it’s not.  However, what I’m waiting to see is black people getting up in arms about black women and women in general being called ho’s in music, on TV, etc.

I don’t know, but it seems to me that these black leaders find it easier to protest against white people who say these things but not black people.  I mean, why stop at Imus and people like Limbaugh, Newt, etc. (yes, I threw them into this)?  Why stop there?  Why not protest these hip-hop artists?  But more specifically, the industry that promotes and helps create the music that does more damage to black women and women in general, than anything Don Imus could say.

Everyday, on TV women are displayed as pieces of meat, half naked and more, with gyrating, etc.  They are actually being called Bitches and Ho’s on cable TV, on the radio, etc.  While the two Rev’s have addressed this many times and are taking on the N-word,  I have yet to see as much zeal on getting the heads of the Music industries fired.  I haven’t heard of any protests against MTV, “BET”, etc.  What about the cable companies that broadcasts the stations in their lineup?

Oh this thing is way bigger than Don Imus.  In order for Imus to even think that joking about black women as nappy headed ho’s as opposed to I guess their straight haired white teammates, exposes the larger issue at hand:  If we as black people don’t have a problem denigrating our women, why should we expect others to do something different?  You can judge a people by how they treat their women, is what I was taught in my days in the NOI, so what does that say about black people in America?  I mean since we don’t have no problem having our women naked in public shaking their behinds, since we don’t have any problem calling our women ho’s, since we don’t have any problem treating our women as nothing more than objects of lust, who are we to get mad when a non-black uses the same language in a “joke” to refer to our women, that we do in all seriousness?

Should Imus be fired?  Maybe, I’m not sure.  Either way, I would much rather have Rev’s Sharpton and Jackson use the media and their names better than to make headlines with this.  I’m waiting for Jackson to threaten to protest outside of BET, MTV, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Def Jam, etc. etc.  I would much rather have us black people use our zeal to get whitey yet again and turn it inward just once.  Let’s go after these clowns that promote genocide in the urban areas as “gangsta”, selling poison, prostituting our women, and killing our youth, let’s go after the circus that employs and encourages these clowns, and lastly let’s go after ourselves because change begins not with “we” but with “me”.