Not just an American problem, but a world problem.

Malcolm X
(El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz)
[1925-1965]

 

Excerpted from a Speech by Malcolm X
New York, 1965

The press whips up hysteria in the white public. Then it shifts gears and starts working trying to get the sympathy of the white public. And then it shifts gears and gets the white public to support whatever criminal action they’re getting ready to involve the United States in.

Remember how they referred to the hostages as “white hostages.” Not “hostages.” They said these “cannibals” in the Congo had “white hostages.” Oh, and this got you all shook up. White nuns, white priests, white missionaries. What’s the difference between a white hostage and a Black hostage? What’s the difference between a white life and a Black life?

You must think there’s a difference, because your press specifies whiteness. “Nineteen white hostages” cause you to grieve in your heart.

During the months when bombs were being dropped on Black people by the hundreds and the thousands, you said nothing. And you did nothing. But as soon as their lives became involved, you got concerned.

I was in Africa during the summer when they — the mercenaries and the pilots were shooting down Black people in the Congo like flies. It wouldn’t even get mentioned in the Western press. It wasn’t mentioned. If it was mentioned, it was mentioned in the classified section of the newspaper. Someplace where you’d need a microscope to find it.

And at that time the African brothers, at first, they weren’t taking hostages. They only began to take hostages when they found that these pilots were bombing their villages. And then they took hostages, moved them into the village, and warned the pilots that if you drop bombs on the village, you’ll hit your own people. It was a war maneuver. They were at war. They only held a hostage in a village to keep the mercenaries from murdering on a mass scale the people of those villages.

They weren’t keeping them as hostages because they were cannibals. Or because they thought their flesh was tasty. Some of those missionaries had been over there for forty years and didn’t get eaten up. If they were going to eat them they would have eaten them when they were young and tender. Why you can’t even digest that old white meat on an old chicken.

It’s imagery. They use their ability to create images and then they use these images that they’ve created to mislead the people. To confuse the people and make the people accept wrong as right and reject right as wrong. Make the people actually think that the criminal is the victim and the victim is the criminal.

Even as I point this out, you may say, “What does this all have to do with the Black man in America? And what does it have to do with the Black and white relations here in Rochester?

You have to understand it. Until 1959, the image of the African continent was created by the enemies of Africa. Africa was a land dominated by outside powers. A land dominated by Europeans. And as these Europeans dominated the continent of Africa, it was they who created the image of Africa that was projected abroad. And they projected Africa and the people of Africa in a negative image, a hateful image.

They made us think that Africa was a land of jungles, a land of animals, a land of cannibals and savages. It was a hateful image.

And because they were so successful in projecting this negative image of Africa, those of us here in the West of African ancestry, the Afro-American, we looked upon Africa as a hateful place. We looked upon the African as the hateful person. And if you referred to us as an African it was like putting us as a servant, or playing house, or talking about us in the way we didn’t want to be talked.

Why? Because those who oppress know that you can’t make a person hate the root without making them hate the tree. You can’t hate your own and not end up hating yourself. And since we all originated in Africa, you can’t make us hate Africa without making us hate ourselves. And they did this very skillfully.

And what was the result? They ended up with 22 million Black people here in America who hated everything about us that was African.
..

We hated the African characteristics.

We hated our hair…

We hated our nose, the shape of our nose, and the shape of our lips, the color of our skin. Yes we did. And it was you who taught us to hate ourselves simply by shrewdly maneuvering us into hating the land of our forefathers and the people on that continent.

As long as we hated those people, we hated ourselves. As long as we hated what we thought they looked like, we hated what we actually looked like. And you call me a hate teacher. Why, you taught us to hate ourselves. You taught the world to hate a whole race of people and have the audacity now to blame us for hating you simply because we don’t like the rope that you put around our necks.

When you teach a man to hate his lips, the lips that God gave him, the shape of the nose that God gave him, the texture of the hair that God gave him, the color of the skin that God gave him, you’ve committed the worst crime that a race of people can commit. And this is the crime that you’ve committed.

Our color became a chain, a psychological chain. Our blood — African blood — became a psychological chain, a prison, because we were ashamed of it. We believe — they would tell it to your face, and say they weren’t; they were! We felt trapped because our skin was black. We felt trapped because we had African blood in our veins.

This is how you imprisoned us. Not just bringing us over here and making us slaves. But the image that you created of our motherland and the image that you created of our people on that continent was a trap, was a prison, was a chain, was the worst form of slavery that has ever been invented by a so-called civilized race and a civilized nation since the beginning of the world.

You still see the result of it among our people in this country today. Because we hated our African blood, we felt inadequate, we felt inferior, we felt helpless. And in our state of helplessness, we wouldn’t work for ourselves. We turned to you for help, and then you wouldn’t help us. We didn’t feel adequate. We turned to your for advice and you gave us the wrong advice. Turned to you for direction and you kept us going in circles.

But a change has come about. In us. And what from?

Back in ’55 in Indonesia, at Bandung, they had a conference of dark-skinned people. The people of Africa and Asia came together for the first time in centuries. They had no nuclear weapons, they had no air fleets, no navy. But they discussed their plight and they found that there was one thing that all of us had in common — oppression, exploitation, suffering. And we had a common oppressor, a common exploiter.

If a brother came from Kenya and called his oppressor an Englishman; and another came from the Congo, he called his oppressor a Belgian; another came from Guinea, he called his oppressor French. But when you brought the oppressors together there’s one thing they all had in common, they were all from Europe. And this European was oppressing the people of Africa and Asia.

And since we could see that we had oppression in common and exploitation in common, sorrow and sadness and grief in common, our people began to get together and determined at the Bandung Conference that it was time for us to forget our differences. We had differences. Some were Buddhists, some were Hindus, some were Christian, some were Muslim some didn’t have any religion at all. Some were socialists, some were capitalists, some were communist, and some didn’t have any economy at all.

But with all of the differences that existed, they agreed on one thing, the spirit of Bandung was, from there on in, to de-emphasize the areas of difference and emphasize the areas that we had in common.

And it was the spirit of Bandung that fed the flames of nationalism and freedom not only in Asia, but especially on the African continent. From ’55 to ’60 the flames of nationalism, independence on the African continent, became so bright and so furious, they were able to burn and sting anything that got in its path. And that same spirit didn’t stay on the African continent. It somehow or other — it slipped into the Western Hemisphere who supposedly had been separate from the African continent for almost 400 years.

But the same desire for freedom that moved the Black man on the African continent began to burn in the heart and the mind and the soul of the Black man here, in South America, Central America, and North America, showing us we were not separated. Though there was an ocean between us, we were still moved by the same heartbeat.

The spirit of nationalism on the African continent — It began to collapse; the powers, the colonial powers, they couldn’t stay there. The British got in trouble in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, and other areas of the continent. The French got in trouble in the entire French Equatorial North Africa, including Algeria. Became a trouble spot for France. The Congo wouldn’t any longer permit the Belgians to stay there. The entire African continent became explosive from ’54-’55 on up to 1959. By 1959 they couldn’t stay there any longer.

It wasn’t that they wanted to go. It wasn’t that all of a sudden they had become benevolent. It wasn’t that all of a sudden they had ceased wanting to exploit the Black man of his natural resources. But it was the spirit of independence that was burning in the heart and mind of the Black man. He no longer would allow himself to be colonized, oppressed, and exploited. He was willing to lay down his life and take the lives of those who tried to take his, which was a new spirit.

The colonial powers didn’t leave. But what did they do? Whenever a person is playing basketball, if –you watch him — the players on the opposing team trap him and he doesn’t want to get rid of, to throw the ball away, he has to pass it to someone who’s in the clear, who’s on the same team as he.

And since Belgium and France and Britain and these other colonial powers were trapped — they were exposed as colonial powers — they had to find someone who was still in the clear, and the only one in the clear so far as the Africans were concerned was the United States. So they passed the ball to the United States. And this administration picked up and ran like mad ever since.

I posted this historical excerpt without permission from the copyright owner for purposes of criticism, comment, scholarship and research under the “fair use” provisions of the Federal copyright laws and it may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner, except for “fair use.”

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Muslim Agenda….

As I was reflecting on my radio show last night, I realized that this idea really has to be pushed.  I can in no way, shape, or form, see how Muslims in America and the world can continue to exist under the current status quo.  We are disunited as it is already on matters of religious practice and doctrine, but now we are even divided on division…. I know it seems a little complicated.  My point is one thing is for certain, whether we call ourselves Shia, Sunni, Sufi, Ahmadi, etc., we believe ourselves to be Muslim and to the non-Muslim, none of these titles mean anything, because they only see us as Muslim too.

Therefore, and maybe it’s just me, it makes perfect sense to recognize this obvious fact and use it to our advantage to reach goals we all can agree on.  Instead of fighting over the Maghdi, Messiah, Prayer, or Hijab…maybe it makes more sense to agree to disagree on these issues (since they are a given or we wouldn’t call ourselves sectarian titles) and realize that when non-Muslims hate, attack, or destroy us, they are not attacking a particular sect, they are attacking Muslims.

When it is said that Islam is a violent religion, the accusers are not differentiating between Sunni or Shia fiqh.  Most Americans couldn’t point out a Arab from a Persian, let alone know there is a difference or know that there is a such thing as Arab/Persian Christians and Jews too!  Yet, we continue to focus on what others won’t!

When an Arab is racially profiled, or a sister wearing Hijab (regardless of ethnicity) is harassed at the grocery store, d0 you think for one minute the attacker is wondering whether or not that person folds their arms or not in Qiyaam? 

I truly believe we have to stop this foolishness, lest we hasten our own destruction.  They don’t hate us because we are Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc. or because we wear hijab or not, or speak perfect Arabic or not, they don’t hate us because we wear a beard or not, or which hand we wipe with,….THEY HATE US BECAUSE WE ARE MUSLIM.  The hate us because we believe that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (saw) is the Messenger of God.

It is on this belief we are hated and on this belief we must unite on our common interests and goals.  Just ask yourself, if you want your children to live in a world where they have to wear crescents on their clothes?  This could be a reality is those in whose hearts reside perversity get their way.

We have to take our name(s) and religion back!  Not just from terrorist, but from the mass media who fosters and fans the flames of ignorance and intolerance.  We have to set forth actions that ensure that the words Arab, Muslim, Jihad, etc. are not synonymous with terrorism.  We also have to ensure that terrorism is somehow only a “Muslim” thing.  Hijab should not be synonymous with oppression and the denial of women’s rights.  I could go on and on but I think you get my point.

Let’s create a network of Muslims from all walks of life and practice and join together to counter and destroy not only ignorance about Islam, but also ensure the realization of the best intentions God has for mankind.

Jihad or not to Jihad..that is the question!

I’m not sure if this had made national news yet or not, but for those don’t know, Dr. Esam S. Omeish a member of Virginia’s Commission on Immigration resigned Thursday, a few hours after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was told about online videos showing the appointee condemning Israel and advocating “the jihad way.”Certainly, you know what you could expect from this.  However, after reading the washington post article and viewing the video myself, I’m not so sure everything is what it appears to be.  What I will say is that Muslim leaders and those of us in prominent positions, have to be very careful about what we say.  In the current national climate about our religion, our very words are used against us.  Non-Muslims have the ability in the media to define to us Islam and Islamic terminology.  So judge for yourself.

Ramadan Mubarak!!!

 

I wanted to personally say to the Ummah Ramadan Mubarak! May Allah (swt) grant you a sucessful Ramadan. May this month allow us to reflect not only on the Umma but the entire creation and all the wonderful blessings of Allah (swt). May we strive to be patient, understanding, just, and firm in our faith. May we use our faith as a catalyst to project Islam into action and bring about a lasting peace throughout mankind. May we be willing to stand up against wickedness and repel evil with good in all forms. May we remember the example of the Prophet (saw) and utilize the best of manners when dealing with those who are different from us. May we exemplify the revelation of Allah (swt) in all our daily routines. I ask that Allah (swt) grant us the strenth to repel the whisperings of the Shaitan.

Amen

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Brothers and sisters, nothing it too hard for Allah (swt). Peace is a reality if we are active participants and help in the cause of Peace. Allah (swt) says that He will aid us in our desire nearer to Him. Therefore in this month of reflection, steadfastness, prayer, and fasting, let us also remember that there are those who are suffering, there are those both Muslim and non-Muslim without the comfort of shelter, food, or peace. As Muslims it’s our obligation to not only help and aid our brothers and sisters in humanity in these comforts, but it is our duty to stop those who hasten this oppression, even if they claim Islam. Terror is an affront to Allah (swt) and an insult to our Prophet (saw)! Millions of the Ummah suffer under the oppression of fellow Muslims and non-Muslims. Let us recommit and refocus our efforts this month and beyond to alleviate and destroy the violence and oppression. Let us hasten peace and be true servants of the One who grants Peace.

As Salaam Alaikum,

Robert Salaam

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Here are some articles on Ramadan

The Fasting of Ramadan: A Time for Thought, Action, and Change!
Fasting according to the Quran

American Muslims Prepare for Holy Month of Ramadan

Ramadan

9/11…The day I became a Muslim

Here it is 6 years later and as it was then it is still now. 9/11 is a day of reflection for me for several reasons. On 9/11 I found out that:

1: I really was a Marine

2: I was willing to die for my country

3: Islam is infact not only a religion of peace, but the truth

Most people have no problem with 1 and 2 when I ordinarily re-tell this story, but number 3 is always met with hostility. Without going into the story again as I have a thousand times, I just want to cover the main points 🙂

1: When I joined the Marine Corps in 1998 it was a different world per se. Most of my peers joined the military as an alternative to staying home or not going to college. Many like me joined the Marine Corps simply to be part of the best miliatary organization on the planet (sorry Army). However, that was it in a nutshell. There were no dreams of war and combat no matter how much warrior training I had. It was good stuff to know, it felt good to know I could if I wanted to, but I was content behind my desk and flying with President Clinton to the Harley David factory in Pennsylvania or to South Beach, Miami. That was the extent of my career until 9/11. That day, I found out that I truly was a Marine, that day the warrior in me came alive and I wanted nothing more than to fight the scum that dared attack the USA the greatest nation on Earth!. That day I found out that even a bunch of spoiled, Presidential, airwingers, were still Marines and we were ready to go and do what Marines do. That day that Eagle, Globe, and Anchor took over and the true warrior that I didn’t even know existed came alive. That day more than any other day, I was a Marine!

2: Given the gravity of the day, I knew something had to be done. I didn’t know what, but I knew it had to be something. I began to think of all the medal of honor winners who gave their lives in the service of others. I never truly understood that, but on 9/11 something came over me. I knew that if fanatical killers were willing to do this, than I had to be equally willing to do whatever it took to defeat them. I didn’t know what to think, but I knew one thing, if I had to die, I wanted it to be in the service of my country. I never felt that way before, on 9/10 I wore a uniform, but it was just a “job” to a degree, but on 9/11 I swore by that uniform and what Marines have lived and died for and was ready to join their ranks if need be. I remember around 10 am before the base phones shut down calling my mother and she answered crying, the most I could muster was “Mom I love you, tell everyone I love them, but now I have to do what I get paid to do” right there out of no where in one line I told my mother that our conversation may have been the last, and in that moment of clarity there was peace. I knew what had to be done and I truly didn’t care about the costs, as long as America won.

3. This has always been the most difficult thing to explain and it still is. On 9/11 we were on “standby” for more than 14hrs. We didn’t see any “action” and we just hurried up and waited, and waited, and waited, and then it was 9/12. As things started to develop and get sorted out after that horrible day, I began to reflect. Mostly about 1 and 2 but then I began to ask myself questions: Who were these people that did this? Why would they do this? Are their beliefs that crazy that they are willing to kill themselves and many others for it? I asked myself these questions over and over. My only solution was research. I wanted to know my enemy so that I may be better prepared to kill them. As a devout Christian, lay leader, bible study leader, etc. I wanted to see this murderous book for myself so that I may be able to inform my friends, group, and congregation. I never met a Muslim in my life all I knew was the church, so I decided to go straight to the horses mouth…the Quran.

As things were eased on the base in the following days, I decided to go to the bookstore and I bought it a Koran. My first one it was in complete English no arabic in sight. So with a scornful look and disdain in my heart I began to read…The very first thing I read was:

“The Opening

1:1 In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful:

Bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm

1:2 Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe.

Al ḥamdu lillāhi rabbi l-‘ālamīn

1:3 The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ar raḥmāni r-raḥīm

1:4 King of the Day of Judgment.

Māliki yawmi d-dīn

1:5 You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for help

Iyyāka na’budu wa iyyāka nasta’īn

1:6 Guide us to the straight way;

Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭ al mustaqīm

1:7 The way of those whom you have blessed, not of those who have deserved anger, nor of those who stray.

Ṣirāṭ al-laḏīna an’amta ‘alayhim ġayril maġḍūbi ‘alayhim walāḍ ḍāllīn

In the name of God, the Most Gracious and Merciful! What in the world! I thought I’m supposed to be reading about killing Christians in the name of some other god or something. Where’s all the violence and advocation of such against America? This opening, sounded much like my prayers, so I began to read on…

As I read on I learned many things like God is One, fighting is only ordained in self-defense against oppression, respect for others religions and places of worship, Muslims believed in the Prophets of the Bible and in Jesus albeit a little differently, but heh there were Christians that believed the same things about Jesus too! In other words I found none of what I expected, I found no smoking gun, what little so-called violence I did find was nothing more than historical happenings, that didn’t shape the larger context of the books call for patience, prayer, and balance. It didn’t read purely as a historical book although there was history in it, it didn’t read purely as a book of dogma, although there was dogma in it, to me the most remarkable thing to me was that the author seemed to be speaking directly to me and not through 3rd and 4th parties. For every question I asked there was an answer, for every answer given, the text itself asked me a question. The book forced me to think, challenged me, and reasoned with me. This was a book of reason, this was a book of discussion, this book made me stronger in my desire for God. Any book that could do that in of itself, without the aid of a person reading it to me had to have divine Origins!

Of course, this began to baffle me. Emotions began to be confounded at times, I didn’t know what to think, but I knew one think, I believed in this text and I wanted to be part of those who did. Obviously those murders couldn’t have read the same book! We must be reading two different things.

I began to care less and less about the murderers and what they got out of the text and more and more about what I got out of the text. Somehow they got murder and intollerance, I got love for God, man, and peace. No more did I have to believe that those who didn’t believe as I did were bound to hell, now I could believe in the unity of faith, I could believe that all of mankind was destined to God and God loved everyone not just an elect group!

Naturally, all of this shook me at my foundation my core, so the best I could do was share these thoughts with my mentor and pastor, my grandfather. I expected him to chastize me and tell me satan was confusing me, but instead, he said he believes Islam to be on the same path as Judaism and Christianity, he believed that they all have a central Origin and a central destination. He believed that while the family of Abraham (pbuh) didn’t always agree on many points, they are still family nonetheless. At that point, slack jawed, I realized that my new ways weren’t a hinderance or some kind of satanic confusion, but another path and journey God had put me on, He knows what he is up to.

This all happened within weeks of 9/11. Imagine the surprise to all those I knew when I told them I was converting to Islam. Imagine the surprise when I had my dog tags and records changed from “Christian” to “Muslim”. Many didn’t take it well, and many don’t today. But faith is like that. We don’t often have as much control as we would like to believe. If we truly believe then we will be able to carry our cross no matter what.

And talk about a cross to carry! I have been called it all: Naive, Traitor, fake, etc. I have been told that I never was a Christian or good Christian to begin with and that’s how I left so “easily” as if they know! I have been asked how I could change to the enemies religion while my country was under attack, my service has been questioned, my loyalty, etc. etc.

The problem is many can’t or won’t seperate the religion from the people, unless of course the religion is Christianity or Judaism!

Nevermind that I served another 3 years honorably in the Marine Corps as a Muslim. Nevermind that I have worked for this nations highest office as a Muslim, nevermind that since the Marine Corps I have worked and served in agencies many other Americans only dream about, can only see on the outside, and in many instances don’t even know where they exist! All this as a Muslim.

But I digress…Here it is 6 years later and not much has changed. Many still hate Islam and Muslims, many Muslims still defend their faith and themselves, and many Muslims still commit the actions that help fuel the flames of this hate. I just pray on this day of reflection, that we as Americans, that we as humanity began to reflect more on our similarities then our differences. I pray that we overcome our prejudices and ignorance and learn to work together. I pray that we come together to destroy radicalism and extremism in all it’s forms. I pray that we realize that it is our differences that not only make God Great, but gives us a reason and drive to want to get to know one another.

49:13 O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

More 9/11 converts….






I will be discussing this Tonight at 10pm ET on “The American Muslim” Radio show, call in with your comments!

Thank you for reading and listening,

Semper Fidelis,

Robert Salaam

Is Christianity a violent religion?

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Well you had the Roman uprising of the new Jewish messiah sect, then you had the destruction of all the older pagan gods and beliefs, then you had rapid expansion and the subjection of “infidels”. Then you had the crusades, inquisition, slavery, the burning at the stake of witches, scientists, etc. etc. In modern times you have war after war against non-Christian nations made by nations that are predominantly Christian and openly proclaim theirs is a Christian nation or founded on Judeo – Christian principles. You had abortion clinic bombings, lynchings, jim crow, the subjugation of women, intolerance, terrorism against federal buildings,terrorism on college campuses, hate speech against many non-christians, etc. All of this in Christian nations. Yet no one is willing to call Christianity a violent religion.

Where do these Christians get their beliefs from and how do they sanction their actions?  From the Bible of course.  The Bible contains hundreds of examples of violence against non-believers, women, other ethnicities, etc.  In almost every book of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation examples of violence is present.  It is no surprise the many of this religions followers exude beliefs that are violent and intolerant.  Here are many examples of what I speak:

When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you. Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” (Deutronomy 20:10-17)

“Hymenaeus and Alexander I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Timothy 1:20

“This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, Then David ran and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it…. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent. And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.” 1 Samuel 17:46

“Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”… And there is also with you Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.” 2 Samuel 16:9, 1 Kings 2:8

“ When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him. They took his head, and went by the way of the Arabah all night, and brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; the LORD has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” 2 Samuel 4:7

“That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David; give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab.” 2 Samuel 20:21

“at Jezreel by this time tommorrow…And when the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons, and slew them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them to him at Jezreel. When the messenger came and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons,” he said, “Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning.”. (2 Kings Chapter 10 verse 6) “God has now fulfilled the prophecy of the prophet Elijah. So Jehu put to death all who were left of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, as well as all of his close friends and priests, until he had left not one single survivor.” (2 Kings Chapter 10 verse 10) “He put to death all of Ahab’s house, who were left there and so blotted it out, in fulfillment of the word which YAHWEH had spoken to Elijah.” (2 Kings Chapter 10 verse 7)

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you. And when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.” (Deutronomy 7:1-2)

“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” (Luke 19:26-27)

“Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. I am sent to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35)

I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.Ӕ (Exodus 23:27)

And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.  At God’s instructions, the Israelites “utterly destroyed the men, women, and the little ones” leaving “none to remain.” 2:34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain. (Deuteronomy 2:33-36)

Joshua said to the people of Israel, “The Lord has given you the city of the all silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: They shall come into the treasury of the Lord.  The people utterly DESTROYED ALL THAT WAS IN THE CITY, BOTH MAN AND WOMAN,YOUNG AND OLD, AND OX AND SHEEP, AND ASS, WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD. (Joshua 6:21,23)

“And he should go and worship other gods and bow down to them or to the sun or the moon or all the army of the heavens, …..and you must stone such one with stones and such one must die.” Deuteronomy 17:3-5

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:20-32)

“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:17-18)

Deuteronomy 2:34-35; 3:6-7; Joshua 6:17; 8:2, 24-28; 10:28-40; 11:14, 13:12-18; 20:10-18 all call for the total annihilation of the enemy – men, women, and children. Genesis 34; Judges 3:12-20; 4-5; 14-15; 19-21; Esther 8-9 can all be read to encourage guerrilla warfare.

Christianity/Christians teach and believe in:

slavery (Ephesians 6:5, Deuteronomy 20:10);
Sanction being sold into slavery as a punishment for theft (Exodus 22:1-3);

Believe in gender inequality (1 Timothy 2:11, 1 Corinthians 14:34);

Require veiling for all women (1 Corinthians 11:5);

Treat women unjustly (1 Corinthians 11:5 and 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:11, Ecclesiasticus 25:18-19 & 33, Ecclesiastes 7:26, Genesis 3:16 & 19:8 & 21:10, Leviticus 27:6, Numbers 27:8-11 & 30, Deuteronomy 21:10-13 & 25:5-10 & 22:13-21, Judges 19:16-30);

Admit that their own texts have been falsified (Jeremiah 8:8);

Demand unquestioning obedience to political authority (Romans 13:1);

Advocate suicide (1 Samuel 31:4-5);

Allow the murder of civilians in wartime (1 Samuel 15:3 and 15:18, Ezekial 9:4-7, Hosea 13:16, Numbers 31, Isaiah 13:9 and 15-18);

promote honor killings (Genesis 34:1-31);

Encourage the slaughter prisoners of war (Deuteronomy 7:1-2;

Encourage killing of enemies – Numbers 33:50-52, Deuteronomy 2:33-36, 3:3-6 and 7:2)Luke 19:26-27);

Encourage killing of strangers (Numbers 1:51, 3:10, 3:38, 18:7);

Encourage killing non-believers (Numbers 17:2-7, Acts 3:23);

Encourage abandoning the sick (Numbers 5:1-4);

Support punishment for the sins of your ancestors (Numbers 14:18);

Encourage war (Mattthew 10:34);

Promote blood feuds (Numbers 35:19-21);

Allow POLYGAMY ( Exodus 21:10; 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:19 and 14:3; 1 Kings 11:3; 2 Chronicles 11:21; Deuteronomy 21:15; Genesis 4:19 & 16:2);

Are anti-Semitic (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Micah 3:1-12, Hosea 8:1-14, Matthew 23:13-39, Acts 2:23, 3:13-15);

Encourage beheading of enemies (1 Chronicles 10:9; 2 Kings 6:31, 2 Samuel 4:7 and 20:21; 2 Kings 10:6);

Belief in the Death Penalty for:

working on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:15);

cursing ones parents (Leviticus 20:9):

being rebellious towards parents (Deuteronomy 21);

worshiping other gods (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 and 32:23-25);

enticing a friend or family member to worship other gods (Deuteronomy 13:6-10);

being a witch, medium, or wizard (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27);

engaging in homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13);

not being a virgin on one’s wedding night (Deuteronomy 22:20-21);

having sex outside of marriage (Leviticus 20:10-13,1 Corinthians 5:5);

violating the Sabbath (Numbers 15:35, 15:36);

marrying a foreigner (Numbers 25:6-9);

becoming apostate or a heretic who dissents (1 Timothy 1:20)

Is it truly any wonder where Christians get their beliefs from?  Now their may be “peaceful” Christians in the world, but the majority believe in hate and intolerance.  It has been this way since the beginning of Christianity and it’s no different today.

Let us look at the words and actions from prominent, famous, and influential Christian leaders in America:

Franklin Graham:

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks referred to Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion.”

On April 18, 2003 when he travelled to Baghdad, Iraq to conduct a Good Friday service in that city, nine days after the start of the 2003 invasion of Baghdad.

“The god of Islam is not the same God of the Christian or the Judeo-Christian faith. It is a different god, and I believe a very evil and a very wicked religion.”

“But let’s use the weapons we have, the weapons of mass destruction if need be and destroy the enemy.”

“…we’ll make a great mistake if we hold back our technology and hold back our weapons and put young men and women in there and sacrifice them because we’re scared to use some of our major weapons. And I think we’re going to have to use every — and I hate to say it, hellish weapon in our inventory, if need be, to defeat these people.”

“I believe that God created one man and one woman. He gave sex to us, God did, and sex is to be enjoyed and is to be used within the bounds that God created…. In sexual behavior outside the parameters that God created, we’re at high risk, and we’re seeing the evidence of this with HIV/AIDS. We’re outside of these parameters, and we have a huge global problem now.”

“This is one wicked city, OK? It’s known for Mardi Gras, for Satan worship. It’s known for sex perversion. It’s known for every type of drugs and alcohol and the orgies and all of these things that go on down there in New Orleans… There’s been a black spiritual cloud over New Orleans for years. They believe God is going to use that storm to bring revival.”

Jerry Falwell:

In a speech, he referenced mixed-race couples in the north as an example of the results of desegregation. In 1965, he gave a sermon at his Thomas Road Baptist Church criticizing Martin Luther King and the Civil rights movement, which he sometimes referred to as the “Civil Wrongs Movement”. On his Evangelist program The Old-Time Gospel Hour in the mid 1960s, he regularly featured segregationist politicians like Lester Maddox and George Wallace.  Falwell’s views eventually shifted and he opposed segregation in his later years.  He said this about Martin Luther King: “I do question the sincerity and non-violent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left wing associations.”

In the 1980s Jerry Falwell was critical of sanctions against the apartheid regime of South Africa. He stated that while he was opposed to apartheid, he feared that sanctions would result in a worse situation, with either a more oppressive white minority government or a Soviet-backed revolution. He drew the ire of many when he called Nobel Peace Prize winner and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu a phony “as far as representing the black people of South Africa.”

He’s been called an agent of intolerance and the founder of the anti-gay industry who regularly demonized and dehumanized gays and fought against gay rights. In the early 1980s when the AIDS pandemic was still in its early years and could have been addressed more proactively as a national health crisis he swayed public opinion against people with AIDS (PWAs) saying “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals, it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”

On Falwell’s “Old Time Gospel Hour” broadcast (March 11, 1984), when the mostly gay Metropolitan Community Church was almost accepted into the World Council of Churches, Falwell called them “brute beasts” and stated, “this vile and satanic system will one day be utterly annihilated and there’ll be a celebration in heaven.”

Falwell’s ghostwriter, Mel White, said Falwell remarked about gay protesters, “Thank God for these gay demonstrators. If I didn’t have them, I’d have to invent them. They give me all the publicity I need.”

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Falwell said on the 700 Club, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'” Fellow evangelist Pat Robertson concurred with his sentiment. After heavy criticism, Falwell apologized, though he later said that he stood by his statement, stating “If we decide to change all the rules on which this Judeo-Christian nation was built, we cannot expect the Lord to put his shield of protection around us as he has in the past.”

Pat Robertson:

On January 14, 1991, on The 700 Club, Pat Robertson attacked a number of Protestant denominations when he declared: “You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.”

Robertson has described feminism as a “socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”[23] Many of Robertson’s views mirror those of the evangelical activist Jerry Falwell, who made frequent appearances on The 700 Club. He agreed with Falwell when Falwell stated[24] that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were caused by “pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Union and the People For the American Way.”

After public outcry regarding the dialog, which was conducted via television monitor and took place only days after the attacks, Robertson claimed that his earpiece was malfunctioning, and that he was unaware of what he was agreeing with at the time.

On the June 8, 1998 edition of his show, Robertson denounced Orlando, Florida and Disney World for allowing a privately sponsored “Gay Days” weekend. Robertson stated that the acceptance of homosexuality could result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombings and “possibly a meteor.” The resulting outcry prompted Robertson to return to the topic on June 24, where he quoted the Book of Revelation to support his claims.

While discussing the Mark Foley scandal on the October 5, 2006 broadcast of the show, Robertson condemned Foley saying he “does what gay people do”.

Robertson repeatedly supported former President of Liberia Charles Taylor in various episodes of his 700 Club program during the United States’ involvement in the Liberian Civil War in June and July of 2003. Robertson accuses the U.S. State Department of giving President Bush bad advice in supporting Taylor’s ouster as president, and of trying “as hard as they can to destabilize Liberia.”

Robertson was criticized for failing to mention in his broadcasts his $8,000,000 (USD) investment in a Liberian gold mine.  Taylor had been indicted by the United Nations for war crimes at the time of Robertson’s support.

Prosecutors also said that Taylor had harbored members of Al Qaeda responsible for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. According to Robertson, the Liberian gold mine Freedom Gold was intended to help pay for humanitarian and evangelical efforts in Liberia, when in fact the company was allowed to fail leaving many debts both in Liberia and in the international mining service sector. Regarding this controversy, Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention‘s public policy said, “I would say that Pat Robertson is way out on his own, in a leaking life raft, on this one.”

Robertson has also been accused of using his tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, Operation Blessing, as a front for his own financial gain, and then using his influence in the Republican Party to cover his tracks. After making emotional pleas in 1994 on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing to support airlifts of refugees from Rwanda to Zaire, it was later discovered, by a reporter from The Virginian-Pilot, that Operation Blessing’s planes were transporting diamond-mining equipment for the Robertson-owned African Development Corporation, a venture Robertson had established in cooperation with Zaire‘s dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, whom Robertson had befriended earlier in 1993. According to Operation Blessing documents, Robertson personally owned the planes used for Operation Blessing airlifts.

In 1993, Mobutu was denied a visa by the U.S. State Department after he sought to visit Washington, D.C. Shortly after this, Robertson tried to get the State Department to lift its ban on the African leader.

An investigation by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Office of Consumer Affairs determined that Robertson “willfully induced contributions from the public through the use of misleading statements and other implications” and called for a criminal prosecution against Robertson in 1999. However, Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, a Republican whose largest campaign contributor two years earlier was Robertson himself, intervened, accepting that Robertson had made deceptive appeals but overruling the recommendation for his prosecution.  No charges were ever brought against Robertson. “Two years earlier, while Virginia’s investigation was gathering steam, Robertson donated $35,000 to Earley’s campaign — Earley’s largest contribution.” Pat Robertson’s Katrina Cash

In April 2002, Robertson acknowledged owning a race horse, named “Mr. Pat.” He told a New York Times reporter that his interest in the horse was based purely on its aesthetics. “I don’t bet and I don’t gamble. I just enjoy watching horses running and performing.” Harder to explain was why he spent $520,000 on the horse and intended the beast to compete at the track. But the resulting furor over Robertson’s direct participation in a gambling racket eventually caused him to sell the horse a month after the Times story broke”On his The 700 Club television program, Pat Robertson has sharply criticized elements of the United States government and “special interest” groups that don’t share his views. In interviews with the author of a book critical of the United States Department of State, Robertson made suggestions that the explosion of a nuclear weapon at State Department Headquarters would be good for the country, and repeated those comments on the air. “What we need is for somebody to place a small nuke at Foggy Bottom,”Robertson said during his television program, referring to the location of the State Department headquarters. State Department officials said they believed the comments to be in extremely bad taste, and have lodged official complaints against Robertson for his remarks.

Robertson has repeatedly claimed that Barry Lynn has stated that fire departments cannot put out fires in churches because it would be a violation of separation of church and state. Lynn, progressive organizations like Media Matters for America and conservative groups such as Focus on the Family have all contested Robertson’s statements.

On the August 22, 2005 broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson said of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez:

I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.

Robertson also said that Chávez was “going to make Venezuela a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent” and called the leader an “out-of-control dictator… a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil that could hurt us very badly.”

On the August 24 edition of The 700 Club, Robertson asserted that he hadn’t actually called for Chávez’s assassination, but that there were other ways of “taking him out”, such as having special forces carry out a kidnapping. Robertson explicitly denied having used the word “assassination”, though the word “assassinate” was present in his initial statement. Later that day, he issued a written statement in which he said, “Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him”. However, he continued to justify his original stance on the potential threat Chávez posed to U.S. interests.

On February 2, 2006 edition of Hannity and Colmes, Pat Robertson once again called for Chávez’s assassination. When Colmes asked Robertson “Do you want him taken out?”, Robertson replied “Not now, but one day, one day, one day.”

On his November 10, 2005 broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson told citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania that they had rejected God by voting out of office all seven members of the school board who support intelligent design.

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city”, Robertson said on his broadcast.

“And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because He might not be there.”

In a written statement, Robertson later clarified his comments:

“God is tolerant and loving, but we can’t keep sticking our finger in His eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.”The lead story on the January 5, 2006, edition of The 700 Club was Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon‘s hospitalization for a severe stroke. After the story, Robertson said that Sharon’s illness was possibly retribution from God for his recent drive to give more land to the Palestinians. He also claimed former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin‘s 1995 assassination may have occurred for the same reason.

Robertson has frequently denounced the religion of Islam and Muslim people. During a 1995 taping of The 700 Club, he called the religion a “Christian heresy”.  During a September 19, 2002 episode of FOX News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes, Robertson claimed that the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, was “an absolute wild-eyed fanatic … a robber and a brigand.” He claimed on the September 14, 2004 episode of The 700 Club that “Islam is by the gun, by the fire, by the bayonet, by the torch.”  On the July 14, 2005 broadcast of the The 700 Club, he claimed that “Islam, at its core, teaches violence.”

On the March 13, 2006 broadcast of The 700 Club Robertson stated that Muslims want global domination and that the outpouring of rage elicited by cartoon drawings of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad “just shows the kind of people we’re dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it’s motivated by demonic power. It is Satanic and it’s time we recognize what we’re dealing with.” He finished by stating “by the way, Islam is not a religion of peace.”

On the September 25, 2006 broadcast of The 700 Club Robertson stated “It’s amazing how the Muslims deal with history and the truth with violence. They don’t understand what reasoned dialogue is….”

On March 23, 1995, Pat Robertson led a television program in which he attacked the religion of Hinduism. He called it “demonic” and said that Hindus should be barred from entering the United States. He said that they worship “idols” and “hundreds of millions of deities,” which “has put a nation in bondage to spiritual forces that have deceived many for thousands of years.” He spoke against the doctrines of karma and reincarnation.

I can’t make this stuff up!!!  Just these three people alone command the respect of millions of Christians here in America!   Yet, Christianity is supposed to be peaceful and loving.  Apparently, it’s only peaceful and loving when your a Christian, if not….well, their words, actions, and text bear witness to the truth.

Pictures of acts committed by Christians:

 

What do you think these victims would say about Christianity considering the acts committed against them by those who say they practice the Christian faith?

Lastly, I would like to add to those foaming at the mouth right now, that this posting is purely for critical analysis.  I don’t believe Christianity is a religion of violence or that the majority of Christians are violence.  My point is that many Christians are quick to make these assertions about Islam and Muslims as if people are really that stupid and can’t see the hypocrisy in these accusations.  Many Christians, some have commented on this blog, are black pots calling the kettle black.  They have not gotten the beam out of their eye, but are quick to talk about the beam in some Muslims eyes.

I was inspired to write this post largely from the great article Throwing Stones at the Qur’an From a Glass House and some commentary from a poster on a message board that accused me of only following the “peaceful” verses in the Quran.  I retorted by stating that he is only following the “peaceful” verses in the Bible.

I truly believe that the majority of the claims against Islam is the work of master hypocrites and deceivers.  I call them such, whether Pastor, Reverend, “former Muslim”, etc.  because they deny the obvious and apply double standards.  If I had never been a Christian and never read a Bible and presented these claims against Christianity, these same people, many of whom I quoted, would begin to give me a speech about textual, historical, and religious context.  However, they seem to forget this same theological, philosophical, and scholarly method when talking about Islam and Muslims.

I believe it’s in the best interest of all concerned about the danger of these islamiphobes who spread ignorance, intolerance, and hate against Muslims and Islam, to learn these verses and history.  The best way to curb falsehood is to make it manifest.

I will declare Islam a violent religion, when others declare Christianity, Judaism, and others violent religions.

I am for justice and equity as a means for peace.  If we are to believe that Christianity is peaceful by looking at the context of verses, understanding that bad Christians are false, and the majority of Christians not only don’t hold these views and/or are peaceful, then the same standards should be applied to Muslims and Islam.

Robert Salaam

New Muslims: Lonely Communities Within Communities

I wanted to post this article from The MuslimLink Newspaper, It’s an awesome article from Tariq Nelson a fellow DC area Muslim who has a lot of insightful things to say.  I must say, I certainly agree with him.

Synthesis (sin’thi-sis): an integration of two or more pre-existing elements which results in a new creation.

By Tariq Nelson

I spent my first decade in my hometown as a Muslim attending an ethnic masjid where the Imam did not speak English. The vast majority of the people at this masjid were of one ethnicity, the Khutbah was in their language, they spoke in their language in the masjid and they did things amongst themselves. That may sound wonderful, but the converts were left out.

Eid would be a festive occasion for them having spent it with family and friends, while I – being single at the time – would spend that day sitting in my room alone watching TV or some years even choosing to go to work immediately after the Eid Salaat even if I had the day off from work. The same was the case for the few other converts.

We’d go to Eid Salaat, pray, hug the brothers and then everyone was gone with places to go and people to see, while I had nowhere to go and noone to see. The masjid would be almost completely empty at Thuhr time. Eid was one of the loneliest times of the year for me for many years.

This particular masjid was not a place that I could bring a family member or a non-Muslim friend to come and learn about Islam or see how the Muslims live. In fact, quite honestly, deep down I dreaded taking a person that was interested in Islam to the masjid and preferred to take them to my home and invite 1-2 other brothers to come as well.

Unfortunately, I have found that there are many masjids like this across the country where converts and people of other ethnicities are an afterthought. This is why one the things that I feel is necessary for the continued growth of the American Muslim community is a “synthesis” of the American Muslim community: a melding of cultures (and the connecting issues) that have come together here into one someone homogenous culture.

This synthesis is what many of us thought ALREADY existed to a certain extent in the American Muslim community when we became part of it. Perhaps I am being naïve here, but this expectation is probably what shapes my point of view on this subject.

The question I often ask myself is: will we – as American Muslims – be able to form a community in which the issues are common for everyone in it? Let’s keep in mind that I am speaking of the American Muslim community and not the communities and cultures overseas (which all each have been through this process to a large extent).

In other words, I am NOT calling for a utopian global homogenization of all Muslims on the planet. What I AM saying is that the Muslims in THIS country should share the same goals and concerns and even to an extent the same culture. At the very least we should not be so culturally foreign to each other in spite of being in the same city.

As it is today, in many cases we have ethnic communities that often do NOT share goals and values and are sometimes even in competition with one another. I don’t think that we can continue to have communities that are “mini-Pakistan”, “mini-Egypt” or “mini-Somalia” and so on  – right here in America – that (unintentionally) alienates people outside of that particular masjid’s dominate culture and each community seeing the other’s issues as “their” problem.

This ethnic fragmentation has also led to a level of decrease of trust and co-operation between communities. The members of these ethnically based communities work well with each other, and are involved in their own community’s affairs as it relates to their own country, but rarely with another.

This lack of synthesis has in many ways left many individuals – especially converts – stuck on the outside looking in, wounded and spiritually dying. In my travels from community to community, I have found many converts that were sadly angry, confused and fed up with this situation.

On the other hand, the only way that some converts believe that they can survive in this environment is to jettison their pasts as bona fide Westerners in favor of becoming “honorary immigrants”. This is the reason we find that some American brothers will even speak with a fake accent in an attempt to somehow Islamically “authenticate” themselves – as if being a Westerner is not an authentic expression of being a Muslim. What is wrong with the environment inside of our masjids that some brothers feel the need to do such things?

Some may argue that this is diversity and it is beautiful for each ethnic group to have its own masjid with no sort of overlap. And I understand that it is natural for this to happen, but our long term growth depends on having less of this fragmentation because most people of other ethnicities – particularly converts – will NOT feel comfortable in these masjids.

Without grappling with these topics, we will continue to lose new Muslims and others will continue to feel uncomfortable, subservient and trodden under the feet of the dominant ethnic cultures established in these masjids.

Now, let me be clear that I don’t mean that new Muslims and people of other cultures are treated rudely in ethnic masjids. I mean that many masjids in this country have established an environment that is comfortable for only one ethnic group. The announcements after Jumuah are made in the dominant culture’s language (often with no English translation), the posts on the bulletin board are in that language (with little to no English), the khutbah is given in that language, and most of the people in that masjid huddle and speaks in that particular language.

Some years ago, back in my hometown, a small group of us decided to complain to the board about this situation. We had grown angry and resentful because we felt that we were intentionally being left out. However, that was not the case at all. They just ASSUMED that we were having a good time with our families and friends just like they were on occasions like Eid. We were just an afterthought.

After our complaints, some efforts to integrate the converts were made, but there were still many stumbling blocks. The most obvious was that it’s hard for a new Muslim to speak to the Imam when he doesn’t speak the same language as you or communicates very poorly in that language.

Then there was the bi-cultural problem – namely, two different ways of looking at things. With Eid planning, for example, getting people of differing cultures to agree on how to celebrate it is harder than fostering consensus among people who all grew up with the same mental picture of what an Eid celebration should look like. Likewise, even in the distribution of zakaatul maal where our much more numerous immigrant brothers decided to send the money to the poor in their country instead of distributing it amongst the local needy Muslims because “there was no REAL need in America”.

Also, when it came to the issues that were “important” or “Islamic”, similar lines were drawn. We converts saw dawah to our family and friends, concern for the outside community, civic duty, and other domestic issues as “Islamic” priorities. The larger immigrant community eschewed our “poor understanding”, and deemed that the conflicts “back home” (especially in their country) were top priorities and raised a lot of money for good projects there.

So because of these differences in outlook, understanding, and concerns, the small band of converts became a “community within a community”, but still not fully integrated. We were not a single community. There was, the overwhelming majority of the people on one side from one ethnic group and the small band of converts just trying to hang on for dear life to each other and to their Iman.

The environment in that masjid was such that the only way you could fully integrate was to “convert” to the dominant culture. Hence, you would see some brothers adopting the phony accent in attempts to fit in. You would also see a married convert couple cooking a particular ethnic group’s foods EVERYDAY in an attempt to be “more Muslim”.

So one of the main reasons a “new Muslim welcoming committee” or such things often fail in a masjid is because instead of integrating the converts into the community they form their own little clique that will eventually fizzle out from lack of support from the greater community. It can even become a crutch as the rest of the community that is not involved in the new Muslim committee will see no need to be inviting to new Muslims because there is a committee. So after many years, the new Muslim never “graduates” out of the “new Muslim” program and never begins to integrate into the rest of the community.

This is why the entire environment of our masjids and Islamic Centers across the country must change to be welcoming for everyone and not just one ethnic group. If we can do that, then the new converts would be able to successfully make the transition from the “new Muslim committee” to the greater community.

If we can “synthesize” and have a gradual melding of the many cultures and issues that make up our community, people from all these different cultures will begin to appreciate and even adopt certain aspects of others’ cultures such as foods (not fake accents). That is why I like it when some masjids during Ramadan will pick nights to have various cultural iftars (“Latino Night”, “African-American night”, so on) to give the community members an appreciation of all the cultures in the masjid instead of just catering to just one. Others have done wonderful programs like “Eid house hopping” with converts in mind – who are now, like I was in my first years, spending that day alone. Over time, traditions like this – if they can spread – will lead to a melding, Insha Allah. This is what Islam has traditionally been able to do: adapt and meld.
If a synthesis can happen, then perhaps there can even be more tangible results like American Muslims adopting a somewhat standardized mahr (dowery) for our culture as it is in other countries instead of going by what is the standard “back home”.

If this synthesis can happen, then the problems amongst Black American Muslims will become “our” problems instead of “theirs”.

Another goal to add to the list of things to do during Ramadan: try to visit as many masjids as possible during that time instead of just one. Let’s try to mix it up a little. Get to know some people outside of your circle. And on Eid, try to remember that a lot of converts are spending the day alone.

This synthesis can happen and co-operation between the ethnic groups can increase as we place more emphasis on a common transethnic identity as American Muslims. Tariq Nelson lives in Northern Virginia and blogs at tariqnelson.com.